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Old 01-02-2014, 08:24 AM   #1
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I have a strange issue with the tank of my 2007 Wrangler. After every fill up there comes a pretty strong smell of gasoline from the front side of the rear wheels. The more I drive it the less it smells and actually I have never smelled any fumes when the tank was less than 80% full.

So I took it to a Jeep dealer in central NJ and they said I have a filler neck malfunction which would be fixed under warranty. Note that my filler neck had never spilled gas which was the typical reason for a fix under warranty. But of course I ordered them to fix the filler neck. However my Wrangler kept smelling as bad as before the fix.

I took it in again to the same dealer and this time they stated that the roll over valve of my tank was bad and that they had to replace the entire tank to fix it. This time I had to pay for materials and labor which was about $500.

I felt confident that this must have had fixed the problem and I took it to the next gas station to fill up the new tank. To my disappointment it smelled again. So I drove back to the dealership and confronted them with the smell. They said that a tank swap is a messy thing to do and that their entire shop still smelled like gas, too, and that I should give the spilled gas on my Jeep some time to evaporate. Unfortunately that didn't cut it.

In the meantime I had moved to Germany and I had taken taken the Wrangler with me. Now a few days ago I had prepared the Wrangler for a skiing trip in the Alps. I had checked or renewed all fluids and the day before we left I had filled up the tank and I had parked it in the garage. Typically said garage is not available for the Jeep. So I had never parked it with a full tank in a closed room before. Within a few hours the garage smelled really bad like gasoline. I took a look under the Jeep and since it had been wet from a small afternoon shower it seemed like there had developed some small puddles on the floor because the vehicle must have been still wet by the time I put it in the garage.

However it turned out that these were puddles of gas. With a flash light I inspected everything again around the filler neck, the EVAP canister and the tank. What I could see for the first time was that the frame side of the tank was wet in a particular spot. A thin film of gasoline was creeping down the side wall of the tank and was caught by the skid plate. From the adjacent drain holes of the skid plate the gasoline could finally drip onto the floor. As a workaround I drove the Wrangler until the fuel gauge dropped below full (it was slightly above full after fill up) and I cleaned the floor of the garage. Early next morning there was only a very slight smell of gasoline left and the floor under the tank had stayed dry.

Does anybody have experine with diagnosing and fixing such a problem? Any piece of advice will be appreciated! This issue does not only stink but it is also a potential risk for me and others to get caught in a fire and it costs me money as my Jeep is wasting gas without even burning it. :-)


P.S.: Once I have returned from my vacation I will post some photos which I had taken of the leaking tank in the night before we left.

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Old 01-02-2014, 11:49 AM   #2
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1: Remove fuel tank.
2: Drain fuel tank completly.
3: Put filler neck back on.
4: plug inlet and return lines with tape or something else.
5: clean the fuel tank and totally dry the outside.
6: (this sounds weird but it works), dust the tank as much as you can with baby powder.
7: slowly fill the tank with water, stopping every minute or so to look for the wet spots in the baby powder.

Eventually, the baby powder will begin to get wet. Trace it back to the highest point and, BOOM, there is your problem.

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Old 01-02-2014, 04:31 PM   #3
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Good instructions, thank you.

However I don't feel comfortable with filling water into the fuel system. Anything wrong with using gasoline instead? I know water would be a lot less complicated.

I also believe that from the pictures I took, the gas seemed to be leaking from the top and was just coming down the side wall of the tank. I also have a hard time to believe that a brand new tank can be leaking. This must have been tested during the manufacturing process.

So I have the feeling the tank either gets overfilled for whatever reason or any kind of hose or so has not been hooked up properly to the tank. What might be the reason for an over filled tank and what might be an approach to tackle this?
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Old 01-02-2014, 05:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sebbekk View Post
Good instructions, thank you.

However I don't feel comfortable with filling water into the fuel system. Anything wrong with using gasoline instead? I know water would be a lot less complicated.

I also believe that from the pictures I took, the gas seemed to be leaking from the top and was just coming down the side wall of the tank. I also have a hard time to believe that a brand new tank can be leaking. This must have been tested during the manufacturing process.

So I have the feeling the tank either gets overfilled for whatever reason or any kind of hose or so has not been hooked up properly to the tank. What might be the reason for an over filled tank and what might be an approach to tackle this?
Water will be just fine. I have done this at least three times. Drain all of the water out and put jumpers on the pump to pump out the excess.
There is also the possibility that it is leaking from the top of the fuel pump retainer or even from one of the fuel pump lines.
I have had pump retainers leak before and ONLY when full. it happens.
Don't be afraid of the water test. Once it is emptied, there will only be a few spoonfulls left and the gasoline will take care of that just fine.
If that is too much, you could always blow an air hose into the filler neck (have a buddy do it) and while that is happening, run your hand along the top of the tank to feel for any escaping air. I am not sure how much room is between the top of the tank and the bottom of the body but, it is worth a shot.
The only reason water is better then gasoline is $$$
You want the tank to be as empty as possible before dropping it and as empty as possible before putting it back up.
Fuel is about 8 LBS per gallon so, you can math that.
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Old 01-02-2014, 05:30 PM   #5
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+1 on the water. If water left in the tank concerns you, use something like Heet or another fuel system cleaner that bonds to water.
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Old 01-02-2014, 05:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalbill View Post
1: Remove fuel tank.


Eventually, the baby powder will begin to get wet. Trace it back to the highest point and, BOOM, there is your problem.
that is why you use water instead of gasoline...
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Old 01-02-2014, 05:50 PM   #7
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that is why you use water instead of gasoline...
OK.. maybe "boom" was a poor choice.....
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Old 01-02-2014, 06:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalbill View Post
OK.. maybe "boom" was a poor choice.....

I thought it was perfect...
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Old 01-04-2014, 02:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalbill View Post
1: Remove fuel tank.
2: Drain fuel tank completly.
3: Put filler neck back on.
4: plug inlet and return lines with tape or something else.
5: clean the fuel tank and totally dry the outside.
6: (this sounds weird but it works), dust the tank as much as you can with baby powder.
7: slowly fill the tank with water, stopping every minute or so to look for the wet spots in the baby powder.

Eventually, the baby powder will begin to get wet. Trace it back to the highest point and, BOOM, there is your problem.
So how do I drop the tank? Is the tank bolted to the undercarriage so that I can remove the skid plate separately? Except for the filler neck which I can disconnect up front are all hidden lines and hoses long enough to drop the tank? I have 35" tires and a 3.5" lift and I would use a 3.5 ton floor jack to support and lower the tank slowly.

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