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Hydrovane 6PU compressor problems.

Miller13

Plastic
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Location
UK
Thanks gents, I guess I'll just go on with it and see how it goes. That's the beauty of the home workshop, we can experiment - and get it wrong if we must!

Col, what I do is save the ebay search (it's the green 'follow this search' button) with the particular item I want and set it for 'receiving emails'. This way I never have to check for it, an email will drop in as soon as somebody lists an item with that description.

For what it's worth, I had a look at my own manual and this 'unloader valve' is listed here as a 'pressure control valve'. Pretty simple device. What doesn't make sense is, when these things fail they are either stuck closed or leaking - which means pressure will either build up continuously into the red zone, or not being able to maintain pressure. Any chance there is an obstruction after the valve?
 

dkmc

Diamond
I have a model 23CM 7.5HP......old I am sure.
I found it years ago in a scrapyard.....half hidden IN the weeds.
It lived on the back of a service truck and road salt ate up the oil cooler plates.
I adapted an oil cooler designed for auto transmissions.
Problem solved, and the unit works well.

I have done some service to it over the years, but not much.
The motor shaft seal leaks a bit, but I haven't ever gotten the ambition to replace it.

Is the vapor coming out of yours water or oil.....or oil/water?
Things are rarely so simple, but I wonder if your Oil Separator Element is clogged and needs
replacing?

dan k
 

Retired UK.

Aluminum
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Location
Fenay Bridge, Huddersfield, UK.
Hi,

How true Miller13; we can do so much in our own workshops regarding experimenting whereas in a factory we would need to wear armour plating etc due to so many restrictions? Many thanks for the eBay information its much appreciated. Thanks also for asking but no there isn't any obstruction but a valid question.

What a lovely story dan and now you've got a top quality compressor. Thanks for the tip; I'll have a look at the oil separator; the vapour which was coming out appeared to be water but please read on because things have considerably improved.

Interesting information Clive about the Teco motors. Brook motors are definitely expensive but then you pay for quality; it might be possible to buy a flange mounted motor then buy seperate feet and set screws; the feet would be cheaper to buy than a flange? I worked at Brook Motors for 24 years and only bought the odd motor which brought tears to my eyes even with the company discount; my way of obtaining Brook Motors was to get permission to raid the scrap bins and also I had chums on the lookout for me as to display motors which were being scrapped; when Brooks introduced the "W" series motor many prototypes were made for testing and these were stored in the warehouse; I obtained permission to bring home as many of these prototype motors that I wanted on the condition I would never ever sell them the motors being for my own use and as I type I have a nice selection of motors stored under our bungalow. Working at Brooks was wonderful for me; I was well known for my workshop activities and I had access to lots of free material all I needed to do was ask permission to remove the material from site; the shaft store was a brilliant place for shaft ends of all sizes which were always in plenty awaiting the scrap man; I still have lots of mild and stainless shaft ends. The guys in the central stores would do stock checks and dispose of lots of obsolete items like boxes of set screws and would leave these on a rack for me to collect. I think I'm set up for life with odds and ends courtesy of Brooks and all for a thank you; places like Brook Motors are now quite rare in the UK?

Since my last post things have changed for the better. I mentioned the big two elongated nuts at the base of the vane unit under the motor leaking; the previous owner had made a very neat metal drip plate positioning this plate allowing dripping oil to drop into a small plastic container. The oil leak when I got the Hydrovane home was initially from the bottom flange hole of the motor dropping onto these nuts then onto the drip plate. Once I replaced the unloader valve seat sealing washer and made the new unloader valve piston the leak from the flange hole stopped but then started from the big nuts?

Yesterday afternoon I put a spanner on these two big nuts to find both were loose and could be tightened at least a turn and a half each before nipping them up; I wiped away the surplus oil and then ran the Hydrovane for a while; this now appears to have cured the oil leak and I've now removed the metal drip plate. Not only has the oil leak been sorted but more good news; I was amazed as I watched the pressure gauge; the pressure came up to 110 psi quickly as usual but now I timed it to go from 110 psi to 125 psi taking 16 minutes? To see this was wonderful for me; working on these Hydrovanes is a specialist job and it's recommended only genuine Hydrovane replacement parts are used. I made a very non original unloader valve sealing washer using 3mm thick Whale Tufnol and also turned a very non original unloader valve piston out of Meehanite. Each time I run the Hydrovane it takes longer for the gauge to reach the red zone which I believe is due to the two parts I made bedding in?

This really has cheered me up. I only made the two parts to test if it made any difference in the unloader valve? As Miller13 rightly says we can experiment in our home workshops so I took the liberty of experimenting here. The Tufnol sealing washer was straightforward to make but I modified the new Meehanite piston quite a bit from original. The original unloader valve piston had a worn valve guide bore although the valve stem was perfect being unworn; I believe the valve stem was 7mm diameter and I don't have a reamer this size also I didn't want to spend ages setting the lathe up with boring bar just for an experiment? I ran a brand new 7mm drill through the axis of the piston blank and to ensure concentricity did as much turning as possible on the important diameters. I didn't like the look of such a flimsy "O" ring so I increased the "O" ring seat diameter by 6 thou but also reduced this end of the piston by 6 thou to give more clearance in the piston bore after all this part of the piston doesn't make contact with the bore it seating only on the "O" ring. 6 thou (0.006") doesn't sound much but in engineering terms its a huge amount.The valve could be rocked in the original piston guide due to wear and I reasoned that given the rock and the limited clearance the end of the piston could possibly rub metal to metal on the piston bore. I knew the "O" ring would be tighter in the bore giving a better seal and possibly this is why the time is increasing so dramatically until the air pressure reaches the red zone; could it be that both parts are bedding in nicely?

I'm so pleased by this outcome I might spend more time and make even more accurate Tufnol washer and I could also make a new unloader valve piston from Tufnol as well because Tufnol is wonderful material for such items (Whale Tufnol). I now have my Hydrovane in reasonable working order and can use it with confidence knowing I never let my compressors idle for 15 minutes; in use I doubt the pressure will now increase much above 110 PSI so I can at last relax and concentrate on other projects? I wanted to add as much information as possible because there are still so many of this model of Hydrovane in regular use. I'm all for experimenting but a word of caution; compressed air can kill or maim and I'm a trained mechanical engineer so understand the safety issues and I'll not risk my health and won't encourage others to take risks either. The work I carried out in making the two parts can easily be reversed because no actual modification was made to any original part. A new Whale Tufnol piston made to tighter tolerances including using a boring bar or correct reamer might actually sort the problem out once and for all but at the moment the compressor is a lovely addition to my garage.

So in the end I think the problem was with the unloader valve after all so for anyone with a similar Hydrovane where the air pressure very slowly goes into the red then may I suggest replacing the valve seating PTFE washer and all the "O" rings but be careful to obtain the correct parts because the unloader valve is very sensitive. Over a week ago I phoned a compressor company and the guy I spoke to was most obliging and before hanging up said he would email with prices of the PTFE washer and "O" rings which were plentiful in his stock; two emails and a further phone call requesting a call back the guy has simply ignored me? I then sent an email to the Hydrovane specialists in Derbyshire but again no reply? I must be an alien speaking a different language? When in doubt make your own parts to save lots of hassle and hanging around?

I've just been into the garage to check for oil leaks and not a drop in sight; I was going to post this yesterday afternoon but thought I'd better wait until the Hydrovane fully cooled before sticking my neck out saying the leak was cured.

Thanks everyone for your input and suggestions which I really do appreciate.

Next project is to make a Pantorouter; Demonstrating the pantorouter - YouTube What an amazing invention.

Kind regards, Col.
 

Retired UK.

Aluminum
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Location
Fenay Bridge, Huddersfield, UK.
Hi,

Thanks once again Miller13 for the eBay information; I'm now following Hydrovane searches; you mention the green button; colours are a no go for me because I'm hopelessly colour blind but I found it and its useful to know.

I stripped out the oil separator yesterday dan following your welcome suggestion and sure enough the bottom of the chamber was covered in sludge and globules of water which I carefully cleaned out; I gave the element a good paraffin wash then blew it off with an air line. I thought I had finally sorted this Hydrovane out but it's still blowing quite a bit of water vapour out; I'd have been much quicker stripping the entire compressor and starting from scratch but obtaining correct OEM Hydrovane spares is proving difficult; two compressor companies I've approached don't answer emails and one doesn't return a phone call. Yesterday I sent an email to Hydrovane in Redditch enquiring if they still stock spares for the 6PU such as the PTFE unloader valve washer and assorted "O" rings; I also asked if they do a full service kit; I'm confident I'll receive a reply but in the meantime I have an Hydrovane compressor I dare not strip down in case I can't obtain correct "O" rings and end up with a pile of expensive scrap; what a dilemma.

The situation is that I currently have the Hydrovane running quite well in fact it's a great deal better than the new 3hp twin cylinder; it's blowing water vapour out but so does the twin cylinder; I've hooked up a water separator which helps a bit but for paint spraying it's not good enough. One of the companies I emailed sell second-hand compressors so I asked if they could do a part exchange but I didn't receive the courtesy of a reply. 50 years ago I was stripping motorcycle engines and making my own gaskets but these days there are lots of "O" rings and even these are assorted sizes regarding cross section; I have a box of assorted metric "O" rings in two cross sections neither of which accurately match the original Hydrovane "O" rings; as I grow older life becomes increasingly complicated and frustrating. I bought a roll of gasket material at Rufforth Auto Jumble near York (UK) a week ago so making two new gaskets for the oil separator element was easy; by the way this element only had one gasket the top one was missing so now its got two. This Hydrovane might have been "got at" after all?

The images hopefully will show the compressor in question and the unloader valve; please note the dirty unloader valve seating washer which I replaced with a homemade Tufnol washer. The fourth image is my 3hp compressor. As I become more used to this forum I hope to add greater detail which might be of use to others in a similar situation to me.

Kind regards, Col.

Hydrovane as bought 25 Aug 2014 (1).jpgDSCN0616.jpgDSCN0612.jpg 3HP compressor (1).jpg
 

dkmc

Diamond
Retired......

Nice looking little Hydrovane you have there!
I can see why you persist to have it operating properly.

I think I read someplace that the oil seperator elements cannot be cleaned, but
must be replaced. Shame you're not being treated better by the sales companies.
Is it really humid there? Hard to believe you have constant water vapor
out the pipe, but the oil sure looks milky enough.
Maybe running it under partly restricted output would work it harder and heat it
up more, thus driving more water out of the oil?

I am sure you will sort it out eventually, but for now I would resist a total real-time
exploded view of the mechanism until there are no doubts spares are at your
disposal.

Keep us posted......

dk
 

Retired UK.

Aluminum
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Location
Fenay Bridge, Huddersfield, UK.
Hi,

Many thanks dk; yes it is a nice compact Hydrovane and it puts out plenty of air even though it hasn't got a receiver; if I can cure the excessive rise in air pressure and the water vapour it will be a perfect compressor for me and will last a lifetime with proper care. I was reading on a website that the oil separator element could be cleaned in a cleaning bath hence I washed mine out with paraffin and blew it off with the air line in the hope it would make some difference either way? If I can get hold of new spares I'll willingly buy them but so far I can buy any number of brand new Hydrovane's but no one seems to want to bother selling me a handful of spares? One thing is certain; I will never buy a new Hydrovane if this is the Hydrovane spares back up.

Good question regarding humidity here; I checked the weather forecast yesterday and humidity was shown as 80% with an high of around 18 degrees. It's possible this humidity has an effect but I think these Hydrovane's were sold everywhere so humidity must have been taken into account during the design stage?

I've run the Hydrovane long enough to get it nice and hot but it makes no difference to the amount of water vapour being expelled; my chum Tony reckons the clue is in the name "Hydro" perhaps I've bought a pressure washer? It really is so frustrating to be so near and yet so far in getting it working perfectly. I bought 5L of correct vane oil so any old contaminated oil has already been removed.

I was thinking on the same lines as you dk in that I'm loathe to pull this Hydrovane to bits given the spares situation but the more I play with it I'm just wasting a lot of time and effort; I've been closely reading the workshop manual and the full strip down would be easy enough for me because I can make the special pullers required without difficulty. It's possible given the age of this Hydrovane the main problem could be fair wear and tear (or abuse in not servicing). It's unlikely the heart of the Hydrovane is in poor condition given the way it puts out air pressure so freely so the vanes etc should be in good order; however shims are employed as are many "O" rings for sealing; the main seal is so important that there are actually three seals employed and these if original must be suspect? I think at this point I have little alternative than to strip it down and start from scratch checking everything as it is re-assembled; I've restored many machines but never worked on a vane compressor previously so it should be an interesting project for me and possibly stripping it completely will be the quickest solution?

The unloader valve is very important in these Hydrovane's and below I've added more pictures showing my unloader valve; please note the dirty half circle on the valve seat; to me this looks like the valve isn't seating as it should being only half in contact? I've changed the sealing washer but still wonder if it is sealing as it should; there is some wear present allowing the valve to rock and I made a new unloader valve piston which did make a tremendous difference to how long it took before the air pressure went into the red zone; I could make another new piston to even tighter tolerances thereby removing any rock on the valve stem and grind the valve seat in using grinding paste; if I make the new piston from Whale Tufnol I can make it a nice sliding fit in the bore knowing there will be no metal to metal contact? Ideally a new unloader valve assembly would be the best solution but the way things are going in obtaining Hydrovane OEM spares I'm quicker making my own?

It's interesting that the unloader valve piston has two functions; the piston proper is spring loaded in its bore but the piston is also bored axially to accept the valve so any wear between the two must impact on the correct seating of the PTFE washer? I flipped the PTFE washer over and tried it but it made no difference. The "O" ring on the piston still looks odd to me given how wide the groove is and that the groove has straight sides and bottom? This groove seems more suited to a rubber band?

I can buy Whale Tufnol and PTFE locally and I'll do some research on the net regarding "O" ring data; so far I've not attempted to measure the "O" rings but If I can determine the correct sizes I'm sure I can easily buy new "O" rings cheaply? I can also make new shims and gaskets if required. It's time I got really involved and learn about Hydrovane's and how to repair them.

I will indeed keep posting as the story unfolds.

I've just done a quick search and WOW what a lot of "O" ring information is available; here is a very useful site and not far from where I live; A sample "O" sent to them should bring the desired result and they also do boxes of assorted "O" rings;

http://www.jameswalker.biz/nb/pdf_docs/3-o-ring-guide-issue-7

Kind regards, Col.
 

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adama

Diamond
Joined
Dec 28, 2004
Location
uk
IMHO your wasting your time emailing most uk suppliers, either call in in person or phone them. Don't know why but a hell of a lot of companies emails are still unmonitored here - go unanswered in the uk.
 

Retired UK.

Aluminum
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Location
Fenay Bridge, Huddersfield, UK.
Hi,

Thanks adama; I'm sure you are correct regarding emails; why do companies add an email address in their websites for contacting them if they ignore emails; better no email addresses at all to save time and frustrating from prospective customers?

Things have moved on today because I've just had a good session and stripped a lot of this Hydrovane. The stripdown was pretty straightforward until I reached the point of extracting the motor/pump unit. The workshop manual diagram was most misleading; yes it showed the extractor in position secured to the case with four 6mm machine screws but the two extractor screws looked like set screws but what were they pushing against because it appeared that they were pushing against the case? I couldn't see any sign of a joint so I inspected the manual diagram of the motor/pump unit and reasoned that the the unit joint was well inside the casing? Now how to go about extraction? I looked around my stock of off-cuts but didn't fancy spending ages cutting thick steel then drilling and tapping etc; I did spot a nice piece of 3/4" thick plywood which looked promising so gave it some thought.

I drilled two 11mm clearance holes at 3 3/4" centres in the plywood to accept the threaded rods. I thought at last I had got a grip on what I needed to do; I cut two lengths of 10mm threaded rod and ground the ends smooth. These two rods were then screwed into two of the holes where I had removed the cap head screws as far as I could screw them by hand; next I ran a nut on each followed by two washers each then slid on the plywood; the manual states the correct extractor be secured to the face of the casing by four 6mm machine screws but obviously this would not work with this method; I used two large cramps one top and one bottom to secure the plywood; it was very handy because the casing is thick in these points and the cramps fitted in nicely; the cramps were tightened then I used a spanner to tighten the two nuts against the plywood; boy the unit was tight and the force exerted by the nuts deformed the plywood; I used the old trick of tapping the ends of the exposed rods with an hammer; not tapping very hard but enough to shock the unit into finally moving and suddenly the unit moved out about quarter of an inch. At this point I found I needed longer threaded extractor rods so this time cut two more but at 9" long and set everything up again allowing me to extract the motor/pump unit; the unit was heavy and the rods were still installed but with some tugging it finally cleared. I was very pleased to have got the unit out and onto the bench where I could inspect it.

The large diameter "O" rings were well flattened at the bottom when I placed a steel rule across; these will be changed anyway and a quick check shows them to be around 7" outside diameter; the actual measurement being more like 6 15/16" I've not yet checked the cross section size of the "o" rings because at this point I thought it prudent to knock off and study the workshop manual some more? The inside of the casing needs a good cleaning out but so far so good; next job will be to strip the motor/pump and have a look at the seals? I admit I was very puzzled as to how to extract the motor/pump unit at first but now I've done it I'm happy to pass on my DIY method. Its possible the correct extractor set screws are reduced in diameter at their ends otherwise if threaded they simply would not work and could damage the tapped threads in the pump unit? I'm taking things slowly because it's so easy to do more harm than good whilst doing a job like this. As usual though easy once the answer is known. A few more pictures below to show what I'm up against; I'm finding it most interesting and I do hope Hydrovane come through with a correct service kit including filters then I'm hopeful of success? More to follow as work progresses.

Kind regards, Col.


Hydrovane strip down Sept 2014 (7).jpgHydrovane strip down Sept 2014 (2).jpgHydrovane strip down Sept 2014 (8).jpgDSCN0644.jpgDSCN0646.jpg
 

dkmc

Diamond
Col.

Great pictures and effort.
I find it very interesting to actually see the innards of the Hydrovane unit, and way better you doing the work instead of me!
What a great thing IF you could reach an engineer at Hydrovane and chat with him about the pressure rise problem.
I think you should try ringing them up and if one person gives you no help, call back and try again with another.
It seems they would know the cause with little hesitation.
Also getting the kit from them would save a lot of time and guessing on proper O ring sizes.

Keep up the great work

dk
 

Retired UK.

Aluminum
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Location
Fenay Bridge, Huddersfield, UK.
Hi,

Thanks dk for your kind comments. Your suggestion of contacting Hydrovane by phone is a good one and I would have used it as a last resort but I've now got both good and bad news to share.

I received a reply to the email I sent to Hydrovane and it was most helpful also the guy at Hydrovane has given me permission to pass on the workshop and user manual details which he generously sent me in PDF format completely free of charge so top marks to Hydrovane for this which has cheered me up a great deal. I hope I can suss out how to add both manuals?

Now some detail; yes there are two service kits still available for the Hydrovane 6PU models (there are actually two such models but the kits are identical). KM006 is the smaller service kit containing filters etc whereas the KT006 service kit is the top up kit for use in a major rebuild containing all the seals. Hydrovane have been great in supplying all the detail and I was informed that my nearest Hydrovane agent is Thorite in Bradford where I should order the kits as required? I also enquired out of interest if the unloader valve was still available for the 6PU and not only is it still available the design is so good that it is still used to this day under part number 3653-P.

I've emailed Thorite in Bradford and have received a prompt reply with quotes and this is the bad news because I'm in a state of shock; the smaller service kit KM006 is £81.31 and the comprehensive top up kit KT006 is £252.63 which brought tears to my eyes. This plus carriage of £9.95 and I received an addition to the email requesting I supply details of the quote and if I have followed up on the quote because Thorite are now monitoring emails received through their website? I can understand this because emails take time and will add up to a substantial sum for a big company paying wages? Both kits add up to roughly what I paid for the Hydrovane in the first place and now I have a bit of a dilemma?

The shock is now wearing off and the tears subsiding allowing me to think rationally; if I went ahead and bought both kits and the repair was successful I would have a very nice substantially built quiet Hydrovane compressor which would last my lifetime with care and including the initial cost all for around £700 excluding my labour which of course is a labour of love; compare this £700 to around £2,000 for a new Hydrovane and it brings it into perspective; it's still a lot of money to spend on a compressor which ceased production around 1984 but once the money was forgotten I would have a very nice compact compressor? I could of course just buy the cheaper service kit in the hope the new filters would solve the problem but I don't like doing half a job so I'll give it a bit of thought.

Whilst in Sheffield this morning Bron and I drove over to Direct Plastics Online a company we've visited a number of times previously. I wanted to buy 1" dia Wale Tufnol in a 6" length and I also took along the original PTFE unloader valve seating washer asking if they could supply a bit of material to make a couple of these washers from. Things become more complicated these days and it's becoming increasingly harder to obtain material in small amounts; the Whale Tufnol rod is only available in 300mm lengths it being a cut to size stock item also the PTFE is sold as a sheet in my case 300mm x 300mm x 3mm? The Tufnol works out at £21.77 inc VAT and the PTFE works out at £32.46 inc VAT. I only needed a length of Tufnol at just over 1.5" and the PTFE two diameters at around 1.5". On the bonus side though I was very kindly given a small sample of 3mm PTFE which will yield four sealing washers but I didn't buy any Tufnol. DIY is rapidly being pushed out here in the UK with businesses catering for businesses who have lots of money to spend where minimum quantity isn't a problem; I'm not in any way moaning but I am saddened by the way things are going these days? In a way its a vicious circle with buying small quantities of material the seller has to charge a lot more for cut sizes because of the hassle involved but how much extra is justified? I used to buy BMS in small quantities and it was very expensive indeed then I contacted a local steel supplier who sells the steel in full lengths only with a minimum £25 order; I placed an order for £30 and collected the assorted BMS rounds which had been cut into 48" lengths to allow collection by car and it worked out at less than a quarter of what I would have had to pay from my previous supplier; it pays to shop around. I try to shop around for the two service kits now I have the details?

I've just tried to add the two service manuals in PDF (Adobe) but the files are much too large 6PU Mk2 parts & service is 658KB and 6PU handbook 2,469KB; I've got full permission to show these on the forum so is there a way I can do it please? If not I can send via email?

I've not ruled out buying both servicing kits but I'll have a go at shopping around first because I'm not in a panic and won't be put under pressure by Thorite for a decision in 24 hours?

Does a guy in his own home workshop need to be rich to own and fully service an Hydrovane compressor? I'm not knocking Hydrovane's but this is a steep and expensive learning curve I'm currently going through.

Kind regards, Col.
 

dkmc

Diamond
Col.

Couple thoughts, probably not worth much......

May not do any good, but could not hurt to ask if you could get a discount on the
price of the kits.

If you could make friends with a larger machine shop, they may help you on small
quantities of material. They might give you a project or two as well if you'd want it,
perhaps to earn the funds to fix the compressor?? Then you'd need the compressor
to do the work they gave you....I'm just being humorous here...

Same idea, maybe ask the plastics house who does buy the material you need in quantity, and contact them for cutoffs or scrap.
 

Botje

Aluminum
Joined
Mar 26, 2012
Location
The Netherlands
Good info here guys! I can't contribute much about Hydrovane maintenance. I do want to buy one, there is a very nice receiver mounted V04 (4 Kw, 500-650L/min) for sale locally that is just what I need.

Does anyone have experience with the membrane driers on those machines? Sounds ideal to me, simple and compact.

How resistant are those machines to intermittent use? 2 weeks without use an issue? Does it need to get up to operating temperature every time it runs? Or should I rig up a timer to run it till the oil is hot once a week?

PS: Here are more (newish) Hydrovane brochures and manuals: Index of /wp-content/uploads/2014/03
 

Retired UK.

Aluminum
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Location
Fenay Bridge, Huddersfield, UK.
Hi,

Thanks dk. All ideas and thoughts are most welcome. Given the tone of the email reply I received from Thorite I've just sent Thorite my reply saying I don't like being pressured into making a quick decision whether or not to buy these kits; if I don't buy within 24 hours do they take the toys away; I can't do business like this; I've also suggested to Thorite if they are finding the costs too high to reply to customer emails that they remove their email address from their website. It's possible that part of the email message I received from Thorite was a mistake it being intended for internal use only but I did receive it? Anyway I've no intention of being pressured into buying anything and given the prices quoted by Thorite I doubt they will be any higher from other suppliers now I have the details? When I send out an email enquiry I don't do it for fun.

Its actually a good suggestion dk to approach machine shops; I used to do this a lot around Huddersfield when there was some industry still left making things other than burgers. I still visit a local sheet metal company for metal offcuts mostly black iron but very useful and if they don't want cash I always call back with a gift like a box of chocs then I can visit again without feeling cheeky. I also visit a local joiners for timber offcuts; I've come away a number of times with a car load of short ends (up to 24" long) of hardwoods in big sections ideal for ripping down into furniture parts or for woodturning; each car load costs only £20; I tend to leave it six months then pop back for another load this way I'm not too cheeky and it gives them a chance of building up a stock of offcuts they are glad to dispose of? About three years ago Direct Plastics were located just across the road from their present building and I used to come away with lots of offcuts of all kinds of plastic materials which they were always glad to get rid of because it cost them money to send it to landfill; they have now moved and no longer do cut sizes because the offcuts were costing them far too much after all offcuts are part of the profit or should be if not wasted?

I'm in a position that I could buy a new Hydrovane without too much difficulty but for my limited use it's simply not justified but I can easily afford the two service kits but on principle I find it hard to part with so much money to buy kits for a compressor which is over 30 years old; I would have thought these kits would be a liability just sitting on shelves with little hope of being sold? I don't know how the Hydrovane spares system works regarding these kits; do suppliers of these kits take the order then Hydrovane make up the kit upon request or are these kits sitting on shelves and if so they must be 30 years old? I'll shop around a bit to see what I can come up with; had I not received the pressure from Thorite I might have bought the kits knowing them to be genuine Hydrovane; it would still be a gamble that the kits would cure the fault?

I'm delighted Botje to see you add so much Hydrovane information and wouldn't it be wonderful if more could be added as long as there wasn't any infringements; to have all the information in one place must be a good thing? Like you Botje I'm new to Hydrovane's but I'm learning fast; it appears Hydrovane's do not like infrequent use due to internal condensation building up; but if you do go the Hydrovane route good luck and please keep us posted.

Kind regards, Col.
 

dkmc

Diamond
it appears Hydrovane's do not like infrequent use due to internal condensation building up; but if you do go the Hydrovane route good luck and please keep us posted.

Kind regards, Col.

I read that in one of the manuals posted and it concerns me...
All my use is very infrequent. The highest temps mine sees is about 145-160F.
The other concern is finding a small quantity of the -correct- oil for the unit.
All I seem to find is 5 gallon pails on the net. I would need 3 liters and it would
be good for many hundreds of hours.

dk
 

Retired UK.

Aluminum
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Location
Fenay Bridge, Huddersfield, UK.
Hi,

Here in the UK we can buy vane compressor oil very easily in 5L sizes dk; 5 gallons even American gallons is a lot of oil to have kicking around not to mention the monetary outlay; does oil degrade with age? I too am concerned about condensation problems with my Hydrovane; I've run my Hydrovane for well over half an hour and although it felt hot to touch it didn't feel hot on top where the oil separator is located which might be a clue as to why it was blowing out so much water vapour; also my Hydrovane needs new filters which won't help because looking at the air filter it feels oily and is very dirty.

There are lots of second-hand Hydrovane's currently on eBay and I can't help but wonder how many are in similar condition to mine having been run without correct servicing until something goes wrong then they are put up for sale to avoid what I'm now going through?

Last night I gave my problem some thought and I don't actually need all the hassle of owning an Hydrovane with it's high servicing cost and expensive service kits and having to run it for hours just to expel moisture? I have a small SIP compressor which would inflate our car tyres without all the associated hassle. The other use I have for a compressor is occasional paint spraying. The £252.63 quoted for the top up service kit KT006 would buy me a brand new airless paint sprayer which would be very quiet in operation and eliminate any moisture issues? These Hydrovane's need servicing once a year and the standard service kit for mine is £81.31 and I believe this excludes oil so add on another £30 for vane oil? These Hydrovane's are intended for industrial use where they are run day in day out but now many are finding their way into home workshops and on the whole home workshops do not justify spending lots of money on compressor servicing and the Hydrovane's will also suffer through intermittent use?

Without doubt the best paint sprayer I have used was over 40 years ago and it was a small Spraymate 122 I think made by Burgess; I sprayed lots of vehicles with this; I've since used big air compressors and lots of different types of spray guns; the little Spraymate was a gem but unfortunately long out of production. This Spraymate wasn't mine it belonged to my chum who obtained it by collecting "Green Shield Stamps" the whole unit could be lifted with one hand it was oil free and if my memory is correct it was a diaphragm compressor; perhaps a member can jog my memory?

The story so far though; I paid a lot of money for my Hydrovane; got it home knowing it had a slight oil leak but didn't know it had air pressure problems with the pressure creeping into the red zone nor did I know it doubled up as a pressure washer given the amount of water vapour it puts out. I've been messed around by two compressor companies failing to answer emails or return a phone call. I now know these Hydrovane's have a number of serious issues when it comes to home workshop use in that in my now opinion they are unsuitable unless going to be run for extended periods; The spares and service kits are very expensive and vane oil is needed. I'm not the sharpest tool in the kit but am realizing that even if I do fully sort out my Hydrovane will it be of any use to me? Inflating tyres it will do but would I need to run it for hours before daring to couple up my spray gun?

I'm considering reassembling the Hydrovane and selling it on suggesting it be used for soda/hard medium blasting which it will be well suited for; I'd rather be honest and suffer a loss than dump this Hydrovane on anyone.

This is my first venture into vane type compressors and I think possibly my last; I feel disappointed in that on first acquaintance this Hydrovane appeared perfect for my needs it putting out huge amounts of air with good pressure and not needing a receiver but then I got to know it? I like pottering around in the workshop and playing around with this Hydrovane has proved very interesting but I don't think I can accept the hassles which accompany it?

I've got a guy coming to view my 3hp compressor so got to go.

Kind regards, Col.
 

Miller13

Plastic
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Location
UK
Col, I can see you are disheartened about the whole thing.

Here is how I see it. First of all, you don't go and buy service and top up kits directly from the dealer. There is a reason why I mentioned ebay. Just for comparison, a top up kit for my Hydrovane 5 would cost about £380+VAT. Never in a million years, and out of general principle more than anything else. As I said, I've seen quite a few genuine kits on ebay for all kinds of models over the last couple years and they go for about £80. Then there is the aftermarket kit, about half price compared to your original quote.

Then, you have to ask yourself if you need one to begin with. If it pumps air within spec and is not leaking, forget about the overhauling kit. Just do a service as a new owner and that's it. Also regardless of what the manual says, real people in the real world don't service it every year, they will follow the hour counter and do the service at the 2000 hours mark, if that. Than can be every 3 years and it will work just as well. Far from being considered abuse in a practical application.

The real issue is, your unit has a slight fault and because you're having such a hard time identifying it, you're starting to believe everything might be wrong with it and these things have to be put on a pedestal in order to function correctly. Far from it. My suggestion is take a step back and concentrate solely on the issue at hand. If it gets too frustrating, forget about it for a while and come back to it another day.

I've been there many times as a professional hobbyist, when things don't work right I invest myself emotionally and it gets to a point where, if I don't turn it into a machine perfect in every way NOW, then I don't want it! In the end the cool headedness prevails, but the same time I'm very careful not to spend more than a few quid, if I don't know what's wrong with it. I like the challenge but don't want to turn it into a bitter experience as well.

Only you know what's best to do in this situation. I do hope you can get it working, I just can't see a lot being wrong with it.
 

Retired UK.

Aluminum
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Location
Fenay Bridge, Huddersfield, UK.
Hi,

Thanks Miller13; I'm more disappointed than downhearted with the way things have so far turned out with this Hydrovane. One thing is certain though when I reach the stage in a project that I want to jump up and down on it or run it our local tip then I know the only way is up and start to get my creative head together. I've seen a number of Hydrovane service kits on eBay but so far not for the 6PU? I've been very busy today but I think I'll email the eBay seller to enquire if they can supply the correct service kit.

Yes it bugs me that there doesn't appear to be just one fault I can fix to put it all right but I'm used to finding multiple faults in machines I restore and as you say it's a challenge rather than a chore. I simply cannot accept second best and compromise isn't an option when it comes to the machines I buy and own; they must all be in top working condition and if not they are stripped and fully rebuilt until they are; I was taught as an apprentice 50 years ago to look after my tools and machines and its stuck with me and I'm unlikely to change; an oil leak just has to be cured; air pressure creeping into the dial red zone needs fixing; I won't settle until I get it right. The real problem I have is in accepting I made the right decision in buying this Hydrovane now I know the issues regarding servicing and condensation problems. If I restore this Hydrovane will I need to run it an hour to warm it up before I hook up a paint spray gun to avoid it blowing water vapour out? I could not live with a compressor like this?

I don't regard it as a bitter experience; well not yet anyway and I've a long way to go before I do; I can afford to lose money on my hobby after all it is just an hobby and I get a lot of pleasure from tinkering around with these old machines; pleasure which cannot be measured in monetary terms but I don't throw money away either so common sense must rule. I've watched a couple of this model of Hydrovane sell through eBay and they are lucky to reach £150 which makes what I paid for mine very expensive indeed but no one forced me to buy it so I'm not moaning; it was my ignorance of vane compressors at fault but I learn very quickly. I do fully agree with you though in that given how near it was to working correctly before I stripped it there can't be anything too serious wrong with it?

I'll stick with it and see how I progress after all this is the first vane compressor I've owned and the learning curve is interesting; I'll have my lows as well as my highs but I've never quit on a restoration yet and don't intend to with this one. I need to back off slightly though because I have other more pressing matters to deal with at the moment. I did sell my 3hp compressor this morning and it's now gone taking its infernal noise along with it I got £140 for it which was a fair deal. I also threw in two top quality air tools which I don't use so the buyer was well pleased; I'd much rather lose money than take advantage of anyone; I'll never be rich but I can sleep at night. I'll keep updating as the project progresses; if I sound negative it wears off because during these restorations some days are good other days not so good; it's all part of the fun. Thanks Miller13 for the pep talk which is very much appreciated.

Kind regards, Col.
 

adama

Diamond
Joined
Dec 28, 2004
Location
uk
Few points,

Firstly if your spraying you need to be running filtration, what goes into a air compressor comes out, damp air, pumped up to 10 bar and yeah its going to be wet or so frigging hot its unusable, you have to dry it, what ever pump. Thats not the pumps fault!

WTF are you not using a pressure vessel? You need the storage - cooling. No one runs air tools straight of the pump due to the very moisture issue your fighting! Weather its a diaphragm, piston, screw or vane pump, they all extract the humidity out of the air as they increase the pressure, equally they also heat the air too. You don't want to try and paint with warm air, all the more so if your running cellulose paints, will be dry dust before it hits the panel! You don't need much of a vessel either, 25 gallons will make a vast difference to solving your problem!

If you want to just spray go buy a FIJU or how ever its seplt turbine system, there about £300 and great. Just don't come back bitching it won't run the DA sander!

Secoundly you bought a 30 year old air compressor for like 1/10th new retail price, just how many piston pumps would you still be expecting to see working at that age, especially the cheap shit like your SIP one! Your not comparing like with like.

IMHO you have bought a old Rolls Royce, yet want to be only spending reliant robin money on parts and minimal upkeep at that. Equally your now wineing that you have a rolls when the reliant would do. No probs PM me your address and i will come take the weight - problem off your hands :-) Would love a hydrovane and no my piston pumps not upto my needs :-(

As to the air filters in the pump getting oilly, yeah, its how they work on the output end, the oil actually improves the filtration and the filter is there to collect that oil. If you look at the graphics of how they work on the hydrovane website you will see that. Just like all compressor pumps its designed to filter enough to work as a pump, its not designed to filter to surgical cleanliness, thats what the end point of use filtration on a air set-up - system is for.

No you don't need to run a hydrovane to full working temp once a week to avoid issues if its not being used, but yeah, if your useing one just like any compressor, it wants to be sized such that it does get to operating temp often enough to avoid the moisture issues all compressors suffer from!
 

PDW

Diamond
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Location
Australia (Hobart)
Few points,

Firstly if your spraying you need to be running filtration, what goes into a air compressor comes out, damp air, pumped up to 10 bar and yeah its going to be wet or so frigging hot its unusable, you have to dry it, what ever pump. Thats not the pumps fault!

WTF are you not using a pressure vessel? You need the storage - cooling. No one runs air tools straight of the pump due to the very moisture issue your fighting! Weather its a diaphragm, piston, screw or vane pump, they all extract the humidity out of the air as they increase the pressure, equally they also heat the air too. You don't want to try and paint with warm air, all the more so if your running cellulose paints, will be dry dust before it hits the panel! You don't need much of a vessel either, 25 gallons will make a vast difference to solving your problem!

If you want to just spray go buy a FIJU or how ever its seplt turbine system, there about £300 and great. Just don't come back bitching it won't run the DA sander!

Secoundly you bought a 30 year old air compressor for like 1/10th new retail price, just how many piston pumps would you still be expecting to see working at that age, especially the cheap shit like your SIP one! Your not comparing like with like.

IMHO you have bought a old Rolls Royce, yet want to be only spending reliant robin money on parts and minimal upkeep at that. Equally your now wineing that you have a rolls when the reliant would do. No probs PM me your address and i will come take the weight - problem off your hands :-) Would love a hydrovane and no my piston pumps not upto my needs :-(

As to the air filters in the pump getting oilly, yeah, its how they work on the output end, the oil actually improves the filtration and the filter is there to collect that oil. If you look at the graphics of how they work on the hydrovane website you will see that. Just like all compressor pumps its designed to filter enough to work as a pump, its not designed to filter to surgical cleanliness, thats what the end point of use filtration on a air set-up - system is for.

No you don't need to run a hydrovane to full working temp once a week to avoid issues if its not being used, but yeah, if your useing one just like any compressor, it wants to be sized such that it does get to operating temp often enough to avoid the moisture issues all compressors suffer from!

I'd have to agree with all of that. I have a *big* water trap on my 120cfm unit. If I didn't then it rapidly became unusable for sand blasting due to the entrained water in the air, a problem that did not get any better the longer the unit ran. Damp sand that clogs the hose is not useful.

My plan is to manifold my 3 compressors into a single large tank (which I have to hand) and run the supply line off of that. I can then fire up the size compressor I need but delivery goes to tank then through water trap(s) to end use.

I'd happily swap my small 10 cfm nominal (in someone's dreams) compressor for the small Hydrovane unit, too.

PDW
 








 
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