Saturday, October 4, 2008

I Made an Air Compressor Work Nicely

I picked up an old air compressor that had seen better days from my brother a couple days ago. He'd gotten a larger permanent setup going and didn't need his old beat up compressor so I get the hand-me-down. Cool :)

When I asked what was wrong with it the list was along the lines of "something with the wires, it has a leak, and the gauge is broken." The pressure switch was also MIA, the belt has seen better days, and the whole thing looked rough as a pine cone. Time for a tear-down and cleaning.

I started by running it to figure out the problems since it did run if very poorly. The wiring was a lamp cord wrapped around the motor's terminals, the leak was from the compressor's leaf valve and from the copper feed to the tank, and the guage worked but was way off and sticks on 20PSI.

I took the head off the compressor, revealing a sludge in the piston chamber, as well as all over the two reed valves. Cleaned those up well with degreaser and a razor blade on the reeds, put it back together and it didn't leak there (and added about 10cc per cycle due pumped to not being full of sludge. I tried sealing the bad feed to the tank, but had to cut it shorter and put a new faring on the line, which solved that problem. I trimmed the frayed strands from the belt, oiled the motor, and attached the wires with proper connectors. With this done, I decided to check the crank case oil. This was a scary sight, as there was enough water in the oil to turn it a milky grey, and it was so old when I drained it most of it slowly plopped out for several minutes like grey snot. New oil in the case and it sounded happier while running. For now I'm testing pressure with a shrader valve and tire guage, unplugging the compressor around 100psi. After tightening the wobbly wheel up, I wire brushed the whole thing and painted it up. I also added a handle to make it easire to handle from my small blue pressure tank.

That "ka-pook-ka-pook-ka-pook-ka-pook" of an air compressor is a nice sound. Especially when it comes from something that was otherwise destined for the landfill. I know it might look a little rough now but by comparison to when I got it it looks great and runs fantastic. I expect this little thing will keep me in inflated tires and filled potato guns for as long as I like.

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