156 1.8 TS Veloce fuel smell - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 27 Old 06-09-16 Thread Starter
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156 1.8 TS Veloce fuel smell

Hi all,

As the title suggests, I have a 2003 (pre facelift) 156 1.8 Twin Spark.

I noticed it smelt of fuel near the rear end (outside) not long after I bought it but thought it to be a general trait of the car.

However, I could be more paranoid, but there does appear to be a smell of fuel when going along sometimes. There is nothing leaking in the engine bay and nothing dripping from the fuel pipes or tank underneath (unless I've missed something).

The car runs, pulls and drives like a dream.

Any suggestions or ideas appreciated.

Rockin' all over the road in Alfas since 1998 including: 164 TS, 164 QV 24v, 166 3.0 Super, 159 JTDM, 75 TS Veloce, 156 1.8 TS Veloce and the Giulietta Cloverleaf.
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Check the fuel vapour pipes and the fuel cap seal.
The tank should be sealed and any vapour sent to the charcoal canister in the front.

You could take a look through the access panel under the back seat and make sure nothing is leaking there.
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Check the fuel vapour pipes and the fuel cap seal.
The tank should be sealed and any vapour sent to the charcoal canister in the front.

You could take a look through the access panel under the back seat and make sure nothing is leaking there.
OK - where are the fuel vapour seals? Are they at the back by the fuel tank?

If there is a problem/leak, what would be happening? Any actual fuel leaking?

I know it sounds stupid but I hope it's nothing horrendously dangerous...
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Hi, just had the same problem with my 2000 156 1.8 TS.
Found this on another thread - Petrol smell in my 156.
Maybe you've got the same problem, quite common apparently.
For me, it was a spot-on diagnosis from Baz in Brisbane:

There is a basic design flaw in the crown ( top of ) of the fuel pump in the 156

The fuel pipe attaches to the pump at the top via a "Spigot" that is moulded into the crown of the fuel pump. The crown section is divided into 4 sections, with the spigot running through the base of these 4 sections.

Now as the pipe is not supported, it vibrates as you drive, this vibration & flexing is transferred into the moulded spigot which after time fractures trough the base of the 4 sections.

These sections then fill up fuel, overflow & then run over the top of the head of the pump, down the sides of the tank and where ever else gravity will allow.

So if you have ANY odour of fuel inside the cabin or at the rear of the car, pull the rear seat out, take off the fuel pump cover & I bet you anything you'll find the crown sections of the pump flooded and it running down the sides of the tank.

Check it out, I recon you'll be surprized how many people we have coming back with a leaking pump.

Baz
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Hi, just had the same problem with my 2000 156 1.8 TS.
Found this on another thread - Petrol smell in my 156.
Maybe you've got the same problem, quite common apparently.
For me, it was a spot-on diagnosis from Baz in Brisbane:

There is a basic design flaw in the crown ( top of ) of the fuel pump in the 156

The fuel pipe attaches to the pump at the top via a "Spigot" that is moulded into the crown of the fuel pump. The crown section is divided into 4 sections, with the spigot running through the base of these 4 sections.

Now as the pipe is not supported, it vibrates as you drive, this vibration & flexing is transferred into the moulded spigot which after time fractures trough the base of the 4 sections.

These sections then fill up fuel, overflow & then run over the top of the head of the pump, down the sides of the tank and where ever else gravity will allow.

So if you have ANY odour of fuel inside the cabin or at the rear of the car, pull the rear seat out, take off the fuel pump cover & I bet you anything you'll find the crown sections of the pump flooded and it running down the sides of the tank.

Check it out, I recon you'll be surprized how many people we have coming back with a leaking pump.

Baz
Funny you should mention this. Came across this too. I think this is exactly the issue my car has so will get the back seat out ASAP to take a look!
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Also, I presume the pump cannot be repaired. Are they easy to remove/refit?
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Buy the three legged tool, it will be a tenner or so. Clean the threads on tank and retainer when refitting and use a small amount of grease on them. Lubricate the rubber seal ring similarly.
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my 156 also had petrol smell and also was a leak on top of the fuel pump housing. fix was a new fuel pump. BE CAREFUL!

there are two metal brackets on the back of the back seat that bolt the chassis to the access the panel David C mentioned. these brackets make obligatory to totally remove the back seat. if you remove these brackets permanently, you just have to take off the boot carpet and the back seat arm rest to remove the fuel pump access panel. if you plan to work on the fuel pump again, I recommend to not fit back the brackets. earlier versions of the 156 did not have these, and I think they are there just for a security measure (not be so easy to get to the fuel pump).
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Also, I presume the pump cannot be repaired. Are they easy to remove/refit?
some people got away with plastic soldering, but most fit a new one. they are easy to fit, but be careful with fuel fumes. try to work with close to empty fuel tank. and watch for correct fuel pump orientation and the access panel to not touch the top of the fuel pump housing, or pump vibrations will transmit to the chassis and make it nosier than it should be.
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Originally Posted by alfizta View Post
my 156 also had petrol smell and also was a leak on top of the fuel pump housing. fix was a new fuel pump. BE CAREFUL!

there are two metal brackets on the back of the back seat that bolt the chassis to the access the panel David C mentioned. these brackets make obligatory to totally remove the back seat. if you remove these brackets permanently, you just have to take off the boot carpet and the back seat arm rest to remove the fuel pump access panel. if you plan to work on the fuel pump again, I recommend to not fit back the brackets. earlier versions of the 156 did not have these, and I think they are there just for a security measure (not be so easy to get to the fuel pump).
Thanks. I'm not entirely sure what brackets you mean without seeing them. Is the pump located under the seat base or back rest part? Do both parts of the seat have to come out?
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Couple of instructive pictures here:

Alfa Romeo forum: Fuel Gauge Accuracy

If I whip out an older tank pump/gauge unit, I dismantle and lightly buff the resistive track with grey Scotchbrite and a little fuel, to remove any buildup that may affect readings.

Tool example: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/121971311554 - there are many brands, but this is the style.
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Thanks. I'm not entirely sure what brackets you mean without seeing them. Is the pump located under the seat base or back rest part? Do both parts of the seat have to come out?
right between the boot and the back seat. removing the arm rest will let you see metal panel that gives access to the fuel pump. if this metal panel has the brackets, then you will have to remove the two pieces of the back seat. both ways you have to remove the boot «carpet» to give you access to the extra 2 of 4 bolts from the metal panel.
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(Post Link) post #13 of 27 Old 08-09-16 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by alfizta View Post
right between the boot and the back seat. removing the arm rest will let you see metal panel that gives access to the fuel pump. if this metal panel has the brackets, then you will have to remove the two pieces of the back seat. both ways you have to remove the boot «carpet» to give you access to the extra 2 of 4 bolts from the metal panel.
Yes, can see the black, metal, slightly domed cover. Where are the brackets located (if it has them)? Will it be obvious if it does have them? Car is a pre-facelift 2003 model.

And, finally, if it doesn't have the brackets, is everything accessible by just removing the seat base / boot carpet?

Not sure I can stretch to a brand new unit so will try and source a decent second-hand one and repair the faulty one once off. Just hope this is the problem but everything mentioned above is leading me to think so.

Thanks!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alfizta View Post
right between the boot and the back seat. removing the arm rest will let you see metal panel that gives access to the fuel pump. if this metal panel has the brackets, then you will have to remove the two pieces of the back seat. both ways you have to remove the boot «carpet» to give you access to the extra 2 of 4 bolts from the metal panel.
Yes, can see the black, metal, slightly domed cover. Where are the brackets located (if it has them)? Will it be obvious if it does have them? Car is a pre-facelift 2003 model.

And, finally, if it doesn't have the brackets, is everything accessible by just removing the seat base / boot carpet?

Not sure I can stretch to a brand new unit so will try and source a decent second-hand one and repair the faulty one once off. Just hope this is the problem but everything mentioned above is leading me to think so.

Thanks!

(SORRY FOR DUPLICATION!)

Last edited by Unkle Munkle; 08-09-16 at 14:02.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unkle Munkle View Post
Yes, can see the black, metal, slightly domed cover. Where are the brackets located (if it has them)? Will it be obvious if it does have them? Car is a pre-facelift 2003 model.

And, finally, if it doesn't have the brackets, is everything accessible by just removing the seat base / boot carpet?

Not sure I can stretch to a brand new unit so will try and source a decent second-hand one and repair the faulty one once off. Just hope this is the problem but everything mentioned above is leading me to think so.

Thanks!

(SORRY FOR DUPLICATION!)
you only need to remove the arm rest of the back seat to see the brackets. they are brass colour like. they are fitted in the 2 screws of the half of the domed metal cover that goes into the bottom of rear seat (i.e. bottom of the arm rest).
judging by the MY of your car you should have those brackets.

2nd hand unit is a good fix. just check there no cracks on the top of the fuel pump housing (cross like section).
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Brill - thanks guys. Will check later on. As mentioned, it looks like the back of the seat has to be removed to take off these brackets if fitted. Damn Alfa!
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as I said, previous 156s didn't have them. I think it is just a security measure to avoid someone that breaks into the car, and wants to kill you, to mess with the fuel tank. or just to keep away diy mechanics from blowing everything up
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Fuel pump is the issue. Back seat out today and it's full of fuel in the recesses in the plastic.

Hopefully getting a new pump on Monday!
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Hi, apologies for not posting again sooner. I replaced the fuel pump this weekend. If you're careful and methodical it's fairly easy to do. I must admit I wouldn't want to do it with the rear seats in place. I think it's worth the time spent removing them just to give yourself more room. Particularly as you have to tip the old pump at an angle to get the float through the hole on top of the tank to remove it. I didn't need any special tool to remove the large knurled retainer ring. Just a bit of wood and tapped it with a hammer. Fitting the new pump is straightforward. It's sprung loaded, so you have to push down on it for the last inch or so, and keeping it pushed down while you do up the knurled retainer ring makes that easier too. I lubricated the thread with Vaseline as well. The whole job took me longer than it should because I was cleaning and lubricating everything, just so it's all easier to remove next time (if necessary!). The biggest battle I had was locating the base of the rear seat on the hooks from the upper part. I also broke the bit of trim at the foot of the rear door (the bit that has Alfa Romeo on it). It was raining and I slipped as I was getting back into the car and my knee went down hard on it. Luckily, where it's broken is covered by the seat. Just a bit annoying though. Anyway, hope that all helps !
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Hi, apologies for not posting again sooner. I replaced the fuel pump this weekend. If you're careful and methodical it's fairly easy to do. I must admit I wouldn't want to do it with the rear seats in place. I think it's worth the time spent removing them just to give yourself more room. Particularly as you have to tip the old pump at an angle to get the float through the hole on top of the tank to remove it. I didn't need any special tool to remove the large knurled retainer ring. Just a bit of wood and tapped it with a hammer. Fitting the new pump is straightforward. It's sprung loaded, so you have to push down on it for the last inch or so, and keeping it pushed down while you do up the knurled retainer ring makes that easier too. I lubricated the thread with Vaseline as well. The whole job took me longer than it should because I was cleaning and lubricating everything, just so it's all easier to remove next time (if necessary!). The biggest battle I had was locating the base of the rear seat on the hooks from the upper part. I also broke the bit of trim at the foot of the rear door (the bit that has Alfa Romeo on it). It was raining and I slipped as I was getting back into the car and my knee went down hard on it. Luckily, where it's broken is covered by the seat. Just a bit annoying though. Anyway, hope that all helps !
Thanks for the tips. However, I have removed both parts of the rear seat at the weekend! I won't replace with the brass brackets that hold the metal domed cover on as they seem pointless. The moulded parts of the fuel pump cover were full of fuel. Can't see any obvious failing but there must be a crack in the plastic. The rear part of the seat was a bit of a fiddle as was the ski hatch black plastic cover. Still, it's all out and ready to be fixed.

I am hoping to source a second-hand pump as I can't justify spending circa £180-£200 on a new one. Looks like a fairly easy job to do so will give it a try.

The car has smelt of fuel for a while so it must have failed some time ago but, recently, it's got worse so I'm glad I looked on here and investigated the issue. I'll be glad to get rid of the smell!
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Thanks for the tips. However, I have removed both parts of the rear seat at the weekend! I won't replace with the brass brackets that hold the metal domed cover on as they seem pointless. The moulded parts of the fuel pump cover were full of fuel. Can't see any obvious failing but there must be a crack in the plastic. The rear part of the seat was a bit of a fiddle as was the ski hatch black plastic cover. Still, it's all out and ready to be fixed.

I am hoping to source a second-hand pump as I can't justify spending circa £180-£200 on a new one. Looks like a fairly easy job to do so will give it a try.

The car has smelt of fuel for a while so it must have failed some time ago but, recently, it's got worse so I'm glad I looked on here and investigated the issue. I'll be glad to get rid of the smell!
by the time I bought mine, there were new ones on ebay for less than 100£
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by the time I bought mine, there were new ones on ebay for less than 100£
I've been looking. There are certainly none on there that cheap at the moment unless I'm missing something!
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I've actually had a magnifying glass on my old fuel pump, and for the life of me I can't see any crack or split. It must be a really small hairline fracture somewhere. Although the old pump was still working, the new one does sound a lot 'perkier' and I'm sure I'm getting a better pickup on the throttle when I put my foot down. You don't need to pay £180-200 for a pump. I bought this Bosch one off ebay last week and it's exactly the same as the one that came out. Delivery was quick as well. As suggested in the listing I did email them my reg no. for them to confirm it would fit. I've just looked, there's only 1 left !

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/3318873974...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
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I've actually had a magnifying glass on my old fuel pump, and for the life of me I can't see any crack or split.
maybe it'll be visible after it gets dry

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Although the old pump was still working, the new one does sound a lot 'perkier' and I'm sure I'm getting a better pickup on the throttle when I put my foot down.
my new one also sounded louder. recently found out it easily touches the metal domed top, making it sound louder than it should. I have fit a thicker insulation between the metal top and the chassis making a bit more space and the fuel pump does not touch it anymore.
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