Men of Steel


I?ve just finished compression testing my 73 Chrysler New Yorker 440, and I quote verbatim this simple spec from the Mopar workshop manual ? ?Minimum Compression with Engine Warm, Spark Plugs Removed, Wide Open Throttle - 100 psi?.

Did workshop techies in 73 have asbestos fingers or something ? And did Mopar have 25 technicians available to do this job (1 to hold the compression test adaptor and 24 to turn the car) ? If no-one has tried this task, the plugs are under the exhaust manifold surrounded by a steel heat shield. You need arms 1? in diameter, hands of asbestos, muscles of steel and the patience of Mother Theresa.

This job has got to rate up there with replacing the Mini Cooper head / block interconnection hose (a trivial sounding item designed to fool the unwary) or Jaguar IRS handbrake pads???.or am I just whining ? And yes, I used a good Snap On compression test kit with all the adaptors and quick fit hoses.

Any other ?worst job? contenders out there ? ? I?ll make sure I avoid any vehicles mentioned.


Most mechanics used a remote starter switch between the battery and starter solenoid. This allowed them to crank the engine while using either a screw-in or hold-on compression tester.

Bleeding knuckles and burns are part of the game, although one usually waited and allowed the engine to get at least tolerably cool before attempting some of those tests.

I’ll disagree right now with that Mopar workshop manual about the Minimum compression being a 100 PSI.
A 100 PSI means a worn out engine or one with some serious issues related to the cylinders.

Biggest pain to check compression on? One of my sons has a 96 Camaro with the 3.8 V-6 and even the rear 2 plugs on each side are a royal pain to change, much less run a compression test.


Yes, those were tough men in those days. If you ever get to the first lunar landing site, you’ll see that those first steps are FOOT prints, not BOOT prints! Betcha didn’t know.


I replaced the timing belt on my wifes 87 Accord when it first needed it back around 1990. If you have forearms bigger then 2"…forget it…There were a couple bolts I could NOT reach because my arms were too big to get into the tight space. I had to explain to my wife what had to be done and she did it. That was the last time I replaced the timing belt on a Accord. I’ve done it 6 times now on my Pathfinders…Piece of cake compared to the Accord.