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Old 02-22-2007, 02:04 AM   #1
dhallilama
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Default DIY $10 boost leak tester:

made this a while back when plagued with leak after leak in my last porsche 944 turbo (if you haven't seen under the hood of one, there are miles and miles of vacuum lines... all of which leak at random times).

chasing 20psi on my 744tic, i've been creating new leaks...

leaks are a bitch to find, most of the time. this cheap little rig helps to such an amazing extent i can't begin to imagine why anyone who wrenches on a turbo car would not have one. there are commercial units on the market, but the cheapest i've seen was $80, and it was a piece of crap.
this one cost about $10, everything is available at your local Home Depot, Lowes, or (what i prefer) a local mom and pop hardware store... and takes about 5 minutes to make.

i've taken a 1/4" barb | 1/4" NPT fitting...





+ a 3" test cap, by Oatey. heavy duty plastic, quite well made. it's indended use is to plug a 3" pipe for pressure testing.... (i also have a 2", but forgot to take pics of it)...
anyway, drilled a hole in the test cap so the barb fitting sits in nicely... then used the all-powerful JB Weld(tm)...
(the pic also shows the standard air line fitting which is threaded onto the barb/NPT fitting)





(the barb fitting from the opposite side, which is trimmed down a wee bit)



the rear portion of the test cap, with a few holes drilled for the air...



place the thing into the intake side of the turbo, thusly:


tighten the nut on the test cap, which expands the rubber seal (goes from roughly 2.75" to 3.25", so fits a nice variety of stuff). since i'm using the stock intake hose, i threw a hose clamp on it as well.

hook up an air line, with the compressor's regulator TURNED DOWN to 20psi... can't stress that part enough. i've gone to 40psi on other cars, trying to find any hoses that'll pop off... but i can't guarantee that it won't break something doing so. stay with 20...

and listen/feel for leaks.
i found 9. 9 leaks. all fixed within 15 minutes. without this silly little tool, i'd never have found some of them, and would have spent hours looking.

i actually had to turn my boost controller down, to keep it at 20psi, now... some of the leaks were pretty bad, some very minor... they all add up.
suddenly it idles better, gets better mileage, boost comes on a wee bit sooner...

ok, so if you don't have a compressor, it'll for sure cost more than $10... but you can probably borrow one... or be uber ghetto and use the one for filling tires at the gas station (just be real careful of the pressure)

i've got a 2" that works great for the hot side, this one that fits into the intake/compressor side of my T4 cold side (now off the car)... comes in all sorts of handy.
actually works reasonably well on N/A cars, as well, when searching for vacuum leaks...

shopping list:
3" Oatey (or other) Test Cap (plumbing section)
1/4" barb x 1/4" NPT fitting (plumbing section)
1/4" (standard) female air line fitting (tools section)
JB Weld (any self respecting TB'er has this on hand at all times, anyway)
a 3/8" 16TPI nut to replace the wing nut that comes on the test cap (which gets in the way of the fitting)
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Last edited by dhallilama; 02-22-2007 at 02:13 AM..
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Old 02-22-2007, 02:14 AM   #2
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Old 02-22-2007, 02:15 AM   #3
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Old 02-22-2007, 02:25 AM   #4
dhallilama
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adam_c View Post
wow, nice job. I've been wondering about how to do that (bike pump?). mods should move this to the articles section or something
thanks

bike pump doesn't put out enough CFM, unless maybe you get a crackhead to pump it for you...
i looked, couldn't find any around here... it's a damn shame... could'a traded an old VCR for some dude rockin' a $3 foot pump for 20 minutes... but no, had to actually buy a compressor (my old one blew up real good a few months ago)
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Old 02-22-2007, 02:44 AM   #5
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What about electric tire pump?
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Old 02-22-2007, 02:48 AM   #6
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awesome writeup!

here's a similar one done by robin from a looooong time ago http://forums.turbobricks.com/showth...ght=boost+leak



did that test cap by chance have the part number 038753-334028? if so, i'm gonna run to lowes tomorrow and get one!
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Old 02-22-2007, 05:41 AM   #7
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That's a great idea! Think I might have to try this one
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Old 02-22-2007, 06:22 AM   #8
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So when using this with a compressor, I'm guessing, it is that air escaping through the butterfly. That inlet ducting, intercooler, etc will not hold pressure ?
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Old 02-22-2007, 07:24 AM   #9
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looks fancy .. i will take pics of my simple $5 one later
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Old 02-22-2007, 10:21 AM   #10
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I actually used duct tape and cardboard last time. Yours looks nicer.
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Old 02-22-2007, 11:40 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by nickm View Post
So when using this with a compressor, I'm guessing, it is that air escaping through the butterfly. That inlet ducting, intercooler, etc will not hold pressure ?
Nick
once the leaks were fixed, it would leak down from 20psi to 10 psi over the course of about 1 minute. i'd say it holds pressure very well...
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Old 02-22-2007, 11:45 AM   #12
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Very nice man, very nice. Might just have to replicate that.
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Old 02-22-2007, 12:53 PM   #13
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another of the reasons TB > other forums...

here, a $10, rigged plumbing part is seen for what it is: a very useful tool.

other forums (such as rennlist, but i'm not naming any names... wait, i did... oh well), it's seen as crap that could well damage your motor because it's not a $190 tool that's made specifically for the job. granted, the $190 one looks spiffy...
but i'll save the $180 and use it towards another motor so i can start heading towards 25psi
that, and the funny thing... the $190 one i initially borrowed before making my own, actually wasn't as easy to use as this one is...
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Old 02-22-2007, 01:21 PM   #14
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Nice!

Although on my car, that would be blowing air into the block via the PCV system. The intake tube isn't designed to be pressurized.
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Old 02-22-2007, 01:29 PM   #15
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that is why you remove of clamp off that line
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Old 02-22-2007, 04:38 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnMc View Post
Nice!

Although on my car, that would be blowing air into the block via the PCV system. The intake tube isn't designed to be pressurized.


oh yeah, forgot to mention that part... i just pull the PCV tube and stick a bolt w/teflon in it's bung... works great for up to ~30psi
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Old 02-22-2007, 09:44 PM   #17
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Nice job!!! I would add smoke to the system... that way you could get a better visual on where the leak is coming from... I diagnosed my leaking system with a Snap-On EVAP smoke test machine... Same deal pretty much, except no pressure.
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Old 02-24-2007, 04:27 PM   #18
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Do you guys disconnect the PCV system so you don't blow out the oil seals? Just curious.
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Old 02-24-2007, 06:09 PM   #19
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Yes, they were just mentioning it a few posts up.
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Old 03-04-2008, 02:39 PM   #20
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Hey all, I just tried this test over the weekend and found a massive air leak at my CSI. Cranked down the bolts (royal pita with manifold on btw), and all better! Car has much more power on accel now. Didn't solve my idle tho. :( Still get some leaking around the CBV, which i hear is common on these mitsu CBVs. But what really worries me is that there is notable (tho mild) positive pressure in the PCV system when i pressurize the intake to about 15psi.

Does this mean i have a bad piston ring or something? Thoughts?

P.S. did as above with the oatey plug, works great (i just used teflon tape on the hole drilled in the cap, worked fine).
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Old 03-04-2008, 02:58 PM   #21
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neato. i thought about making such a thing but my 240 isnt yet turbo-ed.

never expected that so many cars would have boost leaks....
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Old 03-04-2008, 03:05 PM   #22
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I've been using an even simpler one, but this idea sounds great! Using a ABS cap stuffed in the hose in place of the AMM, supply air via the PCV nipple on the intake hose I found a leaking EGR valve, leaking egr pipe gasket, leaking CS injector gasket, leaking cbv, and a leaking throttle shaft. All but the throttle shaft have been fixed and the car's been a lot happier since.
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Old 03-04-2008, 03:12 PM   #23
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muhahaha, this is the best idea evar

Thanks!!!
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Old 03-04-2008, 03:14 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelostartof View Post
looks fancy .. i will take pics of my simple $5 one later
+1

I made one using a 2.5" PVC hose cap, drilled a hole in it and just hold the air gun's rubber nozzle up to it to test. But they do make finding boost leaks a breeze!
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Old 03-04-2008, 03:23 PM   #25
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Anyone have thoughts about pressure leaking into PCV system? Did the rest of you experience this too?
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