2002 TBird Gas tank; gas smell

Max

Max

Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2018
Thunderbird Year
2002
Hi, my car has a petrol smell, especially if filled full ( which I avoid doing now). It used to smell only when the tank was fuller, but now even when almost empty, there is that gas smell. Also, the “check gas cap” message is on, and, of course, the gas cap is on securely. My mechanic says it will be quite expensive to take out the tank, check for holes, etc. - it could just be a rubber something or need a whole new tank. Anyway, anybody have something similar? Any ideas, suggestions, etc.? I like my mechanic, but any TBird experts in Jacksonville, FL, especially for something like this? Thank you!
 
A

airpirate413

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Mar 18, 2015
Thunderbird Year
2002
Have you checked your fuel filler hose connections? Secondly is there any pooling or dripping of fuel while car is parked? Phil

Forgot to ask if you checked your fuel filter connections? The seals or clamps may be bad. Easy fix is to replace fuel filter and make sure seals are properly fitted. Phil

Also check your fuel rail. Make sure its nice and tight. One of your injectors could have a bad o-ring. If thats the case i would change out all the injector o-rings. A pain to do but that may also be the cause
 
Max

Max

Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2018
Thunderbird Year
2002
Have you checked your fuel filler hose connections? Secondly is there any pooling or dripping of fuel while car is parked? Phil
Thank you, airpirate! I don’t believe there is in pooling or dripping - there’s no gas smell around the car when/where it is sitting in the drive, and haven’t seen anything under the car. I really don’t know if my mechanic checked the fuel filler hose connection, but I can take it over and ask him to! Cheers!
 
twistngo
Joined
Jun 10, 2017
Thunderbird Year
2005
Its not your fuel rail or filter connection or it would smell of gas all the time. My 02 did the same thing it is likely one of the large rubber "O" rings that seal the fuel pump assembly to the tank, when you fill up or as you drive fuel sloshes around the seal and puddles on top of the tank. As fuel level drops fuel does not reach the seal to escape and the puddled fuel evaporates and the smell goes away. You do not have to drop the tank to access the fuel pumps, yes there are two, there are access holes under the package tray with large rubber plug to get to the pumps. There is a very good video on youtube on accessing the pumps. The large plastic retaining "nut" was lose on one of my pump tightening it fixed the problem, but a new "O" ring may be needed. Still not a hard job just a bit of a pain to get on the nut tighten it. If you have a good mechanic show him the video and its about an hour job tops.
 
twistngo
Joined
Jun 10, 2017
Thunderbird Year
2005
You can remove the speaker covers without removing the top well cover as he did and I was able to get a long chisel on the nut to tighten mine rather than the tool he shows in the video. I did make a similar tool later when I needed to remove a pump on my 2005. the tool makes it easier. but is not a must have. When you find which one is leaking try tightening the nut first, mine moved maybe an 1/8 of a turn. After tightening I drove it down the street and sloshed the fuel vigorously no fresh fuel came out so I covered everything back up and no more fuel smell issues.

 
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Max

Max

Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2018
Thunderbird Year
2002
Nov2018 update
We found out the gas smell was from the gas tank being cracked! Bummer! My repair shop had to go nationwide because the first three replacements were also cracked in the same place. They told me Ford no longer makes the gas tanks, as well as other parts, for these TBirds... bottom line, we’ve got the cars, but Ford’s not providing parts! Just hope we can find substitute parts, good used parts or whatever. It does quite concern me, should there be future issues with my car. Any one else finding this a problem- lack of available parts? Can anything be done?
Thank you! Cheers! Max
 
highwayghost

highwayghost

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Jul 9, 2019
Thunderbird Year
2003
I like plastic tanks, the rust problem is eliminated. Unless you can do it yourself or have a good friend that would try, I suspect it will be hard to find any garage willing to fix the fuel tank due to the liability concerns if the repair doesn't hold up. Welding on a metal tank is possible, but extremely dangerous. A patch/repair of a plastic tank would likely have good success if done correctly. I recently posted about plastic repair in the coolant recovery tank thread. I have had some success with repair on other plastic, even one plastic fuel tank on a lawn tractor.
 
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302turbochargedengine

Active Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2015
Thunderbird Year
2002
Hi, my car has a petrol smell, especially if filled full ( which I avoid doing now). It used to smell only when the tank was fuller, but now even when almost empty, there is that gas smell. Also, the “check gas cap” message is on, and, of course, the gas cap is on securely. My mechanic says it will be quite expensive to take out the tank, check for holes, etc. - it could just be a rubber something or need a whole new tank. Anyway, anybody have something similar? Any ideas, suggestions, etc.? I like my mechanic, but any TBird experts in Jacksonville, FL, especially for something like this? Thank you!
I have a 2002 tbird had gas smell in cabin.It was the gaskets were fuel pumps conectted to the gas tank.2 pumps 1 engine fuel pump2nd.equilezer pump.
 
350xfire
Joined
Dec 26, 2019
Thunderbird Year
2002
Funny, I just noticed the same issue on mine. Filled up the tank a couple of weeks ago and noticed fuel smell. Now that the tank is not full, seems better. Now I have to go looking for issue!
 
rjvjw

rjvjw

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2021
Thunderbird Year
2002
Just got my Third a week ago, has 70,500 KMS (@45,000 miles). Runs perfect but: very bad gas mileage and when I go to start after it haas been sitting a while it takes a second turn of the starter to catch and I get a strong smell of gas. The gas smell goes away once it is moving but is quite strong at first....any ideas?
 
A Sourdough

A Sourdough

Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2021
Thunderbird Year
2003
When I bought my 2003 I noticed a gas smell when the tank was filled but ignored it until the Check Engine light came on. Shop found the code indicated one of two solenoid valves on the vapor return line was faulty. There evidently is one valve in the engine room and one at the fuel tank. Drove the car this weekend to lighten the tank in case it had to be removed and the Check Engine light came back on. Valve replaced today. Will see if the happy fragrance stays gone.
 
A Sourdough

A Sourdough

Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2021
Thunderbird Year
2003
When I bought my 2003 I noticed a gas smell when the tank was filled but ignored it until the Check Engine light came on. Shop found the code indicated one of two solenoid valves on the vapor return line was faulty. There evidently is one valve in the engine room and one at the fuel tank. Drove the car this weekend to lighten the tank in case it had to be removed and the Check Engine light came back on. Valve replaced today. Will see if the happy fragrance stays gone.
Replacing the Evaporator valve did not resolve the smell on my 2003. Guess it's time to go watch the video!
 
klaw

klaw

Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2021
Thunderbird Year
2002
My 2002 Bird has had continual problems with the fuel pumps and gas smell in the passenger compartment. Local Ford dealer had no idea what to do, so I tried an independent mechanic. They had no clue after keeping the car for a week. Finally found a highly recommended shop in December of 2021(the car is stored 8 months of the year). They replaced ONE of the fuel pumps(right)with all hoses, valves, etc.
Drove from December, 2021 through March of 2022 with no problems. January of 2023, check engine light came back on. Took it back(they warranty their work for three years). Not sure why, but they decided to drop the tank. Now I am informed that the gas tank has a leak(verified through photos). They are going to replace the tank(they found 2 used in the Phoenix area)and BOTH fuel pumps, all hoses and valves, etc. Amazingly, they are charging me only for the parts and are considering the labor to be under warranty, to the total tune of $2,500 for the job. I think that I am getting a bargain!
 
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