Gas smell after ignition/starting car?
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    1. #1
      Junior Member Ricket's Avatar
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      Gas smell after ignition/starting car?

      Hi all,

      I have this weird problem. Here's exactly what happens.

      My car is not apparently leaking gas; I don't smell gas as I approach it. I open the door to the pleasant smell of the, uh, whatever the previous owner used when he cleaned up the car to sell it to me a few weeks ago. Maybe leather conditioner, I'm not sure. Anyway, so I get in the driver's seat and close the door. The windows are closed, sunroof is closed, trunk is closed, back seats are up. I put the key in the ignition and start the car. Suddenly the whole inside of the car is filled with the strong smell of gas. The air kicks in, and within a minute the gas smell has been replaced by clean-smelling air. The car drives as it has been the past few weeks. Before purchase, the car passed a pre-sales inspection with only a slowly leaking front strut.

      So given that complete description of my problem, what could be causing this smell? I am pretty short on money right now so I'm basically looking to see, is there something I can easily check myself? (I am not very car-savvy but can follow pictures and instructions; I don't have any ramps or lifts but could look into getting some if I need to get under the car) How worried should I be about this? I don't think it was doing this a week or two ago. Is this something that I can get checked out for free? There is no CEL but maybe I should induce one and go get the free code pull from the dealership?

      Also, I had a bit of "engine stumble" a few days ago which I described here, so could that be related? Unfortunately I don't know exactly when I started noticing this gas smell, I wish I did.

      Thanks!
      2005 Volvo S40 T5 AWD, silver, nav/fog/xenon/leather/rainsensor/powereverything/premiumsound, everything stock

    2. #2
      Moderator tmtalpey's Avatar
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      Have you inspected carefully under the hood before starting the car, especially behind the engine and in front of the firewall/cowl? A smell that appears when first starting the car (and in particular, first running the cabin air intake fan) is strongly suggestive of vapors being pulled into the vents.

      On the 2005's there was a specific recall to replace two fuel lines that were located in exactly this position. They were affected by the heat of the manifold and a new teflon line was to be installed. You certainly want to visit a dealer and verify that this recall was performed on your car. They can pull the record from the VIN, but a physical inspection would be best to follow up.


      Edit: here's the recall (from 2006) http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/pr...type=DrillDown

      If there's no obvious source, then an ordinary garage emissions sniffer can be used to pinpoint possible leaks even if they aren't readily visible.
      Last edited by tmtalpey; 08-06-2011 at 10:13 AM.
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    3. #3
      Member TheCastro's Avatar
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      Could be your fuel pump is bad. Or your fuel pressure sensor/line.


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    4. #4
      Junior Member Ricket's Avatar
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      I don't think there's an obvious source. Again, I'm not really at all car-savvy (but I'm learning quickly), so I don't know exactly what I'm looking at, but I looked around for anything really obvious (a spray of gas, for example, would be a really bad sign) and didn't see anything. Also, again I just had the pre-sale inspection done a few weeks ago, so I'm hoping they would have found anything. Maybe I'm only just noticing it and it's been there all along? I doubt this is the case but I'm starting to wonder if it's just me. In any case, I'm taking it in for an oil change and light inspection this coming week (probably Monday) so I'll also mention it to them and see if they can find anything.

      Given that I'm pretty paranoid about that stutter happening again, and the stutter could very well be the fuel pressure sensor that was recalled in other models, I'm inclined to wonder if that's it. But everything seems normal despite this gas smell and that one instance of stuttering. The car idles properly (around 1200 for a moment after starting before settling around 700, if I remember correctly) and drives normally. I'll definitely see what the oil change guys say, but I'm inclined not to worry about this until something else manifests (or another stutter happens).
      2005 Volvo S40 T5 AWD, silver, nav/fog/xenon/leather/rainsensor/powereverything/premiumsound, everything stock