DIY shop compressor using York pump(s)?

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Nov 1, 2004
After a recent trip to the junkyard to pull a few York air compressors for an onboard air project (man, they're everywhere!) and a quick rebuild of my s***ty sears ear-splitting oil-less air compressor, I've been thinking... could a guy build an adequate to good performance shop compressor using a used tank, an electric motor, and one or a couple York pumps? I'd be looking for performance in the 10-12 cfm at 135 psi range, or higher cfm, for my current uses.

I've seen varying descriptions of a York output - the only one I can find right now is 4 cfm @ 90 psi running 1200 rpm... I know the actual calc includes displacement, cycle time, and pressure and hope someone could review that for me. Regardless, I suspect one or a pair of Yorks running at 1500-3000 rpm would have sufficient output. Std 110 v power would be ideal.

Assuming it's not a dumb idea out of the gate:

- any reason the Yorks would be unsuitable compared to an internally lubricated compressor pump designed for the application such as

- what motor characteristics would be important/desireable? HP, RPM, etc? If new, something like this?
If used, from what kind of application?

- any system design thoughts?... optimal RPM to run at? utilize selective activation of 2nd York pump through use of A/C clutch? others?... not looking for thoughts on tank size (yes bigger is better), need for unloader/pop off/ filters/etc.

I appreciate your thoughts and input... thanks
I think that the output is higher than 4 cfm, even for the little one used in volkswagens, I have a bunch of info on them at home, I'll try to post it up later
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I don't know a thing about 'em but when I was at our local Pic n Pull I spotted a couple late 70's Chrysler's with these large V-Twin A/C compressors...they are even larger (physical size) than the York's. Again...don't know a thing about 'em but they look like they would be high output assuming space is not a constraint.

Back to your question: How big of an electric motor would be needed to drive a York? Other than figuring that out I don't see why it wouldn't work. Make sure you have plenty of space/air circulation around it.
been a while since I was thinking about doing this, here was the math I had

(info from pin head in this thread)
They don't have this info in the manual, but you can calculate it:
The 10R or large York is 10 cubic inches in displacement. So it
makes 10 cu in/rev. Divide by 1728 cu in/cu ft = 173 rev per Cu ft.
At idle speed of 520 RPM, you will get 3 cu ft/min at zero pressure.
Since atmospheric pressure is approx 15 PSI, you compress the
volume 6-fold to get to 90 PSI. Output at 90 PSI would then be
0.5 cu/ft / min at idle. Rev it up to 3100 RPM and you get 3.0 cu ft/min
at 90PSI.

and in the pdf from CCI (makers of the york) it says that the max rpm for the 210, 209, or 206 is 6000 rpm

BTW, I did the math on the other two, and the 209 is 8.69 CI which is going to be 2.6cfm @3100 rpm, and the 206 is 6.10 CI, and will produce 1.8 CFM @3100 rpm
(I realize that you don't need this info, as you have the larger pumps, but it might help someone else out)

so at 6000 RPM
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thanks Gladly...

I'd seen that from PinHead in my digging around but couldn't find my way back to it.

Had also seen the blow by fix, but good stuff.

Using PinHead's math i come up with the following:

one York 210 - cfm at pressure
rpm 0 psi 90 psi 135 psi
500 2.89 0.48 0.32
1000 5.79 0.96 0.64
2000 11.57 1.93 1.29
3000 17.36 2.89 1.93
4000 23.15 3.86 2.57
5000 28.94 4.82 3.22
6000 34.72 5.79 3.86

dual York 210's - cfm at pressure
rpm 0 psi 90 psi 135 psi
500 5.79 0.96 0.64
1000 11.57 1.93 1.29
2000 23.15 3.86 2.57
3000 34.72 5.79 3.86
4000 46.30 7.72 5.14
5000 57.87 9.65 6.43
6000 69.44 11.57 7.72

Doesn't look good for my initial requirements of 10-12 cfm at 135psi, but maybe still interesting...

CCI manual rates the pumps for 4000 rpm continuous duty so maybe cycle on cycle off use at faster speeds would fly. Anyone know?

How about what kind of electric motor I'd be looking for to be able to drive dual Yorks at 4-6k rpm?


edit - sorry the table lost it's formatting from excel when I cut and pasted it
Putting out 10CFM at 135 PSI is going to take quite a bit of power. I doubt that you are going to find a 110 V motor that is capable of putting out that kind of power and even if you did, you wouldn't have a circuit in your house that would be able to supply it. Realistically, you are looking at 25-30 amps at 220 V.
thanks PH...

Continuing questions: any thoughts on how a would guy go about sizing the motor quantitatively to determine:

1) max attainable performance with a "standard" 110v motor and one or two pumps

2) necessary motor characteristics to run two pumps at about 3500-4000 rpm? The resulting performance of around 7.5cfm at 90psi would still be pretty strong for a home garage.

I know you are wanting to put this together using Yorks and all this could probably be done for a small amount of money assuming you can get a cheap tank, pressure switch and associated stuff. But I think your going to cook the york. It's designed to run refrigerant which provides some cooling. Air running through it provides very little. There are no cooling fins on it to dissipate the heat. Plus you will have a ton of time in building it.

My suggestion is to buy this and be done with it. Especially if your looking for an economical way to attain your specs.
There are sites on the web that list how much hp or watts (1 hp = 746 W) it takes to compress air.

It will take about 20A at 110 V to run and it may take twice that on start up. My cheesy 4CFM@135 psi 110V comperssor will trip a 15A breaker occasionally on start up.

I would just buy that IR compressor for less than $600 if I really needed that much air.
I talked with a tech support guy at CCI who gave me this link for some comparative info... they mate a DC motor for the likes of a winch or a hydraulic pump and mate it to a modified York compressor (dual rings, PCV, etc.) He also mentioned that a starter motor works good to drive a York for 12V air system. He also confirmed the risks of running a York at rated 4000 rpms continuous while just puming air for issues of heat dissapation and that 1200 was more common/doable.

Though different than I was thinking, it does give some interesting info:
use a 2.5hp 12 vdc motor
rate a duty cycle without additional cooling available in the performance unit of 30% (this is limited by the pump I expect)
stated output of 8 cfm @100psi

By math above, they'd have to run the pump at 9200 rpm to get 8cfm at 100psi!!! Double rings and other mods might improve efficiency, but not that much? Bulls*** marketing claims?

similar higher claims are at where they say the 210 York can do 4 cfm at 90psi and 1200 rpm. Again, by math above a pump needs to turn at about 4500 rpms to get that output. Again, bulls*** marketing claims?

Regardless, I'm going to have to throw in the towel and agree with the suggestions that the smart thing to do is not go down this road.

By math above, they'd have to run the pump at 9200 rpm to get 8cfm at 100psi!!!

I would pay money to see that from a distance of 50
We need someone to chime in who actually has a york on thier rig. I've heard it can run air tools suggesting it can put out 4cfm @ 90.

Then they could run all the rpm tests, measure pressure drop ect.
Air Condidtioner systems are capable of hundreds of psi, I think the calculations are off. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

This guy ran an impact off his york. Granted an impact is not a long duration air consumer like a die grinder.
I don't see why not as long as you have a large reserve you can use and the time it would take for it to build up.

For a 150PSI system I've seen people use fridge compressors and pressure tanks (propane is the most common one I see, but that's some major stank if you don't flush some soapy water through it before using it). Caveat is the long time to build up pressure in large storage cylinders.

Not sure I'd want to use propane tanks either, but I guess if you set it up so you didn't have to cut or weld anything on them it'd be feasible :meh:
We need someone to chime in who actually has a york on thier rig. I've heard it can run air tools suggesting it can put out 4cfm @ 90.

Then they could run all the rpm tests, measure pressure drop ect.

I have a York in my FJ40 and had one under the hood of my last Toyota pickup as well. I have no idea what the output actually was. I can say that it was, by my best estimates, in the same ballpark as my 60 gallon 240v shop compressor that claims to be 9.7 cfm at 90psi. Certainly more ouput than any 120v compressor I've used. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say in the range of 6cfm. Keep in mind also that usually the accessory pulley on the compressor is smaller than that on the crank, so you might be spinning as much as 20% faster rpm on the compressor.

As far as building a shop compressor. I don't think you'll save much. Single stage shop compressor heads are pretty cheap.

As a side note, I'm not sure why, but commercial compressor output ratings don't drop off in a linear fashion as you'd expect from a Boyle's Law calculation. For example most 3hp single stage compressors state around 12cfm at 40ps and 10cfm at 90. Something else is going on with the calculation that isn't obvious to me right now. Someone on here probably knows.
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