Motor runs but tanks don't pressurize

by Chuck
(Gulf Breeze, Florida)

porter cable 4 gallon pancake compressor

porter cable 4 gallon pancake compressor

I have the electric 4 gallon Porter Cable compressor (piston/oil)that tipped over while running. It stopped pressurizing immediately, but the motor kept running until I could get to it - 30 seconds or so - and turn it off. I set it upright and didn't attempt to start it for 10 minutes or so. When I did, the motor ran, but neither tank pressurized. There's no visible damage. Any thoughts?

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Jun 16, 2015
Flipped Porter Cable now no air
by: Bill

See the troubleshooting pages for information on why compressors run but don't build air. Things to check are listed there.

Air out the oil dipstick is an indicator of piston seal wear. More air, more seals have been worn.

Gunk in the tank may have gummed up the thank check valve. Empty tank, pull, clean and check.

Jun 16, 2015
P-Cable motor runs; wont compress
by: Larry

Porter Cable 150 psi, 4.0 [email protected] 90. Motor runs as normal but no air is compressed. Low psi air vents from dipstick. Used yesterday for spray painting. Noticed unit never cycled off during spraying paint. Unit toppled-over when returning unit to shop. I up righted it immediately.
Set back up in shop today and noticed no compressing.

Oct 22, 2014
Porter Cable will not build pressure
by: Bill

Chuck, drain the tanks and pull the fitting where the air line enters the tank from the pump.

That fitting should contain a check valve.

Check and make sure that the check valve is clean and working.

Close the drain, power up, and ... what? Did this help?


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