How to Measure Your Engine Health with Melling Engine Parts


At this point, Melling Engine Parts has been supplying mechanics and automotive enthusiasts with OEM and aftermarket performance parts for over 75 years.

Whether you’re servicing your car’s engine, seriously considering swapping out another engine, or rebuilding some kind of Frankenstein build, knowing precisely what condition that powertrain is in should always be the first step.

If you are considering performing your own engine “health check” at home, we strongly suggest you watch the video embedded below, as Melling’s Senior Technical Director has put together an informative overview of all that happens in measuring the health of an engine. .

Photo Credit: Melling Engine Parts

It doesn’t matter whether you’re filling up a “lightly used” V8 inside a Geo Metro, or replacing the oil pump, timing chain/belt, piston rings, or any other internal engine component in your engine. ‘origin. If you want to avoid costly repairs down the line, now is the time to diagnose your engine’s overall health.

Melling suggests that you always start with an engine oil pressure test, because the presence of a low, but slightly too hot, idle pressure reading could mean something fishy is going on below the surface. Maintaining a healthy oil volume is critical to an engine’s ability to run and cool, so any “internal bleeding” should definitely set off red flags.

While internal engine wear is the first culprit Melling identifies during the engine “physics” in the video, it’s worth mentioning that things like faulty or clogged oil-sending units can also be the cause of this phenomenon. Either way, a decrease in valve train lubrication and a shortage of hydraulic timing tensioner oil will only cause headaches down the road. So even if that pressure seems a little low and the temps are a little toasty, it’s better to open that engine up and figure out what’s wrong rather than hope for everything to be fine in the end.

If everything seems to be fine in the oil pressure department, it’s time to give the engine a full compression test, with every cylinder returning no less than a 100 PSI rating, or less than 70% of everything. another cylinder. Melling suggests that worn piston rings, improper valve seat issues, and bad timing should be the first culprits to consider before moving on to less likely (and more expensive) fixes.

Melling says a cylinder leak test on a healthy used engine should give all cylinders less than 15% leak return and no more than 5% leak between each cylinder. Anything above these thresholds could mean your engine is running on bent valves due to timing failure, the aforementioned compromised piston ring fiasco, valve face seating issues, or a combination of any of these. what precedes.

Another health check performed by Melling as standard procedure is to cut out the old oil filter. Although a quality magnetic oil pan drain bolt eliminates the need to hack the engine oil filter to check the engine for metal debris, buying a used engine does not always guarantee that you find one of those inexpensive bolts installed, at which point, you’ll need to crack that oil filter open.


Speaking of oil filters, pulling a modern engine’s variable valve timing solenoids is another great way to make sure your engine hasn’t suffered a massive meltdown of contamination. The presence of an excessive buildup of metallic debris means that the oil filter has been bypassed entirely and waste that should have been absorbed by the filter has been spat throughout the engine.

Once all of that is done and one (or any combo) of the above has materialized, it’s time to open up the engine and start inspecting the internals, in which case it won’t. it’s more about measuring the overall health of an engine, but about conducting open-heart surgery.

That’s why we suggest you contact Melling Engine Parts through their online technical support center, or by calling 517-787-8172, Ext. 2601 for a quick discussion of your engine issues. Chances are they will be able to answer your questions and help you find the right Melling replacement part for your engine.

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