FOUR OAKS, N.C.--Can you make a pickup truck run using a tractor engine? The South Johnston High School automotive department proved it can run, like a Deere.
The students refurbished a 1994 Chevy with a John Deere engine that runs clean and green. Their quest was fueled by high gas prices.
"The students came into class and they complained about fuel mileage. They were talking about how bad their trucks were getting on fuel and the cost of the fuel," said South Johnston High School teacher James Cox.
Cox decided to build something that's both green and gets good mileage. The class bought the pickup, which had an engine problem, and replaced it with a 52-horsepower John Deere.
"We get 51 miles to the gallon,” Cox said.
51 miles per gallon, using something other than regular unleaded fuel. Bio-diesel fuels make better use of things like french fry oil, that may have otherwise ended up in a landfill.
The fully refurbished machine took students eight months to build, and they did the job in addition to their required coursework.
"You've got to have confidence in them. Tell them they can do it, and they'll prove to you that they can do it," said Cox.
This problem solving will serve these guys well, as they focus on their careers.
"I enjoyed working on this project, and I'm planning on going to school in the near future, for the automotive industry," said South Johnston High School student Patrick Adams
"I'm going to go to Wayne Community for fabrication, basically doing the body work and painting, and a little basic automotive. and i want to open my own shop one day," said South Johnston High School student Jonathan Griffin
Those goals seem well within reach, as they converted a pickup with a bad engine to a clean, green, french fry oil running machine.