Air Compressor Problems - How To Stop Oil From Releasing Through The Hose


If you have an excavation business, then you likely have a variety of skid-steers, dozers, and other large pieces of heavy machinery. The machinery will have tires that need to be kept full of air at all times. Without the air, load capacity may be reduced, and you may find it more difficult to move heavy materials. To top up the air in the tires, you will need an air compressor. Air compressors typically work well with few issues, but you may need to do some troubleshooting on occasion. If you notice a significant amount of oil releasing from the hose of the compressor, then you will need to fix this issue so the oil does not have an opportunity to build up in your tires. Keep reading to understand where this oil is coming from and how you can fix the issue.

Oil And Your Air Compressor

Most air compressors are piston driven or positive displacement models that compress air and move it to a tank. Air is first drawn into the top of the piston chamber through the air inlet valve. Your air compressor will have either one or two pistons depending on the model. The pistons will move upward and compress the air. The air is then moved to the storage tank where it releases out the air hose when you are ready to fill your tires.

Since the pistons are moving parts, they require lubrication. This lubrication is provided with motor oil, and it splashes against the moving components as the pistons move. The pistons are fitted with rubber seals to help keep oil around the bottom of the piston while air sits on top. A tiny bit of oil will typically mix with the air, and the aerosol will be released out the air hose. Since so little oil will be mixed with the air, you probably do not notice it regularly. However, the oil will become noticeable when a larger amount enters the air storage tank and releases through the air hose. 

Fixing The Problem

If you notice a good deal of oil moving through the air hose, then you may need to simply change the oil. The oil in the compressor will thicken and become encrusted with debris, much like the oil in your car. When the oil thickens, it will not move as fluidly, and it will have an easier time slipping past the piston seals. If your air compressor seems to be vibrating more lately or if it has been making some grinding noises when the pistons are moving, then changing the oil will likely help the problem. 

You will need to locate the oil reservoir first. This reservoir is a sump or pit that sits near the pistons of the compressor. Typically, a small dipstick will allow you to check the oil in the reservoir. Look for the twist knob on the top of the oil reservoir. Twist off the cap, pull out the dipstick, and inspect the oil. If it is dark and thick, then an oil change is required. This is advisable as well if the oil is low and you have not changed the oil in some time. A small drain valve will sit on the bottom of the oil reservoir so the oil can be removed. Find the valve, place a small container underneath it, and remove the drain cap.

Once the oil has been drained, you will need to add new oil. Compressor oils are typically standard, so purchase one labeled for compressor use at your local home or automotive store. If possible, purchase a synthetic oil over a natural mineral oil. Synthetic oils do not break down as easily, and they remain fluid when exposed to a variety of different temperatures. Look in your compressor manual to see how much oil to add to the reservoir and pour it in.

After the oil has been changed, you will need to run the air compressor through several cycles until the oil trapped in the tank has been released. When you release the air out of the hose, hold the spray end against a piece of white paper. Move the nozzle from side to side. Exchange the paper with a clean one once it becomes dirty. Keep spraying until the paper appears mostly clean as air is sprayed against it. You can use your compressor normally again at this time. 

For more information and tips on compressor maintenance, contact a local supplier like Compressed Air Systems


4 May 2016

Renting The Right Equipment For Your Project

As a new homeowner, I remember looking at my landscaping and wishing for better things. In an effort to make the area beautiful, I borrowed a tractor from my friend and started moving land around. Unfortunately, since I didn't know what I was doing, the job took me a lot longer than it should have. Unfortunately, my mistakes also led to me having to hire someone else to finish the job. The goal of my site is to teach you how to rent the right equipment and tools for your next DIY project. You never know what you will want to tackle, but by using the right tool, everything will be more manageable.