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What could it be? Car died. I lost all compression on all 4 cylinders in my car ? Answered

This is a 2000 Dodge Neon 4 CYL 16 valves,SOHC engine. Ok. On oct 1st I was driving about 60 mph for about 6 minutes after leaving my house in the morning I heard a noise that sounded like a pulley belt then the car turned off, pulled over to a parking and checked to see if a belt broke and they both were there. I checked the timing belt still on. try to start it and the timing belt look to be ok and turning. I did notice that when cranking it sounded weird like it had no compression at all at the pistons. I towed the car home checked the compression an all 4 cylinders and I was right I had no compression at all on all 4 cylinders. I see the timing belt turning when I crank it so I know for sure that it can't be the timing since the belt was replaced MAY, 2009 when the water pump went bad along with a new pump and rebuilt head w/brand new valves. I'm not sure what 's going on all i know is when I crank it the timing belts turns, the pulley belts all turn fine. This is the first time I had this problem. I fix all my cars but this is a first for me. If anyone has any idea what could it be I appreciate your help. I just spent a lot of money on this car so I need to have an idea before I start pulling it apart after installing a new head gasket set with all the new parts. THANKS


I'm dealing with a similar situation on a 2000 Mazda Protege. The car had a new belt and water pump 30,000 miles ago. Yesterday it just wouldn't start and the engine spun at a higher rate of speed when cranking and sounded quieter than normal. The camshafts are turning. Got spark and smell gas on them. No oil in the water and no water in the oil. It could be either a badly blown head gasket, which doesn't seem the case as there is no intermingling of oil and water..or it could be that even though the timing belt and pump were replaced, the belt has jumped a few notches. (BTW, this is a non-interferance motor). My thinking is that right now the cams are off and both opening at the same time. Normally, one valve is closed and one is open depending if it's on the compression or exhaust cycle. i suspect the incoming air mixture is simple exiting on the same stroke. Hence no compression.

Did you change the belt tensioner. I made the mistake not to change mines and a even bigger mistake to cleaned it and lubed it with wd40 and it gave up. Found out later that wd40 on the bearings at high speed killed the tensioner. So belt broke again and bent all the valves to I had to rebuilt the head again. This was about a month after the new rebuilt. If you know how to work on your own engine and have a car manual for this Mazda then try checking the valves on each cylinder to see if they are in the right open and closed position for the exhaust and intake according to each piston number. I never worked on a Mazda so I'm not sure. It should be on the engine section of the manual under valves. You will have to remove the valve cover and put the number one cylinder on the top dead center position and then check each one to see if they are on the right height open and closed position. I use Hanes manuals for my vehicles, sold at the auto parts stores and some book store might have them. There's a troubleshoot section at the beginning of the manual that will tell you what to check step by step.


3 years ago

I have a Ford Mustang 2005 it's second cylinder stopped compressing how much it will cost

I'm kinda screwed and running out of money 900 miles from home and my car hadn't started for the last few days after I filled the tank i drove a couple blocks to the hotel in north dakota and it was really cold and windy that night the next day around noon I go out to start it and it sounded like it was about to turn over for about 15 seconds straight then the battery started dying so had to stop cranking didn't want to kill my battery and couldn't get a charge or a jump until the next day so I went back in and came out the next day and same thing but hooked up to my buddys pick up and had juice just would not fire it sounded so close to completely turning over the entire time tho then had to go to work so left it and figured it was flooded out from trying to start it so much so got all new plugs but couldn't get coil packs until this up coming week sometime and I was supposed to leave and go back home for good yesterday so I just put the plugs in and same thing it sounded like it was trying to roll over just couldn't and then yesterday morning when I was supposed to leave and finally be home to see my family and friends i pulled the ignition coil that is pretty worn and the plug outof that cylinder and cranked it a couple times to see if it would spark and the car ended up starting and just pumping air pressure and fuel out the open cylinder I turned the car off and then started it again I let it run for about a minute which I was I would have just left it running and let it low everything out that cylinder and maybe warm up a little bit but I didn't want to mess anything else up by letting it idle like that it was idling high with the plug out so I put the plug back in and it wouldn't roll over again so I tried to find a new coil pack and nowhere in North dakota could have one within 4 hours of me until Monday morning but I'm not sure if iteven is the coil pack because now with the plug in or out it doesn't even seem like it wants to turn over just sits there with the starter turning and doesn't feel like it's getting any build up to fire I've had 5 or 6 different people look at it for about an hour each time outside the hotel and Noone can figure it out so idk what to do I put 2 bottles of heat in the gas tank and I've changed the plugs checked all the fuses they hooked a portable tester up from carquest that just kept saying cylinder 4 misfire and everyone keeps selling me stuff that doesn't work and I have to take a taxi into williston from watford city if I find parts I need or anything and the lady charges me 100 there and 100 back the round trip I don't think is e ven a hundred miles and a tow truck wants to charge me 300 to go 17 miles to a shop where they will try to fix it but if I have to rent a car from the shop to head home today and come back to get my cAR when its fixed then i dont have the money to pay 300 for a tow it takes over over 200 just to get home on gas alone plus having to rent thecar and everything idk but this hotel room costs 200 a night and I need to leave today can anybody te what's wrong pleasell me if anyone canhelp its a 2007 mitsubishi eclipse gs 2.4 liter my contact number is 7124316943 if anyone that thinks they can help or anything just text me I probably won't answer numbers I don't know unless you leave me a message and ill call you back or put ur thoughts on hete ill look every time i get a chance thanks guys

please help yesterday I put my builk Lucerne in the shop to have the timing cover gasket fixed and today rather tonight my car has stopped on the eway and won't start back up!??please help

I have been building engines all my life foe the street and the race track. Your timing has nothing to do with the compression in your cylinders. If you have no compression in any of your cylinders the you either have a cracked head,blown head casket, warped head,cracked block between each cylinder. Was all the spark plugs in good " meaning not striped out " . If you have a bad or bent valve that would let the pressure out of that one cylinder but not all of them at once. Check to see if there is any water in the oil pan, if there is the water will come out first because water is heaver than oil and will go to the bottom so pull the drain plug out slowly to see what comes out first. If there is water in the oil that you have a big problem. Either you have a cracked block or head or head gasket. If there is no water in the oil than I would check the piston rings. First thing to do is take off the valve cover and crank the motor over very slowly and watch all the valves operate right and move up and down the full travel that there supposed to. If they are all good the takes out the bad valve situation. If there is no water in the oil and the valves are good thats a good deal. Next take a very thin shim gauge and run all the way around the head at the gaskett point and see if you can get the thinest one in between the head and the block, if you can get any of the shim in than the head is warped. Next take an air line and screw it in to each spark plug hole ( Start with little pressure first ) and if there is a crack anywhere you will find it that way or at least have a starting point to go with. If you have a small crack and the motor is cold the crack might not open up wide enough with the motor cold so you might have to up the pressure a bit more BUT GO SLOW ON ADDING THE PRESSURE!!!!!!!!!! because the fluids might shoot out fast and hard so please wear safety glasses. Check those out first before you go and start tearing the thing down. If you have any more questions just let me know and I'll help you out as much as I can. Please let me know what happens either way I am interested now and would like to know if any of it works and when or if you get it running. Good luck If you need to you can IM me and go from there.

Very informative thank you man....I have a 89 toy pickup with no compression in any cyl. This helps me a lot!!

did air into each cyl. air leaking all inside cyl. head and differnt cyls. seems to me iam getting reman head with head gasket kit my son cant get another used truck for 500 plus

Madrasi u really seem to know ur stuff i got a 2.2 gmc sonoma my sons truck it died i towed it home cranked it sounded like time chain took cover of tensinor busted apart chain still on so i replaced it with new chain and gears and tensinor parden my spelling well still problem no compression all 4 cyls. took valve cover off all valves moveing fine no coolant in oil rad. still full i even presure tested rad. with plugsout held 15psi. iam really baffled with this

doing a compression leakage test will tell you where the problem...you can you tube how its done...i had the same problem best of luck pliz reply if this helped you.

You must base your reasoning on the balance of probability. Could the head gasket cause no compression on all cylinders, yes it could but is this most likely cause? The engine block could crack, it happens, but is that the most likely cause?
When discussing whether water is showing in the oil that is a good tip because it is quick to check? But on belt driven ohc or dohc engines if there is no compression on any cylinder, and the noise of the engine is different from the usual sound whilst turning over, and if a noise was heard as the engine failed? Then my money is on bent valves being the cause, even if the timing belt has not broken, and even if the marks still line up? The head or heads need to come off for a closer inspection. Makes no difference if a cracked head or engine block, or a blown head gasket, or damaged valves, the removal of the head will still be necessary, and then we will know the problem.

Ok similar problem but I have hadall timing components replaced and refined and still no compression in 5of6 cyl. Valves seem to be traveling fine and full distenc. I don't remember any banging when the car went dead. since this is dohc interference engine that would mean 20plus valves damaged enough for no compression but not enough to effect valve travel?Since none of the answers explaning the problems are good answeres I assume my best option is new engine with warrenty since I stil owe three thousand on the car any advice?

What car and engine do you have?
Is it a Dodge Neon also?

I've had this problem before, The exhaust timing gear may have spun causing the pistons to crash into the exhaust valves. When I had the problem it was preceded by what sounded like valve clatter. all 8 valves ended up bent enough to not let them close. (no compression) The timing chain will still look like its on the marks. The gear may even fall back into place or not. If you remove the gear you can see a groove where it spun. I noticed this after taking the valve cover off and seeing that none of the buckets over the springs were rising all the way up in comparison to the intake buckets,

Yup. The timing belt jumped a cog or two. I don't know if this is an interference engine. Even if it is maybe you don't have damage but the only way to tell is to get that belt timed again and see if you've got compression. Don't start it until you get that belt replaced. I had a 75' Mustang that every 10k miles or so would shear of the lugs of the rubber timing belt and leave me stranded. It did that 3 times and I traded it off. Never had a clue what was causing it. Good luck.

I was thinking the same thing but I still haven't touched the engine. All I did was check for compression. thanks

i would like to hear about how you fix this problem im having the same problem with mine,

When the belt was replaced did they also replace the belt-tensioner? I'm going with the guys who reckon it jumped / slipped. Total head-gasket failure I doubt. L

No. I didn't changed it since it looked ok.

It's one of those often-remarked things, change the belt and the tensioner, as it's cheaper than a new engine. Anyhow we won't know what's up until someone takes it apart. Would you let us know what you find?


yeah true, but I figure since the water pump was bad then why spend more money right...lol. I'll keep you all posted when I get to the problem. Hopefully soon since I need my 2 cars running.

Often on newer engines (after the late '80's) the manufacturer recommends replacing the timing belt, gears, tensioner, and water pump all at once if any one component fails.  Personally, I don't see it as anything other than a thinly-veiled attempt at planned obsolescence to increase repair bills, but it has to be done anyhow.  My sister had a similar situation when her water pump died on her 1996 Buick with 2.3 L engine.  She could only afford to replace the pump, but after a month of running just fine the belt slipped and caused her engine to die.

Anymore you just have to be careful and expect to replace at least three other things that weren't necessary to replace back in the good old days - when any Joe could perform any repair in their own driveway in less than an hour.

if you can turn th' engine over and there aint any bumpin' or bangin' noises then th' vlvs are most likely not hittin' th' pistons ,  if th' belt jumped a couple of cogs then th' vlvs are all still open (either intake or exhaust all th' way up to TDC !

Before you spend any money ,  Set yer timeing and check yer compression again ! If th' compression comes back then you found th' problem and go from there !

I have a 2000 neon and the same thing happened to me it ended up being the timing belt and a oil change that fixed it

I'm not sure what's wrong, but I think when your car stands upright and looks at you it's time for a professional service.

I'm thinking that if it can stand up like that on it's on then darnit it can fix itself too.

I don't know 20 years of repairing all my cars and never had this problem I must of been doing something right to never having a problem like this. But thanks for the advice.

PitStoP, I'm not an expert, But, My brother had the same issue with his 2000 Neon.All indicators point to the timing belt and if that is the problem the engine is pretty much trashed. I would try pulling the valve cover off to see if the cam is turning and the valves are operational. If there is no compression at ANY of the cylinders the valves are not opening and closing or the pistons are not moving. The head gasket would show oil in the coolant or coolant in the water and would not cause the engine to suddenly stop running without some prior indications. The only other thing I can think of is that it jumped time(the belt slipped).

Thats the next step I was going to take checking the cam to see if it's moving if it's not then the pin in the cam gear maybe broke,if not then something wrong with the crankshaft. I'm hoping if the timing belt jumped a few notches the valves didn't bent cause I just put new valves in when the wated pump went bad. Thanks