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Thread: Smells like gas in my car w/ heater on

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    2012 Stanley Cup Champs sanblaster1's Avatar
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    Question Smells like gas in my car w/ heater on

    This happens every winter. When I turn the heater in my car during the cold weather it smells like gasoline. What sucks is that I turn my car on with my starter and let it sit for a while. The smell is faint but it is that of gas. I am used to it but all my passengers tell me that it smells like gas in my car. I am not an engine guy. You guys all know that by looking at my car. Someone told me that I could use a radiator flush. I already did that a few years ago. I also did the power purge at midas and a a fuel system flush as well. I had my engine steam-cleaned last year and change my oil every 3,000 mi. Any suggestions what it can be. I also replaced my fuel filter last year at the dealership.

    Also my car has a rough idle that is driving me nuts. It even feels like it is going to stall when I put the gear in reverse. I will probably search if I get an opportunity on the forum but I am at a loss for answers.

    Once again thank you knowledgeable members for any suggestions. Remember I have no clue when it comes to engines so take it easy with me fellow mazda peeps.

    Peace, Santos
    Last edited by sanblaster1; 12-01-2005 at 11:29 AM.

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    It's probably the fact that you're idling the car for extended periods of time. Long periods of idling is one of the worst ways to warm up an engine. Since there is no load (aka having to move the car) on the engine, it's very difficult for the engine to reach operating temperature.

    When the engine is cold more fuel is forced in to help 'speed' the warming process. It probably stinks in your car because your engine is getting a ****-ton of gas to get it warmed up, and also catalytic convertor is taking on a lot of unburnt gas which will ruin it real quick.

    Moral of the story, don't idle your car for a long time. Turn it on, scrape your windows or something and then take it easy driving until the car reaches operating temp. I said that idling for long periods of time is one of the worst ways to warm your car up, probably THE worst is revving the **** out of your car before it reaches operating temp (not just in the winter, either). Keep the revs under 4k before the car is nice and warmed up
    Last edited by funkdaddysmack; 12-01-2005 at 02:01 PM.

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    2012 Stanley Cup Champs sanblaster1's Avatar
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    So no type of leak anywhere? Nothing (other than my engine) needs to be flushed? That's it? Okay.. Thanks funkdaddy.

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    The car runs lean at fast idle in order to warm it up faster. Rich would make it run cooler. You could have a leaking injector. Take a look around the injectors for signs that fuel was dripping their. If your engine is really clean it might be harder to see a leak so when you start it in the morning pop the hood and use your nose to find the leak, it will be strongest where the leak is.

    I know it's spelled protege! I just can't change it. Deal with it!

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    Registered User 92dx's Avatar
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    Is your heater set on recirc. or fresh air? If its set on fresh air, its pulling air straight from the engine bay, explaining gas smell in cabin.

    You may wanna check the charcoal canister. Check for a clogged filter or stuck check valve using low pressure compressed air. Blow it into the canister tank pipe. Air should flow freely thru the ohter pipes. Also, look for fuel lesking on the bottom of the canister.

    Theres also a temperature controlled vacuum valve incorporated into the system, but I dont know how to test it..

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    2012 Stanley Cup Champs sanblaster1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92dx
    Is your heater set on recirc. or fresh air? If its set on fresh air, its pulling air straight from the engine bay, explaining gas smell in cabin.

    You may wanna check the charcoal canister. Check for a clogged filter or stuck check valve using low pressure compressed air. Blow it into the canister tank pipe. Air should flow freely thru the ohter pipes. Also, look for fuel lesking on the bottom of the canister.

    Theres also a temperature controlled vacuum valve incorporated into the system, but I dont know how to test it..

    I have it on fresh air because when I have it on recirc the windows on the sides fog up too much. But I did change it too see if it would work and the gas smell is gone when it is on recirc. Only problem like I said before is that the windows especially on the side fog up and I can't see my side mirrors. I guess it is a temporary fix but I may get it checked out next spring. Thanks guys for the input.

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    AUTHORIZED VENDOR - AVMM pigeon's Avatar
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    You got it backwards project protoge, you run rich when its cold. Fuel doesent atomize properly when its cold. It runs extremely rich upon cold start, kinda 'dumping' fuel into the cylinders, just so something ignites. Once the engine looses its chill, its progressively leans out until the engine is at operating temp and kicks into closed loop. Think of it as a sort of electronic choke. For those unaware of what a choke does, it 'chokes' out majority of the air. Keeping the AF ratio real rich, and you back it off one the motor warms up.

    The problem with sanblasters car is that his 'rough idle' is most likely the typical Z5 low/uneven compression problem. This means he is now running slightly rich almost all the time, and EXTREMELY rich at idle. That combined with having the car parked with the vent open, its simply blowing back into the car. If you have an extra $30 bucks and an afternoon, take it to a shop and have them do a compression test for you... it should only take around half an hour. And right away you'll know whether or not you suffer from low compression, although I am pretty positive I am right. If this is the case, the only real way to fix it is to rebuild the head or swap it. Aside from that, to bandaid the problem... if you dont want it to smell, do NOT even open the vents when the engine is cold and its standing still, and leave the windows shut. Once you get rolling, then turn on the vents. This will also save gas because with the heater off the engine gets to operating temp quicker, letting it get to closed loop quicker.... which will let it run most efficiently.

    And to also throw into the mix, you probably also have a small exhaust leak near the cat, or in that area... so the exhaust gas is coming right back into your vents... lol

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    AUTHORIZED VENDOR - AVMM pigeon's Avatar
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    Theoretically speaking, yes... lean burning vehicles do run hotter, the oxygen content will increase the heat. But keep in mind the engine has to be running and under load... when the engine is cold, if you tried to run it lean to make it warm up quick it wouldnt even start
    And if you made it run rich to start it, and then immediately change it to lean it'll most likely stall.

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    Yeah you guys are right. I don't know what I was thinking. I forgot about **** like cold start injectors and chokes. Sorry about the bad info.

    I know it's spelled protege! I just can't change it. Deal with it!

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    2012 Stanley Cup Champs sanblaster1's Avatar
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    Thanks guys again for the latest info. Pigeon, how much would it cost to rebuild the head if I decided to do it in the future or is is just not worth the money unless I plan on keeping the car for a long time which I don't? And if it is expensive is there any other options on helping the rough idle problem, in terms of, less $$$.

    San

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    Registered User beetle_orange's Avatar
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    I also have that unstable idle coming to a stop. i really think an awesome alternative is the B6 head swap. I f i am not doing a BP swap I would certainly consider this. It just makes a LOT of sense. you can easily turbo it (if you want to) and get a much reliable top end than the Z5.

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    AUTHORIZED VENDOR - AVMM pigeon's Avatar
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    Since you are not doing the work yourself a head rebuild will cost between $1100-$1500

    Your other options which is a B6 head build/swap which will cost the same... or a BP swap which will cost more than double the head rebuild if you're going to pay someone to do it.

    Not all the info is still around regarding the B6 head swap, but it is possible because it has been done.

    If you are not going to keep the car for long, just keep driving it like this. It will progressively get worse and worse until the car has a hard time staying running at idle. You could just keep raising the idle adjustment screw everytime it gets worse... and eventually the motor will die. It would still take you prolly another 30,000 kms before it dies.... it will be a shame to see such a pretty car with a dead engine tho.

    But then you'll have a toasted motor, and ur car will not be sellable... it will be worth less than a grand.... which is more than your body kit costs...

    There is no cheap fix for this.
    BUT go get a compression test, we're still not 100% sure if thats the problem, im just going based on symptoms you're describing. I need to see numbers before we can be sure.

    I would personally research the B6 head swap, and have that done. You'll pay a fair amount of money, but in the end the car will be reliable. The B6 heads dont suffer the same problem as the Z5's. But again, we need a compression test and even a leak down test. If your loosing compression at the rings (which is possible but unlikely) then you need a motor swap, because the problem is not in the head.

    Moral of the story, GO GET A COMPRESSION TEST!!! lol

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    2012 Stanley Cup Champs sanblaster1's Avatar
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    Ouch. Thanks Pigeon.

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    AUTHORIZED VENDOR - AVMM pigeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMAN
    why bother with the B6 head swap when it won't work right for non-turbo uses (let alone ideal for turbo)? swap to a B6-ZE or a BP.... the B6 swap is budget friendly too
    Why wont it work right for non-turbo uses?

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    AUTHORIZED VENDOR - AVMM pigeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMAN
    the compression gets ridiculously low because the combustion chamber is much larger

    the B6 has a larger bore than the Z5, duh!
    ...oops never thought of that

    my mistake, scratch what i said about the B6 head swap santos... that wont work as intended

    i guess the next most economical solution would be the B6 swap

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