Mechanics

MY CAR IS LOSING GAS AND I'M NOT SURE WHERE THE LEAK IS

1997 Chevrolet Lumina • 170,000 miles

I discovered a loss of 3 1/2 gallons after letting my car sit for two days. I filled up and it didn't leak after a day of off and on driving. I checked under the car and the gas tank looked fine but there was a wet spot on a wide rusty pipe on the drivers side of the tank. Right beside a plastic ring clamp of some sort that was falling off. The rusty pipe has a smaller pipe next to it and a rubber hose of some sort. The plastic ring I think was supposed to be around all three. There is a dried fuel stain on the side of the gas tank near those pipes but no sign of holes or rust on the tank itself. Those pipes are only wet with fuel after driving, and it didn't leak when I had it parked for a few hours in between errands but when I got home tonight it was wet again and I smelled gas. The night I lost the gas I had my car parked on a hill with the car tilted to the left with the drivers side lower. That was the only time I've had to park like that. Tonight I parked it level. I can't Identify which pipe is leaking. I don't want to touch the pipes because rust flakes off when I do. I thought the fuel line was smaller than the wide pipe so I'm not sure if it's a fuel line leak. My mechanic is 30 miles from where I am and I have less than 300 dollars and I can't afford to continue refilling my tank to make more money. I drive in 3 to 5 mile stretches two or three times each day with no long trips. Where do you think the problem is and do you thing I have enough money to fix it, or is it time for car payments again?


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Butlerboy77
September 16, 2011.



It sounds like you are describing the filler tube. It will have one pipe that is about 2" in dia and a smaller breather tube next to it that is about 3/4" in dia. Follow them. I bet they run to where you add gas.

Let me know.

I continued to Google after I asked my question and figured out that it is the filler tube that is wet next to the gas tank, if the filler tube or breather tube are leaking then what are my options and what am I looking at expense wise? Will my tank quit leaking if I keep less gas in the tank or will it drain until I'm empty. Even if that works, I have the added problem that when my gas tank is under 1/3 full it reads as full. I usually keep track of my gas levels by resetting my trip meter every time I fill up and I normally only completely fill my tank when I add gas in order to reset my trip meter so that zero miles equals full tank and 300 miles equals empty.

Tiny
Butlerboy77
Sep 16, 2011.
The leak will get worse. I had a feeling it was the filler tube. Keeping the tank low on fuel may help, but when the gas moves around in the tank, it will make its way to the rust. Another thing is this. Since the filler tube is leaking due to rust, eventually the computer will pick up on the fact that there is an air leak. It will set a trouble code in the computer for and EVAP Large or Small leak. I don't know where you live, but that is enough for the vehicle to fail emissions inspections.

The part needs replaced. If you work on your own cars, it isn't that bad of a job. The filler tube is screwed on where you put the fuel and at the other end, it is attached to a rubber hose that attaches to the fuel tank. It is a matter of removing the screws on one end and a clamp on the other, removing it and replacing it with a new one. The part will be around 100.00.

Now for the fuel gauge, chances are the sending unit is bad. It is in the fuel tank and part of the fuel pump assembly. Thus, the pump will most likely need replaced. That is another 150+ in parts and a pain to remove the tank.

If you have other questions, let me know.

Joe