Fuel smell coming out of vents


#1

I have a 2000 Subaru Outback. On mornings when the temp is below 32 F, and I start the car, if the heater fan is on when I’m stopped at a light or just warming the car up in the driveway, the smell of gasoline comes out of heat vents. When I am going at least 20 MPH or more, the smell goes away. It returns when I stop again. This will continue until the engine warms up due to weather or it has been running a while. Though this weekend driving in the mountains it did not get above 10F so even after driving for an hour, when I stopped, the smell returned.



The mechanic thinks I’m crazy, so I’m not sure what to do. Only happens when outside temp is below 32 F.


#2

I can’t explain the temperature part, but you must have a leak either from the evaporative system or fuel lines or at the injectors. the first thing I’d guess b/c of the temperature is just worn o-rings either on the injectors or in the fuel line connections. when cold they’d contract & when warm they’d expand.

I would pop the hood next time its cold and look closely at all of the fuel line connections & the injectors - if you don’t see anything take a piece of small hose like a vacuum hose or something, stick one end in your nose and poke the other around at all of the fuel line connections & injectors to see if you can pinpoint the source. also inspect all of the vacuum hoses & such right around the firewall as this is where an evap system leak that you can smell in the car would likely come from.

if you can’t find anything ask your shop to inspect these things. if they don’t find anything just get an estimate on replacing the injector & fuel line o-rings. it should likely be neither all that cheap nor all that expensive.


#3

you’re correct. I just replaced 3 fuel lines, seemed they didn’t like the cold so they were replaced during the last cold snap around here when I couldn’t breath in the car even with the windows rolled down. Not very much fun when it’s 0 degrees and you’re doing 50 down the highway.