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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-25-2011, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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Can smell fuel at times, need help

The last few days driving around I have noticed at times my fuel pump sounds a little louder than normal. It seems intermittent, it will be louder for a bit then the sound dies out. Yesterday I turned on the AC when it was being loud and the car was filled with that nasty ethanol smell. I parked the car where I was going, shut it off, looked under the hood but didn't see any visible fuel anywhere. Started it back up and the pump was quiet, smell was gone.

The car runs fine, doesn't act like it's fuel starved and I don't see any fuel under the hood or under the car. The fuel pump was just replaced in May (Walbro 255). I think the fuel regulator may be going out, problem is I don't have my service manual with me and don't know much about it or even where it is.

I found this;
Quote:
Originally Posted by NetKeym View Post
As for checking fuel regulator, just pull the vac line off and see if there is any fuel in the air side (that's how they go bad).
But like I said I've never messed with it and don't even know where it is. Would I need special tools to change it if it is in fact bad? like the fuel filter tool. I think if I can verify it's bad I could probably avoid a huge shop bill by taking it to someone who has the tools and can do it without charging me 300% markup on the regulator plus book time. For me would be the difference between paying $300 to a shop or $100 to someone who can do it for me.

-Kelly
===================================
Fuelly
94 LX 3.8L NA : Daily Driver. 270k on chassis, 10k on motor.
90 35th Anniversary SC : Stored for the Winter.
Needs Harmonic Balancer, complete suspension overhaul.
WTB: 90 SC BHJ harmonic balancer
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-26-2011, 08:23 AM
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kelly:
Traditionally, another place to check for fuel smells is a car's EVAP or vapor canister. someone else can confirm if a 94 tbird has one (autozone says so). This thing is hooked up to your car and acts as a way to absorb fumes from your gastank using charcoal bits instead of just venting it into the air. Over time (esp in mid-90s cars), they can clog up and lead to a fuel smell.

As for the tools, If it's a spring lock connector like the other fuel lines and the disconnector, it's only a $10 tool from Kragen, Oreilly, and slightly cheaper at harbor freight. All mechanic shops (even shade tree ones) should have it.

Cheapie:
http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/de...0044&ppt=C0052

Fancy one:
http://www.amazon.com/Tools-3290-Spr.../dp/B0002SRD0A

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-26-2011, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S4gunn View Post
someone else can confirm if a 94 tbird has one (autozone says so).
They do, it's located in the passenger fenderwell under the headlight.

The FPR is on the fuel rail, it'll have a vacuum line attached. IIRC it's on the driver's rear of the fuel rail, under the upper intake. Don't quote me on that though, it's been a while since I've studied the engine on the Cougar.

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-26-2011, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks I'll see if I can find the vacuum line for the FPR. I had read about the EVAP canister too and will check that also. I figured to check the FPR first though because to me it smelled like raw fuel but I could be wrong. I can't believe I didn't bring my service manual, I won't make that mistake again.

-Kelly
===================================
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94 LX 3.8L NA : Daily Driver. 270k on chassis, 10k on motor.
90 35th Anniversary SC : Stored for the Winter.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-26-2011, 05:01 PM
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Yeah .. the vac line is on the regulator itself .. on the fuel rail. If you needed to replace the regulator, its held on by Allen hex bolts if I recall.
Check fuel Pressure
Check vacuum at the line
Apply vacuum to the regulator while the engine is running and see if the pressure changes ..

Un-likely the regulator is bad if your engine isnt running funny.

If its just a smell, could be the canister - the AC sucks in outside air when its not on Max - if it were picking up the vapors from outside of the car ( while driving .. It would be coming from the front end somewhere )

... I recently had a customer, was complaining about gas smell lately around the back of the car, but the Canister is also in the front end of the car. It had previously been worked on for a Check engine light caused by a faulty grommet on the EVAP line to the gas tank, and most recently the fuel smell / canister replacement. This was on an 98 Oldsmobile.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-30-2011, 02:14 PM
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EVAP is easy to install, but you'll probably have to change hoses. The originals get brittle. Get some gasoline rated replacement hose.

Also, It is easier finding that stuff on a car being parted out. Hint, Hint.

The Parts Bin Special is DEAD! It is being parted out.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-30-2011, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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The reason I suspected the regulator was, the smell seemed to be present when the fuel pump was louder and if they leak gas out of the vacuum side when they're going bad that could be why I smell it so much with a little fuel going into the vacuum system.

I looked for the canister and think I found it but I have no idea how to get to it short of taking the bumper off.

Yesterday I drove it around a little and this time it smelled like burning wiring. I looked under the hood but didn't see anything obviously melting. I ran it for awhile in the driveway and used a flashlight to see if I could see any smoke, liquid or anything else unusual but of course then the smell was gone and everything seemed fine.

I'll have to get under the car and see if I can get to the canister and hoses but I don't have my ramps with me either. I'll let you know if I need anything PCD.

-Kelly
===================================
Fuelly
94 LX 3.8L NA : Daily Driver. 270k on chassis, 10k on motor.
90 35th Anniversary SC : Stored for the Winter.
Needs Harmonic Balancer, complete suspension overhaul.
WTB: 90 SC BHJ harmonic balancer
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-30-2011, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueEyes View Post
The reason I suspected the regulator was, the smell seemed to be present when the fuel pump was louder and if they leak gas out of the vacuum side when they're going bad that could be why I smell it so much with a little fuel going into the vacuum system.

I looked for the canister and think I found it but I have no idea how to get to it short of taking the bumper off.

Yesterday I drove it around a little and this time it smelled like burning wiring. I looked under the hood but didn't see anything obviously melting. I ran it for awhile in the driveway and used a flashlight to see if I could see any smoke, liquid or anything else unusual but of course then the smell was gone and everything seemed fine.

I'll have to get under the car and see if I can get to the canister and hoses but I don't have my ramps with me either. I'll let you know if I need anything PCD.
I am not sure on the 94, but on my 96 I took off my passanger side front tire, then the wheel well cover and dropped the air cleaner housing...then I was able to easily get to the Evap canister.

1996 3.8 Thuderbird
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-30-2011, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eichenberg View Post
I am not sure on the 94, but on my 96 I took off my passanger side front tire, then the wheel well cover and dropped the air cleaner housing...then I was able to easily get to the Evap canister.
Should be the same on a 94.

-Brandon
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-30-2011, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueEyes View Post
The reason I suspected the regulator was, the smell seemed to be present when the fuel pump was louder and if they leak gas out of the vacuum side when they're going bad that could be why I smell it so much with a little fuel going into the vacuum system.
You wouldnt be able to smell fuel going into the vacuum system .. it would get sucked into the engine unless it was leaking externally.

The canister doesnt have a purge, but it has vents that could leak out fuel vapors if it becomes oversaturated ( smells more on a Full tank ? ) .. fuel system pressurizes and all that pressure goes to the caniser.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-31-2011, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
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I found the canister on Autozone for $72. The specs say the fittings are .77 which converts to 7/9's, should I just use 7/8? I don't know for sure don't have the service manual here with me. How much hose do I need? I think I know a guy here that will do it for me for a reasonable cost.

-Kelly
===================================
Fuelly
94 LX 3.8L NA : Daily Driver. 270k on chassis, 10k on motor.
90 35th Anniversary SC : Stored for the Winter.
Needs Harmonic Balancer, complete suspension overhaul.
WTB: 90 SC BHJ harmonic balancer
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-31-2011, 12:22 PM
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Kelly,

I used less than a foot of hose and did the job myself. I bought the cannister from the parts for sale forum from a parted out bird. I spent less than $50 total.

The Parts Bin Special is DEAD! It is being parted out.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-31-2011, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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Yes I thought about getting one from a parted out car but figured I may as well put a new one in. I just had my motor rebuilt and it only has about 3700 miles on it so I may as well put a new one in so I won't have to mess with it for another 13 years. The one in the car has about 260k miles on it.

EDIT: Thinking about it, it may even just be the hoses. I'll get the canister and the hoses and if it's just the hoses I can always take the canister back.

-Kelly
===================================
Fuelly
94 LX 3.8L NA : Daily Driver. 270k on chassis, 10k on motor.
90 35th Anniversary SC : Stored for the Winter.
Needs Harmonic Balancer, complete suspension overhaul.
WTB: 90 SC BHJ harmonic balancer

Last edited by BlueEyes; 08-31-2011 at 04:20 PM. Reason: added
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 10:27 AM
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Kelly, You'll need about a foot of 1/4" Fuel line, a sharp razor knife to cut the fuel line, phillips screwdriver, an 8mm socket. As mentioned eariler in the thread, take the right front tire off and remove the wheel well. Then you will have good access to the evap box and all the little connecting hoses. These cars DO have a purge solenoid attached to the evap cannister and they do go bad over time. Currently my purge valve is bad and the car smells when I run the air.

None of this is terribly difficult. Feel free to call me if you need any tips. I've done this many times.

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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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Yea the big problem is I can't do it myself (put it on a jack stand and take the wheel off) but I know a guy here who can do the heavy stuff for me and I'll just talk him through the repair. I came up to Utah kind of in a hurry and didn't think to bring my service manual so I'm getting all of the info from you guys. Next time it's going in the trunk. I'll check on the valve too, are you sure the V6's had them?

Thanks everyone

-Kelly
===================================
Fuelly
94 LX 3.8L NA : Daily Driver. 270k on chassis, 10k on motor.
90 35th Anniversary SC : Stored for the Winter.
Needs Harmonic Balancer, complete suspension overhaul.
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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2011, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueEyes View Post
. I'll check on the valve too, are you sure the V6's had them?

Thanks everyone
Yeah, they all do. It purges the air from the canister to the engine. I said they didnt have a vent valve as in an Externally venting (venting raw fuel vapors is worse than exhaust, you cause more environmental "damage" every time you put gas into the car ) .. but yeah they normally vent the fuel vapors inside the engine via the Vacuum line when the Vent solenoid is activated. The 96/97 cars have an extra sensor on this line also.

The ONLY way to get fuel vapors inside of the Air conditioner is if the fresh air inlet ducting on the wiper cowl is pulling in outside air which must contain the vapors.
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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-04-2011, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
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Well I ran it down to a half tank and then drove it around with the AC on and no more fuel smell. Now it smells like burning rubber/plastic, it doesn't come through the AC like the fuel smell did but I can smell it. Reminded me of a belt slipping smell but everything looks ok. Guess I should take the belt off and check everything, I've had tensioners go out before but the one on there is only about 3 years old. I just had the front brake pads replaced a few weeks ago too so could be brake smell from seating the pads.

-Kelly
===================================
Fuelly
94 LX 3.8L NA : Daily Driver. 270k on chassis, 10k on motor.
90 35th Anniversary SC : Stored for the Winter.
Needs Harmonic Balancer, complete suspension overhaul.
WTB: 90 SC BHJ harmonic balancer
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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-16-2011, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Well I think I'm heading in the right direction now. When I was driving to AZ this time CEL comes on at times, mostly at high speeds low RPM's. I get here and pull the codes:

332: Insufficient EGR flow
337: EGR Sensor circuit above maximum voltage
558: EGR valve regulator solenoid circuit fault

So it was probably exhaust I was smelling.

Should I replace both the sensor and the EGR valve? Not sure if the sensor voltage error was from the valve malfunctioning or the valve not opening because of the sensor not working right.

I also got a weird code I never heard of here before;

543: Fuel pump secondary circuit fault

I haven't checked the manual on this one yet but was wondering if anyone had this one before.

-Kelly
===================================
Fuelly
94 LX 3.8L NA : Daily Driver. 270k on chassis, 10k on motor.
90 35th Anniversary SC : Stored for the Winter.
Needs Harmonic Balancer, complete suspension overhaul.
WTB: 90 SC BHJ harmonic balancer
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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-16-2011, 11:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueEyes View Post
Well I think I'm heading in the right direction now. When I was driving to AZ this time CEL comes on at times, mostly at high speeds low RPM's. I get here and pull the codes:

332: Insufficient EGR flow
337: EGR Sensor circuit above maximum voltage
558: EGR valve regulator solenoid circuit fault

So it was probably exhaust I was smelling.

Should I replace both the sensor and the EGR valve? Not sure if the sensor voltage error was from the valve malfunctioning or the valve not opening because of the sensor not working right.

I also got a weird code I never heard of here before;

543: Fuel pump secondary circuit fault

I haven't checked the manual on this one yet but was wondering if anyone had this one before.

I have seen the 543's before .. cant recall what the solution was.

On the EGR / EVR / DPFE, you might need to do a little electrical testing to determine if the DPFE is getting the correct voltage, and then test the EVR to see if its functional - to open the EGR. EGR can be tested with the EVR solenoid to open it up, or use a hand held vacuum and see if the engine stumbles when you apply vac to it.
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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-17-2011, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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I looked for the 543 code and best I can tell is something to do with a bad connection to the fuel pump but some people who have gotten this code also had the 332 and fixing the EGR problem cured the 543 also.

In my service manual there's really no electronic diagnostics for the EGR sensor or the EVR solenoid, just removal and replace info. I couldn't find anything in the EVTM except the vacuum diagram. After reading everything again and considering the parts involved I'm fairly sure it's the EGR Vacuum Solenoid. if the solenoid isn't working it could cause the 332 and the 337 if they are on the same circuit. So I think I'll start there.

-Kelly
===================================
Fuelly
94 LX 3.8L NA : Daily Driver. 270k on chassis, 10k on motor.
90 35th Anniversary SC : Stored for the Winter.
Needs Harmonic Balancer, complete suspension overhaul.
WTB: 90 SC BHJ harmonic balancer
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post #21 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-17-2011, 02:02 PM
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You might be able to test the solenoid .. unplug the connector and check for continuity .. if it has a reasonable amount of resistance it should be ok .. you can apply power + ground to the solenoid and it should make a click sound, this would indicate the EVR solenoid is good and if you do that while the engine is running, it should activate the EGR itself and cause the engine to stumble.
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post #22 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-17-2011, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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What do you think the + voltage is, like 5v? I could try to trigger it with a few batteries

-Kelly
===================================
Fuelly
94 LX 3.8L NA : Daily Driver. 270k on chassis, 10k on motor.
90 35th Anniversary SC : Stored for the Winter.
Needs Harmonic Balancer, complete suspension overhaul.
WTB: 90 SC BHJ harmonic balancer
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post #23 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-17-2011, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by BlueEyes View Post
What do you think the + voltage is, like 5v? I could try to trigger it with a few batteries
Its 12 volts on the Red wire .. check for power ( KOEO ), the EEC triggers the ground when it activates.

If you wanted to check the EEC function of the ground wire you might need a graphing volt meter .. it wouldnt be on constaltly, and it may vary the voltage.
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post #24 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-19-2011, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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All done I think. I tested the voltage from the connector to the EVR = 11.68 volts, the EVR did show some resistance so I think it's ok. The plug for the EVR is broken though and the ground wire slips out. That was the issue I believe. I was careful putting the plug back on and made sure the ground made it's connection. All codes are cleared now but I haven't drove it around yet. I have to go run some errands then I'll check for codes again. So I think a new plug will do it.

-Kelly
===================================
Fuelly
94 LX 3.8L NA : Daily Driver. 270k on chassis, 10k on motor.
90 35th Anniversary SC : Stored for the Winter.
Needs Harmonic Balancer, complete suspension overhaul.
WTB: 90 SC BHJ harmonic balancer
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