Question about 1992 Saturn SL1

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So i was just wondering what the compression should be at cause i ran a compression test and on three of the cyliders the had a little over 100 PSI and the other was 70. and if the 70 is bad what do i do?

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A car that old is not worth rebuilding the engine. For the price of an engine rebuild you can buy a 99 Saturn with half the miles. Or you can call a junkyard and see if they can locate you a SOHC saturn engine to fit a 92, probably any Saturn SOHC up to 95 will do. Used motor will cost 300-400 dollars plus removal/install while a rebuild will cost you 1500 at least plus a removal/install.

Posted on Oct 15, 2010

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1 Answer

What should the psi compression be thanks.


It can vary between make and model of car. However, a general rule of thumb is that 135+ average is okay. Less than 85psi is pointing at something seriously amiss in the engine.

It can vary - some cars may have 125psi as 'average' compression.

Don't expect each cylinder to give the same compression reading as there will be a fluctuation. Another general rule of thumb is that there shouldn't be more than 10% variation between the readings. That is, if cylinder No1 is 135 psi, cylinder No2 shouldn't be less than '125 ish'.

If you suspect you may have compression issues, it's quite easy to do a bit of fault finding. Warm the engine first so that the pistons are expanded in the cylinders. Then do a dry compression (normal) test.

Here's some examples of compression tests on a 4 cylinder engine:
130 127 129 127

All compression readings are within 10% of each other. Fine.

Example 2:
95 95 129 127
Here, a low compression reading on cylinder 1 and 2 suggests a problem. It may be due to a faulty head gasket/cylinder head allowing compressed gases to be transferred via the defective head gasket from one cylinder to another.

Example 3:
130 80 129 127
Cylinder No2 has a problem. It's compression is way down. The other three cylinders are fine. So .. what is the cause of the low compression on cylinder 2? It could be a broken ring/cracked piston or a burnt exhaust valve.

This is where you do a second compression test - called the 'wet' test.

Squirt some light engine oil into each cylinder. Aim for the cylinder walls so that the oil can find its way down the walls and around the piston rings. Place a rag over each spark plug hole and spin the engine to expel excess oil.

The oil that you have sprayed into each cylinder will form a 'seal' around the piston ring. Do another compression test and note down the readings. Here's example 3 again:
Example 3:
130 80 129 127
.. with the low compression on cylinder 2.

If after carrying out the 'wet' compression test you have a reading along the lines of
130 100 129 127
suggests that the bore/piston rings in cylinder 2 are at fault. The compression has increased on No2 cylinder because of the oil forming a seal around the rings.

If there is no increase in psi on the wet test i.e
130 80 129 127
This suggests a burnt exhaust valve.

May 17, 2016 | Cars & Trucks

2 Answers

3.8l. How much compression should it have?


most standard engines run a compression of around 155 -165 psi with no more than 10% variation between cylinders

Mar 12, 2016 | 1995 Buick Park Avenue

1 Answer

Popping on acceleration


It could be a problem in the valve train. For a car that old, before putting new parts in, you could buy a compression tester for about $30, and do your own compression test. It should tell you if the engine is good enough internally to warrant proceeding. If compression is low on any cylinders, that problem must be addressed first. If a valve is not sealing and causing the popping, that cylinder will show low compression.
For the test, the engine should be at normal operating temperature. Then pull all the plugs out, connect tester to #1 spark plug hole. Have a helper hold the throttle wide open while cranking the engine over about 5 seconds. Watch the gauge-the first revolution or two will cause the gauge to jump high at first, and successive revolutions during the 5 second span will cause the needle on gauge to climb a little each time. Record or note the compression on #1, then do each cylinder. Try to do the same amount of cranking on each cylinder, and keep the throttle wide open. What you want are compression readings on each cylinder that is well above 100 psi, and all should be close. The lowest reading should be within 75-85% of the highest reading cylinder. Example: say your highest reading is 135 psi. 85% of 135 is 115-so your lowest reading should be at least 115 psi. Some general guidelines: any cylinder with compression below 100 psi is definitely a problem-that cylinder will not have hardly any power output, even if it is firing. Worn piston rings or poor valve sealing is causing compression loss. A newer engine should have compression readings above 150 psi. As the engine wears, compression will drop. In general, for high mileage engines, you would want to see compression in the range of 125-150 psi, the higher the better, but remember, it should be balanced-the lowest should be at least 75% of the highest reading cylinder.
Post back if you have questions-good luck.

Jan 26, 2014 | 1983 Oldsmobile Firenza

2 Answers

I have a 99 sienna and the cylinders have low pressure what can i do?


If cylinder compression is too low, the car may not even start because of it. Have a shop do a compression test or a leak-down test to check the internal health of your engine. A good engine should have pressures of 150-200 psi in all cylinders and be close to each other. A worn or high mileage engine may have pressure as low as, say 125 psi, but if still balanced (close readings), would still run decent. Compression below that, especially below 100 psi, is serious trouble. ignition spark refuses to ignite the air/fuel mixture and you get a misfire-a non-working cylinder. Low compression can be caused by worn piiston rings or poor valve sealing. Low compression in 1 or 2 cylinders can be a valve problem, burned valves or valves not seating properly.
A leak-down test will check each cylinder and if there is a problem, the test will find the cause of the problem.

Dec 11, 2012 | 1999 Toyota Sienna

1 Answer

What is the factory specified max. compression, new motor, GM 4.3 ltr, V6


Interpreting the Results
of the Engine Compression Test.The idea behind the Engine Compression Test (in the case of a Misfire Condition or Rough Idle Condition) is to find out if any one engine cylinder is not contributing 100% of its power to the overall engine output. If only one cylinder has lower than normal compression, your GM 4.3L (or 5.0L, 5.7L) equipped vehicle will run rough or cause a Misfire Code to set and turn on the Check Engine Light.
So then, to wrap things up, the individual cylinder compression readings of each engine cylinder can not vary more than 15%... and this is how you can find out:
  1. 1Grab a calculator and multiply the highest compression reading that you recorded by .15.

    So, let's say that cylinder #4 gave you the highest reading of 170 PSI. Well 170 X .15 gives you 26 (25.5 rounded off).
  2. 2Now, the next step is to subtract 26 from 170... which gives us 144 PSI.
  3. 3So then, 144 PSI is the lowest possible compression reading that any one of the rest of the engine cylinders can have. Any compression reading below this.. and that engine cylinder will misfire..

Sep 30, 2012 | 2006 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 2WD

1 Answer

What should the compression level be for a 1998 toyota camry?


compression should be about 150-180 psi with maximum deviation of about 20 psi between all cylinders. A compression test is not a very reliable way to test for headgasket leaks. It should be tested for headgasket leaks by using a chemical test caled a block test or checked with a device that can check for hydrocarbons in the coolant.

Apr 22, 2012 | 1998 Toyota Camry

2 Answers

The jeep still misfire on #2 cylinder after putting new coils,new spark plugs and #2 cylinder fuel injector


Hello regenald_135: My name is Roger and I will help. It appears you have replaced most of the parts related to a misfire. Have you checked the compression in number two cylinder? Without the proper compression the cylinder will not fire. The compression should be (120 to 150)psi. But any thing less than (100)psi. and the cylinder will not fire. The cause of low compression could be valve or piston related.Having replaced all the parts that already I would strongly recommend the compression test as this will likely show the problem. One other place you might also check. Remove the distributor cap. Try to move the rotor side to side.If the rotor wobbles side to side the distributor shaft bushings are worn. Be movement I mean more then a few thousands of a inch. I have ran across this a couple of times. This usually presents as a out of time engine. But could be the early stage of distributor failure. Should you need further help please just ask. Please rate the answer. This is my way of knowing the answer helped. Thank You for using Fix Ya. Roger

Mar 20, 2010 | 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2 Answers

I have a 99 automatic V.W. Jetty, it vibrates a lot when is park, drive, or reverse, and also wile accelerating. I have a loss of HP, and sometimes my engine smokes from burning oil leaking on my engine....


Sounds like you have a lost, or weak cylinder in the engine. A compression test and, or a leak down test with confirm the condition of the engine.

Sep 11, 2009 | 1997 Acura TL Series

2 Answers

I'm working on a 95 xj6 the car had set up for 5 years drained all the gas and put new fuel in it. The problem is it won't start. It's getting fuel to the cylinders and it has good spark but still won't...


Check again, but spray a litle heavy oil in the low cylinders first, see the compression comes up. Try a brand new battery, sounds strange, but try it !!

Aug 15, 2009 | 1995 Jaguar XJ6

1 Answer

I need to know what the compression specs are for a 1994 351W Fuel Injected Ford Bronco.


Minimum compression is 100 psi @ 200 rpm. The lowest cylinder reading should not be less than 80% of the highest reading. Perform the compression test with engine at normal operating temperature, spark plugs removed and throttle wide open. Normally I look for about 170 psi to 180 psi.

Dec 16, 2008 | 1994 Ford Bronco

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