Jerry Dork
Jan. 17, 2014 2:29 p.m.

Found a worn gas line and hose clamp from the tank & fixed that. The smell continued, I thought maybe just needed to dissipate. Nope, after a week or two I gave up & when I talked to the garage again found out the guy that fixed it had found the bottom of the rear seat was wet with gas. But I was never told, and the seat was left in.

Took it back a few days ago, they removed the seat & coated everything in baking soda & let the seat air dry. Night before last I vacuumed and poured a E36 M3 load of baking soda on the rear seat area that they found a small wet spot. Filled the tank, and the next morning that small spot was about 1.5' in diameter of brown sludge. It was still berkeleying leaking.

Just got the call, they scraped away the insulation in that area and found a perfect round hole in the seat area, obviously from the mfr but no grommet, gasket or anything, just left open and insulation covered it up. So WHATEVER is leaking is coming up through that hole.

Now I have to wait until Monday so they can drop the tank (3hr labor including the differential) & try to find what's leaking down there.

So much for buying a dependable daily driver. Maybe I should keep the xB.

SlickDizzy UberDork
Jan. 17, 2014 2:50 p.m.

Just be glad you didn't have the experience I did with my Saab leaking gas on drive home after buying, seems to be coming from fuel pump access panel...pull the seat, lock my eyes on it, and turn the key to see what happens. Next thing I know a little fuel elbow has blown in half and is spraying gasoline all over the back seat and hatch of the car!

Needless to say there was a "no smoking in the Saab" rule in effect for a few months after...

Powar SuperDork
Jan. 17, 2014 2:59 p.m.
Jerry wrote: So much for buying a dependable daily driver. Maybe I should keep the xB.

Selling an xB to get a Subaru as a dependable daily driver? Does not compute.

Alas, I'm sorry to hear that this issue still isn't solved. I was rooting for you when you found and addressed those other issues.

Jan. 17, 2014 4:00 p.m.

I just junked a '99 Impreza RS because it had rusted to hell (originally a NY car). Along with everything else under the car pretty much all the steel sections of fuel line were developing pinhole leaks. Being that you're in the rustbelt too, I'd be prepared for that to be the case. These cars don't hold up well to salt and to make matters worse, they've typically been driven hard on loose surfaces all winter long (since that's what they're good at), effectively media-blasting the entire undercarriage.

dean1484 PowerDork
Jan. 17, 2014 5:01 p.m.

This is kind of timely.

Last weekend I was presented with a Forester that had come in on Wednesday to the shop I help out at on weekends with the owner complaining of on going fuel smell in the cabin. AThey had had it to the dealer and several other shops and not been able to figuar it out. Inspection of everything and no real suspects.

I then checked GOOGLE and found that 00 through 03 Subi's are known for this but there is no definitive solution posted. There is a NTSB report as well about it.

There are severial reports of the fuel lines at the rail and seals at the injectors as well as the clips/clamps on the injectors leaking.

Inspection did find that the flexible fuel lines between the steel line at the fire wall and the one form the filter to the rail to be a bit hard but nothing really said replace me. For the hell of it I replaced the line from the filter to the rail and installed new clamps. I then cycled the fuel pump and all looked ok. I then started it and wiggled things and what not and I finally found it. The leak was at the connection between the flex line and the hard line at the fire wall down next to and below the master cylinder. So I pulled that line and replaced it. The line was hard and obviously suffering from age.

Problem solved. The owner called back on Thursday and was thrilled as there fuel smell was gone.

Now some notes and my theory on this one.

The leaks are all reported to only occur in cold weather and will mitigate as the car gets warm.

My inspection of the fuel lines found them hard. I also found that the hose clamps were allot looser than I would want them to be AND they are not the spring clamps that maintain compression. I suspect the following. The area where these lines are gets really hot. This heat causes a faster than "normal" deterioration of the flexable fuel lines. It also causes a cycling of expansion and contraction of the steel lines at the conections to the soft lines. I suspect hat the soft lines are deteriating due to the high heat and shrink / harden and the compression seal provided with the clamps is lost and you get a small leak. Then as the motor warms it heats up things and the metal hard lines expand re creating the sealing compression at the clamp.

This leak is in close proximity to the base of the windshield and the fuels from the leak will et pulled in through the cabin ventilation system.

Hope this helps

N Sperlo MegaDork
Jan. 17, 2014 5:10 p.m.
Jerry wrote: So much for buying a dependable daily driver. Maybe I should keep the xB.

Bought Ranger for $650. Replaced master cyl and braced the floor. Blew clutch, replaced clutch and all clutch hydraulic equipment. Noticed the head was cracked. Engine swap time. About to bring her back to life. Aren't beaters fun?

Keep your head up and keep her on the road.

Jerry Dork
Jan. 17, 2014 10:48 p.m.

In reply to dean1484:

Thanks for the tips but from the giant wet spot forming at the back seat area, driver side, I'm thinking fuel lines underneath the back. But entirely possible to be the same fuel line/clamp issues you found up front.

I was a bit unhappy hearing it would be at least Monday, possibly Tuesday by the time it's wrapped up, but I'll be happy to get her back. I already miss the 2.5RS. (The entire day of snow didn't help today).

If it becomes too much of a $$ pig, I wonder if I could trade the RS and the xB together for a new Subie?

NGTD SuperDork
Jan. 18, 2014 11:05 a.m.

My WRX leaked in the same area, where the fuel lines exit the passenger compartment and go down to the fuel tank. I repaired it with a compression fitting and new line to the tank.

SVreX MegaDork
Jan. 19, 2014 8:44 a.m.

In reply to Jerry:

The fuel tank is under the back seat. The pump is accessed through an access panel under the seat.

The first place I'd check would be the gasket around the fuel pumps, and the fuel supply and return lines that come through it. Since this is on top of the tank, a leak in the pressurized line could coat the bottom of the floorpan, and find it's way in through a hole.

The second place I'd look would be the fuel filler tube.

You probably don't need to pull the tank to check either.

In both cases, I'd expect to see fuel leaking on the ground under the car.

Jerry Dork
Jan. 19, 2014 5:01 p.m.

Thanks to you both, I'm passing the info on to the mechanic for tomorrow. Hope it's fixed, just got an email offer thru craigslist for cash for my xB.

Jerry Dork
Jan. 24, 2014 7:02 a.m.

Update: One of the studs holding the fuel pump to the tank under that driver-side opening was broken, and gas was leaking in through the gasket. They tried to remove the others and each broke off in turn. They managed to get the tank out from the car, with a lot of prying and trying not to break any more rust. Tank no good, no aftermarket, no used without the same issue. Looks like a brand spanking new tank from Subaru.

It's now been there a week. I'm not expecting it back before the middle of next week. Sure glad I bought this AWD car for the snow.

You'll need to log in to post.

Also on Grassroots Motorsports

From the GRM Vault: Meet the Great Kimini

15 hours ago in Articles

British charm meets Japanese spunk.

Grassroots Motorsports LIVE! on Wednesday, August 23: Building a Homemade Sim Rig

15 hours ago in News

We’re taking our sim-racing game to another level.

Meet Us at Put-In-Bay This Weekend

19 hours ago in News

We're headed to South Bass Island, Ohio, this weekend for the ninth annual Put-in-Bay Road Race Reunion.

Hang With Us at Gridlife This Weekend

19 hours ago in News

What’s #GRIDLIFE? The festival describes itself simply: Where speed meets sound.

2017 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible 1LS

21 hours ago in New Car Reviews

275 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque. Back in the day, that was pretty good for a V8-powered pony car. ...

Your Projects: New Wheels for Gimp’s Camaro

22 hours ago in News

Dogs shown for scale.

Bid on a New Helmet and Save Some Puppies and Kittens!

22 hours ago in News

Four helmets will be auctioned off.

You Need This: E39-Chassis BMW M5 for $6000?

1 day ago in News

Buy one of our favorite Q-ships.

That's What i Like: What Attracts Us to Specific Cars?

1 day ago in Articles

I just spent 10 days in one of my new favorite cars: the 2017 VW GTE.

Your Projects: Wide-Body, V8-Powered Porsche 944

2 days ago in News

Wing, flares, V8 swap and more!


Grassroots Motorsports Magazine

Subscribe Today

Also get your instant access to the digital edition of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine!

Learn More