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I sure hope someone out there can help me. My 2001 outback wagon has developed a raw fuel smell when faced with cold weather. I live in Southern California and first noticed the smell on November 22 when we had a nice snow storm. It was over a week later when I took it into the garage where I have the car serviced and asked them to chase down the smell - they could not replicate the odor, and convinced me that I possibly splashed fuel onto the filters for the heating/defrosting system. I didn't have a bad smell again, so assumed the problem was fixed.

 

I'm now on Christmas vacation in Montana - cold temps again and the smell is back with a vengeance. I've been looking at the NSAIC site and see that there has been a problem with the WRX experiencing fuel odors in the cabin due to leaky fuel injector supply hose. Could the same problem occur with an outback?

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You could have a leak anywhere in the fuel system. Cold weather shrinks componants and can make things leak that do not at room temp. Get professional help on this if you can't find it yourself as many cars have burned from fuel leaks.

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Mine (see sig.) has this smell, too. I posted awhile back but can't remember if anyone gave a clear solution. It's winter here in MN and the smell is back as well, though not all the times, but you can definitely smell it. It feels like it's coming from the air duct/heater somewhere. Check fuel line with not visual sign of any leaking.

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Another source of fuel smell is the vapor recycling canister (black canister up front on the right (passenger) side of the rad. You might (1) lift the canister after unfastening it (spring clamp I think) and check for smell underneath. (2) check all vac-vapour lines coming and going to it for a crack. Th canister itself might be cracked.

My 2 cents.

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You could have a leak anywhere in the fuel system. Cold weather shrinks componants and can make things leak that do not at room temp. Get professional help on this if you can't find it yourself as many cars have burned from fuel leaks.

Thanks - I'm taking it to the local dealer tomorrow in hopes they can find the problem.

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Theres a TSB for fuel smell during cold weather in the WRXs.. perhaps the same or similar problem is manifesting itself in other newer soobs as well.

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I have a 2001 Legacy GT that s normally garage kept but sat out in 0 degree weather over a weekend. When it returned to the garage we noticed the smell. I have been all over the fuel system looking for leaks or any visual dampness with none to be found.

In the Garage the smell was noticeable in general. During driving it seemed to drift in from the air intake as yours seemed to.

Was anything ever resolved as to the culprit?

 

I sure hope someone out there can help me. My 2001 outback wagon has developed a raw fuel smell when faced with cold weather. I live in Southern California and first noticed the smell on November 22 when we had a nice snow storm. It was over a week later when I took it into the garage where I have the car serviced and asked them to chase down the smell - they could not replicate the odor, and convinced me that I possibly splashed fuel onto the filters for the heating/defrosting system. I didn't have a bad smell again, so assumed the problem was fixed.

 

I'm now on Christmas vacation in Montana - cold temps again and the smell is back with a vengeance. I've been looking at the NSAIC site and see that there has been a problem with the WRX experiencing fuel odors in the cabin due to leaky fuel injector supply hose. Could the same problem occur with an outback?

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Our 2001 OBW developed these same symptoms during the last cold snap. We've had it with this POS and are trading it in this weekend. Rav4 or CRV...NOT another Subaru. Sorry SOA but we've really lost all confidence in your ability to build a quality product and back it up when it's worthless like this one. First Gen Legacys only from now on.

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