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An overheating Atlas Copco air compressor typically comes down to one of several factors. If an Atlas Copco air compressor is overheating, something is definitely not right, and you must diagnose and fix the problem pronto. This article will provide you with the reasons why your Atlas Copco air compressor is overheating, and what you can do to prevent this from occurring.

Table of Contents

Reasons Atlas Copco Air Compressor Overheats

If your Atlas Copco air compressor is experiencing overheating, it is likely due to any of the following:

  • Low suction pressure
  • Excess discharge pressure
  • Insufficient or eroded oil
  • Old or clogged components
  • Defective thermal valve
  • Inadequate ventilation
  • Ambient temperature
  • Type of air compressor
  • Frequency of use

One of the most common problems that will cause an Atlas Copco compressor to overheat is having a high compression ratio which is a result of low suction pressure. Another issue is excess discharge pressure. To keep suction pressure and discharge pressure levels under control, you must inspect components frequently for any signs of issues.

When oil becomes old it will typically begin to erode and harden, resulting in the interior parts of the compressor system moving without sufficient lubrication. This is the same if you have insufficient oil within the system. As the moving components wear down, you will typically need to replace the oil at more frequent intervals.

Components of an air compressor will naturally wear down with age, forcing the system to work harder to complete its basic function of providing compressed air to your end-use. They need to be monitored and replaced when suitable.

A defective thermal valve can easily lead to heating issues with your air compressor. It’s recommended to have a replacement thermal valve on hand in case the preexisting valve on your machine needs to be changed out at any point, and also to act as a comparison to know when the other is faulty.

Ambient room temperature is something you should always keep in consideration with air compressors. If the air compressor is located within a warm area, the machine is liable to have far more difficulty adjusting to the incoming air at its desired levels of coolness.

On top of this, comes ventilation. Is the air compressor able to sufficiently ventilate? If the air compressor is placed in such a way that the vents are facing against a wall directly, the air compressor should be turned or possibly moved to another area.

It’s important to note that some types of air compressors are more suited to high-demand tasks than others. If you are running heavy-duty pneumatic tools for extended periods of use from a small air compressor, you will likely run into performance issues that will result in the air compressor overheating.

The frequency of use of the air compressor is going to contribute to the amount of wear and tear that an air compressor system experiences. The speed of the wear and tear depends on the length of time the compressor is operating at temperatures.

To be able to combat your Atlas Copco air compressor overheating, you should seek to:

  • Improve ventilation
  • Monitor ventilation
  • Inspect oil level and filters regularly
  • Replace parts when necessary

For more detailed information on an air compressor overheating, visit our guide here!

Reader Questions & Responses

GX5FF Atlas Copco Air Compressor Overheating

Question

I have an Atlas Copco GX5ff that keeps overheating.

I’m running a CNC machine shop, that has 5 machines in it. I run this place myself so most of the time I run one machine, and have no problems. As soon as I try to run two machines at once, the compressor has overheating issues. A couple of years ago, I had a crew of 3, and we would run 4 machines at the same time, had no issues with the compressor, so I know running 2 machines should not be overworking this compressor.

New Atlas Copco GX5 air compressor
New Atlas Copco GX5 air compressor

Called service a few times on this, and this is what has happened. Oil, oil filter, and oil separator have been changed. The thermostat has been changed. The intake air filter has been changed. The oil cooling radiator has been taken off and complete power washed so it’s clean as new, and also blew air through it to make sure it’s not plugged.

I checked with a temperature gun when it overheats, and it’s definitely reaching 213 degrees, so I know it’s getting hot. I don’t know what else to do with this thing. Could the pump itself have a bad bearing that’s getting everything too hot? It’s turning on about every 6-7 minutes.

Response

Well, there are only a few things that can cause overheating, and looks like you’ve covered most of them!

So the cooler is clear and has full flow through it, is it actually getting hot though? It does sound like an oil flow issue as it’s only overheating when working hard, possibly one of the oil pipes/hoses blocked up? Try removing them all one by one and clearing them.

Does your machine have an electric fan or is it connected to the motor? If electric, is it turning?

Is the compressor close to a wall? I mean is there enough airflow getting to it or letting the hot air out properly?

You are right, if the bearings on the air end are dry or not enough flow to them then that could be an issue.

One last thing to check, sometimes there is a little gauze filter going to the air end, in the pipe/hose, have a close look, maybe take that hose/pipe off and see if there is anything in there, if there is any kind of blockage going to the air end then it will overheat.

Please let us know your findings.

Response

Is this a tank-mounted model with no dryer?

You’ve been draining the tank?

Is the radiator getting hot?
If not the bypass valve isn’t working.

When you say ” It’s turning on about every 6-7 minutes. ” do you mean motor starts or loading?

Has anything else changed since you became a one-man shop? Piping, etc.

How many hours on it?

And yes, it *could* be the air end, but let’s hope not.

Questioner

Ok to answer some questions, yes it’s a tank mounted, and no I do not have a dryer on this unit. It is near a wall but had plenty of open-air around all sides of it.

I had a different repair person in yesterday on it, and believe it or not, it appears someone put the thermal couple in backward. That was the whole problem with it. He flipped it over and it’s staying about 30-50 degrees cooler. Good lord, the time I spent chasing this issue. But, glad it’s all fixed now. Thanks to everyone in helping search for the problem.

Response

Fantastic, glad you got it fixed! I thought it sounded like an oil flow issue.

Anyway pleased it’s done now.

Carl

Response

So this was already happening, and when whoever changed the thermostat, broke it good?

Wow. This is why history is good to know.

I trust you’re getting at least a partial refund from the company that messed it up.

Questioner

Yes, the whole fix was free of charge. As for the last guy who put it in wrong, well, he did other maintenance on the machine besides this, so I doubt I’ll see any refunds on that work.

The original work was done for overheating, but their remedy was to do full maintenance on it. Which they did, and seemed to remedy the overheating, but then the problem returned about 4 months later.

The only thing they didn’t do was change the separator because they didn’t have one on the truck.

So when the problem returned 4 months later, they had a separator and swapped it out.

The problem went away again for about 2 months, then returned again.

Then they said the regulator might be bad. It’s cheap, so let’s replace it. Which they did.

The problem went away again for about 2 months, then returned again. It wasn’t until now that a different repair person came out to discover the regulator was put in backward.


If you have any questions regarding Atlas Copco air compressors overheating, please leave a comment below, with a photo if applicable, so that someone can help you!