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Who is right?

We have a 1997 Ford Ranger, live in Minnesota. The heat doesn’t work, the electric windows need to be pushed up the last 4 inches, the radio is stuck on loud, the back window latch is broken off, the dash lights only light up the speedometer to 50 mph, the driver’s seat doesn’t adjust for reclining, and the gas gauge doesn’t work. We tend to drive our cars till they die and have been able to live with the above annoyances. However, in dealing with the lack of a gas gauge the person driving it when the odometer hits 200 miles is suppose to fill it up then reset the odometer. That was me this weekend. Once the gas nozzle clicked off I gave it one last squirt to top it off and gasoline began flowing out under the car. Not dripping, not trickling, not squirting out back at me. Under the truck. Maybe a pint to quart of gas. After wondering if I was going to blow up that part of the county if I started my truck, I figured God wasn’t done with me yet, so I started it and drove until I used up about 3 gallons. My husband thinks it is OK to keep the truck because by overfilling it I triggered a valve that actually was suppose to do just what it did….release the extra gas. I think it is a fireball waiting for a T-bone collision to send someone to their maker. Who is right?

Your vehicle is OBDII emission compliant so it’s not supposed to even leak gas fumes.

There’s a leak on top of the gas tank from rust. How long has the Check Engine light been on?


Actually, the valves are designed to prevent filling of the tank to the point where it overflows.
The clicking off of the handle prevents your vehicle from becoming a potential fireball. It also prevents gas fumes from getting into the environment and gas puddles, which are HAZMAT spills and potential gas station fires.

I strongly urge you to discontinue the practice of “topping off the tank”. In addition to creating the aforementioned dangers, it can also cause saturation of the evaporative emission system’s charcoal canister bed (a bed of activated charcoal), and that can prevent the tank from breathing in and cause operating problems as well as premature failure of the pump.

In summary, you need not worry that the truck is a fireball because of the incident described, but you are creating serious safety issues and possible operating problems by “topping off the tank”.

Tester may be right. If he is, I stand corrected and the vehicle IS dangerous. VERY dangerous. If you get hit by another car that fireball scenario just might play out. You need to get this checked out immediately.

I would not like to see you substitute " we tend to drive a car till they die" with, “we tend to drive a car till WE die”. Unsafe cars come in all shapes and sizes. The shape of this one with these issues looks like an older Ranger, which btw, was designed long, long. Long before 1997. Dump it and move to a newer vehicle of your choice. Just about any newer will be safer. Having heat that doesn’t 't work and windows that don’t go up are safety issues in Minn. in the winter. Have a friend of 35 years who drove neglected cars like this. His wife and kids are alive today because they flat refuse to use and ride in his vehicles and got safe ones of their own. One of his trucks just broke in two on the highway and the passenger side did not look good.

Old trucks just don’t have the safety back up and construction. Move on IMHO. You may not “live with those little annoyances” . A 1940s truck in good condition seems to work better then this POJ. That you have let it get this bad means whomever is responsible for maintenance isn’t doing their job. .

It’s possible your truck is dangerous, and it’s possible it’s no big deal. But really you should try a little harder to take care of it. Your complaints are mostly very minor items that need attention. If you are willing to put yourself and the rest of us at risk rather than even have a qualified person look at the problem, then get rid of the truck.

The leak may be in the filler neck, the pipe that you put the nozzle into. That would explain why the leak happened when you topped off the tank. Gas backed up into the filler neck and leaked out the rust holes or cracks in the filler neck.

This is dangerous. But the filler neck can be replaced without replacing the entire gas tank. Check the filler neck for rust holes or cracks and have it replaced if in fact it is the source of the leak.

the op said the gas shot back out at her. could the pump malfunctioned and not cut off automatically?

or after the first click shut the pump off, could the hose have been stretched so that all the gas drained and air went in it, then when she topped it off it shot the air into her already full tank, causing gas to shoot out?

No, OP said gas did NOT squirt back at her…it “flowed out UNDER the car.”

oh. you are correct. I mis read the post. thank you.

Minnesota appears to not have state inspections. They seem to just get in the way of keeping vehicles with problems we can live with and those with real problems that we thousands of miles away can take care of. So with all due respect to OP and with all that are safety issues including no heat…(if you don’t think a defroster is a safety item) , including faulty dash wiring that could portend a bigger electric problem later, and windows that don’t go up, which by the way could be related to the wiring problem and possible gas leaks, don’t expect anything to be done to the truck if it still runs and goes from point A to point B.

Really, you need to take this vehicle to a real garage and have it gone over and every item that has any bearing on safety, including heat, the gas problem and wiring fixed. Otherwise, dump the truck.

Sounds like a 17 year old rust-belt death-trap…I bet you have more gas leaking out of the tank as you drive than the engine is burning…Does the CEL (check engine light) even work or was that one of the “little annoyances” that got disconnected a long time ago…

Dangerous car until the gas leak is fixed. Don’t drive it. I’d ditch it.

If it were my truck, and I didn’t have enough money for a newer one, or payments . . .

Diagnose and repair the problem with the tank. It may be related to the evaporative emissions system, the fuel filler pipe, etc.

Replace the fuel sender

Replace the window regulators with cheapo dorman units

Diagnose and repair the heater . . . may just be a plugged heater core, due to cooling system negligence

This truck isn’t worth squat, but they’re common as dirt. As such, it shouldn’t be hard to find somebody halfway competent to diagnose and repair that fueling problem.

I suspect the truck may be quite rusty . . .

The cause is likely comparatively simple and should not be difficult to diagnose and repair.

That being said, I think in the event of T-bone collision such as mentioned by the OP this problem is not going to matter at all…

A 17 year old Minnesota truck with what sounds like a rusted out fuel tank and a half dozen other problems.

Let’s guess what the rest of the truck’s body and frame are like. I figure the OP is asking if now is the time to move on. For me it is. But sure, have a mechanic look at it, see if the problems are small.

if you can afford it, get another car. you ve suffered enough.
if not, get the gas problem looked at by a good mechanic and decide what to do after you know for sure what the prob is.

the heater may be easy to fix, as stated above. perhaps even easier if it s just a fan problem.

good luck

If OP is lucky, it’s not the tank that is rusted out, but just the filler pipe or maybe just a rotten sender seal or filler hose

For what it’s worth, every single plugged heater core that I’ve flushed out has been on vehicles that have had severely neglected cooling systems. In most cases, these vehicles had 10 or 15 year old original coolant, if not older

I see plenty of old Rangers just like OP’s truck . . . and even some older ones . . . here in Los Angeles. Lack of rust is the main reason they’re still around. But we have no safety inspections here. So you can imagine the state of repair they’re in . . .

you have no safety inspections at all, or , like Maryland, is it only inspected once before you register it?