Utilizing the woodgas trucks power, not only for driving

Hi Gang,

Haven’t posted for awhile, been I busy winter, trapping, and running my new business. The last time I posted here we were chatting about how to utilize the woodgas truck.

Not to sure which thread this should go to put here it is.

I found some info on making your own on board welder I would like to
share the link to.

There is a commercial version of this out there. Building this is alot cheaper and makes your woodgas truck more expandable from welding to operating brush motor tools, ex grinders, and so on, to charging batteries. Especially when away from the grid.

I would like to start a discusion on this, to share ideas and see how far one could utilize a woodgas powered truck.

Any ideas for pto hook ups? On board chunkers, the sky is the limit!

As far as my build, I’m still at the part collection truck shopping stage lol


Does anyone know where to get a 110vDC power supply like they used? Napa no longer carries those and the guys in the store have never even heard of one. Tried the other auto-parts stores, Amazon, Ebay, and Google. Best I got was some lab equipment that could output 110vDC but only up to a whopping 2Amps.

Is there a way to make a simple transformer to convert 12vDC from an alternator to say 120vDC (10:1 step-up)? At least I think that is how it would work… It’s been a while since of brushed up on Electrical Theory…

I wish I had a PTO shaft on my work truck. It could power several pieces of equipment like a hydraulic pump , irrigation, generator ,wood chucker ,sawmill etc.

My thoughts excactly Mr. Keith on the PTO. I will do more research and ask my heavy duty machanic friends at our shop if this is possible for a pick up truck.

As for the 110 volt inverter you don’t need AC to run brushed motors it uses DC, here’s how to do it without a inverter.

I’m off grid so if I could build my truck to weld, run tools, air, and such that takes alot off my system also makes my shop essentials portable!
Here’s another good homemade rig!

Man you still be waiting for me to figure out how these guys or doing it lol. Very resourceful !

A lot of old International pickups, as well as the original Dodge Power Wagons had PTO. I believe PTO was available as an option on Power Wagons up until 1980. If so, seems like a smart fellow could make it bolt right up to a 318.

If you don’t need huge amounts of power you may be able to add a belt driven PTO to the front of the engine. Depending on how much clearance you have between the engine and the radiator to add addition pulleys.

most pick up’s with the manual transmissions with a granny gear will accept a pto. perfect for a wet kit.i also want to run a 4500 watt commercial grade generator, my saw mill and a firewood processer. I also plan to build in a water cooler on my unit to heat water for heating and domestic use. The posabilitys are endless ,cook stove close dryer refriduration cutting tourch anything you now run on propane.

Most land rovers that have manual gearboxes have a cover on the back of the gear box for a bolt on over drive or pto , there is actually a round hole running through the chassis crossmembers to accommodate the pto shaft. We usto use the pto to drive a diff on the trailer , so the trailer was driven as well.
Mercedes unimogs also come out with pto and hydraulics and three point linkage . A lot of the Russian kamaz agricultural trucks are also equipped the same what.

Hello Brian
Im not sure if anyone still makes those magic "convertor boxes" like mentioned in the link above. They werent actually coverters or power supplys, all that was in that box was a receptacle and a switch. The switch disconnected the voltage regulator, full fielded the alternator field with 12 volts, and switched the alternator output to the receptacle. When the alt. is full fielded, the faster you spin it the more it will put out up to a point. You had to have some sort of throttle control to bring the RPM up for the desired voltage output. The diodes in some alternators won`t stand the increased voltage, once you pass the PIV of the diodes you can destroy them after a while. Depending on which vehicle and alt. you have, you can do this without the magic box with a few switches, receptacle, and some wire. Most late model vehicles have internal regulators, and on alot of newer vehicles the alt. is tied to the computer, more difficult to bypass the regulator. The second link in Byrons post describes how to add an alternator and wire it up as a welder. You could add a receptacle to that by tying it to alt. output and ground and also have a welder. All of this has to be switched to isolate the increased output from the vehicle electrical system. If all you want is onboard 110-120 volt power, the switching inverters (12v dc to 110ac) are fairly cheap now, i paid a little over $100 for a 1500 watter, it is extremely handy and more useful for more things than the 110 volt dc from these alt. conversions.

You can`t use simple transformers to step 12v up to 120v on dc current, no transformer action on dc. The alt. trick mentioned is the simplest way to do that. Heres a couple of pics of a basic externally regulated alt. , and of what the magic box does.

Hello Wayne
You can use the rear wheels as your PTO. Cut the center out of a brake drum or rotor that matches your bolt pattern, or cut and drill one out of plate. Weld a PTO adapter in the center and bolt it to one of your rear wheels. If you have an open differential, just chock the front wheels and jack up one side. If you have a locker youll have to jack up both sides. You can use some kind of shim to block the throttle at the throttle body, or add a cable for throttle control to get the RPM right. Ive used this to run PTO generators and it works fine. Depending on the vehicle, sometimes you may have to use some spacers and or install longer wheel studs. You can also leave the adapter bolted to the truck if you want, just watch them shin bones when you round the corner haha

Warren: I currently have a 700W inverter for my car/truck and also an old ('55 era model Onan) 2,500W gasoline generator for my 120v AC needs. Thanks though. I also have a 120v MIG welder (Hobart AutoArc 130).

I wanted to know about that stuff for the cheap DIY mobile DC Stick Welder/Air Compressor, neither of which I currently have. I’d probably power them with my spare 18HP B&S motor off my broken riding mower.

Optimally, I’d mount the whole shebang in a housing in my Utility Trailer which I could keep parked near my shop. That would give my small shop Air and access to stick welding but also be able to do mobile repairs for people or do work off-grid.

My (chosen) family and I are looking at some cheap wooded land to build on and we’d be off-grid for quite a while when we get there.

Hi Warren
The problem with the diff system and jacking up only one side is the spider gears are not designed to spin constantly and will overheat and burn their bushes out. Will be ok for small loads but not extended periods of time. Thanks Patrick

I would trade my first born for a nice older land rover or land cruiser w/ pto! (kidding, I don’t have any children!) They are becoming quite rare here in the states and are expensive then they do surface. Are they abundant there?

Hello Brian
I misunderstood what you wanted, i thought you wanted it to mount on a vehicle. The second link in Byrons post is a good set of instructions either way. If youre going to be driving it with a small engine, you dont need anything fancy like the magic box. You can do it with a few dollars worth of parts from the local hardware/auto parts, A receptacle and box, some hookup wire, and a couple of switches and fuses. The early Ford alternators with external regulators are the easier ones to work with. The diodes in them are tougher than a bodoc fence post and will stand alot of abuse. You can still find them fairly cheap at junk yards, the bigger the better but the 120 amp version works well. I have used these for hours on end in the construction business powering saws, impact wrenches, and anything else that would run on DC power. You can install a rheostat or power resistors to control the field which makes controlling the welding current a little easier, or just use the throttle control to vary the RPM, or use both. Heres a pic of the simple hookup, just add your switch to turn the field power on and off, fused recetacle, and leads for welding.

Hello Patrick
Well, i wont say that this method wont eventually cause a problem, but i have used it for years without any problems. Ive known people using it to drive irrigation pumps for hours on end, sometimes days. Its not very economical, but tying up an old farm truck for the job is sometimes better than tying up a tractor that you need somewhere else. Ive never seen a differential damaged doing this, but, that doesnt mean it hasn`t happened.

Hi Billy
You can get them here , but they usually have had a hard life. There are a lot for sale in the UK form the military surplus stores.

Hi Warren
I have had to replace several diffs as a result of running one side under load with the other locked. There is just a thrust washer behind the spider gears that takes all the load, no bearings, so the thrust washers overheat and wear down the the gears climb on top of each other and it’s all over.
The old land rovers us to have capstone winches that bolted on to the wheel studs to assist in pulling the vehicle out of the mud, but those same old landies had notoriously weak diffs.

I think the difference is that I have been working with land rover and Toyota, which here in Africa don’t come out with big engines, so every thing is /was designed smaller. You are working with big horsepower differentials that can take a bit of punishment.

Thanks Patrick

Hi Patrick
I bought a PTO generator years ago at an auction, all in pieces and tore apart. No one else bid on it so i got it for scrap price basically. Fixed it and put it back together and started figuring a way to spin it. I got busy and kinda forgot about it, but had thought of building an adapter to drive it with my truck. Then in my travels i visited a rice farm in Arkansas. During the tour of the farm i saw the farmer was using this method to power some of his irrigation pumps, said he had adapters built for several of his trucks and had been using them for years. So i built one and it worked great, not very efficient, it probably burnt 3-4 gallons per hour. But gas was cheap at the time and i didnt care, it got the job done.haha But you are right, most of my life ive ran Ford trucks, i like em all, it just seemed to work out that way. The Ford 9" differential is one of the toughest ever built, it is still the preferred choice of most drag racers and hot rodders. And the Dana 60 in the one ton and some of the 3/4 tons is even tougher. You mentioned the capstan winch, i have built several of those for getting unstuck. Just a spool made from an old rim welded to an adapter, bolted to the wheel. Wrap a cable around the spool, out to something solid and back to the frame, i used a sheave at the anchor point so i didn`t cut the tree down.haha I promise you, something was fixin to move.haha Man that brings back memories.

Gentlemen, is the any way to mount a hydraulic pump directly to the engine up front (not belt driven) like on my tractors. Then you could drive a pto and a number of other items with it.


Wow got the mojo flowing, great ideas gang!

I found this genset starting 12 kw up 180kva powered from trucks!!!
This may be the easiest way to have both a genset, truck, to run off woodgas. The only recommend certain models put I’m sure it’s doable with a little slicing and dicing.

The web site explains how it works.

I’m seriously interested in this as I could fire up my truck run to town return home charge up my battery bank with the truck idling, and work in the shop using high load shop stuff, welding and so on!

Hello Carson,

I power my saw mill with a 4 cylinder Mercedes motor that also has a hydraulic pump mounted to the front. It’s not much on looks but I have been using it for 8 years.
If you were doing a lot of drive I think you would want some way to disconnect because it will cause a small power drain.
Picture below.

Also in the past I have always used the AC compressor on my work trucks for on board air. (I haven’t modified the V-10 yet)