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I think this has been posted before, but oh well. It's quite simple and there are a few ways to do it that might differ a bit from what i describe. So your best option would be to get a Haynes, or some kind of name brand repair manual, that will have step by step instructions.

First of all you need the "compression tester" tool, that you can find at any auto parts stores for around $30. Don't pay more for the most expensive ones, its not necessary. Then you need to find out the factory compression specs for your paticular motor, optimal (standard) and the minimum allowed before rebuild. Lastly your motor needs to be at operating temperature and have a good battery as you will be cranking the motor a bit.

Basically what a compression check will tell you is what mechanical condition the upper end, ie pistions rings, valves, head gaskets are in. More specifically if there is leakage from the piston rings, defective valves and seats or a blown head gasket.

1. Begin by cleaning up a bit around your spark plugs to prevent crap from falling down into your cylinders when you take the plugs out. Dirt getting into your motor is not a good thing.

2. Many manuals will tell you to take out all your spark plugs all at once but I believe this is unnecessary and increases your chances of mismatching your plugs when you're finished. But what ever you wanna do or find easier.

3. Block the throttle wide open, which i didnt do just floor the gas pedal when cranking.

4. Disable the fuel system by removing the fuel pump fuse, and disable the ignition system by detaching the primary low voltage wires from the ignition coil. Or like me and just disconnect the coil spark wire from the coil, your call on this one.

5. Install your compression gauge on which ever cylinder your heart desires, I started on number 4 and worked my way to number 1. The guage installs very easy just like a spark plug except you dont tighten it down more than hand tight.

6. Crank the motor over several times, I cranked for about 4 seconds per test and watch the guage climb. In a healthy motor, compression should build up rather quickly. Low compression reading on the first stroke, followed by very gradually increasing compression on successive strokes, indicated work pistion rings. A low compression reading on the first stroke, which doesnt build up during successive strokes, indicated leaking valves or a blown head gasket, which also could be a cracked head. Heavy carbon deposits on the valves could also cause lower than average reading as well as a possibly higher than average reading. Record the highest reading that the guage stops at after cranking for a bit.

7. Repeat this process on the remaining cylinders

8. If the readings are much below normal (standard) readings, try and add some oil, about a teaspoon's worth, directly in the the spark plug hole and repeat the test.

9. If the compression increases significantly after the oil is added, the pistion rings are definitely worn. If the compression doesn't increase significantly, the leakage is occuring at the valves or a head gasket leak is to blame.

10. If two adjacent cylinders have equally low compression, theres a strong possibility the head gasket between them is blown. The appearance of coolant in the combustion chambers or the crankcase would verify this condition.

11. If one cylinder is about 20 percent lower than the others, and the engine has a slightly rough idle, a worn exhaust lobe on the camshaft could be the cause.

12. If the compression is unusally high, the combustion chambers are probably coated with carbon deposits. If thats the case the cylinder heads can be removed and decarbonized. Or my way to fix that if it's not too severe is use some bad ass fuel system cleaner and drive that ish the way it was ment to be driven, that usually cleans out the majority of the bad carbon.

13. If compression is way down or varies greatly between cylinders, it would be a good idea to have a leak-down test performed by a automotive repair shop. This test can pin-point exactly where the leakage is occuring and how severe it is.

14. Lastly reattach everything the way you found it.

Good luck and if it matters at all, the compression specs for my 92' accord are: Standard 178psi and Minimum 135psi

Which I found 175/174psi over all 4 cylinders, dont ask me why it was so consistent, I guess it had some thing to do with the old people that owned my car before me that changed the oil every 2000 miles and never drove over 70 mph Last note, I am not resposible for any mishaps or if your car explodes or what ever the case maybe.



By asdrg
 

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Reverend ATARI, what do you think of this compression test on a 94 GSR with 100kmiles : 180-175-175-175

Now you mentioned that carbon deposits can cause lower than average readings or higher than average readings - interesting I thought by reading other places that carbon deposits will cause only higher than average readings. Anyways, the gauge went up pretty fast with each successive crank with all four cylinders - can I conclude that bad piston rings or blown headgasket are not to blame?
 

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do you hand crank it or do you turn the ignition?
 

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4. Disable the fuel system by removing the fuel pump fuse, and disable the ignition system by detaching the primary low voltage wires from the ignition coil. Or like me and just disconnect the coil spark wire from the coil, your call on this one.

Instead of doing all that, can I just remove the ECU fuse?
 

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kiddo118 said:
4. Disable the fuel system by removing the fuel pump fuse, and disable the ignition system by detaching the primary low voltage wires from the ignition coil. Or like me and just disconnect the coil spark wire from the coil, your call on this one.
what happens when you dont do this step. CAn you damage anything like the ignition module?
 

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No way that I know of. You can perform a compression leak down test. That'll let you know if you have a bad cylinder or if something isnt seated correctly.
 

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compression results

good compression is usually above or around 150 psi, and higher is almost always better, unless the cylenders are mismatched by more than 10 or 20 percent.

Higher psi means that the cylenders are preventing blow by by making a better seal around the side of the cylender.

but be careful, if your results are too high you could have carbon deposits in your cylenders, but this usually provides an uneven result.
 

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2jzSupraGTTE said:
what numbers are low and high compression. which is better low or high? help meeeee
Depends on engine. Some are pretty low. B18c motors are pretty high. I have seen 250psi in mine and 190's on other high end sport cars. As long as its within specs and not with too much variation between the cylinders. The test is to see if there are huge difference in compression.
 

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kinghawk said:
Well it would result in a higher than proper presssure reading due to excess fuel build up in the compression chamber

not when the valves are opening and closing :D

cycle the engine once for every cylinder (4 cylinder equals four cranks of the engine)
 

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You should really have all plugs out while doing this it does make a difference. Also you dont have to match your plugs to the same cylinder when putting them back in....who told you that?
 

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quikflip27 said:
how many cycles should the engine be turned? cuz it goes up after each one...my auto teacher said 5
my auto teacher said 5x tonight. i did it a long time ago until the gauge stopped climbing..and the numbers are different(i did it again tonight):

until gauge stops climbing average-195psi
crank 5x average-165-170psi

99 ITR crank 5x-190psi i think(guy in my class)
 

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ek9wannabe said:
not when the valves are opening and closing :D

kinghawk said:
Well it would result in a higher than proper presssure reading due to excess fuel build up in the compression chamber

cycle the engine once for every cylinder (4 cylinder equals four cranks of the engine)
You better have that fuse pulled out for the fuel or else it would cause lots of damage.

As for the crank for the number of cylinders... thats balony. You would crank it 12 times for a V12? Come on now. Just do it until it doesn't climb anymore.
 

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I agree. Crank until it stops. I had a shop do my compression test because I didnt have a tester, and they stopped after 4 cranks, and got 135psi across the board and were satisfied with it. I made them do it right, or i wouldnt pay. Thats like doing half the job to me.
 

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I followed these instructions for a compression check (it was good btw) but I'm just curious why the ignition system has to be disabled (the fuel system makes sense to me) because if all the plugs are out then why does it matter? The only reason I ask is that I'd like to avoid taking the cap and rotor off to take the leads off the ignition coil.

And if it is imperative to disable the ignition system, couldn't you remove a fuse or something instead? Thanks.
 
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