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Does the minearl oil used for evap leak testing fluoresce

  • JeffBirt
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08 Feb 2020 08:32 #37277 by JeffBirt
I was watching a 2018 SD video this morning while working. This is the one where SD is having a fit finding an evap leak on a Honda Civic and vows it is his last evap leak job.

I got to wondering if the mineral oil used in evap smoke machines would fluoresce under a black light? I did a few minutes of internet searching and it seems like it may. It just seemed like it might be easier to see a small leak with a black light as you will, hopefully, only see the smoke and any other material which just happens to fluoresce.

If I can find my blacklight out in the shed I can give it a try by burning some mineral oil. Just curious if anyone has ever tried this.

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  • Noah
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09 Feb 2020 07:02 #37309 by Noah
That's a good question. There is an additive we can use in the machine at the shop for this, but I haven't tried it.
I personally like soapy water to find stubborn evap leaks when the flow gauge on the tool shows there is a leak but I can't seem to find any smoke.

"The circuits in cars are not nanby-pamby Chinese consumer electronics "

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10 Feb 2020 12:48 #37361 by JeffBirt
Thanks. I'm a shade tree mechanic I am found of soapy water as well since I don't have a smoke machine. I was just curious about the mineral oil fluorescing as it seems that it could be handy, maybe for a hose hidden above a gas tank, etc. I did read where Olive oil did fluoresce which would make for an inexpensive and easy to obtain additive.

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12 Feb 2020 16:39 #37435 by Hash Cash
I use a Motorvac Cool Smoke machine which uses a special oil (not baby oil) which does glow under UV light. It is also a safer smoke machine because it doesn't use a heat source. It can also do leak testing with or without turning on the smoke.

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13 Feb 2020 08:36 #37457 by JeffBirt
That is interesting that it uses no heat. I would suspect than that it creates a mist from the mineral oil. The mist concerns me though as one thing I have found out using a coolant mister on machine tools is that particle size matters. If the mist generated is too fine it is irritating to breath and can cause lung issue for some people. I think maybe they would have accounted for this in there design.

Looking at the MSDS sheet they describe the fluid as having a 'mineral oil like' odor and it flash point is similar so I would suspect it is mineral oil with a fluorescent dye.

I think with mineral oil vapor the biggest danger to the technician might be getting the runs from breathing too much of it in :)

Thanks

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