How do you find leaks with a
The LeakMaster generates a thick, long lasting Diagnostic Smoke®
vapor from a
non-toxic compound. When this smoke is introduced into the system to be tested, it quickly
exits wherever there's a leak - See the smoke and you've found the leak.
Additionally, the patented UltraTraceUV®
solution when vaporized deposits a fluorescent dye at the exact location of
a leak. All you do is use a conventional ultraviolet (UV) light - much like you would an A/C system. This
dye is especially helpful finding those hard to see leak locations. Or
introduce the vapor into an engine before tear-down. The dye will
reveal internal leaks otherwise not easily seen.
In the automotive industry some common leaks that can be found are; EVAP,
OBD-II mass airflow, vacuum / induction, exhaust, EGR, oil seals, idle
motors, brake boosters, under-dash, vacuum-heater controls, intercoolers,
turbochargers, wind / water, axles and many more. Other industries
such as Aerospace, marine and industrial have similar leak applications as
well as industry-specific leaks.
What is Diagnostic Smoke®
Diagnostic Smoke® is a special vapor-producing solution that
quickly identifies a leak's location when introduced into a system to be
leak-tested, by simply looking for the exiting vapor. UltraTraceUV®
is a Diagnostic Smoke®
vapor-producing solution that contains a
special ultraviolet-activated fluorescent dye that gets deposited at the
exact location of a leak.
heard some people say that the “OEM-Approved” oils are the same as generic
mineral oil, such as “baby oil”, is that true?
No that is not
true. Doing a very simple comparative analysis of two oils to merely
determine what the basic sources of the oils are can be very misleading.
Most non-synthetic oils are of a “petroleum” base and many can be
categorized as being a “mineral oil”, but the end product can be
significantly different. Upon closer analysis the truth is revealed. The
OEM-Approved oils that have been approved by all automakers using smoke
technology is not “baby oil”. In fact, baby oil is not intended for
industrial use. The OEM-Approved UltraTraceUV® formula is a highly refined
mineral oil-based solution; blended in a special formula to be able to
withstand the high temperatures during the oil's vaporization process; is patented and
approved by all* automakers using smoke technology. (*The only other OEM
approved solution is STAR’s optional non-dye solution used by Toyota).
is it necessary to use an OEM EVAP-approved smoke machine in the vehicle's
Our licensed STAR
Diagnostic Smoke® vapor machine technology didn't just pop-up over night. It took
literally years of development, in collaboration with OEM-partners;
Ford, GM & Chrysler to develop the 'right' technology in order to get the
'right' kind of smoke vapor. These thousands of man-hours of research and
testing allowed us to develop the right technology for their EVAP systems. What
we ended up with is technology specifically built to major automakers' specifications.
Our OEM EVAP-approved machines will not damage vehicle components
(including the activated
charcoal, all sensors [including O2], catalytic converters, gaskets, seals,
etc) and will not void the
vehicle's factory warranty.
What are some of the unique
characteristics of your OEM approved
Through extensive research, in collaboration with the big-3 U.S.
automakers, it has been determined that during vapor (smoke)
production proper temperatures must be achieved and maintained in order to
develop the 'right' smoke for a vehicle's EVAP system testing. The right temperatures
are critical for several things
to happen, three of which are:
Producing the right consistency of
dryness in the smoke. Not using heat in the process produces nothing
more than a cold atomized wet fog - highly undesirable for the activated
charcoal and other components of the vehicle's EVAP system.
Creating the best
environment for the UV-activated dye molecules, in the UltraTraceUV®
solution, to properly 'bond' with the smoke solution's molecules.
Then when pressure-differential and
temperature-differential is created (like at a leak-point) the smoke
particles exit the leak while the UV dye is deposited at the
location of the leak.
Maintaining the right temperature is achieved
with sophisticated microprocessor controls.
When operating the EVAP-approved smoke
machine, is it
necessary to constantly control the pressure, or perform any other cumbersome
NO! The big-3 OEM's requirement was very clear and specific; do not make the
machine's pressure adjustable! The OEM required a fully automatic machine
that made it impossible for the technician in the field to make an honest
mistake, by applying too much pressure into the volatile EVAP system.
Besides, using higher pressure does not find more leaks - except maybe for
the ones you've created. See question # 9 below.
In what other systems can The Smoke
be used to detect leaks in?
The smoke Machine can be used to
detect leaks in any system where air travels such as: Vacuum Systems, Throttle Bodies & Carburetors,
Injector Seals, EGR Systems, Brake Boosters, Under Dash Vacuum & Ducting, Intercoolers
& Turbochargers, Exhaust Systems, Idle Motors & Solenoids, Pre-Assembly Component Leak-Testing
(such as Cooling Systems, Engine Gaskets, Diaphragms, Many Oil Seals & Gaskets),
Lock Systems, use our special adapter to find Wind & Water Leaks (around Doors,
Windows & Sunroofs) & Many Others!
Should I use a
non-combustible gas, such as
nitrogen, instead of compressed air to test the EVAP system?
Yes! See SAE International Technical Papers on potential testing
It is a fact, and studies support, that it only takes 11% of
oxygen in a fuel vapor system to support combustion! Using ambient
air, which contains 21% oxygen, is extremely risky since that is more than
twice the needed oxygen content. Studies show that the
safest method of pressurizing the fuel vapor system of a vehicle is
with a non-combustible gas such as nitrogen instead of an oxygen-rich compressed air.
That is why virtually all auto manufacturers
that use smoke technology recommend / require the use of nitrogen when testing the vehicle's EVAP system. Adopt
safer working habits and procedures, especially when you are testing a volatile
system like an EVAP system. There are at least two risk factors associated with using compressed air, when
testing the EVAP system, and you should do everything possible to minimize
The oxygen introduced into the fuel tank
will inevitably exit along with the flammable gasoline fumes, either through a leak source in the EVAP system or
through the EVAP system's canister vent valve. Ignition can take place at those
and other locations if static
electricity or some other external ignition source is present, such as
when the canister vent valve is back-probed closed on vehicles lacking
bidirectional communication. We all know there are many other
potential sources for ignition in an auto shop environment and many of us
have heard or read about gasoline fumes catching on fire, creating a very
hazardous situation. Using
nitrogen reduces the oxygen content of the mixture in the leaking fumes
and reduces the chances of the dispersing vapor from ever reaching the
Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) of gasoline.
Testing the EVAP system of a vehicle
using compressed air usually means that you will be adding the equivalent
volume contained in several gallons of vapor space. Under many
conditions, there will be enough oxygen added to the fuel vapor space that
will warrant a safety concern. Filling the fuel vapor space inside the
tank with more than 11% of oxygen creates a fuel-to-air mixture that
will support combustion. In fact, University studies have shown that it
takes only one to five minutes of air introduction from any smoke machine
to render much of the fuel tank's vapor space flammable. There are also documented cases where the fuel
pumps inside fuel tanks have developed overheated wiring harnesses hot
enough to ignite a flammable mixture. So now any vapor leak
leaving the fuel tank can become a sort of "fuse" back into a volatile
fuel tank mixture. (Download evidence of internal ignition sources [pdf
363 kb] -- [pdf
162 kb] )
Using an inert gas, such as nitrogen, is the most sensible, simplest
expensive insurance you can have to reduce the risks mentioned above.
What other benefits does nitrogen have?
Some of our smoke machines designed for industrial applications
require them to produce very high pressures (some as high as 120 PSI).
An inert gas, such as nitrogen, must be used with those high pressure
machines because the oxygen in shop air will cause a 'flash' effect inside
the smoke machine chamber. All smoke machines manufactured today, when used
with shop air, will flash if enough pressure is created inside the smoke
chamber (flash can start to occur between 15-30 PSI). Our licensed
nitrogen patents allow us to manufacture smoke machines for these high
Chrysler, in their older
vehicle models, used air with a Leak Detection Pump (LDP) to perform their
onboard EVAP pressure tests, why shouldn't I use air with a smoke machine?
Any vehicle with an LDP was designed to introduce very little air into the fuel tank, in
order to maintain its 'too rich to burn' fuel-to-air mixture (approx. 1.5
liters of air volume). A smoke machine can easily introduce 50 liters of air
volume into the fuel tank, creating a flammable condition inside the fuel
tank. This MOTOR
article explains: [pdf
Can I use a [cold] fog-producing machine for
leak detection purposes?
Any machine that produces a cold fog may be suitable for theatrical stage antics but
is not suitable for
professional leak detection purposes. Any machine that does not use a
heating element is considered a cold fog machine. A cold fog
simply atomizes a liquid solution. (Just about any solution can
be atomized, even water). What you get is a heavy wet fog
that can be very unfriendly in today's sophisticated automobiles - most
especially in a vehicle's fuel vapor recovery (EVAP) system. EVAP
systems are equipped with an activated charcoal that must maintain its
integrity, otherwise you've just made matters worse. In other words,
the wet fog can saturate the activated charcoal, rendering the EVAP system
ineffective and most likely voiding the vehicle's warranty. Another
disadvantage is that the wet fog has a tendency of quickly condensing
inside the system being tested,
lacking that "hang time" required to properly travel through an entire test system.
The only way to produce the right kind of smoke - the smoke approved by the
big-3 U.S. automakers - is to use a source of heat in the process. At the
right temperatures (not too hot or not too cold) a very special thing is
created we call; Diagnostic Smoke®
vapor. Only then can you achieve
the correct consistency of a small vapor particle size and a 'dry' smoke - that best happens with sophisticated
microprocessor temperature controls like our EVAP-approved machines have. Also, and just as important, you must use the correct
solution such as the patented UltraTraceUV®; the only solution approved by
the big-3 U.S. (and other) automakers and deemed to be safe to use in their vehicle's EVAP
OBD-II vehicles already confirm if a leak
in the EVAP system is present. So why then do I need the 'phase-one' feature
on your EVAP machine?
Our EVAP machine's 'phase-one' feature,
which verifies if an EVAP leak is present, is important for two simple
reasons; (1) Sometimes a vehicle may come into your facility with more
than one code. The phase-one feature is an excellent way to verify if an
EVAP leak indeed is present and (2) It is good practice to quality control
an EVAP repair and to verify if the vehicle has additional leaks after the
EVAP repair. It is not practical to release the vehicle not knowing for
sure if an EVAP code will turn on again.
||Do you offer a discount for schools?
Yes, we offer an extremely attractive school program. Contact us at 1.888.459.9955
What basic warranty is provided?
All of our smoke machines and their accessories
against any and all defects in material and workmanship for one (1) year from date of
I notice you offer few
machines with a pressure-decay feature. What value does pressure-decay offer
in an EVAP system?
Actually, very little.
a computer to calculate the complex mathematical calculations, it is
to compare a pressure decay-rate to a known leak size. Pressure-decay
is only going to tell you if there is or isn’t a leak, not if it is a 0.040”
or a 0.020”
leak. And in many cases, it can't even do that. Due to the
increase of fuel tank pressure, caused by
fuel evaporation in the fuel tank, it is more likely that a pressure-decay
gauge will 'think' there is no decay (leak) because the rate of fuel
evaporation is greater than the leak rate of a very small leak (e.g.
0.010"). The reverse effects are just as troubling, since fuel tanks
can also create a vacuum in the tank. Either way, they can lead to a
misdiagnosis. It could also cause you to be wasting your time looking
for an “acceptable” EVAP leak that didn't cause that MIL lamp problem
you are trying to fix. That is why the Big-3 U.S. auto makers had us develop
a flow meter that can be calibrated with our machine’s internal calibration
orifice in order to achieve this exact leak rate calculation.
Where can I purchase
your smoke machines?
Most likely through the tool dealers you already purchase tools from since
they most likely sell SPX/OTC tools - so ask them first. Otherwise, for an
automotive application in the USA and Canada contact
you have industrial, marine or aerospace applications, contact us at 1.888.459.9955 or