free hit
counters
Petrol smell - Engine/Ancilliaries - The Lotus Forums Jump to content
Andjons

Petrol smell

Recommended Posts

In the last few days my garage has developed a very pungent smell - apparent as soon as I open the doors. I have a motorbike, and a lawnmower, and lots of paint and tins and aerosols in there too. I think it smells like petrol, but I cannot tell where it is coming from. There are no puddles on the floor, and the car and the bike and the lawnmower all start okay.

The car starts and runs fine, but it is making a strange noise periodically: the engine seems to make loud irregular ticking sounds. It is difficult to describe - it sounds not dissimilar to the sort of noise you might expect if you dripped the odd drop of hot fat on a hot manifold or turbo housing. It is a sort of cracking, or sparking sound. Perhaps what you might get from a very cold engine, as it warms? The engine doesn't smell, as such. I am just concerned that there could be a link.

I am not sure where to look for any potential petrol leak. I don't really want to be driving to Brands Hatch, and blow up. Any bright ideas?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Upgrade today to remove Google ads and support TLF.

Tough to make a guess without seeing it, mate. I certainly can't come up with a link between the smell and the sound. Is the ticking high-pitched, or more of a knocking? Does it occur on idle, accel, hot, cold? Does the engine miss? Is it there all the time? Intrigued!

You'll find the fuel filter on the engine bulkhead roughly behind the driver's position. Trace the fuel pipe either way from there and check for leaks. Also look at the injectors. I very much doubt it's leaking (fingers crossed).


British Ambassador to Florida, New York, Denmark and Newfoundland.  And Sweden.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could the ticking be the fuel pump, in which case it would indicate it not achieving the desired pressure, in turn indicating a leak ? like Sparky says tuff one, you could try lighting a match and hanging around long enough to see where the fire eminates from, but not recomended.

Sorry disregrd that fuel pump senario because if the ignition if off so is the senario.

Having thought about it again, why not take the motor bike and lawnmower out, along with anything else that might emit a smell of petrol and see if it persists, if it does it's the car, if not it's something else. Actually it might be better to get the car out too, wait until there is no smell of petrol in the garage and then start putting everything back, when the smell returns the culprit is the last thing in.

Edited by Roger the Dodger

Life is like a sewer, what you get out of it, depends on what you put into it. (Tom Leahrer)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your suggestions.

It doesn't rain but it poors... petrol, that is. Took the car out of the garage this morning, intending to leave it on the drive and see if the smell in the garage persisted. Curiously, the ticking noise has gone - so I think I must have just been over-sensitive on that score. Reckon it was just the cold engine warming up. However, the petrol smell was rather concentrated in the cabin. Checked the fuel lines in the engine bay, and everything seemed hunky-dorey. Drove the car onto the drive and looked underneath... drips of petrol all along the passenger side engine bay undertray. I guess it had evaporated before it could form a puddle(?)

Anyway, I'm guessing a leak from either the fuel tank itself, or maybe the crossover pipe. Suppose I'll have to make time to get it up and whip the undertray off... Any suggestions before I do?

Edited by Andjons

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can block off the left hand tank and run on just the right I believe. Obviously your range is much reduced but it may keep you on the road, I'm sure this has been done (perhaps Paul Fowler, rings a bell?)

The ticking is most probably due to a wet or damp engine and will persist until it dries out, does that make sense in your circumstances?


88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

For forum issues, please contact the Moderators

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You need to know where this is coming from. Don't wing it. Disconnect the battery whilst investigating though - sparks from exposed lives to chassis could ignite something. I know, I've done it.

Any work done on the car recently? Topped it up to the brim? ie anything different to explain why now?


"Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them." Albert Einstein

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As said have a good look around, remove the undertray and find where its coming from.

If theres petrol coming out of the inspection hole under the tank then its only really the tank to blame, the hole is big enough to get your hand inside and have a good feel around. The balance pipe is completely visable when the car is up in the air on stands, you should be able to find it easy enough.

As Bibs said, if its the balance pipe or the tank than just run on the RH side one only.

Remove the balance pipe fron the rubber hoses at the bottom of the tank, find something the same size as the balance pipe to use as a blocker and then do back up the jubilee clip, happy days!

Then save your pennies and get some new tanks! :)

Oh yeah... DON'T FORGET THE BATTERY!

Edited by Simon350S

Chunky Lover

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Only had the top off a few months ago, dammit! Hope it's not the tank. Gissa call when you can, Andy.


British Ambassador to Florida, New York, Denmark and Newfoundland.  And Sweden.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting post. Mine is of the same limited edition and did what yours did. Puddles of petrol when it had been left standing.

Took off the undertray to find the tanks rusted to hell and a lot of petrol lurking under there.

Guessing they were built close together my money is on rust.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay. I am hoping to get a look at the car tomorrow. There is a lot of petrol still in the tanks, though - I only filled up the other day. If it looks like a problem with the tanks themselves, any suggestions on how to get the petrol out (safely)?!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Andy, when you filled up was it literally to the top? When did you last do that?


British Ambassador to Florida, New York, Denmark and Newfoundland.  And Sweden.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi guys, its a bummer is it not. This is possibly one of the worst designs on the Lotus, The foam packing under the tanks is open cell, ie it acts like a spong, it should have been closed cell then it would not hold water, I did mine and used a different foam, also I repaired the tank (LHS) using a metal filler then lots of hammerite paint, touch wood its lasted about 5 years - touch wood.

Just my 2 peneth

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Andy, best place to drain would be the balance pipe. If you've just filled up, that's a lot of containers!

Don't forget to call or PM.


British Ambassador to Florida, New York, Denmark and Newfoundland.  And Sweden.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I drained mine by disconnecting the underside balance pipe. But it's really difficult to catch all the fuel that comes out because it's coming under pressure (just from the head of liquid) in two directions. I had a line of 3 gallon washing up bowls set up but still managed to slop quite a bit. After doing this and making a mess, someone told me that there is a drain plug on the RH tank, which would make things a lot tidier. Haven't looked to see where it is on mine though. I can confirm you can run (w/o a fuel gauge) with a hole in the LH tank and the balance pipe blocked with a 1 inch diameter aluminium plug in my case. Good luck, Trevor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The trouble with the drain plug (is it fitted on all models?) is its location. Once it's out, you're pretty much committed to dumping the lot into a single container. Trying to stem the flow through that cutout in the body invariably results in a highly flammable armpit! Oh, and it corrodes, bad.


British Ambassador to Florida, New York, Denmark and Newfoundland.  And Sweden.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you not just remove the pipe from the fuel pump, connect a longer hose which reaches to a bucket and then turn the ignition on?

You've then got a switchable electric syphon. :thumbsup:

I didn't think of this when I did mine, I pulled off the balance pipe and used a big catch tray....


Chunky Lover

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you not just remove the pipe from the fuel pump, connect a longer hose which reaches to a bucket and then turn the ignition on?

You can, but you need to bypass the ecu's control of the fuel pump because it turns the fuel pump off if the engine is not turning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The trouble with the drain plug (is it fitted on all models?) is its location. Once it's out, you're pretty much committed to dumping the lot into a single container. Trying to stem the flow through that cutout in the body invariably results in a highly flammable armpit!

I can vouch for that. Even with an allegedly empty system I ended up bathed in gallons of Shells finest. All the while my dear father was wandering around nearby having sparked up a cigarette whilst enjoying watching the proceedings. That focuses the mind.

Moral of the story is when you think its empty and the pump pumps no more, there's still more to go so be careful. Also of note, mine let go after a fill up too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm. Jacked the back up, and removed the undertray. There was a little petrol spilled out from it, but no more than a couple of tablespoons. I rooted around in the inspection hole under the tank, and discovered that the bottom of the tank - as much as I could see - is fine. It is a nice black, and there is no rust, and no sign of any holes. The foam, however, was sodden. With petrol. I rooted around a bit more, getting my fingers as far as I could between the foam and the tank, and I could not find any obviously bad parts of the tank. I have pulled the foam away as far as I can, and the tank looks fine. I do not know whether to try to pull the foam out from where it is firmly wedged under the tank - I might not get it back in again.

I took the side panel out to have a look at the top of the tank. So far as I can see, it looks fine. There is no obvious moisture on it - whether water or petrol. The filler pipe seems well seated, both at the top, and the bottom where it joins the tank. The join at the bottom of the filler pipe, and the top of the tank seems fine. The foam - as much as I can see - is dry. There is some detritus on the top of the tank - sort of paint flakes, I suppose - which I think suggests it has not really been wet in the recent past. I can just see the top of the level gauge, and it seems fine too.

I have no idea now. Do you suppose the leak might be coming from a small part of the bottom of the tank where it sits on the foam, and where I cannot see it?

Aaargh!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to try to syphon the petrol out of the tanks - then I might be able to use it in another car. Shouldn't I be able to just feed a pipe down the filler neck, into the tank, and get it out that way? I have tried - but although I am sure I can hear the pipe making it into the tank, it doesn't seem to meet any petrol, even though the gauge is saying half full.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Helped by other's suggestions, I found the best way to get a lot of gas out of the tank was to connect a fuel pressure gauge to the valve at the end of the fuel rail, run a tube from this to a collection container. Then pull the fuel pump relay out and turn on the ignition. The pump won't run of course, but it will run when you bridge the appropriate connectors in the relay socket with a piece of wire. This way you can control the amount and rate of fuel you pump out. I don't remember the numbers of the appropriate sockets, but they were the front and back ones basically. Check with a DVM to make sure.

You won't get all the fuel out, but you can get most of it this way.

Cheers,

Trevor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the suggestions on getting the fuel out - I was hoping just to syphon it out with a pipe and a suck! Meanwhile, here are some pictures looking up through the inspection hole, showing the saturated foam and the condition of the bottom of the tank.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

looks like I'm the newest member of the 'smelly club'.

when you replaced the crossover/balancing pipe - was it only the rubber hoses connecting the tank-to-pipe (#49) or does the actual metal pipe (#50) go bad as well?

fuel.JPG

If you replaced the pipe - what did you use? (is there anything special about the metal tube - coatings, ..etc)

thanx


Lou Senko

Austin, TX

more, more, more....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...