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Oil Less Air Compressor Repair and Maintenance

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Oil Less Air Compressor Repair and Maintenance

Postby LURKER #1 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:47 am

Oil Less Air Compressor Repair and Maintenance
This is what I've learned so far and a plea for correction and additional knowledge from the experienced and other newbies with additional experiences that we can all learn from.

With many buying and using these Oil Less Air Compressors for a booster for the ShoeBox 3000/4500 PSI Compressor, I figured it would help to have a thread to help familiarize some of us to a new area of skills and knowledge.

I bought a 3 Gallon, 125 PSI, 1 HP POWERMATE from Menards. They say smaller compressors work just as well but the pancake type would block the narrow isle in my RV. But, the horizontal tank compressor I got leaves enough space to get past it.

It worked right out of the box with minimal assembly of some connectors to the hose and tire fill chuck and air nozzle.

PROBLEM #1 - LEAKS
It held air pressure for almost an hour before kicking back On to refill. ???What do I know??? Air Compressors are always cycling on in gas station garages and repair shops.

I knew to use Dupont P.T.F.E. Teflon Tape to wrap the threads of the connections to prevent leaks. I figured 4-5 wraps of the almost transparent tape that almost melts between your fingers would do the job... WRONG!!!

After a couple hours and a couple cycles of the Compressor re-filling, I figured it's time to check for leaks. Right off, the Quick Disconnect I mounted to the Tire Chuck showed bubbles when doused with soapy water. Tightening didn't work so I took it apart and re-wrapped it with about 8 layers of Teflon Tape. A couple more bubble tests and gradual tightening and I have a perfect seal.

There were 4 connections that I put together and all 4 leaked and would not stop leaking until I took them apart and put 8 wraps of Teflon tape on them and gradually tightened while bubble testing.

OK, now the tank is holding pressure for over an hour and 15 minutes. The Instructions do mention checking all the connections on the pump and regulator and tightening if necessary. So, the first factory connection to a quick connect did show very small bubbles. I tried tightening a little but it didn't help so I took it apart, brushed it clean and put 8-9 wraps of Teflon Tape on it and re-assembled. I didn't want to break anything, so gradual tightening and checking and finally success again!

On to check about 16+ more connection/seal areas and didn't find another leak.

I let air out to get a fresh fill and started a timer. The Compressor filled and shut off at about 125 PSI as this one should. Then the PSI gradually went down to 115 PSI in about 1 1/2 hour.
Now it is about 112 PSI and it has held for 7 hours and 50 minutes. Heck, I thought it was alright when it held over an hour.
I knew that the pump generates very hot air while filling so the PSI has got to go down as it cools in the tank. That it does, but without detectable leaks mine only goes down 10 PSI in the first hour then looses only a few pounds in 7+ hours. Problem #1 is under control.

PROBLEM #2 - MOISTURE
Here in Ohio it is quite humid even like now at 22 degree F and overcast, the airport reports 85% humidity. Without snow or rain clouds the humidity would drop like a rock and become a dehydration problem in these freezing temperatures. Here in Ohio, humidity is always a pending problem.

Reading the Instruction Manual "MAINTENANCE" Section, it states that the Compressor "must be shut down, air pressure released, and the tank drained of moisture at the end of every workday" to prevent corrosion from water accumulation in the tank. If used outdoors in cold climate it must be similarly shut down and drained at the end of each use.

Wow, I'm going to have a problem getting used to draining the air and the water out of the tank every time I use it. I suppose if I want this thing to work safely for a long time, I have to waste at least 1 tank of air for every day that I use the Compressor. Gee, I just got it to hold air more than overnight and now I have to unplug it, release the air, and drain the moisture out of the tank before the job is done. Isn't that like turning the other cheek?

Please post any corrections to advice given here and any of your experiences with maintenance or repair of Oil Less Air Compressors.
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Postby synopsys » Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:44 am

Oh yeah air compressors. One thing different from the job site and your situation is during a day on the job site the compressor will turn on every three to five minutes or more. Basically it's like running it all day long. Even after running it all day long there is maybe a quarter cup of water in a high humidity environment like Portland, OR.

You can drain the tank while the compressor is running without much problem, it certainly won't wreck or wear anything out.

You'll get a feel for how much moisture develops and it won't be the end of the world if it's not emptied everyday.

You may be able to get an inline moisture trap and plumb it between the compressor and the tanks, you should have one before the shoebox for sure, many have a clear cup so you can see how much moisture is in there and the end will have a similar twist thingy to empty it like the tanks do on the compressor.

Be careful with that teflon tape to not get it into the airline. It can clog things if the line or holes down the line are small and a piece of tape dislodges.

Also there is a bit of an art to wrapping the teflon tape, you want to be sure to wrap it so it tightens around the threads when you tighten the fitting. If you wrap it backwards the tape will loosen when you screw the fitting onto the threads.

Also the quick connect fittings have a habit of leaking after they are used. Job site nail guns are always leaking from the quick connect fittings, another reason why the compressor kicks on every few minutes.

Oh and usually the exit air is pulled off the top of the tank and the water will settle on the bottom, I had a Hatachi side tank that had two tanks (one atop the other) and you could practically fill the lower tank with water and the airline from the top would be bone dry.


Seven hours without kicking on is REALLY good. :shock:

20+ years in construction, woodworking & auto repairing, dozens of compressors and air tools used during that time. Not one failure to date. :wink:
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Postby benneeb0y » Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:12 pm

Nice info! Yeah sucks having to drain those suckers. But hey minimal in the big picture. Rather do that than drive to the scuba shop.
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Postby LURKER #1 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 6:53 pm

Synopsis, good info. I pushed some Teflon away from the tubing and trimmed it where necessary. I thought loose strands could wreck a connection.

Here's a picture of the Lady In Waiting. Waiting for her ShoeBox Compressor mata:
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Postby synopsys » Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:30 pm

She's a purdy little thing!


Perfect size for my bedroom shop! :lol:



What's it like 12" wide with the feet? :shock:
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Postby LURKER #1 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:50 pm

Synopsis,
She's less than 8.5" wide at the feet and add 1 more inch for the ventilated pump outlet tube and connection to the side of the tank and the hose quick disconnect that sticks out maybe the same inch. About 18" long by 19" high. The way it is in the picture with hose and added water/oil trap she weighs 37.8 pounds. Any heavier might require wheels.
CONDOR CONVERTED .22 TO.177 12" TT barrel - Quiet Yard Work up to 50 yards
TT AAA CONDOR.25 24"/TTTA & OPHP VALVE
Hawke Scopes Nite-Eye 4-16x50 & Tactical 8.5-24x42 WOK BUTTs
ShoeBox 4500 Compressor - REG'd +Teth'd Guppy & Grt.White
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Postby roachcreek » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:06 pm

I have mine working on the Shoebox already.

Like you I have a leak, but on the hose where if goes out of the compressor.

Living outside of Eugene I get a lot of water also, but I have not drained mine yet, perhaps I will tomorrow. I do have a moisture trap between the compressor and the hose

After I fill my little scba tank, I have to shut off my line that goes out, by releasing the pressure, then the compressor does not come on until I use it again. If I do not open the valve and release that pressure out, it will come on about every ten minutes.

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Postby eddieirvine » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:22 am

Roach don't be to concerned about the moister your moister filter will take care of anything that can get into your scba tank, and don't drain your compressor tank every time there is no need for that! if you use it alot drain you compressor tank twice a month you will be good to go! alos just see how much comes out when you do drain it you might be able to let it go to once a month or more, I drain my shop compressor about 6 times a year and when I drain it I get maybe a cup of water out of the bottom of the tank at the most and that never gets to the end of the hose where I use chucks to fill up tires or blow off my wood working equip, and I have been painting some older implements lately and never see any water coming out if there was it would be very noticable on paint it would bead right up! and I don't have a water filter on mine I should and I am going to have to when I get my shoebox, which will be a while yet, I am on the list but the list got really long when they mentioned a price increase but wating is ok not much choice on things like that! Anyway I would not be to concerned about the moister just do a drain on it once in a while and see how much you are getting then you can adjust how often you drain it, I am going to guess you won't have to do it very often and with the water filter in there I would bet it will last a long time, what kind of water filter did you buy I looked the other day and found some but they were ones you could not see through metal housing, and I would really like a clear one that you could actually see what it going on inside of one!
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Postby roachcreek » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:52 am

Eddie,

Mine is clear. I think I paid 8 dollars for it at Harbor Freight.

I take my tanks off and mess with the valves so much, I can't see how I could ever keep water in my Airgun tank if it did get in there.

Thanks Eddie

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Postby LURKER #1 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:07 pm

Eddie,
Is your compressor an 'Oil Less'?

I'm assuming that the compressors that have the oil fill reservoir may aspirate some oil into the holding tank and therefore reduce the chance of internal rust or corrosion.

Again I'm assuming from repeated warnings in the generic, multi language manual that nowhere gives the product name of 'POWERMATE', that the tank is not industrial quality. But, I found labels of "Conforms to UL STD 1450", Certified to CAN/CSA, C22.2 No 66-92", and ETL INTERTEK LISTED C/US 3062705". And it was made in China for Sanborn Mfg., Division OD MAT Industries, LLC. Springfield, MN 56087
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TT AAA CONDOR.25 24"/TTTA & OPHP VALVE
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Postby SteveinLA » Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:14 pm

I drain my "shop air" compressor once a year, whether it needs it or not. I had never heard of draining the tank until one of my friends told me that it needed to be drained after each use. :shock: Hmm. So, four, or five years after I bought my compressor, I opened the valve and some rusty water came out, but not as much as I was led to believe. Maybe it's because I live here in L.A.? Mine is a 33 gallon, twin cylinder, 5hp, 220 unit that definitely uses oil. I really like my compressor.

My friend has had his oil less compressor for twelve years and has had really good luck with it. I was expecting it to suffer diaphram failure. It has proved to be a better design than I thought it would be.

Oh hey, it's January, time to drain the tank again. :wink:
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Postby eddieirvine » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:07 pm

Luker my compressor is not oiless I see no reason or think I have seen post on it working fine for the shoebox if you have a filter set up for moister which everyone should no question about tha,t I am going to guess oil or oilless is fine to use for the shoebox, I can buy an oilless but see no reason to I allready have a fairly new shop compressor that works just fine! Thanks Roach when I posted I thought it was you posting on the oil leaks budt was lurker, I guess I just seen some of your post and thought about you how is yours running Roach working up to par? And your lurker good as expected?
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Postby LURKER #1 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:59 pm

Eddie,
I was thinking (assuming) that the big compressors that use oil may have more like a gasoline motor piston. They may put out some oil with the air and I assumed that could be dangerous if feed to the ShoeBox 3000/4500 PSI compressor. We know that when the piston rings wear out an engine puts out smoke from the burning oil.
You might want to use a visible water/oil trap inline before the ShoeBox.
It may just be a legal issue but the difference between the shop compressors 150 PSI and the 3000/4500 PSI of the ShoeBox is easily enough compression to create a diesel effect.
CONDOR CONVERTED .22 TO.177 12" TT barrel - Quiet Yard Work up to 50 yards
TT AAA CONDOR.25 24"/TTTA & OPHP VALVE
Hawke Scopes Nite-Eye 4-16x50 & Tactical 8.5-24x42 WOK BUTTs
ShoeBox 4500 Compressor - REG'd +Teth'd Guppy & Grt.White
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Postby dollarhunt » Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:30 am

i have to assume that there is a good reason why Tom recommends an OILESS compressor- filtered or not. and i have always drained my shop compressor after every use- again if the manufacturer recommends it, it is probably for a good reason. i guess i am just obsessive-compulsive but i tend to take manufacturers recommendations seriously.
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Postby eddieirvine » Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:35 am

Lurker and Dollar you are probaby right but I thought I read a post where he said either will work but like you said it does leave one to think about the oil and pistons in a compressor, and for the price of a new oiless compressor taking a chance is probably not a good thing! and like you said there is a reason he states oiless compressor. I"m sure that is the reason for using one! Well you guys get it all sorted out and let me know I have some wait for mine I am on the list as of DEC 16 like alot did with the word of a price increas so time will tell, they certainly will be busy people building shoe boxes :shock: :shock:
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