Troubleshooting Checklist for Reciprocating Compressors

Trouble Check Points
Compressor will not start 1. Power Supply Failure
2. Problem in switchgear or MCC
3. Low oil pressure shutdown interlock is active
4. Control Panel problem

Motor will not synchronize 1. Low Voltage
2. Excessive Starting Torque
3. Incorrect Power Factor
4. Excitation Voltage failure

Low Oil Pressure 1. Oil Pump unable to start or trips when started
2. Oil foaming from counter-weights striking oil surface
3. Oil temperature low (cold oil)
4. Dirty or plugged oil filter
5. Interior frame oil leaks
6. Excessive leakage at bearing shim tabs and/or bearings
7. Low oil pressure switch calibration disturbed or improperly set
8. Low setting of oil gear pump bypass control or relief valve
9. Defective relief valve (stuck-open)
10. Local Oil pressure gauge is defective

Noise in Cylinder 1. Loose Piston
2. Piston hitting outer head or frame end of cylinder
3. Loose crosshead lock-nit
4. Broken or leaking valves(s)
5. Worn or broken piston rings or expanders
6. Valve improperly seated / damaged seat gasket
7. Free air unloader plunger chattering

Excessive Packing Leakage 1. Worn Packing Rings
2. Improper lube oil and/or insufficient lube rate (blue rings).
3. Dirt in packing.
4. Excessive rate of pressure increase.
5. Packing rings assembled incorrectly.
6. Improper ring side- or end-gap clearance.
7. Plugged packing vent system.
8. Scored piston rod.
9. Excessive piston rod run-out.

Packing Over-Heating 1. Lubrication failure.
2. Improper lube oil and/or insufficient lube rate.
3. Insufficient cooling.

Excessive Carbon on Valves 1. Excessive lube oil.

Loose crosshead pin. 2. 5. Obstruction (foreign material. 4. 5. Excessive compression ratio on cylinder due to leaking inlet valves or rings on next higher stage. Relief Valve Popping 1. 2. Leaking suction valves or rings on next higher stage. Improper lube oil and/or lube rate. Faulty seal installation. 2. Crankshaft Oil Seal Leaks 1. Improper lube oil (too light. 4. Prepared by: Ankur Srivastava Chemical Engineer ankur_2061@hotmail. Cold oil. Worn/scored rod. Loose/worn main. 4. 3. Piston Rod Oil Scraper Leaks 1. rags). Excessive temperature due to high pressure ratio across cylinders. Faulty relief valve. Knock is actually from cylinder end. 3. 3. blind or valve closed in discharge line. Fouled intercooler / piping. 2. Scrapers incorrectly assembled. pin caps or crosshead . 6. High Discharge Temperature 1. Low oil pressure. Leaking discharge valves or piston rings. 3. Incorrect oil. 2. 5. 6. 3. Frame Knocks 1. Worn scraper rings. Broken or leaking valves causing high temperature. Fouled water jackets on cylinder. High inlet temperature. 4. Improper fit of rings to rod/side clearance. high carbon residue). 2. crankpin or crosshead bearings. Clogged drain hole. Oil carryover from inlet system or previous stage.

8. Change in system resistance due to obstruction in the discharge piping or improper valve position. Poor conditions of lube oil or dirt or gummy deposits in Note: bearings. 5. 6. Operation at a low speed without the auxiliary oil pump running (if main oil pump is shaft-driven). 3. 2. never be permitted to 5. 8. Excessive system demand from compressor. Excessive compressor inlet temperature. Piping strain. Leak in discharge piping.Troubleshooting Checklist for Centrifugal Compressors Trouble Check Points Low Discharge Pressure 1. . Leaks in the oil system. 3. Low inlet pressure. 4. 3. 4. Inadequate cooling water flow lube oil cooler. Rough journal surface. Vibration may be 3. 5. Inadequate or restricted flow of lube oil to bearings. 2. Clogged oil strainers or filters. 2. High Bearing Oil Temperature 1. Inadequate flow through the compressor. 2. Failure of both main and auxiliary oil pumps. Piping strain. Oil pump suction plugged. Shaft Misalignment 1. Loose or broken foundation bolts. compressor or driver. 5. leaving bearings should 4. Low level in oil reservoir. Warped bedplate. Lube oil temperature 3. 9. Note: 2. 7. Water in lube oil. 4. Fouled lube oil cooler. 11. 2. Compressor not up to speed. Excessive Vibration 1. 7. 9. Compressor Surge 1. 6. exceed 82°C. 3. Bearing lube oil orifices missing or plugged. Warped foundation. Incorrect pressure control valve setting or operation. Excessive vibration. Defective grouting. Wiped bearing. Low Lube Oil Pressure 1. 10. High oil viscosity. Relief valve improperly set or stuck open. Deposit buildup on rotor or diffusers restricting gas flow. Improperly assembled parts. Leak in oil pump suction piping. Loose or broken bolting. Faulty lube oil pressure gauge or switch.

Dry coupling (if continuously lubricated type is used). 11. To 5. 15. 12. 16. Water in Lube Oil 1. This 8. coupled machine. should help to indicate 9. whether driver or driven 10. Loose wheel(s) (rare case). Excessive vibration of adjacent machinery (sympathetic vibration). 14.transmitted from the 4. vibration. 6. Worn or damaged coupling. Excessive bearing clearance. Operating in surge region. Uneven build-up of deposits on rotor wheels. Leak in lube oil cooler tubes or tube-sheet. . Damaged rotor or bent shaft. Liquid “slugs” striking wheels. causing machine is causing unbalance. disconnect coupling and 7. Condensation in oil reservoir. 13. Unbalanced rotor or warped shaft due to severe rubbing. Shaft misalignment. 2. localize vibration. Warped shaft caused by uneven heating or cooling. operate driver alone. Operating at or near critical speed.