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Old 01-11-2004, 09:03 PM   #1
Jon [in CT]
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Default NHTSA Launches 2nd 2002 WRX Defect Investigation - Fuel Odor/Leak

On January 8, 2004, idahoWRX started a thread in the Factory 2.0L Turbo forum titled NHTSA opened investigation on fuel leak with this post:
Quote:
Originally posted by idahoWRX
I got a call from them after filing a compaint. They are investigating this problem. They told me that if there is a recall that subaru will have to reumberse for any money spent to have the dealer fix it, or if you fix it yourself than they will have to pay for any parts, but not for labor. Will a new fuel rail get rid of this problem area?
Since reading that, I've been checking NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) investigations database daily looking for confirmation. Today I found it at http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/pr...h&summary=true. The preliminary investigation apparently began on January 7, 2004 and here is the current summary:
Quote:
ODI HAS RECEIVED 12 CONSUMER COMPLAINTS ALLEGING GASOLINE FUEL SMELL IN THE INTERIOR CABIN AND ENGINE COMPARTMENTS. IN ADDITION, SOME REPORTS INDICATE OBSERVATION OF FUEL LEAKING FROM A RUBBER FUEL HOSE ONTO THE ENGINE AND EXHAUST SYSTEM. GASOLINE VAPORS FROM LEAKING FUEL ARE CIRCULATED INTO THE PASSENGER COMPARTMENT VIA THE HEATING AND VENTILATION SYSTEM. WHILE MOST COMPLAINANTS ALLEGE THE FUEL SMELL TO BE MOST NOTICEABLE DURING COLD WEATHER, SOME COMPLAINANTS (ODI # 10049650 AND 10030417) ALLEGE FUEL ODOR AT HIGHER AMBIENT TEMPERATURES OF 40 AND ABOVE. ON APRIL 1, 2003, SUBARU ISSUED TSB 09-36-03 TITLED: "FUEL SMELL IN COLD WEATHER." IN THE TSB, SUBARU STATES THAT SOME MY 2002 IMPREZA WRX (2.0L TURBO) VEHICLES MAY EXHIBIT A FUEL ODOR IN COLD WEATHER (TEMPERATURE < 14 DEGREE F) FROM THE RUBBER HOSE CONNECTOR, LOCATED UNDER THE ENGINE INTAKE MANIFOLD, BETWEEN TWO DIRECT FUEL-FEED METAL LINES TO THE INJECTORS.
For those unfamiliar with the Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) mentioned, here's a copy:

Notice that Subaru has carefully avoided using the word "leak" in that bulletin when if fact the fuel odor doesn't really originate from a hose - it originates from fuel that has LEAKED from a hose.

I presume SOA will be receiving an Information Request soon from ODI, inquiring about the rationale behind issuing a TSB for this problem instead of a safety recall.
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Old 01-12-2004, 10:06 AM   #2
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heres the original "raw fuel smell" thread started in january of 2002:

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...hreadid=131755


thanks for the update john
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Old 01-12-2004, 02:08 PM   #3
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Hmm, I think I have this problem. Should I take my car in, or what?
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Old 01-12-2004, 04:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
SOME COMPLAINANTS (ODI # 10049650 AND 10030417) ALLEGE FUEL ODOR AT HIGHER AMBIENT TEMPERATURES OF 40 AND ABOVE
i would be one of those two
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Old 01-12-2004, 08:48 PM   #5
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My '91 Legacy exibits this scenario when its extremely cold out. This problem is nothing new, just back then manufacturers could get away with ignoring problems since the internet wasn't around to complain with.
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Old 01-13-2004, 02:44 AM   #6
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thanks jon
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Old 01-13-2004, 12:30 PM   #7
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I've recently had this problem. It's been very cold in upstate NY lately, and also very smelly in my WRX. My car has 21800 miles on it and I've only noticed the problem this winter (my second winter with the car). I have the 2002 WRX wagon - mfg. date Jan. 2001. From all the complaints I've read about, I can't believe Subaru isn't stepping up and issuing a recall for this dangerous problem. Thanks Jon for the recent update.

Cheers
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Old 01-13-2004, 05:12 PM   #8
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Currently I have 40k on mine and am dealing with Subaru concerning this problem. Started leaking a month ago. Dealer tightened a clamp and fixed the leak but fumes are still there in cold weather. Subaru is contacting the dealer right now. Hopefully SOA will come to the plate and not charge me anything. The customer service rep was helpful and sounded optimistic. Ill keep you guys posted.
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Old 01-13-2004, 05:14 PM   #9
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By the way........Has anyone had a FULLY successful fix at a dealer for this problem yet?
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Old 01-13-2004, 07:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by scoobyrex20
By the way........Has anyone had a FULLY successful fix at a dealer for this problem yet?
By all (that I can recall) accounts, the TSB fix does cure the problem.
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Old 01-13-2004, 08:14 PM   #11
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Thanks
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Old 01-14-2004, 12:36 AM   #12
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Wow, this is timely. I just started experiencing this about a week ago (~67K miles). I only notice it when stopped. I seem to outrun the smell. I have an appointment on Thursday with my dealer to get it looked at.
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Old 01-14-2004, 10:22 AM   #13
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Just had mine fixed last Friday, thank god.
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Old 01-14-2004, 12:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
By the way........Has anyone had a FULLY successful fix at a dealer for this problem yet?
yes the tsb solves the proublem
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Old 01-14-2004, 12:30 PM   #15
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Spoke to my dealer today about the problem. They are aware of the problem and have parts on order to fix, but parts are on backorder from SOA. For now they are going to tighten all clamps to keep me going until the parts arrive. They weren't sure when the parts were going to arrive. It sounded to me that others were also waiting on these parts and have had there clamps tightened to get them by. So far, no hassles, just waiting on parts.

Cheers
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Old 01-14-2004, 12:54 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by scoobyrex20
By the way........Has anyone had a FULLY successful fix at a dealer for this problem yet?

I have smelled no fuel since the repair was done per the TSB. We have had some rathe cold weather since.
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Old 01-15-2004, 10:18 PM   #17
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Is the TSB free (car out of warranty)?
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Old 01-15-2004, 10:49 PM   #18
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What a crock! I took my car to the dealership tonight to get this problem looked at. Here's the result:

Customer states there is a smell of fuel that comes inside the car when stopping. Check and advise. Service bulletin provided by customer (I printed it out and took it with me) for possible starting point. Tech found no smell when driving or stopping, no liquid form present during inspection, could not duplicate concern as described by customer. No repairs made, advise bulletin is just saying occurs in some cars not all. Advise if wants to replace parts on bulletin would cost $652.73 + tax. (apparently it requires 7 hours of labor)

So basically I paid $40 for the privilege of being told that nothing is wrong with my car. Although to be fair, on the way home, I didn't notice the smell either. I probably will tomorrow, though. It just burns me about the TSB not applying to all cars. Puh-lease. I have a gas smell, therefore my car could be one of the "some" 2002 WRX's having the problem.

Let's hope it becomes a recall so they will fix it. (I'm beyond warranty coverage)

Or heck, maybe I'll just try to trade up to an '04 this weekend.
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Old 01-15-2004, 10:56 PM   #19
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Save your receipts. If this investigation/problem does conclude with a safety defect recall, then any expenses you paid to resolve/remedy this problem/defect will be reimbursed.
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Old 01-16-2004, 03:08 AM   #20
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Is this problem limited to 2002 WRX? I just bought a 2004 and I'm dealing with the "Memory Steer" problem at the dealer right now. However, I have noticed a very slight fuel odor under the hood, but nothing in the passenger compartment yet. Should I be concerned or is a very slight fuel odor normal?
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Old 01-16-2004, 11:22 AM   #21
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Can we just get a sticky thread with all recalls and common issues?
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Old 01-16-2004, 02:13 PM   #22
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If anyone has not complained to the NHTSA with this issue yet, PLEASE DO IT NOW! It seems there are many dozens of people experiencing this problem, and it's amazing to me only 12 have complained so far. It's easy to do, the link is in the other thread linked above. Takes 2 mins to do.
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Old 01-16-2004, 04:03 PM   #23
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If you actually experience this problem and you feel that a fuel leak in proximity to ignition sources represents a safety risk, then one of the things you must do is to notify NHTSA. Their web page for this purpose is at http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq. From that page you can file a complaint online. If you'd prefer to file your complaint over the telephone, NHTSA's toll-free number is 1-888-327-4236.
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Old 01-17-2004, 01:05 AM   #24
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Interesting . . .

I purchased my car in Calif. and then moved to Missouri where it is commonly 30 degrees.

I noticed the smell last winter. Dealer could not figure it out. I have a good rapport with him and the Subaru rep.

I will see what I can find on Monday
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Old 01-17-2004, 03:57 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by briank
Is the TSB free (car out of warranty)?
My car is also heavily modded and out of warrenty but i feel this sould still be fixed.. BUt will it be in my situation? I have been smelling the fuel the last couple days since it has bee below 0 here in NY..

Dave
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