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Old 12-31-2004, 03:07 PM
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Air compressor from car engine?

I was doing some reading over on the MetalMeet site and saw an intriguing comment made in passing. It was a reference to someone who had used an old auto engine as their compressor motor. They powered it off a tractor PTO but it seems to me you could spin it with an electric motor as well. There were no other details but it seems to me this could potentially work...and I have an old Mazda 4-banger just sitting around doing nothing.

Anybody ever done this or have any opinions on the feasibility?

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Old 12-31-2004, 03:19 PM
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compressor

You will need to know the factory electric motor rpm. Then set motor rpm to get your pulley ratio right.
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Old 12-31-2004, 03:24 PM
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It'd take a pretty horsey motor to turn that 4-banger fast enough to do any good.
Then consider that 'good' compression is 120-150 psi. What are you going to get out of a worn out one?
Then, getting the exhaust to hold the pressure is another thing entirely. The way around that, would be to remove the exhaust valvetrain, and put compression tester insterts in the spark plug holes, with check valves.
Suppose you would need some water in the block, to counteract heat from friction/compression?

Basically, it sounds like a lot of work, for something that won't work very well.
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Old 12-31-2004, 03:54 PM
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air pump

All a motor is is an air pump. I don't see a problem with it. What is interesting is what are you going to do with 400 cfm of air?
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Old 12-31-2004, 04:05 PM
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How about running the motor on2 cyls. and use 2 cyls for a compressor? I have seen this done with a air cooled VW,On the web. they were for sale,A long time ago Jerry
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Old 12-31-2004, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Fordalac13
How about running the motor on2 cyls. and use 2 cyls for a compressor? I have seen this done with a air cooled VW,On the web. they were for sale,A long time ago Jerry
I was wondering about that myself. I didn't know how the Mazda would respond to it.

Something else. You'll have to run it at least idle rpm, or you'll starve the mains, and burn out the bearings. I'm back to the "horsey drive motor" thing, again.
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Old 12-31-2004, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by packratwrecker
It'd take a pretty horsey motor to turn that 4-banger fast enough to do any good.
Then consider that 'good' compression is 120-150 psi. What are you going to get out of a worn out one?
Then, getting the exhaust to hold the pressure is another thing entirely. The way around that, would be to remove the exhaust valvetrain, and put compression tester insterts in the spark plug holes, with check valves.
Suppose you would need some water in the block, to counteract heat from friction/compression?

Basically, it sounds like a lot of work, for something that won't work very well.
A) I'm not sure I understand why the engine would need to spin particularly fast. Seems to me it could spin at the same speed as a normal 4 cylinder compressor - and maybe even a little slower since the Mazda would most likely have more cubic inches than the normal compressor.

B) Couldn't a person operate nearly any air tool or media blaster with 120 psi?

C) I think taking the air off at the spark plug holes is the way to go. Seems the simplest to me. Not sure where to find an air check valve for the application however.

D) Hadn't thought about the heat build up. Air cooled compressors certainly produce a lot of heat so its a question that needs to be dealt with in any experimentation.

Quote:
Originally posted by Fordalac13
How about running the motor on2 cyls. and use 2 cyls for a compressor? I have seen this done with a air cooled VW,On the web. they were for sale,A long time ago Jerry
That's a very interesting idea...although running two cylinders would produce even MORE heat to get rid of, but you then have the option of running the regular water pump and a radiator set up outside the garage. However, I would think over the long (or maybe short) haul the 4 banger wouldn't be too happy firing on just two.
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Old 12-31-2004, 05:14 PM
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I remember reading somewhere it takes something like 11 horsepower to turn a Chevy 350 at 2000 RPM's, the Mazda might get away with a 220 volt 5 horse motor to drive it.

Either way you go there IS a need for cooling and oiling the engine similar to it being used in an automotive application.
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Old 01-01-2005, 08:40 PM
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At a museum in Gunnison, CO, there is a self contained compressor consisting of side-by-side model A motors. One drives the other. Yes it has been done.
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Old 01-02-2005, 01:24 AM
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Several of the commercial companies make these conversions for gas powered compressors. The Ray Greene company made them using a Wisconsin V4, two cylinders run, two compress air. There is also one using a 351 Ford, running on 4 cylinders, and a special head on the other side to compress air. I've also seem old ones made by the Jager company that used a flathead Ford V8 with one special head.
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Old 01-02-2005, 01:52 AM
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enjenjo beat me to one -- running a V-8 on four cylinders and using the other bank as a compressor. Requires a special camshaft and intake manifold, of course.

I've seen articles for converting one cylinder lawn mower engines into compressors. Take carb off and mount a filter for air intake, remove camshaft an install a one-way valve in the exhaust port (similar to a PCV valve). The intake valve spring is removed and a light spring, just enough to overcome the weight of the valve, is used. The intake is sucked open when the one-way valve is sucked shut by cylinder vacuum. Or a second lobe could be welded up opposite the existing exhaust lobe on the camshaft. Don't know if any of the articles are online.
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Old 01-02-2005, 10:41 PM
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I have not seen one in a number of years but a company used to make a special head for a flat head jeep 4 banger. It had regular compressor valves built int two of the cylinders. Pumped a fair amount of air.
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Old 01-02-2005, 11:37 PM
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The Vw modification uses a modified Cam shaft and Runs Off the #2 and 4 Cyl. where 1 and the 3 are used as the Air Pum...

Oh.. and the specs... 100% duty..
56!!!CFM @ 120 PSI...


YEAH 56!!! last time I saw the kit was like 265 or something...

if People are interested..I dig the link back up...
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Old 01-04-2005, 12:44 AM
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Quote:
At a museum in Gunnison, CO, there is a self contained compressor consisting of side-by-side model A motors. One drives the other. Yes it has been done.
Hehe, I came across one of those at an abandoned mine site just outside of Boulder. It had 2 flathead 4's, with the clutch ends facing each other. I don't know what the motors were, but they were different from each other. The whole thing was mounted to what was left of a truck chassis. It was pretty nifty I'll admit. Definately showed some ingenuity! I should take some pix of it and post it, but it;s suppose to snow like heck tonight.
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Old 01-10-2005, 08:09 PM
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Maybe it would be a little more practical to use a motorcycle engine or a twin lawn tractor engine. These are oil lubricated and air cooled for simplicity. Didn't Firefly's and Geo's come with 3 cyl motors too?
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