What's causing my air filter to clog up with gasoline?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jan 01, 1999

Dear Tom and Ray:

I am 73 and have been trying to call your radio show for the past 20 years
(well, it seems like it), and all I get is a busy signal. Before I die, I need
an answer to the question I've been trying to ask. I own a 1987 VW Quantum
station wagon (the one with the 5-cylinder Audi engine). It has only about
39,000 miles on it, and when I recently replaced the air filter, it was full of
gasoline. I replaced it with a new one, and now, a few months later, it smells
of gas again. What can cause this? My local dealer has no idea. Send me an
answer before it's too late. -- Chris

RAY: Wow, Chris, you sure are a patient chap. Our internal surveys show that
most of our listeners give up after only eight or nine years of busy signals.

TOM: I think that gasoline is dripping onto the filter from the fuel
distributor. The fuel distributor runs right above the filter on this car. And
my guess is it's leaking.

RAY: Take it to your dealer and ask him to check the fuel distributor for leaks.
By the way, we checked and he's currently got a four-year waiting list for an
appointment. You don't mind, do you?

* * *

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