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post #3 of (permalink) Old 23rd March 2012
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Re: Espace 3 fuel tank & petrol smell / odour

Had same problem with my 2000 Espace about 3 years back. Once tank was emptyish. Local mechanic dropped tank to check it out.
Eventually located a tiny crack in the outlet of the pump assembly. When new pump arrived and was fitted up same petrol smell problem came back when next filled tank to max.

Removed tank again - ended up fitting a new o-ring to top of pump assembly (100 mm diameter).
Pretty sure the new assembly had shipped complete with a new o-ring seal but it just didn't work. Mechanic sourced one from an NZ supplier.
Problem solved.
I have a pic of the original assembly if you want to get a better idea of what I am talking about.
Do seem to remember surmising that something must have warped (tank?) Current o-ring is a larger cross-section than the original I think.
Don't get hit in the side!

Originally Posted by donald68 View Post
Wife and I just went to pick up the 'new' Grand Espace. was not exactly fortuitous with her Scenic Auto coming up with a flashing 'D' and 'box sign on start-up. First time that's ever happened in 3 years of owning it. Drove 'round the block in 3rd (?) (limp-mode?), and cycled ignition and it went away. Phew... it's either telling us it is time to change, or the old girl is getting stroppy about the prospect of being replaced!

I digress...

So I filled the Espace up, but not to 'full' as I have had the experience of leaks from elderly cars with high fill levels before, so better to inch up to full rather than all at once so there's not such a big leak, if there is one! But the forecourt price was tempting and I must've filled close to top anyhow (1 bar not lit on the gauge, after filling).

Anyhow, a few bends on the way home both I and my wife, driving behind me, both smelt a little petrol, and a goodly odour wafted from under-body on parking up.

Having read up on the other threads, this seems to be possibly a defective seal on the top of the tank, possible from warping of the tank with a full load, or split pipework.

The smell has mostly dissipated an hour later, so I don't think it is anything major. There was no such smell on the test drives I gave it. Par for the course, I guess, when you buy a 10 year old car. Question is, what next?

I am planning to fit LPG to it, that is if the thing proves to be a worth-while car for a conversion and doesn't go 'bang' in the next couple of months!! So I guess if I am committed to that, then I should just ignore it at I'd only keep a 1/4 tank of petrol topped up if I have an LPG tank also, and can just do part-fills until then.

...or am I storing up trouble and should just investigate and fix it?

Seems a simple enough job to drop the tank (once I've burnt the fuel off!! Shouldn't take long!). Any comments/observations/tips/sympathy!?

PS, the other thing I was going to mention was that the tank seems to be in quite a vulnerable place against side impacts - the fuel tank is mounted right up to the side of the vehicle. Not sure I really like the idea of a big tank of petrol right under my seat!

PPS, should 'fuel tanks' be in 'bodywork', or elsewhere?
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