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#3292531 - 02/24/14 08:36 AM Compressor oil to combat sludging
ron in sc Offline


Registered: 05/31/06
Posts: 78
Loc: SC
I have a 2 stage compressor, 80 gallon tank and I have a problem with sludge. Seems like sludge has a lot of water in it. Compressor is for my home shop to it's not run all the time.

I just removed the inspection plate and cleaned all the sludge out. Put in ND30 mineral oil.

Is there a better oil that will combat sludging either mineral or synthetic that I don't have but purchase by the drum?

Or am I going to have to change this oil every month or so. It is cheap.

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#3292537 - 02/24/14 08:39 AM Re: Compressor oil to combat sludging [Re: ron in sc]
Clevy Offline


Registered: 11/11/10
Posts: 9783
Loc: Saskatoon canada
I've got 16 5.5hp air compressors. Your using the right oil. The problem is its not getting up to temp for long enough.
I assume it runs to fill the tank then shuts off right.
Mine run non stop all day. Not one has any sludge. I'm using amsoil compressor oil too though. If you can find amsoil I suggest using it.
I change the oil in my pumps yearly unless there was dirt intrusion.
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#3292539 - 02/24/14 08:41 AM Re: Compressor oil to combat sludging [Re: ron in sc]
Doog Offline


Registered: 10/24/11
Posts: 6170
Loc: North Coast
Get an air dryer filter.
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#3292552 - 02/24/14 08:51 AM Re: Compressor oil to combat sludging [Re: Clevy]
ron in sc Offline


Registered: 05/31/06
Posts: 78
Loc: SC
Originally Posted By: Clevy
I've got 16 5.5hp air compressors. Your using the right oil. The problem is its not getting up to temp for long enough.
I assume it runs to fill the tank then shuts off right.
Mine run non stop all day. Not one has any sludge. I'm using amsoil compressor oil too though. If you can find amsoil I suggest using it.
I change the oil in my pumps yearly unless there was dirt intrusion.


Mine is a 5hp motor too, I'm sure you are right about mine not getting up to temperature. I even up one of those heaters with a magnet built in and attach to bottom of pump, Don't really notice it makes a difference. It has a large heavy pump. It's Saylor Beal 705 pump. It's really hard to get the bottom of that pump hot even in summer.

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#3292638 - 02/24/14 10:01 AM Re: Compressor oil to combat sludging [Re: ron in sc]
Trav Offline


Registered: 11/20/06
Posts: 16517
Loc: MA, Mittelfranken.de
Synthetics don't seem to do any better either.
Is the unit outside in an enclosure or inside?
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#3292644 - 02/24/14 10:08 AM Re: Compressor oil to combat sludging [Re: ron in sc]
Clevy Offline


Registered: 11/11/10
Posts: 9783
Loc: Saskatoon canada
Originally Posted By: ron in sc
Originally Posted By: Clevy
I've got 16 5.5hp air compressors. Your using the right oil. The problem is its not getting up to temp for long enough.
I assume it runs to fill the tank then shuts off right.
Mine run non stop all day. Not one has any sludge. I'm using amsoil compressor oil too though. If you can find amsoil I suggest using it.
I change the oil in my pumps yearly unless there was dirt intrusion.


Mine is a 5hp motor too, I'm sure you are right about mine not getting up to temperature. I even up one of those heaters with a magnet built in and attach to bottom of pump, Don't really notice it makes a difference. It has a large heavy pump. It's Saylor Beal 705 pump. It's really hard to get the bottom of that pump hot even in summer.


Mine are all gas powered,so even if they aren't pumping air into the tanks they are still pumping air however it just blows off into the atmosphere until the tank pressure dips enough for the valve to actuate and it pumps air into the tanks to replenish the pressure.
I used nd-30 in my pumps for years. They were impossible to start in the winter. Once I switched over to amsoil compressor oil they would start first or second pull. The oil doesn't thicken as much when cold however my operating environment is much different than yours is.
Mine are all outside,onsite.
The comment about a filter is a good idea. See if you can fit one on the oil fill or the tube that sticks out of the pumps side meant to flow air into and out of the crankcase.
I think your problem is condensation to be honest. The pump gets hot enough to create moisture but not hot enough to evaporate it,and if that's the case no syn or mineral oil is going to make any difference whatsoever.
So if you can get the nd-30 cheap go with short intervals.
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#3292671 - 02/24/14 10:26 AM Re: Compressor oil to combat sludging [Re: Doog]
Chris142 Offline


Registered: 06/05/03
Posts: 15814
Loc: apple valley, ca
Originally Posted By: Doog
Get an air dryer filter.
that will keep water out of your lines but wont do a thing for the pump. as stated it needs to get hot enough to boil the moisture out of the oil.
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#3292718 - 02/24/14 11:27 AM Re: Compressor oil to combat sludging [Re: ron in sc]
Eddie Offline


Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 9110
Loc: Florida, Cape Coral
In addition, drain the tank after each use using a valve at the bottom of the tank to remove any water.
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#3292719 - 02/24/14 11:28 AM Re: Compressor oil to combat sludging [Re: ron in sc]
racin4ds Offline


Registered: 05/07/10
Posts: 733
Loc: Winchester, VA
I honestly think a good syn compressor oil is what you want here. It may not solve all your sludge but it will surely be MUCH better than plain, cheap ol ND30 your using...
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#3292750 - 02/24/14 12:08 PM Re: Compressor oil to combat sludging [Re: Trav]
ron in sc Offline


Registered: 05/31/06
Posts: 78
Loc: SC
Originally Posted By: Trav
Synthetics don't seem to do any better either.
Is the unit outside in an enclosure or inside?


The compressor is inside a garage. The air is piped about 50 or so feet to another garage which is climate controlled. I have old dryair 3stage filter system. I use the air to paint too.

I'll just change a lot more often,

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#3309396 - 03/12/14 01:03 PM Re: Compressor oil to combat sludging [Re: ron in sc]
camelCase Offline


Registered: 07/11/13
Posts: 170
Loc: Southeastern, USA
A diester based lubricant will help keep any sludge from building up within the compressor, if it is changed regularly. They have a bit more "natural solvency" than a typical hydrocarbon based lube.

You're going to continue to see issues if that compressor is allowed to heat up all of the way. Water is a big enemy. A diester will help curb the issues, but they will not go away until the operation of the compressor is changed.

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