Emission Problem?

Tiny
FIREBIRD77
  • MEMBER
  • PONTIAC FIREBIRD
Hi,
I have a 1996, automatic, 3.8L V6 Pontiac Firebird with 104,000 miles. Here is the problem: after driving the car, when pulled into the garage, a very potent smell of gasoline fumes can be smelled (the garage is filled within an hour). I have done some minor things myself. The smell is originating from the back left wheel-well area. There is never any gasoline residue left on the ground and when looking from underneath the car, no gas residue can be seen on the underside of the gastank, etc. I took the charcoal canister off and it appears do be fine (it was really dirty however). I checked the canister by blowing in the fuel vapor in let hose and the vent is not stuck open. I've also replaced the solenoid valve on the engine and that did not affect anything. The pressure control valve that is in the rear of the car is working also. I received a P1441 error one time, but Autozone cleared it and it hasn't come back (but the car still leaks gas vapors somewhere). I took it to a mechanic and he hooked up a low pressure smoke system to it that is supposed to put smoke through the entire fuel system and if there is a leak, the smoke would come out of it. Of course, no smoke did. The mechanic said everything is probably okay. I still smell the fumes though and I know fumes are not healthy. I am thinking about replacing the canister since the smell seems to be originating from there but the part is $90, so if you have any advice, I would greatly appreciate it!
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Saturday, November 10th, 2007 AT 8:26 PM

7 Replies

Tiny
JACK42
  • MEMBER
You need to physically watch the fuel lines and such while someone cycles the key to make the pump run. Unless fuel is leaking out of the canister, you wouldnt know if the fumes were getting out, other than a check engine light. Does it small all the time or does the tank have to be full? You need to find the leak, if smoke didnt do it, it is probably a return or pressure line leaking, maybe the filter.
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Monday, November 12th, 2007 AT 7:42 AM
Tiny
FIREBIRD77
  • MEMBER
This weekend I carefully watched the fuel lines and I could not see physical gas leaking. However, I found that the return line connection at the pressure control valve seemed to be a little loose? The car smells all the time, whether the tank is full or not?
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Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 AT 6:24 PM
Tiny
JACK42
  • MEMBER
You might need to remove some of the heat shields so you can see the tank, it might have a small leak. Look for stains that suggest a fluid running down the tank. Need to find the leak before you drive it anymore
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Wednesday, November 21st, 2007 AT 7:16 AM
Tiny
FIREBIRD77
  • MEMBER
I got under the car this weekend and removed the main heat shield which allowed me to see the sides and the entire bottom of the tank. No stains whatsoever. I replaced the rubber hose that connects the tank vent hose to the pressure control valve because it looked pretty bad. The smell is not as bad now, but there is still a vapor smell. There are two hoses connected to the charcoal canister that look kind of worn but could they really be causing the smell?
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Thursday, November 29th, 2007 AT 4:29 PM
Tiny
JACK42
  • MEMBER
At this point I would replace all lines you can access. Getting the tank down out of that car is a real chore, do all lines accessable first. See if the canister is full of fuel, might need to be replaced
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Friday, November 30th, 2007 AT 7:21 AM
Tiny
FIREBIRD77
  • MEMBER
Well.I replaced the fuel lines and the vapor canister and the smell still persisted. Then my dad suggested that maybe we should just try replacing the gas cap. And sure enough it worked. I can't figure out why though? I specifically opened the gas lid and smelled there before and never smelled any gas? Do you have any ideas why this would have fixed it. Supposedly the cap we bought is supposed to release fumes if the pressure gets too high but I don't think it is doing that because we haven't smelled anything in the garage. Unless it is doing it while I'm driving? Or could it be that the emissions system has to be air tight to work properly. I wanted to thank you for all your help that you have given me. It is greatly appreciated.
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Saturday, December 8th, 2007 AT 2:12 PM
Tiny
JACK42
  • MEMBER
Yes, the fuel system should be sealed in that car. Surprised the check engine light didnt come back on if the cap wasnt sealing properly. Good find!
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Sunday, December 9th, 2007 AT 7:01 AM

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