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Technical dirty air compressor tank

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Texas57, Mar 28, 2020.

  1. The pipes and inside of my 60 gallon air compressor tank are covered with a thick oily film. I'm pretty sure it came from a pump I replaced a few years back. Of course I don't know for sure, but my guess is it's not from the replacement pump. I figure I can clean the pipes out easy enough, but what about the tank? More specifically, does it really matter, is it possible to get clean-enough-for- painting air from a tank that's coated with oil?
    If I were a younger man, I'd strip the pump and motor off and put 5 gallons of degreaser/solvent in it and roll it around.

    This is one of my stay at home virus related projects.........installing a condenser system when I found the oily residue on the old pipes.
     
  2. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 2,616

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    IMO if you have an in line oil seperator, moisture filter, and clean hoses with a dessicant filter on the gun , you shouldn't have a problem. My 1950's Bink's setup still works fine ..
     
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  3. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 1,377

    ekimneirbo
    Member
    from Brooks Ky

    You might get a cheap Harbor Freight pump or sump pump and hose and clamps. Cobble up something to cycle/recycle some kind of cleaning fluid through your pipes. Then fix the pump so it can draw fluid from the bottom of the tank and dump it back in the top with the tank full. Do that several times replacing the fluid each time till it's clean. Then get some cheap or left over paint and see what it does. Might want to soak the air Chuck in some cleaner too. I would think about a new air hose too.
     
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  4. Mr T body
    Joined: Nov 2, 2005
    Posts: 2,153

    Mr T body
    Alliance Vendor
    from SoCal

    You probably have a large bung on the side of the tank (maybe at the pipe out). I would remove the pipe and bung, use a garden sprayer with simple green or purple power and spray the inside of the tank with the wand. Re-apply a few times, replace the bung/pipe and fire it up. Open the drain and close it when the cleaner is gone. I would think you'd be good to go from there.
     
    seb fontana, Algoma56 and Texas57 like this.

  5. A 2 B
    Joined: Dec 2, 2015
    Posts: 110

    A 2 B

    My 5hp, two stage compressor has been in place since 1984. I have never cleaned out my 80 gal tank but I have always used a self draining valve. I don't hold air pressure when its not in use, so after being shut down everything just drains out. I figure whatever oil is left is just corrosion protection for the steel tank. I do have a rather elaborate system for removing moisture and any oil residue downstream though. It works extremely well. No water or oil problems when blasting or painting.
     
    Texas57 likes this.
  6. Thanks for the suggestions. I like ekimneirbo's idea of filling the tank with cleaner and cycling with a sump pump. I think it would do a more thorough job than trying to spray areas you can't get to.
    A few things I'll have to work thru on that. Obviously a water based cleaner because solvent based can't be thinned with anything cheap enough to warrant the expense. 5 gallons of simple green mixed with 50 gals water shouldn't be too bad, but I'll check. Next problem would be to figure out how to dispose of 60 gallons of dirty (oily) cleaner. I already have a sump pump but would have to make fittings. I'll compare all those costs and labor with just buying a new tank.
     
  7. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 2,616

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    I know of body shop compressor tanks have been running since the late 60's with nothing more than minor repairs / maintainance done who are experiencing no trouble....
     
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  8. A 2 B
    Joined: Dec 2, 2015
    Posts: 110

    A 2 B

    Exactly, There will always be oil and water accumulation even if it is cleaned out. I maintain it regularly by changing the oil, filters, etc. and have replaced a few pressure switches, belts and not much else. I would concentrate on just making sure the oil & water does not remain accumulated in the tank and any further efforts be directed downstream.
    Last summer I took the time to run new copper line from the air compressor. The compressor is outside the garage in an insulated, sound reducing enclosure, on the shaded north side. The tank has a self draining valve for removing water. It just drains into a pan. I used a length of rubber through the wall of the garage to eliminate any vibrational effects.
    I do a lot of sand/abrasive blasting in an outside structure and do all my own painting. These pictures will illustrate how I achieved zero moisture in two separate airlines. One line has a filter, automatic oiler. regulator combo and is water free for air tools, the other is oil free and moisture free using a Motor Guard Submicronic Filtration Unit, desiccant water separator and a regulator.
    I used 'type L' 3/4" copper which is a lot heavier. There are 4 upright runs with water traps at the bottom. I have not gotten so much as a drop past the second upright. This was built on the bench and then put in place. A lot of soldering that took a few hours to complete but well worth the cost and effort.
    There is nothing worse than having a spray gun spit out water or clog blasting equipment with moisture. This solved that problem.
    Sorry for the long post, just sharing what I know to work great for a home shop and reiterating my lack of concern for any oil in the tank. DSC05541.JPG DSC05544.JPG DSC05540.JPG
     
    Texas57 likes this.
  9. I did find out the simple green wasn't doing to much to clean out the pipes.........it needs a physical wiping, which obviously can't happen. I tried some mineral spirits and it took the heavy coating off with just a minute or so of agitating.
    Thanks again for the replies. I'll post some pics of what I'm doing as soon as I can figure out again how to download them from my iphone.
     
  10. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 1,377

    ekimneirbo
    Member
    from Brooks Ky

    There is a place here locally that specializes in second level paint products and they sell 5 gallon cans of laquer thinner that is just for cleaning spray guns.......not painting. Don't know how much they are these days but I used to pay about $40 for a can. Don't know if you have any similar places near you.

    Also, there is a guy who sells parts from warranty return air compressors. He operates out of a local flea market here and sells almost like new tanks for $60/60 gallon and $80/80 gallon. You might check around on your local area and put an ad on craigslist/facebook and see if anyone knows someone selling tanks.

    You know I kinda like the suggestion Mr T Body made about removing the bung. You could hook the sump pump up to respray what you are putting in thru the removed bung and use a few jugs of simple green then flush with water.
     
    Texas57 likes this.

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