JBugs Video Series

Fuel & Vent Line Replacement:

Fuel & Vent Line Replacement

Video Overview:

For this video we are going to address most all of the problems that can cause a VW Beetle to smell of fuel inside the car. Whether it be because of the ethanol in most of today's fuel or simple age and deterioration, the fuel filler hoses, breather & vent lines, sending unit seal, fuel lines and even the gas cap can allow the fuel vapors, or worse the fuel to escape. In one case, you may simply be annoyed with the smell and in the worst case the leaks can cause a fire. Follow along, take notes and keep a fire extinguisher handy!

Video Tips:

Tools you will need:

Linemans Pliers
Needle Nose Pliers
Utility Knife
Flat Blade Screwdriver
Phillips Screwdriver
Jack Stands
Wheel Chocks
Lug Wrench

Video Transcript:

In this video, we are going to address most all the problems that can cause a VW Beetle to smell like fuel inside the car. Whether it be because of the ethanol in today's fuel, or simple age and deterioration. The fuel filler hoses, breather & vent lines, sending unit seal, fuel lines, and even the gas cap can allow the fuel vapors and even worse the fuel itself to escape.


In one case you may simply be annoyed with the smell and the worst case the leaks can cause a fire. Because we are working with gasoline, it is important to do this job in a well ventilated area. We shouldn't have to remind you that gasoline is flammable so please no open flames and keep a fire extinguisher handy.


We will start at the top of the fuel system by simply replacing the gas cap and work our way back to the carburetor. With the old gas cap off we can see some cracks in the seal, so it wasn't exactly a bad idea.


With the hood open, pull off the fuel tank breather and vent line. Our hose is well worn and not held in tightly so we can pull it off by hand despite the original clamps being intact. With the hose pulled off the assembly, twist the original crimp clamps with a pair of pliers to break them. With all the clamps removed, save the breather T and toss the rest.


Next the fuel filler hoses and steel sleeve can be removed, by loosening the hose clamps and twisting the hoses off the tank, the body filler, and the sleeve. Now with a small section of breather hose at the top of the breather and a longer section at the bottom, mock up the hose and ensure that the hose will not be kinked when running from the vent port on the filler to the port in the tank. Mark both ends of the hoses and cut them to length.


Install on the new hose clamps, and press the hose ends in place at the body and the tank. Make sure that the breather T points up and tighten all the hose clamps.


Now install all the fuel filler hoses. Note that the new hose section comes in one long piece and will need to be cut in half. Slide the hose clamps in place over the two filler hoses. Push one section onto the filler port on the fuel tank and slide the steel sleeve onto that hose. Slide the other section of hose onto the sleeve and position it inline onto the filler port then slide the hose into place at the body. Make sure that the steel sleeve is positioned correctly in place between the two hoses and then tighten all the hose clamps.


Next, the vent hose can be attached to the T, routed up in a loop, and routed around the back side of the fuel tank and cut to length, then slid in place on the vent port on the side of the tank.


The last item on the top side of the tank to address is the fuel tank sending unit seal. Make sure that the top of the tank is clean as you don't want the dirt or debris to drop into the tank. Disconnect the sending unit wire, unscrew the 5 screws and remove them along with their washers and set them aside. Remove the sending unit noting that the lever on the sending unit points towards the driver's side of the car. Discard the old gasket from the sending unit and set the new gasket in place noting the orientation of the screw holes. The holes are not symmetrical so the gasket will not line up with the holes from the tank unless it's turned to the proper position. Re-install the sending unit and thread the 5 screws, with the washers in place, and tighten them. Re-connect the sending unit wire and all the work in the trunk is complete.


The next step is underneath the fuel tank. It's going to be easiest to jack up the front or right side of the car so you can pull off the right side front wheel. Make sure you use wheel chalks and jack stands whenever you jack up your VW. An old rag or a fuel safe drain pan is also helpful to catch any leaking fuel. With the wheel off we can see that the existing hose is seeping at the tank outlet. Since our tank is currently full, we will have to be as quick as possible when changing this hose.


First we have a new replacement hose about 12 inches long ready to install with clamps slid in place. With an appropriate sized bolt, or in our case a nut driver bit ready, we loosen the clamp from the old hose at the chassis and remove the hose. Stick the bolt or bit in place to keep the hose from leaking too much.


After seeing that the fuel line to chassis grommet is in place and in good shape, the new hose is slid on to the steel line at the chassis, and the clamp can be tightened.


Next comes the tricky part. Loosen the clamp at the fuel tank; pull off the old fuel hose as quickly as possible. Slide the new fuel hose into place and tighten that clamp. You can see here that there will be fuel spilt afterwards so keep an old rag or two handy for cleaning up.


Re-install the wheel and lower the car back down. Move around to the rear of the car, and after chalking the appropriate wheels, jack up the left side or the rear of the car and set it on jack stands so we can access the fuel line at the rear left of the chassis next to the transmission.


At this point, every fuel hose you pull off will probably have fuel in it so have some rags or drain pan ready. Remove the stock fuel hose at the chassis and use a small section of hose, with a bolt or a nut driver bit used to plug it, to cap off the steel line to prevent it from leaking at the chassis. We also see at this point that the fuel line chassis grommet at the rear is in good shape, so it does not need to be replaced.


Either under the car or in the back left side of the engine compartment, disconnect the hose from the steel line that passes through the engine tin at the firewall. In the engine compartment disconnect the hose and steel line from the fuel pump. Pull that assembly out, and use those old hoses as a guide to cut the new hoses to length. Slide them onto the steel line and clamp the hoses to the steel line. Feed the line back into the engine compartment through the firewall tin at the back. Connect the short end of the hose to the fuel pump and tighten the hose clamp.


Back underneath the car, slide a hose clamp in place on the new hose. Pull the plug off of the fuel line at the chassis and push the new hose on and tighten the hose clamp. Now the car can be pulled off jack stands or after the job is complete in the engine compartment, as nothing else needs to be done underneath the car.


In the engine compartment disconnect the fuel hose leading to the carburetor from the fuel pump. In our case we just installed a new carburetor a few weeks ago, so we know the hose from the filter to the carb is in good shape. Otherwise we would disconnect the hose from the carburetor at this point. With the new fuel filter clamp in place on the feed line to the carburetor, the new fuel hose is clamped to the fuel pump.


Clean up any excess fuel that may have spilt and double check at any leaks at all of the fuel lines. Start the engine, and check again for any leaks. Make it a point to check and replace the fuel lines under the car and in the engine compartment once a year. The hose is inexpensive enough and well worth not having to deal with the smell or risk of leaking fuel.


Thanks for watching and be sure to stop by JBugs.com for other tech tips, videos and of course all of your vintage Volkswagen parts and accessories.