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Blocked fuel fill line?

I have 2002 Ford Explorer and I have trouble filling it with gas. The pressure in the fill line keeps shutting off the gas pump. I have to slowly drizzle the gas in to fill the tank. Sometimes the problem is better, sometimes worse.
Can you give me some suggestions?

Your vehicle may have an Onboard Refueling Vapor Recovery in the EVAP system.

What that is, as you fill the gas tank, the flow of the gas out of the pump builds pressure in the gas tank from what is called a venturi effect. This forces the gas vapors in the gas tank into the carbon canister to be collected before it vents back into the atmosphere. Then when the engine is started cold these vapors are drawn into the engine and burned.

If there’s a problem ORVR system the gas tank can’t vent fast enough to release the pressure when refueling and the pump keeps shutting off.

Have someone check all the hoses in the EVAP system for a restriction.

Did you know spider egg sacs can cause this problem?


I personally believe it is the vapor recovery system at the fuel pump that is the problem. I’ve had this issue at random at different gas stations and found I can prevent the problem by pulling the nozzle out about an inch. Some cars are not as sensitive as others, but this method works for me.

Tom and Ray would pull out one of their favorite answers: Mud chiggers!

It could also be the physical interface.
Vehicles today have a system that allows a vent valve to open diaphramatically and allow the fuel tank fumes to vent through the charcoal canister to an orifice at the periphery of the fill hole. That allows the fumes to be filtered before release, and also allows any remaining hydrocarbon molecules to be drawn into either the tank’s filler pipe or the pump’s vapor recovery system.

If the vent valve is not functioning, or the charcoal bed is saturated, the tank will be unable to vent. If the fuel fill nozzle is blocking the vent orifice by the fill hole, that will also prevent the tank from venting. If there’s anything else blocking the vent hole, the tank will be unable to vent. Any of these causes will make the pump handle keep shutting off.

You may or may not have a stored fault code for an EVAP system malfunction. It’s worth checking. You might get lucky.