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MG MGF Technical - Smell of petrol

We've recently bought a '98 car and have noticed a smell of petrol inside the car. No obvious smell within the engine bay. Is there a tank breather that may be causing the problem?

Basically, yes.

Have a trawl through the archives (you have to do the mebership thing, but it's free and there are no come-backs), there's more detail from someone who knows more than me on a recent-ish thread, I believe.

Ed Clarke


Hi Nic, your problem unfortunatly is a very comun problem with the F's, units produced betwenn 97 and 98 (like mine) had a defect fuel tank that was made with a plastic that is sensitive to high temperature. Some onwers said they could solve the thigh by replacing some elements (breather, tubes etc...), I get my fuel thank change by rover warranty, rover knows about it but only after my third complaid they decided to do the job, this is a very expensive operation, not only because the thank itself, but because the n of working hours that involves. my F is a 1.8i from dec. 98, and it took a weak in the dealer to change the thank... after that no more petrol smell.
you should check Dieter's site on this mater:
Know how - defect - item 11

I hope you could solve your problem...
bye Joao
Joao Barros Gomes

Thanks Joao, I've also just read the '1001' threads on the subject in the archive! Well, it's got to be worth a letter to MG Rover. If as everyone says it's a design fault then they should replace it warranty or not. Nic

I'm sorry for your problem. Got your eMail also. Have my second MGF (MY 99) and it suffers the same.

At the first I had from 1996 there was at last no other solution than changing the tank. It had not a slight smell, but smelled like a damaged tanker.

This time with my second it's the same.
Lucky me, I never payed anything cause I found reasons and arguments to force the german importer to change it for free.

There is at first a simple check you can do yourself:
Just open the tunnel flap between the seats and dismantle the small plastik box.
Put your nose down to the hole in the tunnel and take a gasp through your nose ....

If its strong smelling from fuel, than ..

- fuel tank itself can be porous. This appears at some older tanks under heat and pressure.
My guess:
The plastic is not at all position the same thickness. Under heat this thin areas expand and the material gets a kind of micro creaks. The fuel diffuses and you may smell it. In cold conditions and if the tank gets empty, than the creaks close and the smell disappears.
This happens at all plastic tanks on other cars, but it doesn't matter cause they are located outside by design and there is no connection to the passengers compartment room.

- fuel pump and sender unit can be wrong fitted
There is a large red ring and a sealing under the ring between the tank and the sender unit. If it is wrong fitted than fuel damp can get out and get down to the tunnel.

- clamp of the breather hose can leak fuel damp
Black 25mm hose connection on top of the sender unit. If there is still a cheap clamp, than change this to a strong jubilee clamp

If it smells not or only slightly:
- connection hose between tank and filler pipe.
May be the connection hose under the brown coloured gaiter in the engine bay leaks. Or the complete connection hose is crunched.
You can check whether they attached already jubilee clamps on any service date if you look down to this position

Dieter Koennecke

The problem could well be a leaking tank. As no doubt you've discovered from the archive there was a problem which should be fixed FOC, talk to your local dealer. Incidentally the problem is back, mine was registered in March this year and was recalled for a leaking fuel tank check - they stick a probe used for exhaust emissions test into a body part and sniff. I was luck, no leak.
Robert Tulloch

Thanks Dieter, I'll investigate as you suggest. Apart from the smell, I'm really quite pleased with the car

No problem, as mentioned, don't panic.

Bobs message makes me a bit annoyed again about the behavior of the 'other countries' importers.
There were already some other messages about recalls in the UK which get kept 'under the table' at dealers outside of the UK.

One more reason to read the BBS regular.
Thanks for the hint in any way !!

Dieter Koennecke

A good check for the porous fuel tank problem is the filler cap - if you've filled the tank to the limit, and then run it almost all the way down, there should be a pressure-releasing sound when you open the cap.

Ed Clarke

Hi Nic, of course it worth a try complaining to Rover, check if your F has a full service history, if it has you probably be lucky, every car maker has a 3 year commitment with the cars they produce, besides a 3 year contractual warranty or not, there are some mechanical elements that in a normal car should last at least 5 years, right?!... a MGF is not a cheap car also, so Rover should, at least, contribute with part of the repairing, after all the car was always been assisted by a rover dealer, probably the previous owner has even a complain about it. Who knows?
Good luck
Joo Barros Gomes

This thread was discussed between 25/07/2001 and 26/07/2001

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