Strong fuel smell once engine is off



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Thread: Strong fuel smell once engine is off

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    Strong fuel smell once engine is off

    My husband is the main driver of our 2004 chrysler town and country with the 3.8 l engine. He said recently there has been a strong smell of gasoline when he exits the car after turning the engine off. One of his friends also said there was a strong gas smell coming from the exhust. Sounds like the engine may be running rich, there has been no rough idling or loss of mpgs. Where should I start to look.

    We have nearly 200,000 miles on this van, and had a full tune up with plugs, wires, water pump, serpentine belt replacement and alternator replacement done at 175,000 miles. I am not sure if the check engine light is on or not, I can find out when he gets home and check the codes. But any advice would be greatly appreciated. You folks have been lifesavers in the past!

    Sharon
    2004 Town and Country Limited - 3.8L 175K

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    Having problems starting in the morning? Does it take a few turns of the key? A fuel leak will bleed off fuel pressure and make it hard to start the van, especially after sitting overnight. If yes, look under the fuel tank after the van has run 10 minutes. If you see a puddle you may have a leaking fuel pump or connection. You could be another victim of hairline cracks in the top of the fuel pump I've been reading about. Could have a leaking fuel injector in the engine. Remove the intake manifold cover and inspect the fuel rail/injector area. Remove the spark plugs and smell or test for leaks. Pressure test the fuel rail.

    If the engine is running rich generally you should see a P0172 code. That said, the OBD fault detect system is far from perfect. A bad engine temp sensor, MAP sensor, O2 sensor and more can cause a rich condition. A scanner capable of reading real time fuel trims may reveal a clue. http://www.obd-codes.com/p0172
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    96 Gr Caravan LE 3.8, 206K miles
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    You need to isolate whether the smell is coming from the front or rear.
    Any noticeable drips from the car?
    There is a dye that can be put in the gas so a UV light can detect a leak. (mechanic should have the equipment for this)
    On mine, I had a leaking fuel rail (strong smell under the hood), and gas noticeably coming from a cap on the rail.
    An inspection of the area near the gas tank would help as well. Look for any clean spots where leaking gas washed the dirt away.

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    It is taking a couple of turns to start the van in the mornings. And the smell is mostly coming from the rear of the van....I haven't checked codes yet. Have to wait till hubby is home when I'm home....struggles of working different shifts. Thanks for the advice thus far...it is greatly appreciated.

    Sharon
    2004 Town and Country Limited - 3.8L 175K

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    Mine turned out to be that hairline crack at the fuel pump outlet. Smelled really strong - raw unburned fuel. I drove it till the low fuel level dinger went off and carried one gallon in a plastic jug for two more days just in case.

    Then I changed the pump. No more smell.

    I thought it was the line at first and bought a new one. The new line has new o-rings and they do deteriorate over time.
    2006 Caravan - 3.3l - 4 spd auto - 99k
    1997 Caravan - 3.0l - 3 spd auto - 88k miles - TOTALED on 8-31-12

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    Having the same problem on my '06 T&C. Smell is coming from the rear and I have to turn the key and let the fuel pump spool up to get it to start after it has been sitting for a long time. I haven't noticed any puddles though. I'll check for that. Just to be clear though, if the problem is in the rear, is the solution really a new fuel pump? Is there nothing else that can be replaced? OUCH!
    2006 Chrysler Town & Country LX
    1992 Jeep Cherokee Laredo
    -Malachi 3:6 <><

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    New pump? Well not necessarily though that's most likely what it is. Could have a leaking connection at the pump or a line leading to the pump is leaking. It won't be the fuel vent system (EVAP) because that will give you a check engine light with an EVAP code. An EVAP system leak won't cause hard starting. Is the smell there all the time or just around the time you fill it up?
    Last edited by RIP; 08-18-2014 at 04:26 PM.
    ******** We took the time to answer your post. Please give us some time and post the fix. You'll help hundreds. ********

    **** Follow all prescribed safety procedures before attempting any repairs. If in doubt, refer to a maintenance manual. ****

    96 Gr Caravan LE 3.8, 206K miles
    07 Fusion / 06 RAV 4 / 06 Accord / 94 Camry

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    You most likely have a fuel leak somewhere -- you may want to check the fuel pressure dampener on top of the fuel rail by the power steering reservoir -- those can leak.

    Also the fuel vapor elbow where it connects to the throttle body can crack and won't set the evap code... Besides that, unless you have evap codes I'd say leaks in the evap system are unlikely.

    Fuel pump and line are other suspects

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    Quote Originally Posted by Basslicks View Post
    Having the same problem on my '06 T&C. Smell is coming from the rear and I have to turn the key and let the fuel pump spool up to get it to start after it has been sitting for a long time. I haven't noticed any puddles though. I'll check for that. Just to be clear though, if the problem is in the rear, is the solution really a new fuel pump? Is there nothing else that can be replaced? OUCH!
    It could be a leaky connection or hose (if there is one).
    2006 Dodge Caravan SXT, 3.3, 81,000 mi, 4/17/2014
    2003 Dodge Grand Caravan SE, 3.3 Flex Fuel, 223K miles - bought Oct 2013.
    1994 Dodge Cummins 3500 Dually, 212K mi
    1989 Cadillac DeVille 4-Dr, 128K mi., creampuff. gift to wife from her mother
    1988 Dodge Mini Ram Van Aztec Conversion, 203K miles.
    1986 Ply Voyager
    1970 Dodge C900 diesel truck tractor

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    Quote Originally Posted by RIP View Post
    New pump? Well not necessarily though that's most likely what it is. Could have a leaking connection at the pump or a line leading to the pump is leaking. It won't be the fuel vent system (EVAP) because that will give you a check engine light with an EVAP code. An EVAP system leak won't cause hard starting. Is the smell there all the time or just around the time you fill it up?
    Fill up doesn't seem to add to it... only happens after it has been running for a little while. I can come out in the morning and there's no smell at all. Start the van, drive the kids to school, and it smells like someone poured gasoline on my back tire.

    Quote Originally Posted by user97 View Post
    You most likely have a fuel leak somewhere -- you may want to check the fuel pressure dampener on top of the fuel rail by the power steering reservoir -- those can leak.

    Also the fuel vapor elbow where it connects to the throttle body can crack and won't set the evap code... Besides that, unless you have evap codes I'd say leaks in the evap system are unlikely.

    Fuel pump and line are other suspects
    I did think of that, but the smell isn't coming from the front of the van - it's coming from the back just in front of the rear tires.... I bent down and took a look at it yesterday morning, saw a couple of wet spots on the underbelly, but didn't appear to have anything coming from where the fuel pump is in the tank. I think I'll just have to get it up on ramps tomorrow morning.
    2006 Chrysler Town & Country LX
    1992 Jeep Cherokee Laredo
    -Malachi 3:6 <><

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