Thread: DIY Leak Down Tester
05-19-2009, 01:36 PM #1
DIY Leak Down Tester
A leak-down tester is a measuring instrument used to determine the condition of internal combustion engines by introducing compressed air into the cylinder and measuring the rate at which it leaks out. Compression testing is a crude form of leak-down testing which also includes effects due to compression ratio, starter/battery condition and other factors. Leak-down testing confines the results to cylinder leakage alone.
Testing is done on an engine which is not running, and normally with the tested cylinder at top dead center, although testing can be done at other points in the compression and power stroke. Pressure is fed into a cylinder via the spark plug hole and the flow, which represents any leakage from the cylinder, is measured.
Leakage is given in wholly arbitrary percentages but these “percentages” do not relate to any actual quantity or real dimension. The meaning of the readings is only relative to other tests done with the same design of tester. Leak-down readings of up to 20% are usually acceptable while greater than that requires a repair. Racing engines would be in the 1-10% range for top performance.
In the United States, FAA specifications state that engines up to 1,000 cu in (16 L) displacement require a 0.040 in (1.0 mm) orifice diameter, 0.250 in (6.4 mm) long, 60-degree approach angle. The input pressure is set for 80 psi (550 kPa), and 60 psi (410 kPa) minimum cylinder pressure is the accepted standard.
While the leak-down tester pressurizes the cylinder, the mechanic can listen to various parts to determine where any leak may originate. For example, a leaking exhaust valve will make a hissing noise in the exhaust pipe while a head gasket may cause bubbling in the cooling system.
05-27-2009, 08:39 AM #2
08-14-2011, 07:32 AM #3
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