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Gas smell and BAD mileage


Dan.NY
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I just finished replacing cam seals, water pump, and timing belt in my 1998 California 4wd pathfinder 220k miles. Starts, runs, idles, good power. Nothing to suggest timing is off.  I don’t drive this vehicle much these days, but I’ve put 11 miles on since the work and burned through nearly a quarter tank. I also smell fuel in the garage, strongest after the engine is shutdown. I mention the work as it seems I must have done something to create what seems like a fuel leak. Today I spent a good while under the vehicle. Started near the tank and worked my way forward. Tank and area are in good shape. Lines are not rusty.  Under the engine i have an oil drip somewhere, maybe one or both the cam seals or the valve covers. I do not see or smell fuel underneath. On the top side, I’ve looked and looked and see nothing hinting to a fuel leak either.  Any suggestions on where to look, what this could be? Thanks..

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I’m looking into this. So far I haven’t located the elbows or hose clamps. My light is recharging so hopefully when that is full I’ll,see better.  I wonder if this is the issue, will this leak continuously or only when running. I’m concerned about starting it but am thinking maybe easier to find the leak if running. 

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Fuel pressure regulator? Had one go bad on my girlfriends 4runner and it reeked of gas because the system was dumping way too much into the mix.

 

Does the exhaust smell like gas or just the engine bay?

Edited by PathyGig12
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The fuel pump only runs with the key on, but a leak on the fuel rail might drip for a while after you turn it off until the fuel pressure drops low enough that it stops. They were a bit of a pain to get to on my WD21, and I'd expect mostly the same on the VG33.

 

Pressure regulator's a good thing to check too, around the back of the manifold. Pull the vacuum line and see if there's gas in it.

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I found the hose clamps and rubber connectors on the rail, fairly certain. In my 98, there is nothing to tighten down though.  The clamps are the kind you squeeze the ends together with needle nose, not the screw type. They are dry. I spent a good while shining the light about everywhere.  Nothing to see.  Matter of fact I ran the engine for 15 or so minutes and could not smell gas this time. Exhaust does not smell like fuel either.  I’ll check fuel pressure gauge, but I would think  it would run rough with excess fuel.  I’ll check though. 

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I found the hose clamps and rubber connectors on the rail, fairly certain. In my 98, there is nothing to tighten down though.  The clamps are the kind you squeeze the ends together with needle nose, not the screw type. They are dry. I spent a good while shining the light about everywhere.  Nothing to see.  Matter of fact I ran the engine for 15 or so minutes and could not smell gas this time. Exhaust does not smell like fuel either.  I’ll check fuel pressure gauge, but I would think  it would run rough with excess fuel.  I’ll check though. 

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Well, there's that ruled out, then. I'd have a look at the hoses/carbon can/etc for the evap system on the off chance something there is allowing fuel vapor to escape. Depending on where/how bad the leak was, it might even throw a code. I've heard of R50 carbon cans dropping their carbon into a solenoid and causing issues, but I don't remember anyone complaining of a gas smell along with that.

 

Also now that I think about it there was a recall for the fuel filler neck in salt states. They rot where the bracket in the wheel well meets the tube. It's ref # NTB07-078, I think I downloaded it off Nicoclub a while back. Worth checking given where you are.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I finally tracked down the issue. Unrelated to the timing belt change. A hose near the fuel tank is not sealing properly. I looked at this before and did not see it so it must have gotten worse. I can see a steady drip now.  I tightened/loosened the hose clamp, changed the position, pushed the hose more onto the metal line, even added a second hose clamp. Nothing stopped the drip.I’m a bit stumped as I’ve done some messing about with various engines fuel hoses, never had one behave like this.  I’m assuming a new length of hose is in order?  the question though is how to remove the existing line without dumping the contents of my fuel tank? This is a short length about 6-7 inches, one end attaches to a small cylindrical object. The other connects to a metal line. Where the hose and metal line meet is right over the axle. Does anyone happen to know the hose diameter as I would like to get it and then attempt replacement?  Thanks.

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I’m pretty sure thats the hose going from the tank to the fuel filter. It’s possible you have a small crack in it thats hard to see and it’s leaking. Definitely try to get a new piece of hose and new clamps to see if that fixes it. 
 

Im also wondering if it might be possible your fuel filter is badly clogged and increasing the pressure on the line? But you’d probably have fuel starvation issues if it was clogged to that point

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I have a 98 and I didn't have a fuel leak, but I went to replace the fuel filter because it seemed like a good maintenance item. Come to find out it was rocking with the FACTORY fuel filter lol (it said Nissan and had a serial number and everything). The engine ran so much better i was amazed, more effective than an oil change or spark plugs or any job like that. I cut open the old filter with a hacksaw and it was gross. Dripped out gas with visible dirt and crap out, filter material looked black and gunky, smelled like bad gas. Yikes. 

 

After a long session of offroading once, I had vapor-locking when i went to start it after an hour or two, which I assumed was because of the fuel filter. 

 

So I would also recommend you change out both that old fuel line, and the filter. if the leaking line is attached to the fuel filter, replacing that line includes most of the work to change the filter anyways. Youtube has plenty of quick videos for the fuel filter. and then I would suggest if there is a soft line someplace before the line that is leaking, to simply use vice grips to pinch it shut to avoid draining the tank. Prepare for gas to spill everywhere tho! lol

It's a fairly simple job overall, just a bit annoying to reach up there and get to everything, especially when stuff is old and a bit stuck! But seriously change the fuel filter, it felt like i gained 10 horsepower back. It starts easier and sounds better doing it. It even started shifting WAY better, it was quicker to accelerate and had a faster cruising speed on the highway!!! so worth it for such a cheap part.

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After some YouTube videos, yup, the leaky hose is the one on the outlet side of the filter, but not at the filter. It’s the other side of the that hose that is leaking.  

 

The filter is original, like many things . My rotors are also still original and well within spec.  I’m going to replace the filter though soon as I can get one.  Thanks for the comments. I should be good in a few days. Next job is replace valve cover gaskets. 

Edited by Dan.NY
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6 hours ago, Dan.NY said:

After some YouTube videos, yup, the leaky hose is the one on the outlet side of the filter, but not at the filter. It’s the other side of the that hose that is leaking.  

 

The filter is original, like many things . My rotors are also still original and well within spec.  I’m going to replace the filter though soon as I can get one.  Thanks for the comments. I should be good in a few days. Next job is replace valve cover gaskets. 

Your rotors are original? How many miles?

 

Original post says 220K......

If that’s true I want to know where you source the adamantium rotors and marshmellow pads

Edited by PathyGig12
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Rubber hoses can crack at the ends. Probably what's happened with yours. While it's off, though, check the hard line for signs of corrosion, make sure it doesn't have a pinhole or something.

 

You shouldn't need to drain the tank, but I would pull the fuel pump fuse and run the engine until it quits to relieve the fuel pressure. That'll stop it from spraying from hell to breakfast, at least.

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Yes I’m at 220k. I measured them at about 200k. I’ve only used ceramic pads from nowhere special. Rotors came with the vehicle in 98. Good idea about pulling the fuse. I hope there is no pinhole in the metal line. I’m a bit concerned about that metal line.  Thanks. 

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Bad news. The end of the metal line is rusted.  It needs replacing or repair. I’m not sure how to do this as the rust spot is at a point where the metal changes diameter. Any advice??.

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Ah, damn. That sucks. If it's only rotten at the flared end, and you've got a line flaring kit that'll fit the line (the cheap ones for making brake lines usually have a few larger sizes), you could cut off the rotten end with a pipe cutter and put a new flare on what's left. Then replace the soft line with a longer piece to make up for what you cut out.

 

 

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