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Old 15-07-2009   #1
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New Spider Owner - Tech

I have just bought a '79 Spider 2000 - it's in great shape, but alot of work needs to be done. My first problem is that it smells faintly like gas when it's parked in the garage and on the inside of the car - I haven't detected any leaks, though and I am wondering if anyone knows the likely source of the smell?
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Old 28-08-2009   #2
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Re: New Spider Owner - Tech

my wife complains of the same thing. i routinely inform her that it is the normal smell of an italian sports car, and that she should enjoy it for what it is.

typically, it could be a failing charcoal canister.. after all that charcoal is 30 some years old and the fuel tank is still vented to the canister.

or, it could be evaporating fuel from the carburetor float bowl.

unless you smell a VERY foul odor, or see puddles, i would not concern myself.
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Old 12-04-2017   #3
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Re: New Spider Owner - Tech

That is funny,

Mine has that same smell. I have not yet tried to track it down. But I know one of the lines under the car from the fuel tank that had what I believe a check valve in it has come disconnected. I need to get some new line and replace it. But I know that should not be where it is coming from. Seems like from under the hood.
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Old 16-04-2017   #4
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Re: New Spider Owner - Tech

Might be worth taking a close look at the flexible fuel lines in the engine bay.
Up to the late '70's Fiat used a plastic hose usually blue or green? in color. This would harden over time but usually didn't leak unless disturbed, it had the maker's name Cavis at intervals along it's length along with the size e.g. 6 x 8 or 8 x 10 (iirc).

Fiat then changed to a black braid covered rubber type hose. This could appear sound on the surface but the rubber under the braid could become porous. I remember seeing these hoses 'sweating' with fuel, especially with the engine running and the fuel pump working. They should never feel 'wet'.
I've heard that modern fuel containing ethanol is very hard on these old type hoses. Best to change them for modern ethanol-proof hosing.

On the carburettor engines, there is a small drain pipe under the inlet manifold, directly below where the carb. is mounted. It's a small pipe maybe 3mm in diameter with the end almost closed down, so maybe a 1mm hole. It's attached to the manifold with a 8mm nut which is part of the pipe. When a hot engine is switched off, heat can soak into the carb. and heat the fuel in the float chamber causing it to expand and rise in level. This rise in fuel level can result in some fuel spilling from the carb into the inlet manifold where it 'should' drain out through this little drain pipe. This fuel spillage can easily happen if the float valve needle and seat is worn (to be expected on an older car). Some versions of carb. had a vent flap on top of the float chamber to allow heat to escape and overheated fuel to evaporate. This flap opened at idle (or with the engine turned off) but closed if the throttle was opened. Idk if this type of carb was ever fitted for the U.S. market, I don't think it was a very safe idea!

So, to summarize, what you're experiencing may be quite 'normal' as someone else has said above but I'd still check out and if necessary, replace the flexible sections of fuel line within the engine bay. There's also 2 sections of flexible fuel line down at the fuel tank and likely (I'm not very familiar with the Spider but am with the Sport/Coupe) a large rubber pipe/elbow linking the fuel filler to the tank, now this gave a lot of trouble..

Carrying a fire extinguisher is also a very good idea when driving older cars, particularly if you don't know the condition of fuel hoses etc.

The more you know, the less you need.

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Old 16-04-2017   #5
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Re: New Spider Owner - Tech

You can get a faint smell from the petrol tank vent pipe. Also if the fuel cap sealing ring has failed. Plus on the tank, are rubber pipes, one a return pipe. These can perish or leak.
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