So yesterday, while I was changing the oil in my air compressor, I discovered the paint on the tank to my HF 2HP 8 gallon compressor was flaking off, all over, the handles, the brackets, the tank body itself, everywhere, now I don’t really care about cosmetics, this is a Harbor Freight compressor after all, but I do want to prevent rust, so I HAD to do something…
Out came the sanders, knocking the flaking paint off, sanding it all smooth, meant that I had to remove certain components to gain access…
Well during the whole removal process I managed to forget the difference between right and left, and snapped my regulator body.
Now I could have gone back to Harbor Freight, gotten a $10.00 regulator, screwed it all back together and been good… But there are things about this compressor that have ticked me off since day one.
Like the stupid petcock valve that they use for the tank drain. It just doesn’t work well… They used silicone sealant in the threads the seal the stupid thing, and an errant flap of silicone that is now in the tank tended to block the holes in the petcock at certain angles… So I managed to spend a few extra bucks, get some quality pieces, or at least better quality pieces and improve the function of my compressor…
I started by stripping the offending pieces off, sanding off any flaking, loose paint, or potentially loose paint, masking everything else off, priming and painting the tank using Duplicolor Universal Black Gloss. Now that it has cured in the 100 degree heat we have today, it is hard to tell it’s not OEM… I don’t care that i was in a hurry and had runs in the paint. It’s a HF compressor. Anyone will think that’s OEM!
Next I went about taking that dumb petcock valve out, cleaning the silicone out of the tank, and replacing it with a brass street elbow, treated with teflon tape, over to a 3” nipple, again teflon tape at both ends, and I ended up at a heavy duty brass ball valve to act as a dump valve. Sort of a miniature version of what we used in the auto repair world.
Next I went about installing a Husky 200 PSI 1/4” regulator. The body is much smaller than the HF unit, but the build quality seems to be much higher. Ratings on this unit seem much higher too… The only drawback is the orientation for the flow direction puts the gauge on the wrong side of the tank, or it puts the knob pointing down the tank where I can’t access it. I had to settle for pointing the gauge up, and the knob next to the OEM tank pressure switch / guague. It works pretty well there, I can fairly easily read both gauges when I need to. Some more teflon tape, a brass close nipple, a heavy duty ball valve, more teflon tape, and a Milton Quick connector complete the entire assembly.
Once I got it all together, I fired it up, ran it up to full pressure, and then regulated out to 90 PSI, which will go next down my HF Polyurethane hose to a second regulator with a filter / water separator, then on to my Hitachi Poly hose and to the tool in question.
The whole point for me for this weekend was to get some spraying done in the living room. I ended up trying to do the right thing by my compressor and OCD kicked in and here I am with diddly squat done projects wise. My wallet is around $50.00 lighter for a compressor that cost me about $80.00 new including the 2 year warranty, which putting that kind of funds into that sort of compressor seems dumb, but then again, this thing works VERY well now, and hey, if this sucker dies, I am stripping these good parts out of it and keeping them!
-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com