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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I notice this p.m. that my 2002 Outback is noticeably emitting gasoline odor. I think(!) the source is the filler cap itself. (I.e., I suppose it could be just downstream of the cap somehow -- I don't really know what's back there on the other side of inner "fender," but I'm pretty sure it's the cap itself). I'm really surprised because the car was safety inspected fairly recently, and I thought they tested for this, but maybe not?

Can I buy just any old replacement cap, or does it need to be an OEM part? It looks(?) to me like there's some sort of pressure relieve diaphragm, or the like, built into the cap itself on the inside, but yet again I'm not sure what I'm really looking at when I see the raised plastic architecture inside of the cap itself.

Any help re this is greatly appreciated.
 

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Given the age of your car, it is fairly likely that the source of the fumes is the filler pipe. This is the pipe that the cap screws into. It passes through the inner fender and down to the gas tank.

These filler pipes are exposed to the elements and road debris inside the wheel well, and it is common for a rust hole to open up and allow fumes to escape.

I would check that first, but it could be as you say- a problem with the cap itself.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks

Thanks, Rasterman. I thought I had remembered reading something along the lines of what you describe, but I couldn't recall the details. Do you happen to know what's involved in the fix? I.e., does the fuel tank have to come out? If not, must the tank be drained before work begins. Cheers.
 

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I haven't swapped one on an outback myself, but I'm fairly certain that the tank does not have to come out. You will probably need to remove the right rear wheel to get enough clearance and leverage to get it done, though. Good luck!
 

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If this has been a Texas car its entire life, I doubt the issue is filler neck corrosion. certainly possible though. It's been reported many times.

is the CEL on? even if not, there may be a 'pending' code that would help pin down a problem.

any wrecks or work done prior to this problem? Do you tend to top-off/round up to the nearest $1 when fueling the car? Also, ever notice a vacuum or a 'whoosh' from pressure when removing the cap? Ever suspect any tampering or gasoline siphoning attempts?
 

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is the CEL on?
+1 The most common cause for a CEL is a loose gas cap. If the CEL is not on (turn ignition to ACC to checkthat the light is not burned out), then conversely it probably isn't the cap. Does it make the clicking noise when you put it on? If not, then you have a suspect.

How's your mileage? Any spots on your driveway? Has the car ever been rear-ended? Could be a leak where the line enters the tank or where it exits to the engine, which would be more noticeable in the passenger compartment than a bad gas cap. I hope this isn't bumming you out. Better safe then sorry. Gas fumes are kinda dangerous in lots of ways. ;-)
 
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