Interesting donor; is it a good choice?

Hi, I’m new to the woodgas community and was reading through the Woodgas Donor Vehicle page (Library / Woodgas Donor Vehicle | Drive On Wood!) on this site. I came across the line:

Australians have formalized this car/truck idea into an actual vehicle called a Ute. Front half car, rear half truck - perfect for woodgas! Unfortunately we can’t buy them in the States.

and wanted to ask about an interesting donor vehicle. is a company which sells kits where you hack the back half of your roof and trunk off and attach reinforced B pillars and an aluminum bed to make a DIY ute. They offer kits for several vehicles, but of interest to me is the 2006-2010 Dodge Charger.

R/Ts came with the 5.7l hemi.

A Charger ute seems to hit a lot of pluses of the Highway Burner on the Donor Vehicle page:

  • Pushrod V8
  • Light weight & low profile
  • Stays on the road
  • Pickup bed
  • Overdrive
  • Gasoline
  • MPFI Fuel injection

My two big issues…and they are deal breakers…
OBD: Does anyone know if the 5.7l hemi’s OBD2 would cause undue grief?
Space: The car is very low to the ground compared to any truck. Is there enough space under this to make a woodgas conversion even a possibility?

Thank you!

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Not sure about Dodge’s computers past OBD1, but I think your main issue would be height. The hearth shouldn’t be shortened so that leaves you having a shorter hopper.

You might have a better time no matter what car, to get a Reece hitch adapter and pull a small trailer. Then you wouldn’t be behind the 8 ball with paying for a conversion to the body of the car into a Ute, as cool as one would look with a wood burner in the back.

Other benefit of the trailer is you would still have your trunk and the trailer can offer storing space for extra wood.

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Welcome Hans. Hard to answer some of your questions without knowing what type of gasifier you are considering. I’d save myself a lot of aggravation and start with some kind of small truck with a frame under it. Getting that set up for WG and making it work is about all your nervous system needs to avoid overload.


Wecome to the DOW HansR.

On the OBDII causing undo grief in a 2006-10 Dodge Hemi vehicle . . . no one’s done one. No one knows. You’d be the first adventurous ground breaker.
You’d at least if woodgas failed still have a ka-ool chopped vehicle.

There is up on the Internet a findable picture of an in-Finland compact late model Chevrolet El Camino with the whole bright and shiny all SS woodgas system in the back.
And some here have made up complete systems putting a W.K. completely above bed as slide in units.
All of this will stick far up, and out. Raise high the centers of that added 600-800 pound of weight. You will turns wallow.
You will not be looking so cool anymore. Be a Doc Smiths Fusion Generator car on steroids.
Actual street, highway performance you’ll be waving bye-bye at the rear end of a winds cheating, well converted with half the systems below the bed, Dodge Dakota pickup truck on woodgas.

Of course just mho. Math’s, are math’s. They favor no Bold.
Steve Unruh


First of all I do not have near the experience most do on this site but i understand you wanting to use a newer vehicle. If your going to put time into something you dont want to sink it into some rusk bucket from 95 that is going to blow a motor or tranny after 1month of use. Hard to find good older vehicles sometimes.

Persoanlly the ute converation idea just seems like a huge headache before you even know if the motor is going to run right and i wouldnt even screw with it if i did.

2nd if you want to try something and your not sure its going to work maybe build your gasifier while searching then just hook it up to the intake and see how the motor runs while its parked with the hood up. If it runs good and has somepower then proceed. If it never runs right well sell it and try again. After all you did not do much extra work if the engine runs wells. If the engine runs like garbage you just potentially saved yourself a great deal of work and headache.


Cody, Tom, Steve and Taylor,

After considering your replies, I think I’d be better served getting my first one up and running before I attempt something too exotic.

Thank you!


What other vehicle do you have in mind?

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That’s a good decision Hans. Best to start with a machine that others are experienced with to avoid having to reinvent the wheel as it were. I don’t think you mentioned your locale.


Tom he lives near Argos.

Maybe next week when some more new guys join I’ll see some closer Carolina folks.


Really I just want something I can get to roll down the road. I have some basic mechanical experience but I’m not a fabricator so any project wis going to stretch my abilities.

It looks like early ‘90’s V8 Dakotas are a popular choice, but I know many vehicles were converted during WWII. So if someone in the know could point me to a master list of what works/what doesn’t, that would be great. However, a Dakota would suit me just fine.

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Hans it seems that the 90s models of GM cars take well to woodgas. Mike LaRosa(RIP) reported decent usage out of a 2.2L Chevrolet S10 and a 2.2L Chevrolet Cavalier, both late 90s models. The ignition computers automatically advance the timing in the GM vehicles. Jan Axelsson drives a 90s model Chevrolet S10 with the 4.3L V6.

It really depends on what you need the truck to do. If you need something to haul a trailer then try to stick with a V8. I wish I could find a Dakota with the 318 V8.

I suspect a 90s model V8 Silverado or Sierra would also do good. Try to find one with a metal upper intake manifold, I think they moved to a plastic manifold in the late 90s for all the Vortec trucks. With a plastic manifold you won’t be able to clean the intake via the burn method and instead would have to remove it for cleaning.


Since you are not real comfortable with your fabrication skills Hans I’m not sure a V-8 build of any kind is for you. I would start out with something that could be run with a simple fire charcoal unit. That would meet your criteria of just wanting to roll down the road. Eddie Ramos has posted the drawing of several designs from builders here. I would check that out. I tried to locate the thread but am too retarded. I have a 1985 GMC Jimmy with a 2.9L Isusu V-6 that I am going to build as a charcoal fueled machine this spring. Any engine that size is compatible with a less involved gasifier than would be required for a higher displacement V-8 or inline 6


Here is is Tom and Hans: