how to build a better veggie oil collection system
i've been in the process of designing and building a new vegetable oil collection system for our new biodiesel truck, which i'll be converting to run on veggie oil. this system builds on the lessons learned from the last three versions i built over the past few years. it's actually very close in design to the last system i built, which bj and i decided to give to bradley and nada along with our old bio/veggie truck and the trailer.
i think this is a very versatile and robust system, so i've decided to share the details and the process for others who are interested in building their own. i took cues from what i thought were the better aspects and design features of several commercially available collection kits such as the one-shot sold by golden fuel systems. it's portable, so it can be used for mobile collection and/or filtration or it can be used to pump at home. it has a 3-way valve that allows for pumping through the filter directly into the tank, or bypassing the filter for faster collection of oil to be filtered or settled out later.
the heart of this system is the heavy duty pump and filter. everything else is in place to help them do their work. here is a list of the components that i used:
- small, light-duty hand truck from my local hardware store
- 12" x 24" scrap piece of 3/4" plywood
- 12v 15 gallon per minute Fill-Rite fuel pump
- Racor 1000fg turbine series fuel filter
- 25' of 3/4" biodiesel compatible fuel hose
- (1) brass 3-way tee
- (1) brass 3-way valve
- (1) brass fitting with a 1" male thread and a 3/4" barbed hose connection
- (2) fittings for the racor filter (fitting part no. 913-O10-H12): 7/8" male thread and 3/4" barbed hose connection
- (7) brass fittings with a 3/4" male thread and a 3/4" barbed hose connection
- a hydraulic suction strainer for the inlet end of the collector hose
- trailer electrical connector
- teflon tape
- utility clamps
this is how i put it together:
(1) start with the hand cart. attach the plywood board, the scrap piece i used was about 12" wide by about 24" high.
(2) install the barbed hose fittings into the tee, the 3-way valve, the filter unit, the pump body, and the strainer. apply teflon tape to the male threads and tighten firmly.
(3) now lay the cart flat and place each component roughly in place. familiarize yourself with the relationship of each piece with the rest. pay special attention to how the hose will run between the pump, filter, tee and valve.
(4) bolt the filter unit to the plywood deck. the unit comes with 2 black metal straps, but i found that 1 was sufficient to achieve a solid, rigid connection.
(5) attach the pump to the deck. first, position the pump on the plywood and mark the location of the threaded electrical inlet on the back side of the pump onto the plywood. remove the pump and drill a 1" hole in the plywood where the wire will run through. install the black plastic threaded electrical ferrule into the pump body and put the pump back on the deck. place two straps (i used a thick gauge plumbers tape) around the pump and secure to the deck, one vertical strap around the cylindrical portion of the pump, and one horizontal strap just above where the inlet portion of the pump bolts to the rest of the pump body (this allows access for removal of the built-in screen later for cleaning and servicing).
(6) cut and install lengths of hose one by one to connect all components together. proceed in this order (see image of completed system below for reference): (a) pump to upper leg of 3-way valve (b) filter inlet port (right side) to upper leg of tee (c) right leg of 3-way valve to right leg of tee. be sure the bend of the hose has a large enough radius so that the hose doesn't kink, say 10" or so (d) filter outlet port (left side) to left leg of 3-way valve (e) left leg of the tee to suction strainer. if you start with 25' of hose, you should end up with a final length of suction hose that is around 20', great for reaching out of the way dumpsters or oil containers.
(7) install the electrical cord to the pump and install the male (trailer-side) electrical plug connector. for this to work, you'll need to already have a trailer plug on your vehicle or you'll need to install one. it's really handy and works great. it's the safest, most convenient way to power the pump. i used a 7-pin connector because that's what was already installed on our truck.
(8) install the outlet hose and nozzle on the pump. secure the tee and the valve to the deck. i used some old galvanized pipe straps i had lying around. i use a couple of spring clamps to help keep the hoses organized and tidy.
(9) go collect some free fuel!