1991 164S gasoline smell? - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-30-2010, 08:32 AM Thread Starter
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1991 164S gasoline smell?

My 1991 164S has a fairly strong gasoline odor after I fill the car with fuel. As far as I can tell, the car only does this when the level of fuel is at about 3/4 to full. Once pressure builds up after filling it and driving for a while, it stinks. It does it, too, if I corner hard. The smell goes away pretty much completely at about 1/2 tank and below.

I recently had the car in to my Alfa mechanic here in Baltimore to check it out. I went over it with him: no apparent stains from leaks on the tank or the filler neck; the vapor lines all seem in good condition and clamps are tight. We even replaced the gas cap (from another 164). All of the fuel lines and clamps up front are new, too. It still stinks. He is baffled, and I am baffled.

Does anyone have any good ideas/theories on how I can diagnose/fix this problem? Any ideas would definitely be appreciated!
Steve
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-30-2010, 09:17 AM
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Did you remove front wall carpet from inside trunk and inspect two molded elbows in vent system to vapor cannistor, to filler neck and top of tank?

Have you had any maintenance done to this area recently?

If nothing visible there you may neet to pull right side carpet to uncover vent tube connection to fill tube if you also can't see anything in right rear wheel well.

If still no go remove black plastic cover on trunk floor hump ove top of fuel pump cover and gauge sender area.

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Alfa Semi-Daily driver: USA model - BB2 1991 164S Black Beauty II ALFISTO [U]

[U] BB1 1991 164L w/S engine and A/T now excess to inventory [U]

Daily driver and parts hauler but not car hauler 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4.7L H.O. V-8

"A day without an Alfa whine is like a day without sunshine"

Last edited by Alfisto Steve; 08-30-2010 at 09:19 AM.
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-30-2010, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Steve. Yes, the first thing we did was to pull the carpet up and inspect the elbows and their hoses. They seemed to be fine.

Nope, no maintenance back there at all that I know of, and the place I bought it from a year ago knows the service record of this car well (same people are helping me work on it). We also put it up on the lift and looked in the wheel well area, too.

I'm pretty sure we also pulled the carpet on the right side, to look at the vent connection there, too.

I know we did not pull the black plastic cover off of the fuel pump and gauge sender area. Perhaps we could give that a try. Since I've had it, the car has always had an issue with the orange "low gas" light on the dash. It comes on a lot when the car is under half a tank full. Maybe I can look at that problem at the same time.

Thanks again-
Steve
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-30-2010, 10:59 AM
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You will need to remove the black plastic covers to really see a leak at the pump cover and sender.
Charles

-'91 164L 5 speed (sold sadly) -'04 Volvo XC70 -'97 Mazda Miata -'04 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer V8 -'07 Honda Odyssey EX-L
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-30-2010, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Charles and Steve,

I'm just curious....is there a scenario where something (hose, clamp, etc.) in that area under the black plastic cover would leak only when the tank is relatively full?
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-30-2010, 02:58 PM
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Thanks Charles and Steve,

I'm just curious....is there a scenario where something (hose, clamp, etc.) in that area under the black plastic cover would leak only when the tank is relatively full?
Tank under pressure which is normal mode of about 2-3 psi can force fuel vapors or raw gas up around threads of tank cover especially if it has been apart and nobody installed stato-seal neoprene molded onto metal washers.

Three way vent tubing manifold is there and hooks to vent tube under there too. Higher fuel load gives more liquid under tank cover as it is stepped down in that area si fuel will be all the way up to tank cover, gasket and retaining bolts.

Ciao, Alfisto Steve
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Alfa Semi-Daily driver: USA model - BB2 1991 164S Black Beauty II ALFISTO [U]

[U] BB1 1991 164L w/S engine and A/T now excess to inventory [U]

Daily driver and parts hauler but not car hauler 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4.7L H.O. V-8

"A day without an Alfa whine is like a day without sunshine"
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-30-2010, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
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Thanks Charles and Steve,

I'm just curious....is there a scenario where something (hose, clamp, etc.) in that area under the black plastic cover would leak only when the tank is relatively full?
There is the main o-ring seal for the pump housing and several other hoses under there. I just went back in there yesterday to put sealant on the threads of the screws for the pump housing. Even though I have used the sealing washers I still have a fuel smell starting to develop again as well. For me the single most frustrating thing about maintaining this car has got to be trying to keep the gasoline fume smells at bay. I might be going in for the two short firewall hoses again to see if they are the troublemakers this time, cause I don't think I have fixed my smell yet. I fix it and 6-8 months later I have the issue again. I'm driving around with no carpet in the trunk to keep inspecting and the smell was not in the trunk today, so it must be up front, but not seeing any leaks at the fuel rails (this time), so it's got to be the two short hoses you can't see.
Charles

-'91 164L 5 speed (sold sadly) -'04 Volvo XC70 -'97 Mazda Miata -'04 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer V8 -'07 Honda Odyssey EX-L

Last edited by ChazzyD; 08-30-2010 at 06:26 PM.
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-30-2010, 07:26 PM
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I was just outside with a flashlight inspecting every fuel line and vapor hose I could see and found the vent tube that runs parallel with the fuel filler hose in the wheel well had been pinched between the fuel tank and body. I followed it down. I worked that thing out and into the clear beside the tank. Maybe it will help my situation (or help when refueling). We will see, but surely it has always been like this as the tank has never been out as long as I have known the car (since '97-'98 or so). Frustrating. I even got a slight glimpse of the two short hoses at the firewall and they looked fine at least at the top of them. They are almost impossible to see without getting serious. No other signs of trouble at all.
Charles

-'91 164L 5 speed (sold sadly) -'04 Volvo XC70 -'97 Mazda Miata -'04 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer V8 -'07 Honda Odyssey EX-L
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-31-2010, 08:05 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. I will have to take a look back in both of those areas. Much obliged!
Steve
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-31-2010, 05:30 PM
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As soon as I shut the car down today from my hot 40 min commute home I smelled fuel, so I jumped out and opened the truck (has no carpet, back wall carpet or plastic pump covers on for diagnosis) and heard a hissing sound. I had never heard it before, but I had never jumped immediately out to find the problem before either. As Steve says, check your vapor hoses. Mine was hissing from the small elbow. The two splits that it had are on the inside (where you can't see them) of the elbow in the mold seam. I have inspected this hose several times but never removed it or I would have found the small splits. I have replaced it with 3/8" straight fuel line. I have snapped a pic, maybe it will help you.
Charles
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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-31-2010, 05:55 PM
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God I love it!
We leave our cars half disassembled so we can figure out what's going
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I just today put all of the brake light components where they belong under the dash. PO fought a brake light issue for 6 years. It took me a year to diagnose it, and 3 months before I was fairly sure it was fixed.
You really need to take those elbow hoses off to inspect them because they only split on the inside seam of the elbow.

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'85 GTV6 3L, '78 Alfetta Sport Sedan
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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-31-2010, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChazzyD View Post
As soon as I shut the car down today from my hot 40 min commute home I smelled fuel, so I jumped out and opened the truck (has no carpet, back wall carpet or plastic pump covers on for diagnosis) and heard a hissing sound. I had never heard it before, but I had never jumped immediately out to find the problem before either. As Steve says, check your vapor hoses. Mine was hissing from the small elbow. The two splits that it had are on the inside (where you can't see them) of the elbow in the mold seam. I have inspected this hose several times but never removed it or I would have found the small splits. I have replaced it with 3/8" straight fuel line. I have snapped a pic, maybe it will help you.
Charles
What I tell you guys about those molded elbows. They leak when old age sets in!

Ciao, Alfisto Steve
Virginia Beach, VA
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Alfa Semi-Daily driver: USA model - BB2 1991 164S Black Beauty II ALFISTO [U]

[U] BB1 1991 164L w/S engine and A/T now excess to inventory [U]

Daily driver and parts hauler but not car hauler 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4.7L H.O. V-8

"A day without an Alfa whine is like a day without sunshine"
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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 08-31-2010, 06:20 PM
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By the way...is there anyone who can post a pic of what the trunk area is supposed to look like? Mine has looked like Charles' for so long I haven't a clue.

Jeff Lang
'85 GTV6 3L, '78 Alfetta Sport Sedan
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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-01-2010, 06:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks again for all of your help, guys. I am definitely going to check thise elbows again! It seems like replacing them with some regular fuel line may be the key. I will try that first.

Now...if I could only figure out the electrical issue with my trunk lid brake light that stays on intermittently. We tried to fix that, too, with no success. We replaced the little brake light circuit box that resides under the glovebox area. That did the trick for a while, but after a few weeks the brake light started staying on again. Even though I physically disconnected the brake wire in the trunk area, my battery is dead again! One thing after another......!
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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 09-01-2010, 09:29 AM
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I have been chasing the opposite problem, I only get fuel smell below quarter tank and I have found no leaks at any of the mentioned hoses. I get a tremendous amount of pressure upon removing the gas cap. Especially when it is very hot outside. There was so much pressure the other day that the fuel cap was hissing, I have been switching around fuel caps. I too have been driving around with the empty of trim trunk. Never smells in the trunk however.
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