Monday, April 4, 2011

The Jesus Motor

That's what The Hot Contractor likes to call the engine that's in this big ol' truck we bought. It's a 1998, 1-ton, GMC, duly, crew-cab, long-bed, diesel truck. It's a beast! We are going to convert it to veggie oil ASAP.

As I'm typing, we are on the road, traveling from Santa Cruz to Oroville. All our stuff is packed in The Hot Contractor's aunt's barn in Oroville. She needs the barn back, so we're going to pack our stuff on our flat bed trailer, to be picked up by The Hot Contractor once we settle somewhere.

(The story of the flatbed: The Hot Contractor was chopping down a tree for someone on Freecycle after we'd offered his chopping services in exchange for their firewood. They joked with him about taking their moldy old, nasty disgusting, 20-foot travel trailer off their property. He did. Then he spent two days tearing it apart with a hammer and a nail puller. He then built it into a beautiful, 20-foot, flat-bed trailer. Not only is he crafty, but he's oh-so-frugal too. My dream man. And now he's going to convert it into an 8' x 8' x 20' cargo trailer to haul our stuff across the country.)

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog...

This whole process of converting from the motor home to a truck and trailer was a bit more work than we planned on. Let's just say it's been a crazy month! But we made it! Whew! And we're finally on the road. Having this to look forward to has been motivation as we were feeling so overwhelmed.

The last three or four weeks, The Hot Contractor has spent many hours (usually from 10 pm to 2 am) researching veggie oil conversions and bio diesel processors. We went from wanting to convert the engine to veggie oil, to wanting to create a mobile bio diesel processing kit for the back of the truck, to now wanting to do veggie oil again. We've had to weigh the costs of time, space, money, availability, efficiency, and more. Since we plan on this fuel conversion being a permanent thing, we want to do it right and well. I'm so proud of The Hot Contractor for all the work (and time!) he has put into educating himself on this. He's now ready to install the veggie kit once it arrives.

One of the things that was so stressful about this process for us was when we took it to a bio diesel mechanic (who does the conversions). He evaluated our motor, and told The Hot Contractor that we need a new one. He said this one "might last 300 more miles." The compression test showed it was basically running on six out of the eight cylinders. We looked into buying a new engine, having one shipped across the country, buying another truck that had a usable engine, yada yada. None of these options were cheap, and all of them required us to stay in Santa Cruz longer than we wanted to. So, we decided to just go for it on this engine. We're gonna milk every last mile out of this thing! If it breaks down in the middle of the country, we'll deal with it then. We figure it will just add to the adventure. The Hot Contractor likes to call it "The Jesus Motor" because it was given the doomsday prognosis of "maybe going another 300 miles".

And that was 700 miles ago.


  1. We miss you already! How exciting that you're off on your adventure. Be sure to update us frequently. 8) Love to all!

  2. Any chance you'll post some pics of your mobile living arrangements....may clarify some of the interesting configurations I've imagined. (beverly hillbilly style) :)

  3. Miss you too, Keidi! Mmwah!

    Brendan...stay tuned...