Air compressor auction stories
So what's this all about?
Firstly, I should say that I enjoy using the more popular auction sites and no doubt many of you found me on there;
Apart from all the nice people you meet, there are some grade 1 idiots and plonkers on there, not to mention cheats, liars and thieves.
Also "companies" use it as a new form of cyber skip - a great place to get rid of scrap, and people pay them to take it away.
You would not believe the horror stories that I hear about in the course of a week and the number of mis-described air compressors that turn up on these sites. The descriptions that people put in never cease to amaze me, especially when they are describing rubbish.
End of year on Ebay
I was feeling a little bored on the days off between Christmas and New Year and just like many other people thought that I might just have a quiet browse through the compressor section.
Well it certainly brightened up a dull morning - as always it was an eye opener to see the prices people wanted for what was basically scrap - Many of the offerings were suitable for the skip and nothing else, they will never run properly - most likely some of them came out of a skip to go on Ebay.
Just so long as people are prepared to pay silly prices and be taken in by these cheats then I am not suprised at the amount of these machines being offered.
Remember my top tip - If the seller doesnt offer to let you see it running under power - then walk away - no matter how plausable the reason why.
My no 2 tip - if you do buy a troublesome machine on ebay - please dont ask us to mend it - our workshops are full of proper repairs - we have seen all the ebay problems before and have no wish to get involved.
More Sorry Stories from Ebay
I am thinking of renaming this page "Kelvins Page" - he is a regular visitor to our workshops buying spares and looking for used parts - he never fails to entertain us with tales of his ebay stories.
Apparently only last week he saw a bargain that was just too good to miss and he couldnt believe his luck - that isnt saying much as Kelvin doesnt enjoy the best of luck on ebay.
Some chap has a hydrovane 15 on a tank with a dryer built on, its an early model and not all standard, but it looks passable and the chap says it works ok "but could do with a service" lol.
Now for those of you who dont know what that sentance means - it translates as the machine is full of problems, doesnt work properly and at worst is scrap.
But Kelvin is a Compressor Engineer and so non of this will be a problem to him. or so he thinks - sometimes I wonder what he does think. So off he goes and buys it for only £300 and thinks there is money to be make on this one.
It turns out that the machine leaks oil from the front and back - gets hotter than a whistling kettle in only a couple of mins - these machines are famous for running too cool - oh and the fridge doesnt work - the paint job is ok from 10 feet away and any closer than that its a misearble mess.
Will need a full rebuild which will be time consuming and costly, plus the fridge man will want a chunk of money to sort that end out - when finished if it all runs ok he might recoup his costs, but the paint job will let it down.
What people fail to realise is that most people selling compressors on ebay either know what they have and its value, or know its a troublesome machine and tell lies about it - hoping that some fool like Kelvin will go for it.
Will be interesting to see how this pickle turns out in the end.
The Joys of Ebay and the Dreamers.
Just spent a pleasant afternoon with my good friend Kelvin who loves selling compressors on ebay.
Usually he has a great time and makes more than you might think but his life is blighted with some of the numptys and dreamers who use ebay for therapy - well thats what he says anyway.
Apparently business hasnt been as brisk as usual for him and he has met his fair share of dreamers and time wasters, hence the need to drink tea here and tell me all his troubles.
We only sell new compressors on ebay and so are not dealing with the same customers as Kelvin and so dont see all the dreamers he does, although we have seen a few in our time.
So we get around to talking about the immediate signs that tell you you are dealing with a dreamer and someone who is more likely to have breakfast with Elvis than buy your compressor - of course you dont get to see what they look like as they are only on the phone or ebay.
The opening gambits that give away the dreamers and wasters are -
What will you take for cash mate
Whats your very lowest price mate
If I turn up now with cash what will it cost
Ive got the cash in my hand, what will you take for it mate.
Of course there are other such like things they might say, but it is never going to happen.
Another favourite ploy of the numpty is to hit the buy it now and then start asking silly questions - its a bit late then - and they never buy it either.
Of course there are some nice genuine buyers out there but ebay attracts lots of lifes idiots and loosers.
Two cups of tea and most of my biscuits latter, Kelvin said he felt much better and went on his way for another week.
I am glad we dont need that type of business as it must be most frustrating.
It takes your breath away
We have had a couple of people ring us for help recently who have really caught a cold with their ebay purchase.
The first chap buys an old Mark screw compressor without going to see it first - when it turns up some of the outer panels are not fitted and strapped to the frame - not a good sign. When its run up, its noisey and the belts are loose and squeal at only 5 bar - the air is full of oil - its a mess.
To make matters worse it had been hand painted - not quite what he expected.
But its not his problem anymore as he has put it back on ebay complete with all its faults - heaven help us!
The next chap decides to buy " A really nice little Italian Screw Compressor " - I didn't know there was such a thing. He knew it had a few faults but was confident he could sort it.
That was his second mistake - the first was buying it!
Well this machine was jinxed and everything he did to it created another problem - he spent a small fortune on parts and got nowhere at all.
At this he decides to ask us if we would have a look for him - now, we can mend any compressor on the planet no matter what the problems - but can you afford it.
Luckily he saw scense and bought a nice new Airzone Screw from us and the offending Italian machine has gone into the big shed out the back where rubbish compressors go to die.
The new Airzone has a 5 year warranty and is in place and working 18 hours a day.
Better than a soap opera
Ebay is always good for a bit of entertainment and whilst there are some nice people on there, it is also littered with lifes numptys - and they are their own worst enemies.
There are people who just have no idea and then there are people who actually have NO IDEA - there is no hope for them and they buy compressors that dont work - didnt work - and will never work - then they are going to run them 18hrs a day, everyday.
Sometimes I feel more like a social worker than a compressor engineer and it gets no better as times goes on - in fact I end up meeting every problem there is - and there is never an easy way out of it.
It isnt normally helped by the fact that the seller "probably" knows more than the unfortunate buyer and will say anything to make a sale - between the two of them its often a pantomime.
Very Poor Pickings
I have just had a quick look down the offerings on ebay and there is hardly a good machine to be seen anywhere - lots of tat that should be weighed in - lots of machines that have been on before and now looking for yet another new home - lots of part time dealers hiding behind silly names and hoping to off load some tired old offering.
Now this one IS a good runner mate
So it's monday morning and another machine someone bought from a bandit on ebay turns up in our yard.
The chap absolutely assured him it was a strong runner and he would have no trouble with it - he said it was a shame that it had been disconnected from the power or he could have seen it running for himself.
So he paid cash for it with no receipt of course and decided to drop it off here for a service - I bet you can guess how this is going ??
There was no oil in it at all - always a bad sign - and so I put some in.
It wouldn't start as the electric box was burnt out - I thought it was running the day before - I can't believe how stupid people can be when they think there is a bargain to be had.
So I connected it to a slave box and it started - what a noise and no air - so now you know why they got rid of it - its scrap
Only fit for the skip really and he paid £600 for it and owes me a mornings work as well
When will people get wise - if its worth thousands and the seller only wants hundreds, then you need to see it running and be careful what you buy
There is no hope
Had a load of calls from people who had been buying all sorts of tat on the internet and then hoping that it would be a simple fix - it never is - if it was simple it would have already been fixed and it would not have been for sale anyway.
Take the chap who 'only' pays £400 for a 25 years old screw that 'only needs a service'
Then they have a couple of people out to it and they can't mend it or quote high and on it goes - so they spend around another grand on it and it still doesn't go. The truth is it will never be any good as it will need something very expensive to get it going again.
But the bigger the machine the more expensive it gets - there are no places to go for discount parts or breakers yards, like in the car world.
You will be on your own or at the mercy of the vultures in this trade.
It's simple really - if it's not wired up and running - walk away
It must be the silly season
I have been saying for years now that people are far too optimistic about the machines they buy on ebay - usually from round the back of a farm or some other dubious place.
These old compressors that people can't resist are almost always someone elses' cast off and usually have an expensive problem.
Best described as money pits - the worst thing about it all is these people then ring me for help or advice - they don't like the advice and the cost will nearly always be prohibative.
Are you ready for a laugh
Take a look on YouTube - type in -- 'the screw compressor from hell' -- and have a laugh. The cost of the repair was a new machine, the old one was truly scrap and very dangerous. The customer left us the old one and asked us to smash it up - you won't believe the fun we had with an angle grinder and a sledge hammer. The bit that made us smile was that the previous owner had been a Bentley Garage selling new cars and that was what they had been using for a compressor.
And the next please
Chap calls me to say he has a Hydrovane 504 with a noisy airend (thats a big queue he needs to join the back of)
But tells me not to worry as his brother has just bought one off ebay - that makes me nervous before we start - I do my best to talk him out of it but he insists and duly turns up with the lot of it in van.
Will report back later on this one
Oh Dear Me
Have just seen the most amazing price paid on ebay for a useless peice of tat. Small single phase Hydrovanes usually fetch good prices but I have just seen one which truly should be in a skip fetch £360. It was covered in spilt paint and overspray, had broken covers and oil leaks.
I have genuinely scrapped better ones than that - well someone will be busy trying to get that going again.
I hope they don't ring me for help - I would only have one peice of advice on this one - put it back in the skip the seller found it in - but i bet someone cleans it up a bit and it will be back on ebay.
Just spent a couple of hours flicking through the compressors on ebay. As always it's a hornets nest - ranging from new and modern at crazy high prices down to the usual scrap that should be in a skip. Prices of more or less worthless machines are going up and up - I just hope we dont get too many calls for help from people who stumble across them.
I have come to the conclusion that anything that's any good will be high priced and the rest are various levels or rubbish at stupid prices.
I always wonder why people will buy some peice of tat from round the back of a farm building - they can't see it running (it probably doesn't) and they get told a whole series of lies by some spiv who will just vanish after the sale.
Scrap Men Moving Up A League
It must be a sign of the times, but we've noticed the amount of scrap yards and scrap men who come across old compressors and put them on the Internet - and people buy them hoping they work - I don't know what the world is coming to.
The problem they then have is that its already scrap and no doubt has a host of problems.
No compressor engineer is going to want to work on it, or the cost will be high and so off it goes back on the internet for the next unsupecting buyer.
Big troubles for someone
What always makes me smile is how hopeful people are when it comes to compressed air.
The number of people who see some old tired compressor and want to run their production machines on it 18+ hours per day.
On ebay recently were a couple of 75kw machines, old and weary. But the price wasn't that cheap and when someone makes the mistake of buying one they will open a whole can of worms.
Just so long as they don't ring me !!!
Have you noticed how much money people are paying for tired old Hydrovanes and the like. Some of the offerings on ebay are so tired the only place for them is in a skip
More Horror Stories
Lots of people ringing up looking for help and advice having bought some cheap tat off ebay or the like.
When will people realise that used compressors that look too good to be true usually are and that anything that was a real bargain would probably be long gone before you see it.
A 10 year old vane or screw compressor that "looks" half decent will still fetch good money and if that machine has problems you will have been well and truly stung.
We get so many calls for help from non-customers on a friday afternoon that it's amazing - most have bought some wonder bargain from ebay and it's arrived and doesn't work. The people they bought it off don't want to know and so they are in a pickle.
Most times they have bought someone elses troubles and it will go straight back on ebay for you to consider and then you have to go looking for help - its a never ending circle.
If it's for a hobby type situation then that's up to you, but if it's for an industrial application and is going to be important that the machine is sound and reliable, then be very careful what you buy.
Ask for a warranty - that normally sorts the situation.
We always give a warranty and will always look after our customers needs
Call 07904 471183 for good advice.
Latest sob stories
All this happened in one week.
The poor chap who saw a "New + Unused" screw compressor on ebay, the seller said it was absolutley new + unused and was still in manufacturers packaging. Was a few years old and had been in store from new.
So he pays the money up front to these people and awaits delivery.
It arrives and it is immediately obvious they must have sent him the wrong one - it is very definitely used and was new in 1999 and probably used every day since.
To make it worse it had 3 fairly serious faults and would cost a bomb to repair.
The seller didnt want to know and won't answer his emails.
He's lost over £2K and the machine is rubbish and he hasn't got a compressor that works.
What a rip off.
The next one is even worse - we heard of a chap who advertised on the internet for a small screw compressor in as new condition. He gets a call from a "Liquidator" who has a new unit still on the crate and the packaging was unopened. It was a machine from a reputable manufacturer and usually would cost around £6K - he could have if for £2.5K.
The money changes hands and it is delivered. As it is unloaded from the lorry all looks good - apparently - the pallet is clean and the packaging is original, clean and unopened.
The story as told to me goes as follows - he doesn't need to use this for a while so he decides to put it on a high rise racking safe and out of harms way. As it goes up on the forklift he can see underneath the pallet and can see a nice shiney receiver wrapped in plastic and complements himself on his clever purchase.
Time goes on and his plans for the compressor are held back a while and then put on the backburner for a few months. So the day comes that he needs it and it is carefully lifted down and they start to remove packaging.
To his dismay and horror he lifts of the cardboard top to find a brand new receiver and NOTHING ELSE on the pallet.
He contacts the "Liquidator" who tells him they accept no responsibility as all goods should be inspected when collected to ensure they are correct - what an expensive mistake that was.
So much rubbish
Just had a lazy Saturday morning browsing around the compressors on ebay. I have never seen so much rubbish for a long time.
The problem is that it's a great place to hide - so many people sell rubbish on there and then wont help - some are dubious at best and almost criminal at worst.
Of course the slump and everyones need for a bargain has not helped - we all want to buy at a better price and its a good opportunity for the dubious people out there to offload rubbish.
I see what perhaps you don't
Many of the compressors that turn up on the internet have been there before - often only a couple of weeks earlier.
As an example, if you type in Hydrovane on ebay there will be around 80 entries and of those about 40 compressors. Probably 10 of those have been on more than once in the last few months - some of them have been on several times.
The main reason for this is that people have bought them and for one reason or another need to put them back on. The main reason for this is that either they have bought the wrong thing or they have found out why the last person sold it - it's probably troublesome.
On average at any one time there will be many machines on the auction that you really should avoid - but you probably don't know that - so you buy it, find it's got problems and it's back on ebay to go again.
So why do people do this?
Basically because its easy to put a vague description about the item - claim you know little to nothing about them - say you believe it's good - but can't be sure.
At this we all think this could be the bargain you have been waiting for and this is your turn for a snip.
Judging by the amount of calls we get for help - I doubt it.
What happens then?
Well there are only a limited list of possibilities
Repair the compressor if you can and carry on - won't be as easy as that or why did the previous owner not do this.
Do the right thing and resell but with an honest description and informing next seller there is a problem - all may not be lost as many people will buy a machine with problems as long as they know about it first.
Finally you could just put it back on ebay and say nothing - after all that's how you bought it. Not nice though is it?
Well the circle starts all over again.
Someone else is disappointed and you still haven't got a compressor that works.
Give me a call on 07904 471183 or take a look at www.compressorman.co.uk and we will do our best to assist.
We also advertise on ebay and do not hide - all our adverts have our name and contact number in them
Who's hiding in the bushes?
There are so many compressor dealers and traders on ebay at the moment it's amazing. I think a lot of them are finding it hard in the real world and just having a look to see if there is any money to be made on ebay.
Personally I don't mind them giving it a bit of a try, but why hide behind silly names and pretend not to be a dealer. I wonder why the bigger boys would bother, the amount of new machines that they need to shift, I don't think ebay is their answer. Also, they don't seem to be offering any real bargains and have you noticed how they come and go.
Do you feel lucky?
On ebay at the moment is a real nightmare waiting for someone. A member has advertised a rather special Hydrovane which is so very mis-described it is almost criminal - although he hides under the " I haven't seen it running " cover.
This particular Hydrovane is described as 2 years old when it was built in 1998. It was a special build for the Royal Navy. It looks new and on some original packaging, but that's because the forces always keep the export packaging to return the equipment to central stores at the end of its life. This one is 9 years old, used and back in its original crate and for sale from someone who is not the Royal Navy - by now you should be getting a clue.
It is probably been run ragged aboard a ship 24/7 for almost 10 years and as it will probably not have been serviced as they should it will more than likely be dead.
But as if that's not enough for those of you who like a challenge - all Navy equipment for onboard use is 60HZ not the 50HZ we have in UK - so it will run on the wrong frequency and be about 400rpm slow and so not reach full power - unless you have a 60HZ generator as used on a ship. Also the Navy buy them without standard control gear and use there own. This machine has no control gear at all with it.
So you need a new motor (£2K) and a control panel at around another £2k just to find out that it probably doesn't work.
We have the UK version of this model NEW with 10 year warranty at less than £3K. Makes you think doesn't it ?????????
Call 07904 - 471183 and I will try to help you.
One day special
A rather nice looking little screw compressor was on ebay last week, very nice and clean but a bit too cheap - sold with no warranty " but a real nice machine ". Anyway, chap buys it, gets it home and it doesn't work. So he rings me to see if I can help.
He had no chance really, lives 200 miles from us and didn't want to spend any money as he had spent enough buying it.
Bet its back on ebay within the week - what a load of rubbish.
Another one to avoid
There has just been a very odd ball little screw on ebay this week and whoever gets that will have a nightmare. Made in Germany, not a name anyone will know, and it will be an absolute nightmare for parts. The seller says the only fault he can find is the pressure gauge doesn't work and so the optimists among you will think that's ok as any gauge will fit. Maybe, but as a man who mends them every day, I would start on a different tack - perhaps it doesn't make any air at all and that's why the gauge doesn't work. Now think on.
Why do people want to mend tired old things.
Chap rings me up with a 15 year old cheap and cheerful piston. The pump is dead and the motor is dead and he wants to know what we can do for him - sell him a new one - its cheaper than a pump and motor.
Big machines big money
To make matters worse, if you have a big old machine the costs will be even worse a 20 year old screw of say 25hp plus will be a nightmare if it goes wrong. Probably cheaper to throw it away. We throw about 20 machines away a year as they are not worth mending - ok if they worked, but scrap if they don't. Sad but true, it's just the economics of it all.
Save time and money
We have plenty of machines on ebay at the moment, some are at clearance price and cannot be repeated again. Take a look, we have some real snips and every one has been serviced by us.
Time to be realistic!
Almost every day we get calls from people who have spent a fortune on some piece of equipment or another that needs air to run it and then want to pay buttons for a cheap compressor. If you buy a new production line or the like for £60K, £70K, £80K +++ and then want to run it with a 15 years old compressor for £500 then you are doomed to failure big time. It beats me that anyone can be that optimistic and then panic when it all goes wrong.
We had a chap the other day who did just this and bought an old scrap compressor for £400 off Ebay and was surprised when it broke down after a days work. The cost of repair would have been about £3k and then there would be no promises of success. The machine new would have been about £20k and was basically scrap and certainly no good for the work he intended.
But the better part was a week later when he rings me to tell me he has seen another make of tired old compressor on Ebay for £400 and what do I think. Bless him.
The cost of spares
No one imagines that new compressors are cheap to buy, but it's the spare parts that make the manufacturers the real money. In reality all compressor spares are expensive and the larger the machine the more expensive it gets.
To give you an idea, on a sizeable old compressor of say 50HP the spares just for service would make you cry. You won't get any change out of £500 for a simple service - as long as there is nothing wrong with it. A major service can easily be £1500 - £2000 without any trouble. So that's £2500 a year with a max of 4000hrs run.
If the machine is 20 years old and has not been maintained to the letter, then you could get massive - and I mean massive - repair bills.
A new oil cooler radiator will be £2.5K plus and no chance of used one. A motor rewind and bearings will make a mess of £2K. An airend rebuild will be £2-3k. If the control board goes that will be another £2K - but you wont get one for a machine over 10 years old and on it goes - all on an old machine you paid £500 for.
But if the machine has come from a major PLC and has been serviced to the letter, then it may be ok. But machines that have an impeccable service history fetch very serious money and will rarely turn up on ebay or the like and if they do they will be serious money.
More on the cost of ownership
Air is free, but compressed air is not, its very expensive. If you buy a new compressor the cost of purchase is only a small % of true costs. The real expense is electricity and the servicing and repairs. The more you use it the more it costs. If you run 1 shift its expensive, 2 shifts very expensive and 3 shifts will be megga expensive. A 100hp machine will be as expensive as a lorry to run and that's 1 shift only.
Whilst on the comparison to lorries, how many 20 year old lorries do you see on the motorway doing a days work - answer none - they are too old and too expensive to run, that's why they are all new. Its the same with compressors. So if you want to run old machines make sure you are prepared to pay for repairs on a regular basis.
Big machines - Big expense.
When you get to more sizeable machines of 100hp plus, then you will be amazed what it costs. 200ltrs of oil every change at £60 for 5 ltrs , for the best oil - 3 hours labour just to get the old oil out and the new in. Oil filter at £80, Air filter at £100+ - you work it out - expensive or what - and that's a lube service only.
So you decide to use a cheaper oil from your local supplier and all is at risk and will almost certainly end in tears - then you need a new air end £ Many KK.
Of course if you think that's expensive try a 400hp machine - the cost is mind boggling to a small concern. The big PLCs and manufacturers who buy them are used to it and accept it as a production cost.
You could of course hire one instead and avoid the expense - but that will be around £4K a month or more for a 400hp machine.
More on oil.
When you have a small 11Kw machine its not the end of the world, most only hold 5ltrs and even at top price its not too bad and so its not a problem.
But on bigger machines oil analysis is essential to ensure that all is well - this costs real money but will save you lots in the future. The main reason is that there can be metal filings in the oil from the screw end or gearbox and this will blow up the airend in double quick time.
Also you don't want to be over-changing the oil because of cost, but if it gets contaminated it will be as bad as grinding paste.
Also at the first sign of any metal contamination it must be investigated straight away.
Exchange Airends for Screw Compressors.
This is one of my favourite topics. By the time most people think its time for an exchange unit - its too late by miles.
If your airend is noisy, seized or damaged then it is scrap - repeat, scrap.
The object of an exchange unit is to ensure that it stays 100% efficient and so they should be changed on an hours run basis. The time to change it is when it still runs perfectly, but has reached the allotted run time.
It is a reasonably easy job to overhaul an airend but almost impossible to repair one.
The run time is usually between 20K hours for a small unit to 45K hours for a large unit.
Many companies get rid of the machine at this time and so you need to be very very careful with used screw compressors.
Why are screw compressors so much trouble?
The first thing that people don't realise is how stressed a screw machine is and that's from new.
The airend on most machines rotates at 5000rpm plus and many at up to 9000rpm to get the performance that you require. So they are wearing out from the first time you switch them on.
That's why proper maintenance is absolutely vital if you want it to go the distance.
A week of tired old machines.
At the moment ebay is full of tired old machines. Some weird and wonderful makes that you will never get spares for - that's probably why they are for sale. Its never advisable to buy anything out of the mainstream of makes unless you are sure that you can get spares. If it has an electrical problem especially on the controller or circuit board it will probably be scrap.
Lots of small Hydrovanes on there as always, the same people bidding but not getting them and then the same machines turning up for sale again. I cant believe that people will pay £500+ for a 20 years old machine that's been to the moon and back and didn't cost £500 when new.
A couple of big old screws on there at the moment that look suspiciously redundant - if they don't run properly they will be a very expensive bargain for poor soul.
Is this the best there was.
Had a request for spares for a big old piston compressor the other day. Apparently the electric box didn't work - what a surprise. A new box would be cost prohibitive if one was available and no doubt he will put it back on ebay in the next few days.
A good old machine that can be seen running is often worth a try, but if you cant see it running then I would leave it alone.
Was that a bargain or what - perhaps not.
A chap rings me and says he has been ringing around the dealers looking for parts and finally its my turn. He bought an Atlas screw on ebay at a very cheap price and when he got it home he found out why. The airend was seized and so his dreams were shattered.
A service exchange airend from the manufacturer was £3K and the chance of good used one is very slim indeed.
In a case like this its best to cut your losses and start again - I bet its back on ebay in a day or two - watch out for it.
Oh and if you are daft enough to buy it, we can't help with a cheap airend - sorry.
A big old beast.
We got an email from a big company in Portsmouth about a compressor they had just bought from an auction on the local industrial estate. They needed it for backup use only and hoped they might never need to use it.
Probably just as well as it was a 1970s model screw compressor and had definitely seen much better days. But after a good check over and a lube service we decided to give it a go and they were more than lucky in that it made air. This one needs a bit of work but will do what they want on a very occasional basis and I am pleased they have had a bit of good luck.
Better than gold bars.
I can't believe the amount of small Hydrovanes on ebay every week. 5s and 15s are there in abundance. The prices are through the roof. Its not unusual for a 20 years old one to go for £500, that's about what it cost new in the 80s
A bus load of optimists - Meet Compressorman - Realist
Perhaps its my age or just the 35 years I have spent mending compressors of just about every make. I have worked all over the World on probably thousands of machines and by now have probably seen most of what there is to see.
In this time I have learnt a lot about machines and their owners and am never surprised by what can go wrong. Machines may be mans servant - but they don't do it without a struggle - give a machine any excuse or slight chance and it will take advantage of the situation and play up.
Of course nice new machines of a good quality that are looked after by factory trained engineers will give good service. But 20 year old compressors with a chequered history will be hell to own. Lesser makes are worse than this even from new - why do you think there are so many newish cheap and nasty machines for sale on ebay.
A good quality industrial screw or vane will have a life of 20+ years if looked after properly - even in the front line.
True, people upgrade and change but the good used units are nearly always taken back by the supplying dealer - we buy back 100% of our old machines. So when you see someone with a 5 year old screw from "Chung fung ho" or some such make, saying it's surplus because they have upgraded - use your brain and think about it. If they don't want it, neither do you.
There is no place in the compressed air world for optimists, they always end up in the corner crying. Be a realist and buy a new or quality used machine of a proper make and things will be ok.
Try a top brand like COMPAIR or HYDROVANE - 10 year warranty on new machines at no extra cost. Its a win win situation for you - Call 07904 - 471183 for more details.
Another snip on ebay for you lovers of troublesome compressors.
Someone has an old screw with an "Upgraded pump" and "Upgraded Motor"
That translates to had a pump blow up and at motor failure at some time.
I would fancy this like a boil on my nose the day of your sisters wedding - what a nightmare.
I wonder why they don't want it anymore ??
I cant believe it.
Some chap had a very old Hydrovane 42 perched on a tank that was older than Gods dog. Finished in a lovely shade of yellow it looks like a bee on a log..
Oil all over the tank and on the floor - even a rag thrown over the oil puddle for good measure. But still people bid and previously it got up to almost £500 but is now back on ebay again.
An oil leak in the middle of such a machine is real bad news. The cooler pack will need rebuilding and has 62 seals in it and each one has a life's mission to try and leak - even the slightest micro leak at over 100psi will soon become a river. Or it could be the centre seals, not the end of the world, you car mechanics out there could all do that job - providing you don't break the impeller getting it off. Impellers for 43s are like hens teeth and the chance of getting another one is less than slim. In short this is one best left for the scrapman. Even we don't want it for spares !!
Tired old screw compressor.
The same seller as below has an old tired screw compressor on ebay, it didn't sell first time around and is back on at a lower price. The machine is sold as not tested - that's trade talk for "doesn't work".
The model itself was very troublesome in its day and you can bet this one hasn't improved with age.
Spares will be non existent and service parts dried up years ago.
A 30 year old machine only fit for the skip.
Old friends back again.
Just on ebay and looking for another mug. About 2 months ago a chap in Scotland had an old Hydrovane 128 which had been plonked on an old horizontal tank and had a starter problem. Sold for £120 to a bit of a dealer in the south.
It has just turned up again on ebay, still same old ugly machine and still with the same electric fault, but this time its £400 - Better than money in the building society.
An old machine like that will be very troublesome and electric faults were very common with them. There are no new spares for this model and it will be expensive to sort the electrics - start at £500 and keep counting - I bet it will cost around the very late hundreds to sort out, and then what.
What a load of tat, anyway be careful what you buy.
Someone bought that old machine above and paid £420 - lets hope he understands compressor electrics.
What a waste of time and money.
You needs lots of faith.
A fairly decent sized company in the south bought a 1967 compressor from a farmer on ebay and then decided to put it to work making air for their factory of 35 people.
To be kind to the machine it ran for a week or so and then stopped with a bang. A contactor in the starter box had jammed in and burnt the motor out.
They had a local compressor company in who wanted around £1500 to sort it out.
I bet its back on ebay in a few days.
Why are clever people so silly.
We had a call a couple of weeks ago from a Company Director of a reasonable sized company who had just bought a new laser cutter and now needed a compressor. Having just spent over £65K he wanted to spend little or nothing on the compressor. Anyway we told how much it would cost to buy a new one from us. He then went out and bought an old heap for about a third of the price.
Anyway the machine had more problems than Gazza and he then decided to come back to me for advice, cheek or what. I don't know what happened to it in the end but I bet its not running.
Another hopeful situation that ended in tears.
Our phone is red hot.
This week we have had numerous calls for help from people who need help to sort out their auction bargains. There are one or two good ones out there, but probably no more and they will not be the cheap ones. Be sensible.
Slight oil leak on this one.
Chap buys a Hydrovane 43 with a small oil leak between the motor and compressor end.
This is the most common and expensive place to have an oil leak on a Hydrovane.
Theory says you take the pump off the motor and replace the oil seal - dream on my friends.
On this model there is a set of 3 oil seals on the output shaft and around 60 - yes 60 seals on the cooler pack. It is a difficult job to strip down and very awkward, you will need some special tools and the parts are unlikely to want to come a part easily, having been in place for at least 20 years or so.
The parts to replace will cost you around £150 and if you break the impeller the machine will be scrap. The impellers are very very fragile and are no longer available new, used ones are very prized and £300 would be what you can expect to pay for a used one.
So all in all a used and tired model at say £5-700 may not be such a bargain.
Any signs of an oil leak and leave it alone.
New versus Rebuilt.
If you consider the machine above at say £600, running, making air, no service history, needing a major service and separator service - complete with expensive oil leak. It soon becomes obvious that you are going to be in trouble.
How long you will get out of a machine like this is a lottery ( how many times have you won more than a tenner on the lottery). If you genuinely have a very low usage you may be lucky. But you probably want more from it than that - in fact nearly everyone will want more than that.
If you are hoping to run your bodyshop or a line of auto machines from it, then you are going to be in big trouble - and soon.
A rebuilt unit is the answer if you cant have new - new is the answer, but a rebuild is the next best.
Our rebuilds are fully stripped and then rebuilt to as near new spec as possible. They will give many years of service and do not leak oil.
Of course you have to pay more than an old tired, leaking example, but its well worth it.
Consider used at £600, rebuilt unit at £1400, new unit at £2995.
A rebuilt unit starts to become very attractive - ring 07904 - 471183 for details.
Only a slight motor fault.
That's what the seller told some poor unsuspecting buyer, well it might have been the truth, but it wasn't the case.
"Atlas Copco screw 15hp with slight motor fault" that's how the chap bought it. He rings main agent for cost of new motor and then rings me.
"Do you know how much a motor is for a GX15FF" was the question.
"Yes but do you" was my reply.
The local Atlas dealer quoted him £1800 and so he took it to a local rewinders who said it was burnt out and it would be £1200 for a rewind and bearings.
Not a cheap machine, but that's not all.
Who said everything else would be perfect after doing the motor - I bet its back on ebay in a few days - watch out.
Only a bargain for someone.
On ebay at the moment is a very tired and sad looking 75hp screw compressor, it only needs attention to the air end. That translates to its scrap. however if you had one of these and wanted this for spares - what a bargain and worth many times the opening bid of £100. The cooler, rad and motor are worth a mint to the right man.
BUT do not be fooled. There will be people out there who will think that maybe it just wants a new gasket or a small cheap part. it would be easier and cheaper to fly to the moon than to get this back into working order
A rebuilt air end - if available would be around £5k. a used one £2k and probably worn out as well. Spares to repair it - forget it. Spares for air ends almost do not exist and are so expensive you would die - Try £1.5K for a bearing set, these are not the same as in a car wheel, but aviation quality capable of 40K rpm.
I have 35 years in the trade and would never recommend a machine like this unless for spares and then its a bargain.
A man who knows what he wants.
We sold a nice used Compair Screw to a small company in Dunstable last week. The man knew what he wanted, was prepared to pay a fair price and it is all installed and running nicely for him. He listened to our advice, considered it and went for it . Well done that man. Another happy customer.
No bargains on ebay at the moment
Just the same old tired machines doing the rounds and the same old "pirate dealers" hiding behind silly names, trying to fool people. Business must be very lean for some of them if that's what they need to do to make a living,
There is no problem buying from traders, but what you don't want is dealers pretending to be joe public - we have always made very clear who and what we are. A bit of honesty and straight talking is what's needed.
Having said all of that
I always find it quite annoying when bidders are not as straight as they should be. We can usually tell who wants to buy and who is just wasting our time. We often get people who just want to pick our brains big time and have no intention of buying at all, they want specific and often quite detailed information and other dealers would refuse to help them. We don't mind helping people with technical info, but don't take us for idiots - it helps if you buy things from us now and again.
Horses for courses etc.
On that note we regularly get people get people enquiring after our new machines and asking all the right questions - they then go away and buy a 20 year old specimen off an auction and then wonder why the are in trouble. You wouldn't buy a 20 year old van for your same day courier business - its too old - well its the same with compressors.
Another glut of faulty parts on auction sites.
We are all but worn out with calls from people who have bought cheap and nasty service kits and then have machines which don't work. These kits are made in China or worse and are nowhere near the spec of the genuine item. Would you believe that we get people who read this, still go elsewhere and buy the kits and then ring us up with their troubles.
Couldn't be worse
Only today a chap rings us up to say that he bought a cheap service kit, fitted it and now the machine does very strange things, but doesn't make air. He is 200 miles away and wants to know "our very best price" to go out and sort it all out. If he wanted to save money he should have been more careful in the beginning. Watch out for a screw compressor "needing a service - or slight attention" it will be on ebay soon enough. Should you be silly enough to buy it then please don't ring us.
A very expensive mistake
Last week we had a call from a local company who had just bought a 75hp screw compressor at auction. It was very brave of them and as it turned out somewhat foolish.
This machine was a quality make and only 7 years old and would have been a good buy - except it had been 1 of 3 and this was a slave machine which can not run on its own, It has vital equipment missing and is going to be rather costly to sort out and not that east to sort out either.
Glad to be back
Were glad to be back, we have been so busy that there has been little time to catch up.
But we have lots of stories to tell.
So many people in so much trouble
Our phones are red hot at the moment with people who can not head a warning and are tired old compressors on ebay and then repenting at leisure. People buying 20 year old screw compressors from farm yards and scrap yards should expect plenty of trouble and they usually get it.
Paint shop in trouble
A local paint shop bought an old HPC screw from a factory closing down thinking that they had gone up in the world. They ran it up and then found out why the other people didn't want it any more. It had a major oil leak from the screw shaft and the separator unit had collapsed and was passing oil down the line at a frightening rate.
Even we cant mend such machines unless you are prepared to spend a lot of money. Anyway they have sorted it out now - its back on ebay - oh no!!
Shares in an oil company
Had a call from a chap who had bought an old Hydrovane from ebay. The man who sold it said it was a good runner but used a bit of oil.
He was not exaggerating, it used loads of oil on a weekly basis. The new owner managed to get a bit of information from somewhere and decided the separator wanted changing. He rang us and asked for a price for the completed job, but decided to do it himself.
He bought some pattern Chinese ones again from ebay and guess what it didn't sort the problem - you need genuine parts only on these machines, nothing else will do. So he wasted his money and time and still has to get the job done properly.
It would have been much simpler to buy a machine that works and with a warranty.
Why pay too much
Sometimes people make me smile. People will pay £600++ for an old Hydrovane 5 on ebay and we have them brand new fro me at £995. I wouldn't buy a 20 years old machine which had been to the moon and back when the price of a new one is so near.
Another little gem
We have had 3 identical enquiries for an oil cooler for a Hydrovane on ebay. Presumably another machine with a small oil leak. The problem is that these coolers are now obsolete and the machine is scrap. Someone is going to waste a few hundred on this one. Another ebay special.
Just as predicted
Well just as I predicted - The dealer in Essex lost a little money on the deal, that's assuming he saw the deal through and the other dealer sold his to a friend in the trade as a favour. No one did any good out of it, especially you the buyers - there will be no more machines at those prices and all they did was get everyone excited - for nothing.
I have seen it all before - many times
Dealers having little price wars is very bad for both the trade and the buying public. Just before Christmas a small time dealer put a brand new screw compressor on ebay at a start price of £1 with no reserve and let it run. It sold at £1500 but he did not honour the deal as it would have cost him £4000 to buy it. He has not tried any special deals like this since.
Living in hope
Had a call this week from a chap who had paid £500 for a used Hydrovane 5 off ebay. He did not see it going when he bought it and when he tried it was disappointed with its performance.
The people he bought it off told him to go away - we could sell him a new one for £1195 and it would last for years - what a waste of £500.
Living in hope 2
Yet again I am amazed at the amount of people in business who pay a couple of hundred pounds for a compressor and then hope to run their business with it.
This often happens with people who have just spent plenty on something else in the factory and then have little or nothing left for the compressor.
I know and you know that a compressor for £200 - £300 will never do the job.
Get wise and buy a good one - Call 07904 - 471183 and I will see if we can help.
Only Fools and Horses
Lots of fun on ebay at the moment, we have sold a couple of new Hydrovanes on there lately and other people thought they would muscle in - silly people. So they put a similar machine on at under cost price and sat back proudly to see what would happen. At the moment it has attracted another dealer to drop his price below that and so a war has started. It will do no one any good, especially the bidders as no one is going to let a machine go under cost no matter what happens. Silly people, but his name says it all - take a look on ebay. Poor Rodders - what a plonker.
And it gets worse
The above mentioned advert tells you about the 10 year warranty on the Hydrovane, but it must be looked after by an "Approved Hydrovane Service Provider" or it is void. The person who placed the advert is not such a provider and so there will be nothing but trouble - We are approved by Hydrovane and are authorised to offer the 10 year warranty, thats why people deal with us in the first place.
Rodders sells a C+C Screw Compressor on ebay and has annoyed others with his selling methods. We have just had a call from a competitor of his who says that he is about to blow them out of the water in the next couple of months as he is opening a new branch within a couple of miles of Rodders. Sound like it's " Watch this space".
In the mean time we have just sold another New Hydrovane at a sensible price and with an official 10 year warranty.
We have new Hydrovanes in stock with 10 year warranties - probably the best machines available.
Listen to some advice
One of the situations that turn up on a regular basis is someone who wants a compressor and fancies a screw machine but doesn't have enough money to buy a good one.
In this situation be in no doubt that you would be far better off with a new good quality piston than a 15/20yrs old screw machine of which there is no real service history or warranty.
£1000 will buy you a good quality NEW piston compressor but for that money you would get a very tired old screw machine and its not worth the risk - believe me I mend them all day for money and see some sad sights - so decide what you need and what you have to spend and buy accordingly - if you need advice call me.
Here's a good one.
A chap rings me who is interested in a small screw compressor, he has a garage business and is about 20 miles from us. We have a chat and he tells me that he is impressed by the website and my observations of the compressed air world in general and I am the sort of person that he would like to deal with. The machine is what he wants and the price is acceptable - he asks me to ring him back at the end of the day when he has had time to think it over.
So I ring him back at 1600hrs and he tells me that I have sold him on the idea of the machine so much that he bought a similar one from a competitor of mine - nice one.
We sold ours the next day to someone else and so we are happy - but I wonder about some people - I bet my competitor had an easy sale, thanks to me.
Perhaps I should charge for my thoughts.
Off the Menu
It looks like more people are taking my advice or perhaps just seeing sense and giving cheap piston compressors a miss. We don't sell masses of small pistons as the bulk of our business is with newer machines, but we have noticed an increase in the sale of our smaller machines - starting at £495 + Vat.
Moving up a league
I have just taken an order for a very nice ex demo screw compressor which we have in stock - its going off to a small bodyshop in Scotland.
They had recently bought a new but cheap piston from a tool shop and it did nothing but let them down - and so it was time to move up a leauge and by a proper compressor.
Our machine was at a very good price as it had just come in and we were feeling generous. The mans troubles are now over and we have a new customer.
Cheap is just that - Cheap
We are getting lots of calls from people who have bought cheap piston compressors off ebay and had a bad time. I know more about piston compressors after 30+ years in the trade than most people. The cheapest 3hp piston compressor that we sell is £500 - anything less than that and you are buying trouble. We also sell top of the range 3hp machines at £1500 and so what are you expecting for a couple of hundred - it certainly wont be the same thing that's for sure.
Why do people go so wrong
I believe that one of the fundamental mistakes that people make is that they buy from the wrong people and even worse they take advice from them.
Compressors are a very specialised product and can not be sold alongside torches, battery drills, spirit levels, outdoor clothing etc.
Also to make matters worse most of these traders buy their goods from China and in their catalogues are cheap and cheerful compressors - which they buy and sell on to you.
My advice is to buy from a proper compressor engineer - there are plenty of them about.
If you want some advice from a compressor engineer with 30+ years of experience - call me on 07904 - 471183.
What a disaster waiting to be bought.
A chap rings us last week with a Hydrovane 15 which he has had problems with the sump nut - he had over tightened it and stripped the thread.
But worse was to come - he had carried on and tried to use it as it was - the nut worked loose when the machine got hot and then fell out - all the oil fell out also and the machine seized up - what could we do about it - nothing except sell him another machine.
He wasn't too bothered and said he would put it on ebay - oh dear me.
Anyway it turns up on ebay the next day and was described as needing attention to sump nut - no mention of anything else - 30 bids latter someone paid £300+ for it - wont he be pleased when he gets it home.
What beats me is how people can be so stupid.
Where Angels fear to tread.
We see that someone on ebay has a few older machines that he is wanting to shift - he has stated on each ad that the machine would need attention and want some attention before it could be put back into service - no problems so far.
But - we have had calls from people asking us if we can help them - big problem.
If you take a 20 year old machine with faults and then take it to a compressor engineers to be sorted out, it will probably all end in tears - the cost of a repair will no doubt exceed the value of the compressor - why not buy one that's running properly.
More on above
When we studied who were buying the machines we were not surprised to see that compressor engineers were buying them - after all they know how to mend them.
Do not buy machines with faults unless you are confident in what you are doing.
A machine with damaged, broken or missing parts is never cheap - believe me, I know all about it as I mend them every day of the week.
There's a comfort in familiarity
I work on hundreds of machines every year, lots of them are other peoples problems that I end up with and its so much easier if its one we have all the bits for and are familiar with.
Hydrovane, Atlas, Rand all the proper makes are great to work on but there are some rubbish makes of machines out there and they are often beyond repair after a few years.
Its not that I cant mend them its that people cant afford the parts or they are not available. A used screw compressor can be a very expensive problem just waiting to happen and I mean expensive.
Information for some makes is almost impossible to get and to get technical assistance - well forget it.
But people still think that they know better - happy days.
Good luck with that one.
Someone has a small screw compressor on ebay that has been damaged in a fire, they have had a new one and want to get rid of this one - they have been quite open and honest about the problem and have offered it for sale.
The point is that the chance of getting the machine going again if it has fire damage is very slim and even if you did they were one of the worst machines I have ever worked on - even when new.
I cant imagine anyone in their right minds wanting to tackle that job - someone will and I bet they end up ringing me for help - Lord help us all.
They breed like rabbits
If it wasn't for Hydrovane 5s and 15s ebay would be a quieter place for sure.
When you search under Hydrovane they are nearly all 5s and 15s - all waiting a new home. But the problem is that the wrong people buy them almost every time - they always seem to attract the wrong attention.
They look a lot more powerful than they are and will not run multiple machine or complete factories - you will need something bigger.
Rough looking machines
A quick look at the compressors on ebay this morning shows some right rough looking kit. For people that don't understand what they are buying its a disaster waiting to happen.
Big old screw compressors for instance can be so much trouble and cost that you must be very sure what you are paying for. A 20 years old, 50hp screw is probably only good for spares if you already have an identical one, or if you are very lucky it might make a good backup machine. But if you think its going to run 10hours a day, 5 days a week and give nice clean air then you are in for a big shock. A machine like this would be about £25K new but only worth scrap weight if its old with lots of hours on the clock. Don't buy it and if you do don't ring me.
The good machines are never cheap.
Have you noticed that when a decent looking modern machine turns up on ebay the owner starts the bid at £2000 or whatever - reserve not met and generally states he paid about £8K or whatever when new. Most people have no idea of a new 11kw screw with dryer and tank - but that's why a real one is never cheap on ebay.
Expensive or what
A dozen people on ebay bid a small non running screw up to £300 - the people selling it quite openly state that it is a non runner and may be suitable for spares only - at least they were honest about things.
So someone buys it and asks us to take a look at it for them - simple so far.
Its a dirty and tired looking little thing and has had a few bodged electric repairs in the past. The electrics are now a mess and it will not be a cheap repair at all - in fact I wonder why anyone would buy a non running machine unless they know how to mend it.
My guess is that it will cost about £700 to mend it and then its still a dubious package.
So you think that's expensive
When we collected the machine on behalf of our customer we had a chat with the person who had sold it and he told me a remarkable tale.
Apparently, when it broke down they contacted a local compressor company who came out to look at it, failed to mend it and charged him £180, then a second company did the same and charged him £100. So that's £300 to tell him its no good.
Anyone who owns a machine like this and does not have a service contract with a reputable company is in for an expensive surprise when things go wrong.
10/12/05 There's not a lot wrong with it - honest
You work it out - A compressor engineer on ebay is selling a machine which has an oil leak and states that any competent compressor engineer can mend it in half a day.
I wonder why he doesn't want to mend it - I wonder - you think about it.
02/12/05 Buy cheap, buy twice
Just had a phone call from a chap who is starting his own business and needing compressed air, bought a cheap little piston off ebay to run a couple of automatic lathes.
3 days later and the piston has blown up and the panic sets in - I wonder what help he will get from his supplier - little to non is my guess.
To make matters worse he needs to run 24/7 - the words cheap, little piston and ebay just don't seem to sit well together in this case. In an ideal world I would suggest a brand new screw or vane compressor, but finances being tight then the next best thing is a new quality piston compressor to get him over his problems and then look at it all again in the future when funds allow.
I have left him to consider what to do, I probably didn't tell him what he wanted to hear, but at least we have given him sound and honest advice.
Update - He has now ordered a new machine from us and his troubles are over.
30/11/05 Do you ever wonder who you are dealing with
As I'm in the trade I know who's selling compressors on ebay, even if they are hiding under their weekend name and as I look at the history of what they are buying on ebay it makes you raise an eyebrow.
What about the hidden compressor dealer who has bought many thousands of pounds worth of antiques on ebay, or the one who buys expensive performance parts for a very expensive Italian sports car, or the one who has a liking for expensive gold jewellery - I wonder who pays for this - you probably.
As I write this I wonder if I have much to hide on my ebay account - take a look and see.
24/11/05 Yellow is the colour
There seems to be a lot of little yellow screws about at the moment - one on for the 5th time in a row and a new one to most of you ( But I remember it from a couple of months ago ) One definitely a tired old thing and the other - well who knows. Its like a merry go round on ebay - someone puts an old machine on and someone buys it, they find out what's wrong with it and off it goes again on ebay for you to buy.
18/11/05 Just like selling timeshare in Spain
Well some of the dealers are getting really silly on ebay at the moment. But every now and then we see one who forgot to take his tablets in the morning.
Several dealers have tried putting brand new screws and vanes on ebay at £0.99 start and not one has actually sold one at at profit although I know of two who caught a serious cold and one even worse. All of the situations ended in tears and no one got a deal.
Of course I blame the dealers and not the bidders - if you see a new machine at say £450 after 20 bids and 1hrs to go, don't get too excited. If the list is say £4000 and the dealer paid £3500 you may win the auction but he wont give you the machine - think about it.
Fat piggy little dealers all over the UK are trying to unload unwanted stock on ebay as they are having trouble selling it elsewhere. However they mess up elsewhere and mess up on ebay and leave a bad taste everywhere.
18/11/05 Have you seen the latest
So here we have a typical example of a deal that will go nowhere except at the proper price. A Hydrovane dealer has a HV01 on at £0.99 reserve not met and people are going to start bidding. At that rate you could get about 20 bids today and still end up at only about £300 bid. This wont buy the machine as they list at £1144 + Vat and sell to dealers for around £800 + Vat. So you work it out for yourself and lets sit back and see what happens.
The only way that this will sell is if a buyer who is about to pay list sees it and can get it for less and then there will be a sale - but for the couple of hundred hopefuls that think he will sell it at £350 there will be nothing but disappointment.
24/11/05 Update on above - 24hrs to go and its stuck at £400+ (Reserve not met) complete with a couple of hundred hopefuls as I predicted.
30/11/05 Update 2 - Machine was withdrawn and then put back on at a buy it now which is a more realistic £900 - did anyone think it was going to sell for £300 when the dealer had paid £800 for it - or more likely has yet to pay for it.
18/11/05 Where have they all gone
There have been so may dealers come and go on ebay - all after a quick sale and in a short time they have gone - leaving trouble behind them. We have been on ebay for about 3 years now and our ebay business is growing month on month, just going to show that if you offer a good sensible service people will always come back or recommend us to others.
15/11/05 The biggest 3hp compressor in the world
Well we saw it all last week - a chap on ebay had a 3hp - 80cfm compressor and people were bidding on it as well. You need 10 of these for 80cfm.
15/11/05 Compressor Mania
Well I just cant believe the prices that people will pay for rubbish on ebay and hope that it will run a factory. Some chap has just bid £900 for an old screw compressor that we sold a chap for spares only a couple of months ago for £100. He has obviously got it going and thought he could make money. Some one is going to be very unhappy when they try to use it properly.
15/11/05 Nothing but trouble
Another chap rings me last week about an old Screw Compressor he had just bough with no starter system on it. He rings a main dealer for a price and was convinced that he had been wrongly given a price for a new machine and not the spare part he wanted. What people don't realise is that spare parts are very expensive and if you need a main component for an old machine, then it may be cheaper to buy another machine - just like the chap you bought it off did.
15/10/05 Why so many of the same
It never ceases to amaze me the amount of small Hydrovane 5 / 501s on ebay and what people think they are going to do with them. The same 10 machines are doing the rounds and are all very well travelled - some have had 4 or 5 owners in the last year. People keep buying the wrong machines and then putting them back on ebay for others to do the same.
The 5 / 501 produces 4cfm, no more and often less - so if you have a garage or want to use sprayguns, air tools, shotblasters etc - then you need about 5 of these to do any good. They have there uses but not for any of the above applications - still you cant tell some people.
We have a Hydrovane 15 which has been upgraded and will run some air tools - ring for details 07904 - 471183 - on ebay now.
15/10/05 All the special offers have gone
I see the dealers who had fantastic offers on a certain make of screw compressor have gone to ground - was it too good to be true - or didn't it really exist - you decide.
08/10/05 It gets worse
A quick look around the offering on ebay this week and its full of scrap again. Many people ring me full of hope that they are about to make the purchase of the century from amongst this rubbish that people try to dump on ebay.
Take the man who rang to ask if I could install a 60hp screw he was thinking of buying on ebay - it was for sale from a machine scrap yard in the midlands. Why he would even want to consider such a purchase I will never know.
The machine is going to be around £800 and as soon as I saw the photo I could see the oil cooler radiator is missing and the area where it should be is empty - I pointed this out to him and asked him to get a price of a replacement radiator from the main dealer.
They are £3125 for a radiator and he is not so keen now - The machine was in the right place and lets hope that it stays there - that could have been a very costly mistake indeed.
08/10/05 And worse still
What about the man who sees a small screw on ebay at £600 and the description says that the current owner has never had it running but its looks ok apart from wanting a liitle tidy up.
This chap buys the machine, takes it home, wires it up, presses the green button - and nothing happens. Sends for electrician who says the control box is scrap and on further investigation the motor has burnt out.
It would be cheaper to buy the same machine new than to repair this one and so guess where its advertised for sale at the moment - that's right he put it back on ebay.
01/10/05 Auction Fever
20+ people have just bid on a Hydrovane 5 on ebay and it ended at £370. The machine was a bit aged , probably about mid 1980s - that's 20 years old. Assume it is all ok, but it will still need a service at least - ring your local Hydrovane distributor for a price - say £150 ( If you are lucky ). So we are now over £500 and you have to get it home by carrier yet. By the time its all over and done with you will be nearer £600 - did I tell you it didn't have a tank - how much do you think one of those will be ??? - more expense.
At this you think I am just enjoying watching others be silly - but the moral of the story is.
We sold a Brand New one last week on a tank for £745 - that was a real bargain. So before you launch off into a buying a compressor you should always check with us first.
30/09/05 Just as we expected
A good friend of ours needed to buy a reserve machine for his factory and as he loves buying things on the cheap decided to chance his arm on the auction sites.
He is well aware of my views but just couldn't help himself - he bought one for nothing and guess what - that's what he got - nothing but trouble.
The basic idea of what he wanted was fine, but the end result was a disaster really and if he wasn't a friend of ours he wouldn't be able to sort it at all.
So this is what happened, he now has a 40 years old Hydrovane on tank which when sorted will run very nicely but at the moment we have the following problems.
1) Almost no oil in it - lets hope it hasn't been run like that.
2) When we ran tried to run it up the control box doesn't work - well it is 40 years old. A new one wouldn't be available and if it was would be an unbelievable price - a replacement type is available at the electrical wholesalers at £ 367 - so that's a bad start.
3) We fitted our workshop starter unit before he buys one just to see if it will run, so that he doesn't waste his money - Yes it does run.
4) Doesn't sound bad, runs quite nicely - but massive oil leak from oil cooler - needs stripping and new seal set.
5) Upon inspection centre seal leaking badly as well.
To sort this lot out will cost a days labour, separator rebuild, cooler rebuild, full service and an electrical box. This job will cost mega and its touch and go if he has it done or puts it back on the auction for someone else to buy.
Of course had it not had these fairly terminal problems it would have been a bargain.
But it did and it wasn't - oh dear.
27/09/05 New Warranty on used machines - even on our auction machines
Machines on auction sites are always a gamble and to give you full confidence in our machines you will get the same warranty we give all our customers of refurbished compressors.
We have now introduced a new warranty system on our used machines which will appeal to buyers of our machines. Most sellers offer some sort of warranty but we have decided to go the whole way and offer the same as on a new machine - unheard of in the trade before.
Basically all our refurbished used machines will carry a 12 month parts and labour warranty on a return to base basis, or at extra cost we can change this to an on site agreement. The full details of this scheme are available from us but basically to qualify the machine must be serviced by us in accordance with our service schedule and it will be covered. The scheme is extendable on some models up to a 5 year scheme - subject to a service agreement with us.
This new scheme in addition to our keen prices will make this scheme very popular with buyers from home users to very large companies.
24/09/05 Here we go again
Well it looks like we are all in for a bit of fun again as we see the return of cheap and not so cheerful parts to the worlds favourite auction site.
Those of you who follow this column will have read about the pirates who sell cheap and nasty compressor spares on that site and the problems that were caused to many unsuspecting customers. Once the complaints started they were off like a rat up a drainpipe - well they are back, new name and under cover and no one knows who it is.
Well the cats out of the bag - Paul you really must stop ripping off people like this - the nets closing in and shame on you. Anyone needing proper help and advice ring me on 07904 - 471183 and I will see that you don't go wrong.
24/09/05 Lots of people looking for help again
Had so many people ringing this week wanting help or advice with compressors they want to or have bought from auction sites that we would be unable to help them all if we tried. There are so many part time traders on there that are giving misleading advice and so many customers who don't understand what they want or need that its a recipe for disaster. Obviously they need sensible advice and to realise what they need and what it is likely to cost them.
24/09/05 What a good run
September has been a very busy month for us on the auction sites and we have taken some very nice business and met some new customers along the way. Its all down to knowing what you are doing and offering a reliable and honest service so that people know they can put their trust in you. Buying a compressor isn't about price, its about getting the right machine from the right people and then looking at the price.
13/09/05 A disaster waiting to happen
Man rings me and says he wants to buy a new quality compressed air system - that's ok we sell Atlas Copco and they don't come better than that. Went out to see him and quoted him a good price. Turns out he doesn't want to spend the money for a quality machine and has been offered a real pup for half the price - but I bet it wont run his factory for a month before he has problems and no one will want to help him.
The bottom line with compressors is that you need to find a quality machine first and consider the price second - there is no such thing as a cheap compressor - only trouble.
After all I have 30 years experience of mending compressors and have probably seen about all there is to see. Those that listen never have any problems, but those that don't always come to grief.
13/09/05 What - no backup
I spend so much time telling people that you need a backup machine that I fail to understand why someone would not have one. Got a call this week from someone who's compressor had stopped, 5 men standing doing nothing and lots of lost production.
When this happens you go to your spare machine, press the start button and then ring me. So if you need air to run your factory and you cant do without it - ring me on 07904 -471183 and see what standby machines that I have available.
09/09/05 Nothing changes much
Still the same old faces with the same old machines on ebay. It amazes me what people put in the descriptions - one chap has described an old Hydrovane as being "about 10 years old" - well it was 20 years ago. Still if it only fetches a £100 no one will be hurt, but I have seen people bidding 500+ for such like and then find its a pup.
Another chap has a small Hydrovane 5 he uses for car spraying and air tools etc - well myself and about a 1000 others want to know the trick - you can blow down a straw faster than a 5 and you all know there is not much 240 volts that will do the job, but still people fall for it - 2 weeks latter and its back on ebay awaiting a new home.
There's the usual white elephant or two - RA40 screw or such like looking for a new corner to rest in whilst the new owner tries to sell it on again on ebay. Probably one of the worst machines that man designed and to be avoided like the plague. Its one of the few machines you can spend serious money on and the have it breakdown the next day - best left at the bottom of a flooded quarry.
Anything that looks like it might be ok is fetching silly money, especially when you consider its used with no history, no service record and you cant see it running. Keep my number handy whatever you do.
09/09/05 Its not all bad though
Now I've had a moan and got that off my chest, I must tell you that we have met a few new customers last month and they all bought new Screw Compressors from us. Its a joy to deal with people who go down the proper path, they never regret it - serious air needs a serious compressor. We also sold a couple of very nice refurbished units which are going off for private use - they will last a life time and be no trouble either.
But the amount of people who ring us who have just bought some pile of tat off the internet and want help is increasing all the time. Its difficult to burst someone's bubble and tell them that their bargain purchase wants skipping - some we mend, some are scrap, non are cheap.
09/09/05 So much to do
I'm not supposed to be back in until Monday, but we have such a heavy schedule at the moment I have come in early to see if I can ease things a little - to make things worse whilst we were away the mobile never stopped with new enquiries and work. Anyway don't worry if we are that busy we must be doing something right.
05/08/05 I feel sorry for the local scrap dealers this week
Well the scrap dealers must be having a bad time of it as most of the scrap air compressors seem to be on the auction sites this week. There are several on there that people are bidding on that will lead to tears - still I suppose we will get the usual calls for help - its an ill wind that blows no one any luck
05/08/05 Apparently I am spoiling the trade by being too cheap
Some of the dealers who trade on ebay are getting a bit miffed with Compressorman, apparently I am selling things to cheaply and they have been complaining. What a sad world it is when the big boys want to bully the smaller players like myself because we are spoiling their profit margins. Anyway what are they doing, they need to be out and about selling hard, not worrying about what I am doing. They have big overheads and lots of cars and vans to pay for, not to mention big salaries and flash premises. Its all down to mark up and profit. We buy low and sell low. Apparently I have it all wrong I should buy low and sell high - I don't think so. So in your thoughts today I ask you to remember the big dealers who need you to pay lots more money to them so that they can have a good time. Or of course you can join the smart set and call 07904 - 471183 for the best prices and deals available. Sorry big dealers I didn't mean it - not much.
05/08/05 No favours in the real world
So you want to know what started all the upset. We had a call from a company who have a service contract with one of the big boys but still give us the odd job and more than likely the new service contract that's due for renewal this month. They had a leaking valve on a basic water trap, the value of the trap would be about £50 tops and the valve maybe £5 if you had to put a price on it.
The new girl in the purchasing department rings up said large dealers and asks for a faxed quote and also rings us. Latter that day she gets two faxes one from us for the replacement of the valve, including labour it comes to £35 net. The Godfathers ( sorry - large dealers ) send a quote in for £181 made up of 2hrs traveling at £35ph, £42 Mileage, 1hrs labour at £45 and replacement parts at £31. Guess who got the job and that's why they threw their rattle out of the pram.
I didn't know they were taking such an interest in me, so what will they say when they find out about the 100hp compressor I fitted just around the corner from them only a few days ago. No doubt I will keep you posted.
18/07/05 What a load of rubbish - 2
Well this last week on the worlds favourite auction site has shown some very lack lustre offerings. Our friends in the trade keep plugging away and there are the usual few tired old machines turning up time after time, until some unsuspecting poor soul buys them and then wonders what he has done. We have had the usual 15+ calls for help and advice from people in this situation and were able to sort a few problem machines out in the process. We have had some good enquiries from our ads on there but am amazed that our New Atlas Copco Screw is still available - It probably looks too good to be true, but it is a 100% bargain never to be repeated at under £2K. In fact the more I think about it, I want one myself. If you want to speak to a sensible compressor engineer, call me on 07904 - 471183.
18/07/05 Seek advice - but make sure its good advice
30+ years of mending compressors and I have seen most things that there are to see, but I am always amazed at some of the poor and sometimes dangerous advice that people are given. Most people mending compressors ( I struggle to call them Compressor Engineers ) have a very limited or biased knowledge of the trade in general. Most compressor engineers claim to be conversant with all makes and models and this is a bit of a tall order. We claim to be experts substitute the word "all" with "most" in the above phrase.
Probably the worse advice comes from companies who are 'largish' and only sell one specific make (usually Chitalian or some such country of origin). They are geared up to that and make of machine and nothing else.
So when their phone rings and you want advice on a different machine AND you don't want to buy a new one of theirs, then it all goes down hill. If you want to speak to a sensible compressor engineer call me on 07904 - 471183.
15/07/05 What a load of rubbish
A chap rings me up this week having just paid very strong money for a screw compressor on your favourite auction site. It was the same tired old story along the same well trodden path to despair. He didn't see it going, bought it blind, got carried away and paid silly money for it. So he pays the man the money and when it arrives it looks rougher than he imagined it would be. Long story cut short, it didn't work. His local specialist in this brand came to look at it and said it was dead. The man asked me to have a look and I also confirmed it was dead - no one in there right mind would want to pay the repair bill on this one. So this chap is £1775 out of pocket + transport + the opinion of his original expert + me - sad day. No compressor and money spent.
Worse is to come, his parting words were that it was going back on - guess where - you guessed it. If you want to speak to a sensible compressor engineer call me on 07904 - 471183.
11/07/05 Its happened to me now
Well there I was eating my breakfast this morning and as I looked at my emails I was delighted to see that I had sold 2 Brand New Screw Compressors on Ebay, nice or what.
Anyway being the chairman of the "Grumpy old man" and "UK Independent Sceptics Party" (Only joking, I can't be that bad) I knew in my water that was too good to be true. I see machines all the time on Ebay but it would be rare to sell one of these without even someone asking so technical question beforehand, any way the idiot who pressed the buy it now button had only joined yesterday, no feedback and lived in Italy. So two spoilt auctions and a spoilt breakfast. But apart from that all's ok here. Machines back on ebay, I cant believe they haven't gone yet. I will probably sell them for more during the course of normal business. If you want to speak to a sensible compressor engineer call me on 07904 - 471183.
11/07/05 A lot of work for nothing
A "friend" in the trade rang me on Friday and said he had a bargain of a machine that just had to go asap or sooner as he had to move it and couldn't be bothered as he was off on holiday.
I knew a customer who wanted just this item and the price was very good - even with my £50 drink added on. Rang said customer told him price plus my drink - money wasn't a problem to him, but storage might be. You can guess what's coming can't you - Sunday afternoon he rings me and gives me the money for the job, Monday morning I call in the "friend" to pay - He sold them on Saturday and never said. So tonight I take the man his money back, he still hasn't got the machine he wants and will never see one at that price again. No drink for me either. Mind you he did offer to pay me for my trouble but we don't work like that, we don't want paying for what didn't happen - just call me old fashioned. If you want to speak to a sensible compressor engineer call me on 07904 - 471183.
Today's little gems
A quick look around this afternoon on the web found the following gems.
1) An old Hydrovane that doesn't need an oil change for another 5000hrs - on that model I would change it every 500 to a 1000hrs at most. If that's the state of its service life then I wouldn't want it.
2) Another old Hydrovane that looks like it came up from the Titanic and described in glowing terms as making strong air up to 50psi - I WONDER WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THAT THEN.
3) Someone advertising a small Hydrovane 5 as ideal for spraying and DA work - I don't think so - most people can blow down a straw faster than a 5 can.
At that I gave up because the people who buy them will need a clear line to me so that they can tell me their troubles and how they wish they had found me earlier and had one of our machines instead.
I cannot emphasize how careful you need to be when you read people's descriptions of these type of machines.
On a brighter note there was a really nice 5hp machine on this morning at a good 'buy it now' price, really clean and could be seen working - sold within a few hours to some lucky chap. Also a customer of ours put a spare machine on and it sold for a very fair price. The new owner will be very pleased with it. It's just a shame that many people are not so lucky.
Who's hiding behind that bush then
We a recent flick through the Hydrovanes for sale on a very popular auction site ExxY showed up 15 machines and 6 different dealers and only Compressorman openly stating who he was. So why were the rest hiding, they were dumping old machines that they couldn't sell to a proper customer and hiding behind a silly name - shame on them.
The last few disasters
Listed below are very brief details of the most recent calls for help we have received from people who bought bargains on an auction site, we have had some real nice work out of it too, but its a shame that people get so mislead, hopeful or just silly.
1) Ingersoll Rand ML11 Screw - Bought off an auction site, was described as good runner, but unable to show working because there was no 3 phase where it was in store. The man paid £745 for it and travelled a total of 300 miles+. Machine did not work - screw end was seized. An exchange air end from the manufacturer would be £2K. Machine is scrap - bin it.
2) Hydrovane 120 - Bought of auction site, man paid £450 - had separator fire, internals warped and melted - Machine scrap.
3) Hydrovane 15 - Bought off auction site, man paid £595, described a 240 volt single phase. Was 3 phase - New motor required - very expensive mistake.
4) Hydrovane 170 - Bought off auction site, man paid £605, Didn't run - seized - bin it.
5) Atlas Copco GA112 Screw Compressor - Bought off auction site. Described as with electrical problem possibly a fuse, man paid £495. Machine had major electrical breakdown after motor had seized and burnt out motor and starter system. Machine scrap - bin it.
The list is endless and quite depressing, some of them we can mend, but most are beyond economical repair - but of course the people selling it already knew that, didn't they.
So what's the answer?
Well its simple really - common sense. If you can't see it running don't buy it unless you get a money back warranty.
If it looks rough - then it is rough.
Be realistic, these type of machines are not cheap to mend, why take a silly risk.
Anyway, if you must buy rubbish don't bring it here, we are up to our knees in work and don't need added grief.
Our compressors on ebay and such like places are real nice ones and you can buy in confidence.
Have you seen the 2 brand new screw compressors we have on ebay at the cheapest price ever - be quick or they will be gone - almost secondhand prices and they are Brand New.
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