"Abbey" is a 1949 Chevy 3600 pickup, and new acquisition to the household. Wanting a new vehicle to replace my current drive, she spoke to me—but more importantly—she spoke to my hubby, the car guy. I had visions of seeing her, paying for her and driving her home. He laughed at that. This blog is about Abbey’s journey through the eyes of a woman who knows nothing at all about fixing old cars but is willing to watch, take photos, journal it and love every minute - now that Abbey is here.
34: Compression Testing the Engine
We compression-tested the engine.
First you rent a compression tester. I didn’t even know this
was possible, but then again I didn’t know about compression gauges and/or testing. Live and learn.
The premise of this test is to see what the overall health
of the engine is. This helps when making assessments on engines...like doing a rebuild VS
purchasing a new one.
The compression gauge is stuck in the spark plug hole (minus
the spark plug) and the starter mashed. Using a handy-dandy clipboard, make a grid
chart for all 6 spark plug readings. This is a much better idea than trying to
remember which spark plug had what gauge number associated with it. Numbers are recorded and on to the
next spark plug hole.
This little gadget by the way is FREE to rent from any O’Reilly Auto Parts store. No kidding. Actually, O’Reilly (a national chain) rents a lot of
equipment free for the asking. They figure when you find something wrong on
your vehicle (and you probably will) you will come back to them for the parts.
Very clever marketing.
After the first round of gauge testing and numbers are
recorded down the line, each hole gets tested again but this time with a bit of
oil squirted into it beforehand. The comparison tests (with and without oil
squirts) tell the mechanic if the issue is a worn piston ring, a blown head
gasket, leaking valves or both rings and valves. That last paragraph was for any gear head reading this blog (which is
If you’re really curious (again doubtful), detailed discussion found here:
I asked TD what Abbey’s health diagnosis was and he said she
was in full blown cardiac arrest.
Afternoon and evening discussions continued well into the next day about an engine rebuild or
purchasing a new engine.
At one time TD said, “You know,
when we bought the truck you just expected to pay for it, and then hop in and drive it straight home 3 hours on the highway."
That’s when I did the laughing.
I told him back then I didn't know about the Old Car Domino Effect.