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Old 05-14-2006, 12:20 AM   #1
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Default Oil Leak Detection

I'm trying to track down an oil leak in a '97 SL1. I'd seen mechanics use this fluorescing dye to find out where the leak was coming from and found out that the dye only cost like $5.00 from NAPA. I put the dye into the crankcase and waited for a week of driving the car so that the dye would have a chance to leak out. I went and bought a 60W black light bulb to look for dye and didn't find anything stained. I tried just fluorescing the dye, and found that I couldn't see it fluorescing much, even if I darkened the garage.

A mechanic suggested that I needed a brighter UV source (maybe more focused than what I'm using) and perhaps a pair of fluorescence enhancing googles. I looked these up on the Internet and found that the prices for these things range from about $30-$200. Does anyone have experience with this sort of thing? Can I get away with just buying the $30 kit and actually have a chance of finding the leak? Or even better, can I juryrig something with the 60 W black light I've got so that the dye will actually fluoresce.

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Old 05-14-2006, 06:58 AM   #2
Sky King
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Default Re: Oil Leak Detection

I can't answer you concerning what you can do to enhance your black light source other than getting a brighter or more focused one. Other than that, I have used these dyes and they have worked pretty well for me. But I also start with a clean engine. Actually if you clean your engine thoroughly, many times that is all you need to do. Fresh oil on a clean engine becomes pretty evident. Also the fresh oil should have the dye in it that you put in and should show up pretty readily with the black light.
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Old 05-14-2006, 09:51 AM   #3
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Default Re: Oil Leak Detection

Another trick you might try is to clean the engine and spray it with a spray powder, like foot powder. This should make it pretty easy to see where the oil is coming from.
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