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E36 M3 (1992-1999) {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999


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Old Tue, Jul-24-2012, 10:32:58 PM   #1
brice017
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Default Gas vapors in cabin

Here's my problem. When I come to a stop, the cabin starts to fill with gasoline vapors.

I have removed the rear seat, looked at both the fuel pumps - no vapors, no leaks
I have no leaks underneath of the vehicle
I have no leaks under the hood
I do have a slight gasoline smell under the hood when idling

I do not have the smell when I am driving, only when stopped or stop/go traffic

Occurs whether the vehicle gas tank is topped off or on empty.

Where under the hood do the fuel lines run?

Any suggestions?
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Old Tue, Jul-24-2012, 10:55:45 PM   #2
enderw88
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Default Re: Gas vapors in cabin

Quote:
Originally Posted by brice017 View Post
Here's my problem. When I come to a stop, the cabin starts to fill with gasoline vapors.
OK, this is a big deal so no screwing around

Quote:
Originally Posted by brice017 View Post
I have removed the rear seat, looked at both the fuel pumps - no vapors, no leaks
E36 M3's have a fuel filter beneath the the car, just about directly below the drivers right leg in the transmission tunnel. I would check there for leaks as well. You are most likely to get leaks at fuel line junctions. That means pump output, fuel filter inlet and outlet and injector rail.

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Originally Posted by brice017 View Post
I have no leaks underneath of the vehicle

I have no leaks under the hood
Gasoline is volatile, meaning it evaporates quickly. You will not see evidence of leaks unless everything is cold (like winter).
Quote:
Originally Posted by brice017 View Post
I do have a slight gasoline smell under the hood when idling
First pull the plastic engine covers off, and leave them off. You will be able to locate leaks around the injectors far easier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brice017 View Post
I do not have the smell when I am driving, only when stopped or stop/go traffic

Where under the hood do the fuel lines run?

Any suggestions?

Vapor from slow leaks will be diffused by airflow, so no surprise there. I would let the engine idle in a garage and start nose hunting around the injectors. Also get the car off the ground and inspect the fuel filter and fuel pump.
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Old Tue, Jul-24-2012, 11:13:04 PM   #3
A White m3
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Default Re: Gas vapors in cabin

what if you get a gas smell on wot pulls? this happens occasionally, my girlfriend usually comments on it, is this just due to the engine running a bit rich?
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Old Tue, Jul-24-2012, 11:19:54 PM   #4
idriveastick
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Default Re: Gas vapors in cabin

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what if you get a gas smell on wot pulls? this happens occasionally, my girlfriend usually comments on it, is this just due to the engine running a bit rich?
Or your girlfriend thinks she smells fuel but it's just exhaust or what I call "the e36 smell" since there's always some sort of smell going on with these older cars. That is, unless you're totally rebuilt etc.
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Old Wed, Jul-25-2012, 12:21:10 AM   #5
brice017
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Default Re: Gas vapors in cabin

thanks for the quick response. I will put it on ramps tomarrow and "sniff" around.
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Old Thu, Jul-26-2012, 11:46:03 PM   #6
marvinstockman
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Default Re: Gas vapors in cabin

A gas leak is usually a cheap money fix at a good shop you might know, and save you and the car from burning up.
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Old Fri, Jul-27-2012, 11:48:45 AM   #7
brice017
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Default Re: Gas vapors in cabin

Wanted to thank enderw88 for his assistance, and wanted to close out this thread // update it for any others who happen to come across this thread searching our forum with similar issues:

Fuel Filter - Fine, no smells
Fuel Injectors - Fine, could not see any "spray" when idling using a flood light

About 6 months ago, the car started making a "thud, thud" sound in the engine bay. This is different than the "tin can rattle" that I have going on which is my dead vanos (the car is a 96 with 265K, so I can't complain)

Sound was coming from passenger side of engine block, near the secondary air pump's control valve.

Turns out my spark plug (or plugs) were slightly loose, causing the "thud, thud" noise when the engine is doing its compression. (replaced spark plugs 4 yrs ago @ 200K)

No more "thud, thud" and no more gas vapors in cabin.

A google search of loose spark plug and gas vapor correlate this finding.

thanks guys
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Old Fri, Jul-27-2012, 12:52:19 PM   #8
enderw88
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Default Re: Gas vapors in cabin

Nice to hear. Good catch on the spark plugs!
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Old Thu, Aug-02-2012, 11:27:59 PM   #9
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Default Re: Gas vapors in cabin

Hate to bring this thread back from the dead but I wanted to give my story of gas vapors in the cabin and outside of the car. Hopefully this can benefit future forum searchers with similar issues.

I'm pretty new to e36 M3s so this might be obvious info. I had a fuel smell in the cabin usually after filling up or after spirited driving. I never fill up more then half the tank in my cars unless I'm going on long trips.

Long story short after some research it ended up being the fuel sender. At first it wasn't easy to find as both the fuel sender and fuel pump looked dry, no wet spots. It only became visible after I filled the tank all the way full. Gas started to come up and drip all over my garage.
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Discussing Gas vapors in cabin in the E36 M3 (1992-1999) Forum - {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999 at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)