I have a Curtis compressor with a 5 HP head, splash lubricated. I
installed an hour meter that measures actual motor run hours. My
question is, is there some guideline for oil changes based on motor
My rule on the compressor is once a year, as I don't rack up that many
hours. Of course, new= 1st 30 minutes. Since it only holds a qt or 2,
frequent changes will only help it last. No point trying to stretch it
out. In fact, I change the oil in my pressure washer pump after each
use(about 2 hrs), and every 2 uses on the motor. Every 25 hrs on my 10hp
genny. After every session on my home built log splitter. Excessive? For
some reason, they all perform like new several years going.
Dweller in the cellar
One thing I did on my stand up tank that sucks in water all of the time....
Live in rain and river area.
I left the bottom valve just a tiny bit open. Not that you can hear anything...
I went to empty it and it was dry. The tiny open with pressure leaks a little
all of the time - pushing out the water.
That is the start of my getting water out of my lines. I have a nice filter
section but this really helps them!
Martin H. Eastburn
@ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net
TSRA, Life; NRA LOH & Endowment Member, Golden Eagle, Patriot"s Medal.
NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder
IHMSA and NRA Metallic Silhouette maker & member.
Oil is cheap, dead machines are a pissoff...
I used to have a VERY fast Triumph Bonneville 650 motorcycle that I ran just
on the lean side.. I replaced the oil once a week (about every 10 hours)....
Friends were amazed at how long that motor lasted running that hot...
I own a Cessna 182... (think volkswagon on steroids for an engine).. It
get's new oil every 25 hours...
I don't run my compressor that much, It gets an oil change once a year...
probably in the 100 hour range...
I think that temperature is the crucial part of that equation. Cool oil
lasts a lot longer. Oil IS cheap but why waste money if it is perfectly
servicable and clean. How hot does the oil get? I strongly recomend
My old (junk yard) compressor head came with very clean, new oil. I didn't
change it right away, and regretted it.
Apparently, someone put a detergent motor oil in there, and within a couple
of weeks it was turning milky, then became syrupy thick from condensation
water over the next month of use.
It took draining for an hour and about three flushes with diesel fuel and
the air hose to get all the "gunk" out and replaced with proper compressor
oil. While I was at it, I fabricated a proper dipstick for it, because I
never trust my eyes on an old, foggy sight glass.
'Seems to run clean, now.
you must run with proper compressor oil.
since it sees none of the heat of an internal combustion engine and
none of the carbon blowby it should stay in good condition for ages.
if the oil goes milky and a replacement is not to hand just heat it up
to boiling point of water in a saucepan and simmer it for a while. all
the water will be evaporated off.
I'm following this thread because based on the answers so far my compressor
overdue for an oil change.
Compressor is a Curtis 3 x1 7/8 x 3 vertical two stage. The tank is dated
1946, and I have no
reason to believe the compressor is any newer. It sat up on a shelf in the
local Chevron station
and ran 6 days a week. I can remember seeing it there in 1958. I bought it
when they tore down
the station in around 1997. Been chugging along in my shop since then. It
had oil in it when I
bought it, still has the same oil. So I can personally guarantee that it
hasn't been changed in
10 years. Might be the original oil from 1946. Think it's overdue? The
oil still looks fine.
Yes, it's due - if you don't know when it was done last, change it.
If you can't find any other specs, I'd get some generic ISO 100
non-detergent compressor oil and have at it.
Then get a 240V hourmeter and hang it off the motor leads so you can
judge when it's due again.
Campbell-Hausfeld calls for 50 hour oil changes. Just did the first
at 20 hours.
I suggest adding a drain valve - pull the plug and let the oil go
everywhere the first time. Then put 1/4" pipe nipples and an elbow
aimed down, and a small ball valve, mounted so it's handle up when
open. (NO street ells unless you want to bore out the street end,
they have way too much restriction.) You can hang a little catch
bucket on the valve handle, and the future oil changes will be much
Take the plug that came out of the crankcase and put it in the end
of the oil drain valve as a safety stopper - you do NOT want that
valve to get opened accidentally, than have the compressor run without
oil till it seizes...