Curtis air compressor rebuild question
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  1. #1
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    Default Curtis air compressor rebuild question

    I bought a used Curtis compressor a while back. It is a C 98. It was running when I bought it but it was under a lean to on the side of the guys building. It came up to pressure fine and seemed to operate as I think it should but it looks rough.
    I would like to have it gone over by someone that is more knowledgeable about these than myself.
    I am going to replace my Ingersol Rand 5 HP vertical unit with this one. The IR just isn't made for the strain I am putting it under.
    Can anyone recommend a reputable outfit that would be able to handle this. If it needs to be rebuilt that's fine I just want it to get done right.

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    Has anyone here rebuilt one of these? If I attempt to do it does anyone know of a good source for parts or info about these?curtis-2.jpgcurtis-1.jpg20181106_114042.jpg

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    Never a Curtiss, but I've rebuilt several compressors of same vintage. If you've rebuilt an engine, you can rebuild a compressor. Google showed several suppliers for Curtiss parts, if they do not carry parts for that model you are stuck with disassembling, then searching for parts by dimensions. Unless you find something wrong internally, you can probably get by with a valve job and some new rings, and maybe a set of main (roller) bearings.

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    I'd give it a good inspection, check bearings and journals, wouldn't rebuild the bottom end unless warranted. Take the head apart and clean the valves, they get gummy from years of oil residue and whatever.

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    I can tell by the 6 belt flywheel and square intercooler fins that it is at least 50 or 60 years old. Parts are very expensive but they still make these.

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    If it seems to build up air pressure in a reasonable amount of time and there's not any great amount of crank case blow by through the crank case vent when pumping.
    No strange noises in the compressor it self, no significant oil leaks and there's no considerable amount of compressed air pulsing back through the air filter inlet when pumping, then change the oil/ belts and run it.
    I guess what I am saying is if it is working as it should why fool with it.
    Most all of these old world air compressors were built to run a very long time.

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    I agree with dana gear, if its running and pumping, why tear into it? I would just do the basics cleaning, plumbing, and paint. Its not hard to do a rebuild, and an automotive machine shop should be able to help with what you dont have time or resources to do yourself.

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    Like Dalgirl I have rebuilt a few of this era/cast iron thumpers, like Quincy, Saylor Beall and Kellogg American.

    On those rebuild kits were available, but otherwise it is off the shelf roller bearings and seals. Gaskets and valves could be made if unavailable.
    Connecting rod bearing inserts could be a barrier.

    Hastings sells almost every size piston ring.
    I bent 1 ring assembling the Kellogg, my 1st bent/broken ring assembling probably 50 engines and compressors. Ugh!

    Would of had to buy a rering kit for 1 ring.

    Hastings had one with the correct OD, thickness but too small ID.
    Bored an short aluminum cylinder in the lathe, stuck the ring in and bored it out.
    Pretty easy.

    On the Kellogg you slide the heavy cylinder down over both pistons, the cylinder bore has a taper to start the piston/rings assembly in.
    The crank rotates, the pistons wobble, the rings jam and that cylinder is heavy.

    I fabbed up some blocking to hold the bottom of the pistons in alignment and one piston much higher than the other so I could start one piston at a time.
    Went right on, and should have done that from the start and I wouldn't have bent that ring.

    I made up the tools, sort of pin spanners to remove the valve retainers w/o mangling them.
    I don't dig the punch and hammer methods.


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