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Converting a Sanden SD7V16 to an air compressor

arethirdytwo on Tue March 10, 2009 4:04 PM User is offline

Well this is a fun project I have been working on to convert my VW R32 a/c compressor (Sanden SD7V16) into an air compressor for my air ride system. I have spoken with Sanden and the CFM's etc are more than enough (actually much better than an electric unit). The step I am at right now if trying to deal with the aspect of oil. A coalescing filter will be used on the pressure side to remove oil from the system (obviously no good in the tanks/bags). I had planned to use a Wilkerson M16 with a float based auto drain. I would than run the drain to the intake side of the compressor returning most of the aerosolized oil.

Hang up number one... if I run the coalescing filter I will need to run a water separator first as I don't want water in the oil that is being returned and the coalescing filter will pull both.

Hang up number two... Anyone have any idea how much oil the system moves? Does most of it stay in the base and only a small amount move through the lines, or does it pump lots of oil. I need to get an idea of the oil, if it is a small amount then there are not many problems, however I can't have it processing all of the oil through the coalescing filter in say a few minutes.

If the system uses a small amount of oil I could also just deal with draining the coalescing filter occasionally and running an oiler on the intake side. As of right now I am still getting it all setup however I really hope to get this working as it would be a very nice OEM looking addition. Suggest away please!

Kyle Davidson

Edited: Tue March 10, 2009 at 4:05 PM by arethirdytwo

bohica2xo on Tue March 10, 2009 6:23 PM User is offline

Ummmm, yeah good luck with that.

Removing the A/C to adjust the ride height seems a bit extreme, even if you live north of the 100th meridian.

That compressor is a variable displacment design, and it will destroke to minimum if the inlet pressure falls to atmospheric as you intend to do. It does move a fair bit of oil, and due to the complexity of the variable displacment it will not run very long if oil starved. Dirt ingestion is also an issue, as well as corrosion - this unit was never designed to pump atmosphere.

If you really plan to do this, I would recomend carefully removing the compressor, and sealing the ports for storage. The system ports will need to be sealed as well, or this could be a very costly experiment. A vehicle that needs a TSR at resale time is a -$2,000 to -$3,000 from KBB.

There should be a Sanden/Seltec compressor with fixed displacment that will fit that mount. They still have high oil flows (ounces per minute), but will at least pump full volume. There is more than one company out there that has reworked the SD508 type compressors for air compressor use, you might consider contacting them for a compressor that will live more than a few minutes.

Or, you could simply put a 12v compressor someplace like every OEM has done for air suspension - and still have A/C.


"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest."
~ Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi, An Autobiography, M. K. Gandhi, page 446.

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