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Old 01-02-2013, 01:40 AM
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mccutter mccutter is offline
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Smile Harbor Freight #95386 2hp/8gal Air Compressor Fix

Harbor Freight #95386 2hp/8gal Air Compressor Fix

I have had this compressor about 2 years now. Not a bad little compressor, good for filling tires and occasional air tool use. I ALWAYS turn it off AND unplug it when not in use. Except for one time and Murphy decided to blow out the switch gasket the ONE time out of a hundred I left it on and plugged in.

A neighbor of my shop heard it running for well over an hour and shut off the outside breaker. Who knows how long it had been running before then but I know it must have been running a while because the outside of the compressor near the switch was covered in a mist of compressor oil!

I looked around the web for a gasket with no luck. I did discover I could call HF to buy a whole switch with gasket but rather than deal with delay and inconvenience, I went to my local ACE Hardware and picked up a sheet of 1/8". oil-resistant rubber for $3. There is enough material in the sheet for 8 more gaskets so I'm set for a while...

Since I didn't have a new gasket to trace, and the old gasket was deformed (pictures of a new gasket show it starts flat and it must "mold" to the switch over time), I had to use grease on the switch against a piece of paper to make a template. Traced the template onto the rubber and cut to size.

Since I didn't have a gasket punch small enough (yet), I made one out of a piece of tube cut from an acid brush. "Curled" it so it was small enough with some pliers. The gasket came out "OK" and needed a little bit of notching where it mates with the flange on the tank.

I had to make a socket "thinner" to be able to properly tighten the switch to the flange. The drill/sanding belt "trick" should be self-explanatory...

While I had it apart, I resealed all the fittings and replaced the ball valve which was loose and worn out. I'll be making a brace for the coupler eventually because it sticks out a few inches and could be broken off by someone more careless than I.

Changed the oil in it because the oil was obviously cooked from the compressor running for an extended period of time...

Once together, I ran it, it built up pressure as shown (I almost thought it wouldn't shut off before the red! ). No knocking or noise was noted so the continuous running didn't harm it, thankfully. After a few days it still showed 100psi on the gauges so I'm thinking the fix will hold...
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Last edited by mccutter; 01-02-2013 at 01:48 AM.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:48 AM
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Paychk Paychk is offline
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looks to be a solid fix, congrats!
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:23 AM
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Looks like more evidence that you really just can't lose them all.
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:23 AM
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I have a HF 5HP 60 gallon compressor myself . Several years back I left a hose hooked up and of course the hose blew sometime through the night . I found it running when I got up killed the breaker unhooked the hose and reset the breaker . Once it built pressure back up it shut off and has been running fine ever since . That was at least 5 years ago and I havent had a problem out of it . HF actually does make a few good items .

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Old 01-02-2013, 06:52 AM
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Thanks for that fix. I don't need that (yet) ,but you never know I've got one of those units and as you stated it's a pretty good little unit. I'd buy another in a heartbeat at a $100 on sale. It's great for light duty instant air or tires or filling the portable tank.

I actually use mine for my plasma cutter,but then I'm not doing heavy cutting or production work. The little devil will keep up with enough CFM's unless I get carried away,but I feed it into another tank which expands the volume capacity. One of my better expenditures on a HF tool.
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:00 AM
shopsmith shopsmith is offline
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Location: manassas, va
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Had the exact same failure on the same compressor. Same fix except the material was a bicycle innertube, slit lengthwise, holes punched and away I went. They must be using inferior material for that gasket as mine failed shortly after purchase.
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