Leak in Fuel Tank

We just got a new fuel filter and fuel pump in our 2003 Subaru Forester at a Subaru dealer.

So, we go to fill up the gas tank and, as it nears full, gas starts pouring out UNDER the car–i.e., it wasn’t flowing out of the top of the gas tank down the outside of the car.

So my questions are these:

1.How could they have not put the gas tank back together right?


2.How big an idiot was I for then driving the car home instead of immediately calling a tow truck?


3.Should I have the car towed back to the dealer or drive it back? I mean assuming I don’t want to blow up

It is likely the filler neck rather than the tank itself. The dealer likely did a poor job reassembling all the pieces and making them gas tight. Contrary to popular movies, cars don’t blow up that easily. The gas would have to run on a very hot exhaust pipe to ignite.

However, the dealer needs to fix it properly this time.

Kenny G, Here Are My Opinions Regarding Questions One Through Three.

[list]One - Humans did the repair work. Think NASA Rocket Scientists.[/list]

[list]Two - You were about as big an idiot as most of us, but you made it.[/list]

[list]Three - I will tell you to have it towed and then read below.[/list]

The leak is impossible to assess without seeing it. All gas leaks are dangerous. It sounds like the leak is high up on the tank, like maybe the o-ring sealing the fuel pump or the filler neck connection.

I can’t recommend this to you, but here’s what I would do. I would check and see if the leak has stopped. It will stop if the leak was at the top and when you filled it and the gas (overflowed) ran out. Using some of the gas out of the tank by driving could make it stop if one doesn’t make quick stops and starts. Sometimes a leaking fuel line / fuel pump will pump gas out, not just leak it out. This is bad, very bad (gas can spray). I would make sure the leak doesn’t start after the car is sitting with engine running. Seeing no leaks, I would drive with no passengers, but I do scary things. I can only tell you to tow in case there was a problem with fire.

Kenny, call the dealer. Ask if they want to (or insist that they do) come get it on their dime.


Thanks. The dealer agreed to pay the tow and the car is off to the dealer.

Hopefully they are going to have it flat-bedded, because if it is towed they will also owe you a new transfer case!

Given their slip-shod work standards, it is just possible that the service writer requesting the tow will not know enough to specify a flatbed truck, rather than a tow truck. Hopefully I am wrong.

Perhaps surprisingly, you turned out to be wrong. I watched it get winched onto the flatbed.
However, they just called to say they can’t locate the leak. My wife suggested they just try to fill it up . . .

Interesting. Please Let Us Know What Happens.


Strange a code for major leak was not set (evap system leak detection pump) you leave the gas cap slightly loose and you get a code here the top op the tank was open to the air and no code. How did the tank pass its OBD2 tank pressurization test?

I guess I don’t understand when the OP writes “it wasn’t flowing out the top of the gas tank down the outside of the car”. But the leak came when the tank became full. If it was the filler pipe it would have leaked as soon as you started to fill.

Thanks to all for their help.
I picked up the car today, went to the gas station, and filled it up without spillage, so I guess the leak is fixed.
They said there was a torn gasket that they hadn’t done, but they fixed it without additional charge anyway.

Old school: I suspect that there was a code, because the check engine light had come on before we filled the tank and the gas spilled out inside.
I don’t know how it passed the pressurization test.
As to why the didn’t spill as soon as I started filling (before it was re-fixed), I don’t know. The only thing that I can think of is that the leak was right at the very top of the tank or the neck or whatever it is, and when you put the hose nozzle in the gas bypassed the leaky place until the tank was about full.

CSA: And I hope that’s the end of this story.

I like to look at peoples posts and see if the chain of events follow a logical path and yours didn’t so it intrigued me.

It is something like a analysis of a failure,I want to figure out when,why how and where the mechanic made his mistake. I can’t see how your car even made it out of the shop without the mechanic noticing something was wrong.

It helps prevent these types of things from happening again.

Wow, That Was Some Coincidence! The Very Day Somebody Works On The Fuel System In A 6-7 Year-Old Vehicle, A Gasket “Goes Bad” In The Fuel System And Causes Fuel To Leak.

What are the chances of that? Anyhow, it’s good they took care of it all. Hopefully the fuel pump and filter took care of a problem that was properly diagnosed.

Thanks for the information, Kenny.


Strange as it may seem, all, the dealer’s mechanic(s) did NOT pressure test the gas tank after the fuel pump replacement!
Kenney G., If the procedure was followed, the gas tank was removed, cleaned internally, and re-installed. Where connections were undone, and redone, would require new seals. The gasket that tore itself (ahem), was probably at a place that was disconnected; but, wasn’t at the required disconnection place. Thus, that gasket wouldn’t be in the “fuel pump replacement seal kit”.


Play some real jazz! Give up that “smooth” crap!

Oh, you’re not THAT Kenny G? Never mind!

I am talking about the automatic test done by the evap system,nothing the mechanic would have to do. The same test that turns on the check engine light when the gas cap is loose.