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2005 3.0R VDC Limited Wagon
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hello, two times now, i've been filling my car, and noticed gas leaking from the flap. it started about a minute after i started pumping.

when i stopped pumping, the leak stopped. last time, the plastic cable holding the cap to the car broke, is that related?

any ideas why gas would leak only during filling? i've not seen or smelled gas at other times, not noticed a decrease is milage.

thanks for any input.
marc
 

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I doubt the broken plastic cable (tether) to the gas cap is related. But it does sound as if there's a (serious) leak somewhere along the fill pipe going to the fuel tank.

The fill pipe uses metal and rubber pipe sections. I believe it comes up from the fuel tank between the rear quarter inner and outer panels and out the side of the rear fender.

Fuel leaking from the pipe could drop down to the lower edge of the rear bumper cover, and flow downward toward the rear mud flap. The symptoms you describe certainly are consistent with a leaking fill pipe.

Interestingly, if the pipe is leaking, on-board diagnostic tests related to the fuel tank evaporation control system should trigger a Check Engine light when there's an air leak, as might be caused by a leaking pipe. But some tests are carried out only when the tank is partially filled, and when driving at highway speeds for some time.

Are you not getting a CEL?
 

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2017 OutBack Premier, 2019 Forester Ltd, 2016 370z Rdstr
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marcc,

The only way fuel can leak during a fill up, as you describe, is from the filler tube that connects to the fuel tank, or along a seam of the fuel tank near the filler tube. Either a rubber gasket has deteriorated or rust has perforated the filler tube or the tank.

As for the strap that holds the filler cap breaking, its not related.

You need to get the problem corrected quickly, from a cost of fuel perspective, as well as from a safety perspective. The longer you let it go, the worse it will get. Good luck!
 

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2005 3.0R VDC Limited Wagon
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
hey guys,

thanks for your help! no CEL so far. any idea of repair time on this? but i guess it depends on what the problem is. (i was looking at a 99 forester for my daughter, it had a rusted gas filler neck and the shop said it was about a 6 hour job: big$$). i did a search for this here, and didn't see anyone w/ the same problem. odd.

good point about letting it go can make it worse.

marc
 

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According to the service manual, getting to the pipe is quite involved; the pipe is quite well buried. Probably similar to the Forester you were looking at.

Seems premature for the pipe to rust out. Has the car always been used in the Columbia area? Was there ever any body damage to that area of the car?

Please let us know what you find.
 

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2005 3.0R VDC Limited Wagon
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
plain OM,

i've owned this car since july 09, no wrecks with me, or before me, to my knowledge. it came from virginia, i believe. the pipe is galvanized, correct, can that even rust? i'm hoping its a rubber seal or something.

i'd just had the oil changed, then noted this deal. no way i can blame the shop? ;-) i'll post back when i have some definitive answer.

(it's funny how stuff works out: i just earned some freelance money, was going to pay into some other debts, or get buy some paddling or bike gear, or set some aside for new tires (i have about 10k miles left on the tires i have now))
 

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'05 Outback XT manual
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marcc,
my 05 Outback just started leaking just infront of the right rear wheel. Would be curious to find out what was wrong with yours.

plain OM,
do you know if there is any way to have a better look at the fill pipe and all the gaslines without lowering the tank? For example, can you see more when removing the plastic cover under the tank or the plastic liner in the wheel well?

Needless to say I am surprised to be dealing with a gas leak with a car this age. The car has been in Halifax for the most part and now I am driving it in rusty Ottawa. But still. It seems way to early for those kind of problems.
 

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Not sure about additional visibility. I'd have to look more closely at the diagrams and my own 07, but I suspect it is possible to see more from underneath, and if the wheel well liner is out, especially if the leaking is only when filling, which would tend to place the leak in the fill pipe area rather than the tank itself. If I recall correctly, the fill pipe actually goes down and across a bit into the tank at the back, near the center, so the leak could be nearer the fill opening end, depending on how it's sloped.

EDIT
frankreflections: I just noticed that you're leaking is in front of the right rear wheel, whereas marcc's was behind, at the mud flap. Is this correct?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
marcc,
my 05 Outback just started leaking just infront of the right rear wheel. Would be curious to find out what was wrong with yours.
i took it to my shop and picked up a tech, i added gas to the car w/ him there, and it did not do it. no visible fumes, nothing. we decided to wait and see if it happens again.

very strange.
 

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marcc:

The previous two times that it happened, was it at the same pump? If the pump had a leak between the valve and the pipe, gas could drip down onto the fitting around the car's fill pipe (black) and flow through the drain hole just below the fill pipe. That would run down to the rear mud flap area, which is below.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
plain OM,

man, that could be it! i'm a creature of habit, and may very well have been at the same pump. i was certainly at a different place when i went w/ the tech.

good thinking.
 
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