SilverFleet UberDork
6/13/16 8:51 a.m.

Right now I have a 20 gallon Craftsman 4.5hp horizontal compressor that looks like this:

It's not bad, but I think the power switch might have crapped out yesterday. It also loves to trip breakers and is stupid loud.

I was chatting with my neighbor yesterday, and he was showing off his new 80 gallon shop compressor. Then he asked if I wanted his old one. He has an old Speedaire that sorta looks like this:

Now, his is a little different. He somehow frankensteined a second tank underneath it which adds another 20-30 gallons, and somehow, it all works. It's leaking a little at a few of the joints, but that can be fixed easily. He also said that it needed a new head gasket, and he replaced it before buying his new setup. He thinks it will draw less than my current unit and won't trip breakers as much. It also seems to be a little quieter. He wants $20 for it.

Pros: Less breaker tripping, holds more air than my current setup, old stuff is cool, only $20!

Cons: It's frankensteined together, it needs minor work, it takes up more space than my current setup

Are these things any good? Am I nuts for even considering this thing?

RossD UltimaDork
6/13/16 9:06 a.m.

For $20, just buy it.

rslifkin HalfDork
6/13/16 9:16 a.m.

At that price, it's worth grabbing. If it's an oil-type compressor instead of oil-free like your Craftsman, it'll almost certainly be quieter.

TRoglodyte UltraDork
6/13/16 9:44 a.m.

The pressure switch is worth more than $20. I'm in the buy it now camp.

SilverFleet UberDork
6/13/16 10:43 a.m.

The thing that makes me hesitant is the weird dual tank setup he rigged up. The bottom tank is a 25-30 gallon Craftsman tank, and I saw some paint peeling and possible evidence of rust. I don't feel like having the tank explode in my garage. I would think that I can convert it back to a single tank setup pretty easily with some pipe fittings.

rslifkin HalfDork
6/13/16 10:50 a.m.

You can always change the tank setup (or just use the compressor and get a new tank to use with it).

motomoron SuperDork
6/13/16 1:10 p.m.

Get the Speedaire! American made, oil bath lubricated, quiet, run forever...

In all likelihood Grainger still sells parts for it. Go over all the plumbing on it and reseal everything, a head gasket is easy, change the oil and plumb the secondary tank down stream from it so you can use the compressor w/o it if you want to roll it around.

Grtechguy MegaDork
6/13/16 1:33 p.m.

I'd like to know more about using a separate tank. Any low buck ideas for something in the 60+ gallon range?

sachilles UltraDork
6/13/16 1:36 p.m.

Just add another tank inline, make sure it has it's own drain.

SilverFleet UberDork
6/13/16 2:45 p.m.

Well, it sounds like I should get it, so I will.

Even if it's more of a project, at $20, it sounds like a deal. Even though I really wanted a vertical setup, at this price I can find a vertical tank and use this pump and motor.

Bonus: I also found this thread over at Garage Journal about ancient compressors. Some cool stuff in there.

dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/13/16 5:05 p.m.

@ $20 it is spare parts for some project that happen to be in the form of a compressor. Do it!!!!

bigdaddylee82 SuperDork
6/13/16 7:23 p.m.

I gave $30 for mine, only time I've successfully talked down a Pawn Shop. It helped that it wouldn't build more than 40 PSI when I tried it out at the store.

Mine's old, but Grainger had parts, it had ~1/4" of dirt on top of each piston when I pulled the head off. Over the years I re-ringed the pistons twice, and put new bearings on the crank once. Bearings were cheaper through McMaster than the "actual" bearings sold for it.

Just last week, I finally put a NOS pump on it, the original was finally so worn out, there was no honing/re-ringing it again. I found a Campbell Hausfeld pump that's part number crossed as a superseded replacement for the original pump on Amazon. It was almost a direct replacement, I had to do some new plumbing, but the mounting pattern, and shaft were spot on.

Mine doesn't have dual tanks, but is a bit of a Heinz 57, it's got an "aftermarket" Load Genie check/unloader valve, the pressure switch/tank gauge is off my first Crapsman oilfree POS, larger wheels, rubber feet, I put a 20 Amp toggle switch and indicator light on it so I can see if it's on from far away, and finally the most important, is a "hand laid flame" paint job.

BrokenYugo UltimaDork
6/13/16 7:49 p.m.

Even if the tanks are scrap that's worth more than $20.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
10/14/19 5:06 p.m.

3 year NecroBump...

So, I was out working on my Power Wagon, and my neighbor came over and we started chatting. I was telling him how I was having trouble running my MAC Tools DA Sander with my Craftsman compressor, and he reminded me that I never grabbed that Speedaire from him 3 years ago. He's been using his big shop compressor for over 3 years now, and this was just taking up space, so he just gave it to me. Score, I think?

Here it is:

I can't tell exactly what model it is because the model info tag wore off, but it's gotta be 50 years old or so. It's one of their industrial models, and can be wired for 110v or 240v. It's a 2 cylinder 2HP pump. He has an auxillary tank connected to it, as you can see, and it's easily removable. He set it up that way so he could fill the 2nd tank and toss it in the back of his pickup if he needed portable air. It fills both tanks no problem, but it takes a little while. It's a little loud, and I suspect that's because it's low on oil. It's also got some exterior rust , but I'm pretty sure both tanks are cast, as these are heavy as a mofo! We let both tanks fill up to 150psi or so, and we didn't die, so there's that. It needs new power cords for the motor and regulator, a new belt, an e-clip for the pressure valve, and a good ge-grossing.

At best, it's a replacement for my Craftsman compressor. At worst, I can scrap it. I can't lose!

1988RedT2 UltimaDork
10/14/19 8:44 p.m.

In reply to Tony Sestito :

Nice!  That pump is a thing of beauty!

93gsxturbo SuperDork
10/15/19 11:57 a.m.

Tanks are definitely welded FYI.  But yeah they are heavy.  Drain the 50 years of water out of them and I bet they get a little lighter.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
10/15/19 12:25 p.m.

In reply to 93gsxturbo :

Good to know. They are definitely heavier than my 20 gallon Craftsman, that's for damn sure! I'll be draining both and inspecting for damage before they get put to real use. The secondary red tank on the bottom is definitely in worse shape than the Speedaire one. I'm planning on separating the two for now anyway. I can always add a second tank if that one's beyond safe use.

bigdaddylee82 UltraDork
10/15/19 1:35 p.m.

I finally retired my old Speediare, mentioned above.  Probably <6 months after I put that NOS pump on it, the tank sprung a pinhole leak.  I considered welding it up, the FIL has managed to do that successfully without maiming anyone during or after, but the risk:reward was greater than I thought prudent.

I replaced it with a similar spec Porter Cable from TSC.  The old Speedaire is still eating up real estate in the garage, practically new compressor I need to find something to do with, thought I'd likely make a little smoker out of the tank.

akylekoz SuperDork
10/15/19 1:59 p.m.

I have a new pressure switch for shipping if anyone needs it.   Standard two wire four or five ports and adjustable window and limit.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
10/19/19 4:11 p.m.

A quick update:

I replaced the dry rotted plug wire, added a cap to the air line switch so it doesn't fly off when you switch it, and busted out the power washer to clean it up. The results:

The base of the Speedaire is welded to the lower tank, which is a Craftsman/Devilbliss 25 gallon tank from 1992 (found the service tag). After blasting it clean, the tanks both appear to be in much better shape than I thought.

Then there's the pump.

I topped off the oil in the pump, and it still makes a lot of noise. It knocks loud, but that might just be how these are. It's still quieter than my Craftsman! Compression is great, as it fills both tanks rapidly. Also, it's shooting oil out of this hole:

This would explain why everything was covered in oil and grime! I have no idea if there's supposed to be a plug here, but yeah, oil leaves that hole at a rapid pace and the pump wheel sends it flying everywhere. Not ideal.

Any suggestions?

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