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  • Faint gasoline smell

    Having moved the Stude to the every day garage, I've noticed a faint gasoline smell every morning that we go out. The smell goes away once the garage door is open so it can't be a lot of vapor. Since I've only had fuel-injected drivers with their sealed fuel systems for so many years, the smell bugs me.
    1. Is this normal for non-sealed fuel system cars?
    2. Is this just fuel evaporating from the carburetor?
    3. How many days should I expect the smell to continue since I last drove the car?

  • #2
    Not normal...probably a failing flex hose at the fuel pump or possibly at the fuel tank.

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    • #3
      I always smelled raw gas around old cars when I could still smell. I always attributed it to the vented fuel systems unless I could see gas leaking either at idle or in the first few minutes after I shut down. Steve
      sigpic

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      • #4
        I would take a look through the hole in the Trunk floor at the Fuel Gauge Sending Unit, the Gasket swells up with Ethanol Fuel and seeps vapor as well as the Cork Fuel Sender Float causing the Gauge to read Lower than actual.
        StudeRich
        Second Generation Stude Driver,
        Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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        • #5
          On our 1964 Commander there was a vent pipe that rusted off where it passed through the trunk floor. Boy did it fill the car up with a gasoline smell!
          I cut it off and attached fuel hose to repair it, no more fumes.
          sigpic1957 Packard Clipper Country Sedan

          "There's nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer"
          Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle
          "I have a great memory for forgetting things" Number 1 son, Lee Chan

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          • #6
            Well...since even the latest model Stude is decades old, there are many places for gas vapor to escape. As has already been mentioned, vented to atmosphere tanks, cork sender gaskets, failed rubber coupler for filler neck, cracked rubber vent coupler. Some of the tanks have a drain fitting that can develop a weep. Don't discount the possibility of internal tank rust causing pitting to the point of perforation.

            Moving from the tank forward along the frame...check every point that the fuel line is clamped along the frame. I have seen those clamps accumulate moisture (think "rust incubator") holding dirt and have found fuel lines almost completely rusted away in the clamp tunnel. At the point where the flex line connects from the frame to the fuel pump inlet, make sure it is not cracked with age. Another important thing is to make sure that the fittings are compatible. I have seen (especially younger mechanics) where folks, unfamiliar with flare fittings, have attempted to replace the flex line with a ferrule fitting. Then, there is always the possibility of the fuel pump diaphragm developing a pin hole and leaking.

            Once you have checked the tank, fuel line, fittings, and fuel pump, check the carb. Make sure the screws are tight. If the screws are tight, and the bowl gasket is good, the last possibility is that someone has rebuilt the carburetor and used the wrong solvent to clean it. Lacquer thinner will destroy the chemical that is used to seal porous carburetor castings. Once this occurs, gas will leach right through the carburetor bowl. Unless you have a resource that could reseal the casting...(under heat and pressure)...it will forever leak. (Of course, it don't matter if you check from the tank forward or the carburetor to the tank...just be thorough and check the entire system.)

            So...you see, there are many opportunities for these old cars to leak. None are unique to Studebakers. I have all sorts of "old iron." From garden tractors, '52 Ford 8N tractor, lawn tractors, outboards, and of course, Studebakers. I seem to smell gas from something all the time. You are right to be concerned. Check it out until you determine what is acceptable. Also, keep your fire extinguisher handy....and your escape path clear!

            Sorry to repeat something you "old-timers" already know, but we have new forum members coming aboard and perhaps, seeing some of this for the first time.
            John Clary
            Greer, SC

            SDC member since 1975

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            • #7
              If you have any source of ignition, like a furnace or water heater, in that garage area, I recommend removing the car from that garage until you determine the problem and fix it.
              Gary L.
              Wappinger, NY

              SDC member since 1968
              Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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              • #8
                Disconnect the fuel line at the fuel pump and with the appropriate fittings attach a rubber hose to the line and blow very gently in the hose, if you don't hear bubbles in the tank that would indicate a leak in the fuel line. Using the same procedure with a long hose or two people blow in the line and with squirt bottle of soapy water, spray the fuel line at each clasp and check for bubbles. The fuel line won't leak when the engine is running because it is under vacuum, it will only leak when shut off, that is why and when you smell it. Dave British Columbia

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                • #9
                  Thanks folks,
                  I had a much larger leak in the fuel line than I would have expected based upon the smell. Hopefully everything is sealed now.

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                  • #10
                    Good Job!...want to be my mechanic?
                    Lou Van Anne
                    62 Champ
                    64 R2 GT Hawk
                    79 Avanti II

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                    • #11
                      Champ51, can you share where it was and if it was under a clamp like so many Cars we have seen?
                      StudeRich
                      Second Generation Stude Driver,
                      Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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                      • #12
                        We didn't replace the entire fuel line, just cut out the rust in front. The leak was under a loose clamp on the short rubber hose connecting the two sections.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by StudeRich View Post
                          I would take a look through the hole in the Trunk floor at the Fuel Gauge Sending Unit, the Gasket swells up with Ethanol Fuel and seeps vapor as well as the Cork Fuel Sender Float causing the Gauge to read Lower than actual.
                          I had this problem in 53 easy to check, easy to fix.

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                          • #14
                            My mechanic said that gas was leaking from the top of the tank where it connects with a metal tube. This involves emptying & dropping the tank just too see what's wrong. As he charges $130 per hr. I want to know how expensive this job might be before I give the go-ahead.
                            peter lee

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                            • #15
                              $130 an hour?? find a new mechanic!!! I know you folks have a higher cost of living then we do in the SW but my gosh that is off the charts!!!!

                              Originally posted by plee4139 View Post
                              My mechanic said that gas was leaking from the top of the tank where it connects with a metal tube. This involves emptying & dropping the tank just too see what's wrong. As he charges $130 per hr. I want to know how expensive this job might be before I give the go-ahead.

                              Russ Shop Foreman \"Rusty Nut Garage\"
                              53 2R6 289 5SpdOD (driver)
                              57 SH (project)
                              60 Lark VIII 2dr sd (driver)

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