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gas smell after driving- no leaks

Help, Advice and DIY Tutorials on Volvo's extremely popular car line -- Volvo's 1990s "bread and butter" cars -- powered by the ubiquitous and durable Volvo inline 5-cylinder engine.
1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
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gas smell after driving- no leaks

Postby davis911s » 21 Mar 2011, 03:23

I am noticing a gas smell after driving my car. There are no leaks when it is sitting, nothing on the ground underneath and no fuel loss. I have no idea what this might be, possibly a leaking filter?????? It seems to be coming from the rear area of the car, but I can't see any wet spots indicating leakage.

Any ideas?
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Re: gas smell after driving- no leaks

Postby jtp » 21 Mar 2011, 03:48

Has any work been done on the car recently?

If you want to see the fuel filter its under the rear passenger side of the car. See a picture at fgp groton or ipd and then look for it and look for wet spots.

Or do you mean REAR of the car like the exhaust. A car running rich (i.e. having too much gas in the exhaust) is usually described as having exhaust that smells like something fishy/rotting, not just straight smelling like gas.

One issue I had with fuel leaks in the front of the car is that the lines going to the plugs are high up in the engine bay so they were briefly leaking when I didnt tighten them well one time and were not creating wet spots on the pavement because there is plenty of engine below them for the gas to sit on.
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Re: gas smell after driving- no leaks

Postby kcodyjr » 21 Mar 2011, 04:07

Have your fuel filler cap pressure-tested. When it shuts off, some fuel drains back to the tank, thus displacing some vapor, and it's got to go somewhere. Also, look for the vacuum lines going to the charcoal canister, see if any have fallen off.

Is the CEL on? Crappy mileage maybe? If so, it could well be coming out the tailpipe.
1997 850 GLT sedan, 152K and WHOOHOO!
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Re: gas smell after driving- no leaks

Postby jblackburn » 21 Mar 2011, 11:36

Look for a disconnected or broken EVAP system hose at the charcoal canister.
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Re: gas smell after driving- no leaks

Postby davis911s » 21 Mar 2011, 11:58

Thanks guys.
No recent work done to the car. I will check all the areas you posted.
It is straight gas smell, smells when you get out of the driver door or walk around the car, Only after driving, nothing if the car has been sitting.
Can I test the filler cap myself or do I bring it into a parts store?
Lastly what is the CEL? (Mileage seems ok)

Thanks again
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Re: gas smell after driving- no leaks

Postby kcodyjr » 21 Mar 2011, 12:51

Your local parts store can test the cap.

CEL = Check Engine Light, aka MIL = Malfunction Indicator Light

Uncorrected long enough, a leaky gas tank cap will throw a trouble code and turn on the dash light.
1997 850 GLT sedan, 152K and WHOOHOO!
RIP 1996 850 wagon, 201K, hit by a runaway 4-wheeler
RIP 1996 850 GLT sedan 5spd, 260K, rearended someone
RIP 1986 245 boring, 200K, rusted beyond inspectability
RIP 1981 242 turbo 5spd, 300K, serious teenage crash
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Re: gas smell after driving- no leaks

Postby toolmanjsp » 21 Mar 2011, 20:34

I had similar issues in my sedan, could never see a leak but sure smelled raw gasoline, particularly after a fill-up.

Finally dropped the tank. I found the small diameter hose (7mm I think) running between a nipple on the top of the tank and the roll-over valve was rotted and wet. This hose eventually goes to the charcoal canister. Probably most of the problem. Fixing it also cured an occasional CEL that was EVAP related.

Second hose is the larger one (about 5/8" ID) that also goes from top of the tank to a nipple on the filler pipe. This is the line that vents the top of the tank back to the filler pipe when filling the tank, and is slightly "U" shaped to go around the fuel pump cap. One end had a small split which was a bit wet. I tried generic hose but the ends are different size, get a new OEM hose.

Haven't had a problem since. About 2.5 hours start to finish and part of that was scrubbing the outside of the tank, cleaning the bottom of the body, and chasing the rust and dirt off of the bolt threads.
94 850 turbo sedan, teal (we call him "Dash")
95 850 turbo wagon, also teal! (we call her "Dash-ette")
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Re: gas smell after driving- no leaks

Postby anodyne » 26 Mar 2011, 14:46

When you did this fix, did you have use a lift or did you jack/stand the car? I have visible drops of gas dropping and I need to do something ASAP. Really started yesterday with a fill of the tank. Dripping on driver's side, underneath, tank is wet underneath. Getting an OEM part will not be possible until Monday (today is Saturday) so can a NAPA aftermarket work? Thanks in advance.

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2004 XC70 >171K
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Re: gas smell after driving- no leaks

Postby pkc303 » 26 Mar 2011, 18:25

I backed up on Rhino Ramps to fix mine. I don't think you'll have enough room to work under the car if you don't get it up somehow. Be careful.

It requires Volvo parts to repair it.
1997 Volvo 850R, K&N air filter, Koni shocks
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2003 Volvo V70 2.4T, K&N air filter, (Wife's) (sold)
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Re: gas smell after driving- no leaks

Postby toolmanjsp » 26 Mar 2011, 23:00

Hi Anodyne-

I ran it low until the low fuel warning light came on so there wasn't much fuel left and not much weight. Jacked up the rear to a comfortable height and put it on jack stands.
Steps:
1. Take off access plate to pump - folded the rear seats forward and did it from inside - 3 or 4 nuts, 10mm
2. Disconnect two sets of wires - one for pump, other for level sensor
3. Disconnect fuel pump discharge and return hoses. Note their location in relation to the top of the pump housing (make a diagram, take a cell phone picture or similar) because it is possible to swap the hoses on reassembly and if you do it will pressurize the return line and probably blow the hose off of the fuel regulator and spew gas all over (you can probably guess how I know that...). Hoses have a sleeve on them like an air fitting, just pull up on the sleeve, twist sightly and they should come free without too much problem.
4. Open fuel door and take off filler cap (may want to plug with rag to keep dirt out)
5. Floor jack under tank, just enough pressure to hold it in place.
6. Remove 3 bolts & 2 retaining straps.
7. Lower jack and tank slightly and while under car pull filler pipe from grommet inside filler lid.
8. When all is free, lower away until jack bottoms. Disconnect small vent hose going to roll-over valve.
9. Slide jack out from under tank. Tank will be free to pull from under car. Inspect and replace any bad hoses.

Reinstall is pretty much the same in reverse. Only minor problem is guiding the filler pipe back in place without dislodging the rubber grommet in the hole behind the fuel door.

For PITA factor I'd rate it 4 of 10.

Jeff
94 850 turbo sedan, teal (we call him "Dash")
95 850 turbo wagon, also teal! (we call her "Dash-ette")
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Re: gas smell after driving- no leaks

Postby anodyne » 27 Mar 2011, 03:07

Great info, thanks for the help. Now, is it that straightforward with a 98 R AWD? Do I have to mess with the sub-frame?
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2004 XC70 >171K
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Re: gas smell after driving- no leaks

Postby toolmanjsp » 27 Mar 2011, 23:43

Don't know, I've never worked on or seen the bottom of an AWD. But I imagine that the gas tank is behind the rear wheels and suspension parts so I doubt that there is a tremendous amount of difference.
94 850 turbo sedan, teal (we call him "Dash")
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Re: gas smell after driving- no leaks

Postby anodyne » 28 Mar 2011, 03:37

Thanks toolmanjsp, going on the lift tomorrow and will take closer look.
1998 V70 R >267K
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Re: gas smell after driving- no leaks

Postby toolmanjsp » 03 Apr 2011, 01:48

What did you find? Get the problem fixed?
94 850 turbo sedan, teal (we call him "Dash")
95 850 turbo wagon, also teal! (we call her "Dash-ette")
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