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Thread: Air Compressor Recommendations

  1. #1
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    Air Compressor Recommendations

    I've got a 18 (or so) gallon no-name compressor I bought 6 or 7 years ago at the local Auto Zone parts store. I don't recall the specs, but it's your average 120v oil-lubed hobbyist compressor with an 18 gallon (or so) horizontal tank on wheels. Definitely not for a production environment, but it's blown every time I've asked it to, so I figure I've gotten my money's worth for the $200 it cost. I use it primarily for blowing dust off things (including myself), and occasionally it powers my brad and pin nailers. I don't spray with it, since it's underpowered, plus I have a separate (cheapie) HVLP system that works great for my needs.

    This morning right before leaving to go to work I noticed oil has been leaking from the head of the compressor onto the tank. Not just a little, either. Aside from adding some more oil, I have no clue what to try to do to fix it, or if it'd even be worth trying to fix it. So the questions:

    Should I bother trying to find what's leaking trying to fix it? I'm guessing it's a blown seal, but I have no idea where I'd find a replacement. Any ideas? If I can't fix it, I'll probably just keep putting oil in it and run it until it seizes.

    If I decide to replace it, what would you recommend? As much as I'd like a nice big Ingersol-Rand standing in the corner of the shop, I don't have the money, 240v power, or space for that class of machine. I'm looking for something that'll drive small nailers and a blower nozzle, fit in a relatively small space, run on 120v power, and leave enough money in my wallet to buy LOML a little something for Christmas. The quieter the better. Any recommendations?

    TIA -
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  2. #2
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    Vaughn, the first thing I’d do is check/re-torque the head, maybe replace the head gasket.
    If you end up looking for a new compressor….sorry, I gotta recommend the IR. With the lathe, mill, TS, BS, etc, I was 220 challenged. I bought the 2hp 30 gallon horizontal (I’m space challenged too) and couldn’t be happier with it. It’s markedly quieter than my old Speed-Aire too.
    "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a
    friend...if you have one."
    --George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

    "Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second..if there is
    one."
    --Winston Churchill, in response




  3. #3
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    You maybe 220 and space challenged, but you got a really cool garage/shop, Bruce.

  4. #4
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    ditto what Burce said on trying to stop the leak...if you really want a "new" one, I've had good luck on craigslist.com, if you have one in your area. Test out before pay, but you can get some really good deals.

    Greg

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Mioux View Post
    You maybe 220 and space challenged, but you got a really cool garage/shop, Bruce.
    Thanks Joe
    "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a
    friend...if you have one."
    --George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

    "Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second..if there is
    one."
    --Winston Churchill, in response




  6. #6
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    Thanks guys. I checked it out a bit more tonight, cleaned up the dusty oil from the tank and wiped the dust off the oil level window, and as it turn out, it hadn't lost much oil. I tilted it back and forth a few times to confirm I was seeing the level move as expected, and it only ended up needing a few teaspoons of oil to get the level back up to the center of the dot.
    I'll be waiting to see what happens, and keep a close eye on the oil level, but I'll bet it'll keep running right along.

    That said, I did have a look at the IR offerings, and one in the class of Bruce's would be out of my reach cost-wise and hard to justify for my uses. (Love to have one, though. You've got a lot of other toys in your shop I'd like to have some day, too, Bruce.) For a compressor to tuck under the workbench though, this one looked pretty workable. It's not on wheels, but it is still mobile with a cast iron head. Anyone have any experience with it?

    And Greg, thanks for the Craigs List tip...I did have a look at it today, and if I get in the market for a compressor it'll be one of the places I'll be watching closely. (That's how I found my lathe...about a mile and a half from my house.)
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  7. #7
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    vaughn, invest in a motorguard toilet paper filter, keep the bolts tight, oil level up and put a few bucks aside as you`re able.......the darn thing might keep tickin` for 5-10 more years?.....with a filter in place you`ll not be blowing oil on stuff and hopefully you`ll be able to save for your last compressor........oh-yeah, i`m a quincy fan .......tod
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  8. #8
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    What Tod said and Change the oil every now and then!!!
    But if you gotta go new I'm with Bruce.
    I have the 5hp IR 60 Gal.
    Very cool.
    TJH
    Live Like You Mean It!!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyler Howell View Post
    What Tod said and Change the oil every now and then!!!
    But if you gotta go new I'm with Bruce.
    I have the 5hp IR 60 Gal.
    Very cool.
    TJH
    and make sure you get the right oil!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tod evans View Post
    vaughn, invest in a motorguard toilet paper filter, keep the bolts tight, oil level up and put a few bucks aside as you`re able.......the darn thing might keep tickin` for 5-10 more years?.....with a filter in place you`ll not be blowing oil on stuff and hopefully you`ll be able to save for your last compressor........oh-yeah, i`m a quincy fan .......tod
    Boy, Tod, I'm with you. The IR's are good compressors for sure, but I LOVE those old SLOW Turning Quincy's. They're quieter, and seem to last forever.

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