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Thread: Air compressors

  1. #1
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    Air compressors

    First I bought an Airhead, which made me realize I'm too old to lie on a concrete floor to work on a bike. This led to buying a Handy motorcycle lift. Now I need a compressor to operate the lift (and some other tools). I think a 20-26 gallon talk should meet current and future needs. I've been to Harbor Freight and they have a $400 compressor that looks good. However I do not want to buy a compressor that has no service or spare parts and will end up in a land fill with the first problem.

    Do you have any recommendations for a sub $1,000 compressor that will be durable and serviceable? Ingersoll Rand has one for $850 that looks good, but I have no experience with them.

    Thanks,
    Rick
    rickdm

    R1250GS, R100 GSPD, Honda 300L Rally

  2. #2
    Registered User STEVENRANKIN's Avatar
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    Ingersol and Rand

    They have been around a long time. Parts are available for most of their units. A couple of people I know have IR compressors and have had good luck with them. St.

  3. #3
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    My experience is that the “Husky” brand from Home Depot is reasonable. Last time I needed one in a hurry to run the air systems at one of the fire stations, it’s what I purchased to keep the air systems up.
    Ideally, it really depends on how much you need to use it.
    I think a compressor head the uses oil cooling is a must. Even better would be a cast-iron compressor head but that gets into extra money.
    Another consideration is what you have for power (voltage/amperage) availability. My “spare” compressor is an upright, on wheels, roll with handle, “compressor head on tank” unit.

    My current shop air is Kellog-American, circa 1952…all cast iron.

    OM
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    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

  4. #4
    Registered User STEVENRANKIN's Avatar
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    Depends

    Oh yeah, what you buy depends on how you are going to use it. I have an 80 Gallon two stage unit because for awhile I was doing a log of media blasting. To just pump up a lift requires a lot less of a unit.

    Theoretically, you could buy the cheap unit from Harbor Freight and it would last your lifetime. I mean if you only use the lift one or two times a month and inflate tires twice a week, it is hardly a strain.

    My dad had a small compressor he used to inflate tires, and paint with. It lasted 67 years and was cobbled together from bits and bobs from milking machines. It is still in use at a relative's house to add air to tires.

    My unit is a Devilbliss, I think they are gone now, Ingersol Rand may have bought them out. I have been using it for 25 years, the first 10 was hard because of the media blasting. So far, it has held up fine other than a few minor air leaks. St.

  5. #5
    Doug D
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    I have a Handy lift that utilizes the air bag to raise the table. Years ago I received a small Husky piston style air compressor for filling tires. That compressor will lift my airhead or my wethead rt with no problem. With the rt it goes a little slow the last when going all the way up. I was pleasantly surprised that my compressor worked as well as it does.

  6. #6
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    I have a Handy lift that I've used for 11 years. It is a terrific product. I've used a 30 gallon single stage Lowe's brand compressor for as long as I've owned the lift and it is more than enough to do the job.
    Kevin Huddy
    Silver City, Montana
    MOA# 24,790 Ambassador

  7. #7
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    Like everyone here, I have a cheap Home Depot 20 gal. compressor. While it's more than enough for my lift table, I hate the noise. I have to grab hearing protection before I turn it on. For inflating tires and such I have one of these: https://www.californiaairtools.com/ Amazing how quite they are. Wish I'd spent the extra $$ to get one of their larger ones for my lift.

  8. #8
    RK Ryder
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    Thumbs up

    When I got my lift eleven years ago, I used my tiny compressor to lift and assemble it with the extensions. Figuring it would not work with a bike on it, I gave it to one of my sons and bought a ten gallon compressor.

    A couple of years later I bought a used trailer hitch from a man with a very large garage that included a massive air compressor. Imagine my surprised when he used a tiny compressor (similar to the one that I had given away) on his lift when he installed the hitch on my bike. Apparently the large unit was used for painting.

    My 10 gallon unit takes awhile for filling tires or lift use and is much too noisy than I’d prefer. I leave the garage when it is filling.

    If I were buying again, I would certainly buy a quieter compressor.
    Paul F. Ruffell
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Knights of the Roundel #333

  9. #9
    Registered User STEVENRANKIN's Avatar
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    Noise

    Oh yes, my big compressor when it is running requires hearing protection. I used to use a set of noise cancelling headphones when media blasting and ruined my hearing with the loud music instead of the noise from the compressor, LOL, not really.

    I have my system sealed pretty good so that I can shut the main valve off at the compressor tank and it will hold 150 to 120 PSI for weeks without starting up. That is more than enough air to inflate all the tires in all the vehicles I have plus lift the lift one time. The unit does not kick on until less than 120 PSI.

    The nice thing about such a big high power unit is that with a good impact wrench, most nuts and bolts will either come off or break off. I have to use air ratchets on a regulated line there is no need for 120 to 150 PSI using them. St.

  10. #10
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    It's good to hear that a small compressor can handle the Handy lift. I have a 3 gallon pancake lift in storage that could probably handle it. But this is my retirement shop/man cave I am building and I have always envied the shops with the air hose on a big reel. I have no idea what air tools I may want in the future: media blazer, paint gun? Plus I can slip it into the home renovation budget
    rickdm

    R1250GS, R100 GSPD, Honda 300L Rally

  11. #11
    I found an old Ingersoll Rand compressor for under $100 on Craigslist. The seller was getting rid of it since the starting current for the motor would trip the 15A breaker in his garage, which required a trip to the basement to reset. My garage is wired at 20A so it is no problem. I use the compressor for my Direct-Lift, for tires, and for air tools.
    2014 R1200RT - 20 States, 2 Provinces

    1984 R80RT – semi-retired - 48 States, 5 Provinces

  12. #12
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickdm View Post
    It's good to hear that a small compressor can handle the Handy lift. I have a 3 gallon pancake lift in storage that could probably handle it. But this is my retirement shop/man cave I am building and I have always envied the shops with the air hose on a big reel. I have no idea what air tools I may want in the future: media blazer, paint gun? Plus I can slip it into the home renovation budget
    A small compressor like a pancake (framing) compressor can easily be augmented into more than it is by putting a portable air tank in line. The difference the extra inline tank makes is substantial.
    OM
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  13. #13
    Gerard jagarra's Avatar
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    I bought a DeVilbiss 20 gal unit off Craig's list for $50.00. When the time came to rebuild it the parts to replace the valve plate and renew the cylinder were readily available for about $100.00 in total. So parts for that model are still available. Buying some of the Chinese models parts are always an issue. After looking at a particular unit, I would google parts availability, if that is of a major concern, before making my purchase.
    1994 R1100RS-(5/93)-,1974 R90/6 built 9/73,--1987 K75S,--1964 Triumph T100--1986 Honda XL600R

  14. #14
    RK Ryder
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    Quote Originally Posted by STEVENRANKIN View Post
    I have my system sealed pretty good so that I can shut the main valve off at the compressor tank and it will hold 150 to 120 PSI for weeks without starting up. That is more than enough air to inflate all the tires in all the vehicles I have plus lift the lift one time. The unit does not kick on until less than 120 PSI.
    Steve, correct me I’m wrong but I have always emptied my 10 gallon compressor at the end of each day that I use it as I was under the impression that water build up inside would rust the unit. I do have a ten inch 1/2 copper pipe with a valve release attached to drain water without the need to tip the machine to reach the drain and to collect any water if I should forget to empty it.

    Are you saying that leaving the air in while switched on will not harm the tank?
    Paul F. Ruffell
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Knights of the Roundel #333

  15. #15
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    I drain the water out of my compressor twice a year and very little comes out. Ours is an arid climate for most of the year, but when we lived in places like Georgia draining the water was a regular chore. My compressor feeds two manifolds in different areas of the shop and each manifold can support five lines. I leave it pressurized unless I'm going to be out of town and I have it on time meter so it will not run from 6 PM to AM.
    Kevin Huddy
    Silver City, Montana
    MOA# 24,790 Ambassador

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