Author Topic: DIY Compressor Intercooler  (Read 16807 times)

bluethunder

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DIY Compressor Intercooler
« on: September 29, 2009, 09:55:39 PM »
To do any more serious body work on the car, I had to upgrade my compressor (yes, the brand new one I just got a month or so ago).:hmmmm:

I used an AC condenser and self draining filter in between the compressor outlet and the tank. Essentially I put in an intercooler on my air compressor

It is incredible the amount of water it knocks out. My air is virtually dry before it gets in the tank.

The next step is to put a desiccant drier on the outlet.  


« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 04:35:42 PM by bluethunder »
My build..
Part 1:
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=4907.0

Part 2:
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=74509.0

Outside a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog it's too dark to read! Groucho Marx

LeighP

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2009, 11:35:49 PM »
Hey, nice piece of engineering....well done.  :cool:
Regards,
Leigh

Sydney, Australia
1969 Pontiac Firebird 400 coupe (project)

Former Firebirds -
1971 Pontiac Firebird 455
1977 Pontiac Trans Am
1976 Pontiac Trans Am
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 convertible
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 coupe


jayman2007

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2009, 07:53:20 AM »
So a ac condenser will hold all the psi thats good to know. most people i know use a oil or trans cooler rated for 300 psi. next time i  go to dig out my compressor i might do that. its behind all kinds o crap

bluethunder

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2009, 08:17:33 AM »
So a ac condenser will hold all the psi thats good to know. most people i know use a oil or trans cooler rated for 300 psi. next time i  go to dig out my compressor i might do that. its behind all kinds o crap

Thanks for the comments guys!

All my research (I did some reading before hand) says that the condenser will see anywhere from 200-400 PSI rated pressure, so its even higher with the safety factor put in.

The cheap automotive oil coolers I saw didn't even have a rating, so I wouldn't trust them more than 60-80 psi tops. The hydraulic oil coolers seemed like a good idea, until I saw the prices.

I looked at alot of condensers before I picked this one at Pick-n-pull. The condenser is out of a 90 sumthing dodge mini van. It is a parallel flow design (flows across the top half, then returns on the bottom), but most importantly, it has huge aluminum blocks for mounting bosses. Easy to tap with a 3/8 NPT.
My build..
Part 1:
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=4907.0

Part 2:
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=74509.0

Outside a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog it's too dark to read! Groucho Marx

Rodent

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2009, 11:04:04 AM »
"Cool" idea,thanks for sharing.I sent you a PM.
Wapella IL.

Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2009, 11:04:04 AM »

firebirdparts

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2013, 09:26:44 PM »
I just added this today to my air compressor.  Boy, did it work.  When using a lot of air, like sandblasting or running a DA, I got water out the vent on the air tool.  Painting a car would have been impossible. 

I had an old a/c compressor off a Ford product.  The tubing was standard sizes - 1/2" in and 3/8" out, so after I cut off the push connectors, compression fittings will work on it.  I set it in the floor for a test run, tubed it up, and use a window fan just for good measure.  Air came out stone cold.  I am currently running a DA sander for long hours and my very significant problems with that are solved. 

I have it between the compressor and the tank, so right now my tank is the knock out pot.  I also have a water trap after the tank, but the water is all going in the bottom of the tank.

I took some pictures, but they're not pretty.  It's a test rig.

I want to be like Paul Kenny when I grow up
Joe Bays
1977 Y82 4-speed (red interior)
1978 Skybird 350
1978 Redbird 305
1979 Redbird 301 4-speed
1992 Lincoln Mark VII LSC/SE (red)
1970 Datsun Pickup
1953 Chevy pickup (converted 4x4)
1969 Rokon 2x2 motorcycle
1986 Honda Fatcat

mark369

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2013, 06:26:55 PM »
 Please post photos with details so I can do the same before I try and paint this summer.
 Cool tip!

firebirdparts

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2013, 06:42:56 AM »
This is just my trial run, and I will probably mount it on the wall or the ceiling.



Compression fittings worked directly on this condenser.  I had used a caliper to determine that before I cut it.
I want to be like Paul Kenny when I grow up
Joe Bays
1977 Y82 4-speed (red interior)
1978 Skybird 350
1978 Redbird 305
1979 Redbird 301 4-speed
1992 Lincoln Mark VII LSC/SE (red)
1970 Datsun Pickup
1953 Chevy pickup (converted 4x4)
1969 Rokon 2x2 motorcycle
1986 Honda Fatcat

mrbandit

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2013, 01:46:43 PM »
So where is the moisture going and what is the fan for?  You engineers are too smart for me.

firebirdparts

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2013, 08:28:49 PM »
The condensed liquid goes into the 60 gallon tank, and then it can't get out again.  I have to drain it out the bottom of the tank.

That fan is blowing on my old A/C condenser to cool the air down.  It got cooled down in the first tube, so there wasn't much heat there.  It's kind of surprising how easy it was to cool off.  The compressor outlet is blazing hot when you run for a long time.  It might be 200 degrees.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 08:50:29 AM by firebirdparts »
I want to be like Paul Kenny when I grow up
Joe Bays
1977 Y82 4-speed (red interior)
1978 Skybird 350
1978 Redbird 305
1979 Redbird 301 4-speed
1992 Lincoln Mark VII LSC/SE (red)
1970 Datsun Pickup
1953 Chevy pickup (converted 4x4)
1969 Rokon 2x2 motorcycle
1986 Honda Fatcat

bluethunder

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2013, 04:36:38 PM »
Reposted my pictures of my compressor.. Seems car domain changed the links some time back.

The condensor is out of a 90 something dodge mini-van, just the right size for my guard. The pulley fan moves alot of air though the cooler. Enough that it goes from hot enough to instantly burn you, to stone cold at the outlet.

In my case, 90% of the water is trapped in the separator before it hits the tank. When the compressor cycles off, it drains automatically.

Since I did this 4 years ago, I haven't had a single problem.

More build details here.

http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2644949/1980-pontiac-trans-am/page-7/
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 04:43:38 PM by bluethunder »
My build..
Part 1:
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=4907.0

Part 2:
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=74509.0

Outside a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog it's too dark to read! Groucho Marx

Poncho72

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2014, 01:41:06 AM »
i performed this mod today on my 60 Gal Black Max shop compressor, and what a difference it made.  i was skeptical but i had most parts lying around and went to the U-Pull It and bought a 88-98 Chevrolet truck full size AC condenser for $20 (1/2" inlet & outlet).  from 0 psi to a full 140 psi, the compressor discharge temp. was initially around 280-305 deg F and around 273 deg F going into the tank.  after the condenser was added the air temp (readings on metal tube going into tank) was averaging 72-75 deg F.  the trap caught nearly all of the moisture before going into the tank.  i did not expect this much of a temp. drop with just an add on condenser.  before this mod, if i used my compressor regularly, i was draining up a gallon per week from the tank.  for all you low humidity dwellers, that is not uncommon for average 85-90% Louisiana weather.  100% is common in the heat of summer.......HOT & STICKY
« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 05:26:37 AM by Poncho72 »
1972 TA tribute - LSX 6.0/T56 PT full frame off "restorification"
1966 GTO convertible - family jewel (2nd owner-Dad 1st)

bluethunder

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2014, 03:28:27 PM »
i performed this mod today on my 60 Gal Black Max shop compressor, and what a difference it made.  i was skeptical but i had most parts lying around and went to the U-Pull It and bought a 88-98 Chevrolet truck full size AC condenser for $20 (1/2" inlet & outlet).  from 0 psi to a full 140 psi, the compressor discharge temp. was initially around 280-305 deg F and around 273 deg F going into the tank.  after the condenser was added the air temp (readings on metal tube going into tank) was averaging 72-75 deg F.  the trap caught nearly all of the moisture before going into the tank.  i did not expect this much of a temp. drop with just an add on condenser.  before this mod, if i used my compressor regularly, i was draining up a gallon per week from the tank.  for all you low humidity dwellers, that is not uncommon for average 85-90% Louisiana weather.  100% is common in the heat of summer.......HOT & STICKY

For such a cheap upgrade, it is amazing the results you get.. I never actually measured the temps, other than "I just burned my arm by brushing against the inlet pipe", and the outlet is cold..

I notice the biggest difference when I'm sandblasting, DA sander, or using a die grinder.. I don't get condensate blowing out of my air tools.

I think I would expire in 100% humidity.. :p

Glad it worked out for you..
My build..
Part 1:
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=4907.0

Part 2:
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=74509.0

Outside a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog it's too dark to read! Groucho Marx

Ford5of5

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2014, 08:46:03 PM »
I don't even use a compressor, but this is awesome. I love down-home, back-yard engineering.

bluethunder

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2014, 10:19:33 AM »
I recently acquired an infrared thermometer, and took some temperature readings after 30 minutes of sandblasting..

Exit temperature from the compressor.. 94 deg C (201 F)
Exit temperature from the cooler..         26 deg C (79 F)

Lately, it's been knocking a 1/8 cup of water out each cycle, before it gets into the tank.. I get a couple teaspoons out of the post tank filter after a whole day of air tool usage.. And no condensate blowing up my arm or all over my work...

Best thing I ever did to that compressor..
My build..
Part 1:
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=4907.0

Part 2:
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=74509.0

Outside a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog it's too dark to read! Groucho Marx

Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2014, 10:19:33 AM »

Poncho72

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2014, 03:14:43 PM »
thanks again for the how-to BlueThunder.  one of the best equipment upgrades i have done. 
1972 TA tribute - LSX 6.0/T56 PT full frame off "restorification"
1966 GTO convertible - family jewel (2nd owner-Dad 1st)

mark369

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2015, 01:09:40 PM »
Update. I want to link this thread with
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?board=31.0
it has some good reading info also.
 In process of running air lines in garage and looking for a condenser to make iter-cooler with.  will go to pick & pull if it stops raining? :sad:

mark369

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2015, 06:04:17 AM »
wow what a Pita.  It took a while but it is worth it or will be when I paint soon.
You must have a big compressor if you are using 3/4" line between pump and tank!

  So I went to pull a part and there was a dodge truck with front end off and eng gone so I undid 4 screws and the air conditioning compressor was out.  $35 and 30mile ride ea way. cool.
 
 Then I figure out my line needs and all is good until I try to get aluminum lines to go to copper. Used 1/2" compression fitting on aluminum and 1/4' on copper with reducer between. Aluminum does not like to compress. Used pipe tape and putty to get it to seat! Broke one brass compression fitting trying. 
 And man are brass fittings costly!


  $40 and it is installed and a new box fan for $20

Will post photos as soon as I figure out how with this out dated computer that will not upgrade! Flicker updated and I can't.

 



mark369

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« Last Edit: April 30, 2015, 07:43:44 AM by mark369 »

mark369

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2015, 05:50:52 AM »
  Having trouble keeping copper compression fitting on aluminum tube on condenser.
    It will hold for a few pressure builds to 135psi then slides out .   glad I had not mixed paint yet.
 Unrelated Flicker wants a upgrade to host photos my computer can't do.  I can send photos to someone if that would help.
   
   What can I do to get feral to bite into aluminum and hold?

   

mark369

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #20 on: June 24, 2015, 08:43:35 AM »
Finally pics of my set up.   Hardest part was getting brass compression fitting to stay on aluminum line.








bluethunder

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2015, 01:59:40 PM »
Glad it worked for you.

What did you do to finally get the compression fittings to bite? I went and just tapped the condensor with 3/8 NPT fittings, so I didn't have to go that route. Mind you, the 3/8th NPT tap wasn't cheap.
My build..
Part 1:
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=4907.0

Part 2:
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=74509.0

Outside a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog it's too dark to read! Groucho Marx

mark369

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2015, 04:05:18 PM »
Teflon tape and plummers putty.  One worked the first time other one blew off a couple times. Over tightened one and broke fitting.

Good info n increasing current tank capacity and not needing 220v.   

http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=30424.0
« Last Edit: June 30, 2015, 07:13:22 AM by mark369 »

firebirdparts

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2015, 11:48:24 AM »
Nice!

I want to be like Paul Kenny when I grow up
Joe Bays
1977 Y82 4-speed (red interior)
1978 Skybird 350
1978 Redbird 305
1979 Redbird 301 4-speed
1992 Lincoln Mark VII LSC/SE (red)
1970 Datsun Pickup
1953 Chevy pickup (converted 4x4)
1969 Rokon 2x2 motorcycle
1986 Honda Fatcat

JBG

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2017, 08:08:21 AM »
Sorry to bring an old post back to life, but...  Had to buy a new compressor for the new shop, and had been researching the intercooler add-on & found a pic of Bluethunder's compressor via google.

Bluethunder: What are you using for those flex hoses between the compressor & intercooler? 
THREADKILLER
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2genbob

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #25 on: October 22, 2017, 07:56:47 AM »
Can the brass fitting be brazed onto the aluminum tube?

Ford5of5

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #26 on: October 22, 2017, 12:44:30 PM »
Just my $.02...

Air compressor equipment tends to use NPT made from copper or steel. Air conditioning and refrigeration usually uses flare fittings and brazing made out of copper and/or aluminum. HVAC flares are a little bit different than the brake line flares car guys use. I wasn't able to find any adapters for this purpose. One person on this thread was able to use copper NPT compression fittings without issue. Another person tried to do the same and had some issues with the feral not biting into the aluminum. Bluethunder, in my opinion, had the best idea of just tapping all the aluminum for NPT.

On my setup, I formed a single flair, using a brake line flaring tool, and attached a rubber line to the condenser using two hose clamps. I used cheapo Harbor Freight rubber lines and they seem to be holding up fine. Something to keep in mind, there's about 200* of heat coming off the output side of the compressor head. You either need a rubber hose that can handle that much heat or metal tubing.

On my setup, I used an elbow and a 6" steel pipe coming off the compressor head and then transitioned to rubber for the condensor connection. This worked for about a month and the rubber line split due to heat failure, I could smell the rubber melting. Later, I added 1.5 feet of steel tube and then a rubber line to my condenser. Has been working great for about a year now.

I reposted the pics to my setup at the end of this thread. It may help you out.

http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=75384.0

@JBG, I don't know what bluethunder used but it looks like supply-line for sinks.

@2genbob, Hvac guys can braze copper to aluminum but you need to know what you're doing. My understanding is it's not the same as soldering copper. Check youtube, there's a ton of videos on this. I solder copper pipes all the time and I have repair aluminum storm doors with brazen rods. I have never brazed copper to aluminum, but it is doable. Just need to be careful, it's real easy to melt aluminum compared to copper.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2017, 01:01:08 PM by Ford5of5 »

bluethunder

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #27 on: November 03, 2017, 05:43:23 PM »
Sorry to bring an old post back to life, but...  Had to buy a new compressor for the new shop, and had been researching the intercooler add-on & found a pic of Bluethunder's compressor via google.

Bluethunder: What are you using for those flex hoses between the compressor & intercooler?

The metal braid line is the line that used to go from the outlet right into the tank. No, it isn't sink line :p It is the proper high temp, teflon braid that can take the 200 degree air from the compressor discharge.


The line from the other side of the dryer, was just a line i had made at a hydraulics shop, standard rubber hydraulic hose, with the correct ends to mate to the tank.

Cheers, Joe
« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 05:48:52 PM by bluethunder »
My build..
Part 1:
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=4907.0

Part 2:
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=74509.0

Outside a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog it's too dark to read! Groucho Marx

Ford5of5

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2017, 03:43:25 PM »
Bluethunder, where did you get the braided line? Is that something a hydraulic shop can make up?

When I was putting my system together I searched out rubber lines that could handle high temps and high pressure but had no luck finding anything. My back yard solution was to add more steel pipe on the exit. It's working pretty well but I do want to step it up to something better eventually.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 03:49:06 PM by Ford5of5 »

bluethunder

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #29 on: November 12, 2017, 04:04:46 PM »
Bluethunder, where did you get the braided line? Is that something a hydraulic shop can make up?

When I was putting my system together I searched out rubber lines that could handle high temps and high pressure but had no luck finding anything. My back yard solution was to add more steel pipe on the exit. It's working pretty well but I do want to step it up to something better eventually.

It was the line that was originally on the outlet of the compressor into the tank. I just diverted it into my intercooler with a 3/8 NPT fitting.

There are quite a number on ebay if you search compressor discharge hose.
My build..
Part 1:
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=4907.0

Part 2:
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=74509.0

Outside a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog it's too dark to read! Groucho Marx

Ford5of5

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Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #30 on: November 12, 2017, 08:30:28 PM »
Thanks a lot, Bluethunder. A quick search on ebay for "compressor discharge hose" brings up a bunch of options. I guess it helps to know the name of the component you're looking for. I searched out high pressure hose in the past. Found plenty of it, just none that could handle the temps.

Also, thanks to Bluethunder and all that contributed to this thread. It helped me build my system, which is working pretty awesome. I don't even need a fan on the condenser but I live in Massachusetts, not too humid.

Re: DIY Compressor Intercooler
« Reply #30 on: November 12, 2017, 08:30:28 PM »
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