I've been experiencing a rough idle and some part throttle power problems, but I just figured I would do one as a part of my next tune up over Thanksgiving break. This is one of the last things I haven't checked so hopefully I find my problem. I guess I'll go to Pepboys today to see what they have.
I went to Pep Boys and Advance Auto Parts today. Both carried the same kit, but the cheapest I could find was $20.99. So after shipping, the one from amazon would be a little less than that. Not worth the wait or hassle to buy it online imo.
Well, I think you'll be slightly disappointed. I doubt that your problem is loss of compression. Your problem seems to be more of a vacuum leak by the symptoms. Low compression would give you a rough idle, but unless it was just absolutely horrible and continued throughout the low-mid range, then it's probably not a compression problem. Problems from slightly low compression that causes intermittent misses will disappear at higher rpm. Really low compression would cause a misfire at all rpm, and basically one cylinder would not be firing at all.
Compression testers are good for a lot of diagnosis though, and not a very expensive tool to have on hand. Things like timing belts can be easily diagnosed by comp testers.
Now that I think of it- when was the last time you inspected your timing belt? If your mileage is approaching 100k, then you might think about inspecting or replacing your timing belt if it has not been done. Inspection is easy. Get you a permanent marker, remove the timing belt inspection cover. Twist the belt, and examine the ribs for cracks and missing rib, examine the back of the belt (the part without ribs) for cracks and worn apart rubber with fibers (look like cotton)showing through. Now mark a line down the center of the back of the timing belt that you've inspected, and go bump the starter to rotate the engine. Repeat until you've inspected all of the timing belt.
If you see any signs of a bad belt, start saving. You'll also need a water pump if you have a Zetec, and a timing belt tensioner. This is an advanced repair, but nothing that you should avoid doing yourself if you can follow directions.
Wow! Thanks for all the information. Rep added. I guess since I have already checked for vacuum leaks as best as I could, I should probably remove the intake manifold and inspect all of the hoses thoroughly. I am still going to get the compression tester since my car has almost 87k miles on it. I have inspected the timing belt as well, no cracking or missing ribs. I will probably replace it anyway just to be safe. One quick question though, why if I replace the timing belt do I have to replace the water pump as well?