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'98 Forester Fuel Line fun...

Forester Fuel line Gas leak

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18 replies to this topic

#1 Tofutti

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 08:04 PM

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.

Attached Files

  • Attached File  plug.jpg   93.59K   37 downloads


#2 Fairtax4me

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 09:39 PM

That's one of the lines that goes into the tank as part of the evap system. The only danger with leaving it that way is that the tank can pressurize and expand, or it could fail to vent properly as it cools and implode on itself.

I don't like Mickey-mousing with fuel lines. Replacing the rusted out steel pressure lines with rubber hoses is fine, but the other lines that go into the tank need to be treated with the same caution. The vapor is what burns, even if you don't see liquid its still a huge fire hazard.

#3 Tofutti

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 10:33 PM

The line that I plugged off tonight (found pouring gas all of the sudden after 1500 uneventful miles, since I've owned it, and probably many more since the "repair" was actually done..) is the one that originally went in to the sending unit where the red (replaced) line right next to it now goes. I was assuming hoses were properly traced and hooked up accordingly on the interior side of the car. I can post more pics of that if needed, to clarify. I'm wondering why all of the sudden it's dumping gas out of this old line (which is/should be also open on the other end, unless it T-s off somewhere else nobody knew about..) ...    (and not any of the other ones that were also bypassed).

I don't like taking chances with fuel lines either. This is also why I say I don't know these delivery systems intimately.

I've seen that inside the car, down by the Drivers side rocker panel, there are three lines going to the front of the car. I have seen that these three lines have all been cut and fixed on to those red hoses, where the steel lines would have gone down through a grommet to beneath the car.. Those red hoses ( three of them separately) run within the interior of the car back to that cover panel, and attach as seen in the pic above. I'm not sure if this clears anything up. I can post more pics as I get them tomorrow. I wonder why everything was fine after months and many miles, then just now this old, disconnected line is dumping it out.



#4 heartless

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 10:41 PM

The 3 lines in your picture are main delivery, return, and jet pump - make sure the jet pump line is hooked up correctly to a similar plate on the drivers side of the car..

My guess is that one of the "repairs" is not hooked up correctly.

 

you may find this helpful in trying to track down what is going on:

 

Subaru/Forester/1998/Service Manual/ENGINE SECTION/Fuel System


Edited by heartless, 07 December 2013 - 10:44 PM.


#5 grossgary

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 11:45 PM

maybe it previously had a "bolt and clamp" type repair on it that simply blew off/failed over time and fell out and then started leaking ?   the bolt, clamp rolled out of the way simply never to be seen again?

 

gasoline fumes are highly flammable , i'd definitely be investigating thoroughly as well.l



#6 Tofutti

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 06:05 PM

Thank you VERY much for the link, heartless! I can now do some research.. At a cursory glance, it almost looks like I could add a "T" and tie old line back in, assuming of course, the other ends on that whole assembly are still where they need to be in the tank, and not leaking. Not sure on that one yet...

Grossgary, I know that just a couple days after I bought the car, I was in there, under that panel tracking down the fuel gauge issue, and it wasn't plugged off at that time. I appreciate the thought, and that would make sense, but if it had blown out prior to that, why would it have taken a month and 1500 miles to begin leaking? Especially considering the rate at which it's spraying out now. I think we're on the right track in thinking something changed somewhere, since it was ok before. Also, the car runs GREAT: Smooth idle and lots of power, decent mileage too.

Also, my apologies for the noobish question, but could somebody explain to me what the jet pump actually is, and it's purpose?



#7 Fairtax4me

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 06:39 PM

The jet pump is a siphon pumpnthatnpulls fuel from the drivers side of the tank over the hump to the passenger side where the pump pickup is.

If that line was one of the old pressure lines it shouldn't go anywhere else except to the lines in the floor.
I thought the jet pump line was inside the tank but they may have changed that since they changed so much with the emissions system. If that is the jet pump line you'll want to hook it back up.

#8 Tofutti

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 06:51 PM

Also, took a few pics to add some light to the situation...

 

I traced the lines and marked one with a ( + ) and another with ( O ), and left the third blank. Everything look in the right place?
 

Attached File  line tracing.jpg   71.94K   36 downloads

 

Attached File  line tracing 2.jpg   81.66K   44 downloads

 

 

Also found the Evap line(?) under the hood had been plugged off (I added those clamps out of shear paranoia.)

Attached File  evap line.jpg   71.79K   42 downloads

 

Attached File  evap2.jpg   78.71K   35 downloads

Make sense?
If there are only three lines running through the interior of the car, back to where he tapped in with the red rubber hose, (assuming the main feed and return are properly placed) would that mean that the ( O ) hose would actually be this one that's plugged off up front?! :huh:



#9 Fairtax4me

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 07:45 PM

What the hell is that round thing??!

That top line is the pressure feed line from the pump and should have nothing between the filter and engine.

The bottom line on the rear is the return to the tank. The last line (smallest) is the evap line and is probably plugged off because the evap hoses in the back are all screwed up.

There is another cover on the drivers side, pull that cover up and see if that one hose leads to the top of the sender assembly on that side.

Edited by Fairtax4me, 08 December 2013 - 07:45 PM.


#10 MilesFox

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 08:16 PM

There are a series of vent lines running along the top of the tank to 2 vent tops and another sending unit. I would connect the skinniest of the 3 hoses back to where they were both at the inside and under the car where the lines drop out from under the seat over the the side of the car where they meet the rubber lines to the tank.  this should also restore your evaporative system if it can be put back together and nothing is missing.

 

Sorry for all the typos, i have edited my original post


Edited by MilesFox, 09 December 2013 - 07:35 PM.


#11 Tofutti

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 09:45 PM

What the hell is that round thing??!
 

Lol you got me dude. It is how it was when I picked it up.
 

 

 

"There is another cover on the drivers side, pull that cover up and see if that one hose leads to the top of the sender assembly on that side."

Sorry, I meant to include this shot before. Whatever it is in here, is factory.
 

Attached File  Show left side cover.jpg   78.32K   22 downloads


Miles, I'm not sure I'm understanding your advice here. If you could dumb it down a bit for me, I'd really appreciate it.

I need to be able to drive this thing home tomorrow afternoon. It's currently sitting at my workplace, and I'll be riding in tomorrow with a coworker. I'll get a chance to play around a wee bit tomorrow afternoon after work, (with very limited parts/supplies) before driving it the 35 miles back to my house. If it can safely make this trip home tomorrow, I'll have WEEKS to figure it out and make it right before I need to drive it again. It shouldn't take weeks at all though; you folks are clearing this picture up rather well so far, and I thank you for all your help.



#12 Tofutti

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 10:08 PM




I thought the jet pump line was inside the tank but they may have changed that since they changed so much with the emissions system. If that is the jet pump line you'll want to hook it back up.

Well according to the FSM that heartless linked me, On this one, it looks like that IS the jet pump line (going back in to the sending unit) The same line he tapped on to with the rubber hose I marked with ( O ).

 





The bottom line on the rear is the return to the tank. The last line (smallest) is the evap line and is probably plugged off because the evap hoses in the back are all screwed up.

 

Assuming there are only three lines running back through the car, (and that the send and return lines are correct, (since the car runs great), would this mean that the third line that he has connected to the jet pump inlet on the sending unit would actually end up being this evap line that is plugged off here under the hood? I'm just trying to get my logic straight. (Also trying to understand how this all works.)



#13 heartless

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 10:24 PM

ok, lets see if we can clear up a little of the confustion...

 

linetracing2.jpg

 

the lines on the main pump side are labeled.

 

Showleftsidecover.jpg

 

In this pic, the line you have marked as "0" should run over to the left side jet pump...

 

The metal line that the "0" is attached to is supposed to be an evaporative line that does go back to the tank, BUT - Not at either of the pump locations! it should go to a fitting near the middle of the tank - one you dont have easy access to without dropping the tank.

 

and under the hood...

 

evap2.jpg

 

Get rid of the stupid thing with the circle around it - straight line from filter to engine fitting.

 

the two lines with bolts in them - should be one solid line - this is the other end of that evap line that is hooked up wrong inside the car.

 

 

Now - I have no idea why it suddenly started happening, but this is my theory....

 

Something recent has caused a pressurizing of the tank, the only outlet for that pressure happened to be the open jet pump line, so the pressure was forcing gas out of that line in an attempt to escape.

 

You REALLY need to correct the routing of the lines, and resolve whatever is causing the pressure build up in the tank.

 

If it was daylight, I would take pictures of mine to show you what it "should" look like...


Edited by heartless, 08 December 2013 - 10:27 PM.


#14 Tofutti

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 05:30 PM

Victory is mine! (But not without the help and support of all of you.) So, Thank you!

heartless, a picture really is worth a thousand words, especially with a person like myself who sometimes has difficulty understanding what another is trying to say, even more so when the two of us use different terms. This is why I try to articulate and explain so much and thus, end up writing a novel for a simple response. Sorry about that everybody.. Also, to that end, MilesFox, after having a chance to look over the FSM, I was able see what you were suggesting, but I think for now, if all seems well for a little bit, I may not go further in to putting the rest of it all back together, as there are other lines plugged off around that evap box under the rear-end, as well as a couple more in the wheel-well by the filler tube. I see the main vent in to the tube is hooked up, but none of the other lines that run up and down the filler tube are connected... From what I can tell under the car, mine looks, according to the FSM to be the "With ORVR" model. I can only guess that "ORVR" stands for "Overcomplicated and Ridiculous Vapor Recovery".  ...it's a bit much for me at the moment. And, FairTax, you were spot on and thank you for explaining the jet pump. Makes perfect sense to me now. Also, a coworker has a '99 SOHC Forester, 5-speed (mine's DOHC auto), both EJ25s and I popped his hood today. I found that amongst being a couple quarts low on oil LOL his is just a straight hose on the main feed, as everybody was saying it should be. This isn't something to do with the differences in auto or manual, or maybe more likely, a difference in single or dual heads? Whatever that thingy on mine is, it looks factory anyway. I dunno, maybe my engine is a transplant/mutant and that thing came in with it... who knows.

Anywho, I was going to reconnect the original jet pump line as it seemed to still be holding up, such that I had a hell of a time plugging it off the other day, but I ended up puncturing the hose trying to get my bolt back out. So, I decided I would use the ( O ) line as suggested. I also wanted to verify if my assumptions were correct about it being the same evap line that's plugged off up front. I pulled the front plug, then pulled the ( O ) line, got a bunch of gas, and could not blow through it.... Went down to the floor and pulled the unmarked line that was supposed to be the return line, as it was plugged in to the return port on the sender, blew through it and expelled a bunch of crap out the evap line up front... Okay, mystery solved. Pulled the ( O ) line off at that junction and stuck the unmarked line on that spot. Cut and fit the ( O ) line in place on the jet pump ports, kicked the key over and let her idle for about 20 minutes. No leaks, No smells. ETC cleared and drove home. (MIL had been on for O2 sensor.) Thirty-five miles without incident, odors or MIL thus far. We'll see how the week progresses.

For now I think unless I develop symptoms/issues, I'll leave that evap pinched off up front. If she throws any codes, I'll dig in a bit.

Thank you folks so much again for your help and patience with me! You guys rock


Edited by Tofutti, 09 December 2013 - 05:41 PM.


#15 heartless

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 09:56 PM

that little round thing on the main fuel line under the hood was a very common sight on the older Subarus (80's) but not on the newer ones. It is not needed on your car and can safely be removed.



#16 MilesFox

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 10:00 PM

My 98 forester has the damper piece on the fuel line.The legacy does not.Perhaps this is the difference between mfg stateside(legacy) or japan (impreza, forester), 4S3 and JF2 vins, respectively


Edited by MilesFox, 09 December 2013 - 10:01 PM.


#17 heartless

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 10:11 PM

My 98 forester has the damper piece on the fuel line.The legacy does not.Perhaps this is the difference between mfg stateside(legacy) or japan (impreza, forester), 4S3 and JF2 vins, respectively

 

Hmmm, interesting...the 99  does not have that damper in line - at least not under the hood...



#18 MilesFox

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 10:14 PM

Must be a 98 thing sine 99 moved to a ej251 sohc, and 98 forester is the only year witht ej25d



#19 Tofutti

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 10:29 PM

My 98 forester has the damper piece on the fuel line.The legacy does not.Perhaps this is the difference between mfg stateside(legacy) or japan (impreza, forester), 4S3 and JF2 vins, respectively

 
What is the purpose of the damper piece?; What does it actually do (if anything)? I get that I can remove it safely, but what was the idea behind putting it there to begin with? What was it designed/intended to damper?  ... just always wanting to expand my knowledge and understanding..

Also, FWIW my VIN starts with JF2...


Edited by Tofutti, 09 December 2013 - 10:34 PM.






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