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A place to discuss different tools we use to keep our cars running.

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 #365362  by M-Pressive
 
Hey everyone,

I have been spending some time upgrading the garage where M-Pressive is stored and I think it is time to get an air compressor.

What should I look for when making a decision on what to buy?

Seems like there are a few different types and I am looking for something that is pretty much maintenance free.

Thanks in advance!
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 #365365  by paintballdude05
 
What are you looking to do with it? Any painting? What kind of air tools? Budget? With air compressors usually the bigger the better but you have to make sure you have enough power available to feed it. Most larger compressors are 230v and 15a+.
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 #365369  by Sneke_Eyez
 
We should chat.

It kind of depends on what you want it for, but I don't know that I see the point in getting a big one especially when mine lives 12 minutes from you.

I would buy a medium sized one from Harbor Freight or from Craigslist and then borrow mine when you need a bigger one.

I need it surprisingly less often then you might think, especially now that I have that battery powered Craftsman Impact Gun.
 #365373  by user97
 
My experience -- I use it for air tools only.

I initially started with a 7 gallon HF compressor that I bought for $99. Was adequate for what I was doing. When we moved, it was not worth paying movers to move 3 year old compressor as the cost of moving it would have been $100 (due to weight). So I gave away that to my parents and bought a new 21 gallon HF unit for $129.

My experience with HF compressors:

1) A lot of them a bad out of the box -- with the 7 gallon unit, the first one I bought had a leaking tank (bad weld). I took it back to the store the same day and got the replacement that still serves my parents. With the 21 gallon units, the first one had bad weld (leaking), took that back, the second one would not start, so took that one back, the third one refused to restart when hot, and the 4th time was the charm -- still works great 6 months later.

2) They are NOISY -- again, for occasional use it does not really matter.

3) 21 Gallon tank is OK for running air tools, etc. I am replacing the subframe on one of the Pacificas due to rust, and one of the bolts just would not budge. So I got a 1" impact to break it loose -- to run the impact I had to get an 11 gallon portable tank to add in series to the compressor so that I could get some run time. On the plus side, the 1" impact broke the bolt loose within a second (2500 ft/lb). My 25" breaker bar or the 900 ft/lb impact could not budge it. I was afraid to push the breaker bar too far as I could feel the bolt twisting and I did not want to break it off. Did not need the supplementary air tank in hind-sight -- I needed just 1 second of run time to get the bolt loose :)
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 #365376  by adu1982
 
HF also has the portable impact gun...pretty nifty and only 100$ i think.

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 #365384  by Sneke_Eyez
 
HF makes a great 1/2'' air impact gun called the Earthquake which I have had great luck with.

I've never owned one of their compressors.

I have three Campbell Hausfelds.
One wheeled at my mom's, one pancake that was my grandfather's that is close to useless, and my bigger one that I forget the size of...
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 #365386  by LUNAT1C
 
The compressor I bought at HF last year I think is a 21 gallon oiled unit. They're supposed to be quieter, but obviously not maintenance free. You can get the oil-less version to be maintenance-free, but that is more expensive. I bought it to do lens etching (which I never did), but it should run basic air tools as well. It's on wheels so I can move it around the garage. Right now it sits in between the Specials in the back of the garage next to a stack of Jeep wheels and tires.

So far I've used it once to air up my Jeeps tires. Partway through it shut off and wouldn't turn back on. I think the safety was triggered somehow. I was able to get it back running again. I might buy an impact to use it with, however I have an electric impact that I still haven't used. I bought it to help install the suspension lift kit on my Jeep, and wound up not using it because I didn't have any metric impact sockets... I should probably do something about that...

This year I want to use it more to make sure that random no-start situation was just a fluke. I think Nick used it to air up his Renegade's tires without any issues.
 #365390  by user97
 
I have HF Earthquake air ratchet, 1/2" impact and now 1" -- they are great.
User avatar
 #365391  by M-Pressive
 
Thanks for all the replies!

I am mainly looking for something that speeds up things like swapping rims and using other air tools.

No need to have the ability to paint.

Maybe I just go with an impact gun and call it a day.
 #365397  by user97
 
I started out with an electric impact years ago -- the versatility of an air impact makes it a lot more useful. The electric impacts are either too big to be useful or too bulky to fit/heavy to handle. In retrospect, I wish I went for the airtools from the start. Pullying rusty bumper re-enforcement bolts on my Pacifica would have taken 30 mins by hand -- less than 3 with an air impact. Kind of changes my approach to the project -- I don't mind taking things off just to see if it will give me more clearance and thus speeds up work. Which is very helpful as I have little time these days...


To clarify -- I have HF's 21 gallon oiled compressor (not maintenance free), 125 PSI max...
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 #365402  by Sneke_Eyez
 
M-Pressive wrote:Thanks for all the replies!

I am mainly looking for something that speeds up things like swapping rims and using other air tools.

No need to have the ability to paint.

Maybe I just go with an impact gun and call it a day.
See, then I'm telling you, just a small compressor for filling tires and a battery impact gun.

Any time you need something larger you can borrow my beast or come over to my house.
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 #365410  by LUNAT1C
 
I agree with Ryan. A simple compressor, don't even need an air tank, to fill tires plus a good electric impact to swap wheels and work on suspension. I carry a tankless air compressor from HF in my Jeep that I use to air up my tires after a day on the trails. Take about 2 minutes to take each tire from 15 PSI to 34 PSI. Only think I don't like is it's powered directly off the battery via clamps, no cigarette lighter plug. Not a big deal though. A friend of mine who carries a CO2 tank for tire refills is surprised how quick it works and that it doesn't overheat.
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 #365414  by remi
 
Please don't laugh guys ;)

I bouth a homemade one... For 10 bucks! Tank is like 10gal, and has a fridge compressor... I only needed a pressure regulator and a set of tools and hose.
It is slow as hell to fill up but it holds 8 bars of pressure with no problem. It is good for filling up tires or blowing dust away. I'm also about to use it for soda blasting (first tries were successful).
However running impacts was a huge fail, because of its slow airflow. I think the hose is more to blame than the compressor itself. I now use an electric impact gun...

Sent from mTalk
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 #365416  by paintballdude05
 
Sneke_Eyez wrote:See, then I'm telling you, just a small compressor for filling tires and a battery impact gun.

Any time you need something larger you can borrow my beast or come over to my house.
This.

I don't have good power in my shop so I just have a small pancake compressor. I usually just break the lugs with a bar and pull the lugs off and install them with my Rigid battery operated impact. It's easier to use the battery impact since it doesn't have any hoses attached. The downside is it doesn't have the power of an air power impact.
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 #365424  by 300maximilien
 
http://m.harborfreight.com/air-tools/ai ... 61454.html

We've had this one for about 4 years now. Works perfectly for impact gun and air tools. Can be had for $149ish when they run the coupon.

Tyler has even done some smallbparts painting with it. Haven't tried large paint jobs yet.
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 #365448  by user97
 
300maximilien wrote:http://m.harborfreight.com/air-tools/ai ... 61454.html

We've had this one for about 4 years now. Works perfectly for impact gun and air tools. Can be had for $149ish when they run the coupon.

Tyler has even done some smallbparts painting with it. Haven't tried large paint jobs yet.
That is the one I had -- I got it for $129 with coupon.
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 #365452  by adu1982
 
Thats the one ive been looking at. More then suitable....if you look at reviews people have used it with success for more stuff than its rated...

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 #365453  by adu1982
 
Ive also been looking at this smaller one.....since honestly i have florida cars and i dont work on them under a time crunch anymore....or i wont have too...:)
http://m.harborfreight.com/8-gal-2-hp-1 ... 68740.html

Lowest i thinks is at 99$ with coupon....or 20% is a bit cheaper to that.

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 #365461  by JTROANOKE
 
For those who are looking for a small portable compressor in the 100 dollar range Lowe's usually has a 6 gallon Porter Cable. I have one and it works well. Pumps to 150 so the time between refills is longer than the usual 125 psi compressor.
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 #365507  by sparky99
 
So, when we moved into the house we live in, I told the wife i needed air. so, I purchased a small air compressor. 60 gallon upright 220v single stage. Ok, its not small. But I do a lot of work out of my garage. Keith, I'd definitely recommend a smaller oil less one. they can be had fairly cheap and even though they are a little noisy, they will be fairly trouble/maintenance free.