Motor Oil in an Air Compressor

cmf

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I know very little about air compressors. I've just put compressor oil in mine because well it's compressor oil and the manual says SAE 30 non-detergent oil. But now I have this free VR1 synthetic 10w30 that I really have no use for aside from my lawnmower. The compressor has a small 2 HP motor. Do you think my air compressor would be happy with the VR1? The major question I really have is whether or not the detergents in the motor oil are going to harm the compressor. Google shows that Mobil 1 says no to using it in compressors. Other than that Google has failed me on my quest for information. I'm not overly interested in saving $5, but I am curious.
 
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I use synthetic compressor oil from Lowes. From all I read, motor oil should not be used in a compressor as Mobil says.
 

mva

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Originally Posted By: Chris142
Mine has a hard time starting when cold with SAE30. It trips the breaker. I have been putting 5w30 Mobil-1 in it for about a decade now.
I am using Amsoil 0W40 in my compressor for the same reason - to allow cold starting without tripping the breaker.
 
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I use syn motor oil in my compressor because at work they use Delo 400 30wt in them and the compressors are removed from the retired vans to the new vans. The vans are bought new and kept till they wear out. I had a van where the drivers door wore out and fell off.
 
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I was thinking that they wanted us to use compressor oil because motor oils have additives like detergents.... that are supposed to be bad for something... I have an older (20+ years) belt-driven 3hp compressor that gets Mobil1 5W-30.
 
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I buy some cheap grade SA 30-wt for the air compressor. I'm pretty sure you could trade your VR1 racing synthetic for straight SA if you found the right enthusiast.
 
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Originally Posted By: kballowe
I was thinking that they wanted us to use compressor oil because motor oils have additives like detergents.... that are supposed to be bad for something...
Yup you're not supposed to use motor oil because it contains additives that when put into a compressor pump the heat it generates could cause carbon build up. I have a 26 gallon CH single stage and the manual states to only use a non detergent oil, preferably synthetic. If you are using it in a cold climate then try and find an adequate grade of non detergent oil. check out AMSOIL great selection for compressors.
 
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cmf

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It's good to hear people have used motor oils for extended periods without issue.
Originally Posted By: Mr_Accord
Yup you're not supposed to use motor oil because it contains additives that when put into a compressor pump the heat it generates could cause carbon build up. I have a 26 gallon CH single stage and the manual states to only use a non detergent oil, preferably synthetic.
That's exactly the information I was looking for, a reason to not want to use detergent oil. Some compressors do allow the use of synthetic 10w30 motor oil though, as per the manual. Oddly it's Mobil 1 10w30 that they recommend. I also found this on another thread:
Originally Posted By: XG650
Compressors usually don't have any oil filtration, so you want any crud that gets in the oil to settle out. Detergent oils help keep crud suspended so a filter can catch it, not good for machine tools, and a lot of other non-IC engine uses that call for non-detergent oil.
 
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I put the Amsoil SAE 20 compressor oil in mine, seems to have worked well so far, as well in my father's too. The Amsoil has a low pour point, which certainly helps on start up.
 

01rangerxl

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Campbell Hausfeld says not to use automotive engine oil because it can leave deposits in the pump, however I have seen some compressor manuals where they say it is okay to use a multiweight oil as long as it is full synthetic.
 
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One would think that the ND oils would leave deposits and the engine oils that contain additives to prevent deposits would leave them clean. Sounds like somebody at CH has their facts backwards. My older CH compressor has a sticker that recommends 10w40 motor oil.
 
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Originally Posted By: Steve S
I use syn motor oil in my compressor because at work they use Delo 400 30wt in them and the compressors are removed from the retired vans to the new vans. The vans are bought new and kept till they wear out. I had a van where the drivers door wore out and fell off.
Dang,hope nobody was around. That could be embarrassing.
 
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Originally Posted By: cmf
That's exactly the information I was looking for, a reason to not want to use detergent oil. Some compressors do allow the use of synthetic 10w30 motor oil though, as per the manual. Oddly it's Mobil 1 10w30 that they recommend.
My compressor manual (a 1-2HP electric single stage oiled type) also states that ND oil must be used but specifically states that M1 5W30 or Chevron syn 5W30 could be used temporarily in a pinch if no ND can be found. I'm using Amsoil PCK right now, which is total overkill I'm sure smile As a plus, I've also determined that it would also be the correct lube for my Comet pressure washer pump smile
 
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I've use Mobil 1 for DECADES in compressors without a single issue. I have a 7HP (electric) CH sitting at the house that has thousands of hours on 5w30 M1 in the crankcase without one problem. I have an ETQ pancake that wouldn't start below 40*F with normal SAE30, it spins right up at -10*F with 5w30 M1. One comment, where do the "carbon" and "deposits" come from? There is no combustion in a compressor, and while they run hot; they don't run THAT hot. Even those I've taken apart for maintenance never had any indication of deposits forming or vast amounts of dirt in the crankcase.
 
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ask yourselves what the purpose of the detergent additives are in an oil, and why you would want or not want to use an oil with detergency.
 
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I've run only motor oil in the one I had from the 'mid 70s, till around 10 years ago when the tank developed a leak from rust, the compressor is still fine... Went with a oil-less for awhile but was so noisy I sold it to a friend... I'm now back to another Craftsman with a compressor similar to the orig, yes it has motor oil in it...
 

01rangerxl

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Originally Posted By: deeter16317
One comment, where do the "carbon" and "deposits" come from? There is no combustion in a compressor, and while they run hot; they don't run THAT hot. Even those I've taken apart for maintenance never had any indication of deposits forming or vast amounts of dirt in the crankcase.
I am a bit stumped by it too, but I don't see why Campbell Hausfeld would make that statement unless there was something to support it. The oil in most of the CH compressors I see looks basically new. I'm guessing most people use the oil that came with it and never change it. That seems to work fine most of the time. I have seen a handful of pumps with pitch black oil in them though. I don't know how it got that way - maybe used oil was put in the compressor, or it was run without an air filter, or some other misuse happened. People do all sorts of crazy stuff to air compressors.
 
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I have been using rotella T1 30wt with no probs in 3 compressors. The only negative I have run into is cold weather performance. the one outside would not even turn over @ about 30F. But being in TX I don't have much to worry about cold weather wise. they are predicting 102F next week.
 
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