Lotus Elan

Distinct smell of petrol

PostPost by: b-havers » Mon Jun 19, 2006 11:19 am

My +2S has a very distinct smell of petrol.
Not so bad when sitting in the car, but from outside...
In a diameter of ca 7-8 metres from the car, the petrol smell is awsome.

I have read older articles on the forum re. this, and read about corking one of the airhoses.
Does this really work? Does the petrolsmell go away?
If so; could anyone supply a drawing, explaining where the air hoses goes??

(guess I'll have to get hold on the factory manual and parts list - where can I buy these??)

Sorry for all my questions, but as I don't know the Elan too well I'll have to start 'on the bottom', asking silly questions..
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PostPost by: RobCapper » Mon Jun 19, 2006 1:21 pm

i have the same thing - and have done for the 2 years I've had mine...
I always just put it down to petrol left in the carbs or something... It's just quite a smelly car really - oil or petrol or something! My fuel lines and tank are in good order.... and I lose a fair bit of fuel through 'evaporation'?! if I leave the car in the garage for a week or so....

Interested if you get any good replies!
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PostPost by: b-havers » Mon Jun 19, 2006 1:24 pm

One thing is the loss of fulen, and the economic aspect, but what about fire?
If a smoking person comes too close to the parked car, there will be one less smoker in the area.
Oh, sorry; thats a good thing :lol:

Seriously; due to all the fuel damp; when starting the car; can a misfire from the ignition system start a fire?
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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Mon Jun 19, 2006 1:38 pm

My stock 1969 has the standard +2 fuel evaporation problem when left sitting for a couple of weeks, but there are no odors of gasoline in or around the car. Make sure you don't have a small leak at the round fuel gauge sender on the back of the tank or worse, a small hole somewhere in the tank that's allowing seepage into the trunk/boot carpet or spare wheel well. Unfortunately there would also be one less +2 if a nearby smoker lights it off. It doesn't take much gas to smell a lot, or start a fire.
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PostPost by: thor » Mon Jun 19, 2006 2:06 pm

That's two +2S'es in Norway with a smell problem then, as mine does the same... I have no leaks underneath or in the boot, but yes the smell is definately there.
Not bad inside the car thank god, but even if mine is in a LARGE underground garage, when I get close to it there's the familiar smell of petrol....

I'd also like some info on the infamous breathing hoses and their apparently ridiculous placement between the roof and headlining (am I right?)
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PostPost by: thor » Mon Jun 19, 2006 2:09 pm

And the only good place to get a manual at a good price is Ebay. . ...
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PostPost by: iain.hamlton » Mon Jun 19, 2006 2:48 pm

The North American ones had an evaporative system with a charcoal filter... My UK one doesn't, and smells too. I am thinking of trapping vapour from the breathers when the car is parked.

best regards, iain
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PostPost by: Roy Gillett » Mon Jun 19, 2006 4:00 pm

Certainly my experience is that all +2's smell of petrol outside. Everyone seems to accept this. I have had Lotus experts tell me they could always tell when they had a +2 in for service the second they opened up the workshop door in the morning - by the smell of petrol.

I put whisky bottle corks in BOTH my breathers while in the garage (and never have more than half a tank full of fuel so that the filler pipe entry into the tank is not below the level of the fuel in the tank) . That drastically reduces the smell of fuel in a small domestic garage and the loss from 'evaporation'.

With the fuel breathers corked my car can 'breath' enough to run perfectly well (presumably through the filler cap - it leaks out down the wing if the tank is more than half full) but one cork needs to be removed for filling the tank.

It has been suggested to me that we cannot finally get rid of the petrol smell as there is a great big wadge of felt between the chassis and the body by the breathers and below the tank which gets impregnated with fuel over the years. Don't know if that's true.

BTW has anyone got a method of stopping the filler cap leaking on hard cornering?

Hope this helps.

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PostPost by: ppnelan » Mon Jun 19, 2006 4:19 pm

Spyder can do a re-plumbing job on the breather pipes, connecting them to the filler neck and blocking the filler cap breather hole to prevent fuel overflow on RH bends.
This has been discussed in the past.
See http://www.lotuselan.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1914

Can anyone with this modification tell us if it is a success ? :)

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PostPost by: andyhodg » Mon Jun 19, 2006 4:37 pm

I did the tank vent modification that was illustrated in the Club Lotus magazine. It reduced the smell inside the car. However I replaced the fuel cap for a new lockable cap at the same time and I now have a slight leak from the filler cap - so I still have the smell in the garage.

The modification was failry straight forward you need someone who can braze the vent connection into the side of the filler neck - I did mine myself.
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PostPost by: Jason1 » Mon Jun 19, 2006 4:41 pm

Yep, mine stinks as well :D

I have not found one that does not stink.

Has anyone tried fitting the Spyder breather/ filler neck?

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PostPost by: Robbie693 » Mon Jun 19, 2006 5:04 pm

Ditto on the smell, but mine smells inside just as bad if it's been standing.

Tank looks new and it doesn't smell in that area. I have the overflow round r/h corners syndrome too and strangely, while I was laying with my head in the footwells the other day (like you do!) I kept getting the odd whiff of fuel there as well. Incorrect float level??
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PostPost by: tdafforn » Mon Jun 19, 2006 7:46 pm

Had the same smell problem on my plus 2 which was made all the more problematic as the smell got into the house (and the kitchen complete with gas cooker..)
I ended up using the wiskey cork trick, but eventually forgot to take them out..
Still runs fine though and is always noted on the MOT
"wiskey corks on petrol vent system?"
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PostPost by: thor » Mon Jun 19, 2006 8:39 pm

ehm, where the hell are these vent hoses to put the corks in????? :roll:
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PostPost by: ppnelan » Tue Jun 20, 2006 8:21 am

The breather hoses stick inwards from the 'sills', just in front of the rear wheels - you'll see (and smell) them if you look underneath.

The breather pipe routing over the rear window was done (as all Lotus things are?!) for good reasons - to allow air to enter the tank as fuel is used in all situations of cornering, braking, accelerating, and to avoid the possibility of fuel pouring out in the event of an accident or roll over. I would have thought that blockinig them BOTH while driving could cause fuel starvation in some circumstances.

This is why the Spyder modification has been carefully thought out to provide similar ventilation and safety to the original design, but with a more typical single small bore breather pipe to reduce vapour loss. It should also enable more rapid filling of the tank at the petrol station !
(NO, I haven't modified mine yet, YES it does make the garage smell and YES the petrol station pump usually 'times out' before I can completely fill the tank... :!: :wink: )

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