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Idea of the month: Rolling oil drain pan

03/10/2014 @ 1:31pm

Oil may be a lubricant, but getting rid of it seldom goes slick. For Mansfield, Illinoisan Mike Webber, however, oil changes are smooth as silk. 

The rolling oil drain pan he designed not only is solid and easy to maneuver but also has a motor and pump that cleanly moves the used oil into an overhead reservoir. 

Having seen a lighter weight version of a similar unit, Webber needed something much more durable and heavy duty. (As head mechanic for Plunk Brothers, Inc., a large farm operation, he does a lot of oil changes.) 

In 2005, he built his rolling oil drain pan from a 4×8-foot sheet of 11-gauge steel.
  
The specifics

It has a ½-inch shaft, a 1-hp. electric motor, and a small ag pump with a Lovejoy coupler and ag camlocks. Steel caster wheels roll smoothly on concrete. 

The 22×22-inch grate sits inside a 28×38-inch reinforced frame strong enough to withstand a 250-pound weight. That means Webber can set, for example, a gearbox or a differential right on it to drain. 

The sides are tapered on the top 3 inches, so all drips run in without spilling. The motor and pump are encased next to the pan.

The yellow steel box below the oil reservoir (see illustration above) holds used funnels and oil filter wrenches. A hinged lid keeps those items dust-free.  

Concentrated area
There is a complete containment area near the oil reservoir. It’s built of ¾-inch plywood and galvanized steel for easy cleanup.

Also kept in this area are battery-powered hand grease pumps and a parts washer. 

“I planned this during all the years we were in our old shop, doing things the hard way,” Webber recalls. 

“For oil changes, we used to drag 30-gallon drums over, and then we’d have to run that mess outside. It was horrible. I tell you, I kind of enjoy changing oil now!” he acknowledges.  “Maneuvering the used oil is easy – effortless, really.” 

In fact, the rolling oil drain pan is so nice that all employees at Plunk Brothers, Inc., use it to change oil in their pickups. A ¼-inch clearance and the low profile make that possible. 

The farm shop has received an EPA-compliance certificate for oil handling, Webber adds.

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