Gas smell in Caravan - fuel filter change recently - coincidence?

Since yesterday I am getting a strong fuel/gasoline smell in my 2000 Caravan 3.0 litre v6. I am going to take it in, but two things have recently happened:

1)I had the fuel filter changed about 1 week ago (and put in a fuel additive as recommended by the mechanic)- this filter comes with some new hoses btw.

2)2 days ago, I had to drive about 120 miles on a very bumpy, dippy paved road at speeds that were too fast for it (80-100 kph - around 45-50 mph). (had to get home before the moose come out and got delayed leaving - moose are very common here).

It seems to be only when the vehicle is running.

I really hope it is just a loose hose or rotted out hose and not a gas tank. If it is a gas tank - is there any ways of patching them? Are they mostly made from fiberglass these days or metal? Would you recommend getting a used one from a junkyard?

The garage where I got the fuel filter done seem to be good guys, but I’ve only been there twice; they are licensed mechanics in an independent shop.

Is there gas leaking underneath the car when the car is parked? Is the gas cap on tight?

The simplest and cheapest answer is the bouncing around caused some gas to splash around in the tank. If the tank was very full it may have “vented” some fumes. Modern fuel systems are “closed” and not supposed to leak either raw gas or fumes. Making this cheap answer unlikely.

Either a fuel line related to the new fuel filter is loose and leaking, or you punched a hole in the fuel tank rushing home on the rough road. You must have had something hit the bottom of the car because otherwise why wonder about a hole in your gas tank?

Finding and fixing a leaking hose should be easy, and not too expensive. The gas tank is another story. Gas tanks are now made of plastic and are not “patchable”. If you have a hole in the tank the only solution is replace the tank. Getting one from a salvage yard should be OK and save you some money if that is the problem.

Thanks for replying - actually, when I went to drive this to the garage, the smell was gone - even with the heater on – it must have been spilled gas on my boots or on the car or something - and just took awhile to go away with our damp cool climate. My lucky day!

Dust Mouse, There Have Been Two Fuel Leak Recalls Involving 2000 3.0L Caravans.

Certain 2000 Caravans with that engine have been recalled for leaking fuel filters and for leking fuel rail seals. If you’re not sure if your vehicle is subject to the recalls or if they have been done or not, call a Dodge dealer. Have your VIN (vehicle Identification Number) ready. They can check for open recalls.

I don’t know if Canada covers these for free like in the states. We are covered by U.S. regulations.

If the smell returns or you want to check on fuel rail seals, give a call. It sounds like it may be too late for the filter since you already had it replaced. This can be dangerous, as you know.


P.S. My Caravan has a plastic tank. I suppose steel fuel lines above the tank or anywhere else could corrode and leak, though.