A smoke machine can be used in virtually any low-pressure vehicle system for the purpose of locating leaks, including EVAP, intake/induction system, oil, EGR, engine vacuum, exhaust, coolant (radiator, water pump, hoses, etc.), HVAC, a variety of gasketed areas, engine blocks, worn throttle shafts, diaphragms, intercooler, turbocharger, idle motors and solenoids, under-dash leaks and even vehicle body wind/water leaks.
Basic leak testing
1. Locate the system port (system to be tested).
2. Install the appropriate port adapter from the smoke machine’s kit.
3. Attach the adapter to the vapor supply hose.
4. Activate the smoke machine (turn on).
5. Close any system vents.
6. Continue to fill the system until the flow meter (or indicator) shows that the system is full.
7. Visually inspect for smoke leakage (if needed, use the kit’s LED lamp to check for leaking vapor; or the kit’s UV lamp to check for dye if used).
EVAP test: Most smoke machines are designed to be used either with the shop’s compressed air supply or with an inert gas (C02 or nitrogen). Many automakers recommend the use of an inert (non-combustible) gas for inspecting EVAP systems, from a safety standpoint, since a spark or heat source could potentially ignite fuel vapors when mixed with air. Small CO2 cartridges are available (with preset regulator) for easy connection to the smoke machine’s supply. Smoke machine units also are available with a built-in air compressor, eliminating the need for an external supply connection.