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Old 04-13-2015, 10:31 AM   #1
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Default General Tool Question

I have no idea if this is the correct place for this thread. If not, please let me know and I will move it.

I have a pretty basic, possibly dumb but important question; at least for me. Can you use a Fuel Pressure Test Kit to check Engine Compression? If so, does it require a special adapter to connect to the spark plug opening? If not, is there one tool you can buy to accomplish both, i.e. a tool of a different name?

Maybe I'm being dense, but other than the fact that one measures a gas and the other a liquid, it seems like the basic function is the same. Sorry if it's an ignorant observation.

Thank you for your time!

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Old 04-13-2015, 12:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: General Tool Question

I don't know if such a tool exists, but I wouldn't expect it. Fuel pressure is not as high as engine compression. It would require a gauge witch could read pressures up to and over 200 lbs psi. The hose itself would be much stronger on a compression tester due to higher psi requirements. The hose diameter itself is not likely to be identical between the two gauge types. Could it exist? Who knows? You'll need to do a search among tool makers. A good one to look over would be OTC. Other possibilities include Lisle and K-D Tools.

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Old 04-13-2015, 12:43 PM   #3
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Default Re: General Tool Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by pierrot View Post
I don't know if such a tool exists, but I wouldn't expect it. Fuel pressure is not as high as engine compression. It would require a gauge witch could read pressures up to and over 200 lbs psi. The hose itself would be much stronger on a compression tester due to higher psi requirements. The hose diameter itself is not likely to be identical between the two gauge types. Could it exist? Who knows? You'll need to do a search among tool makers. A good one to look over would be OTC. Other possibilities include Lisle and K-D Tools.
Thanks for that Pierrot. I'll do some digging and see what I can come up with. By the way, do you know of a site where you can search for cylinder compression specifications by make/model/year or by engines? I'm going to need to buy an inexpensive used car in a few months and I have to shop by price rather than searching for anything specific. It might be nice to have a reference site rather than searching the entire internet each time I find a possible candidate. I appreciate your help!

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Old 04-13-2015, 05:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: General Tool Question

The only problem using one pressure gauge for two purposes is the range of pressures measured. The way pressure gauges are made, there is a narrow range where accuracy matches the indicator face, the middle 2/3rds of gauges. If a 0-300 psi gauge is used for measuring fuel pressure, hoses and fittings are needed to adapt one gauge for two purposes. The gauge itself may not be accurate for displaying the lower pressures (presumed between 30-60 psi). As you can see in a side by side comparison of two typical pressure gauges, the fuel pressure gauge is not suitable for compression testing but the compression gauge can be used to measure fuel pressure. The question is accuracy that may be outside the range, in this case the lower range. There are no rules against adapting any pressure gauge as long as it meets requirements for safety, utility and accuracy. Large diameter gauges are better than small diameter gauges.

There is no reason not to try adapting a compression gauge to measure fuel pressure but the question is accuracy in reading lower pressures and the main reason to have gauges for specific purposes in a suitable range. While I used a 0-300 psi compression gauge for discussion, searching for a 0-200 psi gauge may fit a dual purpose role. Maybe 0-150 psi. There's a wide selection of gauges for customizing as well as hoses and fittings to choose from. Once you decide to custom make a dual purpose pressure gauge, you'll need to find all the proper hoses and fittings to make it work. In the end, it may cost more to create a custom made dual purpose pressure gauge compared to buying two low cost gauges accurate enough for occasional use........
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Old 04-13-2015, 08:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: General Tool Question

Thank you for that excellent explanation Fdryer! It makes perfect sense. I read your message when I walked in the door and the timing couldn't have been any better. I actually stopped at Harbor Freight Tools on my way home from out of town and took a good look at both types of products. You are absolutely correct, it all comes down to "scale" for lack of a better term. While I was tempted to pick up a compression gauge and customize it, I just couldn't justify the expense. I don't think it's a bad idea though and when my finances are in better shape, I may just do that. Even if you purchase an extra individual gauge, having all of the adapters and hoses in one nicely put-together kit capable of performing both functions might be nice. Anyhow, thanks again for your stellar response! This site has been of so much value to me!

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Old 04-13-2015, 09:23 PM   #6
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Default Re: General Tool Question

One problem not brought up sometimes are parts quality. Without mentioning any names, I thought an inexpensive refrigeration gauge set would update my tool set from ancient (R12) to present (R134a). It was an expensive lesson as I thought a new R134a gauge set would pay for itself after a few a/c repairs. NOT. While cost wasn't a consideration, the (approx.) $90 cost 10 years ago didn't seem too expensive until I ran into repeated problems with valve construction quality. After several quick repairs to allow use, I realized I spent more time fixing this gauge set than using it as I had perfect reliable service from a well used R12 set. I shopped online and bought another R134 gauge set from a well known name brand along with the quick couplers. They have been reliable right out if the box. I didn't buy the top of the line $$$$ set, just a plain working set like my old R12 gauges. Sometimes, buying quality for a little more money pays off in long term reliability. The difference between the inexpensive set and the good one? The low quality valves used instead of the quick connect quality ones. Night and day.

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Old 04-15-2015, 09:12 AM   #7
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Default Re: General Tool Question

Thank you guys for your responses. You've certainly answered my question!

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Old 04-15-2015, 03:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: General Tool Question

I've run into an unexpected snag. I purchased a fuel pressure test kit at Harbor Freight Tools. It's a Pittsburgh Automotive # 92699 (yes I know, I should have gotten a better quality unit but frankly, it was all I could afford). Unfortunately, I did it on my way home from out of town and it's kind of far from me. My gauge is defective. I fitted PTFE tape on the threads and connected everything correctly. My reading is 0. There is fuel coming out of the Schrader Valve but no pressure is getting to the gauge. I believe that the fault lies in Flex Hose 9 (long hose), which connects the male schrader valve (using the female swivel coupling) to the male pressure gauge fitting (using the female brass fitting - where everyone complains of leaks from what I've read). If I were a betting man, which I am not, I'd say that the pin that pushes into the schrader valve stem is not making proper contact. Any suggestions on how to proceed?

Thank you so much!

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Old 04-16-2015, 03:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: General Tool Question

Several members have reported problems with HF fuel pressure gauges. Suffice it to say too many issues are occurring with this gauge and you have two options; return it for a refund/replace it with another one or look for a different brand of pressure gauge. Safety is an issue here as no one wants to have a faulty fuel pressure gauge suddenly leak/spray gasoline over a live engine.

If you are able to, post some pictures of this offending gauge fitting and how its made incorrectly. If you are correct about the pin depressor being faulty, you may be able to make or modify it to work correctly. Whether its worth the time to correct a faulty or poor design is up to you as it seems you ran into a poorly made product.

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Old 04-16-2015, 04:06 PM   #10
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Default Re: General Tool Question

After hearing from OldNuc, I decided to see if I could repair the defective fitting. I don't have a picture of the end result, but here's what it looked like when I unboxed it.






You can see the center pin bent to one side. What I've done is to straighten it out so it can make a clean contact with the stem on the schrader valve. I'll post hopefully later today after trying to measure pressure again. I'll also have access to a camera this evening if anybody wants a picture of the "hopefully" working fitting. Please let me know if the images don't display correctly and thank you for your help Fdryer!

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Old 04-16-2015, 07:14 PM   #11
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Default Re: General Tool Question

Thank you for the pictures. That brass piece and rubber bushing is an a/c fitting, aptly called a valve depressor. They're available as replacement pieces when depressors and rubber bushings wear out. I bought them in a package as a kit to replace worn out bushings in my well used R12 a/c gauges. Each hose uses a bushing and brass valve depressor on each end.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg hoseend134.jpg (33.3 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg maxresdefault.jpg (70.4 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg HoseKit3.jpg (18.7 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg 20891145_faa_59122_pri_larg.jpg (20.7 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg hose_depressor.jpg (42.4 KB, 2 views)

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Old 04-17-2015, 11:12 AM   #12
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Default Re: General Tool Question

I see exactly what you mean and thanks for sharing that. I was fortunate enough to be able to repair mine without having to buy replacement parts. Thanks to your and OldNuc's suggestions, I saved a few bucks. I used needle-nose pliers and tweezers to reshape the valve depressor and it now makes excellent contact. I was able to obtain the necessary pressure readings and can now continue to troubleshoot my on-going idle problem. Thank you so much!

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