Engineers Try Converting a Diesel Engine to Run on Gasoline

A Russian team set out to power a Toyota 2CT turbodiesel engine on gasoline without damage.
Chris Young

Engineers from a Russian YouTube channel called Garage 54 attempted to convert a diesel engine to work on gasoline, and they had some surprising results, a report from Motor 1 explains.

Though both utilize internal combustion, diesel and gasoline engines are so different that a car owner could cause severe damage to their vehicle by filling it with the wrong fuel. That means that, in order to convert a diesel engine to a gasoline one, you need to change the very foundation of said engine.

That's exactly what the Garage 54 team set out to do. In a bid to defy logic, they decided to work on a Toyota 2CT turbodiesel engine, taken from a minivan. Their goal was to see whether it was, in fact, possible to get it to work on gasoline.

Diesel-to-gasoline modifications

To get started, the Garage 54 team disassembled the engine, cleaned the parts, and measured the combustion chamber. As gas and diesel combusts differently, the compression ratio inside the combustion chamber has to be larger for diesel engines and smaller for gasoline engines. Too high a compression ratio could cause the gasoline to ignite at the wrong time, potentially leading to an explosion within the engine.

In order to avoid such a disastrous outcome, the team greatly lowered the compression ratio on the Toyota diesel engine by performing several modifications, including machining down the pistons by 4mm. 

As diesel engines don't have spark plugs, the team also modified the engine's fuel injector holes in order to fit spark plugs. The diesel engine's high-pressure fuel pump, which was no longer needed, was removed to make space for the distributor required for the spark plugs. 

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Conversion success

Once finished with the modifications, the team reassembled the engine and prepared it for its first test. After adding the fuel, and attaching the battery, they turned the ignition, which fired up the engine on the very first attempt. While it didn't operate incredibly smoothly, especially at low revs, Garage 54's experiment can be classified as an unmitigated success.

As for what the diesel-to-gasoline engine conversion process could be used for in real-world situations, it likely won't get you very far in a world that's increasingly turning away from internal combustion engines. However, as such vehicles become increasingly less prevalent in the future, we could, at a pinch, imagine specific situations where vehicle owners might see the need to convert their engines as diesel reserves dwindle.

Have a look at the full process, with an English narrator, in the video below. 

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