How to Repair an Air Compressor Tank

My 28 gallon air compressor recently sprung a leak and I was determined to fix it.  The tank is only 5 years old and it is not that rusted yet.

I don’t recommend that anyone try repairing their own tank.  A weakened or improperly repaired tank has the potential to rupture violently with enough explosive force to seriously injure or kill.

The air was exiting at a weld joint for the compressor mount.  My guess is the original weld may have partially blown through the case.  I run my compressor hard and since the belt wasn’t perfectly aligned, this caused excess vibration and stress at the weld joint.

My trusty angle grinder to the rescue.  I needed to get a better look at the extent of the air leak.

I had to cut the mount plate away and grind the weld spot smooth.  The hairline crack was so small… I couldn’t see it.  I had to partially pressurize the tank to locate the crack.

I have a mig welder, but I’m a novice with it and didn’t want to make matters worse.  I’ve had great success with brazing in the past and thought brazing was an excellent solution for this problem.

I am using bernzomatic bronze brazing rods which have a tensile strength of 60000 PSI and a working temperature of 1620F.

I use a mini torch setup with mapp gas and oxygen, which can produce a temperature around 2400F.

Here is my mini torch with mapp gas only.  The flame appears slow, very orange, and with lots of black soot.

Here is what it looks like after I add the oxygen… a very hot focused blue flame.

Not pretty but very very solid.
I over shot the crack for added strength and stability.

The secret of brazing for me… is patience.  It took a while to heat the metal to the point it would melt the bronze.  My torch is smaller than most, but that’s my problem.

Here she is.  I carefully aligned the belt to reduce vibration.  I pressurized the tank to 125psi and the gauge reads the same after 24 hours.

Comments

  1. Thomas
    May 13th, 2010 at 15:04 | #1

    I like the mini torch you are using, what make and model is it?
    I couldn’t find anything like it at the Bernzomatic site.

    Thanks!

  2. May 13th, 2010 at 15:28 | #2

    I bought my little torch several years ago. Here is the company and the latest versions of their mini torches.
    http://www.littletorch.com/

  3. February 8th, 2011 at 02:14 | #3

    You did a great job with your air compressor… Yes you are right repairing air compressor or maintaining it should be done by professionals because it carries risk etc and I must say you are a professional having done it your way. Great Job!

  4. June 20th, 2011 at 19:44 | #4

    Hello,
    Thanks for the help!!
    This worked! I had tried everything for mine nothing worked and then I tried waht you said and it worked!
    Thanks for the help!!

  5. January 3rd, 2012 at 23:35 | #5

    Thanks for your tips to repair Air Compressor Tank . This kind of post will be very beneficial for us . Many thanks for sharing it with us.

  6. January 4th, 2012 at 00:42 | #6

    Your welcome! It’s been at least 5 years now and I use my compressor often. The repair is still going strong! No doubt in my mind that brazing is the way to fix small leaks on an otherwise solid and sound tank.

  7. March 26th, 2012 at 05:07 | #7

    I like the post to describe the repair of air compressor tank. The way of describing via image use make it easier to understand. Thanks.

  8. troy nall
    June 29th, 2012 at 01:17 | #8

    its this type of “thinking”(or should I say “doing”) that my grandfather and his father before him, use to use daily to fix everything around the house/farm/etc… ive always fixed everything that I could(washers, dryers, fans, etc…) I really think thats whats wrong with our world. people don’t wanna put forth the effort to fix something that could be “fixed”. Now grant it, I use my fair share of JB weld and duct tape on things, so i will not throw stones, but there is something to be said about being able to fix your stuff and not going out and buying the newer best-ist shiny toy. and if anything, thats what I get from your videos and tutorials.

  9. September 25th, 2012 at 10:25 | #9

    I have had my air compressor for atleast 7 years now and it still works wonders. I have a MAKITA (Which I think is the best brand). If you guys are interested in a air compressor that will last very long I recommend you check out this site. http://www.makitaaircompressorreviews.com/
    Great post by the way. The images really helped

  10. Paul
    January 19th, 2013 at 00:31 | #10

    At my previous job a local welding shop welded a leg back on. It had a leak where the leg was attached. A few years later the compressor exploited. Two of us ended up in the hospital. The insurance company found that it exploited because of the welding causing metal fatigue. Don’t mess with them. It could kill someone and cost you millions.

  11. January 19th, 2013 at 00:40 | #11

    Thanks for the feedback Paul and I do not take your advice lightly. But I brazed my tank and the tank was almost new at the time. I would guess that was about 8 years ago and the tank is showing no sign of fatigue. A traditional weld would be more dangerous because it can blow through the metal and weaken the integrity of the tank.

  12. January 20th, 2013 at 20:20 | #12

    I want to reiterate the risks associated with fixing a tank that is meant to be under pressure. I sell compressors and have had many people ask me to come in and size a new unit for them. When I got to one shop I saw holes in a cinder block wall where the shrapnel from the exploded tank went through. The company was lucky that it went at night when nobody was there. If you have a problem with an air compressor tank, please take it to, or call, a professional for repair. The little bit of money spent could save yours or someone else’s life.

  13. Steven Jarris
    March 18th, 2013 at 13:36 | #13

    I think that the air compressor in Toronto is something that will help me improve my lifestyle every day. Thanks for sharing this information.

  14. October 4th, 2013 at 05:46 | #14

    You’ve provide such a great solution or idea to repair air compressor tank. I recently face such type of problem with my air compressor. I would definitely solve my problem by following your great ideas.

  15. March 18th, 2014 at 16:45 | #15

    That was the most comprehensive concept i ever encounter!
    great job!!!
    thank you!

  1. September 24th, 2009 at 17:29 | #1
  2. December 25th, 2011 at 19:19 | #2
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