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Old 09-24-2013, 12:18 AM   #1
RobertGary1
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2006 VUE 3.5L
Default Anyone use a Halloween smoke system for evap testing?

I'm curious if anyone has used a disco or Halloween smoke system to find evap leaks?
Would something like this work?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/1500W-Smoke-...item46125b8a51

What is it about proper evap testers that cause them to be around $1000?

-Robert

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Old 09-24-2013, 12:28 AM   #2
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Default Re: Anyone use a Halloween smoke system for evap testing?

Maybe this one?

-Robert

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Old 09-24-2013, 12:36 AM   #3
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Location: Pacifica by San Francisco 5sp Engine rebuild with the help of people here at 177K due to 500mi/qt oil consumption. After 2yrs I am back to 40mpg+ after discovering the refirb head I used was bad. Car runs better than a top. Now at 214k.
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1996 SL2
Default Re: Anyone use a Halloween smoke system for evap testing?

I have done exactly this trying to look for a suspected vacuum leak which I never had.

The machine I got looks identical to the one you posted except the price was much cheaper, less than $50 I am pretty sure. The box does not come with the liquid used to create the smoke either, another $20-30 charge for a full gallon. Smaller sizes were not available.

Bought at a Party supply house in SF that had about 20 of these stocked on the shelves.

I rigged my plastic shop vac hose to the machine and ran that into the brake assist line.

The machine was used twice and now collects dust as does the remaining 90% of the smoke liquid.

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Old 09-24-2013, 12:51 PM   #4
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Default Re: Anyone use a Halloween smoke system for evap testing?

I've done some Googling about evap testing and learned more about this than at any other time. The $1k price tags were probably commercial units to accommodate as many car models as possible with every adapter needed without a repair shop having to deal with periodically updating equipment (they do anyway). I think there are widely varying prices on evap testing equipment dedicated to finding the elusive leak buried in some cars that makes it cost effective for shops to invest in tools to reduce the time spent on troubleshooting - time being money for these shops and their costs for tools are repaid in timely repairs. There are home made smoke units too for the DIYer. Whether a smoke machine is needed is debatable in comparison to understanding what's wrong and how to go about troubleshooting with minimum equipment or improvising a simpler way to troubleshoot. While more time is spent this way, costs are kept down, especially if a tool is rarely used and only needed for one time application.

I like these two sites dealing with evap leaks and how they troubleshoot;

http://www.batauto.com/articles/waek..._Test_Kit.html

http://www.motor.com/article.asp?article_ID=543

There are other sites too. As I am in no way endorsing nor recommending any product, I find their procedures an education on what to know about emissions/evap systems and how to troubleshoot them.

...
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Old 09-24-2013, 01:44 PM   #5
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Default Re: Anyone use a Halloween smoke system for evap testing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
I've done some Googling about evap testing and learned more about this than at any other time. The $1k price tags were probably commercial units to accommodate as many car models as possible with every adapter needed without a repair shop having to deal with periodically updating equipment (they do anyway). I think there are widely varying prices on evap testing equipment dedicated to finding the elusive leak buried in some cars that makes it cost effective for shops to invest in tools to reduce the time spent on troubleshooting - time being money for these shops and their costs for tools are repaid in timely repairs. There are home made smoke units too for the DIYer. Whether a smoke machine is needed is debatable in comparison to understanding what's wrong and how to go about troubleshooting with minimum equipment or improvising a simpler way to troubleshoot. While more time is spent this way, costs are kept down, especially if a tool is rarely used and only needed for one time application.
This car appears to definitely be leaking (this is one of my Pontiacs). I can command the vent valve closed and I hear a solid click. I command the purge valve at 60% and can hear it cycling. But the tank pressure reading never varies from 0. I'll probably do another visual inspection but it can be very hard to find slight leaks. I even added some motor oil to the new (dealer) gas cap to see if that helped, but it didn't. (getting a P0440 which quickly returns if its cleared).
My only concern with the fog systems is if the 'fog juice' could be flammable or affect the fuel. However, so far I've not seen anyone comment on that.
It would be nice to hear from anyone who's tried this though.
-Robert

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Old 09-24-2013, 01:58 PM   #6
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Default Re: Anyone use a Halloween smoke system for evap testing?

Is the pressure sensor functioning? Rubber band a sheet of saran wrap over the fill and cycle the purge with the vent closed.

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Old 09-24-2013, 03:12 PM   #7
mattelderca
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Default Re: Anyone use a Halloween smoke system for evap testing?

On a recent Sunchicken evap repair, this is what I did and what I found.
I removed the large vent hose from the vent solenoid. Blow into the vent hose with a good solid chest full of air, do not let the air back into your lungs! ( do this at your own risk) Quickly remove said hose from your mouth and plug the hose, I used my thumb. Listen carefully for hissing. I had a hiss at the top of the tank somewhere, I used a stethoscope with just the hose to confirm the location. Upon dropping the tank it was apparent that the sending unit O ring had failed. It's actually a square ring and one section was folded over, you could see some fuel residue stains around the lock ring. Removed and reinstalled the seal with some silicone grease on it. Carefully seated the lock ring ensuring the seal was in place. No more evap small leak code and emissions test passed.
Hope you find the leak!

...
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1998 SC1 still running, FOR SALE cheap!
1996 SL, GONE but not forgotten
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