Using Smoke As A Diagnostic Aid Training Video - The Trainer Series

Online Video

Duration: 13 minnutes and 38 seconds




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I may be dating myself a bit here, but I remember when an enterprising iATN member shared his plans for making a smoke machine. Back then, it used an old coffee can, some steel wool, a diesel glow plug and transmission fluid. The glow plug heated the steel wool, which heated the fluid and got it smoking. That smoke was then pumped into the intake manifold to help locate the source of vacuum leaks that our old methods (spraying liberally with carburetor or throttle body cleaner, or hosing it down with propane) couldn't find.
Since then, innovative technicians have adapted their existing equipment to find leaks not only in EVAP (evaporative emissions) and intake systems, they also learned to use it to find exhaust leaks and other problems. Many of us learned how to overcome issues like those faced when filling an exhaust system equipped with catalytic converters by quickly following the smoke with shop air to pump up the pressure and make those stubborn leaks more visible. One manufacturer, Redline, has even developed a smoke machine specifically for use on systems OTHER than EVAP, allowing the user to crank up both the pressure used to deliver the smoke and the smoke volume. This is especially helpful when looking for leaks in turbocharged system components, exhaust systems and even when looking for wind or noise leaks caused by failed door or window seals.
In this month's edition of The Trainer, and in keeping with our "Salute To The Military" theme, I visit MacDill Air Force Base, home to the U.S. Central Command and Special Operations Command as well as serving as home base to the 6th Mobility Air Wing. My host is Tech Sergeant David Merrick and together, we try out different smoke techniques on a few of the military ground vehicles he had in for service at the base service center.