When I got home today, I thought I might try starting the Mercedes.
It's pretty cold today - 3℉. Typical winter temperatures in my area in winter are usually in the teens and 20's. Single digits are fairly cold, but less common than 15 to 25 degrees.
Since the car has been sitting since Sunday, and it's cold, I figured this is a good chance to see what it does with a cold start on regular petrol-diesel fuel.
I turned the key to the on position, and pulled on the start/kill rod.
The car has a handle you pull to use the glow plugs, start the engine, and kill the engine.
To use the glow plugs (I finally figured this out..) you pull on the rod until just before the starter would kick on. Hold it there until the little light on the dashboard glows. In fact, it's not actually a light at all, but a hot piece of metal. I imagine this is a material with similar resistance to the glow plugs, so that it and the plugs both "light-up" at the same time.
Once the glow-plug indicator is going, you pull the rod the rest of the way out to activate the starter.
This pull knob is spring-loaded and very uncomfortable to hold. I will either need to change this when I do the truck conversion, or order a wrist splint.
With the glow-plugs lit up, I activated the starter and cranked away. Not too much happened. Seemed like it wanted to start.
I repeated the glow-plug and starter sequence a couple more times, with no luck.
I had no problems with it a couple days ago in 20℉ weather.
While the car DOES have a block heater, it isn't plugged in. And I don't mean into my electric outlet, I mean the other end. I followed the power cord, only to find the engine end dangling down in the engine compartment, rather than plugged into the block.
In the cold and dark, I can not locate where the cord plugs in.
A block heater and battery heater will be essential components in my finished "Fossil-Fuel-Free" vehicle.
If I DO decide in the end to design the vehicle to also be able to run on vegetable oil, all sorts of heated components will be required.
Giving it some more thought, the "transplant" of the Benz engine into my pickup truck is going to take longer than I think.
That means I will be without long-range transportation while for the duration of the open-hood surgery.
Couple that with the limited range I can get on electric vehicles in the winter, and it means I will have a tough time getting around from when the project starts, to when it's finished.
Two different options I can think of are:
1: Wait til it's warmer - Use the electric car to get around until the truck is done
2: Buy a different truck, do the transplant into it, then sell my truck.
I don't love either plan. I would like to get started sooner rather than later, and waiting for warmer weather will slow me down. I also don't want to buy another vehicle - it means re-registering (costs money!) dealing with insurance and titling, etc. More work and money into the project.
I think I just need to learn a little patience here.
If I can hold my horses for a little while, I may even be able to install more batteries and an Open Source controller in my Metro EV. That would give me a 30 mile range on electric.
I also might be able to borrow somebody's car for a bit. I have an 18 year old brother who still lives with my parents. He has a Taurus he might be able to part with for a week or two, especially if he could borrow the Citicar to drive to school in.
Anyways, it's COLD outside.
At least I am thinking about it right now, so I can plan for it, instead of next winter and have my truck dead somewhere, filled with solid bio-fuel!