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Old 01-04-2002, 08:19 PM   #1
fluffybunny
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WR Blue

Default Raw Fuel Smell Log

there are more than a couple people who have mentioned a raw fuel smell in their cars in various sections of the board. so far, no service department has been able to duplicate this problem. as it has been a recently starting, but now regularly occuring problem for my WRX, i am attempting to gather information about who else has the problem.

i see any type of fuel leak as a potentially dangerous problem and want to get to the bottom of it.

please log any occurances of a raw fuel smell (i.e. gasoline smell) in the passenger cabin or engine compartment that cannot be attributed to gasoline on your person/clothing/shoes/etc.

please include:
known causes/triggers
location of smell's origin (if known)
date of manufacture (Your build date will be on an aluminum rectangular plate at the bottom right corner of the driver's door frame, it will give you the month/year.... MM/YY)
any mods to your car (although i don't see this as a cause. the problem has occured in both highly mod'ed and unmod'ed cars.)
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Old 01-04-2002, 08:28 PM   #2
fluffybunny
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date of manufacture: 03/01

location of origin: somewhere on the passenger side of the engine, in front of and below the intercooler and manifold. currently no visible residue or fuel.

mods: catback exhaust, intake silencer removal, boost gauge, oil temp gauge.

known triggers: occurs when car is cold, colder than 32 degrees. for example, when parked outside (not in home garage for more than an hour) in colder than 32 degree temps. RECIRCULATE is off. within a few moments smell begins to build in cabin. open window, smell dissipates. builts when car is not moving, but still noticable when moving. sometime later (after 20 minutes-half an hour) smell ceases.
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Old 01-05-2002, 04:31 PM   #3
Achilles38WRX
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i don't have a wrx

Default

Hey fluffybunny,
i havent had a whole lotta luck posting in here about this, but ill post to give this a bump:

causes: cold, and more cold. Originally mine did it all the time, after a trip to the dealer it now only does it when the motor's cold. After a 30 min trip to or from work, it doesnt produce the smell anymore. The dealer tightened a PCV hose i pointed out was leaking. The pcv hose was attached to the intake in the front of the motor.

heres some pics:




The yellow circle was the pcv hose that was leaking on mine.

My build date was also 03/01
My only mod is a cat-back exhaust.

The smell is still there after a trip to the dealer, I'm waiting for others on the midwest board to take thiers to a dealer and see if somone else can find the problem.

Mark
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Old 01-05-2002, 09:53 PM   #4
Kenneth2000
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Java Black Pearl

Default I have it too!

Seems to be when cold weather is in... below freezing.... car sitting outside (non-garaged) Does not seem to matter if engine is cold or warmed up.

Build Date: 03/01

Cat-back exhaust, and a little more.... not relevant here....

Fuel smell seems to come from the areas in the pics above....

If you take a mini-mag lite, and stick it in the "V" opening of the manifold on the passenger side, and look as far down towards the block, I have seen fuel puddle there. (in a crevice on the block)

Can not tell where the leak is actually coming from.

I have to turn of the "fresh Air" and heater, then open windows to breathe....

Sometimes this happens as often as a dozen times a day (full day of driving around.. shopping etc....)

I have brought my car to the dealer 4 times for this issue. They can not duplicate the scent, nor can SOA tell them anything special except that I shouldn't use any "fuel additives"
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Old 01-06-2002, 10:39 PM   #5
Achilles38WRX
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i don't have a wrx

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bump
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Old 01-09-2002, 09:58 PM   #6
Kenneth2000
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Bump!
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Old 01-09-2002, 10:32 PM   #7
Subie Gal
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making this a sticky.... no need to bump any longer...

jamie
www.subiegal.com
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Old 01-10-2002, 01:44 AM   #8
Achilles38WRX
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i don't have a wrx

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hey subiegal?
where was this moved to? (i couldnt find it?)

mark
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Old 01-10-2002, 01:45 AM   #9
Achilles38WRX
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i don't have a wrx

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nevermind, im a moron....
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Old 01-11-2002, 01:11 PM   #10
New Blue 02
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just had this happen the other day for the first time, so i don't really know yet what the causes/triggers are.

no mods to the car yet.

built 6/01

sorry - not very helpful, i know

Last edited by New Blue 02; 01-16-2002 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 01-14-2002, 03:15 AM   #11
fluffybunny
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don't feel bad, it is helpful...keep the info coming.
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Old 01-19-2002, 04:39 PM   #12
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Thought I smelled gas in the cabin yesterday. Windchill was -35 degrees Celsius. Not sure what that is in F. I also keep my car out in the elements.
Edit: -35 C is -31 F
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Old 01-19-2002, 05:25 PM   #13
Achilles38WRX
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i don't have a wrx

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well i'm fed up with the problem yet again, made another appointment to bring it in thursday, will post results if they find anything wrong this time.
i've tried a different contact at my same dealership, this service manager apparently listened to everything i had to say, i never got the same impression with the other guy. i explained what he needed to do to replicate the problem, basically, let it sit all night, start it up cold, sit in it and turn on the air full blast. i garunteed he would be nautios in minutes.

mark
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Old 01-19-2002, 06:12 PM   #14
jimb
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I've been trying to troubleshoot a similar problem. At first I thought it was a leak in the uppipe, however, I'm certain I don't have an exhaust leak. I'm going to try putting zip-ties on everything. Yea, it sounds silly, I know.

jb
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Old 01-20-2002, 12:52 AM   #15
Kenneth2000
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Well, guess what... it got a little cold.. my car sat outside again... started it... and VOILA! Gas smell... all over... just when I thought it was gone....

And I checked again, and there is definitely liquid fuel puddling in that area "crevice" of the engine block that you see when you look all the way down in that V shape of the manifold......

This sucks......

I guess I'll go to the dealer again... this time a diff. one... this will be the 5th time.
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Old 01-20-2002, 01:10 AM   #16
jacobhorn
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Arrow

I also have the gasoline smell in the cabin of my 98 Legacy GT sedan. I have not been able to figure out what is trigering it and it has not goten below 35 degrees F where I live. I kept thinking it was not coming from my car, but then I smelled it a few times when no other cas were around. I don't know. Maybe I will take it in to be looked at.

Jacob
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Old 01-20-2002, 02:33 PM   #17
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Default Kenneth

Perhaps you could post a picture of where your refering to. Perhaps a picture of your own or a picture previously posted.
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Old 01-21-2002, 08:36 PM   #18
sube151
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Old 01-23-2002, 02:39 PM   #19
Achilles38WRX
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i don't have a wrx

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i had an appoinment today, but its to warm out, and the smell is gone, the dealer wouldnt be able to recreate the problem and i'd wasted a day of work.
ill bring it in when it gets colder and the smell returns, but i will try to look at it myself tonight after seeing the above thread.

mark
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Old 01-26-2002, 07:25 PM   #20
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Anyone have any updates?
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Old 01-26-2002, 07:44 PM   #21
Achilles38WRX
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i don't have a wrx

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i did some minor surgery today...
i followed the advice given on sube151's post, i was able to see both potential culprit hoses, but could not reach them with the tools/mechanical skill i have/lack. I removed the big scoop, it does make it much easier to see, next real cold day i'll start it up and see if anything's coming out of those lines.

I recommend everyone with the smell at least take off the big plastic scoop, its easy, two screws in the front, and just pull it outta the pice its connected to in the fender. Gives you a much better view, i'm leaving mine off, next time i take it to the dealer, to point out where the problem could be.

Mark
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Old 01-28-2002, 05:36 PM   #22
sube151
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Mark,

Get a flash light and point it in that area. Look
for fuel staining on the manfold. Should look a little yellow. At startup, all I could see was that the connector seemed moist. When I drove it around a little bit (still warming up), I stoped, opened the hood and noticed fuel comming out of the line.

In cold weather during AM startup, the car runs a lot more fuel. This would be the best time to watch it.

-Vic

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Old 01-29-2002, 11:32 AM   #23
Achilles38WRX
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i don't have a wrx

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hey Vic,
i do carry a mag lite with me at all times after removing the scoop, but it hasnt been coold enough lately to create the problem. I did see staining on the manifold, right below it, where the coolant line is attached, it was a yellow-brown stain which probably shouldnt be there. I'm waiting for colder weather, so i can see the fuel coming out, so that i can point this out to the dealer, so THEY can fix it under warrenty!

Thanks again for the advice!

Mark
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Old 01-29-2002, 02:32 PM   #24
MidnightScooby
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Default My observations.

Seems that most of you are having this occurance during cold motor conditions. Forgive me at this time I do not have the date of build and some other information with me, I will post that for the sake of this discussion later on. I have the 2.5 engine in a 2002 TS. It is my belief that the smell is coming from the tailpipe as unburned fuel. Check yours the next time get, stop as soon as you can get out and walk back around the tailpipe. Do not stick your nose to the pipe but get down around it and you will probably notice the smell there. The car's computer will compensate for engine coolant temperature by allowing more fuel, this makes the engine run rich to keep it running when cold and get the coolant temperature up. From my observations that is all this smell is, and it has occured many times on my car. It also occured Sunday when I was teaching my Mother how to drive my car, it is a manual transmission and she has never driven one. Anyone who has taught someone to drive a manual knows what your car goes through, especially with the fluctuation of the accelerator.

In cold weather, the barometric pressure is generally low, this will keep that unburned fuel smell from the tailpipe down low, and allow you to smell it in the passenger cabin. How does it get in there on a cold morning with the windows up? I bet you keep your car set on fresh air when running the defroster, and then leave it in that setting with the heater, the smell is brought in through the vents because the car draws fresh air from the cowl.



Hope this clears things up for you, and it is something to discuss with the dealers to help more customers.



Take Care.


`Midnight
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Old 01-29-2002, 11:49 PM   #25
sube151
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Hi Midnight,

I really dont think the smell is from the tail pipe. From my wrx, you could smell
fuel from under the hood. It was a real evident smell.

From the factory, the wrx does run super rich. You can actually stick a blow torch behind the tail pipe on a wrx and watch it light up! (Dont try it too much).
Also, during cold AM startup, the car runs more fuel since the engine temps are very cold. In combination with my loose clamp, there was positive verification of fuel comming out of my line.

I dont think exaust gasses should be ruled out, but for those with the smell, you can really smell the gas in the cab and under the hood. Its very strong.

Mark,

Yup...the yellow staining should not be there. Thats the gas. Promise.
If you go to home depot and spend about $10, buy a real long phillips and flat head screw driver. Keep it in the car in case you are in the middle of no where and the fuel starts comming out like crazy. Its a little cumbersome to get to, but you can use the flat head to spin the clamp around. Just take the
rubber intake hose off that connects to the filter box. You will have a good view of the screw from there.


I would tell the dealer about the staining. That way there is record that you reported something. This will probably help out much more if something does happen to the car before you can bring it in. Oh... just for the heck of it, buy a fire extinguisher.



Keep us up to date...

-Vic
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