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I want to buy a small used gas-saving car, ideally with back seats that fold down to increase cargo area. Do Prius and Honda Insight have fold-down back seats?
My mechanic recommends that I buy a Honda or Toyota, no older than 3 or 4 years old, from the person who owns the car and has maintenance records to prove that periodic maintenance was done and the oil was changed every 3,000 miles. I welcome any information about buying any of these models used: Toyota Echo, Matrix and Prius. Honda Insight.
Especially, does anyone have advice about the best ways to find owners selling these? ann
We are beginning the search for a new vehicle. I want the car
to run on biodiesel. I am interested in hearing from people who
are driving cars that have been retrofitted for that fuel.
Specifically I would like to know:
What car did you choose and why?
Who did the conversion for you, and was it expensive?
Where do you get fuel - what is your mileage like? Have you had
any issues finding reliable fuel sources?
Repairs and running - does the car run well - problems, issues,
etc. Do you need anyone special to do repairs because it runs on
a different fuel?
Where did you go for information to get yourself started?
Any info is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Diesels are over blue book in the Bay area due to high demand. We bought ours from the Green Car Company in Seattle (greencarco.com). There's a great fuel source at the Biofuel Oasis in Berkeley (biofueloasis.com). Folks are great there and have lots of info on this subject. Mechanics: Griffin Motorwerke (g-werke.com), Terry Griffin is very knowledgable, honest, and affordable.
The only problem we've had is that a fuel hose corroded. This should not have happened on a 2002 VW. What we found out was that at some point, someone installed non-manufacturer hoses. Any vehicle you buy should have the fuel hoses checked out regardless. For more general info on this subject also check out the Berkeley Biodiesel Collective (berkeleybiodiesel.org). Chris
That's said with one caveat, and that if you buy an older diesel, such as a Benz, the fuel lines will eventually have to be changed to ''viton'' material hoses, which are BioD resistent (the old rubber used on old cars will break down eventually - especially the little hoses that go to the fuel injectors). These are easy to change, and can be done in an hour or so. The only other thing to keep an eye on is your fuel filter. BioD is a solvent that cleans the heck outta yer engine, so all the old dino fuel buildup will eventually end up in yer fuel filter. Fuel filters are less than ten bucks and take about 5 minutes to change. Berkeley biodiesel co-op even has a free class on it. You really only have to watch this in the first 6 months or so, and after that, the fuel filter doesn't really need to get changed too often.
You hear about ''conversions'' and that is for a car running on Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO). You need a 2nd tank to heat up the oil before it will work in yer engine. If it's too cold it can clog it up. Check out sites like greasecar.com, or greasel.com for more info.
I bought a used 300SD MBenz, 84'. It's a tank and the MB's made from 82-86 have diesel engines that are sometimes referred to as being ''overengineered'' since they are so tough and reliable. That's why I got the benz, plus it was cheap ($3500). If you got a benz, I would recommend a Turbo over a non-turbo, as it doesn't have too much affect on mileage, but getting up to 65 in a 240 on the highway might start to feel frustrating. Also keep in mind, that a well maintained diesel can run up to 500K, quite easily. They are more efficient than combustion engines, and can deal with more mileage. Mine has almost 300k.
I fill up at BioFuel Oasis in Berkeley. They're great, very helpful, always happy to answer questions, but only take cash and checks, so don't show up with a credit card. Right now it's about $3.60/gallon. The other nice part of BioD, is you can take it with you, and I keep a 5 gallon carboy container in my trunk, just in case i'm too far from the fillup station. It's not flammable like gas, so you can keep it in the trunk, in your garage, basement etc.
The Berkeley BioD co-op has a BioD 101 free intro class they do once a month, and you might go check that out. Get there early, as they won't have enough room for everyone.
Oh, mileage doesn't change with the use of BioD, at least not significantly. My MB gets about 25 mpg, and diesels in general get great mileage. The best is probably with a newer Jetta or Passat from VW, which get 45 or so! It's hard to find those sometimes, as CA won't let the sales of new diesels occur anymore. There's a place in Oregon that posts to craigs list with their new diesel/biodiesel ready cars - they post to the Bay Area craigslist, so just do a search on craigs for diesel cars.
I get oil changes anywhere, and the berkeley biod co-op has a list of bioD mechanics, but a lot of the work can be done by any german repair place.
okay...hope that hlps
I've been using biodiesel for over two years, and I enjoy buying fuel from the locally owned Biofuel Oasis. If going there seems inconvenient for you, home deliveries of biodiesel may be an option to consider. Biodiesel is not explosive or toxic, and can be safely dispensed from a tank in your garage. Imagine never having to go to the gas station again! Biodiesel is more expensive per gallon and diesel cars cost more to buy, but if you drive a lot the increased fuel efficiency and engine life can pay back the difference over time. I'm not advocating that everyone go buy a car, but if you are in the market anyway, consider going biodiesel. You need not worry about the technology becoming obsolete. Due to changes in petroleum diesel regulation in California, many new diesel passenger vehicles will be coming onto the market soon. Keep your eye out for the sexy new Audi Quattro!
If you would like to meet me, I will be representing the Berkeley Biodiesel Collective at our monthly Biodiesel 101 this Monday the 6th and the first Monday in April and May at the Ecology Center in Berkeley. http://berkeleybiodiesel.org And feel free to contact me directly through my work at Green Means Go. http://www.greenmeansgocars.com Sienna
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