TEST 2: Wet Compression Test
What causes one (or more cylinders) to have low compression? It's usually due to one of two things: Worn/damaged cylinder head valves or worn/damaged piston compression rings.
You and I can find out which of the two it is without having to tear into the engine by doing a ‘Wet’ compression test.
At the bottom, I'll show you how to interpret your test results.
OK, this is what you'll need to do:
Add a tablespoon of engine oil in the cylinder you need to retest. I suggest using a small and long funnel so that the oil will reach the inside of the cylinder.
Once you've added the oil, install the compression gauge, and as before just hand tighten it.
Now, have your helper crank the engine till the needle stops climbing on the compression gauge.
As before, your job is to keep an eye on the gauge, and you'll see one of two results:
1.) The needle will climb higher than the previous compression number you recorded for this specific cylinder.
2.) The needle will not move at all or stay at the same number you recorded earlier.
What ever value your compression tester reads, write it down again.
If you have another cylinder that needs to be tested, repeat steps 1 thru' 4 on it now.
Let's take a look at what your compression test results mean:
CASE 1: Your compression value shot up. This compression test result confirms that the low compression value registered in this cylinder in the dry test is due to worn piston rings.
CASE 2: Your compression value DID NOT shoot up (stayed the same). This result tells you that the low compression value registered in this cylinder (in the dry test) is due to worn/damaged cylinder head valves.
Which Compression Tester Should I Buy?
There are lot of engine compression testers to choose from and many places to buy them. I'm gonna' make two recommendations to you:
1) Which one to buy: The engine compression tester that I have always used is the Actron CP7827 Compression Tester Kit. My only complaint about this engine compression tester is that it does not come with a case to store it in.
Engine Compression Gauge Testers
2) Where to buy: You can buy an engine compression tester in any auto parts store in any neighborhood, in any city, but you'll be paying at least twice as much. Go to the above compression tester links, browse and compare, you'll see a big price difference!
If this info really saved the day, buy me a beer!