Over the weekend while wrenching on a couple projects my Craftsman air compressor took a dump on me. For a year or so now it hasn't been performing as well as it once had so I kind of expected it. I bought it new in late '99 so I got more than a decade out of it which ain't bad considering what I expect of my smallish compressor.
I was using my plasma cutter which requires quite a bit of air. The compressor just kept running the entire time (normally it shuts off when it catches up). It was also making quite a bit more noise than normal. Eventually the plasma cutter shut down because there was not enough air pressure. The compressor was stuck at 80 psi no matter how long I let it run. I figured it was due for a rebuild about a year ago. So I let it cool and pulled it apart to find the piston ring broke and got pulled to the other side of the piston. This caused the cylinder wall to abrade. The resulting blow-by made it really noisy. No biggie, there is a common rebuild kit available for about $40 so I ordered it. The rebuild kit fits many different compressors so if yours isn't pumping like it used to it may be time for a rebuild. I should be compressing air again in a few days.