So, I was getting ready to disconnect the negative battery cable on my 2002 Chevy Tahoe 5.3 Vortec to replace the water pump, timing chain, and do a cam swap. I got to thinking, if I am gonna do a cam swap, what about the short block (pistons, connecting rods, crank shaft, mains, bearings, etc.)? I thought, “what if I do the cam swap and I have a problem with piston rings next year, I would be pissed”.
I got on Google and started researching. I discovered that I could test the bottom end with a compression test of the cylinders. So prior to tearing into the engine, I decided to do a compression test of all the cylinders, and added a vacuum test to the mix, just ‘cause.
At this point, I removed the spark plugs to do the compression test. Essentially, the compression test gauge screws into the spark plug hole for each cylinder. Here is something I learned much later in the series: If you are planning to tear into your engine quite a bit, i found that raising the car (supporting it by sturdy jack stands, of course) taking off the front wheels, and removing the wheel well plastic piece gives very nice access to the spark plug holes. Both the compression test and the vacuum tests went well with my engine. I felt comfortable knowing that the vacuum pressure was good, and that with 180-200 psi in all 8 cylinders, I could get away with not completely removing the engine and doing the short block.
I also wanted to benchmark one other thing. I recently put in a Flowmaster 50 Series Delta Flow exhaust and I wanted to get a before and after comparison sound test. I included the “before” in this first video
So, here’s the start of my long journey. I will be the first to admit, I’ve never done this before and I don’t know what I’m doing. But in today’s Internet world with Google and YouTube, and armed with an old fashion Haynes Directory – I felt comfortable knowing that if I got stuck, help was a click away. Here we go ……..