Fuel Smell in the Cabin


A common complaint among VW owners is a smell of gasoline in the cabin, especially immediately after refueling. A few suggestions to eliminate the odor are as follows -

  • Rub the lines associated with the fuel tank under the hood between your fingers. If you can smell gas on your fingers then those lines are bad and need to be replaced. The vent lines near the filler neck are a common source.
  • Look for a clear plastic breather line or expansion chamber behind the fuel tank (your car may or may not have these). These can go brittle and can crack over time, causing a leak and odor.
  • The rubber fuel breather lines last a long time, but they can get damaged where they connect to the tank (and to the expansion chamber).
  • Look for wet spots immediately after filling around the main rubber connection on the filler spout.
  • Check the rubber seal between the gas cap and the end of the filler pipe. This seal can become brittle and crack over time, allowing fuel to leak outside of the car and down the side of the fender (which will damage your finish).
  • Another common cause is the gas cap not being tightened down securely. This will cause a fuel leak like the one resulting from a damaged seal.

Dave's '73 SB suffered from a problem with gasoline smell in the cabin, especially after refueling. Dave finally pulled the tank out and replaced all of the rubber fittings and hoses. The outermost fitting on the filler tube was the most likely culprit, as it was badly cracked and heavy gasoline stains were found directly beneath it on the body of the car below the gas tank. Also, there are two wide rubber gaskets on the filler tube at the connection point -- Dave made replacements from an old bicycle inner tube. Replacing all of this rubber and the large, heavy rubber tube that connects the filler with the large filler nozzle on the tank, and securing the connection points with large hose clamps, solved the problem with gasoline smell in the cabin.

The problem recurred a few years later, this time due to a cracked rubber seal between the gas cap and the end of the filler pipe. Dave also found that he was not tightening the gas cap sufficiently.

Aircooled.Net sells a fuel tank filler hose for $16. Here's what they say about it:

This is NOT genuine VW hose, but if your goal is to stop smelling gasoline in your car (especially with a full tank),
replace this hose!


Fuel Filler Hose

The hose is 6" long, so it will have to be cut to fit.
Be sure to measure carefully -- "Measure twice,
cut once," remember!

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