Fuel Leaks

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I was just wondering what the signs of a possible fuel leak are. For some reason, I have noticed the smell of gasoline when I have bent over to get
items out of the rear driver's side of our 1997 Mercury Tracer. I haven't been able to tell exactly were it is coming from though. Of course, the fuel door is on the driver's side, so maybe I am smelling that. Which makes me wonder if we should replace our gas cap. Any information would be greatly appreciated. As a note, our miles per gallon have not changed.
Thanks, Joseph
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Should be able to follow that smell and pin it down a bit closer...front, rear, middle? Under hood? In trunk? Stains on ground? Spike 1965 Ford Mustang fastback 2+2 A Code 289 C4 Trac-Lok Vintage Burgundy w/Black Standard Interior; Vintage 40 16" rims w/BF Goodrich Comp T/A gForce Radial 225/50ZR16 KDWS skins; surround sound audio-video.
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Fortunately, there are no stains and I don't smell it under the hood or in the trunk. It does seem a bit stronger near the fuel door. Could our gas cap be leaking vapors?
-Joseph
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It can be the gas cap. They're actually pressure tested now in areas where emissions tests are required. I had to replace the cap on my Ranger not long ago because it wasn't sealing properly.
CJB
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We just got our smog test about three months ago and everything was fine. As a note, our 'check engine soon' light came on when we were driving home from vacation about a month and a half ago. It only stayed on for about two days though. Now it is back to normal.
Our current gas cap is about five or six years old. At the time, we substituted our original cap with one from an auto store that had a lock on it.
Thanks, Joseph
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Yes, it could be the cap. It could also be in a section of rubber hose between the filler tube and the tank (not all vehicles are constructed this way, but we just had to repair one like this on my Dad's Bronco.) And it could be a gasket inside the filler neck which is not sealing properly.
In all such situations, you should go for the cheapest repair.... that is, rather than tear out the filler neck system, simply replace the gas cap. You might be able to take a cap off an alternate vehicle which exhibits no fume leak... make sure it's your own or you have permission : 0)
If the problem is solved, then GREAT. If not, then it has to be taken further. (Too many people end up having major repairs which are not needed. For example replace a $400 radiator when it's a $6 thermostat that's bad.) Spike 1965 Ford Mustang fastback 2+2 A Code 289 C4 Trac-Lok Vintage Burgundy w/Black Standard Interior; Vintage 40 16" rims w/BF Goodrich Comp T/A gForce Radial 225/50ZR16 KDWS skins; surround sound audio-video.
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I doubt it is your gas cap Joseph. My bet is you have a slight leak in the fuel line that runs along the frame on that side. Look under there for a wet or damp spot where you smell it. Good luck
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If there was a damp spot, would it be visible when standing near the rear driver's side or would it be underneath the rear section?
Thanks, Joseph
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The fuel lines are under the car. Just get a flashlight, lay on your side, and look for the small steel lines that will be running along the side of the frame. You may have to jack it up on the side and for heaven's sake, be careful. Use blocks of wood or jackstands. Get help if you're not sure. Not worth dying for. The lines will be on the INSIDE of the frame (Toward center of car). Look for a damp or rusty spot and also use you nose. Good luck
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Oh Yeah, the bad spot will almost always be where the line is clamped to the frame because salt and junk rusts them out. If you find a suspect spot, rub your finger on it and then smell your finger for gas. If you don't find anything along the line, check the big hose that the tank is filled through. I had a 96 T-Bird last year that had a leak ON TOP of the gas tank. I had to drop the tank down and sure enough, a plastic hose on top was the culprit. It had been rubbing on a metal portion of the car for years and finally wore through.
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STEEL lines?
When did they go to steel lines?
And DO NOT USE BLOCKS OF WOOD! EVER!!!!!!!!!!
Jackstands are cheap... just dont use cheap jackstands on soft surface like asphalt or dirt
No offense.... but bad info is worse than no info!
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On Fri, 07 Oct 2005 14:20:55 GMT, Backyard Mechanic

Blocks of wood CAN be safely used as jack stands, but only with the grain running horrizontal and at right angles to the "edge" resting on them.
As for fuel lines being steel - MOST have been since about 1930 - previously many were copper. Today, some are plastic.
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snipped-for-privacy@sny.der.on.ca wrote:

You're willing to bet your life on that?
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On Fri, 07 Oct 2005 19:20:05 -0400, Tom Adkins

Most definitely. I've done it many times when jackstands were not available. Wood cannot split across the grain, and it is VERY strong in compression. And I am a mechanic - I know where to put the blocks. I worked in central Africa for a few years - and when you need to get under a car and the closest jack stands are 75 or more miles away, you find something that works .
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On Fri, 07 Oct 2005 22:20:44 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@sny.der.on.ca wrote:

You can even use rocks and a good stout branch, or to work underneath, if necessary, dig a trench and drive/push the vehicle over it. And I've used sage brush and letting air out of the tires to get out of loose sand in the desert. Lots of little things you might be willing to try when you're in a fix. Spike 1965 Ford Mustang fastback 2+2 A Code 289 C4 Trac-Lok Vintage Burgundy w/Black Standard Interior; Vintage 40 16" rims w/BF Goodrich Comp T/A gForce Radial 225/50ZR16 KDWS skins; surround sound audio-video.
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"Tom Adkins" wrote

We already had this same discussion last March.
At the time I mentioned how they use wood beams criss-crossed when raising a house, or bolted together to make railway bridges, along with a link to a "Crush strength" chart for various woods.
Others debated the type of wood, dryness, on-end or on-side, whether to use a beam or a cube, then the resident moron (haven't heard from it in a while) made his usual stupid comments, and the topic faded away.
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I think the problem with using wood blocks is using something like a 2x4 or 4x4 and stacking them up. Its not that they are too weak to hold the car up, its that they can topple over. Anyway thats MY take on it. I'm pretty sure I read it on the internet so it MUST be right! :)
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I use 12" by 12" blocks of wood all the time. Very safe. No offense, but what the hell are they made of if not steel?
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One of my favorites is a pair of 12x12 railroad ties, with one end angle cut to create a ramp, and the other end blocked to keep from driving off the end. The corners I cut off to create the ramps are used as wheel chocks.
The 12" plus normal ground clearance is plenty for crawling around underneath. I don't generally do any jacking with this system in order to avoid any sideways slip... although a couple of friends who showed me this system; one has his drilled and rebar stakes are driven through and into the ground, while the other had 4X4s spaced as cross braces.
It sure makes draining oil, etc, easy. A sheet of plywood makes rolling underneath easy if you aren't already on a paved or concrete surface (mine were in the garage in winter, and in the back yard off the alley otherwise.)
When using standard jacks, I tend to double up. If some freak accident should occur, a second becomes a good investment. And since i bought one pair, and a second pair came bundled with a floor jack, why not. I think this is because my grandfather, an auto mechanic, had an old Buick drop and pin his chest with the engine. And if a safety freak like him could have an accident, welllllll........
wrote:

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I have thin skin Backyard so I went away from the site for sometime as you can see. Got over being mad so came back. I was just trying to help the guy but stand corrected in my advice. Yes, I should have elaborated as to what I meant about "blocks". I've been crawling under cars since the mid-sixties so ya got me by 10 years. Bygones accepted. Peace. Doug
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