View Full Version : Compression Check Now what?

10-18-2012, 03:15 AM
I checked the compression as a result of my findings on my leaky advice thread: http://forum.ih8mud.com/80-series-te...oil-leaks.html I changed just about everything except rear seal. Seems sluggish in second.

Test was performed at 6000+ ft in elevation (if that matters).
I was not able to warm engine up to operating temp.
All plugs out.
C1 - 105
C2 - 105
C3 - 102
C4 - 105
C5 - 105
C6 - 105

Added some oil to C1 - C3 and came up with
C1 - 125
C2 - 110
C3 - 128

I'm guessing, even if it were +/- 10 psi for cold engine and other sundry things I'm on the bottom end of the scale.

Plugs for C4 and C3 had a lot of oil on the ceramic part. There's a lot of oil laying on top of the valve cover where the spark plug wires lay (before running the test). Throttle body has light residue of oil (just PCV probably). New PCV valve and hose. Plugs were not wet but had slight white residue on one side.

Uses 2 quarts every 440 miles.

I'm trying to determine what, if anything, I need to do to the engine.

10-18-2012, 11:12 AM
Yes - 6000' matters. Add 18% to the values for a sea level equivalent. The oil deposits on the plugs are likely a combination of valve stem seals and oil getting past the rings. I'd make sure your carburetor is working well and just drive it.

When doing a wet test, don't add a ton of oil, as it can affect the value by its volume. Your compression jump on cyl. 1 with the wet test seems high to me - that's more compression that I have ever measured on a 2F at this elevation. I use a pump oil can with ATF in it and use the same number of 'squirts' per cylinder to be sure I'm not careless with the oil. You might try another compression tester, too, in case yours is off one way or the other. I wonder how accurate mine is, for that matter.

A 2F won't be a rocket either way - it's a tractor motor. I'd just drive it and run at least 10w-40. Perhaps replace the valve stem seals to cut oil burning.

10-18-2012, 01:49 PM
Very helpful info Steve. Thank-you.
I drive an 80 series so this is on a 1FZFE. I speculate I could just disregard your statement "that's more compression that I have ever measured on a 2F" and garner the 18% information to apply.

I only added about a teaspoon.

10-18-2012, 01:52 PM

I was thinking of doing a leakdown but all I really want to know is if blow by is coming through the PCV, throttle body and possibly exhaust: If I can hear or see it that is.

I was thinking of doing the following:
1. put back 5 spark plugs
2. On sixth cylinder attach compression tester
3. rotate crank until compression deflects tester needle
4. slightly move crank back/forth to get highest reading
5. listen at PCV, throttle body and exhaust pipe for leaking air
6. swap to next cylinder I want to test and repeat

Do you think that would work? Thanks.

10-18-2012, 02:27 PM
First, be careful pressurizing cylinders....

I have had a wrench on the crankshaft almost kick my ass when I pressurized a cylinder at TDC and it slung the thing at me. Make sure the motor is locked somehow. I usually find TDC on a cylinder by putting the hose in the spark plug hole and holding my thumb on it. Rotate the crank till it spits air out under pressure, then stops. Thats TDC on the compression stroke. you can stick a wire in the spark plug hole to see where the piston is and get it right at TDC. Then I lock the motor, hook it up to air and go for it. Sometimes it is nice to purposely let it go just beyond or before TDC so you know which way the motor is going to kick and can be ready for it with a wrench jammed against a frame rail or something.

When you pressurize the cylinders you shouldn't really hear any leakage if it is in pretty good shape. usually you only hear a ton of leakage when there is a problem. Either way look at the difference between the line pressure and the cylinder pressure to figure your leak down percentage.

Back to the compression test... your numbers are all very even. Surprisingly even actually... They did come up a bit with oil, which is almost always the case even on a healthy motor. Not knowing what that motor typically pumps up to (compression ratio is a big factor) I'd say it looks like it is in good shape but slightly worn maybe. Probably rings getting tired.

I'll go check out the mud thread in a bit.

10-18-2012, 02:35 PM
Plugs were not wet but had slight white residue on one side.

so the spark plugs looked nice at the electrode then? They were wet all over the outer part where the wire hooks up?

I think you have an external leak. not burning oil.

Have you done the valve cover gasket yet?

10-18-2012, 04:02 PM
I'm chuckling because you are like the fifteenth person to ask me if I've done the valve cover gasket yet. The answer is no but judging by 15 other people I'd better get on it eh?

The sparkplugs looked decent to me on the electrode side. Some of them had a lot of oil on the outside (sparkplug boot side). Others have said sparkplug gaskets are bad but I don't understand if that's something on the sparkplug or on the valve cover (or some kind of silly joke).

All I'm really hoping for on the "modified leakdown" test is to get enough pressure in the cylinder to cause me to be able to hear a leak if there is one. Use of the compression tester in this case would be to just allow me to recognize when to start listening (when compression is building or built). Once I determine if there is a leak or not will tell if I am going to spend money on a new valve cover gasket and sparkplug gaskets. If I have to do work on the engine I'd hate to do the valve cover gasket only to have to do it again.

I'll DEFINITELY heed your warnings!

10-18-2012, 04:56 PM
It sounds like you're being careful and taking the right steps. FWIW - The F(Z)J80 engine (either 1FZ-FE or 3F-E) will have different compression numbers than a 2F.

Between 4 2F engines - '76, '78, '83, '87, I've never seen more than about 123 dry for a compression value. Most were 116-118 for a healthy engine at 7000' elevation (my house). These were all stock engines with no performance mods and one was rebuilt.

10-19-2012, 04:20 AM
Well I tried my "modified leakdown" test and it was pretty much a red, blistered, belly-flop. I installed the plugs in 5 cylinders and the compression tester in the 6th. I manually turned the crank, like 75, 1/5th turn, turns and could only get the guage to deflect like 1 or 2 psi.

I think I understand better why you put air into the cylinder on a leakdown test: you find the compression stroke and then pressurize the cylinder instead of relying on the actual compression because if you didn't you'd only get like 1 or 2 psi when crank is turned manually.

So, as I laid there under the steering stabilizer resting my arms I came up with a few questions. 1. Both cylinders 1 and 6 are on the compression stroke at the same time?

2. If I can pull the steering stabilizer braket into place with one hand to bolt it to the frame does that mean I need a new one?

3. Seems like the crank turns clockwise (if standing at front looking toward engine) Is that right?

Anyway, I could probably answer my own questions if I weren't so tired.

10-19-2012, 10:05 AM
yeah you can't rely on the pressure building in the cylinders on the compression stroke for a leakdown test. you have to pressurize it with an air compressor. A lot of times the compression tester gauges have a quick connect fitting that will work with your air hose... you can just use the hose and hook it up to air. i thought that's what you were doing.

10-19-2012, 01:50 PM

Now why didn't I think of that. That's awesome. Only problem I have is that I have to turn the crank to position cylinder at TDC on compression stroke from _underneath_ the vehicle. I can't see what the heck is going on upstairs. For instance if I stuck a pencil in the spark plug hole and watched it go up and down to find approximate TDC. I'll have to recruit the wife to be the pencil watcher.

That brings up a couple questions. If I found TDC on compression stroke for cylinder 6 then I could jump to cylinder 1 and be at the same position right? Also, how many rotations of the crank would bring cylinder 2 or 5 to TDC on compression stroke (if starting from cylinder 1 on TDC compression stroke)?

I thought the crank went 4 times around per "cycle". Once for Intake, once for compression, once for exhaust, once for ??? good measure? Or maybe it is just three times around?

Thanks for the help!!!

10-19-2012, 02:13 PM
On a 4 stroke engine it works as follows:

piston goes down with intake valves open/opening - Intake stroke - 1st stroke (1/2 revolution)
piston comes up with intake valves closed/closing and exhaust valves closed - compression stroke- 2nd stroke (1 revolution)

just before TDC, spark plug fires and compressed charge burns. The piston is at TDC - ON THE COMPRESSION STROKE - right here. Both exhaust and intake valves are closed.

piston gets pushed down by burning fuel air - power stroke - 3rd stroke (1 1/2 revolutions)
piston comes up as exhaust valves open - exhaust stroke - 4th stroke (2 revolutions)

One thing to note is valves are opening and closing as the piston is moving, and there is overlap with intake and exhaust valves open. it's not all instantaneous.

Also, another thing to note is that the piston passe TDC twice, only once being TDC on the power stroke. That's the point when you can pressurize the cylinder since both valves are closed. When one cylinder is at TDC on the compression stroke, another can be at TDC but with valves open.

So, to do a leak down, you need to identify TDC on the compression stroke of the cylinder you are interested in. having a helper see the pencil move up and down is helpful if you can't see it..

10-19-2012, 02:15 PM


10-19-2012, 03:41 PM
That's quite different from what I was thinking.

You are a HAM. What frequency do you talk on?

10-20-2012, 02:02 PM
I was able to pressurize all 6 cylinders with 70 psi of air and found the following:

Cylinder 2 and 5 seem to be okay. Maybe a teensy-tiny leak but I could not feel, hear or see a leak.

Cylinders 3 and 4 have an intake valve leak. I could feel air out of the throttle body. I could tell when I was on compression stroke because it was one revolution from TDC exhaust stroke and when I charged the cylinder the crank would turn CC and then I'd move the crank an 1/8th of a turn and charge the cylinder again and the crank would turn Clockwise. I turned it half way between those two points and locked the crank and did my test.

Cylinder 6, when charged with air, the air leaks around the Cylinder 1 hole even with the spark plug in Cylinder 1. Same thing happend with Cylinder 1 charged with air.

So, now I see why there is oil on top of the valve cover, on the spark plugs and in the area where the spark plug wires lay. I curious though what symptoms I should see from and intake valve leak.

What does that mean to the experts?

Air Randy
10-21-2012, 10:30 PM
From reading your initial post and compression readings, it is very doubtful you have "bad" valves. Depending on how many miles the motor has on it, you may be losing a little compression from worn valve seats but nothing serious. Adjusted for the altitude you are getting 125 psi compression average and all of the cylinders are within 10% of each other. This motor only had 150 psi brand new from the factory, so you are still well within the normal range, especially since the readings were taken cold.

Chasing compression issues is what you do if you're burning serious oil, losing radiator water and/or have compression readings of 20 psi or 0. Unless you have oil in your water or water in your oil, I don't see anything to indicate a head gasket leak. As stated above, it doesn't sound to me like your valves are bad or your piston rings are seriously worn.

Before I do anything else, I would change the valve cover gasket and get the motor cleaned off. Oil on your spark plugs wires/boots can cause them to short and you will lose power.

Next, check what type of plugs are in the rig. You should replace them if you don't know how old they are and look at the heat reading. If you are seeing any signs of fouling step up one heat range.

Next, check your timing. If that is set correctly and you still feel down on power, it is most likely a fueling problem. If that motor has injection on it then there are several sensors that may need to be checked to make sure it is fueling correctly.

10-22-2012, 02:11 PM
Thanks Randy! It is consuming 2 quarts every 440 miles.

I think I'll take off the valve cover, do valve PM per Service Manual, replace spark plug gaskets and valve cover gasket, replace spark plugs and install an oil seperator so I can get an idea of how much oil is going through PCV.

Plus, I could maybe run something through the fuel to clean out buildup on intake valves?

10-22-2012, 03:31 PM
Be sure to use Nippondenso or NGK plugs (or whatever your Toyota dealer has). IMO, you don't want to run Champion/Autolite/domestic-type plugs in a 2F. Glamor-plugs like Splitfires also don't belong in this truck.

Air Randy
10-22-2012, 03:53 PM
Thanks Randy! It is consuming 2 quarts every 440 miles.

I think I'll take off the valve cover, do valve PM per Service Manual, replace spark plug gaskets and valve cover gasket, replace spark plugs and install an oil seperator so I can get an idea of how much oil is going through PCV.

Plus, I could maybe run something through the fuel to clean out buildup on intake valves?

There really are no additives that are going to clean your valves, most of that stuff is just snake oil and is a waste of money.

Fix your oil leaks first, then lets see what your oil consumption is. If you are burning 2 qts in 440 miles due to bad rings, then you should see some blue smoke upon hard acceleration and the plugs should show signs of oil fouling. Bad valve guides typically give you a puff of smoke upon start up and under hard deceleration like coming down a long hill. But, your compression numbers dont obviously indicate either of those being the case.

IMHO spark plugs are like oil. If it makes you feel better to spend more money on NGK's or whatever, then it's money well spent. The truth of the matter though is your engine doesn't care what brand of spark plug is used and as long as you use the correct type of plug there is not really any difference in them. What does matter is that the the plug is the correct length and depth into the combustion chamber, thread type and most importantly the proper heat range. If you look up an NGK XYZ plug and cross reference it to a Champion equivalent, they will work fine. There are minor differences in electrode design so one plug may last a little longer than the other but usually the differences are really small.

If you use the factory recommended heat range it will work OK but may not be optimal. The factory plug was recommended based on a new engine operating at sea level. Ethanol wasn't common in those days and now you get a steady dose of it all winter long plus you are operating at higher elevations here. As you can see your compression is down a little from the factory specification. Take the part number of the plug that was in the engine and look it up online to see where it falls in the heat range. If it is towards the bottom or middle of the range, you may want to go up one notch. A slightly hotter plug will help minimize plug fouling if you are actually burning a little oil. Run the plug for a few hundred miles then pop them out and check them. You can get a lot of good pictures online that will help you learn what a plug looks like if it is running too cold, too hot or somewhere in between.

10-22-2012, 04:17 PM
I agree that if it were burning oil, you'd see it. I think you need to be looking for and addressing leaks first. Your motor, as stated above, seems to be in decent shape internally.

10-22-2012, 06:52 PM
Compression for the 1fz new is 175 psi, where rebuild spec's on this engine recommended by Toyota is 120 psi. Take if for what it is worth.

10-23-2012, 06:30 AM

The effects of altitude and engine temperature on compression readings have been thrown around. Are you suggesting I take those into account?

10-23-2012, 10:24 PM
I always check a engine with it warm, with the throttle open, 10 rotations of the crank. I typically get 165-175 on 1fz engine here in boulder with the stock head gasket and no work on the head(typically before I do a head gasket).
I have done on my own engines before and after compression reading during/after trips to sea level and elevation, and have not found a difference in the compression in the past.
You are getting a lot of information both here and on mud. Good luck

Air Randy
10-24-2012, 06:49 PM
I think he is saying that this motor should be 175 psi new and Toyota recommends a rebuild once it drops down to 120 psi.

Maybe the air in Boulder defies the laws of physics :D but for the rest of us, adjusting your compression readings for altitude is not an urban myth. The info below is cut and pasted directly from the Porsche 911 service manual. You can find numerous other sources that correlate this same data. The key statements are highlighted in bold.

For 5500' the adjustment factor is .853. So 175 psi X .853 =149.275(round it to 150). Thats what the engine would read at 5500' if it was factory fresh. If you take your readings of 105 psi and adjust them for the altitude using the same factor 105 psi divided by .853 = 123 psi.

According to Robbie's data, Toyota says once your compression drops from 175 to 120 you are due for a rebuild. That is approx a 31% reduction in compression. So if your 175 psi is adjusted for altitude (150 psi) and you reduce it by 31% you get 103.5 psi minimum at 5500'. Since you are at 105 psi unadjusted, it looks to me like your motor is getting worn and is getting close to the recommended rebuild point. However, I would suggest you re-do your compression test with the engine at the proper temperature, make sure the throttle is open, etc per the procedures detailed from the manual. You will probably see a slight improvement in psi.

Compression Tests

One of the most common tests that can be performed on a engine is the standard compression test. This particular test measures the amount of pressure that is built up inside the combustion chamber when the engine is turned over. The typical compression tester is a pressure gauge that is attached via a short hose to a plug that is screwed into the spark plug hole. As the engine turns over, the compression gauge will read the maximum pressure exerted within the combustion chamber. The overall value is one method of testing your engine to determine the condition of the rings or valves.

Your 911 needs to be setup before you can start the compression test. With the car cold, loosen the spark plugs with a spark plug socket and extension. Then tighten them up very lightly. You want to test the engine when itís warm, yet if the spark plugs are very tight in the heads, you can damage the threads in the heads by removing them when the engine is hot. Loosening them up a bit when the engine is cold will minimize any damage you could possibly do to the threads in the heads. Although you might think that itís good practice to use anti-seize compound on the plug threads, Porsche specifically recommends against this. The anti-seize compound seems to interfere with the proper grounding of the plugs. Also, temporarily remove any heater hoses that might get in the way of removing the spark plugs.

Warm the car up to operating temperature and then turn it off. Wait about 5 minutes or so, as head temperatures tend to spike right after you turn the engine off. At this point, the engine fan has stopped, and the heat tends to build up with no place to dissipate to. Removing the spark plugs right after turning off the engine can cause the threads in the aluminum to gall. After about five minutes, remove the spark plugs from their holes. Now, disconnect the cable from the capacitive discharge (CD) unit (1969-1983 911 and all Turbos). If youíre working on a 1965-68 911, then simply disconnect the power line (+) from the coil. If youíre testing a 1984-89 911 Carrera, then remove the small square DME relay from under the passenger seat. Doing this will disable the carís ignition system, and prevent the spark plug wires from firing. Itís also a wise idea to remove the fuel pump relay at this time (for 1969-83 911s). You are going to be cranking the engine over several times, and you donít want raw fuel to be dumped into the system.

Having a helper around is useful, as you can watch the gauge while he or she cranks the engine. I recommend that you attach a battery charger to your battery to avoid running it down. Donít fire it up at 50 Amp, but instead leave it on about 10 amps, which should help it recover when itís not cranking.

With the engine warm, install the compression tester into the spark plug hole. A bit of patience and skill are required in order to properly manipulate and screw in the compression tester so that you donít cross thread and damage the threads in the cylinder heads. With the compression tester installed, crank the engine over 12-16 times. Make sure that you place your foot all the way down on the throttle. This will allow maximum air flow into the engine, otherwise your compression readings will be off. The engine should make six to eight full complete compression strokes (12-16 turns of the crankshaft). You can tell when the engine is on a compression stroke because the compression gauge will jump and show an increase when the cylinder is compressed. Carefully watch how the compression tester gauge increases, and record the maximum value when you have completed the last compression stroke. The gauge will jump at first, and then increase slowly until cranking the engine over more and more has no additional effect on the reading. Remove the compression tester and repeat for each of the other cylinders.

So what to do with the results? In general, compression tests are limited in what they can tell you. It is important to remember that different compression testers may give different readings as well. Cranking the engine faster (with a stronger battery or high powered starter) may also skew readings. The most useful piece of information that you can glean from them is how each cylinder compares to the others. All of the cylinders should give readings that are very close to each other. This would generally indicate an engine in good health. A good rule of thumb is that each cylinder should read a minimum of 85% of value of the highest cylinder. So, if the highest reading is 150 psi, then the minimum acceptable reading would be about 128 psi.

It is important to note that this would be an acceptable figure, but not necessarily ideal. In all practicality, all of the cylinders should be very close to each other (within about 5-10 psi). On a newly assembled and run-in motor, compression numbers are usually within this range. As the engine ages and certain parts wear faster than others, one or more cylinders may experience a bit more wear than the others. This will definitely show up in the compression tests. Needless to say, if you have all of your cylinders in the 150 psi range, and one cylinder is down around 120 psi, that should give you cause for concern. The important thing is to remember is that you want to gather consistent readings across all of the cylinders, without focusing on the actual values. If a reading is significantly off, go back and test that cylinder again to make sure that the measurement was not caused by some sort of fluke, which is often the case.

So what causes variations in compression tests, and why canít they be used as the final word on engine rebuilds? The problem is that there are several factors that effect the final pressure read by the tester. Engines running with very aggressive camshafts have a tendency to give low compression readings. This is because there is significant overlap between the intake and the exhaust stroke on the cam. During high-rpm operation of the engine, this overlap works to give the engine more power. However, when turning the engine at a low RPM, as with a compression test, the overlap causes some of the pressure in the combustion chamber to leak out before the valve is closed. An early 911S engine, for example (with its high-overlap cams ) has a tendency to give lower compression readings than the 911 CIS engines (1974-83), despite having a higher compression ratio. This is caused by the aggressive overlap of the camshaft.

Altitude and temperature also affect the compression readings. Manufacturerís specifications are almost always given at a specific altitude (14.7 psi at sea level), and 59į Fahrenheit. Both temperature and barometric pressure change as you go up in altitude, so you will need to correct your measurements if you wish to compare it with a factory specification. The following chart provides conversion factors for correctly compensating for changes in altitude:

Compression Test Altitude Compensation Factors

Altitude Factor
500 0.987
1500 0.960
2500 0.933
3500 0.907
4500 0.880
5500 0.853
6500 0.826
7500 0.800
8500 0.773

A standard compression reading of about 150 psi at sea level in Los Angeles would measure significantly less in the surrounding mountains. For example, at an elevation of 6000 feet, the expected reading would be 150 psi X .8359 = 125 psi. The cylinders would be reading low if compared to sea level measurements, yet perfectly fine at this altitude.
Another factor that can alter compression test readings are incorrectly adjusted valves. If the valves are not opening or closing at the correct time, then one cylinder may read vastly different than another. Make sure that your valves are adjusted properly prior to performing the test. For the complete procedure on adjusting your valves with the engine inside the car, take a look at Project 18 in the book, ď101 Projects for Your Porsche 911.Ē Along the same lines of thought, premature camshaft wear can also lead to variances in compression readings, however, this type of wear is not normally common on the 911 engine.

You can determine if the rings are causing low compression readings by squirting about a tablespoon of standard 10-30W engine oil into the cylinder. Crank the engine 2-3 times to spread the oil around inside the combustion chamber. Then retest the compression. If the readings shoot up significantly (45 psi or so), then the problem is most likely with the piston rings seating to the cylinders. Squirting the oil inside the combustion chamber in this manner allows the rings to temporarily seal quite a bit more than they would dry. If the compression readings do not change, then most likely culprit is a leaky valve.

Leak-Down Testing

Without a doubt, the most comprehensive test that you can perform on your engine is a leak down test. While somewhat similar to the compression test, it eliminates nearly all of the extraneous variables that may alter the final compression readings in a typical compression test. In simple terms, the leak-down test involves pressurizing the cylinder and measuring the amount of air that is leaked out past either the rings, the valves, or out a gap between the heads and the cylinder.

The leak-down test equipment uses an external air compressor to pressurize the cylinder. The engine is held stationary, and the test is not dependent upon outside variables like the cranking speed, altitude, temperature, or the camshaft overlap. In fact, the leak-down test can be performed on just about any engine, whether or not it is inside the car or not.

Unfortunately, the leak-down test equipment is somewhat specialized, requires an air compressor, and is not exactly inexpensive. Most local repair shops have a leak-down tester, but itís not common to find one in your neighborís garage. The good news is that most shops will be able to perform a leak-down test on your engine for a nominal fee. The 911 engine doesnít require any special leak-down adapters, so you should be able to take your 911 to any good foreign repair shop, and they should be able to do the test for you. Similar to the compression test leak-down test should give you information on the condition of the rings and valves, but from a slightly different perspective. The leak-down test can be performed on an engine that is not installed in the car. However, if the leak-down test is performed on an engine that isnít warmed up, then the test may not give accurate results.

The leak-down test is performed by initially setting the engine to top-dead-center (TDC) on the compression stroke for the piston that you are checking. Make sure that itís exactly at TDC, otherwise the engine will begin to turn over as soon as you pressurize the cylinder. You want to make sure that both the intake and exhaust valves are completely closed (as they should be at TDC) otherwise air will immediately leak out of the cylinder. To make sure that you are at TDC for cylinder number 1, remove the distributor cap, and rotate the engine clockwise until the rotor is lined up with the small notch.

When you are running the test, it is a wise idea to make sure that the crank doesnít turn at all. Have an assistant hold the crank steady or place a flywheel lock on the engine if itís out of the car. Connect the leakage tester to the engine in the same manner that you would with the compression tester. Pump up the cylinder and let the leakage tester measure the amount of air lost. The gauge on the tester should give readings in percentage numbers. A newly rebuilt engine should have leak-down percentages of around 3-5%. An engine in good running condition should show 10% or less. Numbers around 20% indicate some wear of the engine, but are still adequate for good engine operation. Leakage numbers of around 30% indicate that there are problems brewing, and that a rebuild may be necessary. Needless to say a large leakage amount like 90% indicates that there is a hole in the combustion chamber, and the engine is probably not firing on this cylinder at all. Rotate the engine crankshaft clockwise 180į when youíre done, and check the next cylinder. Repeat the process for each of the six cylinders.

Another good quality of the leak-down test is the ability to pinpoint the exact problem with the engine. When the cylinder is compressed with air, you can usually hear where the air is releasing from. Leakage past the intake valves can often be heard at the intake manifolds through the fuel injection. Exhaust valve leakage can sometimes be heard through the tailpipe. Leakage past the rings can sometimes be heard in the crankcase breather hoses. The most obvious leakage occurs when the cylinder heads have broken or pulled, and the air leaks directly out of the combustion chamber in-between the cylinder and the head.

While the leak-down test is probably the best indicator of engine condition, it shouldnít be the final word in your evaluation. I have heard from many people about great running engines that for one reason or another do not test well on the leak-down tester. Itís important to remember that the leak-down tester does not test the engine when itís running Ė it only does a static evaluation. As with any air cooled motor, itís operating characteristics vary widely. Use the leak-down test as one indicator and back it up with other tests and observances.

Carbon Deposits

I thought it important to mention some things about carbon deposits build up inside engines. Just about every single engine I have ever seen torn open has had a significant layer of carbon buildup on the pistons and the inside of the heads and valves. Particularly with todayís ever changing formulations of gasoline, the additional carbon build up appears to be a problem in almost all air-cooled engines.

The 911 engine has a few problems of its own, specifically related to carbon build-up. Carbon deposits will form naturally inside the combustion chamber as a natural by-product of the combustion process. Both engine oil and gasoline are hydrocarbons, so burning either of them incorrectly can result in a buildup of excess carbon deposits. These deposits are often caused by excessive oil burning in the combustion chamber, which is a sign that your engine needs a rebuild regardless. In addition, a rich mixture setting can also introduce more of the black soot that creates the carbon buildups in the engine. Short-trip driving and extended idling (not ideal running conditions for an engine) can also increase the buildup rate. While excess carbon deposits can be cleaned and removed without a complete overhaul, very often they are yet another sign that something else on the engine needs attention (like rings and guides).

Carbon deposits can cause the engineís valves to become shrouded, and covered with carbon. In an opposite manner to porting and polishing the heads, the carbon buildup actually disrupts the flow of fuel mixture, and can restrict the airflow into the combustion chamber. The horizontal layout of the 911 engine in a boxer configuration also lends itself to being susceptible to problems with carbon deposits. It is not uncommon to find a 911 engine that has not been run for a long time that has low compression. Even if the engine has had a relatively short number of miles put on it since its last rebuild, you may discover that it has very low or zero compression in one of its cylinders. Often the reason for this is carbon deposits. When an engine is left idle for a long period of time, moisture has a habit of getting into the combustion chamber, and gets absorbed by the carbon deposits. This absorption results in the carbon becoming loose and flaking off. The boxer orientation of the 911 engine means that the exhaust valves are located at the bottom of the engine. Carbon deposits that flake off have a bad habit of getting lodged in-between the exhaust valve and itís seat. This creates a compression leak in the combustion chamber.

Itís important not to drive the car for extended periods of time (hundreds of miles) if you think that a piece of carbon might be lodged in-between the exhaust valve and its seat. The reason for this is simple. The exhaust valve (unlike the intake valve) becomes very hot, and needs to cool by coming in contact with its valve seat. If the valve doesnít seat properly, then it will be thermally isolated from its heat sink (the seat in the head). Prolonged driving in this condition will cause the valve to become burned, and will develop a typical pie-piece shaped notch in the valve. Valves damaged in this manner are basically destroyed, and will not seat properly even if the carbon is removed. In the worst-case scenario, the valve will become so hot that the head of the valve can break off. Having the head of a valve dance around the inside of your combustion chamber will usually destroy the piston and send chunks of metal circulating throughout your motor. Needless to say, this is not a good thing.

As mentioned previously, worn valve guides, or worn out rings allow excess oil into the combustion chamber that vastly increases carbon build up. Of course, the solution to this problem is a full rebuild, or at best a top-end valve job. In addition, how you drive your car can affect the build up of deposits. Short drives around town have a tendency to increase the level of carbon buildup. Slow-speed, short-trip driving has a tendency to not let the engine heat up to normal operating temperatures. Excess carbon deposits can often be Ďburned outí by driving on the highway for about an hour or so. This should allow the combustion chamber to heat up enough to burn away the carbon deposits.

If your engine has been sitting for an extended period of time, you may want to try using a gasoline additive to your fuel. Berryman B-12 Chemtool and Techron both have good reputations for helping to dissolve and remove deposits. One of the best things to do is to take your 911 on an extended, spirited drive of at least an hour or more along the freeway. Try to vary your RPMs, but make sure that you keep them relatively high to help raise cylinder head temps. The cleaning process combined with the heated cylinder heads should be enough to clean out any excess deposits. When you return from your drive, run the compression or leak-down test again, and you may be surprised at the improvement in the numbers!

10-25-2012, 01:26 AM
I have the day off tomorrow so hopefully I can retest with engine warm and 10-12 cranks instead of the engine cold and only 5 cranks. I bet it'll show close to 125 and then add 18% of that for a total of 147. That'd be fine with me.

I did a little research on the spark plug condition. There was no oily stuff on them. Carbon and some brownish "stuff" from fuel additives I've added. Other than that they looked good.

10-25-2012, 01:55 PM
I tested the compression again today with the engine warm and I let it crank 10 times instead of 5 with throttle full-open.

C1 - 112
C2 - 115
C3 - 111
C4 - 110
C5 - 115
C6 - 112

I added a capful of oil; a teaspoon, to cylinder 1 just to see what the jump might be (if totally different than before). It was less jump.
C1 - 120

Take into account elevation (but no oil added)
C1 - 132
C2 - 136
C3 - 131
C4 - 130
C5 - 136
C6 - 132

I'd say cylinder 3,4 are low due to intake valve leak. Cylinder 1,6 a exhaust valve leak, small one.

FSM range is 128 - 171.

So I believe I will take the following advice:

1. Adjust valves (which implies new valve cover gasket, spark plug gaskets and while I'm in there a new vsv for egr).
2. Add oil seperator to PCV
3. Drive a while and watch oil.
4. retest compression.
5. If still in the 130's and oil consumption is still high then drive for as long as I can bear it and get another engine.

I already talked with the wife...she is okay with another engine. I wonder though if she is aware of the turbo option...
I really don't want to buy a different 80 or a different vehicle. I've already fixed and familiarized myself with a lot of this one. I'm not going to get $$$ for all the work and parts I have in it. If a rebuilt motor would go another 300,000 then I'd be set; I'll probably have my license revoked for old age by the time I put that many miles on it.

10-25-2012, 11:00 PM
Not playing on a urban myth. First hand experience. I have no reason to lie. I have tested two vehicles with my snap on compression tester. Using the same technique, but in different locations. One a 85 4 runner I had for 15 years. I tested it in San Diego before I moved to Santa Fe, nm. It tested with in 5 psi of sea level and elevation in Santa fe. I also tested a truck I bought in Florida and then again in Santa Fe. Again with in 5 psi of what it read in Florida. Funny thing this is.
I have wondered at times how this can be, when everything I have read says some thing else. But you know, strange things happen, they can even slow down the speed of light these days, A human can fall faster than the speed of sound, with only being in a space suit. All things that one thought was not possible. Even one time the world was thought to be flat.
I have been testing Cruiser engines for a long time, I have not found that significant reading from normal in the book to treat it any different than What the book states.
Go figure it all. Take it for it is worth.
Randy you should at least quote the source, other wise it is Plagiarizing. Not a good thing in this world.

10-26-2012, 06:03 AM
Yeah, I hear you. As I am finding out compression tests could be nit-picked for a lot of things. I'm comfortable using the adjustment Randy mentioned for altitude because it makes sense. And I am also learning that in conjunction with one of the URLs I posted earlier the compression test is just an indication of what cylinders need to be inspected further, as in leak down or scope. If the compression is low and there are no valve leaks or blow-by rings then by physics the cylinder will perform correctly.

I believe his source was on Evo as I did a search on Bing for something related and was reading some information on an Evo sight that was word for word what he posted.

It's not the end of the world that they are low. It actually makes sense since It has 247K. I can now conceptually account for where the oil is going. Some out the intake manifold (which I've seen oil in the throttle body), some out the rings (oil on top of valve cover leaking by the spark plug gaskets) and some is leaking out of rear seal and some out of valve cover gasket. I do believe it would account for 2 quarts.

And 2 quarts is just what I put in when it was low...it may have only went through 1.5 quarts or something.

10-26-2012, 09:26 AM
Sorry to quasi-hijack the thread, but could someone give a quick explanation of why you have to adjust for altitude when doing a compression test? I find this stuff really interesting, but have no background in fluid dynamics.

From the reading I did, the Pressure ={nRT}/{V}


P is the absolute pressure of the gas
n is the amount of substance
T is the absolute temperature
V is the volume
R is the ideal gas constant.

So if the volume decreases by half, the pressure decreases by half. And I realize this is not an Ideal gas. SO for altitude, the "amount of substance" will be decreased, IE the amount of air in the cylinder will be less. However, we'd be comparing this pressure in the cylinder to the atmospheric pressure outside, at whatever elevation we are at.

So 14.7 psi at sea level and 12.2 at 5000 feet is atmosphere. So if we are taking the "gauge pressure" as a ratio to the pressure in the cylinder, why would we need to adjust for altitude? I could see having to adjust for altitude if our gauge was measuring the compression compared to absolute pressure, but since its measuring the rise against atmospheric pressure, isn't it already adjusted?

According to this sheet (http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/air-altitude-density-volume-d_195.html), the volume correction factor at 5k feet is 1.17. As we go up in elevation, the volume goes up, density goes down. So a given mass of air 0 feet elevation now has a volume of 1.17 times what it had at sea level. So we get in 85% of the air into a cylinder at 5k feet.

This is the correction factor that everyone quotes. So its correct that the cylinder gets that much air mass into it, but its not then being measured against sea level. Its the ratio back to atmospheric at that given altitude. Which is also about 85% here at 5k feet.

But this is a linear function. I can't see any non-linear functions in any of this so how do we have to correct?

14.7 : {nRT}/{V}

12.2 : {.85nRT}/{V} --> ON this one we get only 85% of the air into the cylinder, hence we multiply the "n" (amount of gas) by .85. [Do we have to correct by an additional .85 for the R value of absolute pressure? Is that where we get an extra .85 reduction?]

What am I missing? I guess what I am saying is I don't see why there is any correction necessary unless using an absolute pressure gauge. /quasi-hi-jack-over

10-26-2012, 10:04 AM
I can see your point - I wonder if you can get a compression tester that can be zeroed for your elevation?

Still, there are fewer air molecules per unit volume at high elevation, and thus the loss of power/compression in internal combustion engines. How we measure the true air pumping performance of an engine remains the question - since engines are just big air pumps anyway.

10-26-2012, 11:17 AM
Maybe the answer is in the fact that to get the pressure at elevation we'd have to draw in 1.17 times the amount of air. In essence the pressue we are looking for is held constant. That is, the expected pressure by design (our sigma) is actually a reference point and not variable.

Air Randy
10-26-2012, 02:42 PM
Randy you should at least quote the source, other wise it is Plagiarizing. Not a good thing in this world.

I agree, and if you go back and carefully read what I posted, I very clearly said I cut and pasted that text directly from a page of the manual for an older Porsche 911. I never claimed that the text provided was written by me.

I also said you can easily correlate that same information from multiple other sources. I Googled "cylinder compression test altitude compensation" (or something close to that) and it came up with tons of hits. All of the different authors said exactly the same thing.

10-27-2012, 10:23 AM
So, with out permission you violated a copy right. Funny thing that is, still not a good thing Randy.

Air Randy
10-28-2012, 11:50 PM
So, with out permission you violated a copy right. Funny thing that is, still not a good thing Randy.

Nope, it was posted on the internet for all to see and access, so no copy right infringement as long as it was only used for reference purposes. Had I tried to sell it or publish it for profit without permission, then it would be a different story.

Didn't they teach you that in law school? Handing out tainted legal opinions is not a good thing Robbie.

10-29-2012, 09:44 AM
OK, lets take another swing.

Your compression does indeed seem low..... actually way below what it looks like toyota recommends for an overhaul.

BUT if it isn't smoking I sure wouldn't expect it to be losing 2 quarts in 400 miles. I mean that just seems excessive.

Robbie, does 2qt's in 400 miles seem on par with a motor that has that kind of compression and no smoke? I'm mainly curious for my own knowledge.

Now, have you sealed up the valve cover yet? that seems like an easy job to try and get it leak free.

10-29-2012, 10:46 PM
We have guests in town. They are using it so i wont be able to do the valve cover. I did tighten the valve cover bolts. We'll see how much oil it uses while they use it.

10-30-2012, 08:27 AM
Yes Marco, I have in the past seen consumption that high with low compression. Especially if one is using a 5w-30 oil that Toyota recommends for the USA. With worn engines, it may be best to run some 10w -40 conventional. One even could use a oil stabilizer like Lucas to help consumption while deciding or saving money to work on the engine.
And just recently, Barry brought his wife's 80 in for a HG. He has some high oil comsumption as well, but his compression is like 155-165 on my guage. I looked with a bore scope first and found no major vertical scratching, the pattern is somewhat wide, but the cross hatching is still there and looks OK for the milage. The head gasket was failing in 2 places and when It is all done, we will see what is up.
One would be best served to look for oil leaks, especially at the valve cover and the lower pan arch and the oil pump O ring. The PCV can also be a culprit.
I think Andrew has looked at most of this, as he has been chasing this problem with help for a while now on mud.

One thing I have seen consistantly on these 1FZ is that they build up carbon on the tops of the pistons. Thus adding compression when doing a compression test. The one big thing about this carbon, is that it will ping under load going up hills. This over time will not be good on the engine.Retarding the timing and robbing power, creating more carbon, a visicious cycle. I have seen carbon so thick, that the valve have been contacting the carbon on the surface of the engine.

10-30-2012, 09:35 AM
Cool, thanks for the info, I always am up for learning about this kind of stuff. It didn't seem to me like it made sense but from what you say it does.

It's interesting to see Barry's numbers that high, it puts things in perspective.

Sounds like the motor is indeed getting kinda worn..

10-30-2012, 12:18 PM
Two things keep coming up in the back of my mind. If I take it to somebody to have them do the work I'm probably not going to get to do the "while I'm in there" things. To me, those are the gotchas.

Secondly, I could replace the valve cover gasket and spend a months worth of 1 hour sessions pissing off the wife doing it but should I even do it if I'm going to rebuild anyway?

I do 99% of my own automotive work on cars my family has. The only time I take them to a shop is when I don't have the tools (expensive ones), don't have the space or don't have the time. When I do the work I usually have a "while I'm in there" list and a vision of how things should be when I'm done. I don't like to "redo" or re-disassemble a second time for something that could have been done "while I'm in there". Sometimes a missed opportunity to do those spells big work later on.

Plus, if I take it to someone then they don't know what is new and what isn't on the vehicle so I might be paying for parts that were replaced just a few months ago. Again, wasted.

I don't know. I'm pretty sure another engine is the way to get a bunch of little things off my list at once. Question is, do I just want to go with another 1FZFE, or go big and turbo it or really bite off a bunch and swap. I don't really have the money for most of that. Only thing I could think of doing is getting block and head set up for turbo then add it a while later. Not sure if that is an option.

Funny thing is, and I just remembered this, I bought the vehicle from a guy named Robbie. I'll have to check the title but I'm almost certain it isn't the same person. He sold it to buy a diesel VW.

Why don't you all vote for what would be a good way to go.

10-30-2012, 02:07 PM
Yes Marco, I have in the past seen consumption that high with low compression. Especially if one is using a 5w-30 oil that Toyota recommends for the USA. With worn engines, it may be best to run some 10w -40 conventional. One even could use a oil stabilizer like Lucas to help consumption while deciding or saving money to work on the engine....

Straight 50 weight, non detergent! :hill:

10-30-2012, 02:53 PM
with a little bit of 90wt.. lol

11-18-2012, 12:17 AM
I fixed the throttle cable. I made a new cable stop for it.

It shifts much nicer. Still same power after it shifts.

11-26-2012, 01:46 PM
I added the oil seperator and have driven about 30 miles. It's only collected like half-teaspoon. I'm going to drive it for 440 miles and see what I get.

Also, almost had a bad accident: Had some water get sucked into the PCV hose going into the manifold. Caught it quickly and shut it down. Nothing was ruined but a side effect was that the EGR for VSV is working again and check engine light went off. I thought that was interesting...

I noticed that having the kick-down cable working has a noticeable effect in certain circumstances that make me feel more confident that this thing isn't dead yet. Much better response and "power" feel going up hills and merging into traffic. I bet I get better mileage too.

At first it did not seem that the kick-down made that much difference but recently I have noticed some big differences.

I also did some visual blue smoke detection which revealed no big clouds of blue smoke. I'll be trying this several more times when I get the chance. Most likely then my oil is leaking out the rear seal and valve cover/spark plug gaskets. We'll see. Maybe I will rig up some kind of pan beneath the bell inspection hole and see how much I catch. Anyone know how to do that? Any ideas?

12-06-2012, 01:24 PM
After I fixed the throttle cable I am still impressed at the responsiveness even with 247K on the odometer. My S10 Blazer was pretty much dead at 160K (I was third owner).

I can drive it for a while but eventually I'm going to have to do something. Once again I tossed and turned over all the options, just like everyone else who has a 1FZFE with high mileage and low mpg. I've narrowed it down to 3 options. Maybe you have some others? If so post up.

1. Just keep driving my gas saver Saturn or go get the Rav 4 like I want, freshen the 1FZFE and park the 80 and only drive it once a week or on trips.
2. Swap in a diesel.
3. Swap in a diesel AND keep driving my gas saving car/Rav4

Obviously I'll have keep doing #1 for now.

As for swapping a diesel I found a thread about swapping a 4D34 diesel. Seems like a lot of work but engine went in great. I also read about a 4BD1T or 4BD2T swap but that was into a 60. Both came in at around $5000 (them doing the work themselves). For me it'd be more like $7000 due to lack of tools and probably needing to hire out welding and such.

Can a 4BD1T or 4BD2T even be swapped to an 80? I've seen two threads saying it can but AFAIK they never started.

Why isn't the 12H-T (err whatever it is) a good swap?

Anyone around here for hire to do a diesel swap?

12-06-2012, 03:53 PM
A 12H-T was designed to go into a 60 series, and it was only built for a couple of years. Great engine IMO, but not enough of them (or parts) worldwide to justify swapping it into a U.S. vehicle.

An 80 needs a 1HD-T or 1HD-FT IMO. I've seen some threads on MUD of folks swapping in those Isuzu diesels into 80s. I think a couple of them have finished and are driving them.