In order to perform cutting-edge engine research that applies to modern Compression Ignition (CI) engines, a sophisticated test cell is needed that allows control of the engine and its auxiliary systems. The primary obstacle to the completion of such a test cell is the up-front expense. This paper covers the construction of a low cost, single-cylinder engine test cell while demonstrating the type of research that can be accomplished along the way. The components necessary for the construction, instrumentation, and operation of such a test cell, neglecting emissions analysis equipment, can be obtained for less than $150,000.The engine utilized, a naturally-aspirated single-cylinder Yanmar L100V, was purchased as an engine-generator package. Major upgrades to the engine include an Alternating Current (AC) dynamometer, a Variable-Geometry Turbocharger (VGT), a gaseous-additive fuel injection system, external cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), in-cylinder pressure measurement, and an electronically controlled common-rail fuel injection system. The combination of in-cylinder pressure measurement and electronic injection allows optimization based on combustion and/or emissions. Furthermore, the exhaust stream is being used to facilitate waste heat recovery research. The ability of the injection system to complete multiple injections per thermodynamic cycle will enable future work on Low Temperature Combustion regimes. The emissions measurement capabilities allow the observation of the influence of engine operation on exhaust composition using an FTIR and particulate-sampling Smoke Meter. Measurement of all available performance metrics is performed using custom LabVIEW programs written in-house. In total, three systems are required to collect the necessary data. This includes a low-speed (10Hz) system, a high-speed system (43kHz), and an emissions recording system.