Hi all, First time on this side; I usually lurk around the EA threads...
Here's the long and short: (mostly long..)(sorry)
I picked up a '98 Forester S from a friend/coworker for cheap. He'd had the car for about a year and had lots of little things fixed and amongst other things, related to gas leaks, included fuel lines. He was frustrated that as soon as one thing was fixed, a month later something else would let go. The person that does this work for him is another Subaru guy, and works on everybodys Subie in the county, basically.
In replacing the rusted fuel lines in the back of the car, he simply notched out the cover, and drilled a hole and got on to the the top of the sending unit with some big, heavy reinforced rubber hose. All three lines to the sending unit were fixed/attached to. These were run internally down to the drivers' side (underneath the seat, etc) and reattached where the steel lines come back in to the car, effectively bypassing all the rusted junk underneath the car. I also noticed there were a whole bunch of rubber lines all around that "emmisions box" under the right rear corner that were plugged off with bolts in the ends of them. The car has not thrown any codes, except for the gas gauge not working. (He nipped a wire while drilling back there. I found and fixed.)
So, this was done quite some time ago. Previous owner later had fuel leak issues while filling the car. Claims it was only an issue while filling, not while running/driving. New OEM fuel filler neck was installed (old one found rusty, go figure.). Previous owner still had issues and assumed it was the rubber hose AFTER the metal neck that was leaking. He also wasn't able to see how much fuel he had, due to the gauge no longer functioning. Instead of tracking his milage and adding gallons accordingly, he would "drive it a little bit and put gas in it." Not knowing what exactly the issue was, (tank leaking or not) I showed up with 3 gallons of gas in a can and poured them in, and proceeded to watch at least a gallon drip out. I planned to drive until it ran completely out, then put 5 gallons in, track mileage untill totally out, and do the math from there. I drove over 350 miles before it initially ran out. = Tank already full upon pick up. I had assumed maybe previous owner was just overfilling it and sending some back in to some of the lines that had been plugged off or something.
After all that reading, we finally get to the meat of it. I apologize for the long winded-ness, but I feel it helps to know a bit of the back-story. The previous owner throughout all of this would also complain of smelling gas inside the car after refueling. I also had noticed this. Additionally, I had found (While finding the cut wire and thus restoring the fuel gauge) that the cover/hatch over the tank/sending unit was not really sealed up, after having notches cut out of it, thus any leakage back there could easily be smelled in the car. I fixed this as well, and have not had any gas aromas inside the car that were not of my own origin I have now put over 1500 miles on the car without any leaks or incidents. I drove it to work yesterday, and about 15 minutes prior to leaving work, another coworker started it for me to let it warm up. While walking to the car, I noticed it was raining gas underneath the rear end of the car. I shut it off and it stopped. I restarted and it resumed dumping my paycheck on the ground. I rode home with coworker and rocked out the loyal Loyale today. Started the Forester this afternoon and no leaks.... Until after about ten minutes of idling. It was pouring it again. Pulled the cover back off and was able to find that one of the lines that had been bypassed (so we thought) and left open was the culprit. (if you're kneeling on the backseat facing the rear of the car, the lines come out of the sending unit in a triangle pattern, pointing towards the front. This one would be the top right. ( only assume that's where this hose would have connected, lengths seem to match.)) I threaded a bolt in to it and found that after enough time it was building up pressure sufficient to still leak past the threads. Also added a hose clamp and found it to still want to weap until I really torqued the clamp down. I let it idle for a little bit while checking things over and didn't find any other issues. I'm not intimately familiar with automotive fuel systems and am only minorly worried about some big Hollywood-style explosion after a pressure build-up and release somewhere bad while going down the road...
So, looking for some insight and thoughts on this as to how I should really proceed from here. If this no longer leaks, am I just ok as it is? Should I be looking for some valve malfunction, or other plugged line/canister? If he bypassed all of this, and correctly rerouted, where is this pressure and fuel coming from? (To which, I might add, the repair technique he performed here, he has done several times without issue over the years.) I am just trying to handle this myself as the guy is very busy as a single father, working a full time job and always has six Subarus in his yard to work on after work..
Also, the car had just under a half tank when I parked it yesterday morning, and while it was doing it's thing, it reduced itself to a quarter of a tank.
In the pic, the line on the top right with the bolt and the clamp is the one I just plugged. All other original hoses in here were left open. The red line (obviously) was the other guys' work.