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pumped gas and it overfilled with only 1/2 tank of fuel.

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.
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pumped gas and it overfilled with only 1/2 tank of fuel.

Postby bronxnativ » 18 Oct 2011, 21:42

So here it is: I had only 1/4 of a tank of fuel left in my 850 (1996). I drove to the gas station and pumped gas; then the unexpected happened: pump stopped pumping!, and gas was spilling as if the gas tank was full but yet it only pumped a 1/4 of a tank??? Tried pumping more gas but it overfilled and spilled on the ground. I have less than half a tank of gas left in the car. What can it be? Fuel pump maybe???

Note: the fuel pump does activate before turning the car on.
Last edited by bronxnativ on 18 Oct 2011, 21:46, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gas pump stopped, gas spilled on ground, BUT filled 1/2

Postby Choguy03 » 18 Oct 2011, 21:46

You either have a hole in the filling pipe, or you have a clog in the filling pipe and it is backing out. At least that is my guess.
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Re: pumped gas and it overfilled with only 1/2 tank of fuel.

Postby jblackburn » 18 Oct 2011, 21:50

The fuel tank vents through an evaporative charcoal canister that has a vent on it.

Some reading for you on a similar problem:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=36544
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Re: pumped gas and it overfilled with only 1/2 tank of fuel.

Postby Ozark Lee » 18 Oct 2011, 22:09

bronxnativ wrote:So here it is: I had only 1/4 of a tank of fuel left in my 850 (1996). I drove to the gas station and pumped gas; then the unexpected happened: pump stopped pumping!, and gas was spilling as if the gas tank was full but yet it only pumped a 1/4 of a tank??? Tried pumping more gas but it overfilled and spilled on the ground. I have less than half a tank of gas left in the car. What can it be? Fuel pump maybe???

Note: the fuel pump does activate before turning the car on.


Where is the fuel spilling out? It could be that you have a bad fuel level sensor and you actually have much more fuel than you think. That would be the case if it is backing up in the filler neck.

If the fuel is spilling out of the tank itself onto the ground at the rear of the car it may be a fuel tank problem. Volvo has an "App" for that.

...Lee
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Re: pumped gas and it overfilled with only 1/2 tank of fuel.

Postby bronxnativ » 18 Oct 2011, 22:34

Thank you all for the suggestions. The fuel is backing out of the filler neck. Should I start where Justin is suggesting ( charcoal canister) or should I replace the "fuel level sensor" first? Any any other suggestions would be appreciated. This just started today, and as many on this forum, LOVE my 850 and want to keep it up to par!
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Re: pumped gas and it overfilled with only 1/2 tank of fuel.

Postby Juan62 » 18 Oct 2011, 22:38

Go with the fuel level sensor first.
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Re: pumped gas and it overfilled with only 1/2 tank of fuel.

Postby cn90 » 18 Oct 2011, 22:42

Ozark Lee wrote:
bronxnativ wrote:... It could be that you have a bad fuel level sensor and you actually have much more fuel than you think...


Another vote for bad level sensor.
Try a bottle of Techron Fuel Injector cleaner and see what happens.
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pumped gas and it overfilled with only 1/2 tank of fuel.

Postby jblackburn » 18 Oct 2011, 23:10

Or smack the bottom of the tank with a 2x4 a couple times. That trick works to unstick fuel pumps sometimes.

How much did you put into the tank before it started overflowing? And the week before - different than normal?
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Re: pumped gas and it overfilled with only 1/2 tank of fuel.

Postby bronxnativ » 18 Oct 2011, 23:46

jblackburn wrote:Or smack the bottom of the tank with a 2x4 a couple times. That trick works to unstick fuel pumps sometimes.

How much did you put into the tank before it started overflowing? And the week before - different than normal?


Last week I filled up the tank with no issues. Today, it started to back up only after three gallons of fuel!

Also, is this the fuel level sensor? http://www.ebay.com/itm/VOLVO-850-V70-S ... 384wt_1026
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Re: pumped gas and it overfilled with only 1/2 tank of fuel.

Postby jimmy57 » 19 Oct 2011, 00:10

does your miles driven lead you to believe it only really needs 3 gallons or have you driven 300 miles and know it should need 12 gallons, not 3?
Don't fuss with sending unit if the distance driven and fuel to fill up equals 25MPG or whatever you normally get.
The next time it only takes a few gallons. stop fueling and walk around and turn key on and off and the put more fuel in to see if it fuels normally.
A 96 could have the onboard vapor recovery fuel venting andthe tank vent valve can be triggered to close and stay that way for 12 minutes after key off. Cycling the key resets it. If this is the case then see if the problem is only if you shut it off and cooling fan after-runs.
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Re: pumped gas and it overfilled with only 1/2 tank of fuel.

Postby bronxnativ » 19 Oct 2011, 00:35

jimmy57 wrote:does your miles driven lead you to believe it only really needs 3 gallons or have you driven 300 miles and know it should need 12 gallons, not 3?
Don't fuss with sending unit if the distance driven and fuel to fill up equals 25MPG or whatever you normally get.
The next time it only takes a few gallons. stop fueling and walk around and turn key on and off and the put more fuel in to see if it fuels normally.
A 96 could have the onboard vapor recovery fuel venting andthe tank vent valve can be triggered to close and stay that way for 12 minutes after key off. Cycling the key resets it. If this is the case then see if the problem is only if you shut it off and cooling fan after-runs.


Will give your suggestion a try. FYI: I drove over 400 miles; car needed gas (was at 1/4 tank), then this happened. For this reason, I know for sure that the car needed gas and 1/2 tank should not have caused the fuel to back out of the filler.
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