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The engine leak-down test comes after you perform a compression test, if one or more of the cylinders showed bad compression. If your car battery is weak or not powerful enough, there's a very good chance this test will kill your battery. Now you should unplug each coil-pack from the ignition harness, and remove the harness completely. Use a spark plug removal tool with a ratchet extension to carefully remove each spark plug.
This next part is easier to do if you have the help of a friend but it's not absolutely necessary. A brand new fresh engine built to Nissan OEM spec will see just near 170 PSI on each cylinder. If your Engine is blown or not holding compression you may need to consider removing the engine, here's a link to our Guide on How To Pull the Engine and Engine Removal. Anything lower than 140 PSI, or seeing more than 10% deviation between cylinders indicates a potential problem with piston rings, or valves or the head-gasket. What is a Hydrometer?A hydrometer is an inexpensive, user-friendly, and readily available tool at most auto parts stores.
Preparing Your Battery for a Hydrometer ReadingBefore you conduct your tests, you need to make some preparations.Remove dirt and buildup from the battery top, if necessary. How to do a Hydrometer CheckOnce your battery has met the conditions described in the previous section, it's time to read your electrolyte density. Car Repair ManualsJeep Cherokee: 1984 thru 2001 - Cherokee - Wagoneer - Comanche (Haynes Repair Manuals)Haynes offers the best coverage for cars, trucks, vans, SUVs and motorcycles on the market today. A car battery hydrometer is an excellent way to determine the state of health of your battery and will save you money on unnecessary replacements. 1Do It Yourself Auto RepairCar Battery Leak TestA car battery leak test will help you stop power loss and extend your battery service life in a few simple steps. The SkyLife publishes Technical How-to Guides, News and Entertainment Articles featuring Videos, Photos and Stories of the most Exotic and Modified Cars in the world. The basic theory is that by using the starter motor to crank over the engine, you remove the spark and fuel and see how much pressure each cylinder will build. We always start with a compression test because if the compression across all the cylinders is above the minimum required spec, and each cylinder is within 10% deviation of all the other cylinders, then it's fair to assume the engine is in good shape.
By adding a few drops of oil through the spark plugs holes at the top of the cylinder you can effectively temporarily seal the piston rings. It's a good idea to have a charging kit near-by just in case.Check out this Article on How To Relocate your Car Battery. Next there are a couple of screws off-set in between each coil-pack, remove them and lift the forward three coils vertically upward, using caution to not tear any of the boots. Then, screw the compression tester adapter into the spark plug hole #1, and connect the gauge to the hose.
If you have a friend, tell them to sit in the drivers' seat and press the throttle down to the floor and keep it there, while you hold the gauge in your hand and watch the pressure build. If you do find low numbers, then it's a good idea to drop some oil into each cylinder and re-do the test. If your battery discharges from time to time, suddenly dies or makes it hard to start your vehicle, a hydrometer will tell you if your battery is actually charged, needs a charge, or it's time for a replacement.On a free-maintenance type battery you know its condition by the color of its eye indicator.

You use a car battery hydrometer to measure the specific gravity a€” density or weight a€” of the electrolyte inside your battery to know if your battery is fully charged, needs a charge, or one or more cells have failed.It's good that a hydrometer can tell you this information about your battery, but it's also interesting to learn how the tool knows the state of health of your battery. It comes fitted with a rubber bulb at one end and, sometimes, a small rubber hose on the other end. The best time to check the state of charge of your battery is when your battery is showing signs of trouble. Each manual contains easy to follow step-by-step instructions linked to hundreds of photographs and illustrations.
Next, you'll need to unplug the ignition amplifier situated at the rear, bolted to the coil-pack cover.
Now, you'll need to make sure no fuel or spark is triggered while doing the test, this is accomplished simply by disconnecting the Cam Angle Sensor, located on the front of the engine on the timing belt cover. However, not all hydrometer configurations are equally efficient.Look for a hydrometer with a built-in thermometer. This will help potential bad battery cells to 'surface' through the electrolyte gravity readings. Tips, Tricks, Guides, Walk-troughs, Tutorials and How to articles for Engines and Turbo Overhaul, Oil Pump issues, Tuning, Turbo Swap, Engine Removal and Installation, Customization and Engine Building Assembly. There's one large plug, and a ground wire that need to be disconnected, then you should be able to lift up the cover just enough to reach your hand under, and unplug the ignition harness from the under-side of the amplifier.
If you're doing the test just as a quick check of the condition, then three cranks per cylinder may suffice. A well maintained high-mileage engine can easily see above 160 PSI though, it all comes down to if the engine has been abused or not.
But first, you need to have a basic idea about what a battery hydrometer is, how to choose one, how to go about doing the actual test and interpreting your results. Then, apply the solution to the battery top and sides with a soft brush and wipe the solution with a clean rag or paper towel. If the numbers didn't get any better, then you can be sure it's not the piston rings, but instead could be a head-gasket, or bad valves. By the third crank you should see a pressure of at least 150 PSI to indicate proper sealing. A leak down test is when compressed air via a compressor is used to pressurise the cylinder whilst the piston is at top dead centre.
For measurement purposes, water is said to have a density of 1.000 when compared to electrolyte. Just don't let the solution get under the caps or it'll ruin the electrolyte.Next, remove the battery caps using a standard screwdriver.
Still, here are some suggestions and a general description of the steps you'll take when doing a hydrometer test on your battery.1.
This will mean the difference the between pulling the whole engine out, versus just removing the head.
If you're doing the test to see what the real maximum seal pressure is then it's recommended to do 5 cranks, where you should see a pressure of near 160 or above. The level of air loss determines the condition of that cylinder and it's associated components. When battery conditions improve so to speak, those same sulfur molecules move back into the electrolyte, recharging your battery and increasing electrolyte weight.

So you need the thermometer to compensate for different electrolyte temperatures during the time of reading. If necessary, add distilled water to bring the electrolyte to the correct level, and allow the battery to go through a charge and discharge cycle to mix the water thoroughly.
Remove the caps from the battery top, squeeze the hydrometer rubber bulb and submerge the tip into the electrolyte.3.
However, when enough sulfur makes it into the plates without being able to move back into the electrolyte, your battery becomes discharged.
For this, drive around and run some errands.Also, if your battery is discharged, try to slow-charge it. You can actually die.Also, try to buy a quality hydrometer with a glass tube and floating capsule.
This will not only discard the possibility of a charging issue, but will help restore battery internal properties. And a hydrometer will give you this information.But more than the condition of the electrolyte in a particular battery cell, it is the condition of the electrolyte in a cell compartment with respect to the others that will tell you whether your battery is charged, needs a charge, or has degraded, as we'll see later.
The dial a€” swinging arm a€” and floating disk types stick at times and cause you to misread the actual electrolyte density. If the electrolyte has a grayish tint, either a cell has degraded, or your battery has reached the end of its service life. Allow the liquid to sit inside the glass tube for a few seconds, and then release it back into the battery.
Repeat this four or five times to get the thermometer up to speed with the electrolyte temperature.5.
Draw electrolyte into the hydrometer once more, starting with the first cell on either side of the battery. Make sure to pull enough of the liquid so the float in the hydrometer reaches around the center of the container and moves freely.6. To read the electrolyte specific gravity, read the number on the float's scale that intersects the surface level of the electrolyte. If you have a ball a€” or needle-type a€” hydrometer, follow the instructions on your tool's package for the reading.8. He thinks that if the issue had been with the bottom end, the engine would be noisy or run really rough on a consistent basis. My engine actually starts right up, runs like crap for the first 10-15 minutes, but as soon as I give it gas under load, the car still pulls hard.
I am stumped as I cannot confirm or deny what he is saying, without him checking the head out first. Add or subtract four points (.004) to your reading for every 10 F (6 C) registered above or below 80 F (27 C). I would first bring it to a second mechanic, don't tell them anything and just have them do a second compression test - compare the results. This is where an engine leak-down test can tell you whether your issue lies in the head or in the block.

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