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Discussion Starter #1
I have a small Porter-Cable pancake compressor for several years now. When I drain the condensation from the valve, it has been coming out rust colored and with an oily feeling to it as well. Is this something serious to be concerned about? Is it time to get a new compressor? I'm not sure if this means the interior of the tank has been compromised or is rusting away. Thanks.
 

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Water is a byproduct of compressing air, you are increasing the density and literally 'squeezing' the water out. This is completely normal.
Oil is a different topic. Does your compressor have oil lubrication? If so, you need to check the oil level. There will always be some bypass at the pistons, also normal.
The rusty water is your reciever (tank) slowly rusting, also normal.
I have yet to hear of a catastrophic failure of this type of compressor. Rust through nearly always consists of pinholes.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I know that the water is normal but, my concern was first about the rust in the water and more importantly, my concern is about the oily consistency of the watery discharge. The compressor is not oil lubricated.

Is the oily consistency cause for concern. What about the rust in the water. How long before it becomes a problem.

I just went out and bought a DeWalt/Emglo 2HP 4 gallon with dual outlets. I have some framing jobs coming up and was concerned that the little Porter Cable pancake wouldn't be sufficient for the heavier workload- especially with what's been blowing out of the drain! Maybe I can use the Portet-Cable for smaller trim jobs and as a back-up.

Thoughts?
 

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If your pancake compressor is a rotary vane compressor (likely), then the "oil" could be some of the normal vane wear debris mixed with the water. This would make the condensate discharge appear oily. I would consider this quite normal for a rotary vane compressor and is no cause for concern.
 

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I seriously doubt that you have a RV compressor. It's pretty easy to tell. RV compressors usually operate at 3600 RPM, don't vibrate, produce high volumes at lower pressures (80) PSI, max out at 110 PSI, sound completely different from any other compressor and are expensive. Most that I know of are lubricated with oil and have extremely efficient recovery systems.
My guess is that you have the same one that most of us have. They are called oilless and what you describe as oily feel is the teflon products produced by normal wear. As mds said, don't worry about it.
 

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Mike, you're in Colorado. In FL you do it every day unless the humidity is up, then it might be 2-3 times a day. Most of my big compressors have momentary or float drains on them.
 

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Compressor Oil and Oily Condensate

Water is due to the heated air from the compressor coming into contact with the cooler receiver and receiver air, thus forming condensate, and a little rust is common, even occasionally in brand new receivers. A slight amount of oil is common for oil flooed compressors, but may also be attributed to operating a compressor in dirty environments, where the compressor intake may be taking in contaminated air.
CompressorProfessor
http://www.compressoroils.com
 
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