First Time Air Compressor Owner - Need Some Help to Get Desired Results

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Old 12-22-13, 02:51 PM
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First Time Air Compressor Owner - Need Some Help to Get Desired Results

I have been working on my own cars for years now and finally committed to getting an air compressor to power air tools, mostly impact wrenches.

I am looking for some guidance because I am not getting the results I had hoped for and am just too green with air tools and compressors to know any better.

I bought a oiled compressor with a 10 gallon tank that produces 5.3cfm at 90psi with a 2.5hp motor and a max of 125psi. The compressor is a portable model and has a regulator attached out of the box. The regulator has a female 1/4" quick connect adapter attached to it.

I paired this with a 1/2" impact wrench kit from Home Depot that came with 25' of 3/8" hose, some quick connectors, and the wrench. The wrench claims to produce 300 ft lbs. of torque using 4cfm at 90psi. I connected this to the compressor using a male quick connect at the tank end of the hose and a second female quick connect and male quick connect combination at the tool end of the hose.

I lubed the wrench with a few drops into the air inlet before use. I tuned my pressure regulator to the proper 90psi, and adjusted the wrench using the torque setting dial on it to max.

My problem is that the wrench produces very little torque. It wouldn't budge the lugnuts on my 4runner that I torqued down to the recommended 83 ft lbs with a torque wrench.

Truth be told, this is the second kit I have tried. I returned the first one thinking I got a dud, but the second one produces the same results. So, I don't think it is the wrench causing the problem.

Is there something wrong with my setup that I don't understand?

The next step for me was thinking of removing all the quick connectors and seeing if that freed up some air flow.

Please help as I have reached the end of my knowledge on the subject.

Thanks,
Daniel
 
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Old 12-22-13, 02:57 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

A 1/2" impact needs a lot of air
You can turn the regulator up higher then 90 psi..... turn it up all the way.

I had a 22 gallon tank and had a separate Q/D that wasn't connected to the regulator for my impact gun. I ran my tank at close to 130psi which was about the limit of my compressor. The air pressure dropped rapidly in the tank when using the impact gun.
 
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Old 12-22-13, 03:05 PM
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Pretty light weight wrench. I got one like that in a set of air tools and it was useless.
I bought an 800 ft.lb. gun and never had another issue.
 
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Old 12-22-13, 03:13 PM
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PJ - I will try it with the regulator maxed out and report back. Even if the air pressure dropped rapidly, the wrench should operate as expected for at least the first second or so correct? At that point, with a full tank of air it seems to me like you should get the benefit of that stored pressure. Let me know if I am thinking about this wrong. I thought the measured output of a compressor was the CFM measurement. Is this measurement a marketing tool then or just a gimmick? I guess I was using that to pair the compressor and impact wrench.

Joe - Yes, it is a pretty light weight wrench I guess. Maybe I don't know enough about air tools. There is not a fastener on my entire car that is tightened to 300 ft. lbs. though. Maybe I don't understand how these wrenches are measured for output. To me that is like buying a 20lbs sledge when a 3lbs sledge would do. The only hiccup here is it isn't as simple as measuring the weight of the hammer. So, are you saying that the output is always inflated and I need to buy a higher rated wrench to get what I am looking for? IE - outboard motors advertising HP made at the crank and not at the prop.
 

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Old 12-22-13, 05:09 PM
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I bought a oiled compressor with a 10 gallon tank that produces 5.3cfm at 90psi with a 2.5hp motor and a max of 125psi.
Seems like they're stretching the truth a little. A 2.5HP motor is pretty big to find on a 10 gallon tank. None of these compressors deliver the CFM that they are rated for.

Mine was a 22 gallon 2HP Sanborn which was pretty good back in its day. If I let the tank charge up to 130psi.... there was just enough air to remove 8 lug nuts from my van. That was with a Rodac 1/2" pro impact gun.
 
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Old 12-22-13, 05:52 PM
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I imagine there is a little bit of inflation in there. I assume all compressors are afflicted with this though.

Is it possible that the impact wrench is just a turd by design? I am tempted to pick up an Ingersoll Rand or something in that category and give it a try to see if the wrench is the problem.

Unfortunately, I don't have any friends with compressors to give it a try.
 
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Old 12-22-13, 06:20 PM
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I have pretty much just run small air compressor tools; 18 gauge nail guns and smaller. I wonder if the 1/4" quick connect is restricting the air flow. If the gun needs volume, I would try a larger quick connect. It did come with a 3/8" hose. Try a 3/8" quick connect.
 
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Old 12-22-13, 06:56 PM
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Your setup is fine. While a bigger compressor would not hurt, 10 gal should be enough to power at least a couple of lugs off before cycling. The real problem is the wrench. I bet it hits 50 pounds on a good day.
 
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Old 12-22-13, 07:15 PM
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I have read many customer reviews for the exact model I have claiming to have successfully powered 1/2" impact wrenches.

I have a 90-day satisfaction guarantee on the compressor, so I think my next step will be to pick up another wrench and give it a try.

If things don't improve, I will just return the whole setup and look for a new compressor with greater capacity/power.
 
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Old 12-22-13, 08:16 PM
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I have found the impact wrenches you get for under $100 do not have the torque that they list. I suggest trying a higher dollar one and I think you will be impressed.
 
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Old 03-22-14, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by drooplug
I have pretty much just run small air compressor tools; 18 gauge nail guns and smaller.
I wonder if the 1/4" quick connect is restricting the air flow.
If the gun needs volume, I would try a larger quick connect.
It did come with a 3/8" hose. Try a 3/8" quick connect.
I agree. I'd try swapping up to 3/8" quick connects

I've got the baby CH wrench, rated at 230 ft pounds.
It runs fine off a 5hp 60 gallon compressor, using a 3/8 hose with 3/8 couplings.

Had to change a flat tire this morning, re-inflated it from a twenty foot long 1/4" hose with 1/4" couplings. Grabbed the wrench and 3/8 to 1/4 adapter, and had absolutely no power,
the wrench couldn't turn a lug nut.

Brought out my normal 100' long 3/8 hose with 3/8 couplers, lug nuts off without any problem.
 
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Old 03-23-14, 02:40 AM
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Most pneumatic tools need a minimum of 90 psi at the tool inlet to function properly. Hose that is too small in diameter or too long will greatly diminish the pressure at the tool. 1/4 inch quick couplings are usually fine for any tool that has a 1/4 inch inlet as long as you don't have too many in series. 3/8 inch hose is the smallest you should use for anything but a pencil grinder or airbrush.

Most air regulators have a bad to very bad droop, meaning that as the air flow through them increases the outlet pressure will droop or sag, often excessively. Yo need to adjust the regulator with the air flowing which will usually mean that the pressure will rise when no air is flowing. Smaller regulators are worse in this respect than are larger units. I see far too many 1/8 inch port regulators these days. An 1/8 inch regulator is only good for one thing in my opinion and that is a regulator for a tank level indicator or a sampling line to a gas analyzer. Even for a pencil grinder the 1/8 inch regulator is too small.

Pneumatic tools are rated by average air consumption per minute. Since most tools (grinders excepted) are used in bursts the stated consumption figure is problematic. In the case of an impact wrench the standard is a 15 second burst every minute which leaves 45 seconds of no air flow. In other words the wrench that has an average air consumption of 4 CFM is in reality using about 16 CFM while running. The system MUST be able to supply this 16 CFM or there will be problems. The most blatant problem will be a lowered air pressure at the tool. The next is a compressor struggling to maintain the receiver (tank) pressure.

Many years ago industrial impact wrenches were not rated in torque but in bolt size. The move to torque rating was pure advertising as the tool manufacturers started selling to the back yard mechanics who only understood torque ratings from using a manual torque wrench on the cylinder heads of their auto engines. Most impact wrench torque ratings are highly inflated and I doubt that most of the wrenches could achieve their advertised torque ratings unless fed from a one-inch air hose and regulator and it took the better part of a day to achieve that rating.
 
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