Cheap chinese oiled air compressor duty cycle?

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Oct 9, 2007
I have two of these cheap chinese/Harbor Freight oiled, direct drive air compressors like this one:

I bought them knowing full well they are [censored], but the price is impossible to beat. They use these same or similar compressor pumps on about 100 different brands and sizes of air compressor.

My main concern is, what should the duty cycle be for a compressor like that? The instruction manual makes no mention of it. It does say to change the oil after 500 hours of use, I never expected the entire compressor to last 500 hours. (that doesn't mean it will though)

The compressor cylinders are made of cast iron, and the compressor does a pretty good job of air cooling them while it's running, but after it stops the iron starts to get really hot. I'm thinking a continuous running muffin fan over the cylinder would be a good idea. I'm also going to use Amsoil synthetic compressor oil in both of them.

But the question still remains...what kind of duty cycle should they have? Can I just run it more or less continuously as long as it doesn't overheat? (much like a lawnmower engine) Am I just being too paranoid? A little heat probably isn't going to hurt an iron cylinder...
I have the same compressor and have been wondering the same thing....

I never see the oil level change in the sight glass, even when the compressor is running, thinking that its not going to last a long time.
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