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"Built Dam Strong!"

12 September 2012

Compressor Crackdown

 Anthony (the owner of the garage I am moving my operations into), told me that his air compressor, that he inherited with the garage, didn't seem to be performing well at all. His impact gun couldn't even take off some wheel bolts from his Mercedes.

Here is the offending compressor:

Nothing crazy, but it certainly should be capable of running an impact gun.

The first thing I noticed was that the joints from the tank to the regulator body were LOOSE! Duh . . . I got some new teflon tape on the joints and tightened up:




Next thing is the quick coupler fitting:

The coupler is one of the most important parts of the whole air system, as it has to hold pressure and deal with hundreds or thousands of reconnects. The fitting was attached to a swivel, which is normally good, but, the swivel was of sub-par construction and really made the connection leaky and the material was actually causing wear on the threads of the connector. What a crock! So, as seen above, I connected it directly to the regulator housing.

Speaking of the regulator . . . there isn't one. It broke off a long time ago. We're going to have to get a replacement so we can dial back the pressure when needed. Many tools shouldn't be run at 125PSI. heh

The next issue was the compressor to tank connection:


The issue came from the copper connection pipe being completely mangled:

The dip in the tube came from someone tightening the connectors too much. When you have a compression fitting, you CANNOT crank the fittings together too much, or you will ruin the tube as the ferrule (the little collar thing that you slide over the tube to seal the fitting) destructively deforms the tube at the contact point.

How the heck do you fix this? You'll need a VERY good tube flaring kit like this:


What makes this such a good kit? Most kits you see will only have three pieces. A good kit will have replaceable tips such as these:


These tips allowed me to re-size the tubing from the inside, which allowed me to use new ferrules and seal those connections up enough so that the compressor holds most of it's pressure overnight, and correctly hit the cutoff pressure.

These issues are why I HATE compression fittings. I much prefer flared fittings, as they seal better, can be connected many more times and are easier to fit together. If you'll take my advice, NEVER use compression fittings.

Another thing fixed! OR at least fixed well enough to make the compressor useful. =)