Dodge Journey: Cylinder compression pressure test

The results of a cylinder compression pressure test can be utilized to diagnose several engine malfunctions.

Ensure the battery is completely charged and the engine starter motor is in good operating condition. Otherwise the indicated compression pressures may not be valid for diagnosis purposes.

1. Check engine oil level and add oil if necessary.

2. Drive the vehicle until engine reaches normal operating temperature. Select a route free from traffic and other forms of congestion, observe all traffic laws, and accelerate through the gears several times briskly.

3. Remove all spark plugs from engine. As spark plugs are being removed, check electrodes for abnormal firing indicators such as fouled, hot, oily, etc. Record cylinder number of spark plug for future reference.

4. Remove the Auto Shutdown (ASD) relay from the Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM).

5. Install a suitable compression test gauge into the #1 spark plug hole in cylinder head.

6. Crank engine until maximum pressure is reached on gauge. Record this pressure as #1 cylinder pressure.

7. Repeat the previous step for all remaining cylinders.

8. Compression should not be less than 689 kPa (100 psi) and not vary more than 25 percent from cylinder to cylinder.

9. If one or more cylinders have abnormally low compression pressures, repeat the compression test.

10. If the same cylinder or cylinders repeat an abnormally low reading on the second compression test, it could indicate the existence of a problem in the cylinder in question. The recommended compression pressures are to be used only as a guide to diagnosing engine problems. An engine should not be disassembled to determine the cause of low compression unless some malfunction is present.


The combustion pressure leakage test provides an accurate means for determining engine condition.

Combustion pressure leakage testing will detect:

  • Exhaust and intake valve leaks (improper seating).
  • Leaks between adjacent cylinders or into water jacket.
  • Any causes for combustion/compression pressure loss.


Check the coolant level and fill as required. DO NOT install the pressure cap.

Start and operate the engine until it attains normal operating temperature, then turn the engine OFF.

Clean spark plug recesses with compressed air.

Remove the spark plugs.

Remove the oil filler cap.

Remove the air cleaner.

Calibrate the tester according to the manufacturer's instructions. The shop air source for testing should maintain 483 kPa (70 psi) minimum, 1,379 kPa (200 psi) maximum, with 552 kPa (80 psi) recommended.

Perform the test procedures on each cylinder according to the tester manufacturer's instructions. While testing, listen for pressurized air escaping through the throttle body, tailpipe and oil filler cap opening. Check for bubbles in the coolant.

All gauge pressure indications should be equal, with no more than 25% leakage per cylinder.

FOR EXAMPLE: At 552 kPa (80 psi) input pressure, a minimum of 414 kPa (60 psi) should be maintained in the cylinder.

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