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2003 Expedition fuel spray when filling tank

My 2003 Expedition has started spraying fuel out of the fill tube whenever I fill the tank. It started 6-8 months ago. At first, I thought that maybe it was a fluke. It kept happening. I am so tired of getting fuel all over myself and my car. Not to mention the environmental impact of the fuel spill. This isn’t just a little fuel dripping out of the tank and spilling on the ground. It’s a full on projectile expulsion of fuel from the tank. Do anyone have any idea what’s happening and what I can do to fix the problem? Thanks.

When gas is pumped into the tank, air is supposed to come out somewhere, somehow. Otherwise the air inside the tank builds up pressure as the fuel level rises, and what you got is a seltzer bottle, only w/ gasoline. Which is no good for you or your clothes, as you mention. It’s also very dangerous. If it were me, I’d want to keep a fire extinguisher in the car until this is resolved.

There are various valves and tubes involved w/how this works, and it varies car to car, year to year. But you could do a look-see in the fuel tank and filler area to see if anything looks amiss, tubes come loose, tubes clogged, etc. Beyond that you’ll need a factory service manual and procedures for the evap system, or take the car to a well-recommended shop. It shouldn’t be too difficult for someone with experience to figure out. Don’t delay on this though. Best of luck.

It sounds like there’s a problem with the fuel vent that should be allowing air to escape from the tank while you fill it with gas. That vent is blocked somehow and the air tries to get out through the filler neck instead, spraying gas all over.

Call your Ford dealer, explain the problem, and ask them if they have a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) for this problem. If they do, they will know what the issue is and how to fix it. If not, take it to a trusted local mechanic (or the dealer) for diagnosis and repair.

It’s not a fluke, it’s a real problem. Get it fixed.

The On Board Refueling Vapor Recovery System isn’t working correctly.

When filling the gas tank, the vent valve should open allowing the air to escape thru the carbon canister to the atmosphere. If the vent valve doesn’t open the air can’t escape. But this would normally turn on the Check Engine light.

But here’s something you might want to have checked out. There are reports that spiders can deposit egg sacs in the EVAP system that prevents the gas tank from venting.

Have someone remove all the hoses for the EVAP system and blow compressed air thru the hoses to make sure this isn’t the problem.


I did a quick search and didn’t find a TSB or Recall on the fuel system vent. Call a ford dealership to confirm there’s no recall on the problem. If there isn’t, take it to a good independent shop as suggested above. This needs to be addressed promptly for your safety and others.