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Gasoline Fumes in Cabin of 1993 Chrysler New Yorker Fifth Avenue

Within the last week or two, I’ve started noticing a gasoline smell in my cabin, especially when Recirc is not on, or when I’m idling at a stoplight, for instance. Now, when I am driving, I can have recirc on and I almost don’t notice anything. I think that’s probably because enough air is being circulated around in the engine compartment to dilute the fumes.



I do smell it outside the car, after I drive somewhere and park.



Also, when I come back to the car, even after it has been parked for a few hours, the cabin still smells like gas fumes.



I opened the hood and looked around, but I didn’t really know what to look for. I don’t know where the fuel lines are routed.



I would appreciate any help anyone can give.

Have someone put a fuel pressure gauge on it, pressurize the fuel system, and monitor the fuel pressure and check for leaks.

Okay, so I filled the tank full of gas, and tightened the gas cap until I heard a few clicks (normally I don’t do that, but I read somewhere that it might be related to this issue).

Then I didn’t smell any fumes until the tank got down to 1/4 full.

Does that tell us anything?

I just don’t have the money to do anything mechanical to the car right now.

Do you try to top off the tank? Usually with a couple of tries or more after the initial shut off? This could lead to the charcoal canister getting contaminated with raw gas. The gas tank has a vent line that runs to the charcoal canister under the hood. The canister is designed to capture gas vapors from the tank, and let them get purged into the engine to be burned. If contaminated with liquid fuel, the liquid can filter through, and come out the overflow vent underneath the canister. This could lead to the gassy smell.

If this is the case, I’d recommend that you stop filling the tank when the gas handle goes click the first time, and see if it can clear itself out in a few days. Otherwise, you may need to replace the canister.

Since my original post, I have not over-filled my tank (I don’t know that I ever did). And I’ve always tightened the gas cap firmly. After my original post, the problem stopped when I did the above. Until the most recent tank of gas, where the fumes became a problem again.

And I’ve also noticed that the car starts differently as well. Normally the engine will catch and fire up after just two or three “turnovers.” But now it takes much longer. It’s as if the system has lost whatever gas would be available for use in the first few engine cycles. Now, it takes about 8-10 “turnovers” before the engine “fires” and starts up.

So it seems that both symptoms are only present at the same time. Before this tank of gas, the car started normally and did not smell of gas. But now, it takes a moment to start, and emits the fumes.

I don’t know how the next tank of gas will act, or even if the symptoms seem to be governed by each tank of gas. But I do know that the current symptoms started after I filled up my most recent tank of gas.

Your two problems might not be related. But for the fuel fumes, I’d suspect a bad valve on the charcoal cannister, a bad hose going to or from the cannister, or as someone else mentioned, a saturated cannister. The cannister is only there to capture fuel fumes from your tank when the car is sitting. Then when the car is started, the cannister valve is open and the cannister is “purged” which means the fumes are fed back into the intake to be safely burned. When there is a broken, lose, or disconnect line going to or from the cannister, the fuel fumes escape into the air, which you smell. If you don’t have any gasoline leaking externally, and the car runs fine, I’d start looking at the cannister system. On newer cars if you left your gas cap cracked open, it would give you a check engine lite, but since yours is a 1993, it probably isn’t equipped with that capability.

Thank you. I’ll see if I can find a service manual and see if I can do some preliminary inspection myself of the canister lines, etc.

The car does seem to be running fine. And I have not noticed any leaks.

I just filled the car half-way up this time. I wasn’t trying any “test” intentionally at the time… but after reading your post – and learning more about the canister system – I might try not filling it up all the way and seeing if that changes anything.

Since this recent trip to the gas station, I’m pleased that there were no fumes, and the car is back to starting normally.

Since the last messages, when getting gas, I’ve been adding enough gas to bring it to only 80-90% full. And I’ve not had any problems with the fumes. I’m guessing that if this continues, it must be related.

Well, I think I found the leak! I found a thing near the engine head that is dripping gasoline. It is in the foreground of the attached picture, just left of center. You can see the pool of gas on the parts to the right of center.

Can anyone identify this?
Is it complicated to replace?
Could a mechanically-minded guy, with the help of the Car Talk forum, repair it himself?

Thanks.

That is your fuel pressure regulator. It has a diaphragm inside and is designed to keep the pressure in your fuel system in the correct range. Your diaphragm has probably torn or ruptured. That metal thing it is attached to is your fuel rail - the fuel runs through there to feed your injectors.

You need a new pressure regulator. You can easily call around for quotes on how much it will cost to have someone replace it. But with just a little bit of knowledge and a couple of tools it is really not too hard to replace. If you want to do it yourself say so, and I (or someone else) will give you the run down.

Have a look at this.
http://www.autozone.com/shopping/repairGuide.htm?pageId=0900c1528006abea

Autozone lists the part at $47:
http://www.autozone.com/shopping/repairGuide.htm?method=relatedParts&partTypeCode=165

Shoot! That looks like a piece of cake. I’ve done some motorcycle maintenance and carb work, etc. It doesn’t look like this would be a big deal at all.

However, how important is that step that says, “Using the DRB III or equivalent scan tool, perform the ASD fuel system test to pressurize the fuel system.” ??

Now I just have to wait till I can afford that replacement part. Anything other than that part that I need to get?

You should only need that part, though check the vacuum hose that attaches to it. Its probably old & worn out & you might as well put a new one on. Vacuum hose cost is measured more in pennies than dollars.

I actually can’t tell you about the “pressurizing fuel system” part. I’d look into it before pulling it as this fuel system might have some quirks that I don’t know about. Normally you’d just replace the thing and turn the key to repressurize the fuel system.

If you do it yourself, the depressurizing the fuel system part is the only real important thing not to overlook. There are several ways to do that without special equipment. Some people say to pull the fuel pump relay and then crank the motor. I wrap a rag around the valve and just poke it - it spews fuel all over the rag but it works - look for something that looks like a tire fill valve.

But make sure you find someone who can tell you about whether you really need this scantool or not.

Well, I’m thinking if I just let it sit for a few hours, it will depressurize itself. I think that’s why it takes 8-10 turns before it fires up in the morning and before heading home from work.

Do your self a favor & wrap up the fuel rail valve and give it a poke anyway - its better than spraying gasoline all over your face when you try to pull the regulator.

Yeah, I should have done that. I didn’t. Some of the pressure was released, but not all. There was enough still to create a highly-pressurized burst of gas that nearly took out my face about 15 seconds after I removed the regulator. God helped me out, because I had side-stepped enough to avoid the blast when it hit.

All in all, the repair was a cinch. Couldn’t get much easier: Remove one bolt, disconnect vacuum line, remove plate (which held regulator on), pull off the regulator. I should have covered the opening while I prepared the new regulator, but it all worked out.

I am still smelling gas three days later. But it’s not nearly as bad. There must be another leak, just a smaller one. Or it may be that charcoal cannister issue previously discussed.

Thanks guys, for all the help! You’ve saved me the time to take the car to a garage, the labor costs, and given me more car repair experience. Invaluable.

I’ll try not filling the tank up for a few fill-ups and we’ll see if the issue disappears totally.

It was especially cold this morning, so I let the car warm up for a few minutes. When I came out, I saw a puddle of gas coming out from under the car, heading down the parking lot. I’m guessing between a quart and half a quart must’ve leaked out.

I popped the hood and checked the Fuel Regulator (that I had changed last week). It was fine. But I looked on the other side of the engine and gas was rapidly dripping out of two sites (annotated on the photo).

The tube that the fuel regulator plugs into is routed along in front of the exhaust headers (entering the photo from the left), then it makes a turn (the first leak point) to head toward the back of the car for a few inches, then another turn (the other leak point) to head under the exhaust headers.

I guess I need to wipe everything down and start it up again and try to locate the exact leak site(s).

But does anyone have any wisdom to offer at this point?

Its hard to be certain from the picture & b/c I’ve never popped the hood or fuel lines on one of these cars - but…it just looks like the point where your fuel lines from the pump meet up with the fuel rail. Those points are usually sealed by o-rings on the fuel line. This is also not to hard to deal with, though more annoying than the FPR. You’ll need a fuel line disconnect tool and some new o-rings. (And as you now know - depressurize before you do anything!). Neither of these items is all that expensive.

But…it seems obvious that at 16yrs the rubber bits of your fuel system are degraded. You might patch this leak to find that it moved elsewhere, and then you keep chasing leaks. I would first go back to that Autozone repair manual & use visual inspection to find all of the connections in your fuel system b/c they should just all be done. If its not many & you’re up to it, go for it. If not you can get estimates over the phone for what it would take to replace all fuel system seals. Then decide whether or not you want to mess with it yourself.

I found a Car-Talk-recommended mechanic in my area, and had him look at the fuel rail, which was spewing gas when pressurized. He said it had cracked and would need replacing.

Almost $700 later, I’m all fixed up.