Limitations and Recommended Practice In the Use of Compression and Leak-Down Tests to Monitor Gradual Engine Degradation 2011-01-2427
Compression and leak-down tests are frequently used to identify and diagnose failed engine power cylinders. It is also often desirable in research and testing programs to use these tests to monitor incremental changes in cylinder leakage. This paper investigates whether these tests are adequate in their present form to monitor incremental changes in cylinder leakage. Results are presented from two vehicle fleets at two test sites. Compression and leak-down tests were conducted on these fleets periodically during a mileage accumulation study. The results were used to establish the variability inherent in the compression and leak-down test processes. Comparisons between the results at the initial mileage test for the study vehicles with those at the final mileage test are shown to be largely within the uncertainty established for repeat assessments. The relative overlap in the magnitude of leakage changes and measurement uncertainty shows that the leak-down and compression tests are not useful in their present forms for monitoring incremental changes in engine leakage. Recommendations for reducing the variability of the leak-down test, perhaps making it useful for future studies, are presented.