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Help with Curtis Air Compressor


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  #1  
Old 03-13-2018, 03:30:47 PM
senior31 senior31 is offline
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Default Help with Curtis Air Compressor

Hello all,

This is my first post on here and was wondering if anyone can help me out? I just inherited an old Curtis air compressor from a long time family friend. I was told it is from an old service station, but I can not find any information on this model number. I have attached a couple pictures from the tank ID plate and the compressor ID plate. If anyone can provide me some information I would appreciate it and thanks for your time.
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  #2  
Old 03-13-2018, 08:46:17 PM
s100 s100 is offline
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Default Re: Help with Curtis Air Compressor

Help us out here. What exactly is it you are looking for?

Here's some basic stuff.

Curtis compressors are a fairly simple design but pretty much indestructible. For this reason they are well regarded as one of the top brands. They are also quiet, as such things go.

If yours has been sitting for a long time, do these things before trying to run it.

Check oil in the sump.

Drain tank. You'd be surprised how many times these get put away with 30 gallons of water in the 60 gallon tank.

Check the intake air filter.

Check the bottom of the tank carefully for rust holes or soft spots BEFORE running the compressor. If you see any questionable areas do not use the tank.

Old tanks are always a gamble. I can't and won't advise you whether to have the tank pressure tested before use. That's up to you. Remember though that there's a lot of energy stored in that tank even at 100 psi. If the tank is weak and lets go things will get real ugly real quick.

If you want to hear the compressor run but aren't ready to make a decision about the tank, just leave a valve open so the air bleeds off when the compressor is pumping.

If the motor has oil reservoirs give them a little drink before starting.

Roll the compressor over several turns by hand to make sure there are no obstructions. Compressors that have had a lot of use sometimes get coked up and the piston can hit at TDC.

Good luck
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Old 03-13-2018, 09:20:14 PM
senior31 senior31 is offline
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Default Re: Help with Curtis Air Compressor

S100, thanks for the reply. Mainly I am looking for the specs on the compressor. Mainly the CFM rating. I build hot rods and restore classic cars as a hobby and want to check and see if it will run my air tools. The compressor has been sitting since 2004-200. So I plan do definetly drain and replace the oil. The compressor has been in a workshop since the early 70's and was used regularly until his passing in 2004. I will also check the bottom of the tank as you mentioned for soft spots. But mainly I am just trying to find out the specs on the compressor and see if there is a manual anywhere I can download. The belts are completely dry rotted on the motor and I would like to replace all three with the correct size. I can use the old string method to figure out the lengths, but if there was info available I thought it would be quicker. If anyone can pass along any of this info it would be appreciated. Thanks
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Old 03-13-2018, 09:28:58 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: Help with Curtis Air Compressor

I'd like to add that we would love to see photos!

I hydro-test every tank I get before placing it into service. Catastrophic air receiver failure can be like a bomb.

What kind of motor does it have? What hp rating?

Keith
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Old 03-14-2018, 07:26:19 AM
senior31 senior31 is offline
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Default Re: Help with Curtis Air Compressor

Vanman, I will try to get a couple pictures for you. The compressor is still in the friends workshop over an hour away, but I will get some pictures shortly. Thanks.
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Old 03-14-2018, 09:36:03 AM
senior31 senior31 is offline
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Default Re: Help with Curtis Air Compressor

I was able to get my Dad to run over to the workshop today. Here are some additional pictures of the compressor. It appears to have a 2hp motor on it. Please let me know if anyone has an info on this compressor. As always thanks for the help.
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Old 03-14-2018, 02:45:01 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: Help with Curtis Air Compressor

Ooh, that's neat! The Wagner repulsion start induction motor is very cool, too. You'll want to service it's commutator and bearings, and check the brushes.

Now that we know that it is two hp, two stage, we should be able to come up with a reasonable guess as to cfm, especially if we can determine what pressure it was set up for (based on motor pulley size).

I love the look of horizontal tanks, but I'm a lot less afraid of vertical tanks as they drain better, and would tend to fail somewhat less catastrophically.
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Old 03-14-2018, 03:15:51 PM
senior31 senior31 is offline
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Default Re: Help with Curtis Air Compressor

Vanman,

Thank you for the reply. What does the services of these items consist of? Do I just need to disassemble the motor and clean everything up? Do the bearings need greased or repacked? If so, what time of grease is recommended? Sorry for so many questions, but I haven't been into to many electric motors. Cars I know my way around, but haven't been into many electric motors. Just let me know and thanks for all the help.
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Old 03-14-2018, 09:17:06 PM
s100 s100 is offline
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Default Re: Help with Curtis Air Compressor

Stupid me, it wasn't until I saw the picture of the compressor itself that I remembered I had a Curtis Model 90 back about 1000 years ago. I ran mine with a 1 1/2 HP motor. I had an instruction sheet and parts list for it then but I think I gave it to the person who bought it from me. The sheet was just for the pump. I doubt you will find anything showing the belt length, sice these things were built all sorts of ways with different size motors, different frame motors, etc. so a comprehensive listing of belts might make a small phone book. I wouldn't waste the money or power on buying and spinning three belts for such a small machine, One is plenty for a 2HP motor (newer 5HP machines use 2). If the motor has a very small pulley maybe two to offset the small belt contact area but three? Way overkill. Belt technology has come a long way since Christopher Columbus brought that one across the pond.

Mine had lots of hard use and like yours it was on a 60 gallon tank. Despite being loose and sloppy it would keep up with any tools that saw sporadic use (like an impact wrench). But disc sanders and even DA's? The compressor needed some time to catch up. Since the thing was pumping a lot of oil I did not try spray painting with it. If yours is a good tight machine with a little more motor, I suspect the painting would be okay but the more demanding loads, like the disc sander, you'll probably have to give the compressor time to build back up. And don't even think of sandblasting. A small blaster with a small nozzle is a big load for a 5HP.

That looks like a nice example. If it's as good as it looks it should outlast you if you take care of it.
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Old 03-15-2018, 07:11:19 AM
senior31 senior31 is offline
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Default Re: Help with Curtis Air Compressor

S100, Thank for the comments. Now that I know this is model 90 that is helpful. I hope to get it home in the next couple of months. Currently I am waiting for the ground to dry out a little bit so I can get a trailer back to the workshop. I will update everyone once I have it home and get it cleaned up. Thanks to everyone for the help.
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Old 03-15-2018, 12:34:36 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: Help with Curtis Air Compressor

About the Wagner, after a closer look, it seems you may have lucked out and have oil lubricated bronze bearings instead of ball bearings. I have only a couple of Wagners, I primarily collect Century motors. My 5 hp Wagner has ball bearings. Yours looks like it's going to have an oil reservoir and an oil ring that runs on the shaft, dipping into the oil, carrying it up to the bearing, just like most of my Centurys. These run *very* smooth and quiet.

You'll just want to drain and clean the oil reservoirs and associated parts, and refill with fresh oil after reassembly. I think SAE 20 would be good here.

What kind of service will be required by the commutator will depend on its current condition. We'll see when you get it home.

That's a really nice looking unit! Cleaned up, the original paint looks like it will be beautiful. Can you post a photo of the nameplate on the tank itself? Those are always interesting, and usually include a manufacture date.

Keith
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Old 03-15-2018, 01:41:23 PM
senior31 senior31 is offline
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Default Re: Help with Curtis Air Compressor

Thank for the info on the motor. I was wondering if it was an oil fill motor. I thought I remember seeing small fill caps, but couldn't remember. As far as the tank name plate. In my first post, the first picture is the ID plate on the tank. This was I found upon quick inspection. Next time I am over there I will see if I can find another plate on the tank. I hope to get it home soon as I am very interested in working on it. You guys have just peeked my interest even more. Hopefully I can get this cleaned up and serviced and it will be the last compressor I will ever need. Thanks again for all the info and help.
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Old 03-15-2018, 02:24:56 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: Help with Curtis Air Compressor

Ah, yes. That is a nice brass nameplate. They're usually steel, and welded to the tank by the tank builder. It looks like it might be on the upper left of the tank, to the left of the upper inspection plug.

Man, the more I look at those photos- she sure is a beauty! Hopefully in equally good mechanical condition.
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Old 03-23-2018, 01:27:32 PM
ebl1962 ebl1962 is offline
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Default Re: Help with Curtis Air Compressor

Hi all I'm new to this site. I tried a different one and did not get much if any help on my compressor needs! I had a leroi dresser 550A for the most part all seems well with it I have not started it up yet so many projects. Any way I scoped the tank looks like a lot of rust and one big pile of it in the middle of the tank. That and its only a 30 gallon tank I have what I believe is a 80 gallon of Westinghouse that is in great shape so I want to do a swap! That being said I'm not completely sure of what gauges or valves to put on it and were I should put them! I want to make sure I have all safety gauges valves on it but also anything thing extra that would be beneficial for max air pressure. I have a few pictures of it and the tank the pump will sit on along with the 7.5 motor. If more are needed and some close up ones I will be happy to get and send them. I definitely will be putting a pull Cabel drain valve on it. PLEASE HELP! Thanks.

---------- Post added at 11:27:32 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:22:27 AM ----------

How does a person start a post? (I.E.) how or we're do I go to start one and I have been doing was to go to the end of a post similar to what I need and ask but I would like to have mine separate from other post and to be listed on form site list so I can get more help on my project! Thanks all.
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Old 03-23-2018, 01:35:40 PM
ebl1962 ebl1962 is offline
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Default Re: Help with Curtis Air Compressor

Almost forgot the pictures
Sorry about them being up side down! Not the best computer guy I will go back and edit it. Later. Anyway please help with what you can. I will also take some more pictures I have painted the tank after these were taken!
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Old 03-23-2018, 09:00:11 PM
s100 s100 is offline
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Default Re: Help with Curtis Air Compressor

To start a new thread, go to the section you want it to be in and (there's a list on the home page, I think) and at the top of the page you will see a button to start a new thread.

If the compressor was working properly before, just connect everything to the new tank just as it was connected to the old one. Hard to go too far wrong that way. But at a minimum you will need a main pressure line from the compressor output to the tank. There should, no, must be a check valve in that line (usually they thread into the tank in series with the pressure line). The pressure switch must be connected directly to the tank.Hard to tell from the picture but it seems like the pressure switch on yours has the red lever for switching off and on and maybe even a fitting for an unloader line. It looks as if that is not being used on yours and that's sort of what I would expect as the compressor has its own unloaders. The unloader connects to the tank through that series of tees and the two lines that go to the end of the crankshaft area. I'm not familiar with that setup so I would say be careful to replicate that connection exactly. That tee network also appears to be topped by a pressure relief valve. That's a must as well and make sure it works properly. You are not going to want to switch that motor on and off with that little pressure switch. Hook up a magnetic starter with the appropriate heater elements and control it with the pressure switch. If you need to find a starter, make sure it will handle that size of motor. And no, 3 phase 7.5HP is not the same as single phase 7.5HP. Use motor amps as a criterion not HP. I think a size 1 starter should be OK but be sure before you commit to a starter. That's all I can think of for now, I am probably missing something but at least I've primed the pump. Others will chime in with their advice too. Good luck!
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Old 03-23-2018, 10:17:05 PM
ebl1962 ebl1962 is offline
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Default Re: Help with Curtis Air Compressor

Thanks s100 I should have put better picks in it has a box with capacitors. I will take some better pictures. The tank I'm putting it on doesn't have the same openings the the original has. So I was not sure. Like I said I will go get some better pictures and post them a little later tonight. Thank you so much!
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Old 03-23-2018, 10:45:12 PM
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Default Re: Help with Curtis Air Compressor

Don't misunderstand, there are two "starters" involved here as this is a single phase motor. The starter I am referring to makes and breaks the power line to the motor. But this might be confusing as well. The magnetic starter has a big relay (called a contactor) inside that is controlled by the pressure switch and also a manual on/off button. In operation, when you want air, you flip the off/on switch to ON. This provides control voltage to the pressure switch. If there is not enough pressure in the tank, the pressure switch is closed and the circuit is completed through the relay coil. The relay coil energizes and pulls in the main contacts. The motor now has power.

Okay, that's one half of the equation. Single phase motors won't start on their own like three phase motors do. They have a start winding that is energized at standstill. That winding is offset from the other windings by the capacitors. This provides the starting torque to get the motor running. Once the motor builds up speed, there is a centrifugal switch that takes the starting winding out of the circuit. (Without getting too involved, the starting winding, if left energized, would fight the other windings. Hence the need for the centrifugal switch.) When the pressure in the tank builds up to the maximum set pressure the pressure switch opens and the motor stops. The run cycle is now complete. The motor will not start again until the pressure goes down and the pressure switch closes at which point the whole procedure begins again.

One more thing, compressors are hard starting loads, especially when turning on at low pressure in the tank (as opposed to zero pressure). To help the motor out the compressor has an unloader that allows the compressor to start under no load. There's a bit more to it than that but I think this covers the main aspects at this point.

As to the dissimilarities between the tanks, it's way too optimistic to expect both tanks to have the same size ports at the same places. If you have that kind of luck let me invite you to join me at the horse races. You need to find ports that are similarly sized and get the lines from the compressor to the right ports. This may require some replumbing and making new lines.
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