Emptying/“fixing” old compressor air tank
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  1. #1
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    Default Emptying/“fixing” old compressor air tank

    I have an old Ingersoll Rand piston air compressor




    mounted on a year 1945 tank. It says working pressure 200 PSI; don’t worry, I won’t bring it anywhere near that:



    The tank has a fairly thick layer (3/4”?) of rust sludge/mud at the bottom.

    Suggestions on cleaning it out?
    I pulled the drain plug fitting off entirely, but it only hisses for a long time and I see muddy water droplets come out.

    I was wondering about bead blasting the inside.

    Tank too old/corroded/dangerous to use?
    It seems in good shape other than the sludge.

    But, I’m guessing I’ll have to tip it on its side to get the gunk out one of the large ports.

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    I would tip on its end or side so you could tap on the bottom with a hammer. If the after cleaning the bottom sounds significantly different than the top or side then maybe worry about it. Get the sludge out first, that will deaden the sound of hammer taps.
    A magnet on a stick would also be helpful to judge condition. See if it picks up a lot of rust scale or if it is just sticky, oily goo.

    You could put a gallon or so of punching slugs in it and put in the back of your truck for a few days/weeks. They would at least be easy to get out with a magnet.

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    Be careful with solvents. It is possible to wash it out and leave enough solvent soaked goo behind to make a diesel engine. A single shot compression ignition engine in other words. If it is nice and clean and the solvent has evaporated no problems.
    Bil lD

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    Only way to know for sure is a hydrotest. Fill it with water and pressure test it.

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    It's going to be a little work but I would pull the large bung plugs out, and hot pressure wash the inside.
    It's going to take a commercial pressure washer not the quarter car wash type.
    You will be surprised how well this works.
    What you have is many years of compressor oil and compressed moisture congealing together.
    A very thorough inspection of the tanks general condition should occur after cleaning.
    With the bungs removed and after cleaning check for any internal shell pitting, particularly on the bottom of the tank.
    We generally use a bore a scope to preform a internal inspection. A tap test on the tanks shell should offer no difference in sound through out. There are more complex tests to confirm shell thickness/condition, however if the inside looks good your probably good to go. The old Scaife tanks were very well made.

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    For the effort you'll put into proper cleaning and testing, I'd just get a new tank and not work/worry further. It's earned its retirement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milland View Post
    For the effort you'll put into proper cleaning and testing, I'd just get a new tank and not work/worry further. It's earned its retirement.
    Have you priced a new ASME tank of that size, hope your sitting down. Even if you purchase a new I/R replacement tank.
    I guarantee the motor will not bolt on without work on the mounting base The T-series pump should fit without changes but port location will most likely be off a little bit. All very doable but why if your tank is still sound.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dana gear View Post
    It's going to be a little work but I would pull the large bung plugs out, and hot pressure wash the inside.
    It's going to take a commercial pressure washer not the quarter car wash type.
    You will be surprised how well this works.
    What you have is many years of compressor oil and compressed moisture congealing together.
    A very thorough inspection of the tanks general condition should occur after cleaning.
    With the bungs removed and after cleaning check for any internal shell pitting, particularly on the bottom of the tank.
    We generally use a bore a scope to preform a internal inspection. A tap test on the tanks shell should offer no difference in sound through out. There are more complex tests to confirm shell thickness/condition, however if the inside looks good your probably good to go. The old Scaife tanks were very well made.

    Thanks!

    Yeah, that is the approach I was thinking on taking.
    Inexpensive and not too much work to hot pressure wash the interior.
    I already took one of the large plugs off, so that’s how I know it is sludge.

    The compressor itself works well, so if I have to, I’ll go with a new tank, but hopefully this one is still good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milland View Post
    For the effort you'll put into proper cleaning and testing, I'd just get a new tank and not work/worry further. It's earned its retirement.
    It’s age and date are kind of part of the appeal of the thing.
    If it isn’t sound, I’ll get rid of it.

    The compressor itself works well, so if I have to, I’ll go with a new tank, but hopefully this one is still good.

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    Default Emptying/“fixing” old compressor air tank

    Anybody know the color name/code/match for Ingersoll Rand cream/light tan?

    Now that I think of it, I wonder if people have tried lining/epoxy coating the insides of tanks ?
    I know they do that for old pipes, but they don’t carry much pressure compared to air tanks.

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    Have you hydraulically tested that tank?

    seen this ? YouTube

    or this? YouTube

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpseguin View Post
    It’s age and date are kind of part of the appeal of the thing.
    If it isn’t sound, I’ll get rid of it.
    Pardon my "French", but yer outta yer tiny mind! It ain't even worth the BOTHER of a test.

    Tank is vintage 1945? So TF am I!

    Time was I could hold a pucker factor and work clever demo as blew fly rock right over my head or disarm an NVA time-bomb as wudda turned me to pink mist, for real, not in training - count on dry drawers.

    Present age - nibbling away on year 76 - I gots to be careful coughing hard lest I s**t meself.

    Yer just asking far too much of a 75-plus years abused steel tank gone poxy and potentially incipient pin-holed.

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    One of the few times where Bill and I are in complete agreement.


    [Well, not about the pants-poop'n, I'll leave that in his capable hands... ]

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    Hell, if the look is the thing, get an auxiliary tank that you tuck around the corner, plumb the output of the compressor to that tank, and leave the old one as an inert stand. Just make sure all the controls and pressure vents are working as needed so you don't overpressure the new tank.

    Something like this, perhaps: https://www.amazon.com/Industrial-Ai.../dp/B01N1F1YF0

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milland View Post
    One of the few times where Bill and I are in complete agreement.


    [Well, not about the pants-poop'n, I'll leave that in his capable hands... ]
    LOL!

    Annnnnnd .. you'd already KNOW I would cheat and WASH... instead of mistaking it for San Fran Gran's designer ice-cream.. licking my fingers, "Little Mike" Bloomberg style...and blaming Orange Man DJT the flavour was off...


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    Quote Originally Posted by Limy Sami View Post
    Have you hydraulically tested that tank?

    seen this ? YouTube

    or this? YouTube
    So the f'in MORON goes right out and buys another P O S compressor. The IDIOT is proud of it as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpseguin View Post
    Anybody know the color name/code/match for Ingersoll Rand cream/light tan?

    Now that I think of it, I wonder if people have tried lining/epoxy coating the insides of tanks ?
    I know they do that for old pipes, but they don’t carry much pressure compared to air tanks.
    That's important, when it blows up and kills somebody it needs to be the "correct" color. Clean it all you want, epoxy coat the inside, whatever. If you use it without a hydro test you are nuts.

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    Both of those videos show moder POS Chinesium thin wall tanks exploding from overpressure caused by safety valve failure. A new tank will be expensive, and nowhere near as well made or thick as this old tank. The modern thinner tanlks expand as they fill, and contract when they empty, this causes work hardening and stress fracturing of the metal, especially round the welds.Older tanks tend to be made from much thicker metal, and do not expand and contract as much if at all, as they tend to be so over engineered. they were tested to DOUBLE the working pressure, modern ones are tested to WP +50%. If they rust through, they get pinhole failure, and just leak, although once they have reached this state repairing them is not a wise move. My compressor tank is about the same vintage, and is made from 1/2" plate. This tank should be cleaned internally, then hydraulically tested and put back into use. The modern idea that anything "new" is better than everything old, is a fallacy

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    Exactly right ...these old tanks are made of proper boiler plate ,which is quite corrosion resistant,and bathed inside with oil from the compressor ......a whole lot safer at 80 yr old than the POS Chinee thin steel tank is new.......If you are anal about a .000001% chance of the tank blowing,get someone who checks pressure vessels to do an ultrasonic thickness scan of it.......WE used to get all the big vessels scanned every year to comply with Govt regs ,but these were tanks big enough to live in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Limy Sami View Post
    Have you hydraulically tested that tank?

    seen this ? YouTube
    Thank you, Sami!

    or this? YouTube
    Thank you AGAIN... same damned Campbell-Hausfield bought NEW...had been settin' on MY carport for "a while"...

    .. whilst I pondered over whether at only FIVE years of light use it was worth tryin to clean-out and phosphatize.

    Cheap-arse drain hadn't done its job well. Not a LOT of rusty water, just enough to worry me into asiding it with the plan to git a camera into it.

    NOT WORTH THE RISk.... nor even the bother, is it?


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