View Full Version : is my compressor malfunctioning?
06-21-2009, 01:17 PM
i have a new porter cable single-stage oillube compressor for my plasma cutter...this is my first compressor so i'm trying to figure out if this is normal: in playing with the air gun, every time i pull the trigger i get an initial mist of oil...is it normal for there to be oil in the line like that? i've drained the unit about five times now and every time i do, there's oil coming out the drain plug...new, clean oil. this mist is definitely NOT water...it is definitely oil.
i haven't put on a filter yet...i want to be sure i don't have a defective unit before i go and do that...
so is this normal or is there something wrong with my unit?
06-21-2009, 02:41 PM
It's normal for there to be SOME oil, yes. Nature of the beast. It's usually no problem, in fact it's good, for most air tools. But you will need to filter it out for a lot of painting and other applications like plasma cutters.
I've never seen enough oil that I see it coming out of the drain plug, though.
06-21-2009, 03:12 PM
It is not unusual for some oil to get by the rings, but it shouldn't be much. You may see a little in the condensate and a little carried over in the air, but it shouldn't be much unless there is a problem. If you are seeing a little milkiness to the condensate, that is common. If you see solid oil or oil drops in suspension, that is probably excessive.
Generally the worst in the first few hour of operation, as the rings seat in. Like with automobile engines, this is less of an issue than 30 years ago, as the materials and fit tend to be MUCH better these days.
If the wrong oil is used, you may get excessive oil past the rings, as well.
If the oil control ring is misfit, damaged, or missing, you will get a LOT of oil.
The guide I use is that if I need to add oil between scheduled changes, consumption is excessive. Scheduled changes? There should be a schedule in the owners manual. (not to say I haven't had a few machines where a full sump worth or more would get dumped in over time. Sometimes it isn't practical to do the repair when you would like to)
You might try calling the manufacturer ASAP about this, and document the time and day, who you talk to, etc, so if the response isnt reasonable, or if there is a further problem, you can refer back.
Note that excessive oil carryover is a serious safety risk. It can coke up and combust, and form an explosive mix in the reservoir that can explode. It will also gum up the valves, and may lead to overheating of the pump.
06-21-2009, 05:47 PM
Did the unit come with oil already in the crankcase? If so, perhaps it was transported or stored upside down or on its side, despite the "UP" arrows on the box. This could cause the oil to migrate slowly around the rings. That should correct itself soon enough...but I'd replace the hose with a new one after it does before I used it for a Plasma Cutter.
...You didn't overfill the oil, did you?:confused:
06-21-2009, 06:35 PM
well, since i wrote the initial post, four or five more times i've let it get up to 125psi and then opened the drain to spray out whatever might be in there. i'd say there's a few teaspoons worth of oil in the pan i've drained it into, and mostly water/condensate...so i'm thinking maybe there was a bunch of oil in there right from the start for whatever reason? it seems to be getting better, anyway...
i'll call porter cable tomorrow...
will one of those standard filters like a milton take care of small amounts of oil? i have a motorguard filter on the plasma cutter end, but i need to get the oil out before the air gets to that filter...i don't want to be swapping filter elements every day.
Hotfoot: i don't remember if it came with oil (i bought it last fall and only went through the break-in procedure, then hadn't touched it until the other day.)..i know the manual says they DON'T ship them with oil, but i don't remember ever adding any oil and it appears to be full...
06-21-2009, 10:26 PM
You remove water oil mist with a Coalescing filter. Cooling air before coalescing filter condense more water vapor into aerosols the coalescing filter can remove. Motorguard is one brand of coalescing filter.
Filtering at plasma cutter lets you filter out contaminates from hose and piping.