During the cold winter months our Subaru Outback has had a strong gas smell inside the passenger compartment. Previously I had looked all through the engine compartment and wasn't able to see any leaks. It wasn't until I went out on a cold day (less than 5 degrees) and the engine was cold that I was finally able to see the leak. Under a cover on the passenger side of the engine compartment there was a small drip.
In searching the internet, this seems to be a common problem with Subaru's, and only becomes apparent during extreme cold. Apparently the fuel line was manufactured slightly smaller than it was supposed. In this fix you many not need to replace the fuel line, but I didn't want to have to do this again.
- 10 mm socket
- 12 mm socket
- 12 mm wrench
- screw driver
- razor knife
- 5/16th fuel line ( about 4" long)
- 2 hose clamps
Step 1: Relieve Some Pressure
Open the tray to the left of the steering wheel and then pull up to release the hinge on the bottom of the tray. This will small expose the internal fuse box.
On the top left corner there is a 15 amp fuse, that is the fuse for the fuel pump. Remove the fuse, and try and start the car. This will relieve the fuel pressure so when you pull off the fuel line it won't spray gas in your face. There will some fuel that will dribble out.
Step 2: Give Yourself Some Working Room
Remove the air intake.
There are 2 10mm bolts on the front of the intake and 1 10mm nut that need need to be removed. The intake will simply pull out from the air box at the back of the engine. There is one 12mm bolt on the bottom of plastic box that attaches to the intake.
With the intake out of the way you will be able access the cover that hides the leaky fuel line.
Step 3: Getting to the Line
Remove the spark plug wires from the coil pack on top of the engine and pull them through the cover and set them to the side. Remove the 2 10mm bolts that support the two power hard lines, and remove the 12 mm bolt that holds the cover to the intake manifold.
Look down lower on the cover and you will see 2 12mm bolts that hold the cover in place. Once the bolts have been removed you can then remove the cover and set it aside. One thing to pay attention to is the hole on the cover that faces the radiator. That opening is so you can tighten the clamp without having to go through all this, but who ever assembled my engine didn't turn the screw so it could be access from that opening.
Step 4: Out With the Old
Now that you have access to the fuel line, you can tighten the clamp that is leaking, or you can replace the line. There is a hose that is in front of the fuel line, it doesn't have any clamps on it, it just slides over a barbed end. Remove the hose so you have some more room to work, and so you don't poke a hole in it.
To get the old fuel line off, I just used a razor to cut it off. Trying to remove the line is a pain, and nearly impossible.
The metal fuel line that runs to the center of the engine can move and bend. Be careful not to flex it too much and cause a pinch or break in the metal line.
Step 5: Use Lube and a Little Pressue
Cut a piece of 5/16 th fuel line about 4 inches long.
Flex the long metal fuel line out slightly, and coat it with a lubricant. Slide the fuel line onto the metal fuel line and past the barb, until you can put the new fuel line onto the short 90 end. Slide the hose clamps onto the fuel line, and position them for final fitting.
Don't do like the picture above, put one clamp vertical, and one horizontal on Top of the replacement line.
Slide the line into place, and tighten the clamps.
Replace the hose that goes in front of the fuel line.
Step 6: Test Your Work
With the hoses back in place reconnect the spark plug wires and put the fuel pump fuse back into place.
Start the car and check for any leaks. If everything looks good, pull the plug wires again and replace the cover, and the intake.
If you put the hose clamp on top, you should be able to see the clamp through the hole in case you need to tighten it in the future. It will save you from having to go through this all again.
Checked the fuel line in the morning, outside tempature was 12 degrees, and started the car up and let it run for a little bit and no gas smell.
Step 7: Other Places to Check
Here are some other place you may want to check for leaks as well. I doubt you'll see any there, but it doesn't hurt to look.
Now you'll have to wait for the next cold night to double check your work and see if the problem persists.