How to Fix Fuel Smell Inside Your VW Beetle: Step-by-Step Guide
Is the smell of fuel inside your VW Beetle driving you crazy? Whether it's due to ethanol in modern fuel or just the wear and tear of time, we've got you covered. In this step-by-step guide, we'll address common issues causing fuel odors and potential leaks in your VW Beetle, from the gas cap to the carburetor.
Note: Working with gasoline is dangerous, so ensure you're in a well-ventilated area. No open flames should be nearby, and have a fire extinguisher on hand at all times.
- Linemans & Needle Nose Pliers
- Utility Knife
- Flat Blade & Phillips Screwdrivers
- Wheel Chocks
- Lug Wrench
- Jack & jack stands
- Old rags or fuel-safe drain pan
- New gas cap
- Hose clamps
- Breather hose
- New Fuel Line
- New fuel tank sending unit seal
Step 1: Replacing the Gas Cap
- Remove the old gas cap and inspect it for cracks in the seal.
- If the cork/rubber seal in the old cap is damaged, replace it with a new one.
Step 2: Remove Old Breather and Vent Lines
- Open the hood and locate the fuel tank breather and vent lines.
- Twist the original crimp clamps with pliers to break them. Carefully remove the old hoses.
- Discard the old hoses and clamps. Save the breather T-fitting.
Step 3: Cutting and Installing New Breather Hoses
- Measure and cut a small section of breather hose for the top and a longer section for the bottom.
- Attach hose clamps to both ends.
- Attach the vent hose to the breather T, route it up in a loop, and around the backside of the fuel tank.
- Install the hoses, ensuring they won't kink when connected from the vent port on the filler to the port on the tank.
- Tighten all hose clamps securely.
Step 4: Replacing Fuel Filler Hoses
- Note that the new hose section comes in one long piece and must be cut in half.
- Slide hose clamps onto the two filler hoses.
- Attach one section to the fuel tank filler port and slide the steel sleeve onto it.
- Attach the other section to the sleeve and align it with the filler port on the body.
- Ensure the steel sleeve is correctly positioned between the hoses and tighten all hose clamps.
Step 5: Replacing Fuel Tank Sending Unit Seal
- Make sure the top of the tank is clean to prevent debris from falling inside.
- Disconnect the sending unit wire, remove the 5 screws, washers, and the old gasket.
- Place the new gasket on the sending unit, aligning it correctly.
- Reinstall the sending unit, tightening the 5 screws securely.
- Reconnect the sending unit wire.
Step 6: Working Under the Fuel Tank
- Jack up the front or right side of the car and secure it with jack stands.
- Remove the right front wheel.
- Check for leaks at the fuel tank outlet, or chassic fuel tube inlet.
- If this is leaking, find some old rags or a fuel-safe drain pan and get ready for the next step.
Step 7: Replacing the Hose Under Fuel Tank/ at the Chassis Front
- Prepare a replacement section of hose with clamps pre-attached.
- Quickly pull off old hose at chassis steel line. Use a screwdriver bit to quickly plug the hose and minimize fuel leak.
- Slide a new hose onto the steel line at the chassis.
- Tighten the hose clamp.
- Loosen the clamp at the fuel tank, quickly remove the old hose, and replace it with the new one.
- Clean up any spilled fuel.
Step 8: Replacing the Fuel Line at the Chassis Rear
- Jack up the left side or rear of the car and secure it with jack stands.
- Remove the left rear wheel.
- Locate the rear steel fuel line at chassis outlet.
- Prepare a small section of hose and a bolt or nut driver bit. We will use this to cap off the steel line.
- While you're back here, it's a good time to ensure the grommet at the rear chassis is in good condition.
Step 9: Replacing Engine Compartment Fuel Hoses
- Disconnect the hose and steel line from the fuel pump in the engine compartment.
- Use the old hoses as a guide to cut the new hoses to the correct length.
- Slide the new hose onto the steel line at chassis and clamp it securely.
- Reconnect the hose to the fuel pump.
- Ensure there are no fuel leaks.
Step 10: Final Checks
- Reinstall the wheels and lower the car.
- In the engine compartment, disconnect the fuel hose leading to the carburetor from the fuel pump (if needed).
- Clamp the new fuel hose to the fuel pump.
- Clean up any spilled fuel.
- Check for leaks at all fuel lines.
- Start the engine and check for any further leaks.
Our video shows the fuel filter located next to the coil and distributor. This is where the vehicle owner previously had his fule filter located and wanted to keep it at the same location for easy access. However, this is definitely not the location we recommend. Today's ethanol blended fuel deteriorates fuel hose at an alarming rate and can errode the hose around any fitting.
Fuel filters should not be located in the engine compartment as they are a common source of engine fires. Regardless of where your filter was or what you've seen in the past, locate your filter at the fuel tank, off the frame horn. Do not under any circumstance mount it in the engine compartment and especially not above the distributor.
- Remember to check and replace the fuel lines under the car and in the engine compartment annually to prevent fuel smells and leaks.
That's it! You've successfully addressed fuel smell issues in your VW Beetle. Don't forget to visit JBugs.com for more tech tips and VW parts and accessories.