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

Ditto :slight_smile:

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My car (Chevrolet Lacetti 2006) has OBDll on board and it runs fine on wood.
The disadvantige is you cant advance the timing.
The only problems l saw regarding the OBDll were when l tryed to shut off the injectors. It started to throw the engine in to service mode.
I think with a litle knowlidge and help from fine folks from this site every ride culd be wood gased.

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Welcome Jonathan, I had a 2000 Dakota 4.7 (no distributor) gave up trying to wood gas, because you cannot advance timing. I would find one with a dist. I opted for a 94 ford 5.8 flareside, it is lighter (4500 lbs.) than the other full size trucks. I have driven it on wood, but only locally, don’t know how it will do on interstates. I pull H.F. 4x8 heavy duty trailer( that’s what they call it) pulls really easy. Al

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Is the reason you can’t advance the timing because the engine doesn’t have a distributor, or is it something to do with OBDII?

Also why does the timing need to be advanced on woodgas?

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I was talking to Mike LaRosa the other day and he told me that when we were at Argos in May (not sure if it was 2015 or 2016) he gave a ride to someone in his 1998 chevy s10 with OBDII and they had plugged in an OBDII diagnostic screen while riding and could watch the timing change automatically as conditions changed. At one time he said the timing advanced as much as 50 degrees btdc. That obdII system has a lot of sensors feeding the computer such as knock sensor, throttle position sensor, Intake air temp sensor, manifold absolute pressure sensor, vehicle speed sensor, camshaft position sensor, and crankshaft position sensor and he said the computer then tells the ignition control module how to advance the timing. He said he won’t go back to obdI. That is what he told me for what it is worth.

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Johnatan yes, the engine hasnt got a distributor.
Advancing the timing isnt nessesery. It just works a bit better with woodgas. I still drive well without it.
The reason is woodgas is a slow burning fuel. So, to achive maximum performance, it is better that it ignites a bit sooner thain petrol.

I think its entirely possible that the computer advances automaticly. Howeever, myne does not. The timing is the same on petrol and woodgas, rangeing from 20 to 25deg. I checked that with a scaner too.

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Hi Jonathan,

The simple answer is woodgas burns slowly. Needs to be ignited early.


I belive any system will do this to a point. The question is: Does it let the timing change as much as we want it to?

I’ve been lurking around lately to find a suitable candidate for my next build. We have lot’s of old Volvos, but later years than 88 can’t be advanced manually.
I’ve been trying to find out how to solve the problem and found a link that is very informative. There are lots of different systems, but I think basics are described pretty well here.


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Yesterday I got a phone call from a DOW member asking if he’d have problems woodgasing his 99 Chevy pickup with the individual coil-over-sparkplug system.
Had to tell him that I did not know. Maybe OK. WayneK and MikeLaRosa doing fine with their different OBDII coil-over-plug systems. Dodge V-10 and a Chevy/GM later model 2.2L inline.
But . . . WesK on his Dodge/Jeep SOHC V-8; and KristijanL on his Korean/Chevy DOHC distributor-less’s OBDII’s NOT getting computer allowed timing advances.

With this very smart DOW member we spent a literal one hour with me explaining the evolution to OBDI; then to later OBDII.
Ha! I cannot write that well and fast!

Think of it this way.
In the beginning auto manufactures used analog and later early digital computers with NO, to very limited self-diagnostic. And ALL of theses speaking in different languages. Early 1960’s up thru the early 1980’s.
Learn the individual system and then relatively easy to spoof any of these with just a single sensor spoofing to get the timing that you want.
Hand cranking those ignition distributors is primarly moving the ignition triggering sensor. I’ve played with coolant temp, barometric pressure, manifold pressure, throttle position sensors depending on the actual system to get what I wanted. Hand cranking the ignition distributor also tweeks with the high voltage jump from the rotating distributor rotor to the under-the-cap-to-sparkplug terminal. With the maybe-bad (Wayne’s and others V-6’s experiences), to maybe good (WayneK and others) V-8’s experiences.
Theses early-many-languages systems were very simple, very direct, literal speaking. You could tweek all you wanted with only direct actions results.

“And then the people cried out for god to help them”
Folks complained it was too hard to diagnosis their own system problems. That they were being driven by new-tech to have to take their vehicles back to the expensive dealers for service.
NOT true. Just had to read/study up yourself. Put down the pizza-pies and crack some books. Or find the independent repairmen who were time/reading investing to tech keep up.

And The California Air Resources Board god; and the federal gov’mint Envoromental Protection Agnecy god spoke in 1990: "You too many-languages manufactures WILL now publish your communications protocol’s out to ALL. AND our university tech-priests tell us you do have available memory/processing chips capabilities now, so you WILL make your systems now self-diagnosing/and user alerting for ANY area that would affect emissions.
O.K. Manufactures still able to use their own diag-plugs and progam languages. Now demanded to HAVE a diag plug! No more good’enough flash codes systems.
So these OBDI system you still could sensor tweek with quite a bit. But some you had to simultaneously tweek with 2-3 sensor imputs or they would internal programed detect and then go into limited power/limited function Limp-In, Drive-Home mode. Overriding and ignoring the deemed secondary order sensors completely.
The two year old child tantrum’ing. Falling on the floor, kicking and screaming to get their way.

Ahh. But now with the university tech-priests and the angry gods involved. MORE compliance control was possible. “For the good of the People, of course”
They then dictated that by production year 1996 any vehicle system for sale into the good 'ol UfofA must now ALL speak the same language. Use the same words pronunciation even. Use a decreed common diagnostic language and diagnostic plug.This would be “good” the gods said so “the people” would have more, fairer diagnostic repair options.
And oh by way, the gods decreed: YOU manufacturers WILL program in systems that will be contentiously repeating self diagnosing of ALL emmioson systems. Able to store trouble codes. Store ALL relevant parameters occurring when code was set. Able to show erasure of these codes. Able to better show users systems manipulations. No more disconnecting battry to user/erase/hide.
The gods no longer trusted us.
So they setup/demanded a secret police built into each and every new vehicle. Always on. Always watching you.

So OBDII is a wide implementation range bag of tricks.
Tweek, or lose one sensor and this smarter system will just ignore it and emulate an input and stream it out onto the common use data line and keep on trucking along. Up to a point. Too many sensors tweeked or missing having to be emulated and it will shut down on you. Kristian’s missing a fuel injector circuit on self testings cycles!

OBDIII was to be proposed in place by no later than 2006 and having radio bi-directional control.
Your on board secret police now able to dial-a-friend. That god-freind able to remotely shut you down.
Ha! Ha! Super expensive War resulted in de-funding and personnel cut-back of the EPA for a time.
Then a go-slow major economic recession.

J-I-C Steve Unruh



Well written!
Give me a potato and l will start a simpe stile engine with it, but I am only geting my feet wet when it comes to electronics/computers. Such talks are very helpfull (and thanks JO for that link, very interasting!).

Ps @JO_Olsson l sure hope to see a new thread as soon as you pick up the angle grinder and welder!


Ha! Found the right winter break out of school kid to buy some more computor access time from.
I’ve edit corrected above to be more readable.

Our USofA “new” President as of 2008 is an incredible smart man.
Why force unpopular top-down controlled OBDIII systems?
Let the folks now with smart phones always 24/7/365 plugged in desesnsitize.
Let them further desesnsitze accept with built-in vehicle GPS’s, streaming satellite entertainments, key-fob from a distance control features…
Let the vehicle manufactures continue to physically disconnect the user/operators from their vehicles instead for “better” having all user control inputs now “requests” by wire to an on board computer. And that computer system net now bi-direction controllable from the outside. LoJack. OnStar.
And “the people by demand” asking to have their older vehicle systems winter salt retired early off of the roads rather than pony up for real winter use tires!

There are no rewards for being the yapping dog pulled back the curtains from the blow-hard control-tech-wizards.

OBDII has had many revisions 1996 to current.
You will not know just what will and will not work on an individual OBDII compliant vehicle system without trying each and every different vehicle system one, by one.
Life has always been like this.
Every horse is different. Bicycles vary hugely.
Every boat handles different.
Uniformity is what is dangerous and boring.
Demanding uniformity is abdicating your god given abilities to learn, and grow. YOUR BAD.
Commanding this is dehumanizing and arrogant. YOUR BAD, again. Only sickeningly multiplied out.

J-I-C Steve Unruh


4 posts were split to a new topic: Scheduling Argos 2017

The obd one 1995 dakota has a cam sensor and the 1996 dakota and 1997 and newer models seem too have a cam and a crank sensor posobly depending on the month the truck was made. I wood think the 1996 dakota may have the same timeing issue as the 1997 and newer, or at leaste by the book i just looked at too verifi the timeing set up , unless i am missing something and that quit posible the 1996 and 1997 ig. System may be same or both not good wood gas timeing canidate. The 93 too 95 dakotas my be the best canidate.Please look up the systems too see if 1996 and 1997 are the same, it seems as if a mistake of models years may be here regaurding the timeing ISSUE Thanks respecfully.

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Good Morning KevinR
You are coorect up to a point.
OBDI mandated that ALL manufactuers WOULD have a misfire detection system. WOULD driver alert detected misfiring to the operator by turning on the “Check Engine” light.
Any one cylinder misfireing is pumping unburned fuel and air in and out. This will be unburned hydrocarbon emmisions out the tail pipe!
And if this occures with a heated up HOT and active catalytic converter the hydrocarbon fuel, plus the cylinder full of unburnt air/oxygen will then burn inside the cat causing overheating and cat core damage.
My very OBDI only 1994 Ford F150 mifing detecting and forced to keep driving will take away 1st, 3rd and 4th trnasmission gear. Only allow Limping-IN on 2nd gear forward and reverse.

Driver forcing Why . . . OBDII mandated then manufactures had to identify and code out to WHICH actual cylinder number was misfiring. Chrysler/Dodge/Jeeps had to add the second sensor to be able to do this IDing. Manufactures then enable to port fuel injection shut off that individuals injector pulsating to not be cylinder pumping out the un-burned fuel.
OBDII also mandated manufactures NOW program in continuous catalytic converter self-testing functioning. Why the added in additional oxygen sensors after the cats then.

1995, 1996, 1997 vehicle can get tricky determining exactly how, and what they were built to do.
US EPA allowed trading of early OBDII jump forward compliance models like the Chrysler/Dodge 1994 introduced Neons for one-two ending production run dragging out full OBDII compliance on the Dakota’s.

Here is your quick Dodge/Jeep cheat:
If the underhood engine “computer” controller has a single plug with a plastic ventilation cover it is SBEC OBDI, early limited function OBDII. Easy to woodgas.
If the underhood engine “computer” controller has 2,3,4, four plugs and is all metal it is the expanded functions JTEC fully OBDII capable controller.
Capable of then no-distributor needed operation.
Examples: inline Jeep 4.0L eliminating the distributors for a bolt over coil pac assembly. The 1997 Dakota introduction of the SOHC 4.7 L distributorless V-8’s. Later introduction into Dodges and Jeeps of the 3.7L distributorless SOHC V-6’s.

Ha! Ha! Just like english language rules: never easy; exceptions abound.
Dodge never made their distributorless V-10’s OBDII complient. Dropped their production. WayneK proven they will OBDI do auto timing advancing adjusting just fine.
A few here now woodgassed the 1997 later Dodge body style with the made OBDII complient, retained higher performance, cam-in-block/still-a-distributor 5.9 V-8’s and still able to distributor crank in some advance.

This same 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 “confusion” will apply to different Chey/GM and Ford models too.
Imports more confusing yet.

~1999 and later then able to individual cylinder idenify, those the system that can and will turn off cylinder groups for power as the manufacturer/gov’mint dictates says you cannot have it.

Hey! If it was easy everyone would be doing it. Where is the challenge fishing in a kids stocked pond, eh?
J-I-C Steve Unruh


Hi steeve thanks for the intelliget reply, you shur have a good memery of car computing experience.I went too school for mechanics in 2003 though i used what little i was tought, mostly from going be on what i was suposed to, i passed the Ase test for engine electrical , and engine performance 1, i never did tackel the engine performance 2 as that was more money after they milked over 10.000 for reg classes and engine performace 1.And i have no experiance sinse 2oo2 training level or the CAN computing .my scaner is good till 2002 .Yes and just like you said they can be quit diferent even while apeering same on certain models, or V-Versa. Stay warm, so far its been mild, just hopeing for no ice storms this winter, or no long power outages.

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Yep. Yep. Three short power outages already here.
Fun now with “the Wife’s” new gifted to her little Honda2000 inverter/generator.
We the only ones watching satellite TV and with Christmas lights two night ago.
The wood went into the stove.
Longer than 24 hours and I’d be setting up to gasify.
By day 3-4, ready, and be off of using gasoline.
One must be practical. Only so much wood-sweating left in this 'ol body.
J-I-C Steve Unruh


I know what you mean there Steeve my grandma stoped burning fire wood after about 70 years old and my dad stoped choping with the mall about 78 years old tnot counting draging the dead trees out of the woods and triming the brances away. the older we get the sooner the years vanish away. Lord be with ya as my dad allways says,or used too say more when i was a young lad.The best trucks not too gasifi may be carb models due too the fact that when the wood runs out you get beter gasoline MPG. PS Acording too mike larosa the s10 4 cyl does good on wood gas if you dont need too haul much exra weight, he was going around 60 or 65 with his i think 100% wood.?

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Wow Steve, you sure know your stuff! I had no idea it was this complicated.

Let me see if I have this right: 95 and earlier have manual timing adjustment with a distributor, late 90’s models like 97 and 98 have the timing adjusted by the computer, but don’t have the ability to shut individual cylinders ignition, and the early 2000’s Dakotas have computer adjusted timing and the ability to shut off individual cylinders. Is this correct?

I am thinking the 97, 98 models will automatically advance the timing like the 95 v10 does. So these are more likely to work on woodgas than the later models with the ability to shut off cylinders.

I think there are a couple members of this forum that have gasified 97 or later (new body style) Dakotas, hopefully they will chime in.

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Nope JohnathanL not correct.
Reread my guidelines based on the actual installed controller type as a base.
And even that breaks down. Examples: WesK DID woodgas a newer 1997 and later body style Dakota. It had the newer no-distributor l-o-n-g chain driven single overhead cam V-8 engine. It would not automatically timing adjust like WayneK’s no-distributor V-10 will.
Now SOME 1997 and later body style high performance factory Dakota’s still did have the cam-in-block distributor type V-8’s. O.K. to get more timing distributor cranking on these? Anyone proven this?

Like I said: just like complex and can be confusing english language spelling type guidelines. The letter “I” always before E (unless preceded by the letter ?, or ?) I can never remember that last part.

These engine control system changes were never set up to be logical. Done as needed to be Gov’mint’s compliant, and still able to sell vehicles in the next years.
Done to one-up, out-sex the competition to sell more vehicles. Done to $'s needed invested to keep up, bankrupt competition.
Done because some design engineer wanted to keep his job. And could only do that by showing management something “new” to sales/marketing promote. Or save a penny in production costs.

J-I-C Steve Unruh


Here’s the changes, best as I can tell.

1988-1991: mechanical ignition, throttle body injection. OBD1 begins in 1991. Mostly V6, a few Shelby V8s
1992-1993: introduced Magnum 318 V8, electronic ignition with distributor. MPFI fuel injection, return line
1994-1995: switched to returnless MPFI injection. Added 3rd brake light to tailgate. Airbags.
1996: switched to OBD2, everything else same. These early OBD2 work OK with woodgas.
1997-1999: New rounded body style. Same engine, same OBD2 computer
2000-2004: 318 V8 retired, 4.7L V8 introduced. Distributorless, more complex OBD2. (360 V8 still sold in R/T models)

More here:

And of course, Wikipedia:


Ok, it’s getting a little clearer, thanks for your patience.
I have experience with an 89 Chevy 1500. The timing is set manually at idle to a specific setting then the computer takes over and adjusts it from there. If I remember correctly.

Is that how the 97-99 Dakotas are? They still have a distributor, but the amount of advance is determined by the computer?

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