Upgrading a Compressor Pump

Is it worth the time and expense to upgrade the capacity of an existing compressor? Probably not. March 26, 2013

Has anyone ever upgraded the pump and/or motor on an air compressor? What are some of the best brands of replacements? I have a 3.5 hp single stage 80 gallon compressor now. 13 cfm at 90 psi. Would like to see about 20cfm@90.

Forum Responses
(WOODnetWORK Forum)
From contributor P:
You will be better off finding a good used or new 7.5Hp compressor than trying to switch out the old. Champion, Ingersoll, Quincy and Sailor Beal are all good. Be sure to get a 2-stage unit and the motor should run at around 1725 rpm. All of these manufacturers have units that operate on 1 phase if that is a concern. If you plan to dry the air, get a compressor with an air cooled after cooler.

From contributor S:
Be careful what you buy. I had to replace the pump on my compressor, so I phoned a local shop and they recommended a certain pump. I drove over to their shop, and asked to see the pump and they said they had none in stock but it would only take a few days to get it in. I noticed about 6 boxes sitting behind the counter with the part number I was looking for on the box. I asked if that was the pump they were suggesting and he said yes, that's the one. Why can't I have one of those? They are being sent back for warranty repairs. Now why would I want to buy a pump that obviously has a design flaw? I am still using my backup compressor while I figure out if I am better to just trade my old one for a new one.

From contributor B:
I have a bit of experience here as some years ago I built a compressor around an 80 gallon Speedaire horizontal tank I had been using for expanded air storage. I purchased a good quality 5 hp motor along with a high quality industrial pump - Atlas/Copco I think. I also had to get hold of all the safety components and motor starter. When all was said and done, I had a high quality 17 cfm system that has shown very little if any deterioration over the past approximate 8 to 10 years since it was put together.

Looking back, I'd say it was a great education experience, and certainly worth the money spent. However, if I were to add in the time involved, I'm sure I would have been better off purchasing a good commercial unit. Perhaps it would not have been quite industrial duty of the Atlas/Copco 2-stage compressor pump, but it would have been more than adequate for my use.

So, based on all this, I'd say that by the time you replace the pump, motor and motor control, if you are going to go with high quality American made components (if you can even tell anymore), you will probably be better off financially just purchasing a good quality commercial unit.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the help. I think I am going to keep my eyes open for a decent used one, and go from there. I may even buy two and combine. There is a used one I have found with a worthless pump, but a brand new Baldor 5hp for $250. Hmm.