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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking at the long list of smoke machines/leak detect systems on Amazon, most of which appear to be chinesium, but I can't afford snap-on level stuff anyway so...
Never used one before, but I'm trying to figure out the pros/cons of various features, what is worth paying more for, etc.
If you have one and are quite happy with it, I'd love to know which one it is. Same goes if you have one and hate the thing, I'd like to avoid it.
Are the flow rate and pressure gauges useful enough to pay extra for?
Do the ones that use baby oil work as well as anything else?
I don't need something that will be used frequently, just a home use rig for my own stuff.

I see stuff like this for around 100 bucks:
394260


Then I see stuff like this for 300 bucks:
394261



Then there are 100 in-between.
I can't help it, I'm like this. you should see me with a large restaurant menu trying to make up my mind...

Any feedback is appreciated.
 

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Well this thread title is misleading!

I was looking for something more like...

View attachment 394268
Dude! Same here. What a let down.

I have yet to ever need a "smoke test" on any vehicle. Ymmv. Comp, boost leak, leak down, yes, smoke test, nope.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Dude! Same here. What a let down.

I have yet to ever need a "smoke test" on any vehicle. Ymmv. Comp, boost leak, leak down, yes, smoke test, nope.
I have several other vehicles, right now I'm dealing with a 2001 Dakota V8 that all the rubber is going south, and i need to just do a complete test on it all and rip/replace. Its got vaccum leaks all over the place and I was just hoping to find a test unit that was decent, and i dont completely trust online reviews at Amazon etc
 

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I have several other vehicles, right now I'm dealing with a 2001 Dakota V8 that all the rubber is going south, and i need to just do a complete test on it all and rip/replace. Its got vaccum leaks all over the place and I was just hoping to find a test unit that was decent, and i dont completely trust online reviews at Amazon etc
May be cheaper to just replace all the rubber lines; haven't checked the prices on vacuum/fuel line lately though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
May be cheaper to just replace all the rubber lines; haven't checked the prices on vacuum/fuel line lately though.
It's mostly a matter of being difficult to get to type of problem. Yea I agree, stripping the thing to the bones and starting over would certainly be the best path, but man there's a lot, and half of it requires a lot of disassembly, so for now I'm just going to stick with replacing just the crap that leaks. Plus I think that stupid "leak detection pump" is shot according to the codes... but I want to fix all the actual leaks first to make sure before i go and spend a bunch of money on ammo for the parts cannon
 

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I have several other vehicles, right now I'm dealing with a 2001 Dakota V8 that all the rubber is going south, and i need to just do a complete test on it all and rip/replace. Its got vaccum leaks all over the place and I was just hoping to find a test unit that was decent, and i dont completely trust online reviews at Amazon etc
2001 Dodge Dakota? Well that's the problem right there, it's a Dodge.

Lol. Well keep us in the loop with what unit you get.

I'm a mist water kind of guy, when it comes to vac leaks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm a mist water kind of guy, when it comes to vac leaks.
Now you have my interest, an initial YT search comes up empty.
What is this "water mist" testing method of which you speak? Submerge car in pool, blow air into vac lines?
Seriously though, I'm curious now
 

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Now you have my interest, an initial YT search comes up empty.
What is this "water mist" testing method of which you speak? Submerge car in pool, blow air into vac lines?
Seriously though, I'm curious now
I think it’s just spray soapy water on any hose connection to see if it bubbles
 

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I think it’s just spray soapy water on any hose connection to see if it bubbles
The issue Still stands, how do you pressurize It to that small of a degree?

As someone who has worked in the field, its absolutely Necessary To have the flow gauage, so I'd be buying one of the 300 dollar units.

Basically most cars today throw a "small leak detected" or p0456 at .020" leak. A "large" or "gross" leak detected Is above .040". If you get a large leak code, then throw your smoke tester on and are only Leaking .010", you know to stop looking for a leak and start looking for intermittent Failures in the purge valve, vent valve, or leak detection Pump.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Now this is actually interesting to me. I like making stuff myself, and now I am understanding what I am seeing when I run across these 50 dollar ones that appear to be made out of paint cans. I do see the use for a flow meter too, if nothing else, for an indicator of how large a leak may be. Probably not absolutely necessary to have a flow meter if you are just on a leak hunt, but a pressure gauge also so you can observe it for leak-down purposes. I imagine TINY leaks introduce the problem of not being able to even see the smoke. I'm also trying to figure out how to get the air pressure down to maybe 1psi. Seems to me that the lower the pressure, the easier it would be to see lingering smoke near a tiny leak an not just blow it away from too much pressure.
 

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Now this is actually interesting to me. I like making stuff myself, and now I am understanding what I am seeing when I run across these 50 dollar ones that appear to be made out of paint cans. I do see the use for a flow meter too, if nothing else, for an indicator of how large a leak may be. Probably not absolutely necessary to have a flow meter if you are just on a leak hunt, but a pressure gauge also so you can observe it for leak-down purposes. I imagine TINY leaks introduce the problem of not being able to even see the smoke. I'm also trying to figure out how to get the air pressure down to maybe 1psi. Seems to me that the lower the pressure, the easier it would be to see lingering smoke near a tiny leak an not just VNFD blow it away from too much pressure.
So add a second PCV chamber that can be filled with smoke. Valve on both sides. Add a Schrader Valve and use a small hand pump.

Or
And valve and barbed fitting to the existing system. You can use a simple balloon and zip tie it to the fitting. Fill the chamber with smoke and crack the valve a little to get things moving. No pump or fear of over pressure.

Just a few thoughts.


J
 

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