Toyota Camry smells fuel when idling


I have a 2000 Camry 4 cyl, around 80K miles. I was noticing some white smoke at the tailpipe when starting the engine in the morning. Other than that the car drove fine and I was getting very good mileage.

Suspecting the plugs, I recently changed the spark plugs with NGK iridium plugs. After that, the car still runs fine, but I smell fuel when it is idling. The mileage seems ok, although I did not get a chance to measure the exact mileage. The white smoke problem is still present.

The car also has an intermittent problem of P441, I believe it is related to the EGR VSV. It was present before I changed the plugs.

Can anyone suggest what is wrong? Which problem should I tackle first?

The code P0441=Evaporative Emission Control System Incorrect Purge Flow. This means you should check the carbon canister system that collects the gas vapors, and are then directed into the engine to be burned off when the engine is first started. The problem might be with the purge valve for the carbon canister that controls when this happens.


I had a similar problem once in a Ford Escort. It turned out to be the case that the vacuum line for the evap system had lost its mooring, fell against the feed pipe for the EGR valve and melted in half. It triggered exactly that code and gave me the smell of gas fumes whenever I sat at idle. The smell came from the fact that the broken end of the line basically sat under the hood directly under the fresh air intake cowl - so my gas fumes were venting to open air right under where the open air gets sucked into the car.

Once I patched the vacuum hose and restrung it, the smell went away but I still ended up having to replace the evap purge valve and solenoid (the code came back) - I assume that everything just got gunked up from being open to the atmosphere.

Anyway, the purge canister and its vac lines tend to be hard to inspect b/c its normally lodged underneath of a whole bunch of stuff (I had to pull my engine’s air intake, battery, and tray - not hard - just a pita), but look around really carefully at all of the vacuum lines focusing near the firewall and toward the driver’s side and look for a broken or detached line. Then just try to inspect the entire line and fittings from tank to canister.

I agree with the previous posts. It sounds like you have a problem with the evaporative canistor system. You do in fact have one, although I could never see mine on my last car, it was buried deeply. It is put on the most out of the way spot because it is usually the type of thing that requires no maintenance. You usually don’t have to think about it. But you could have a loose line going to or coming from it. Either way, I’d get it fixed, as it is wasting gas as well as contaminating the environment, especially if you park in your garage for a while with car idling.