Tips and Tricks For Quickly and Accurately Detecting Cracks - Engine Builder Magazine
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Tips and Tricks For Quickly and Accurately Detecting Cracks


Dry Method Magnetic Particle Inspection

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When "Magnafluxing" a casting, never blast with media prior to testing.
Blast media peens the surface and can move metal, possibly closing the
very cracks or flaws that you are trying to identify. When very coarse
wire brushes are used roughly, they can also mask these areas.

the casting itself, without cleaning, is the best indication of
leakage. Check the casting by visually examining its entire surface to
see if there is an area that looks exceptionally clean. Usually one or
two combustion chambers or piston tops are free of carbon. Leaking
coolant in an operating engine is an excellent carbon remover.


diesel chambers, look for pitting on the casting or piston top. If we
are in an area that has oil, but no combustion (such as the lifter or
rocker arm area) look for anti-freeze "jelly". This is the result of
coolant weeping into hot oil. A cracked area with poor-quality coolant
or even just water in the system, would usually show rust along the

Remember – these tips are not methods of crack detection, they are simply quick checks to speed up crack identification.

help identify cracks quickly and easily while "Magnafluxing," choose a
colored powder that stands out the most. For example, darker colors on
bright parts and lighter colors (white or yellow) on dark castings.


For instance, Goodson’s
Magnaflux powders are almost twice as "active" as other private label
powders. In other words, using the same amount of powder and light
source, you’ll find almost twice the amount of Goodson Magnaflux powder
collected at the crack instead of laying about on the casting.

Alumni-Chek Method

When using this method, you need to chemically clean the area to be
tested with Goodson’s AC-1 Cleaner (or equivalent cleaner), then dry the area. When AC-2
Penetrant is applied, let it stand for 2-3 minutes to penetrate into
any cracks or flaws. Now the tricky part…removing the excess dye. Do
not flood the entire area with chemical cleaner or water. Do not dry
with compressed air. Use a damp shop towel (be sure to wring it out
well) or a shop towel with just a light spray of cleaner applied to it,
not the casting. Cleaning excess dye with this method will leave the
dye in the flaws for the last step. AC-3 Developer can now be applied.
This fluid will lift the dye from the casting and present it on a
contrasting white background.


Leak Detection Plates

When using pressure or vacuum plates, give them a light coating of
automatic transmission fluid. This cleans and seals for a better test.
When testing is complete, apply another coat of ATF to clean and store
the plates. This will keep them soft by helping to prevent oxidation.

–Tech Tip courtesy of Goodson

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