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  #11  
Old 11-08-2023, 06:58 PM
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so, which smoke tester should I get, rather than build another failure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by workingonit View Post
...I just tried to get my home-made smoke tester to work again, but it seems the heating element (a Performance Tool 120 Volt Soldering Iron) has burnt out, so I don't know if I want to try another element like it, though it worked OK for three test sessions, a year ago. My smoke tester is homemade, very low pressure, and probably not up to the job.
Attachment 83714...
I tried a different soldering iron to replace the burnt-out one; very low wattage, so there's little smoke. I guess the cheap design is not satisfactory, so I'm looking at smoke testers on Amazon, again.

But, I have a relevant question: how much output pressure do I need? I've read where you need about 1/2 psi, no greater than 10 psi, and have seen smoke testers putting out up to 20 psi, though most don't list the pressure.

My M54 has a running (at idle) vacuum of 22+ psi, so I'd assume that a tester putting out that pressure or less, wouldn't blow out seals (valve cover, rear main, etc). But, 50'sKid , a YouTuber from E46 Fanatics, built one using a low pressure propane regulator (.5 psi-about 10 psi max) because of fear of blowing out seals.

My failed tester used a simple HORUSDY Multi-Use Siphon Fuel Transfer Pump for Gas Oil and Liquids, with negligible pressure, but the smoke volume wasn't enough to judge anything by; testers I'm looking at on Amazon (and Ebay) run the gamut in pressures, and about half of them require you to furnish your own air supply.

I have four air compressors/pumps
  • 1) the hand pump, of course,
  • 2) a very old, small, Campbell Hausfeld 12v 100 PSI Inflator (without gauge or pressure adjustment),
  • 3) a PITTSBURGH AUTOMOTIVE 12V 150 PSI Compact Air Compressor from HF (w/gauge, but no pressure adjustment, IIRC),and
  • 4) a Husky 20 Gal. 175 PSI Portable Electric Air Compressor (with pressure adjustment, but it's unknown how low it'll operate at)
but again, what should I aim for, pressure-wise?

Any recommendations? I'm going to my garage to try adjusting my Husky's psi as low as I can, having never needed LOW pressure before.
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01 BMW X5 E53 3.0i, 5L40E, 7/13/01
topas-blau, Leder-Montana grau

Here:
14 Lexus ES350 3.5L, U660E
09 HHR Panel 2.2L, 4T45E
04 Chevy 2500HD 6.0L, 4L80E
98 GMC Sierra 1500 5.7L, 4L60E

Gone:
66 Chevelle Malibu 2dr, 327>427c.i., TH350>PGlide/transbrake
08 Cobalt Coupe 2.2L, 4T45E
69 & 75 C10s, 350c.i., TH350
86 S10, 2.8l V6, 700R4
73 Volvo 142 2.0l, man4
73 VW SuperBeetle 1.6l, man4
64 VW 1.2l, man.4
67 Dodge Monaco 500 2dr, 383 c.i., A727
56 Chevy 210 4dr, 265 c.i., PG
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  #12  
Old 11-08-2023, 07:46 PM
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Good smoke will come out a bad seal quickly. Go up slowly until you see smoke. Set a max PSI though. 10 psi MAX? When seals are cold, very low pressure should be enough.
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'06 X5 3.0i - bought @143,123 miles (12/26/20)
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  #13  
Old 11-08-2023, 08:04 PM
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as low as it will go

I set the pressure on my Husky air compressor as low as it would go, but the airstream was just not there; so, I adjusted it upwards until a steady flow was achieved, but not too strong (more like a baby's breath), but about as strong as the videos on YouTube show it should be. My previous smoke tester produced not nearly as strong a flow.

Since the output gauge (on the right side in the attached photo) had 30/20/10 psi marks on the low end, I saw that it settled somewhere between 0-10 psi (as best I could tell). I wouldn't be worried about seals blowing, at that setting, now.
Name:  Husky compressor at lowest usable setting.jpg
Views: 70
Size:  255.3 KB

Now to decide on a low-cost unit, that doesn't have its' own air source (to save a few dollars).
__________________
01 BMW X5 E53 3.0i, 5L40E, 7/13/01
topas-blau, Leder-Montana grau

Here:
14 Lexus ES350 3.5L, U660E
09 HHR Panel 2.2L, 4T45E
04 Chevy 2500HD 6.0L, 4L80E
98 GMC Sierra 1500 5.7L, 4L60E

Gone:
66 Chevelle Malibu 2dr, 327>427c.i., TH350>PGlide/transbrake
08 Cobalt Coupe 2.2L, 4T45E
69 & 75 C10s, 350c.i., TH350
86 S10, 2.8l V6, 700R4
73 Volvo 142 2.0l, man4
73 VW SuperBeetle 1.6l, man4
64 VW 1.2l, man.4
67 Dodge Monaco 500 2dr, 383 c.i., A727
56 Chevy 210 4dr, 265 c.i., PG
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  #14  
Old 11-08-2023, 08:57 PM
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???

Quote:
Originally Posted by workingonit View Post
...Now to decide on a low-cost unit, that doesn't have its' own air source (to save a few dollars).
Name:  option1.JPG
Views: 67
Size:  114.8 KB
HEATINDUCT Automotive Smoke Machine
  • Pro's:
  • 1) infinite pressure adjustment,
  • 2) hi-volume smoke storage,
  • 3) accessible air fittings,
  • 4) nice underhood hanger,
  • 5) looks rebuildable
  • Con's:
  • 1) top of tester too cluttered, with possible bending or breaking of fittings & electrical connector a possibility when opening the container,
  • 2) reviews on Amazon cite some problems

Name:  option 2.JPG
Views: 66
Size:  61.2 KB
AKWH Smoke Machine
  • Pro's:
  • 1) hose barb fittings for both input and output make changing hoses easy,
  • 2) pressure regulator is set at 1/2 psi (but if needed, the regulator and its' hose can be changed to an adjustable regulator...example: a regulated supplyhose from a larger compressor, like my Husky),
  • 3) no connections or lines thru the top, so only the container needs removal for filling, with no breakage likely,
  • 4) good underhood hanger,
  • 5) looks rebuildable
  • Con:
  • 1) no reviews on Amazon at all

Name:  option 3.JPG
Views: 68
Size:  159.1 KB
AUTOOL SDT 101
  • Pro's:
  • 1) self-contained, sturdy appearance,
  • 2) all fittings solidly mounted on rear,
  • 3) easy fill on top
  • Con's:
  • 1) too many electrical add-ons (power on light, smoke switch, overheat alarm and shut-off), which may need fixing later on (others are very simple),
  • 2) large handle, no hanger may complicate placement underhood
  • 3) every component is enclosed, making a rebuild much harder
__________________
01 BMW X5 E53 3.0i, 5L40E, 7/13/01
topas-blau, Leder-Montana grau

Here:
14 Lexus ES350 3.5L, U660E
09 HHR Panel 2.2L, 4T45E
04 Chevy 2500HD 6.0L, 4L80E
98 GMC Sierra 1500 5.7L, 4L60E

Gone:
66 Chevelle Malibu 2dr, 327>427c.i., TH350>PGlide/transbrake
08 Cobalt Coupe 2.2L, 4T45E
69 & 75 C10s, 350c.i., TH350
86 S10, 2.8l V6, 700R4
73 Volvo 142 2.0l, man4
73 VW SuperBeetle 1.6l, man4
64 VW 1.2l, man.4
67 Dodge Monaco 500 2dr, 383 c.i., A727
56 Chevy 210 4dr, 265 c.i., PG

Last edited by workingonit; 11-10-2023 at 02:45 PM. Reason: added my opinions
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  #15  
Old 11-08-2023, 09:42 PM
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Nice
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  #16  
Old 11-09-2023, 06:42 PM
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Well, if mine sets emissions codes after a coolant system refresh, I know where I'm heading to for a smoke test!
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  #17  
Old 11-09-2023, 08:00 PM
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not yet, I'm on a short leash

Quote:
Originally Posted by X5chemist View Post
Well, if mine sets emissions codes after a coolant system refresh, I know where I'm heading to for a smoke test!
After spending nearly 2 grand on my wife's old truck (her backup vehicle) last week, she requested that I wait 'til my SS check comes in next week. Though all (my retirement, she has no equivalent) income is mine, and all vehicles are maintained by me (95%) using my monthly spending "allowance", it seems that my "allowance" for last month is gone, so my next work on my X5 project has to wait for 10 days, for the tool I need (plus shipping).

Of course, during the past month, she's visited Arkansas with her sister to "observe fall foliage" for a week, and went shopping with her girlfriends (high school friends, though they're all about 60, now) the week before (amount spent unknown).

It's just easier to let her get her way, without adult supervision (me), than to argue about my projects.

What goes around comes around: I had spent most of my time and money on my racecar, towing equipment, and several project cars & trucks for about 15 years from '94 to '08, prior to my retirement from restoring and racing, and on my camping hobby, a substitute for racing (including building my own trailer) for the last 12 years. Then I retired from my job, and the spare cash went away, especially when I had to demolish & replace the house that we'd just paid-off & semi-rebuilt (mostly not covered by homeowners' insurance).

I guess it was inevitable that I should let her catch-up for awhile, both in time and money spent. I'm in no rush, as the X5 works just fine, as-is.
__________________
01 BMW X5 E53 3.0i, 5L40E, 7/13/01
topas-blau, Leder-Montana grau

Here:
14 Lexus ES350 3.5L, U660E
09 HHR Panel 2.2L, 4T45E
04 Chevy 2500HD 6.0L, 4L80E
98 GMC Sierra 1500 5.7L, 4L60E

Gone:
66 Chevelle Malibu 2dr, 327>427c.i., TH350>PGlide/transbrake
08 Cobalt Coupe 2.2L, 4T45E
69 & 75 C10s, 350c.i., TH350
86 S10, 2.8l V6, 700R4
73 Volvo 142 2.0l, man4
73 VW SuperBeetle 1.6l, man4
64 VW 1.2l, man.4
67 Dodge Monaco 500 2dr, 383 c.i., A727
56 Chevy 210 4dr, 265 c.i., PG
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  #18  
Old 11-10-2023, 05:17 PM
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Posts: 648
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as long as I'm waiting, I've been researching smoke machines

I'm still trying to decide which unit to choose, while I'm cooling my heels. I showed three units I consider my best options in post #14 above https://xoutpost.com/1234590-post14.html, and edited it today, adding what I consider salient points for or against each.

There were others, of varying design (though most appear to be made in the same Chinese factory) that I looked at, but I keep on returning to these three I've shown.

Since none have suggested nor recommended a smoke tester that they've used, I'll probably end up going with Option 2, the AKWH unit. It seems to be a clone of the AutoLine Pro Automotive Smoke Machine, listed on Amazon for $120 (including $20 of smoke fluid, but I have mineral oil already).

For the price, the cheaper of the two (AKWH vs AUTOLINE) should be my best bet. Any comments?
__________________
01 BMW X5 E53 3.0i, 5L40E, 7/13/01
topas-blau, Leder-Montana grau

Here:
14 Lexus ES350 3.5L, U660E
09 HHR Panel 2.2L, 4T45E
04 Chevy 2500HD 6.0L, 4L80E
98 GMC Sierra 1500 5.7L, 4L60E

Gone:
66 Chevelle Malibu 2dr, 327>427c.i., TH350>PGlide/transbrake
08 Cobalt Coupe 2.2L, 4T45E
69 & 75 C10s, 350c.i., TH350
86 S10, 2.8l V6, 700R4
73 Volvo 142 2.0l, man4
73 VW SuperBeetle 1.6l, man4
64 VW 1.2l, man.4
67 Dodge Monaco 500 2dr, 383 c.i., A727
56 Chevy 210 4dr, 265 c.i., PG
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  #19  
Old 11-13-2023, 02:49 PM
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Hey I bought this one in order to test for my leak in my thread here:
https://xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-forums/...light-cel.html


This is what I bought:
https://www.amazon.com/AutoLine-Pro-.../dp/B06XHRBKTM

Worked for me. Little more than I wanted to spend, but worked well.
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  #20  
Old 11-13-2023, 03:29 PM
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a simple device, but one I might mess up

Quote:
Originally Posted by racebmwm3 View Post
...This is what I bought:
https://www.amazon.com/AutoLine-Pro-.../dp/B06XHRBKTM

Worked for me. Little more than I wanted to spend, but worked well.
The "empty paint can" smoke tester looks & works OK, and many on YouTube have copied (or cloned) it, but I have questions about the rim seal over a period of time. In my experience, even if I was careful opening it after sealing it, eventually the rim would deform, and leak. Perhaps I've been too heavy-handed, but that's my view.

That's also why I want a smoke tester that I could open-seal-open repeatedly without deforming the canister rim; the next-step-up Autoline Pro canister model for $120, or the AKWK clone for $75 have the basically same inner workings as the "empty paint can" design, but use an "paint spray siphon (in this case, the siphon is plugged) canister/cup" that uses a clamp to seal tightly. I've never had a problem with that type seal, before.

I didn't want to spend even another $50, having already built a tester that failed ($15 in parts were used), so I figure I'll get another's (hopefully) proven device, for $75 or so, that I can either use many more times, or pass along with my other tools, to a friend or relative in the future.

We'll see if my "still to be ordered" tester works OK, but that'll be next week, at least. Glad that yours worked out for you.
__________________
01 BMW X5 E53 3.0i, 5L40E, 7/13/01
topas-blau, Leder-Montana grau

Here:
14 Lexus ES350 3.5L, U660E
09 HHR Panel 2.2L, 4T45E
04 Chevy 2500HD 6.0L, 4L80E
98 GMC Sierra 1500 5.7L, 4L60E

Gone:
66 Chevelle Malibu 2dr, 327>427c.i., TH350>PGlide/transbrake
08 Cobalt Coupe 2.2L, 4T45E
69 & 75 C10s, 350c.i., TH350
86 S10, 2.8l V6, 700R4
73 Volvo 142 2.0l, man4
73 VW SuperBeetle 1.6l, man4
64 VW 1.2l, man.4
67 Dodge Monaco 500 2dr, 383 c.i., A727
56 Chevy 210 4dr, 265 c.i., PG
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