a 7 to 1 compression ratio with all combustion chambers the same volume, the compression pressure would be about 120 pounds in all cylinders. However, if one combustion chamber is 1/3 cubic inch too small, the pressure will be about 126 pounds, and if it is 1/3 cubic inch too large, the compression pressure would be about 114 pounds. This is a variation of 12 pounds. Also note that a carbon deposit will raise the compression pressure at any given ratio by reducing the combustion chamber volume - the greater the deposit, the higher the pressure.
To make a compression test, first, warm up the engine. Warming up will allow all the engine parts to expand to normal operating condition and will ensure a film of oil on the cylinder walls. Remember that the oil film on the walls of the cylinder helps the expanded piston rings to seal the compression within the cylinder. After the engine is warmed to operating temperature, shut it down and remove all the spark plugs. Removing all the plugs will make the engine easier to crank while you obtain compression readings at each cylinder. The throttle and choke should be in a wide-open position when compression readings are taken. Some compression gauges can be screwed into the spark plug hole. Most compression gauges, however, have a tapered rubber end plug and must be held securely in the spark plug opening until the highest reading of the gauge is reached.
Crank the engine with the starting motor until it makes at least four complete revolutions. Normal compression readings for gasoline engine cylinders are usually 100 psi or slightly higher. Compression testing is faster and safer when there are two mechanics assigned to the job. Remember that the compression test must be completed before the engine cools off.
Unless the compression readings are inter- preted correctly, it is useless to make the tests. Any low readings indicate a leakage past the valves, piston rings, or cylinder head gaskets. Before taking any corrective action, make another check to try to pinpoint the trouble. Pour approximately a tablespoon of heavy oil into the cylinder through the spark plug hole, and then retest the compression pressure. If the pressure increases to a more normal reading, it means the loss of compression is due to leakage past the piston rings. If adding oil does not help compression pressure, the chances are that the leakage is past the valves. Low compression between two adjacent cylinders indicates a leaking or a blown head gasket. If the compression pressure of a cylinder is low for the first few piston strokes and then increases to near normal, a sticking valve is indicated. Near normal compression readings on all cylinders indicate that the engine cylinders and valves are in fair condition. Indications of valve troubles by compression tests may be confirmed by taking vacuum gauge readings.
When an engine has an abnormal compression reading, it is likely that the cylinder head will have to be removed to repair the trouble. Nevertheless, the mechanics should test the vacuum of the engine with a gauge. The vacuum gauge provides a means of testing intake manifold vacuum, cranking vacuum, fuel pump vacuum, and booster pump vacuum. The vacuum gauge does NOT replace other test equipment, but rather supplements it and diagnoses engine trouble more conclusively.
Vacuum gauge readings are taken with the engine running and must be accurate to be of any value. Therefore, the connection between the gauge and intake manifold must be leakproof. Also, before the connection is made, see that the openings to the gauge and intake manifold are free from dirt or other restrictions.
When a test is made at an elevation of 1,000 feet or less, an engine in good condition, idling at a speed of about 550 rpm, should give a steady reading of from 17 to 22 inches on the vacuum gauge. The average reading will drop approximately 1 inch of vacuum per 1,000 feet at altitudes of 1,000 feet and higher above sea level.
When the throttle is opened and closed suddenly, the vacuum reading should first drop to about 2 inches with the throttle open, and then come back to a high of about 24 inches before settling back to a steady reading as the engine idles, as shown in figure 3-10. This is normal for an engine in good operating condition.
If the gauge reading drops to about 15 inches and remains there, it would indicate compression leaks between the cylinder walls and the piston rings or power loss caused by incorrect ignition timing, A vacuum gauge pointer indicating a steady 10, for example, usually means that the valve timing of the engine is incorrect. Below- normal readings that change slowly between two limits, such as 14 and 16 inches, could point to a number of troubles. Among them are improper carburetor idling adjustment, maladjusted orContinue Reading