Lotus Elan

Petrol Smell

PostPost by: elanman3 » Fri Mar 12, 2004 3:43 pm

I just got a +2 back on the road after being dry stored for 8 yrs and last weekend was the first time that I?ve actually filled the car full with petrol. When I later opened the garage where I keep it, I was met with a very strong smell of petrol. It was so bad that I left the garage door open for 4 ?5 minutes before I switched on the lights in case a spark from the light switch ignited the whole place.
There doesn?t seem to be any leaks from the tank so I?m wondering if this smell is coming through the two fuel tank vent pipes. Can any other +2 owners tell me if this amount of smell is common?

I can't remember any problems like this with my last +2 but that was 25 years ago and at was kept outside. Age is making me more causious.

I?m considering blocking the two vents and accepting the fact that I can only fill the tanks ? full, but I?m not sure if by doing this it will cause fuel starvation to the engine?

I also remember reading in one of the other threads where somebody had blocked one vent to try and stop fuel evaporating. But I can?t remember anything about them mentioning smell.

Your thoughts, comments and help will as always be appreciated.

ColinT

PS . it also made me realise that I wouldn?t be able to store the car in my garage at home because the central heating boiler is in there, and the gas pilot light could ignite the whole place, house and all.
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PostPost by: berni29 » Fri Mar 12, 2004 8:21 pm

Hi There

You have a fuel leak. If you take the car out of the garage and start to have a good nose around you will eventualy find it. When my tank was leaking on my +2 it was primarily inside the car.

Once it is fixed you should have no problem at all keeping it next to the boiler. It would be interesting to know just how much petrol vapour you would have to have in the garage air to ignite from a spark or flame. A little bit of petrol in an enclosed space goes a long way in the smell stakes.

On my honda CRX (which I am driving since crashing my +2) I recently had an intermittent fuel leak which stank so much that the car was undriveable. It smelt strongly outside as well. The leak was so small though that you could not see it. A metal pipe had perforated, but the dirt on it hid the leak and it did not drip. I simply could not believe that such a strong smell was coming from such a tiny leak. I was convinced that there was another leak waiting to be found. But no.

Good luck

Berni
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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Sat Mar 13, 2004 12:27 am

Greetings, I think that thread is still available and it's full of info. I've had similar experiences with a US federal Stromberg +2, to the point I never fill it with gas because it will evaporate with great odor. The car is not leaking liquid gas, it's the vent problem. Be as careful as can be in enclosed garages I've had a half gallon disappear in a week in a car that was never started, and the exterior of my entire fuel line to the engine is bone dry. not a drop to be found, anywhere.
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PostPost by: kevin » Sat Mar 13, 2004 10:22 am

I noticed an obvious leak on my tank during my recent renovation. I had it repaired and pressure tested. On return I put 6 litres of fuel into the tank and found another leak. I only noticed it because the tank was not properly installed in the car at the time. The fuel was also evaporating very quickly from the point of the leak, so unless you were looking for it, it would never be noticed other than by the smell.

By the way, if you're in the UK, Spyder Engineering can do a modification to the breather system. One of the existing vents is plugged and the other is connected to the filler pipe via a new union. This prevents any venting to the atmosphere.

Hope this help

Kevin
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PostPost by: Ramsden » Mon Mar 15, 2004 9:16 am

Hi

I've had a similar experience with a plus 2 that had been in storage for a number of years. The leak was serious enough that I would lose a quarter tank over a couple of days of standing.

In my case, changing the carb needle valves, fuel pump and couplings did the job.

I have K&N's on my car and I understand that it is normal to have a slight petrol smell with free breathing air filters.

Simon
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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Mon Mar 29, 2004 3:58 am

Hello Colin, what have you found on your car?
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PostPost by: elanman3 » Fri Apr 02, 2004 12:07 pm

I've hardly been near the car in the last two weeks, business and holidays. Last night was the first chance to get down to the garage since getting back from Donnington. Although I know there is a full tank of petrol, there was next to no smell of petrol. (Mmmm maybe it's all evaporated) When I get a chance to get underneath it I'll trace the fuel pipe and check for small leaks and let you know what I find. I wasn't aware of the filler pipe modification from Spyder, that sound like a good idea. I've got some things that I'm planning to buy from Spyder latter in the year (suspension wishbones, inner sills) so will add this to the list. So, unless I find a leak when checking I'm just going to monitor the smell and concentrate on the other things that need sorting, not much, just brakes, suspension and electric?s. Enough to keep me busy and my pockets empty.

Thank's for the comments and support.

Colin
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