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Thread: Finding Air Leaks in Your Compressor

  1. #1
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    Finding Air Leaks in Your Compressor

    I recently reworked the >> Air Station << for my compressor, and when I was all said and done, I figured out that I had leak somewhere, it was nothing big, took all night for the compressor to leak down. I first shut everything off in the shop that made noise, and listened, nothing, I also just felt around, as sometimes you can feel the air leak, nope, no go, so the next step is tiny bubbles

    I'm sure that most of you know this little trick, but as they say, a picture says a thousand words, so...........

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Gee..... think there is a leak there....

    Click image for larger version. 

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    A good crank on the valve, and then another spray, and no more leak!

    I put 1/3 dish washing liquid, and 2/3 water in a small spray bottle, and just spray on to each joint.

    Make sure you don't spray on the electrical parts of the compressor, and to be safe, I always unplug the compressor as well.

    Works like a charm!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  2. #2
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    ok stu now you got that one stopped,, what would you suggest for black pipe? i used the teflon stuff and the gray goop as well and on 1
    ' fittuns i had and still have some tiny leaks,, and i had tightened them down with pipe wrenchs... i would like ot be able to go and gob on something to stop it..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  3. #3
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    I use the same dish soap spray to find leaks on black pipe.

    I'd only use one thing on the pipe, not the teflon tape AND the gray goop.

    Most people use too much teflon tape, a good wrap is all that is needed on most pipe thread, as it is tapered and you can only tighten it so far before you can't tighten it any more.

    Sometimes, rarely, but it does happen, you get a poorly made fitting, and they will leak
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  4. #4
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    "I'd only use one thing on the pipe, not the teflon tape AND the gray goop."

    Ditto

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Cook View Post
    "I'd only use one thing on the pipe, not the teflon tape AND the gray goop."

    Ditto
    i DIDNT use teflon tape i used the gray goop and some of it had teflon in it for gas connections i think.. must be a bad fittun cause it did leak and still is with a redo and more gray goop and still leak with 24'" pipe wrench to tighten, maybe i am to weak to snug it up
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  6. #6
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    I used a similar method, but with a small paint brush for the soapy water instead. Works like magic, huh?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Cook View Post
    "I'd only use one thing on the pipe, not the teflon tape AND the gray goop."

    Ditto
    I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but I used teflon tape and teflon paste together on my stuff recently. This method was suggested to me by a friend who's a plumbing contractor specializing in higher-end stuff like hospitals and labs. (They do a lot of stainless steel piping installations.) I've always just been a tape guy, but I figured I'd give the dual-dope approach a try.

    Over on a Hotrod forum where I was researching compressors, several guys said I was nuts, and that nobody in their right mind uses teflon tape any more...just teflon paste. All I know is I had over 100 pipe joints in my system, and the only ones that leaked were the ones I only used tape on.

    Larry, on the fitting that's leaking, I'd suggest taking it apart and cleaning the threads real good, then re-dope it and see if that handles it.
    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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    I agree with Vaughn on cleaning the threads, and look for damage.

    For tape, you might want to try the stuff for gas pipes.....it is different than the white tape for plumbing. It just might do the trick on your connection.

    http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/items/4UK05

    Hey, stranger things have happened.....

  8. #8
    All the goop and tape in the world won't seal gnarly, rusty, used or abused threads. The pro's rule is, if you didn't take the factory plastic protective cap off the male threads, re-cut them. If a fitting has ever been used, re-tap it. Use a new, clean pipe tap in the female and a sharp, clean die on the male threads. If iron pipe fittings leak, the only sure cure is to disassemble the joint and re-cut both the threads. Marred, flattened pipes and bent pipe wrenches are signs of not knowing how. Good plumbers barely leave jaw marks on their work. If it has to be leaned on hard enough to really mar the pipe, something is not right.

    thnx, jack vines

  9. #9
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    Great info Jack!

    I have the 3/8" and 1/4" pipe taps, but I've yet to get the dies,they are expensive here.

    Cheers!
    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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    When I piped my old shop, I used black pipe and a cheap harbor freight pipe tap and die set. It really wasn't that hard to do.

    I had a few slow leaks, but I just put a good ball valve on the main outlet of the compressor and would shut the air off to the leaky pipes when I wasn't using it..
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


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