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HotRodMan 01-21-2010 08:34 AM

Welding Compressor Tank Question
I have an air compressor with a 60 gallon tank. There is a hole about one eighth inch in diameter on the bottom of the tank. I was planning on welding the hole up to repair it.

Is there a better way of doing this, or is this what most of you would do?

C-10 01-21-2010 09:31 AM

Whew, I don't know about that one, sounds risky. :drunk:

The problem is, that IF it IS rust, you're gonna blow bigger hole in it once you start to weld. (rusted from inside out)

Maybe a bigger problem *may* be an exploding tank.

Sometimes you can find gently used tanks locally from compressors that have went bad. That's what I'd try.

S10 Racer 01-21-2010 09:35 AM


Originally Posted by HotRodMan
I have an air compressor with a 60 gallon tank. There is a hole about one eighth inch in diameter on the bottom of the tank. I was planning on welding the hole up to repair it.

Is there a better way of doing this, or is this what most of you would do?

If it's a hole that occurred by rust, it's safe to bet that the repair area will be larger than 1/8". You need to sand or grind the paint off to bare metal and poke around the hole to see how large the repair needs to be to get to solid metal. The repair would be pretty much the same as fixing a rust spot in a car panel. Cut the rust out and patch with a piece of 3/16" bar welded solid 100%. If your welding skill is good, it won't be a problem.

wretched ratchet 01-21-2010 09:59 AM

throw the tank away and get a new/newer one - - - it's not worth the risk - - - if there is one rust hole then chances are more willl follow - - - just be glad it rusted through and didn't blow up, as mentioned by C-10 :nono:

timothale 01-21-2010 10:54 AM

pressure test
I had a twin tank construction compressor (bought used for 10 % of new cost that had a small pin hole leak). I brazed it, then filled it with water and ran it up to to 180 pounds for a presure test. normal shut off is 125#. We always drained the tank every day. It got a lot of rough treatment on construction sites and finally got a couple more leaks. Last time i got my body pick hammer and started picking the bottom and easily made about a dozen holes.. THE BEST thing is to buy a new tank and have peace of mind now. and drain the moistere every day of use. .

65GTO455 01-21-2010 08:07 PM

If your good with the welder, just fix the hole. These tanks don't "explode" like some people imply. They just don't know any better and compressed air scares them. If there is a rust hole, obviously the thing didn't "expode" or rip apart taking out half the barn.

If your metal savvy, just cut out a nice little square, circle or triangle for all I care, but be sure you cut clear of the pitted rust area so you can get a nice solid penetrating weld.

Also, use some nice thick gauge steel. The thicker the better. Don't expect to patch this thing with some 22 gauge. Use something thick like 16-18.

Rust does not weld, it melts, so if you start burning holes in the thing, you didn't cut far enough.

Hopefully the tank isn't too far gone and is repairable. If not, THEN go out and get another tank.

Otherwise, save your wallet, have some fun. Use your head, be smart about it... and if your not up to the job, just don't do it. Or have a buddy do it. The worst I could see happening is having it leak again. Big deal. :rolleyes:

If you do fix it, then you will have 1 more tool you can point at and say... "I fixed that". :thumbup: Much more rewarding than.. "I bought that". :rolleyes:

OneMoreTime 01-21-2010 09:35 PM

Air tanks do not blow up??
Guess I don't know anything...


Another one:

HandKind 01-21-2010 09:36 PM

I agree with 65GTO. Compressors are not an explosion hazard unless they had an excess amount of oil built up inside. Even at that it would take some time for the thing to blow if it is depleted of air and that much oil would be from a VERY old tank.

Make sure the tank has no pressure in it at all cut a square in the area of the hole that is large enough to put a small angle mirror into it and do a little inspection of the rust area. Cut a square into solid metal on the tank and use some 16 gauge plate and make an overlay patch. Do a solid stitch weld that is air tight and you should be good. I used to have to do this to a whole bunch of field tanks and never had a problem. People always get a little freaked out with compressor tanks but when they are empty they are just a metal ball. Just need to make sure nobody used it for a fuel tank!! Then you would have issues!

Good luck. Easy fix.

HandKind 01-21-2010 09:41 PM

OK, A little clarity. Air compressors do BLOW APART from bad structural integrity but they do not BLOW UP like an EXPLOSION unless the tank had been used for explosive gases. I have seen them used on off road crawlers as a fuel tank.

65GTO455 01-21-2010 11:54 PM

All very good points and all should be taken into great consideration.

Those incidents involving compressor injuries all could have been avoided if people would exercise good safety practices.

I do want to point out however that those injuries mention absolutely nothing about repairing compressor tanks, or repairs made to the tanks if any. They do make a great point in explaining the lack of attention these poor compressors received and the outcome of what negligence can do.

Inspecting the tank is a great idea and that practice should be given regardless. Like I said, be smart about it. If your going to be cutting and welding the tank, I suggest leaving the bleeder valve all the way open.

Even when I run my compressor, I always leave the valve a little open to get rid of any excess water that the tank accumulates. You can also check this water to see if there are any traces of rust.

Use your head... use your brain. People cut out gas tanks with torches and even though its stupid, they still do it. Usually while smoking a cigarette too. :thumbup:

2-manytoyzs 01-22-2010 12:56 AM

I had the same problem on a compressor a guy didnt need any more. I poked around the rust area with a sharp heavy awl and poked out the rusted area. I welded it back up and it was a good solid weld. It was just that one area that rusted through. I gave it to someone that wanted a compressor and he has had it in service for about 7 years now with no problems. If its too far gone you will notice that what you weld it up it will just keep burning through around the edges.

ogre 01-22-2010 04:58 PM

cut the tank in half, do the weld repairs from the inside :eek:

and then do yourself a favor and buy a new one.
yes you can, but is it wise?

Intense RT 01-22-2010 10:14 PM


Originally Posted by ogre
cut the tank in half, do the weld repairs from the inside :eek:

and then do yourself a favor and buy a new one.
yes you can, but is it wise?

I agree. Cut it open and see what it looks like inside. Then make a decision.

4 Jaw Chuck 01-22-2010 10:51 PM

Buy a new tank, the labor and time to repair it makes a new one look cheap.

Rickracer 01-23-2010 07:20 AM

I'm all about keep stuff working till the VERY END of it's useful life, but in the case of a compressor tank with a rust hole, to me, that IS the very end of it's safe, useful life. Let's say your repair holds just fine, but suddenly, 3" from your repair, the bottom of the tank splits wide open, takes off like a rocket, and goes through the roof of your garage, how much did you save? ;) :cool:

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