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Subaru Outback strong gas smell--can mice be the culprit?

lovemysubarulovemysubaru Member Posts: 4
edited September 2014 in Subaru
My 2012 Subaru Outback started having a very strong gas odor inside the car and in the closed garage after I filled the tank and left it in my closed garage overnight. There were about 35k miles on the car when this started happening. It was June and not cold. It is now Sept. and I finally took it to my dealer. I had found that if I only filled the tank 3/4 I did not get the odor. When I filled it all the way, the odor came back. The dealer says it looks like mice have chewed on the fuel line(s). He said I can drive it with no worries because it is only "seeping". He has ordered the fuel lines. He says the repair will be minimum of $500, or worst case it could be thousands if they have to remove my fuel tank!

So my question is does this "mice chewing on the line" sound for real? And why do I only smell the odor when the tank is full? Since this is a newer OB and not a cold weather problem I have to post my question!

BTW, I went to the dealer hoping the issue would be covered under warranty -- they said no, it is not. I normally get all of my service and repair work done by my local, trusted mechanic.

Advice, please?

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    eliaselias Member Posts: 2,209
    edited September 2014
    if the fuel lines are visibly chewed, can't argue with that. yes mice can/do chew rubber like that. maybe provide your local mice something preferable/better to eat next time so they aren't so hungry that they will eat rubber? and/or consider feline assistance? btw, i can't imagine how gasoline fuel 'seeping' anywhere can be considered safe.
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    steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    My sister has an '05 Forester and experienced several thousand dollars worth of damage to her wiring due to mice. Her gas lines weren't affected.

    She contacted her insurance company and made a claim, and they paid to fix it. Worth a shot in your case too.
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    It's only 3.8 hours to R&R the fuel tank on your car. Certainly not "thousands" of dollars. Maybe $500 in labor plus some rubber parts.

    One wonders....if they can see where the mice chewed, what's the big deal here?
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    dcm61dcm61 Member Posts: 1,567

    One wonders....if they can see where the mice chewed, what's the big deal here?

    It's where they can't see that the mice chewed = potential big deal.

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    lovemysubarulovemysubaru Member Posts: 4
    edited September 2014
    I'm still puzzled why the gas smell only occurs after I fill the tank, and then after driving it for a day and using some of the fuel the gas odor stops. Chewed hoses doesn't answer that part. Also, I did not ask to see the chewed area, but I suppose I should.
    They quoted $500 for 2 hours labor and the parts for the chewed area. They said could be 10 hours labor if the tank needs to be removed. Based on your response, that is an overpriced quote for the time to remove and replace the tank.
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    10 hours to remove a gas tank? You could take the engine out for that.

    I wonder also if they've tested the EVAP system for leaks? Your analysis about how this odor behaves suggests to me that you are more right than the dealer is. It sounds more like a leak in the venting system, not the fuel delivery system. Perhaps that's what they meant and you heard wrong....

    If you are perchance in the San Francisco area, I can hook you up with a good Subaru repair shop.
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    lovemysubarulovemysubaru Member Posts: 4
    Thanks again. I am in MA, not SF area. I went to my usual mechanic this morning, brought him a printout of what I learned on this forum and another web site. He's going to look into it on Wed. morning.

    I did not hear the dealer wrong -- he said he was ordering replacement fuel lines.
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    jeffm5jeffm5 Member Posts: 123
    Lovemysubaru, I had the same problem on my 2004 Forester after accident repairs, specifically strong gasoline smell after a fillup. Turns out a part near the top of the fuel tank, where you put the fuel nozzle in, had been damaged. They replaced that & I had no further problem. A very easy fix.
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    lovemysubarulovemysubaru Member Posts: 4
    My local mechanic did the fix. He replaced the hose that connects the two halves of the gas tank. Total job with parts and labor cost me $273. It was fixed a week ago and since then I filled the tank and experienced no gas smell. Hooray!

    My next step is to put out several mousetraps in my garage!
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    fred25fred25 Member Posts: 92
    Your problem as indicated are rodents. The rodents are squirrels. Squirrels must alway be chewing and they usually cause considerable damage.
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    Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well that explanation is confusing but happy to hear that whatever it was got fixed (gas tank doesn't have two halves). Might have been some part of the fuel delivery line system, although a fuel line would smell all the time, not just when filling up. So I remain a bit puzzled as to what the little monsters actually ate.

    In any event, you evidently have some kind of rodent problem, so maybe some traps are in order to prevent a re-ocurrence.

    My local mechanic did the fix. He replaced the hose that connects the two halves of the gas tank. Total job with parts and labor cost me $273. It was fixed a week ago and since then I filled the tank and experienced no gas smell. Hooray!

    My next step is to put out several mousetraps in my garage!

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