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#2474552 - 12/27/11 07:11 PM Question about air compressor oil?
johnsmellsalot Offline


Registered: 07/02/11
Posts: 526
Loc: Texas
What is the difference between SAE 30 non detergent motor oil and 30 weight air compressor oil? I'm just wondering because the motor oil is cheaper.
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#2474553 - 12/27/11 07:14 PM Re: Question about air compressor oil? [Re: johnsmellsalot]
xxch4osxx Offline


Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1577
Loc: Cedarbrae, Ontario
I think the base oils are different in compressor oil. Some are silicone based, others aren't.
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#2474578 - 12/27/11 07:33 PM Re: Question about air compressor oil? [Re: johnsmellsalot]
widman Offline


Registered: 05/27/02
Posts: 3071
Loc: Bolivia
The basic non-detergent is suggested because the detergent will absorb moisture and the compressor never gets hat enough to evaporate it. So a non-detergent lets the moisture settle out where you can drain it and it can't get into working parts.

What you need is an ISO 100 R&O compressor oil. Should be available in a lot of brands/stores. And should be cheaper than motor oil.
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#2474873 - 12/27/11 11:26 PM Re: Question about air compressor oil? [Re: johnsmellsalot]
mechtech2 Offline


Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 19479
Loc: Chicago Area
I thought non detergent oil for lawnmowers and compressors was to make the oil 'stick' better to surfaces, and allow additives to work better.
As to heat, believe me, compressors get hot.

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#2474970 - 12/28/11 05:59 AM Re: Question about air compressor oil? [Re: johnsmellsalot]
Char Baby Offline


Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 7351
Loc: Rochester NY
Originally Posted By: johnsmellsalot
What is the difference between SAE 30 non detergent motor oil and 30 weight air compressor oil? I'm just wondering because the motor oil is cheaper.


John,
The replies posted thus far may be sufficient and I wouldn't know the answer to this question myself but, to broaden your viewers(if you haven't already), you may also want to post this same question in the "Lawn Mower/Small Engine" Section
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#2475988 - 12/29/11 04:22 AM Re: Question about air compressor oil? [Re: johnsmellsalot]
Char Baby Offline


Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 7351
Loc: Rochester NY
Maybe not!
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#2476015 - 12/29/11 06:39 AM Re: Question about air compressor oil? [Re: johnsmellsalot]
Mr_Joe Offline


Registered: 11/16/09
Posts: 369
Loc: Wisconsin
I bought a compressor & it came with some synthetic compressor oil. It was enough to fill it to the correct capacity. With the little bit required I'd just get the correct oil. I consider it something you fill and it's good to go for a fair amount of time.

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#2476116 - 12/29/11 08:50 AM Re: Question about air compressor oil? [Re: johnsmellsalot]
boraticus Offline


Registered: 04/19/09
Posts: 2548
Loc: Canada
Both of my compressors manuals specify Mobil 1 5W30.

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#2476161 - 12/29/11 09:37 AM Re: Question about air compressor oil? [Re: mechtech2]
exranger06 Offline


Registered: 01/25/08
Posts: 2616
Loc: Guilford, CT
Originally Posted By: mechtech2
I thought non detergent oil for lawnmowers and compressors was to make the oil 'stick' better to surfaces, and allow additives to work better.
As to heat, believe me, compressors get hot.


Additives? Non-detergent oil doesn't have any additives. And it's definitely not suitable for lawn mowers.
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#2476181 - 12/29/11 09:54 AM Re: Question about air compressor oil? [Re: boraticus]
Clevy Offline


Registered: 11/11/10
Posts: 7437
Loc: Saskatoon canada
Originally Posted By: boraticus
Both of my compressors manuals specify Mobil 1 5W30.

What? I own 11 gas powered air compressors. All honda's with either v-twin or inline twin pumps. They spec 5w-30 oil for the engines and non-detergent 10 weight for winter and non-detergent 20 weight for summer. And they all call for oil changes every 100 hours.
A 5w-30 will foam up in a compressor pump. I have seen it happen. And foamed up oil really doesn't lubricate well,does it.
Op. A non detergent oil is what you want. I switched over to amsoil's compressor oil due to it's cold flow properties in winter and it lasts longer.
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#2476205 - 12/29/11 10:09 AM Re: Question about air compressor oil? [Re: johnsmellsalot]
Clevy Offline


Registered: 11/11/10
Posts: 7437
Loc: Saskatoon canada
I don't know what the difference between the 2 oils are but if it's for an indoor use compressor either will work fine. If you are using it outside buy the thinnest oil you can find. Until the weather warms up anyway
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#2476730 - 12/29/11 08:25 PM Re: Question about air compressor oil? [Re: Mr_Joe]
johnsmellsalot Offline


Registered: 07/02/11
Posts: 526
Loc: Texas
I agree. Since the oil capacity is only 5 ounces and the oil change intervals are twice a year, I'm just going to use the compressor oil. It costs a little more than regular non detergent oil. Maybe the compressor oil has something that regular oil doesn't.

My compressor is a 21 gallon Central Pneumatic from Harbor Freight. It didn't come with oil so I drove to Sears and bought some Craftsman 30 weight compressor oil before firing it up.
Originally Posted By: Mr_Joe
I bought a compressor & it came with some synthetic compressor oil. It was enough to fill it to the correct capacity. With the little bit required I'd just get the correct oil. I consider it something you fill and it's good to go for a fair amount of time.
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1999 Buick Century 180,000 miles (first car)
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#2477122 - 12/30/11 08:52 AM Re: Question about air compressor oil? [Re: Clevy]
boraticus Offline


Registered: 04/19/09
Posts: 2548
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Clevy
Originally Posted By: boraticus
Both of my compressors manuals specify Mobil 1 5W30.

What? I own 11 gas powered air compressors. All honda's with either v-twin or inline twin pumps. They spec 5w-30 oil for the engines and non-detergent 10 weight for winter and non-detergent 20 weight for summer. And they all call for oil changes every 100 hours.
A 5w-30 will foam up in a compressor pump. I have seen it happen. And foamed up oil really doesn't lubricate well,does it.
Op. A non detergent oil is what you want. I switched over to amsoil's compressor oil due to it's cold flow properties in winter and it lasts longer.


This is the excerpt from my air compressor operators manual:

"For this compressor, use 250 mL / 8.4 oz of ISO100 (SAE 30), non-detergent compressor oil, or Mobil 1 5W30 synthetic.
Do not use regular automotive oil such as 10W-30. Additives in regular motor oil can cause valve deposits and reduce pump life. For maximum pump life, drain and replace oil after the first hour of run time."

I chose Mobil 1 5W30 because my compressors are kept in unheated garages. Makes them easier to crank up in winter. With the original straight 30 oil, they were very hesitant to turn over at below zero temps. Now they spin up right away.

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#2477525 - 12/30/11 03:02 PM Re: Question about air compressor oil? [Re: boraticus]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 7312
Loc: Buffalo, NY
I've always used what ever oil I had in the garage the few times I've had to fiddle with small portable air compressors. Most likely 10w30, 5w30 or SAE30.

I personally would never stress over trying to locate a non-detergent oil.

If it was a super high dollar commercial compressor, I'd be more inclined to use what the manufacturer suggests.

Joel
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#2478397 - 12/31/11 01:48 PM Re: Question about air compressor oil? [Re: johnsmellsalot]
Ken2 Offline


Registered: 12/02/02
Posts: 6214
Loc: Washington St.
I've had valve deposit problems with 40 wt. diesel engine oil (high detergents) in some 20 hp compressors I was running. A change to an industrial oil (similar to a heavy hydraulic oil) worked great. It all depends on what the compressor maker wants. In some 50 hp, 450 psi compressors, 32 viscosity rust & oxidation inhibited (R & O) oil was the right stuff.

I agree about the detergent oil holding water in emulsion, but a non detergent oil that lets the water settle out needs to be drained--both do when water accumulates. The settled out water, if allowed to accumulate in excess, means that on start up the compressor will be lubed with water instead of oil.
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