Reconditioning a Toyota Prius – Changing the CVT Transmission Fluid

 

2004 Toyota Prius

2004 Toyota Prius

If your Toyota Prius has a 100k miles or more, it’s time to change the CVT Transmission fluid.  Toyota doesn’t recommend a service interval but after much research and discussion with Prius experts, I have decided to perform this service at 100k mile intervals.  It is a petroleum-based lubricant and will eventually become dirty and lose some lubricity.

Toyota Prius CVT Transmission Fluid Change - Fluid Condition

Toyota Prius CVT Transmission Fluid Change - Fluid Condition

This is not a difficult job.  Anyone with some mechanical knowledge and basic tools can perform this maintenance task. Continue reading

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How to Buy and Recondition a Toyota Prius

2004 Toyota Prius

2004 Toyota Prius

In September of 2011, I sold my wife’s Jetta TDI and started looking for a fuel efficient, sustainable vehicle for her to drive with an automatic transmission.

I try to make sustainability an important part of all my life decisions including purchasing a car.  Here are the prioritized criteria I used for the decision:

  1. I want to buy a used car so I’m recycling an existing vehicle and not introducing another new vehicle into the global fleet.
  2. I want a fuel efficient car that uses as little petroleum as possible for the distance I cover.
  3. I want a vehicle that can use alternative/renewable fuel sources other than petroleum.
  4. I want a reliable car that won’t require tons of maintenance and parts replacement to keep it running.

After much research, I found that the second generation Toyota Prius built from 2004 to 2009 is a very reliable, fuel efficient vehicle that uses electricity for a portion of its propulsion.  While electricity isn’t always produced from renewable fuel sources, it definitely has that as an option.  I can eventually install a plugin kit where I can charge it with solar or any other fuel source that I can use to generate electricity. Continue reading

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Great Sustainable Vehicles of the 20th Century

Mercedes 5 cylinder diesels of the 1980's

Mercedes 5 cylinder diesels of the 1980's

Over the past 40 years, there have been a few vehicle models that stand out as excellent examples of superior design and engineering. Typically, they are models at the peak of a certain engine design. What also makes these vehicles sustainable? I used the following criteria for defining a sustainable vehicle:

Reliability – The fewer repairs and parts replacements, the more sustainable the vehicle. The longer they last, the fewer new vehicles have to be built to replace them. Continue reading

Posted in Automotive, biodiesel, biofuel, education, environment, WVO/SVO | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Great Sustainable Vehicles – 1999-2003 VW TDI Diesel

jetta biodiesel renewable energy TDI

One of my Biodiesel Jetta TDI's

Half way through the model year in 1999, Volkswagen introduced a new body style of their Jetta with an improved “ALH” TDI engine.  When combined with the 5 speed manual transmission in any of the body styles, this drivetrain was extremely fuel efficient and very reliable.  This 1.9 liter direct injection diesel engine was available in the Jetta, Golf and Beetle body styles.

The average fuel mileage ranged from 45-50mpg without any special driving techniques or modifications.  The fuel system was very flexible and can be run on biodiesel with little modification.  Even though this is a direct injection engine, waste vegetable oil can be used as fuel if a heated, two tank conversion kit is installed that gets the injection temperature of the fuel up to at least 160*F. Continue reading

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Great Sustainable Vehicles – 1993-1998 Dodge RAM 2500 Cummins Diesel

Dodge RAM 2500 12 valve Cummins Diesel

Dodge RAM 2500 12 valve Cummins Diesel

In 1993, Dodge introduced an updated version of their Cummins 6BT 12 valve diesel engine that used a Bosch P-7100 mechanical injection pump.  When combined with the all mechanical 47RH hydraulic automatic transmission, buyers have the ultimate, bullet-proof work truck rated for 3/4 ton and 20mpg.

Later models introduced the 47RE electronic version of the automatic transmission that exposed the truck to typical issues with electronics on vehicles. (prone to failure after prolonged use and expensive to repair) Continue reading

Posted in Automotive, biodiesel, biodiesel, biofuel, environment, WVO/SVO | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Great Sustainable Vehicles – 1981-1985 Mercedes Diesels

Mercedes 5 cylinder diesels of the 1980's

Mercedes 5 cylinder diesels of the 1980's

By the early 1980′s, Mercedes had hit the pinnacle of design and engineering with their 4 cylinder and 5 cylinder diesel engines.  The cast iron heads were bullet-proof and the pre-combustion chambers made them the perfect engine for using alternative fuels like waste vegetable oil.  Both the manual and automatic transmissions were also built strong and seldom had issues as long as they were maintained properly. Continue reading

Posted in Automotive, biodiesel, biodiesel, biofuel, environment, History, WVO/SVO | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

DIY Video Vegetable Oil Conversion

Are you interested in running your car on vegetable oil?  Before you get started, you should read our post on how it works.  Once you are comfortable with the requirements, watch the following video from Veg My Ride to see how it’s done for an older Mercedes!

If you like the video, consider making a donation below to the videographer who made the video available.    Continue reading

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Top 10 Ways to Save Fuel When Driving

Top Ten Ways to Save More Fuel

Top Ten Ways to Save More Fuel

 

 

Below are the top ten ways you can save gas in your car.  Try a few of these productivity enhancements and help reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

1. Tire Pressure – Check tire pressure and bring it up to recommended levels

2. Use Synthetic Engine Oil – Synthetic oil reduces friction in the engine and lasts longer between oil changes..
Continue reading

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How do you Visualize Clean Energy?

I’m a visual learner.  When it comes to learning complex topics, having images and diagrams always make it easier for me to retain the information.

After reading a great poston visualizing energy, I thought I’d share with you the video produced by Getty Images for corporations to use as a point of reference when they are trying to promote and brand clean energy.

What images help you to better understand complex topics like energy and alternatives to fossil fuels?  Join the conversation and let us know what you think.

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Chevy Cruze Diesel Coming to the US

 

Chevy Cruze Diesel

Chevy Cruze Diesel

It looks like the growing sales of Volkswagen diesels in the US has garnered the attention of US carmakers. General Motors today formally announced the 2013 Chevy Cruze diesel. The 4 cylinder 2-liter VCDi diesel engine generates over 160 horsepower and 265 foot-pounds of torque, which should make it a sporty car to drive. The common-rail fuel system should give impressive fuel economy without sacrificing power.    Continue reading

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