Hunting down the elusive fuel stink

The pursuit of the dreaded fuel smell in an old BMW 2002 has been the bane of many an enthusiast and owner. For the past year I have been chasing down the vaporous demons. One drive would be a sweet smelling back road carving session, the next a brain cell obliterating fuel huffing romp. From what I could tell, only heavy acceleration and tight, fast turns instigated the scent.

My first coarse of action was to replace all of the under-hood rubber seals. That did nothing. I replaced the fuel line. Nothin’. I then noticed that my 40/40 weber carb had developed a leak which resulted in a puddle of gasoline collecting on the hot intake manifold. That puddle quickly evaporated and rushed into the passenger cabin, searching for I.Q. points to destroy. A new 38/38 carb helped a bit, but I was still getting heavy fumes when I’d take quick turns on a full tank. The fuel tank itself was then suspect. But after removing it and pressurizing with compressed air, I found no obvious leaks.

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Shock tower repair – part 1

A little rust has been poking through the driver side shock tower for a couple years now. Nothing major as 2002 shock tower rot goes, at least it wasn’t around the crown where the shock mounts to the tower.

So as I had the gas tank out of the car to hunt down the source of a strong fuel odor (more on that later), I decided to start cutting. Here’s a shot of what was removed. I took out a fair chunk to be sure to hit fresh metal on all sides. Normally you wouldn’t be able to see clear through to the Bilsteins.

Shouldn’t be a bad welding job. More to report after I’ve warmed up the MIG.