Check out Wix 24076 or Napa 4076 filter base. They take 3/4 x 16 filters. If you use a filter with a ADV, no check valve is needed. I like your needle valve plan. Put it on the outlet side and you won't have to worry about it cloging up.I have some small drill bits, but I might make up something with a needle valve to adjust the flow rate move up to that size in small increments.
Check your PMs I am sure we are previously acquainted.