Intro: Fix an Air Compressor Regulator for Under $10.
A friend was going to toss this in the trash because of a bad regulator. It wouldn't get above 30 PSI meaning you couldn't even use it to put air in your tires. Well, life happens and I ended up with a new job so this sat for two years. In those two years, I gave my little air compressor to my dad who occasionally has a need for one.
This left me with a barely working behemoth. The knob was freely spinning which told me that it had stripped out so I would need a repair kit.
I finally had a real job to do and needed this working so I went online to buy the repair kit only to find out that it is no longer manufactured. I did find that you can buy the whole regulator assembly for $50, but that seemed excessive for what was broken.
Eye bolt with a shank a bit bigger than your existing hole (mine was 1/2")
Tap kit the same size and thread count as your eye-bolt.
Time: 15 minutes.
Step 1: Step 1: Take It Apart.
Empty the tank and unplug the unit.
Then, take apart the housing. Depending on where your switch is you may need to disconnect it.
Disassemble your regulator. For me, this was just four screws and then popping out the nylon insert and spring. Pay close attention to how it was assembled, I laid mine out on my bench in the order that it came out of the unit. Pull the knob out (you can see the stripped threads).
Step 2: Step 2: Gather Your New Parts.
I got a great deal on my tap kit and eye bolt bringing both to under $10 before tax. If you have a tap kit already, this whole project will cost under $2.
You will need an eye bolt with a shank that is larger than the hole from the knob. Mine was 1/2". You will need a tap and drill to match your bolt size and thread count.
Step 3: Step 3: Drill and Tap Your Hole.
Use the drill that came with your tap set to drill your hole. Make it as straight as possible. Use WD-40 to lubricate your drill and plunge VERY slowly. A slow speed is also helpful as chips don't fly and your drill doesn't burn up.
Tap your hole. Again, lubricate with oil. Since this is brass you won't need to work as hard. Still, as soon as you feel the tap catch, turn it half a turn counter-clockwise. This will clear the jam and allow for a very nice and smooth thread.
Test your fit. It is better to find out that you messed up now than after you have everything together.
Step 4: Step 4: Reassemble and Test
Reassemble your unit. You may be able to do this with the eye bolt in place if the eye is small enough. Mine was too big so I had to add it after I had reassembled the unit.
It is important to remember going forward that there is no longer a stop for zero on your regulator. You are able to completely unscrew your regulator knob.
This isn't a big deal to me. If you completely unscrew the regulator your line pressure just drops to zero and you have to put the bolt back in place. Others may have an issue with this.
Test your regulator. Mine is now in working condition and I hope yours is as well!