#1201: 20 Miles Per Wood Chip

Did this car really run on wood chips?!

Original Air Date: 01.07.2012

   Best Moment :36

This week on Car Talk, Hans recalls fleeing from Germany during World War II in a car powered by woodchips, but he's never been able to figure out exactly how it worked. So who better than two car experts with MIT degrees to figure this out? Well, maybe anyone would be better in this case. Tom and Ray will likely do better helping David figure out how a three-pound bag of Hershey Kisses disappeared from his Civic overnight, and why his car now smells of melted chocolate. Elsewhere, Victoria's Mom needs to trade in her Corvette after surgery, so Victoria's wondering what car's right for a hip Mom with a new hip; Aaron's windshield wipers are stuck in a salute position; and, is Mary-Ellen wearing out her brakes parking in "The Gulch" every day? A box of doughnuts is riding on the answer, so this is serious business. All this and lots more, this week, on Car Talk.

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Wood Gasifier

by Final_Boss

If you'd like to check out a video of someone building and operating a standard gasoline engine on only wood chips, here is a link. It's from a Discovery Chanel show called 'The Colony'. http://youtu.be/VFQT3ya7BCQ

Hip Mom's new hip needs a new car

by vancutterromney

My mother-in-law is short (5' 2" or so) and she needed a car where she could get in easy and sit upright and get a better view of the road. They chose the Mercedes Benz B200 and so far she's liking it. Only problem is that the car is higher maintenance.

I haven't researched this with regards to cars, BUT...

by Rowan

..."oncet upon a time", I was experimenting with making black powder the old-fashioned way. One of the ingredients is charcoal, which I was *also* making myself. To do this, you can place wood chips in a *loosely* covered container, leaving a small opening, heat to the smoking point, and ignite the volatile gases that are emitted from the opening. Those gases burn like crazy, and the end result is charcoal. Hans mentioned two barrels, and a "draft" of sorts; I'd guess that the arrangement was designed to keep the wood smoldering rather than burning, and the volatile gases were then fed into the engine.

Favorite Moment: Gotta be the mice, man! You guys suggested burning the car, and here I was just thinking "Palm it off on some unsuspecting buyer, then move without leaving a forwarding address..."

#1201:20 Miles Per Wood Chip

by thewife

He who knows a lot, my husband, said that the German trucks did run on wood chips. The engines were started with gasoline or kerosene and then ran on the smoke from the wood chips.

Favorite Moment: All of them.


by dakarrider

Its true during the oil shortage during WWII, the german people would try anything to run their auto, and a german named Holzbrenner created a system for the VW, and GM ford and others looked into to it, norway has a festavial showing off this system and have one on a ford model t

Caller #3 Victoria , mom needs new car.

by Katerpillar

I have leg and back issues and had to have a taller, more "chair-like" seat. I found it in the Buick Regal.I was able to raise up the seat to a higher level. I LOVE the sporty look and I got a beautiful brown and tan interior. The turbo option gives me power when I need it.

Wood gas vehicles

by Finn

I remember some years back reading from a car magazine in Finland how many of the cars and trucks were converted from being petrol run to burning woodring during the war time. More precisely, they were converted to run on carbon monoxide... Hans' recollection was correct. With a little research I found this website in English: http://www.energybulletin.net/node/51237

Wood gas, gasogeno, or Holzvgas

by Stroget

A real Opel Blitz that runs on wood gas (Hotzgas in German) can be seen at this German museum: http://sinsheim.technik-museum.de/de/de/opel-blitz-3-lkw-mit-holzvergaser Or take a look at this 1:35 scale version: http://www.network54.com/Forum/47751/message/1316433911/Opel+Blitz+mit+Holzgas+-+1-35 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_gas_generator http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gassogeno http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holzgas


by zulu

I call bogus on the puzzler answer. You guys suggested that an ABS sensor could be used to detect low tire pressure because an under-inflated tire would cause the wheel to be smaller, and thus rotate faster in order to keep up with the other wheels. I don't think a properly inflated tire is appreciably stretched out like a balloon, so an under-inflated tire wouldn't actually be any smaller. The tread circumference doesn't decrease when the tire is low; it merely has more of it lying flat on the road surface. As a consequence, the distance to make the wheel go 'round remains the same, and a sensor looking for a faster wheel isn't going to find one, for this reason, anyway.

Favorite Moment: The moment I realized the need to call bogus on the puzzler answer.

Wood Chip Engine WWII

by The Kiltmn

Wood gas vehicles were used during World War II, as a consequence of the rationing of fossil fuels. In Germany alone, around 500,000 "producer gas" vehicles were in use at the end of the war. Trucks, buses, tractors, motorcycles, ships and trains were equipped with a wood gasification unit.

Favorite Moment: Stump the Chumps-sending this guy to look for a disconnected line after replacing his starter unit.


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