Diagnosis and Repair of Your Charcoal Canister


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My car emits a strong gasoline odor in the passenger compartment. What's causing the problem and how costly is it to fix?


From Dick:

The fuel system probably is leaky. Or, if you have a carbureted model, the car may have a worn charcoal canister.  The fix should not be expensive.

From Kerry:

This reminded me of something that happened in 1963 with my Dads 61 DeSoto (last of the marque). It would run great for a few miles then cough a couple times and then just plain quit running. We tried everything but nothing would help. In a few minutes the car would start and run for another 5-10 miles. My Dad had been a mechanic back in the late 30s/40s but nothing helped. FINALLY we determined that the gas vent was plugged. After a few miles the vacuum created in the tank would cause the fuel pump not to pump and the car would starve for gas. As air leaked back in it would be fine for a few miles. We finally found it out when we stopped for gas and heard the whoosh when we pulled the gas cap. Solution? We drilled a 1/4 inch hole in the gas cap. Lost a little gas on fast starts but then gas was .25 a gallon or less.

This page last updated May 30, 2001.  Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club