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Old 02-20-2005, 04:56 PM   #1
ty454
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Default 02 WRX gas smell & rough acceleration

Long story short:

Last fall an elderly woman driving behind me decided that she didn't need to stop at a red light and plowed into the back of my 2002 WRX. 1 month and 9k dollars worth of repairs later (at a dealer), I had her back. Most of the damage was bodywork, but they did need to remove the fuel tank and replace the rear exhaust components. No engine work was needed.

Ever since then I have the 'minor evap leak' engine code come on and off, along with sporadic rough acceleration and a distinct fuel odor in the cabin at times. I've taken it back to the dealer multiple times and they've gone through several gas caps assuming that was the problem, but tell me they're unable to find any leaks in the system. I guess they hook up a smoke machine and test it that way but has found nothing. Obviously the problem hasn't been solved and all these trips to the dealer are starting to add up in cost and lost productivity.

The check engine light itself only seems to come on when the gas tank level gets low. After I fill it up and drive around for a while it will go out. Then it will come back on when the gas tank level gets down to about 1/4 of a tank. However, the rough acceleration is ALWAYS present and the fuel smell happens quite a bit too - particularly when I stop at a red light or park my car after driving it.

The car is bone stock and always has been. Seeing as though so many components were replaced, it's hard for me to know where to start looking. I suppose tracking down the source of the fuel odor would probably lead me to the root of the problem. I've tried following my nose but can't seem to locate where the fuel smell originates. It doesn't drip out or leave any puddles on the garage floor either.

I really want to get my car back to its original state. The dealer did an absolutely superb job on the repairs and the thing runs perfect, save for this problem. Anyone have any suggestions? The dealer and two independent mechanics have been unable to track it down so far. I'd appreciate any help you guys could give me.
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Old 02-20-2005, 06:35 PM   #2
Rexfan
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: Philly
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02 WRX Wagon
2.5/Blouch Dom 3/Meth/6sp

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I read recently (here on Nasioc), that people in really bitter cold places where having a fuel smell problem. I think it had something to do with a fuel line leading into the engine bay. Try this link for help.

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/arch.../t-317216.html
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Old 02-20-2005, 07:34 PM   #3
ty454
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rexfan
I read recently (here on Nasioc), that people in really bitter cold places where having a fuel smell problem. I think it had something to do with a fuel line leading into the engine bay. Try this link for help.

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/arch.../t-317216.html
Thanks. I was reading about this just now and I need to look in to it. It doesn't seem to happen only when it's cold (as happened at 70F) and I haven't seen anywhere where this causes any type of hesitation though. Maybe it could be a separate problem. I'm most concerned about the hesitation at the time being.
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Old 02-21-2005, 11:17 AM   #4
Rexfan
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I hope you find the problem soon, and have it fixed. Be sure to post your results.

Rexfan
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Old 02-21-2005, 11:47 AM   #5
Mulder
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15 WRX/05 GTO

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There is a seal on the top of the gas tank that can be the cause of the in-car fuel smell, it's possible that when the tank was replaced the seal was damaged or not installed properly. The top of the fuel tank can be accessed by removing the rear seat.
Additionally, there are evaporative system components located under the right rear of the car, including the canister, hoses, and valves. Some of these parts may have been damaged in the accident or not reassembled properly.
What CEL code is being set?
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Old 02-22-2005, 12:46 AM   #6
ty454
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulder
There is a seal on the top of the gas tank that can be the cause of the in-car fuel smell, it's possible that when the tank was replaced the seal was damaged or not installed properly. The top of the fuel tank can be accessed by removing the rear seat.
Additionally, there are evaporative system components located under the right rear of the car, including the canister, hoses, and valves. Some of these parts may have been damaged in the accident or not reassembled properly.
What CEL code is being set?
Unfortunately I don't know the CEL code being set (I should have asked - I know). I was told it was the code for "minor EVAP leak". I may try calling the dealer this week to see if they will tell me what it was.

In any case, this morning when I parked my car at the airport before my flight today, I noticed the gas smell pretty strong. So I walked around my car trying to snifff where it was coming from. I couldn't smell it at all in the engine compartment but I could indeed smell something near the rear-right wheel well. You might be on to something because the mechanic did have to remove my gas tank after the initial repair in order to replace the fuel level sensor. Perhaps they put it back together a bit too hastily. Additionally, when I do smell fuel in the car I can't trace down where it's coming in at. It isn't through the A/C vents on the dash, I know that much. Maybe it's somehow penetrating from the rear, although I don't know of any location in the rear where it might be able to do this.

When I return home this weekend I will be taking a much closer look at the rear-right corner of the car. This is the side that took the most damage when she hit me. I'll let you guys know how it goes down.
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Old 02-22-2005, 07:33 AM   #7
Mulder
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15 WRX/05 GTO

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Remove the rear seat (lower part) and you'll see the connections to the top of the tank where the fuel pump and level sensor are. The seal is in there. If you're lucky you may just be able to take it apart and find that the seal is crimped or otherwise not installed properly, and just put it back in correctly. If it's damaged it may need a new seal. It shouldn't be necessary to pull the tank to deal with this.
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Old 04-21-2006, 05:14 PM   #8
ty454
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AHAHAH!!! I don't know if anybody remembers this story but it's been going on forever. Long story short is that no dealer was ever able to find out why this was happening on my car and I just gave up because it was costing too much.

So today, I got gas and drove to work. About 30 minutes later some dude came running into the office and asked if anybody owned a WRX in the parking lot. So I spoke up and he said my car was leaking gas all over.

I ran out and sure enough, gas was POURING out of my gas tank from somewhere up in the undercarrage. Obivously that's why my evap leak code comes up. Apparently when they put the tank back on after the accident they didn't seal everything up just right.

It took me this long to find it because it apparently only happens on a full tank and when the car is parked on a relatively steep hill leaning to the right. I'm pretty excited because I'm going to get it fixed on Monday.

It's about time.
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Old 04-26-2006, 12:49 AM   #9
Magnum626
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Stockpiling parts...

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I guess you never pulled out the seats? Or was it somewhere you wouldn't be able to get to anyway?
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