smoke tester

Old 10-25-2017, 01:31 PM
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On another car Iíve got a rather PITA vacuum system with a leak somewhere (itís pulling a too lean code on both banks and maxing out the fuel trim compensation) and I need smoke/fog machine to see where itís going because I donít have diag. tools to see fuel trims in real-time and it doesn't bog down with the carb cleaner trick.

My question is more of ďcan I use a water-based party fog/smoke machineĒ which cost ~$30 instead of a ~$200 mineral-oil-based purpose built tester?

Because it's glycol + water based, am i going to hurt the engine using it that way?

Thanks
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Old 10-25-2017, 04:50 PM
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Cigar/cigarette=smoke
nvrmd, what do I know...

Last edited by Turbo X_J; 10-26-2017 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 10-25-2017, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Turbo X_J View Post
Cigar/cigarette=smoke
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Old 10-25-2017, 05:51 PM
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Amazon Amazon

I think I'm going to try this. I'll post how it goes.
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Old 10-25-2017, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by jessenator View Post
https://www.amazon.com/Photography-C...dp/B01K6MBN5W/

I think I'm going to try this. I'll post how it goes.
How are you planning to get the smoke from the cake into the vacuum lines?
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Old 10-26-2017, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by extrashaky View Post
How are you planning to get the smoke from the cake into the vacuum lines?
The instructions are in terrible English, but they're ignitedósimilar to Smokeys, those HVAC and plumber tabs that they use to test for leaks.
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Old 10-26-2017, 01:48 AM
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Originally Posted by jessenator View Post
The instructions are in terrible English, but they're ignitedósimilar to Smokeys, those HVAC and plumber tabs that they use to test for leaks.
I'm not familiar with those, but I'm not sure you understood my question. Your first post implied you don't have a smoke machine to pump the smoke into the vacuum system. Once you light the cake, and it starts smoking, how are you planning to get the smoke into a vacuum line?
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Old 10-26-2017, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by extrashaky View Post
I'm not familiar with those, but I'm not sure you understood my question. Your first post implied you don't have a smoke machine to pump the smoke into the vacuum system. Once you light the cake, and it starts smoking, how are you planning to get the smoke into a vacuum line?
Well, the way I understand the procedure is you have the car running and you take the smoking whatever bit into the engine bay (in a garage or not-windy day) and you see where the smoke gets sucked into, aside from the main intake at the front. I assume the nozzle on a pro unit helps with pinpointing if it's a small leak or just hard to get to, and I'll cross that DIY bridge when I come to it. I'm just planning on cutting off a small piece at a time and burning it in a metal lid or something and holding it at the top of the intake plenum.

It's pulling air in past the MAF somewhere (which in this car's case, means ANYWHERE, because the MAF is RIGHT on the air box instead of of near the throttle body) and I can't hear it like I have with other cars' leaks, even with a makeshift stethoscope (oil cooler hose),

My suspicion is that it's the intake manifold (lower) or the intake plenum (upper), even though I replaced the upper gasket twice, torqued it (very carefully) to spec, and tack-sealed the $#!* out of it.

I also suspect the brake booster, as my brakes are a wee spongy, but that may also be air in the lines… Chalk that one up to the previous owner's "mechanic" who put the timing chain tensioners on backwards…

It's a 2007 Kia Sedona 3.8l Lambda V6, if anyone wondered. Only minivan I've ever been able to do burnouts in without trying.

Maybe I exaggerated when i said it was "complicated"—it's not 1980s japan levels of complicated by any means.

I replaced every vacuum line in the dang thing and even the main air tube (the OE one was dry rotted).
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by jessenator View Post
Well, the way I understand the procedure is you have the car running and you take the smoking whatever bit into the engine bay (in a garage or not-windy day) and you see where the smoke gets sucked into, aside from the main intake at the front.
I seriously doubt that's going to work. Even if you could see through the haze to where smoke was being sucked in (which seems unlikely), the engine fan would blow the smoke away. It also wouldn't show you evap leaks in the lines going away from the engine bay. I think all you're going to accomplish is to stink up your garage and give yourself a coughing fit.

The professional testers inject smoke into the vacuum system while the engine is off. You take a vacuum line loose, stick the nozzle into it and turn it on. Since the system is then under slight positive pressure, the smoke propagates through and finds its way out wherever there's a leak, making the leak visible. The smoke with dye in it is even more visible under a UV light, for when the leak is fine enough that you can't see the smoke leaking with the naked eye.

People have actually done this same thing with a cigar by breathing in the smoke and blowing it through their mouths into a vacuum line. That's why I was asking what you expected to do with that smoke cake. I thought maybe you were planning on using lung power to blow it into your engine, and that becomes an amusing thought if you read the reviews on that cake where people talk about how it stinks so much the models on the photo shoots had to hold their breath.

You can make your own smoke injection tester out of a paint can. There are a bunch of videos of that on line. Here are a couple that also show you how to use them toward the end.

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