What truck to convert? Trying to decide what type of truck to convert to run on woodgas

Hi guys, new here and my name is Jon.

I need help picking out a good first vehicle to convert to run on woodgas.

Dakotas seem pretty popular around here, but I don’t know if a dakota is up to the task in my case.
I need to put a 300 pound motorcycle on the rear using a hitch-carrier, and would like to be able to carry enough wood in the bed to travel 850 miles as well. Have been thinking a full size pickup with a long bed.

I am open to Dodge, Chevy or Ford but I don’t know which engines readily lends itself to a gasification conversion.

I very much appreciate your thoughts and advice.



Remember though: the bigger the truck, the more wood it needs to drive those same miles.

The V8 Dakotas usually run about 1 dry pound of wood per mile. Just an offhand guess, maybe 30% more for driving with such a load? That comes out to about 1,100 lbs of processed/dried wood for the trip.

I think full-size trucks with bigger engines run closer to 2 dry pounds of wood per mile normally, so 2,200 lbs of wood or so.

Start running into a “six of one; half dozen of the other” situation.

Could your route be planned to stop by with a friend or two that could keep a stash of dry wood on hand along your route? That might be your only hope…

Or make a compact chunker to bring with you, and 500 lbs of very dry wood and scrounge the other 600+ (dry-weight) lbs of wetter wood along the way, which would need to be processed and dried en route.

1 Like

If you look in the projects section you will find builds on all the above mentioned full size trucks. You can do what you want to do with woodgas but it will done slower unless you do some hybrid driving. And what Brian said. I think you will need a trailer.
My $.02


Thanks for the replies, and I see what you mean, that is a little too much fuel to carry without a trailer. Not a problem, I can settle for half that range.

What do you think, is a Dakota up to it? Seems like too much weight to me, 500# or more in wood + 300# for the bike + gasifier + luggage in the cab.

1 Like

500 pounds is all the wood you can fit in at Dakota bed anyway. 300 pounds is a bit much for what amounts to tongue weight (bike on hitch carrier).

Dakotas love trailers though, I’d just throw the bike on a trailer, put some wood around it, and take off.


And just too add too what (chris)-(tom) and (brian) said,the 93 too 95 v8 dakotas are the best year dakotas for two or more reasons.not sure what all exact reasons are.since driveing on wood looses 30% or more power, the the dakotas are the best little work truck and still easy on wood compared too the bigger trucks and need very little if any gasoline too climb hills or pull light trailers on the big road.And the big trucks are limited on speed about 50 too 60 MPH while the dakotas can maintain over 70 mph depending on your driving habits and wood available and time too process.hope that helped and others will likley add too your questian.just my 2 cents.


God morning Jonathan and welcome to the site.

Chris has written a very good article on selection of a wood gas vehicle below .


Wood gas vehicles work very well when you are driving a certain radius from your wood pile . If you get too far out from your wood supply you will reach the point of diminished returns .

I second what Chris says . Us a small trailer to haul the bike along with a comfortable amount of wood. When you run out of wood switch to gasoline .

A thousand mile round trip is about what I would consider being the limit to a dakota and small trailer before reaching diminished returns .


Thank you for the hearty welcome.

A trailer does sound like a good way to go but I’m really trying to avoid that. It’s another item to buy, register, plate not to mention it’s harder to find parking places when away from home.

I’ve never owned a Dakota, would 300 on the back + 500 in wood be undoable? I’ve even thought of stiffening up the rear suspension as a solution.

I was unable to open that link for some reason. By the way, why are the 93-95 Dakotas the best?

1 Like

Hi Jonathan, the link probably did not open for you because it’s on the premium side; a smart investment as you move forward. As to the weigh I don’t think anyone has mentioned the weight of the gasifier itself which is why you have to limit your wood load in the bed and everyone is pushing you towards a trailer.
Best regards, David Baillie

Hello Jonathan.

Actually I like the 92 -96 and if I get to pick further it would come down to 94-96 ( I have not owned a 96 but almost positive it is the same as 95) . The 94-96 has a returnless fuel supply and seem to work better if hybirding ( mixing in gasoline )

MFI starts with the 92s.

The body style changes at 97 and a shock absorber has to be relocated to mount the gasifier. Also ODD11 starts at 97 and some of the motors have coil packs and the ignition time can not be advanced . However the 318 and 360 does have a distributor .

Dakotas with six cylinder motors in this year range will not operate because the timing can’t be advanced

1 Like

Not impossible, it’s just a lot of weight on the tail. You’ll probably need airbags. The handling might be affected some. But otherwise, sure it can be done. Most of us would prefer a trailer for the reasons stated.

1 Like

A trailer might seem like an issue when traveling but if you have a bike you will be dropping the truck somewhere like a camp ground anyway to ride the bike. I would go for a covered trailer then you can lock the bike up when you travel and anything in the trailer. Once you have a trailer you learn they are easy to deal with and they are really handy. Just remember you are asking to bring all your fuel for a long trip that won’t be easy. You couldn’t do that with gas either. You would have to probably triple your gas tank size to do the same trip without stopping for fuel.


Well maybe I should be looking at the full size trucks. Being limited to 55mph wouldn’t be so bad if I was driving on wood =)

I was impressed with Mr. Keith’s V10 Dodge. But v10’s are not very common around here, (and pricey too) what would be the disadvantage to running a full size with say a 5.9 instead of the v10? Does the smaller engine have a slower top speed or is it just suffering in the acceleration department?

P.S. I do plan to get the book in the spring and start my build after that, I’m just trying to get my ducks in a row first.

1 Like

@Chris should that article be on the Premium side? It seems like it would be a general topic, and without WK internals specifics.

(EDIT) yeah, I just read through the article and there’s no mentions of the WK system at all, let alone protected internals. I don’t see why it should be on Premium side. :confused:

I am guessing I would enjoy reading it. Maybe when I get paid for the cow I just shipped in i can upgrade.

I wouldn’t recommend the v10 if you don’t have a lot of heavy work to do. The v10 is a heavy truck and will only be in 3/4 ton and 1 ton bodys . I would expect a 318 or 360 in a half ton body to out perform the v10 on the road. ( the gasifier over heating is the weak link ) …

Getting to the distributor on the full size dodge trucks are a real PITA !

On another note , If riding bikes is your hobby and if you have a good wood supply and get into woodgasing you may just leave the bike at home and go out woodgasing over the weekend :relaxed:.

I find myself going out ridding for no reason at all :relaxed: Before I got into woodgas we would spend the weekend playing with horses and buggies . It now has been 12 years and I have’t put a saddle or harness on a horse . Anyone want to buy a couple horses and buggy :blush:


You make a good case. I’ve moved it to the library, free to view.



JonathanL. you comments make no reference to a personal aversion to using electronic fuel injection systems.

This is good.
It has been as far as I can discover first either Mike LaRosa or Vesa Mikkonen; then Jonathan Spreadborogh/Dutch John and a few others who broke through the myth that only carbureted vehicles could be woodgasify converted.
It has been Wayne Kieth showing doing both convincingly proving that EFI system based conversions can be easier, more flexible to use in the real world of today.

Ha! Ha! Puzzle as hell to me how fellows can become “smart-phone” addicted users and be scared to do some been common in use now for 30 years, electronic fuel injection system learning.
Electronic ignition systems for all engines even in common use longer, for the last 45 years.
Electronic voltage regulator system in common use even longer yet at 55 years.

All just inputs, versus outputs guys.
Farm management style works the best.
You’ve reliably fed and watered that pig, cow, chickens and such. Given them expensive to make protected space to be themselves. Your inputs. They still no produce? DO NOT Breed them and make more no/low-producers! Eat 'em. Ship them. Eliminate those genes. Go on to different. And give those “new” a chance to prove itself.
Ha! Here it is the scrub, slow growing, bushy-limbed tree that get’s the, one-use, Christmas-time axe. Want no seed cones from those.

An up to 34 different vacuum lines controlled (all in black!) late 80’s carburetor’ed Honda was a PITA mess to sort out when it ran wrong.
Mid 70’s to late 80’s Ford/GM/Dodge carbuteted pickup’s with year to year changing purpose black vacumn lines, exhaust tubes, hoses, control valves, delay and one way in-lines were a real headache to sort when problems.
Then add in one to three years used feedback carburetors and their needed sensors and control systems! Super PITA crap-ola.

Give me a nice simple one fuel injector to each intake port system any day.
That is the recommended Dodges 93-96.
Fords ~1989-1995.
GM/Chevy the last to adopt true simple “port” EFI into their pickup trucks. No-o-o-o. Force you to learn variations of plastic tubed “spider” injection systems.

Learning, and maintaining wired systems with the fewest actual hosed systems is just so much easier than dinking around old mid 70’s to late 80’s carburetor multi-misrouted-cracked-leaking-vacuumed-lined, multi-tweeker (Ford “frittering”) components controlled systems.

J-I-C Steve Unruh


This is a hard decision, maybe I’ll start with a Dakota and see how that meets my needs and possibly switch later.

How are the early OBII systems for converting besides error codes? I don’t live in an area with emissions testing so that’s not really a problem. If I can’t find one of the earlier models how about 97, 98 or even 99? I am also assuming that moving the shock isn’t a big deal.

Chris, thank you for opening that article, it was helpful.

1 Like

I have a 99 but haven’t gasified it yet so I have no personal experience with the OBD11

1 Like