Question about Craftsman 3 gal. Air Compressor, 1.5 hp, Horizontal k

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Craftsman 3 gal air compressor - no air presssure

Will not build pressure above 20 psi. no leaks. oil is okay.

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Check the head gasket. Mine just did the same thing. Mine was blown between the two chambers on top. It's very thin right there. I went to the auto parts store and bought some gasket and made my own for about $6. It's up a working great...finally. BTW the gasket kit is on back order right now at Sear's parts website. It appears we aren't the only ones with the problem!

Posted on Jul 19, 2010

  • drasser Sep 28, 2010

    okay I have the same problem but air is shooting out of the oil tube vents. I took the head off but the two plates ( brass colored) that the reeds sit in are not coming off. I tapped them lightly with a rubber mallet but stoped there and thought i should ask. how do they come off? can I purchase just the rings or do i have to pay $34.00 for the whole kit?

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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1 Answer

I have a 3 gal craftsman air compressor. Compressor runs but will not build more than 20 psi in tank reserve. Whats wrong?


if shuts down at 20 psi regulator is set wrong
it runs but only builds 20 psi, compressor is probably worn out

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It sounds to me like the motor is shot, Bogging down at 20psi makes me suspect the brushes are gone. No good contact on the brushes or even just a bad connection of the power cord will cause it to heat up and lose power under load. Check for worn or lose power connection first, then see if the motor brushes are replaceable. The brushes would be under a screw type cap on the motor with a spring holding the actual brush in contact. You will have more than one so give it good look over.

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My compressor will not go over 20 psi i have a craftsman 921 4 gal 125 psi compressor and it will not build past 20 psi i do not know how to get to the pistons and stuff what do i do?


The problem with compressors not building pressure is usually a bad pressure switch or bad regulator. Does the motor shut off at 20psi or does it continue running and not build pressure? If the motor continues to run with no increase in pressure, the you should go over the machine looking for air leaks from your regulator back all the way to the motor. Any air leak while the compressor is running can cause the pressure to "peak" way before the intended shutoff that it is regulated to.

Mar 01, 2011 | Craftsman 3 gal. Air Compressor, 1.5 hp,...

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My Craftsman air compressor has wored fine till now. It does not want to build up pressure beyond 50 psi.yes I did check the drain valve and no leaks. Motor seems to be putting out the rpm's and the oil...


Check for a leak between you compressor head (pump) and your tank. Your pump output may be good but as your tank pressure gets higher the leak will not allow the tank to build up.

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I have a 5 gal, i hp craftsmen compressor, 3 years old, used once a year to blow down sprinkler system. Compressor ran up to 120 lbs upon turn on, would not cycle off. manually shut off unit and turned...


Oil free pumps do tend to blow the piston ring (not too expensive) available at searsparts.com. Remove covers to pump and manually turn crank until piston is at top and look at the condition of the cylinder neer top, If it looks scratched, order cylinder kit with piston ring. If it looks good and shiney, could be the valve plate in the head. There are reed valves that tend to break. Run pump however with covers removed and check with soapy water for air leaks and repair as needed (air leaks under the cover will prevent unit from filling). Good luck

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Psi does not go above 20


Check drain as it might not be closed all the way, you may have to set the regulator and there could be a bad switch diaphragm.....

Feb 04, 2010 | Craftsman 3 gal. Air Compressor, 1.5 hp,...

1 Answer

Craftsman 3 gal., 1.5 hp air compressor: won't auto shut off, builds only 40 lbs pressure, air leaks from the 2 holes in oil filler cap?


The compressor will not auto shut off until it reaches the preset pressure which is usually around 100-130 psi - your problem is leakage of air from the oil filler cap suggesting that you have a failed internal valve.

Sep 24, 2009 | Craftsman 3 gal. Air Compressor, 1.5 hp,...

1 Answer

Will not build up pressure


If this compressor is dry type with no oil needed, then it may have a worn cylinder and/or piston ring. With flashlight in hand, look under cylinder with piston in upper most position. If you see scratches most likely it needs cylinder / piston kit. Not to worry, not too expensive. If you compressor has a crankcase with oil, then you may have problems with valves in the head. Cracked or dirt under headvalves will prevent pressure from building. Finally there may be one or several leaks in the tubing, check leaks with soapy water. enjoy

Nov 27, 2008 | Craftsman 3 gal. Air Compressor, 1.5 hp,...

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