Under the radar small car gasifier

Hi, I’m completely new to gasifiers and looking to get started. If my idea is feasible at all I’d like to give it a go, if only for the fun of it.

Unfortunately I live in a big city, and I’m looking to use a small car for a daily driver (cavalier, civic, corolla, etc). Having looked at some example vehicles running on woodgas, I notice that they have a very visible pipe system and/or large protruding containers. Living in a city, I’d strongly prefer to avoid drawing that sort of attention to my vehicle.

Can a practical woodgas city commuter be built where the piping is hidden underneath the vehicle, and the containers small enough to fit in the trunk? I’d also be willing to lose a sedan’s rear seats to make the required space. I could also remove the fuel tank for more room.

If it’s even possible, are there any builds I should look at to get off in the right direction? What vehicles would be ideal for this?

If it’s not possible with a car, could I hide a gassified truck with a bed cover?


HI Changeus , welcome you come to the right place here mate we have the master of sneaky Hidey nothing to see here Mr ! he goes by the name of Kristijan he’s your man who has done just what you want to do , just be mindful that the boot should be sealed and with no way into the cabin for any escaping gases .

Top of the page is a magnifying glass there are a couple of builds he has done the wood gasifier is not as stealth as the charcoal one but worth a read to get idea’s , i found the links for you save you searching .

Have fun . Dave


Welcome to the site Changeus. I am posting an Amazon link to Ben Peterson’s book. I don’t know if the earlier version is still available in which he built a gasifier hidden in the trunk of a Old Mustang. Later versions of the book replaced that section with some plans for automation. Still, a very good resource.



Dave gave me way too much credit :smile:

Making a 100% stelth mode gasified vehicle is possible, but it aint no bed of roses. As a matter of fact, its a horible idea for a sane person, wich l never sayd l am :smile:

I made at least about 10 sistems on 3 separate cars, that l can say are on the outside undistinguishable, and still hadnt got all the bugs out. Its a huge learning curve, and l wuldnt recomend it for a first, third or maybee even fifth build.

I wuld recomend you to step in the other direction, thats to mask the gasifier. A toolbox on the pickup bed, a small trailor behind a car… things get orders of magnutude easyer that way.


what are you going to use for a source of wood?

You might try a simplefire* with a small engine, they are charcoal based but it gets you figuring out what you are doing and they are pretty easy to build.

*unless someone came up with an easier design when I wasn’t looking.

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I think Kristijan was mulling over using a camper shell to hide a gasifier. You could hide just about any design with one of those. I’d replace the windows for screen material for air flow. And add a hatch roof.


I am not a expert or have many wood gas driving experiance under my belt, But i am on the same page as for as keeping my gasifier camifloged in the bed of my truck, as kristijan mentioned, I plan on covering my barrels, by building what looks like a tool box/ben with big swinging doors like a tool cabnet, though i will have openfloor on the bottom bed area and heavby meth 1/4" diaman like screen or the like for a top swing up lid hinged.Could allso put a full ladder rack on bed of truck too blend in the cooling rails.ECT. PS I havent thought about fitting a wood gasifier in a trunk or back seating area YET.I would go with a light trailer open or nearly closed, or mount it in a tool cabnet on light trailer if what i had was a small car too work with.That way you can try gasifier on more cars// and use for home power generator.


Honestly, and I’m already ducking when I say this, the easiest and safest way to do woodgas hidden in a vehicle is to use an electric vehicle and charge it with something like this:

Then all you have to do is hide all your activities at home with stuff like muffler or noise cancelling speaker. It won’t fix shtf scenarios unless you pack the system up. But it gets around laggy acceleration and resale value and vehicle mods.

Standing out has it’s advantages in the city, because theft rings won’t steal it even if it’s brand new and you leave the keys in it. Too many mods to make it valuable for parts.


Welcome Changeus, I am fairly new to the forum too and am doing a build for very different reasons.
Having started out with just Youtube knowledge and a few other things that I gleaned off the internet before coming here, let me just offer this advice. Do your homework and get a good set of plans, that is my biggest regret. I started off following the free FEMA plans download that is found everywhere on the internet for free and am now having to do a ton of re-work to get it up and running. I would have been much better off just doing a little more research and buying a set of proven plans from the beginning.
But you have come to the right place, these folks are a wealth of information and are willing to help every step of the way.


Thanks. I will probably just start out with a proven basic build on a truck then jury-rig something to cover it up.


I forgot to mention, the vehicle l drive now is a light pickup with a hard top and the gasifier inside. Not idal but waaay easyer to do.


Wow, do you have any pictures? Is it easy to load with fuel? I imagine that your setup has to be smaller to accommodate the hard top… how far are you able to go before re-fuelling? Very interested to see how well you have it hidden!


If you decide too cover the gasifier. make sure it is open vents on top and bottom, so there is no place for wood gas too build up ,if say you had a small hose leak, it could be exsplosive,in enclosed area.


That’s why I suggested replacing the windows that hard tops usually have with window screen. It will also allow air flow to keep from turning it into an oven.


What Cody sayd. I will be rebuilding the sistem soon, and when l do l will probably either get rid of the hardtop or make something in that direction. Gets hot inside even without a gasifier.
Just one word of advice, it is a custom here to represent your self with a name and surname. Its how we keep this site on a incredibly highly civilised level. Doing so, you will get all the help and advice from seasoned woodgasers, we here like to talk to a person, not a pseudonime.


Sure thing, didn’t know that was a custom here.

I will just attempt something basic for now and worry about hiding the system after I get more experience.

There is a '96 F150 with an inline-6 4.9L engine (fuel injected) for sale in my area. Would this engine be suitable for a first timer? Regular cab with a longbed; a bit of compensation for the bedspace the gasifier will take. I expect I’ll be following Wayne Keith’s plan and trying to hybridize it for wood and gasoline.


Hello Joe, and wellcome!

As for your target truck, others will chime in to say if its good or not, on this side of the pond the biggest engine we got is about the size of your guys lawn mowers :smile: per instance, my truck has a 1.3l engine. But hey! It drives well, with enaugh persistance ANY engine is good.

Going WK style is prooven, cheapest and if dode right, you will not raise any eyebrows. Plans are designed to be easy to build and sorce cheap materials.

Doing it customised, thats a can of worms l wuld not recommend to a beginer. Later, if you decide to, you can go that route and make a sistem that will blend in with the truck. But being serious about a project like that, reading for hours or days here is a must. By now, so many things have been done and shared on this site, it truely is remarkable.

On your above question.
I have found l get about one km from every liter of hopper space. Thats about 2.5 miles per gallon, but with rather small engines. Double that for good measure and you get a figure of the size you need.


Welcome Joe
You will find a few 300/6 Ford fans here, they are a fantastic engine with great down low torque characteristics. Fuel efficient on gasoline loaded not so much. But parts are widely available and they are dirt simple to work on, LONG stroke BIG bore heavy breathers. My group of friends that love these motors call them the inline big block :joy: Cylinder capacity and compression come heavily into play with woodgas. Inline engines by design are better balanced then a v configuration so run smoother, and in my experience woodgas tames a rattly rowdy v8 to run very smoothly partly due to the inherent slower flame speed in the cylinder. The longer stroke can utilize this well although if I recall those motors are pretty low compression by the efi smog emissions days. Adjustable distributor for easy timing adjustment and more power on wood as well. There is a 300/6 that has been done here I believe though I can’t recall who it was pretty sure it was a 60’s Ford truck


One of my friends in Sweden has an f150, he has problems setting the ignition on his ford?


If the truck is otherwise stock and not loaded down with heavy crud like aftermarket bumpers and rims then I’m sure it’ll go highway speeds on woodgas. Ron Lemler has the 60s Ford with an i6 and he can make that heavy thing go 55-60 on wood.