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Old 09-23-2015, 03:25 PM   #1
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Oil leak from compressor?

While crawling around under the Berkshire today, I noticed the bottom of the (compressor? Dryer?) appeared to have a slow leak. This was a real grimy, sludgy oil. Real hard to tell where it's coming from. I do see a spot on the ground where it's been dripping.

1. Is this the compressor? Dryer? Something else?
2. Any ideas what might be leaking, or a good way to troubleshoot? Click image for larger version

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Old 09-23-2015, 05:07 PM   #2
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While crawling around under the Berkshire today, I noticed the bottom of the (compressor? Dryer?) appeared to have a slow leak. This was a real grimy, sludgy oil. Real hard to tell where it's coming from. I do see a spot on the ground where it's been dripping.

1. Is this the compressor? Dryer? Something else?
2. Any ideas what might be leaking, or a good way to troubleshoot? Attachment 89683Attachment 89684


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Don't know what it is, but I'm almost certain is is not the compressor.

When I drove semi, I looked at the compressor almost every day (as part of pre-trip inspection) and I've never seen one that looks like what's in your pic.

Boowho??
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Old 09-23-2015, 05:11 PM   #3
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it is the air dryer. have had to replace them on my semi before
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Old 09-23-2015, 05:13 PM   #4
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it is after compressor and air tanks to help get water or oil out before it gets in the whole air system
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Old 09-23-2015, 05:15 PM   #5
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Hard to tell from the picture but looks like the air dryer. I do not look at mine to often. Is it on the drivers side? if yes it is air dryer. The air dryer will bleed air. The cartage is supposed to be changed every three years. It builds up a black/gray sludge if not changed and this can push into break air lines.
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Old 09-23-2015, 05:16 PM   #6
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Ok, thanks for that. So it does appear that the oil residue may be coming from the bottom drain, and just be blowing up on the components. Is that normal?
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Old 09-23-2015, 05:23 PM   #7
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Silver, it is on the drivers side, so thanks for the confirmation. What is that called...a "dryer cartridge"?
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Old 09-23-2015, 08:22 PM   #8
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See attached. Easy to change just a PIA to get to for a big guy like me. I forget if it was $140 or $240
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Old 09-24-2015, 05:19 AM   #9
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Thanks a lot for the info!


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Old 09-24-2015, 07:15 PM   #10
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Looks like a combination of oil and water discharge. Is this a new unit or an older one. The oil will come from the compressor. If the cartridge is too contaminated you will need to have it replaced as it will not seperate water properly any more. When you drain your air tanks put a clean cloth over the drain and see if you are getting oil out of the tanks as well. Oil in the air system will harm seals in the brake system. Take the discharge line off at the compressor ( engine off) and wipe the inside of the pipe with a clean white cloth or q tip, if there is oil in the pipe then it could be time for a compressor.
Been a diesel mechanic since 1972 and driving trucks since 1984.
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Old 09-24-2015, 08:17 PM   #11
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Well, that would be too bad, but that seems to be what it's pointing to!

I wonder why the compressor would fail so early on? (19k miles)

Oh well. I"ll post back on what I find out!
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Old 09-25-2015, 04:28 PM   #12
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Is it possible that my compressor has an air intake filter, and that the filter is clogged so as to increase the intake pressure, which is in turn increasing the oil blow-by on the compressor?


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Old 09-25-2015, 05:11 PM   #13
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Is it possible that my compressor has an air intake filter, and that the filter is clogged so as to increase the intake pressure, which is in turn increasing the oil blow-by on the compressor?


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Your filter could possibly be clogged needing to be changed but I doubt that someone would have mistakenly used an air intake filter.
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Old 09-25-2015, 05:28 PM   #14
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air dryer could have been bad when it was new
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Old 09-25-2015, 05:57 PM   #15
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Ok, thanks. I guess what I'm asking is, does the compressor have a filter? (Frankly, I'm still trying to locate the compressor!)



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Old 09-26-2015, 09:26 AM   #16
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Some compressors do have a separate filter but these are usually belt driven compressors. If they are gear driven then most likely it is connected into the intake manifold and gets clean air thru the main engine filter. Have you checked your warranty paperwork to see if this may still be covered by the engine manufacturer
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Old 09-26-2015, 10:05 AM   #17
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Some compressors do have a separate filter but these are usually belt driven compressors. If they are gear driven then most likely it is connected into the intake manifold and gets clean air thru the main engine filter. Have you checked your warranty paperwork to see if this may still be covered by the engine manufacturer
Don't know if it would be considered a "drive train component" but FL warranty on drive train is 5 years.

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Old 10-05-2015, 03:50 PM   #18
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Ok, update on this. I got ahold of the testing specs for how to check what's normal blow-by from the compressor.

The procedure is:
Remove the input airline at the dryer
Run the engine at fast idle so that the compressor runs (you'll have to dump your air bags in order to trigger the compressor to come on)
Hold the air line in one place, about 2-3" over a white sheet of paper for 5 minutes
Draw a 2.76" diameter circle around the oil spot
Compare to the attached info from Cummins based on the age of your compressor and the amount of oil on the paper.

I've also attached what mine looked like so you can compare.

So it looks like everything is fine with mine! I'm happy with the results!

Hope this info helps someone else sometime.


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Old 10-05-2015, 05:18 PM   #19
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There's a bit of good news.
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