Smelling gasoline INSIDE the car? Probably a leaky fuel pump.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Nov 01, 1996

Dear Tom and Ray:

My husband and I have a problem with an '89 Toyota Tercel that has 100,000
miles. We can't get rid of the odor of gasoline inside the car. We
originally took the car to the dealer six months ago because it was running
poorly. It was hesitating and underpowered -- even for a Tercel! They have
done a valve job and replaced the carburetor four times since then. The car
is running better, but unless we keep the windows open, we smell gasoline.
The problem is most noticeable with the air conditioner or heat running in
stop-and-go traffic. The dealer doesn't know what else to do. Any ideas? --

RAY: Yeah. Replace the fuel pump. Yours is leaking.

TOM: The fuel pump is on the back of the engine, right near the fire wall.
And the gas fumes are getting past the weather stripping between the engine
and the cowl, and getting sucked right into your ventilation system.

RAY: It's very difficult to see gas leaking out of the fuel pump because it
leaks very slowly. And it only takes a minuscule quantity of gasoline to
make a lot of gasoline odor. It's kind of like that Eau De Cat Box cologne
my brother wears.

TOM: Tell them to wipe the outside of the fuel pump with a clean rag,
Candy. My guess is they'll smell gasoline on the rag. If they do, a new
fuel pump, and a few days of airing out the car, should solve your problem.

RAY: And by the way, Candy, I hope they didn't charge you for the four
carburetors they went through trying to fix this problem!

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