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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 02-01-2005, 01:23 PM
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Wow, thanks for the link. They have a s**tload of great stuff. If only I was in the U.S. though, as I'm afraid shipping and all the cross-border extras would at least double the listed prices.
At least I know that there are some small inexpensive units out there that can deliver the CFM needed, and at the right pressure level too. http://www.surpluscenter.com/item.as...-1526&catname=
I'm going to do a lot more looking before I bother to actually buy any parts to build something or order one. And I believe you are right on the $$ with the impracticality of using an old car engine to make a compressor.

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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 02-02-2005, 09:54 AM
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I strongly suspect that Fomoco promoted the use of their V8's as air compressors. I know of a Ford dealer in Iowa who used a flathead V8 with one bank driving the other as a compressor. And, someone here has mentioned later Ford V8's being similarly used. Makes me wonder if Ford didn't offer a kit at one time.

Incidentally, the Advanced Development group at AC Spark Plug actually investigated the use of a check valve...as a replacement for the intake side poppet valve in the General's engines...back in the early sixties.
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Old 02-02-2005, 01:48 PM
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Billy- I think you are right about ford engines especially the old flatheads as they were commonly used for this years ago. Like I pointed out earlier this is not an unusual setup and has been done commercially with a variety of different engines but it is just not vary practical for most shop use and mostly impractical for home use. I see these things(Buick v6 based)nearly everyday and I can tell you that they are VERY loud and expen$ive to operate. As far as building one yourself simple poppet valves and check valves will not work because you have to have some sort of unloader type valve to stop the cylinders used for compression from trying to compress air during the idle phase when the tank reaches full pressure. These unloader controls have to work in conjunction with the governor/idle kick-down controls otherwise you would just have to vent the excess air and have the compressor under load at all times(VERY wa$teful). You could probably use poppet and check valves for an electric motor driven engine but the motor required for such a compressor even using a four cylinder would be very expensive and would probably need a three phase power hook-up. Someone earlier said they heard that an eleven HP motor would spin a 350 Chevy to 2000 rpm and it might do it but NOT UNDER ANY USEFUL LOAD. Take a look at any 18 CFM 2 stage and you can see that pump is quite small compared to even a small four cylinder car engine and 5 HP is the minimum you could use to drive the 2 stage which is a lot more efficient than the engine. Sure you could use pulleys matched so that the engine could be turned slowly and thus easier but due to cylinder blow-by and valve leakage(they are not a perfect seal)at low rpm efficiency would suffer greatly. Also has anyone considered the co$t and size of even an eleven HP motor? All in all I am sure that a car engine can be converted given enough design know how and dollar$ plus most of all a LOT of determination. I would strongly suggest to anyone thinking about trying to do this to find a commercially built version before they spend any money so that they can better grasp the enormity of what it would take to make it work even close to right.
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Old 02-03-2005, 03:44 AM
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I could be mistaken after over 50 years, but I'm almost certain that flathead at the dealership went dead when the system was fully pressurized.

My father had a golf kart which operated in a similar manner. The internal combustion engine died when the brake was applied and then started as the accelerator was depressed. (Sort of like an early Buick in need of a tuneup.) This feature, of course, was to eliminate engine noise while golfers were putting.

That which I'm suggesting retains a problem for the starter would be forced to turn the engine under load. This would be half the cylinders, however, and the load would be at its lowest value. Wish I had paid more attention at the time.
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Old 02-03-2005, 04:10 AM
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Finally I think I have to give my opinion as well... Considering the time and expense such a project is likely to take, it would sure be cool for the "I do it to show I can do it" guys, but for those simply in need of compressed air it's likely not to pay off. It's somehow similar to the homebuilt engine crane I always wanted to build, but looking at the prices these sell for I'd probably spend more building my own.

Martin
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old 02-03-2005, 09:03 AM
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Billy-Having the firing part of the engine go completely dead would pose the problem of having to have a starter restart the thing every time you recharge the tank which would be unrealistic considering how many times this would be required during normal operation and an unloader valve would probably still be needed to take the load off of the compressor before it would start. Like I said before I am sure this CAN be done but it would be expensive to build, VERY expensive to operate, a huge undertaking to build in the first place and it would have to be placed out side the shop due to noise and fumes. I am offering more than just an opinion here as I have had hands-on experience with these brutes for a good number of years now and I see (and HEAR) these darn things almost every day. If someone still wants to do this then my hat is off to them as I really admire anyone with that kind of ingenuity and I will be more than happy to help if I can. I am not trying to discourage as much as I am trying to point out the easily overlooked problems one will encounter along the way. My opinion is based on experience with these compressors and not just speculation. Atlantis hit the nail squarely on the head, it almost certainly will cost more than a good shop compressor.

Last edited by oldred; 02-03-2005 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 02-03-2005, 01:40 PM
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Yes, oldred, I believe you've restated my concerns. I just realized that I still have the email address of a mechanic who worked at a station about 10 feet from that compressor. (He took the noise for only a year or so and then became a disk jockey at KXIC in Iowa City.) He might've gotten stuck with maintaining that beast. I'll see how his memory is doing.
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old 02-03-2005, 06:15 PM
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I have owned two compressors that were made from Model A engines. Both of them used special heads which were split and had special intake and exhaust systems. Think of them as a two cyclinder engines driveing a two cyclinder compressor. Both of them worked quite well except they tend to put out contaminated air. They both used the standard rings and pistons and the air had to be well filtered. I used the block on one of them to power a 29 Model A later. They were used in a lot of industrial applications. Another poplar conversion used the continential engine which was readily avaliable in the twenties and thirties.
Jan
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old 02-03-2005, 07:23 PM
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My ex-mechanic friend tells me that the engine idled down and the air pumped at idle was simply dumped.

Didn't Continental make engines for Kaiser and Fraser in the late forties and early fifties? Also Checker Cab? (Iowa City used Kaisers for police cars for a short time.)

Last edited by BillyShope; 02-03-2005 at 07:28 PM.
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old 02-03-2005, 08:02 PM
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Billy---yep, that is what I was talking about but 50 years ago fuel was cheap and little thought was given to efficiency. There is no question that this can be done but is it worth it? Trust me it costs the proverbial "arm and leg" to operate the V6 conversions that the mechanics use on the service trucks here and I am sure that a four would be quite costly in fuel also even if set up properly and if the builder chooses to simply dump the excess air instead of unloading the compressor side I can guarantee that it will break him up in hurry. Unless you do a lot of sandblasting or maybe run something like a 1" drive impact wrench I think this type of compressor is just impractical for a shop.
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  #41 (permalink)  
Old 02-03-2005, 08:56 PM
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I doubt if a Sanden AC compressor would be big enough to get 2.4 CFM. The displacement of Sanden compressors is either .6, .8, or 1.0 ci. per revolution. Even with the largest model, turned as fast as a normal motor, 1750 RPM, it would only put out about 1 CFM.
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  #42 (permalink)  
Old 02-03-2005, 10:39 PM
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Enjenjo--Looks like I would have lost the bet but then I was just guessing when I said that I bet that it would do 2.4 CFM. I remember some time back Mother Earth had another article on converting a refrigerator compressor into a compressor for airing up tires and the like and I think they said it was capable of about 1 CFM which I found hard to believe. They even said that thing, once converted, could be used as a vacuum pump capable of servicing A/C systems. Been around air compressors and welders since 1968 but I am not much on A/C. Thanks for the info.

www.motherearthnews.com/arc/6301/

Last edited by oldred; 02-04-2005 at 05:02 PM.
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  #43 (permalink)  
Old 02-04-2005, 08:41 AM
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cboy - been away for a few weeks, but, as far as I've seen (never tore one apart), it is basically a ford 351 engine with radiator, water pump, fan, oil pump, and a special head on one side to pump the air.

As far as noise goes, since this is an internal combustion engine, it wouldn't be able to be installed inside the garage, so the noise to me is neglible, my neighbors may have other thoughts though. These tagalongs are already set up to idle down when not under load, and idle up when necessary. The three main issues that I have come across are, as stated elseware on this post,
1) Cleanliness of the air due to oil infiltration.
2) Moisture in air, due to the heat generated by engine, and it being outside in colder weather.
3) Connection from the water type quick disconnect to typical compressor quick disconnects.

As far as costs to operate go, I can't quantify the numbers, but a single phase, 220v, 2x.xx amp motor can really make that electric meter spin!
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Old 02-04-2005, 09:40 AM
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Toyman-You are talking about a ready built unit while we have been discussing a build it your self project. While the tagalong will certainly work just fine an electric compressor just makes tons more sense in a shop than a gas powered behemoth. My comments were aimed at someone eyeing an engine they have lying around and considering building a compressor out of it. Once more I will state it CAN be done but is it practical?

BTW, after feeding that brute for a few days that 7.5 HP 2 stage electric compressor will seem CHEAP indeed to operate!
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  #45 (permalink)  
Old 02-16-2005, 02:27 AM
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seems to me the VW one operating at idle- shold put out plenty of air and should be pretty cheap to run compared to the 7.5 hp 2 stage if one were doing a lot of sandblasting (as i am - i need 24 CFM for the sandblaster) . for paint spraying i would choose something else.

i just purchased a huge quantity of VW stuff from a business going under for my off road racing hobby and all but broke the bank- and at the same time my shop compressor died (been limping along for a long while). I currently have plenty of parts on hand to convert one of the plethera of engines into a compressor- lots of fittings and even a tank from the old compressor. i have just about every piece of equipment necessary for a conversion, mig plasma cutter (useless without air!), drill presses etc. i just need someone to fess up where i can get the plans!

i am also about to build a house off the beaten track and a tow behind compressor will surely come in handy, whereas that electric 2 stage will be as good as a boat anchor in the Sahera.

i imagine i could muddel through a conversion myself- but muddeling takes up a lot of time i could better use on something else. i have no shortage of parts needing cleaned up to get to a swap meet or put into use on one of my cars.

can someone please send me contact for the plans vendor?
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