gas smell | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)

gas smell

Discussion in '3rd Gen 1997-2002 2.0L SOHC' started by Alan Caldwell, Jun 23, 2015.

  1. Alan Caldwell

    Alan Caldwell New Member

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    hello guys....

    Im new to owning a car, Ive ridden lots of miles on a motorcycle, but my new business requires me to have a car...
    Im fairly mechaincally adept with bikes, but cars are a whole different ball game, which is why Im here.
    1997 wagon, 2nd owner, my first car 231k, timing belt was done at 170k
    the smell of gas...
    its very faint
    only when running, as in moving, when stopped it disappears (I did an idle test and saw no drops/dripping after 15min)
    it doesnt come in the vent(s)
    but you do smell it when the windows are open, when going forward.

    I tried checking all the hoses I could find under/around the engine, they all appear to be sound. I couldnt find the gas or the return line though :-(

    I did detect a hissing/sucking coming from somewhere behind the front passenger wheel.
    Thoughts? Whats back there?

    is there a service manual for this car I could down load? I did a search and didnt find much.

    cheers
    alan
  2. DC Ultra

    DC Ultra FEOA Donator

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    fuel pump is located under your back seat's seat cushion.
    if you got windows only in the front down, the wind coming in and out could draft some gas by your nose if there is small leak there - so would seem like you smell it "only when going forward".

    can your 'scort hold a full tank? (just asking)
    since you have '97, you have two fuel lines (in and return) that lead to the top of the pump there.
    those connections and the "top" lid of the fuel pump could have very small leak.

    passenger side - don't think anything there is fuel related?

    under hood, follow fuel rail toward driver side and smell around?
    remove intake and battery tray for more visual. fuel filter on firewall driver side.

    i bought a Haynes, then i found this site.
    though you heard tell you can easily by digital copy of FSM from ebay at reasonable prices.
  3. Alan Caldwell

    Alan Caldwell New Member

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    fuel pump is located under your back seat's seat cushion. Ill Check it out, but it doesnt seem likely, it never smells with the windows closed, with the heat Id expect something
    if you got windows only in the front down, the wind coming in and out could draft some gas by your nose if there is small leak there - so would seem like you smell it "only when going forward".

    can your 'scort hold a full tank? (just asking) I dont know I only put $20 a week in it. But it dosnt seem to last as long as I would expect. Maybe 100km / 1/4 tank mixed driving.
    since you have '97, you have two fuel lines (in and return) that lead to the top of the pump there.
    those connections and the "top" lid of the fuel pump could have very small leak.

    passenger side - don't think anything there is fuel related?

    under hood, follow fuel rail toward driver side and smell around? this is the odd thing, I never smell it under the hood.... nor through the vents... but now that I found it I hear the sucking hiss from the behind the front wheel.... I need more time to anybody got a side of time I can use? 2 maybe 3 days?
    remove intake and battery tray for more visual. fuel filter on firewall driver side.

    i bought a Haynes, then i found this site.
    though you heard tell you can easily by digital copy of FSM from ebay at reasonable prices. Ill look on ebay, or keep digging for a digital copy, thanks
  4. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    https://www.feoa.net/threads/fuel-smell-any-help-is-appreciated.86647/
    The above thread is for 2nd-Gen. You have 3rd. Should be useful for providing direction however.

    I've been learning more and more about servicing my motorcycle. So we're kind of on opposite ends of the spectrum here.

    Your descriptions of the issue seem to match what I've been experiencing with a leaking fuel tank lock seal ring. Reason it's more prevalent when moving is because of the way the air is being directed in the cabin and may have something to do with the fact that the intake for the vents is near the floor.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2015
  5. DC Ultra

    DC Ultra FEOA Donator

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    Here is a link to a good purchase (imo).

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/1997-Ford-E...281-/271897558246?hash=item3f4e5b7ce6&vxp=mtr

    both the factory manual and electrical.
    (im tempted myself to jump on this, except im budgeting for my other car at the moment)

    you mentioned your mileage in KM - you not in the USofA?
    my math is pretty lame = vaguely recall 120kmph is 75 mph or so.
    so if you getting 63 miles or so on 2.5 gallons = 25 mpg or so
    which is good for local driving, not so good for highway driving.
    but i drive a really short route to work and back, and i dont really get even 25 mpg.
    (and i run AC) - do get 30-ish on the highway tho.

    reason im asking about the can you hold full tank, maybe you have leak of some sort and you only short fill your tank - that effects mileage but even then i think only a little.

    hissing from behind the passenger front wheel ... hmmm...
    stuff on that side is like...
    power steering
    maybe the manifold vacuum lines up top? (it's more or less dead center a little
    closer to the passenger side)
    do you get the sound if/when you don't run the AC?
    cruise control is on that side if you have it (mine doesnt)
    maybe try have someone turning off the car while you go stand there and listen for it?

    just some thoughts.
    good luck!
  6. copcarguy

    copcarguy FEOA Member

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    Check fuel filler neck and hose between it and the tank. You might need to remove the plastic shield behind the drivers rear tire.
  7. EscorGo

    EscorGo FEOA Donator

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    Those would be my guesses to: rubber lockring gasket or hose btwn the fuel filler neck and tank. You can get a new one at the dealer.
  8. buzzyj

    buzzyj FEOA Member

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    I had a gas smell on my 2002 Escort SE, which turned out to be BAD rust on the top of the gas tank! The top of the tank was really, really rusty, and rusted thru a bit! I didn't think much about it for a long time, and I was told that I was lucky that it didn't blow up and kill me. You might want to check out your tank!
  9. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Re 2nd-Gen, the tank itself is plastic. As long as you don't fill the tank above ~65% and fumes are not building in the cabin when the vehicle is off, you're okay.

    There is a metal ring attached to the tank and it's this piece that rusts-out. The rubber seal and lock-ring are replaceable however the metal ring that is attached to the plastic tank isn't. I ran upon a cylinder of fuel-resistant sealant in the parts-store that is supposed to be applied with a hot glue gun.

    Whenever I get around to it, will acquire 3 to 6 self-tapping stainless screws. I'll remove the original lock-ring, seal. I expect there will be a lot of debris (from the rust) to clean up; difficulty is keeping that out of the tank. The only thing that made my seal leak in the past, was failing to clean-up all the corrosion before assembly. So that seal will need to be thoroughly cleaned-up, and replaced if deformed by the corrosion.

    After thoroughly cleaning up all the contact surfaces, will lay down a layer of that fuel-resistant sealant with the hot-glue gun. On top of that will go the rubber seal. On top of that will go another layer of that sealant. On top of that will go the lid.

    Now the rust will have damaged the hold-downs for that lid. This is what the self-tapping screws are for. Whether a person uses three, four, or six screws, *PERFECTLY* even distribution of those screws around the ring will be critical. Obviously putting them in now will introduce some debris into the gas tank. To minimize that, one can pre-drill holes for their insertion.

    To help minimize risk of fire, the tank will need to be thoroughly drained before this type of work is performed. The fuel pump itself can be used for this prior to disassembly. A fuel approved hand-pump can be used for the remaining fuel.

    This is my plan... will eventually get around to implementing it. Can't say for 100% whether this will be successful, but expect that it will be.
  10. 98_Jim

    98_Jim FEOA Member

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    I'm not sure if the '97 has the same stupid PCV valve layout as my '98, but the a few years back, the tube connected to the bottom of the valve rotted away and cracked.

    That allowed blow-by gases from the crank case to leak out to the engine bay and caused a gas smell in the cabin. I've attached a picture showing where my valve plumbing rotted. Its marked in red.

    If you have the same PCV setup, it might be something to check......

    Attached Files:

  11. bent_rod

    bent_rod FEOA Donator

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    Another item to check if all others fail.
    On my 2000 SE I had a gas smell sometimes, mostly when first starting up. It turned out to be a crack in the the exhaust pipe next to the flange that connects to the exhaust manifold. The crack was on the back side of the pipe and very had to see. I have seen this same problem on other cars not just on Escorts.

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