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Cylinder Leakage Test


Another aid in locating compression leaks is the cylinder leakage tester. The principle involved is that of simulating the compression that develops in the cylinder during operation. Compressed air is introduced into the cylinder through the spark plug or injector hole, and by listening and observing at certain key points, you can make some basic deductions.

The commercial testers, such as the one shown in figure 3-78, have a gauge indicating a percentage of air loss. The gauge is connected to a spring-loaded diaphragm. The source of air is connected to the instrument and counterbalances the action of the spring against the diaphragm. By adjusting the spring tension, you can calibrate the gauge properly against a variety of air pressure sources within a given tolerance.

In making a cylinder leakage test, remove all spark plugs, so each piston can be positioned without the resistance of compression of the remaining cylinders.

Next, place the piston at TDC or "rock" position between the compression and power strokes. Then you can introduce the compressed air into the cylinder. Note that the engine tends to spin. Now, by listening at the carburetor, the exhaust pipe, and the oil filler pipe (crankcase), and by observing the coolant in the radiator, when applicable, you can pinpoint the area of air loss. Aloud hissing of air at the carburetor indicates a leaking intake valve, or valves. Excessive hissing of air at the oil filler tube (crankcase) indicates an excessive air leak past the piston rings. Bubbles observed in the coolant at the radiator indicates a leaking head gasket As in vacuum testing, indications are not conclusive. For instance, a leaking head gasket may prove to be a cracked head, or bad rings may be a scored cylinder wall. The important thing is that the source of the trouble has been pinpointed to a specific area, and a fairly broad, accurate estimate of repairs or adjustments required can be made without dismantling the engine.

Figure 3-78.—Cylinder leakage tester
Published by SweetHaven Publishing Services
Based upon a text provided by the U.S. Navy

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