Archive for the ‘Collection’ Category.

Status Update

Just a note to let everyone know that all is well and that my WVO-powered F-250 is closing in on 370k.  Not much worth writing about.  Here’s a summary of happenings…

I continue to send oil samples to Blackstone Labs at every 5k oil change interval and continue to see favorable results.  Still using MC 15w40 oil ($17.50/5 qt) and MC FL-1995 oil filters ($9.95/ea).  These two items are just about the ONLY reason I go to Walmart.  When I first started doing the oil changes in ’09, cost was $10.50/5qt and $9.95/filter.

New brake pads all around and new rear calipers at 329k in 05/2011.  Went with Wagner ThermoQuiet pads ( – EX756 @ 39.63, EX757 @ 39.17) and rear brake calipers from the local parts store.  I wasn’t planning to replace the calipers, but one failed a few days before I was planning to install the rear brake pads.

Replaced my glow plugs with ease around 338k in 08/2011, which completely resolved my sluggish startup issues on cold days last winter.  I had already replaced my glow plug relay (MC F81Z-12B533-AC, International 1831646C1 @ $40-50) only to learn that was not the problem.  Total cost was $315.00 for 8 glow plugs (MC ZD11 F4TZ-12A342-BA @ 9.38), 2 valve cover wiring harnesses (MC F81Z-9D930-AB, International 1830844C93 @ 50.99), and 2 valve cover gaskets (MC F81Z-6584-AA,  International 1826703C1 @ 69.49).  Purchased from Sean at Geiser Ford (309-923-2141).  They often sell on eBay and are much more reasonable than our local dealerships on certain items.  Call them for a quote!  Very nice to have working glow plugs on those mornings when you forgot to purge WVO.

Batteries didn’t seem to be holding a charge very well.  Truck almost did not start after a longer session of pumping WVO with my 12V pump.  Interstate tested the MTP-65 batteries and confirmed at least one was defective.  They replaced both free of charge at 346k in 10/2011.  Batteries were originally purchased at 279k in 10/2009.  I would have expected the batteries to cause problems right away or last much longer, but I suspect the 12V heaters on my Racor filters or the 12V pump I use could have caused issues?  Regardless, couldn’t have been more pleased with Interstate batteries especially after the unexpected free replacements!

I noticed that my coolant reservoir had become very brittle and had a hairline crack on the top, so I replaced the reservoir around 350k.  I don’t think the issue was related to the ELC as much as age.  I switched to red ELC (FELCC7997G @ 19.55/gal, local International dealer) coolant around 293k in 05/2010.  I mixed this concentrated ELC with distilled water after flushing and flushing all of the green out of my system.  Flushing was a PITA, but there are helpful guides online.  I basically drained the green, topped off with tap water, ran engine.  Repeated until there was only a hint of brown (rust, not green coolant?).  Drained one more time, topped of with distilled, ran engine.  Drained one last time, and filled with about 55/45 or 60/40 coolant/water mix to account for the remaining water in the cooling system.  Should have ended up with close to a 50/50 mix.  The coolant claims zero maintenance for 600k (no flushing or SCA additives) and is supposed to be compatible with nearly all 99-03 7.3L PSD engines.  The ELC still looks great at about 75k, so I don’t think I am experiencing any WVO contamination issues either.  I was initially hesitant to convert at a cost of about $20-25/gallon, but have no regrets.  Might even splurge and drain/fill with new ELC after 200k just to be safe.

Changed my transmission fluid and transmission filter (screen in pan) at 354k in 04/2012.  Fluid looked great and very small amount of debris on magnet.  Probably could have run the fluid longer, but glad to think that my transmission is doing well.  Purchasing Valvoline ATF DexIII/Mercon by the case (12 quart) for $46.27+TAX from a local Valvoline wholesaler.  Purchasing Motorcraft FT114 Automatic Transmission Filter 7R100 from Geiser Ford (via eBay) for $22.99 each.  I believe I am still using the original transmission which hasn’t needed anything except regular service since I purchased the truck at 250k.

Completely cleaned out my Racor-1000 filters and installed the rebuild kits at 354k in 04/2012.  I really only needed the check-valve kits (Racor RK11028B Check Ball Kit @ 15.50), but it seemed sensible to replace all of the seals for an extra few dollars (Racor RK11-1404 Seal Kit @ 27.50,  If I had to do it again, I would just purchase the check-valve rebuild kits.  The other seals and gaskets seemed to be in good shape after 100-120k of service.  Each Racor filter includes replacement seals for the lid and the larger of these seals seems to be identical to the other main seal in the filter.  I had been aware for quite a while that my check-valves were failing.  One time, this left me stranded because I replaced the filter elements but forgot to top off the filter bowls with fuel.  Since the check-valves were failing, the canisters would completely drain if you left the lid open too long.  The check-valve ball was perfectly fine, but the check-valve gasket was very brittle and cracked in both filters.  If someone could sell the check-valve gasket by itself for a few dollars, they would make a fortune.  Ridiculous paying $15 for the ball and seal/gasket when you only need the seal/gasket.

After recommendations from several friends, I switched to TreadWright tires.  I went with an aggressive read last fall (4x 265/75R16 GUARD DOG M/T (E) @ $111 ea).  Found a great deal on a second set of original 99-03 F-250 wheels on CraigsList, so I purchased another set of TreadWright tires with highway tread and switched to them this spring (4x 265/75R16 SENTINEL A/T (E) @ $108 ea).  Will keep the more aggressive tires for the winters.  Both sets are wearing very well, but I am rotating them about every 5k to be safe.  Other than an issue with the first set being balanced incorrectly (easily corrected), I am very impressed.

My sources for WVO are changing, possibly for the better though my cost has increased from $0/gal to $1.50/gal.  I’ve recouped my initial costs enough times that I’m willing to spend some money on fuel if it simplifies my operation.  Now picking up oil in pre-filtered 35LB (4.5gal) containers (20-60 at a time) instead of 55gal drums, storing in my garage, and dumping the very clean oil directly into the truck.  Much easier than all of the pumping and settling I was doing, but only because I am using a small 12V pump and only moving 55gal at a time.  I can dump 12 of these small containers into my truck faster than I could pump 55gal and I don’t have to worry about settling at all at the moment.

Finally, a Status Update!

It’s been nearly 18 months since my last post.  So much has happened.  It’s a shame that I stopped posting every little detail along the way, but here’s a summary of what’s been happening in my WVO project.

First, the truck (a 2002 Ford F-250 w/ 7.3L PSD) is still running great and is about to hit 310k miles.  I’ve had a few minor bumps along the way, but very happy overall.  I’ll cover the collection and filtering strategy I’ve been using for the past 12-14 months, the problems I can recall, modifications I’ve made to my truck, and try to back-post the Blackstone UOA reports that I have done at each oil change interval.

Collection of WVO

I had been collecting Canola based WVO in small quantities (15-20 gal weekly).  That source became unavailable and then when the source was available again, they had switched to a partially hydrogenated soybean based oil.  Not an option for me. Too bad.

I ended up collecting Soybean based WVO from two local restaurants.  I put a 55-gal drum at each site and used  the lids described on 03/23/2009.  I’m now using different lids.  More about that in a moment.  I pickup from both restaurants every 15-17 days.  Here’s the process from start to finish.  Takes about 50 minutes at each restaurant plus a little over an hour of driving, plus another 15 minutes to unload the drums when I get home.  Just over 3 hours total.

  • Load necessary items in truck:
  1. Two empty 55-gal drums
  2. Container with 12v pump and hoses, and PVC pipe (read #3).
  3. Bucket with custom pickup screen:  The pickup side of the pump uses some sort of reinforced clear HVAC/plumbing hose with a thread connection on the end.  I can quickly thread my original pickup screen (small and clogs easily) or my custom pickup screen onto the end.  I also carry a 3-ft PVC with the same male thread on one end and female thread on the other end so that I can add it in line.  Using the PVC extension makes pickup from barrels much easier.  The custom pickup screen is just an 8 to 12-inch round half-sphere irrigation/drainage cage with metal screen material wrapped around it and safety wired at the top.  I had to use various connectors and a section of hose to adapt from the thread on the cage to the thread on my PVC pipe.  The screen material can be purchased in rolls (for screen doors and windows).  I use black screen, but silver is also available.  The screen provides so much surface area for WVO to pass through, that I hardly ever have clogs or slow pumping.
  4. 5-gal bucket
  5. Roll of heavy-duty “shop” paper towels (ie: $10 at Lowes)
  6. Disposable gloves (ie: cheap at Harbor Frieght, also at Lowes or HD)
  7. Work gloves (I buy new gloves for yard/garden work and use the old gloves for WVO, repeat if the old gloves need to be replaced)
  • Drive to store #1, check oil level (on the way to/from store #2)
  • Drive to store #2, check oil level
  • Record today’s date and both levels.  This helps you figure out a schedule and estimate the next time you have to pickup.  Keep in mind I have to drive an hour round-trip to pickup, so I want to avoid going too early.  Because of my particular arrangement, I don’t want to call to ask the restaurants to check their oil levels for me.  I usually arrive when each barrel has 45-55 gal of WVO.  I’ve had a couple messes where they dumped more WVO than I expected and overfilled the barrels because they weren’t paying attention.  To be fair, it’s hard to see the level at night or when it’s fairly full.  I do my best to cleanup the mess when this has happened.  Be prepared.  No fun.
  • Begin pickup at store #2.  Here’s the process in detail:
  1. Put on new pair of disposable gloves
  2. Remove lid from the full drum at store
  3. Remove lid from one empty drum in my truck
  4. Run hose from pump to empty drum in truck
  5. Secure hose to empty barrel with plastic clamp
  6. Thread the custom pickup screen onto my pickup hose
  7. Use plastic clamp to secure pickup hose to full drum
  8. Connect 12v pump to 12v quick connect hanging just under the rear passenger-side anchor point on the truck bed (there are several small holes under there.  just ran the wiring up to one of those holes and used a zip-tie to secure the quick connect adapter in place)
  9. Begin pumping WVO from full barrel, careful not to pickup any of the crud from the bottom of the barrel
  10. When I reach the settling line, I stop.  Pull hose out of restaurant barrel and let pump clear the lines by filling them mostly with air.  I usually start to see cream and/or debris coming through the clear pickup hose I’m using.  This can occur with anywhere between 5-gal to 15-gal remaining in the barrel.
  11. Unthread/Remove my custom pickup screen from my pickup hose and store it in a small (1-gal?) bucket.
  12. Cleanup the ends of my hoses.
  13. Put my hoses back in the storage container that I use for my hoses and pump.
  14. Wipe off my disposable gloves so they are mostly clean.
  15. Put on dirty work gloves
  16. Slowly tip restaurant barrel side to side and watch the bottom of the barrel.  As you continue to tip side to side, you’ll loosen the debris from the bottom of the barrel.  Do this until it seems most of the debris is free.
  17. Pour the remaining oil and debris into your 5-gal bucket, then pour the bucket into the other grease container.  Repeat until the 55-gal drum is empty.  It will not be perfectly clean, but if you can get it mostly empty, you won’t have to come back to the restaurant as soon.  If you don’t do this every time and let debris build up, you’ll just make things more difficult for yourself later.
  18. Cleanup pouring edges on your 55-gal drum and your 5-gal bucket.
  19. Remove dirty work gloves.
  20. Put lids back on restaurant 55-gal drum and the (now hopefully full) 55-gal drum in truck.
  21. Remove disposable gloves.
  22. Repeat steps at store #1.  If my disposable gloves were pretty clean and didn’t tear, I use the same pair at both stores.
  • When I’m finished at each store, I also record the approximate amount that I picked up (see barrel in truck) and the approximate amount that was dumped in the rendering company’s grease container (watch how much you put in your 5-gal bucket .. 2 full buckets = 10 gal, 1-1/2 buckets = 7.5 gal, etc) so that I can approximate my consumption and monitor waste levels.
  • In the colder months (ie: consistently below 40 deg F), I have to take a 1400w drum band heater and a small portable 2000w generator with me to heat the WVO enough that I can pump it.  When I first get to the restaurant, I put on disposable gloves, fire up the generator, wrap the heater band around the drum and plug it in.  Depending on how cold it is, I sometimes have to wait 15-25 minutes and stir things up for a little while as it heats before I can actually begin pumping.  At first, I was using heavy duty aluminum foil to protect the heater band from all the crap on the restaurant’s 55-gal drum.  No matter how clean you try to keep things, it seems there is always a little bit of spill over on the outside of the drum.  I had trouble with the foil getting baked/stuck onto the drum, so I tried using a strip of aluminum from the roofing area at Lowes/Home Depot.  I had trouble keeping it clean though, because the heat would bake the sticky WVO onto the aluminum.  Probably going back to heavy duty aluminum foil this winter.  I think the foil will be best if I can find something fairly thick.  I do put it with my recycling when I’m done, so I don’t feel too bad about the waste.
  • When I get both drums back to the house, I use a collapsible engine hoist, a two foot heavy duty chain, and a 6-foot heavy duty strap (drum strap or towing strap?) to lift the drum out of the truck.  I back the truck into the garage, lift a drum, pull the truck out of the garage, lower the drum 2-4 inches above the floor so that I don’t have to worry about the engine hoist tipping over, then roll the drum over to where I keep the others and lower it onto the floor.  Repeat for second drum.
  • That’s it!  Repeat when I pickup again in a few weeks.

Custom 55-gal Lids for WVO Collection

I worked with a local shop to redesign the lids and address a few shortcomings that I experienced after using them last summer.  The restaurants had trouble pouring into the original lid design because the opening was not close enough to the edge of the barrel.  One of the hinges broke because people are pretty hard on these things.  Both issues were resolved.  Contact me if interested.  I can accept online payments and am setup to ship, whereas they are not.  The base price is $150 each, but we can do better on pricing if you are ordering multiple lids.

They use a computer controlled cutter, then weld everything together and have another local company powder-coat them.  They spend most of their days welding custom projects, so the welds are all by hand and excellent.  All in all, it takes 3-5 days to process an order for one or several lids.  If you have a barrel with a ring, you can just remove the sealing lid and use the existing ring to secure this lid.  I used to add a ring of weatherstripping around the bottom of the lid to seal it to the barrel, but ended up deciding this wasn’t necessary.

Filtering WVO

I let my drums sit for a week or two and then pump WVO from the top of the drums into my tanks.  I can usually use all but the bottom 5-gal of WVO.  I use my PVC pipe without a strainer to pickup WVO from the drum since the WVO was strained at the restaurant.  This allows me to go to about 1-2 inches above the settling line without picking up cream or debris.  I rely on the dual on-board Racor filters to catch anything that has not settled.  I pour the unused WVO from the bottom of the barrel into my dirty barrel.

When the dirty barrel is full, I let it settle for a week or so, pump any clear/usable WVO from the top, then take the remaining to the local biodiesel company for credit toward Biodiesel (B99.9).  They think my leftover WVO looks great, so I hate to imagine what they see/use.

I’ve completely abandoned the bag filters, drum filters, and other methods I’ve tried because the settling method work so well most of the year.  I do have to use a band heater to heat the barrels so that they can settle in the winter.  I haven’t been very satisfied with the results.  I managed to accumulate a surplus of WVO this summer and gravity filtered it in advance.  I’ve already pumped settled oil into a handful of drums and marked them as winter ready.  My hope is that I can use those to get past the bulk of my settling problems and then wait until spring to settle out the drums that I’d otherwise take to the biodiesel company for B99.9.

I’ve also abandoned the use of 250-gal or 330-gal IBC containers.  I just don’t feel like I’m handling enough WVO to justify using those containers.  I can’t lift the full containers in/out of my truck.  Even if I could, they don’t fit in my truck w/ the camper topper, whereas the drums DO fit under the topper.  I was able to sell the containers and the pallet jack on Craig’s List for what I paid, so trying this approach didn’t hurt the pocketbook in the end.  I was able to buy IBCs for $25-50 and sell them for $35-50.  I was able to buy/sell the pallet jack for $225.

Success Stories

Before I list the couple problems I’ve had, I wanted to be sure that this isn’t all doom and gloom.  Here are a few successes that make everything worthwhile.

  • I drive about 30k per year. I save between $750-$900 per year in fuel compared to what I would pay for fuel if I drove a Prius (my 20mpg @ $3/gal vs Prius 45mpg @ $3/gal).
  • I don’t have to drive a tiny Prius. I have a large truck with plenty of cargo room and ability to tow.
  • Even with mods, the truck cost has been around $15k (Truck $8900 + GFS $4500, Exhast $450, Intake $330, Tuning $800).  The project requires about a quarter of my garage (for drum storage) plus about 8 hours per month, plus any time I spend tinkering and learning.  I love knowing how my truck works.  I was very green when it came to most things under the hood before I undertook all of this, but I feel like I can now pinpoint most problems myself.
  • I’ve driven to see nearby family (8 hours round-trip) countless times on WVO and far away family (20-26 hour round-trip) several times on WVO.
  • I drive to see nearby vendors/customers (1 hour round-trip) many times each week on WVO.  I’ve driven to see regional vendors/customers (3 hours round-trip) many times on WVO.  I’ve driven to see other vendors/customers (40-50 hours round-trip) several times on WVO.

Problems Encountered

Here are a list of problems I have encountered over the past year or so.  The first two are probably a result of operator error (my fault), while the last two may or may not be WVO related.  I’m not including details regarding other general maintenance issues that have come up over the past year or so such as replacing my batteries, front wheel hub assemblies, fan clutch, fly-wheel and main seal, or having my alternator rebuilt, etc.  All of those items total maybe $1500-2000.

  • I was using modified (warmer) internal heaters in my Racor filters.  The 200W heaters both failed for unknown reasons and the first replacement also failed.  This happened sometime last winter.  I suspect that I might have run the filters dry and the heaters did not have any type of overheat sensor to protect themselves.  I am now using 75W heater wraps and insulating foam on the outside of the filter canisters (purchased from Golden Fuel Systems).  With the insulation, the filters seem to reach the same temperature as before.  Symptoms of heater failure include low fuel pressure, since quite a bit of WVO heat apparently comes from the filters.  I usually see 60psi on the fuel supply.  I was seeing the pressure gradually drop to 50-40-30-20 psi on the highway (65-70 mph) until horrible/unusable performance as I clogged my factory filter under the hood with cooler WVO.  I unnecessarily replaced several factory filters before I realized that I was just clogging filters because my heaters had failed.  I figured out that this was a heat issue when I realized that I could pull over and idle for 5-10 minutes to melt whatever had built up on the factory fuel filter.  My fuel pressure would show the normal 60psi again for a while.
  • I have two 60-gal tanks in my bed.  I fill the “dirty” tank and then use a switch in my cab to pump fuel from the “dirty” tank through a Racor filter and into the “clean” tank.  I’ve accidentally forgot to monitor progress and overflowed the clean tank on two separate occasions, making HUGE mess each time!  I thought the overflow would return to the dirty tank, but apparently the hose between tanks is just an air vent.  If this happens to you, it will ruin your day… and possibly everything you happen to have in the bed of your truck.  🙁
  • My oil analysis is showing problems from either a coolant leak within the engine or possibly a WVO related issue, plus additional engine wear.  See my separate UOA posts as I publish each analysis I’ve received. Per their recommendation, I’m planning to run diesel for an 3k oil change interval so they can tell me if that clears up the symptoms.  My guess is that I do have a coolant leak, though the leak has slowed because I haven’t had to add coolant recently.  I’m also guessing that I have extra engine wear due to WVO, though I’ve known/expected that to happen all along.  Worse case scenario, I’m planning/prepared to replace the engine if it gets to that point.  I don’t have a spare on hand, but have been keeping an eye out for a good deal on Craig’s List from time to time.
  • My fuel pressure recently increased from 60psi to 75-85psi and sometimes even to the peg (100psi).  The high pressure (possibly 100-120psi) cracked the cap for my fuel filter bowl under the hood and made a huge mess.  A replacement cap held until I could take things apart and troubleshoot.  When I took the assembly apart, I did find chunks of baked WVO in the pressure relief valve/housing.  I cleaned it out but that did not solve the problem.  There is a pressure relief valve on the top driver’s side of the fuel filter bowl that sends fuel back to the diesel tank via the return fuel line.  There is a plunger and spring that keeps the pressure in the bowl at 60psi.  I swapped those parts with a friend’s 7.3L and had the same problem.  I swapped the *housing* with his 7.3L and problem was solved.  Replacing the housing fixed the high pressure problem, though we do not understand why.  When we compared the housings, his housing did look like it was in better condition, but we couldn’t see anything that would prevent the plunger from opening and result in the sporadic higher fuel pressure in my 7.3L PSD (75-100+ psi).  Maybe a WVO issue, maybe not.  Very strange.

Truck Modifications

My truck is a 2002 Ford F-250 w/ 7.3L PSD.  I installed several supporting modifications so that I could ultimately install a tuner from DP Tuner to increase my MPG, which would obviously decrease the amount of Diesel and WVO that I consume.  I start the truck on Diesel, wait for the engine to reach normal temperature, then switch to WVO.  I switch back to Diesel about 5 minutes (or 2 miles) before I get home (or stop anywhere for an extended period of time).

  • ISSPRO Gauge Set from Diesel Manor 08/2009 – Pre-Turbo Pyrometer, Transmission Temp, Fuel Pressure (0-100psi), Turbo Boost (0-30psi)
  • Thermostat (203 deg F) and Thermostat Housing from Diesel Site 05/2010
  • Switch from Green Coolant to Red Coolant (Fleetrite ELC) ~05/2010
  • Silverline 4″ 409 Turbo-Back Exhaust from Alligator Performance 06/2010
  • S&B Air Intake from Diesel Manor 07/2010
  • F8 Chip and Live Tuning from Jody at DP Tuner 08/2010.  I usually run the 60hp Economy tune and have been experiencing between 18-20mpg for the past two months.  FYI – Jody monitored oil temps and recommended replacing the Thermostat (203 deg F) with my stock thermostat to avoid high temperature problems with his tunes.

Requesting and collecting WVO …

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about my WVO sources and am at various stages in the requesting and collecting process with several different sources.

I am now on a first name basis with kitchen staff at the “Tuesday morning” Canola oil source (day of my pickup, not the retail store) that my blending friend is sharing with me.  They pour their fryer oil into metal buckets and set them just inside the back door.  I simply pour those buckets into 5 gal paint buckets, but anticipate furnishing them with a Plant Drive funnel and stand so that we can pour the oil back into the original 35# containers.  Sometimes 1-2 metal buckets contain hamburger grease, so I drive those to their grease dumpster for them since it is about 4-5 city blocks from the kitchen.  I noticed that the container seems to contain a lot more grease than it did a few months ago, so I asked them if they changed the oil multiple times per week in case we were missing a pickup.  He confirmed that they were not right now, but that there is a chance they might start changing oil more frequently in the summer months.  There must be another kitchen at the facility.. sure wish I knew where the extra oil was coming from so that I could pickup before it lands in the rendering company’s container.

I am waiting for my new 55 gal drum lids to arrive so that I can furnish containers to two fast food restaurants.  Billy said that they shipped yesterday.  I know the person who owns the two sites, but need to get to know the managers and staff at each site.  I also need to firm up a company name and phone number that I can list on the containers.  These sites will output a mix of Soybean oil (SO) and Hydrogenated Soybean oil (HSO) that also contains some shortening and TBHQ.  Plenty of people advise against the use of any Hydrogenated oil in your SVO/WVO setup.  Several sites (ie: PlantDrive FAQ) advise against the use of Soybean oil because of it’s high Iodine values and high free fatty acid (FFA) values.  I will probably have to trade all of this oil for credit toward B99 at the local biodiesel plant.  I’ll just mix the B99 with my Canola WVO.  I’ll try this for a month or so and see how the numbers work out.  I’m hoping the biodiesel plant will exchange their 70 gal/wk of WVO (~$0.75/gal?) into 20+ gal/wk of B99 ($2.20/gal).  Even if I am not able to use raw Soy Oil, the B99 should be safe and this type of volume will meet nearly all of my week-to-week fuel needs with just a few hours of work each week.

I’ve approached a local kitchen that I already visit weekly or more for community service/club meetings.  I already know the manager and a hand full of staff on a first name basis.  Their menu mentions something about using healthy vegetable oil.  I started by checking the oil quality in their dumpster (dark liquid), then left a letter for the manager (based on this Clean Grease post), then followed up with the manager in person at a community event a few days later (this was planned/expected), then received call from his boss (owner?) who said they were getting paid for oil so I offered to provide a quote if I could pickup a sample.  I picked up a sample yesterday.  The original 35# container lists ingredients as Soybean Oil with TBHQ.  Well, crap!  They would only produce about 70# (15 gal) per week, so this is probably not going to be worth quoting $0.25/gal to $0.50/gal if I only end up receiving $0.75/gal credit from the biodiesel plant.

I’ve been introduced to another local kitchen that might have Canola oil.  The manager seemed receptive to the idea of having me pickup their oil, but I could tell that she would want me to quote a price per pound or per gallon that I would be willing to pay them.  I need to send the manager an email with some information, but am trying to firm up a few particulars (ie: company name, road tax registration, 1-2 most important questions for them .. oil ingredients? oil volume?) and produce a few staged action photos (ie: picture of me refilling 35# container with funnel and stand, picture of outdoor containers at the two restaurants I described above, picture of me pouring filtered WVO from original 35# oil containers into my truck) before I make contact again.  It seems that about the only way I could justify paying $0.07/lb or $0.50/gal for any WVO would be if they were using pure Canola oil and were willing to pour their waste oil back into the original containers to avoid contamination (water, etc).

My goal is to establish 2-3 sources that generate a total of about 45 gal per week, even though I am only consuming an average of 25 gal per week.  I could store the reserves in my 275-gal poly so that I don’t run dry even when I take my occasional long trips (500-2000 mile round trip).

WVO collection logistics …

Met with my friend who owns several local restaurants and am planning to begin pickup of fryer oil from two nearby locations.  Will provide a 55-gal drum with special lid at each location and will have to empty the containers each week, since I am anticipating each site will generate approx 35-gal each week.

Planning to pickup drums on Wed 03/25.  Ordering 3 locking drum lids.  Also ordering a pair of 100 micron drum filters so I can determine if something like this may help with the collecting and/or filtering process.

20090323-wvo-collection-drum-1 20090323-wvo-collection-drum-2

Also ordered 3 of the PlantDrive funnels with stands so that smaller sites can simply refill their original fryer oil cubes.


Second weekly Canola WVO pickup …

My second weekly pickup of about 11-gal of Canola WVO.  We wasted time pumping WVO from metal buckets to plastic buckets last week.  I just dumped straight from metal buckets to plastic buckets this week.  I’m nervous about the buckets tipping over while riding in the back of the truck, but doubt that my ratchet strips are going to help the issue any.  The coated gloves are very helpful since their metal bucket handles are usually pretty oily.  I just have to be sure to use a paper towel to wipe up any mess on my tailgate or the handle for the back door leading into the kitchen.


UPDATE: 03/27/2009

My blending friend is still letting me pickup WVO from this source since he doesn’t blend during the colder months.  The location is very close to my house, so it works well even though they require weekly pickup and their volume is pretty low.  Their WVO volume varies from week to week, but I think they know how we are using the oil and are consciously keep fryer oil separate from the rest of the grease.  Some buckets are full of grill grease, so I drive them to their grease container.  The least I can do for a little bit of free fuel.  Otherwise, they’d have to carry them about 1 city block to the container because of the layout of their facility.

My first WVO collection …

After learning that a friend was blending 75/25 WVO with #2 in his factory tank, he gave me a 5gal sample of oil from his source.  That isn’t going to get me very far, so I need to start working on a permanent source of my own.

I got permission to go to one of the local restaurants to pickup enough WVO to get me started.  A friend went with me and filmed the whole thing since this was my first WVO collection on Friday 02/06.  I pumped about 12gal back into two of the original 35# containers and into one half sized container.

You can see how this stuff is settling out after about 48 hours (as of Sun 02/08).  The cubie/box to the right contains more of this pumped oil that I am settling.  I will later learn that the container to the left (the 5gal sample from my blending friend) is Zero Trans Fat Canola oil that is poured from kitchen fryers into buckets, then from buckets into these containers.


Here’s another picture after 96 hours (as of Tues 02/10).  As per the ingredients listed on the original container to the right, this sample is a mix combination of Soybean Vegetable Oil and Hydrogenated Soybean Vegetable Oil.  I’m assuming the dark oil on top is the vegetable oil and the light/creamy oil on the bottom is the hydrogenated vegetable oil mixed with water, fats, etc.  I might be able to use the dark oil, but have my reservations about using the bottom half.


UPDATE: I’ve left these samples sit for about 4 weeks and ended up with about 50/50 mix of dark and light oil.  I’ve been told that I can safely run this oil through my truck after I heat and filter the oil.  I’m collecting very clean Canola oil before it leaves a kitchen now, so I’m pretty nervous about this stuff.  Maybe filter and run the dark half?  We’ll see.

Preparing for my first WVO collection …

I’ve put together a portable kit for WVO collection.  I found the coated work gloves, orange cleaner, shop towels, large container, and small container at Lowe’s or Home Depot.  The large container holds the pump, gloves, and small container.  The small container holds clean items such as the shop towels, work gloves.

Close-up picture of the box for the 7gpm pump (Fill-Rite FR1604).


Container packed and ready to go.


Inside view of container.  Gloves, Pump, Clean Container fit nicely.


Unpacked view of container.  Pump fits nicely.  Ridges in bottom of container can collect small amounts of loose WVO.


Close-up of pump in container.  The key is to point end of hoses upward so that they do not drain into container while in storage.


My somewhat transparent collection buckets from Lowe’s.  These are 5-gal paint mixing buckets with gallon and liter measurements on the side.  They are a spendy $7-8 per bucket with lid when compared to about $3 each for the white Tractor and Supply buckets I had also considered.  I haven’t been able to find any semi-transparent containers with measurement marks anywhere else (yet).  These are very handy for transport, settling and recording volume collected.  Comment if you have a source for something similar.


UPDATE: 03/27/2009

I have been using these buckets every week.  I am able to dump fresh fryer oil from metal buckets in the kitchen into these buckets.

I’m glad this pump isn’t mounted permenantly in my truck.  I have been using the pump to transfer from these buckets into a sock/bag filter that I put in the top of my 275-gal IBC container.  I just pump a little bit at a time and let the filter drain before pumping again.  I processed the first 6 weekly pickups by letting these buckets settle for 5-6 days, then heating and stirring these buckets, then pumping into the bag filter.

I stopped heating and stirring the last few weekly pickups because I started thinking that all the heat and stirring was cancelling out some of the settling that had occurred.  I am now pumping room temperature (55-65 F) oil into the bag filter and consolidating the bottom gallon of each container into a single container for another week of settling.  Skipping the heating has slowed down filtering a little but will hopefully extend the life of my filter bags.  For some, skipping the heating step may also prevent them from separating water from their oil?  I am not concerning myself with this since the oil is coming directly from the fryers.  As a side note, I am having to use a spatchula to scrape the settled sediment from the bottom of these buckets every few weeks.  I’m probably accumulating 1/8″ to 1/4″ of sediment in each bucket every 3-4 weeks, or about 2 quarts (total) every 3-4 weeks.  The top has a consistency of chocolate syrup, while the deeper stuff has a consistency of fudge.  No unpleasant smell, just dirty work.

I also use the pump to transfer from the 275-gal IBC into my rear onboard tank.  I am not pumping anything “dirty” directly into the rear onboard tank yet.  Everything is filtered into the IBC for now.  If I have used the pump with unfiltered oil, I begin by pumping about 3-4 gal from the IBC into a container that will be run back through the filter bag into the IBC.  By doing this, I hope to purge any unfiltered oil from my pump and hoses.

WVO storage containers …

I haven’t had time to finish the GFS kit installation, but have been thinking about WVO collection and storage.

I happened across this pair of 275gal IBC forkable poly totes while driving to a friend’s house outside of town.  They were sitting in someone’s yard near the road with a for sale sign.  These were used to store some sort of soap in a previous lifetime.  I was only looking for one IBC, but couldn’t believe the price so I bought both thinking that I could give one to my restaurant owner friend.  He declined, so I ended up flipping the spare for a profit on Craig’s List.

Rinsing out totes.  They were fairly clean already, so this was mostly a matter of draining the water.


Pair of nice clean totes, waiting for a home.  One will end up in the garage.  The other will end up on Craig’s List.