I have a 1990 Oldsmobile cutlass ciera V6 and I had a question about one of the components under the hood. On the passenger side right up front by the headlight housing is a black cylinder that has hoses coming out of it. I was wondering what this is, because one of the hoses goes to the throttle body. Any help would be appreciated : )
If that's about six inches in diameter, that's the charcoal canister. Fumes that vaporize mainly in the fuel tank on warm days travel to that canister and are stored there. When the engine is running, those fumes are drawn out and burned in the engine.
About the only thing that ever goes wrong with them is if they are cracked in a crash or the vacuum hoses become deteriorated and crack or fall off. Leaks in those hoses are monitored very closely on '96 and newer models. While those leaks are fairly rare, at the worst if a hose is leaking you might smell fuel if you stick your nose close to it.
June, 1, 2011 AT 5:55 AM
Thanks for the prompt reply. On a side note, is it normal for a clicking sound to be coming from it? Im curious because Ive been having problems with the vehicle surging when idling and trying to diagnose potential problems. Tonight I opened the hood and heard a very audible clicking from the canister. Also the hoses are pretty worn and cracked.
June, 1, 2011 AT 6:21 AM
The clicking is a solenoid that cycles on and off to vary the average flow rate of the stored fumes to prevent an overly rich mixture. Many cars have that solenoid mounted right on the engine and you can hear it from inside the car with the windows rolled up. On most cars it never cycles on until you reach highway speed. That way it's not noticeable as far as sound or engine performance.