Jesus this could be a valve or a valve seal. 200 - 300 for the headgasket, related gaskets and valve seals. Tensioner belt and water pump as well. Could be carbon buildup on the exhaust valve seat. Get the head cleaned and checked.
Could be the rings, probably just the compression ring, sometimes the little spring gets all gummed up. Rings will cost you more but could be done for $500 I'd get new connecting rod bearings at the same time.
Did you do the test 2 times?
You can perhaps try an additive that may help free a ring that is sticking. Can anyone comment on a sea foam?
Performance one step at a time.
Last edited by InfiniteDice; 08-10-2010 at 09:25 AM.