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MG MGF Technical - Smelling of Petrol

Ever since i had the car there has been the occasional smell of petrol when i got in the car, i assumed it was normal as the engine was kinda sitting in there with you. But thanks to the BBS i realised that it isn't normal, so its no in the hands of the dealer to sort out. Its not done yet and i reckon its getting slightly worse, but what i have noticed is that if i drive for a long time (hour plus) with the hood down heaters pumping to keep me warm, having a fantastic time etc etc etc. I get to where i am going and i smell, not to strongly but enough. So far i have been told i smell like i have driven through the smoke from a bonfire and then i was told I smelt of petrol. similar themes so i presume the same smell. Could this be related to the smell in the cabin when i get in the car.

The only thing i could think was air blowing back into the car was picking up exchaust fumes (which ain't what you want) or something else - who knows any ideas.

well had to put the second message in myself to get my plite back to thetop of the BBS, I am definetly smelling of petrol everytime i drive the car with the hood down. i don't know about with the hood up cos i can't remember when i did that last (had my first fog hood down drive today - great stuff). there is also burning smells, i reckon from the air vents, and not even when i'm pumping out max heat.

somebody gi us a hint. does it sound major?


smelly matt
P10 MRL(so incase you spot the reg. follow me and tell me if the car smells when you are behind it!)


The petrol smell problem is well known and is due to one or two things:-

Porous tank and/or kinked vent pipe, there has been an official bulletin put out by Rover/MG about this so take it to the dealer and demand they put it right.

The burning smells could be any thing, I get it from time to time and it seems to be due to the drive shaft seals weeping and a little transmission oil being sprayed onto the hot parts.

Ted Newman

so it seams to be petrol smell.
Matt I guess you got no answer at first, because the message was a bit confusing :)

A third position to add on Teds terms.
At mine where checked the pipe clamps at the fuelpump and sender unit checked and a 'warm clamp' added by my dealer.
BTW, it did not help ;-)

I'm still in a 'kind of process of complain' with the german MG Cars company at Munich ... since Novemer of last year...
This because my oldie is out of goodwill and smells like an open fuel tank.


My VVC Also smells Petrol inside!!
"Porous tank and/or kinked vent pipe, there has been an official bulletin put out by Rover/MG about this so take it to the dealer and demand they put it right." -TED
Where can i find this official bulletin from Rover?
The burning smell ...well mine is like burning rubber! But i´m loosing oil from driveshaft seals and the smell got less intense when removed the CAT. Since CAT concentrates high temps 900ēc the oil lost from seals is burned when reaches the cat! Since there´s no cat...the smell is less intense now. At least what i think it happens!

Bruno V.


The Bulletins are 'confidential' from Rover to dealers.

But just take my word for it!

Ted Newman

I sure take your word Ted, but i don´t see how it might help me here! Once i went to the dealer and he told me it was normal! He also told me he had tried an y2000 F and it smelled too so by his point of view it was normal, end of discussion! SO ???...
Bruno V.

Bruno, yes it is normal, because this was a widespread problem and the cure is known by all dealers. Your dealer should fix it. If he won't fix it contact your Rover HQ in Portugal.

I never bothered to fix it and after two and a half years nolonger smells of petrol in the morning. So it either fixed it's self or my new dealer fixed it as a matter of course.
Tony Smith

From speaking to my dealer its not the sort of thing they just change when its in for a service, cos it takes so long. aparantly the fuel tank is effectivly squezzed into the car, and has to have a vacuum pump on for ages to make it possible to take it out.

So it would be interesting to se if yours has fixed its self. mine at the moment is getting worse. got another 3 weeks before its going in to be fixed

( i assume there aren't enough fumes for it to be dangerous!)

Having read the messages above I think I have the same oily/burning smell.
Mine seems to come from the water expansion tank and has done since Ive had the car.
Its a VVC and has just had a new head gasket due to overheating.
has anyone any ideas on how to stop the smell.

Also has anyone elses fuel guage stop at half?


I changed my dealer around 18 months ago and asked my new dealer to make sure all the bulletins had been followed up, he had the car for four days, I wanted a few things done, so he had a lot of time :-).
Tony Smith

My N reg MGF smelt of petrol from when I bought it at 12 months old. Despite various changes of breather pipe and filters nothing cured it until the tank was replaced at 35000 miles and 3months outside the extra 2 year warrenty I had. But it was still replaced for free!

alastair...were your cooling fans working when you experienced HGF? What were the readings in your water temp gauge when you experienced HGF? Mine is always in the middle even when the cooling fans start!
Bruno V.


The fuelgauge stuck halfway is quit simple.
I had the same problem. After replacing the fueltank
(or at least taking pump/sensor assembly out), it has
either not properly been fitted (notches in bottom of
tank), or it simply hits the side-wall of the tank.
Go to your dealer: they should have a bulletin on this



>Go to your dealer: they should have a bulletin on this one!

Still not in all cases. Not for the pump/sensor sealing and not for the tank.

Had several interesting calls this week according to my 'tank & smell' story from last year.
I hope I got them awake now after waiting for 5 month for a service expert date.


Echoing your comments, i can confirm that my 1.8i had the same problem. It never really bothered me as the smell was only faint and there was no obvious leakage. However, over the last year the smell has gradually faded and is no longer apparent! Again, it could well have been fixed during on of the service visits. Or it may have rectified itself.


if it would be only faint or only sometimes, OK it would not bother me too.

But a chap who has some skills in valuating 'such non-healthy things' (as professional) had a check at my car.
His comment was:
You should 'do something against it'. He got his tank replaced in last year because ofmuch less smell.

BTW. I had a short visit at my dealer this afternoon, because of other ordered spares. He looked a little angry at me... ;-)
'You had a call with Mr. xxx from Rover-xxx, had you ?'
[I had, yes] ;-)
' I ordered a tank, but I signed the papers for the Service center with the fact that you've changed the car setup by adding a K&N ' !!!
[I ever have some shouts with him, we both need that :) ]
*g* lets see what I've to pay at last. More then the half would be OK IMO.

Don't ask me at the BBS what argumentation I did and what curious ways I went according to my already 4 years old car, ... but it hopefully worked.


Bruno. Front fans were not running due to the water temp sensor being at the top of the hose and there must have been a leak in the two water pipes that run the length of the car.
Both the guages were showing hot.
My water guage now show just below the horizontal level and no more. It is a bit worrying the speed it reaches this level though.

By the way myself and my father in law refit the HG and cleaned out the rest of the engine and it runs smoother and is more responsive than ever.


This thread was discussed between 20/03/2000 and 31/03/2000

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