Changing garage air compressor oil

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by cb1313, Apr 14, 2013.

  1. cb1313

    cb1313 Adventurer

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    My compressor needs and oil change (5 years old) . Single cylinder 50 gallon tank. What oil do I use ?

    Thanks for any info Cb
    #1
  2. ChromeSux

    ChromeSux Plated and screwed

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    Tractor Supply and those type places sell air compressor oil.
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  3. S2P

    S2P Been here awhile

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    Any 30 weight non detergent oil will work. I usually use Wolfs Head but its hard to find sometimes. I think Mobil makes Rarus compressor oil,it has been around for a long time. You just don't need all the additives they put in combustion engine oils.
    #3
  4. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    If you have the manual, there should be a schedule in hours of run time. Been a long time but our large DeVilbiss were 300 Hrs.That was twice a year I had to climb up there and do that.:eek1

    That was well before Synthetic compressor oils......check the Amsoil website and see what they have to say about their synthetic. You may never have to change it again.:wink:
    #4
  5. Jamming

    Jamming Desert RAT

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    I just use the air compressor oil that Lowes sells. It's just 30 WT but I was in there, saw it, and bought it.
    I use my compressor a lot and change the oil yearly.

    Here's a tip: when I change the oil, I use a permanent marker and write on the compressor tank, when I changed it, what oil I used and how much I put in. Never a doubt as to when I need to do it again.
    #5
  6. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Long timer

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    I bought a gallon of compressor oil from a local air compressor shop a few years back along with some air filters. All manufacturers specs.

    Last year I was talking with my father and he stated he had never changed the oil in his compressor (and I know it is going on 25 years old). I went to the local Northern Tool dealer and got him a quart of compressor oil.

    Years ago I helped out in a Dive shop. Ran the compressor, filled tanks, hooked up for some discounted trips. For that we used an oddball speciality synthetic compressor oil. That came from a speciality supplier.

    In all those cases it has always been air compressor oil. I am sure motor oil will work, it is just a couple pistons in a bore and a crankshaft. But the contamination factor is different. Most compressors for home use will never see temps anywhere near what a car engine does. Moisture contamination would be the biggest difference I can think of. I am sure the additive package in compressor oil is a bit different then a car engine oil. Finding generic air compressor oil isn't that hard. Good tool shops will have it. Sears will have it. Wal-mart won't have it. Local auto parts stores might be able to get it, NAPA is the only one around me that I would expect to have it (old store that caters to the farmers). You could always order it from McMaster-Carr or Amazon.
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  7. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    Meh. I have leftover 5w-30 mobil 1 in my little compressor. It hasn't blown up yet.

    FWIW, Amsoil's website lists a a synthetic compressor oil if you are going to be picky.
    #7
  8. GasGas300

    GasGas300 Been here awhile

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    last time I changed mine, Clinton was in office - first term!
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  9. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Long timer

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    At least it has been changed once
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  10. rgoers

    rgoers Been here awhile

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    Mine hasn't... going on 20 years old by now. Never thought to change it, I guess. For a cheapo Northern Tool unit, it's held up quite well over the years.

    Now, excuse me... I need to go change my compressor oil...
    #10
  11. stainlesscycle

    stainlesscycle Long timer

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    i changed it in my speedaire 2 stager when rebuilt 15 years ago. the piece of shit campbell hausfield 50 gallon unit does not deserve oil. when it dies i will be happy.
    #11
  12. Jayrod1318

    Jayrod1318 Poster

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    Unless you are running the thing all day everyday i really doubt you could get the oil out of spec. It does'nt get way blazing hot and there is very little shearing action going on.

    Most the old oil I've seen come out of compressors looks fine but might have a bunch of very fine metal in it.

    Change it if it makes you feel better about yourself. :evil

    The ingersol v-twins at work that run all day everyday get changed about every 6 months, Probably overkill.

    Air filter is the most important thing, a clogged filter makes the unit run longer to reach desired pressure and wastes energy.
    #12
  13. Benesesso

    Benesesso Long timer

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    My 3HP 2 cyl. single stage cast iron compressor was very slow to start with the usual 30 wt compressor oil when cold--meaning below ~50F here in Phoenix.

    Dumped it and refilled with some 2 1/2 wt. fork oil I had. End of problem. Been running fine now for a few years.
    #13
  14. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Long timer

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    Last time I ran oil that light was on a home made jet engine. regular motor was too thick and would stall the engine. Light weight fork oil worked fine. Eventually lost the bearings in the turbo. But that was due to overheating the oil, melting down the fuel pump innards (used as an oiling pump) and starving the turbo by accident.

    A lot of this stuff is simply that any oil is better than no oil. Not like an air compressor is running on the ragged edge or that it is built to exacting tolerances. This stuff is pretty crude and lightly stressed (at least compared to combustion engines). Just about anything will work, just some stuff is probably a little better suited then other stuff.
    #14