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Air Compressor Gaskets Guide

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Air compressor gaskets are a crucial part of a compressor pump as they separate the intake and pump pressure sides.

This page will serve as a guide to provide you with more information on them, their failure and repair kits readily available online!

Table of Contents

What is an Air Compressor Gasket

Air compressor pump gaskets separate elements in the pump to allow it to function effectively and efficiently. Any typical reciprocating compressor pump, has a pump air intake side and a pump pressure side. The intake side allows air into the cylinder on the pistons retracting motion.

When the piston cycles into its compression stroke the pressure side allows the pump to drive the air into the tank to increase the tank pressure. The gasket that separates these two halves on the pump head can be very robust in large industrial compressors, or in the case of smaller compressors it could be no more than just a paper gasket.

Air Compressor Gasket Failure

As noted on many other pages on this site, a frequent reason for an air compressor running, but not building any air pressure, is that an internal gasket has blown.

The gasket may look OK, but once the pressure in the tank reaches a certain point, the back pressure against which the pump has to work increases to the point that the compressor gaskets let go.

If that happens, the air that is supposed to be pumped down into the tank, simply flows back and forth inside the pump, and the air pressure in the tank stalls.

I get more and more questions from owners of DIY type air compressors about getting gaskets to repair their compressors. This fellow has an air compressor that is only 8 months old, yet he is told by the manufacturer that no spare parts are available any more. I suspect in that case there were never any spare parts for this compressor from the get go!

Ingersoll Rand 54429600 Valve Plate Gasket
One type of valve plate gasket – an Ingersoll Rand 54429600 Valve Plate Gasket

What is to be done, then, when you need to replace a gasket in your air compressor pump but that gasket is no longer available?

Can You Make Your Own Compressor Gaskets?

What some visitors to this website say is that they make their own compressor gaskets. They acquired suitable gasket material after thorough research, often from an auto parts supply shop.

A compressor pump head gets very, very hot in operation. When sourcing replacement gasket material, recognize that. Yes, you can burn skin with the heat generated on a compressor pump, so any gasket material has to be heat resistant.

Here is an example of a typical pump head, separated into parts, and you can see where the gasket on this pump goes.

Exploded View Of Air Compressor Pump Make Your Own Compressor Reed Valve
Exploded View Of Compressor Pump Showing Compressor Gaskets

After disassembling the pump head locate all the gaskets. Then either remove them to use as a template to make new ones, or use the surface where the original gaskets were installed as a template, if the gasket is beyond removal in one piece.

With the old gasket template as a guide, mark the new gasket material appropriately, and cut the material to suit.

If your air compressor won’t build pressure past a certain point, the most frequent causes seem to be either the intake or high pressure reed / flapper valve is failing, or a gasket is letting go.

For information on Reed Valve Failure visit our troubleshooting page!

You may, nor may not, be able to see the failure point if it is the gasket. Yet, once you have the pump apart, you might as well eliminate that as the potential problem, by installing new gaskets.

If your compressor supplier tells you that gaskets for that compressor are no longer available, then making your own is the logical choice.

Where to Get Air Compressor Gasket Material?

If you Google “high heat gasket material” you will find many reputable sources. There does not appear to any difficulty in procuring gasket material almost anywhere online.

One quick and usually good source is an automotive parts store. Ensure you research thoroughly and good luck with building your own compressor gaskets.

One of our readers, Joe Taylor provided some very useful advice:

“I found the best material for making head gaskets for air compressors is copper, soft copper you can get it from most of your roofing company stores that sell copper flashing they have it in 22 gauge and also 24 gauge are use the 22 gauge stuff I buy it from the store in a sheet and then cut and make my own gaskets.

Seems to be more reliable than the paper products you get at the automotive store. I hope this helps everyone! Look for the roofing companies that handle metal roofs and copper flashing. Have a good time making them.”

Air Compressor Gaskets Available on Amazon

There are a number of air compressor pump gasket replacements and kits available on Amazon, I will provide you with some examples but please find one specific to your brand of compressor!

The first is a head cover gasket suitable for Sanborn 130/165 compressors.

The second is a Craftsman D30139 air compressor gasket seal kit which boasts terrific reviews.

A third option is an air compressor pump gasket set suitable for Sears and Craftsman compressors, again boasting great reviews.

Air Compressor Gasket Youtube Demonstrations

I have picked out a couple youtube demonstrations that may be of great help to you!

The first is a guide on how to replace a head gasket on your air compressor.

The next is a head gasket repair and rebuild tutorial!

If you have any questions regarding air compressor gaskets then please leave a comment below with a photo if applicable so that someone can help you!

By Bill Wade

About Air Compressors has been helping folks with their Air Compressor Problems since 2002 online. We're a community of DIY and Compressed Air professionals who are keen to support everyone across the globe with their air compressor issues and troubleshooting. Whether you're trying to identify an old air compressor, or troubleshoot an error code on a sophisticated new industrial air compressor - the community at About-Air-Compressors.com is here to help you

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