Compressor Burnout

A post about a smoking air compressor kicks of a discussion of quality characteristics of compressors, and whether they can be repaired. March 16, 2015

Question (WOODWEB Member) :
This can't be good. My 7HP Porter Cable compressor is running super hot and is smoking like mad. The oil level seems fine. Is this as dire as it seems?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor T:
Not if you can easily wheel it outside when it burst into flames. Otherwise it could be fatal. Itís time for a rebuild or a new one.



From contributor J:
Check your reed valves in your pump.


From the original questioner:
How do I check the reed valves on my pump?


From Contributor Y:
Itís bad. I have built/rebuilt about 100 piston compressors. Speed kills compressors (motors rpm). Cheaper compressors use a 3400 rpm motor and smaller pump. This allows the manufacture to squeeze out a higher cfm rating, but greatly lessens the pumps life. The steel and aluminum they use just canít take the fatigue the higher rpm causes. Your tank/motor controls are probably fine. I would suggest you invest in a new/used pump and a 1750 rpm motor. Things that make a good pump are a cast iron block/head, disc valves instead of clapper or slap type valves. Almost all USA made pumps use both iron blocks and disc valves. A real 5hp compressor is easily better than a pc 7hp.


From the original questioner:
I'm not going to put another PC pump in as I was kind of suspecting what you confirmed for me. So I'm looking for a vertical tank, single phase, two stage compressor.


From contributor G:
Chicago Electric is from Habor Freight. Chicago Pneumatic is a high quality company that has been around way longer than Habor Freight. Harbor Freight probably knows this and wants the mistaken association to be made (as it is here) to make their cheap tools sound better.