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Gas fumes on '63 - anyway to fix this??


Tim_
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I've got a '63 Riv (no A/C) that we've had since new. Recently moved to a home with attached garage and ever since we parked the car in the garage, I can smell fumes faintly all throughout the house, worst being in the room above the garage. The smell itself in the garage isn't overwhelming, but its causing me to have a metallic taste in my mouth and burning sensation in my eyes. I moved the car outside for several weeks and eventually the smells subsided, but the day we put it back in the garage, the fumes were back and the issues with my eyes and mouth returned... Its something that has always happened to me with this car even since I was a kid. (I'm in my 40s and my dad bought the car new) but we always had a detached garage so it was only something that was an issue when we actually drove the car.

 

Can anything be done to fix this? I purchased a carbon canister from a dodge and put that on the end of the fuel line vent above the fuel filler neck, but it doesnt really help since it doesn't do much for the fumes around the carb. 

 

Looking into options I can do to the house to as well, perhaps adding an exhaust fan in the garage or running vents through the top of the garage door, but that's more of a bandaid then a solution.

 

I don't want to sell the car, but its something I'm considering because I don't want to risk my health or that of my family.

riv back.jpg

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One of the very 1st. things I'd check is to make sure the vent that goes to the vent hose is not rotted out from age at the tank.

Since it doesn't have A/C there is no return line to the tank for by-pass. I haven't had any problems like you mentioned & I've also owned my '64 since new. The Cat Pee they call gasoline today has 10% alcohol added to it so it has a tendency to evaporate much faster.  

After you've gone for a ride let it sit outside until it completely cools off then bring it into the garage to see how things stand.  

 

Tom T.

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1 hour ago, Tim_ said:

The smell itself in the garage isn't overwhelming, but its causing me to have a metallic taste in my mouth and burning sensation in my eyes.

 

Have you considered an allergy to the gas and oil?  Like Tom T above, I will leave the car outside the garage and open the hood when I return from a run.  Usually within 20 minutes I can then pull the car inside and have no issue with fumes from the carb vent.  In addition, I also pull my cars backwards so the exhaust outlets are outside the building before starting them.  But in your case, since this was a problem while you were young and just riding in it, it sounds like two things, an allergy and a hole in the trunk floor where the exhaust gases can get sucked into the car. 

 

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Tim-

Get the car up on a lift and inspect all of the rubber fuel lines from the tank to the carburetor. Look for dark stains and dirt/dust accumulated that indicates fuel weeping out. Replace any suspect hoses.

 

As Tom T. mentioned, replace the fuel vent line on the back/top of the gas tank.

 

Replace the fuel filler cap.  It has a gasket that goes bad with age.

 

Fuel boils out of the carburetor when you have a hot engine. There are several very small passages and vents built into the carburetor that must be clear and open to prevent fuel from percolating (like a coffee maker). Take the carb off and clean it thoroughly, make sure all these little vents are open. The carb may need to be rebuilt.

 

A stuck heat riser valve in the exhaust manifold on the passenger side will force a LOT of hot exhaust gas through the top of the engine and really cook the intake manifold and carburetor to be very hot.  This really boils a lot of gas out of the carb and it can only go into the garage.  Reach down and make sure this valve is free to move.  The weight that is cast into the valve will pull it open when the coil spring gets hot, as long as the valve is free to swing. Do not lubricate it with oil; use a high-temp graphite lubricant designed for this purpose.

 

I have a 1,000 CFM exhaust fan in the ceiling of my garage on a timer. I usually run if for an hour, but sometimes 2 hours, with the garage door open just 2 inches at the bottom.  This draws in cool outside air to replace what the exhaust fan pulls out. This is to get the heat, the exhaust fumes, and the gasoline fumes out of the building before I close the door all the way.

 

It is very cool that you still have the car that your family had since new.  Don't get rid of it, figure out how to store it in a way that does not make you feel sick.

 

If you have not already, can you please send me a photo of the data plate that is under the hood, on the firewall, above the power brake booster?  I'd like to add it to my database.  Send the close-up photo to:  63Rivvy (at) gmail (dot) com

 

Thanks!

Edited by Jim Cannon (see edit history)
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Old vehicles will emit some fuel vapor smell after parking in a garage but it should subside in a couple days and completely after a couple weeks as the fuel evaporates out of the carb. The smell should not be so strong to go throughout the house. Is there an HVAC duct to the garage? Check for gaps or vents in ceiling or walls of garage for any other way air could easily transfer from the garage to the living space. Even when there is vapor smell in garage so little should transfer to living space that it would be noticeable especially at the level you indicate. I used to live in a small house with integral garage underneath and no special barriers and never had a problem upstairs with migrating fuel vapor.

 

As others mentioned I almost always leave the car outside until it cools down.

 

So I'd suspect there is a fuel or vent hose leak in car or there is consistent air exchange between the garage and the living space. Surely there is not a HVAC cold air return ducted into the garage but stranger things have happened. Was there a home inspection done when you acquired the home? Often that will pickup any deficient issues related to the garage/HVAC as there are strict codes governing that.

 

It should not have taken several weeks for the smell to subside after removing car from garage. I expect in 1-2 days it would be gone. Especially in an older home that is not very air tight. I'm a uncertain why that would be. There isn't anything else stored in garage the smell could be coming from?

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After(or while) trying everything else you may want to go to Ebay for a clear plastic disposable car cover. I always keep one in the trunk in case I get caught in the rain at a car show, etc. They are inexpensive & many have elastic around the edge for a tight fit. Not sure how permeable gas fumes are to the thin plastic but its worth a try, & a great item to have on hand. Still a bandaid, of course.

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One more suggestion. The vent hose for the gas tank, assuming there is one, should have some sort of filter to block dirt . My 69 GS used to have strong gas fumes around it while my former 69 Electra never had any detectible gasoline smell. The Electra had a plastic end that brought both gas tank vents to a single outlet and that plastic end was filled with some sort of foam or other material.  When the GS's vent was examined there wasn't any thing in the open end.  I got one of the generic aircleaner breathercelements and trimmed off a piece of the mesh materialn and stuffed it into the open end of the vent line. That has cured the problem for over 6 years now.

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Posted (edited)

Great suggestions so far, so thank you. A few things.

 

The fumes seem to only be bad once the weather is hot like it is now.... Its a 75 degrees out and I can smell nothing. But on days its above 90 or so, is when its noticeable, this would explain the fuel fumes escaping through the vents.

 

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 Is there an HVAC duct to the garage? 

 

Yes, but not TO the garage. The HVAC ducts pass through the garage from the basement to the 2nd floor. Ducts are probably 60+ yrs old and quite possibly have gaps in them. Can't tell for sure visually bc their wrapped in insulation. So the smell is more noticeable when the HVAC fans are running...

 

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 you might consider adding one of these to the gas tank vent line...

 

Yep. Added a charcoal canister to the end of the vent. Its a one port deal with a filter.

 

 

What I've been doing when I drive it is leave it outside overnite and then just start it to pull it in, so car is only running for a short time.

 

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can you please send me a photo of the data plate that is under the hood

 

Yes I can.

 

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you may want to go to Ebay for a clear plastic disposable car cover. 

 

Good idea. I have a car cover I keep over it now, but its just a mesh indoor type so doesn't really do much for fumes.

 

 

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Get the car up on a lift and inspect all of the rubber fuel lines from the tank to the carburetor. Look for dark stains and dirt/dust accumulated that indicates fuel weeping out. Replace any suspect hoses.

 

Will try this. I have access to a 2 post lift, but always been a little nervous putting it up on one. I'm assuming the car will need to be supported on the frame.  Also, is there any specific kind of hose that is recommended for fuel lines on these? Like 30R9?

 

 

 

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Have you considered an allergy to the gas and oil? 

 

Maybe but not sure. I think it depends on the concentration. I race a few times a year (not this car) and exhaust fumes never bother me in the car while Im driving. Only time I can say I was ever bothered at the track was one race we were all sitting along the pit wall under a pop up canopy, and about 10 yards behind us, the wreckers sat at the ready with their engines running and exhaust pipes directed in our direction. I think the fumes were accumulating under the canopy. That was a little nauseating. 

Edited by Tim_ (see edit history)
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I have two 1960s carbureted cars now and owned a 63 Riviera many years ago and have / had no gas odors from any of them even after driving them in Texas 100 degree heat. But I have had other cars with the same problem you describe and in each case it was a problem due to some type of leak or percolation due to engine overheating. All of the above suggestions are good, one thing I would add is a detailed inspection of the engine after getting the engine hot, turning it off and removing the air cleaner. Look down the carb throats with a mirror to see if there is any gas dripping from the venturi's. Also look carefully for an gas leaks or drips all around the carburetor, fuel pump, filter and all lines and fittings. My bet is that you will find some leakage, it only takes a few drops to create a major odor problem. If there is gas dripping from the carb venturi's you may need to check the float adjustment. Good luck.

DSCF3170.JPG

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1 hour ago, TexRiv_63 said:

I have two 1960s carbureted cars now and owned a 63 Riviera many years ago and have / had no gas odors from any of them even after driving them in Texas 100 degree heat. But I have had other cars with the same problem you describe and in each case it was a problem due to some type of leak or percolation due to engine overheating. All of the above suggestions are good, one thing I would add is a detailed inspection of the engine after getting the engine hot, turning it off and removing the air cleaner. Look down the carb throats with a mirror to see if there is any gas dripping from the venturi's. Also look carefully for an gas leaks or drips all around the carburetor, fuel pump, filter and all lines and fittings. My bet is that you will find some leakage, it only takes a few drops to create a major odor problem. If there is gas dripping from the carb venturi's you may need to check the float adjustment. Good luck.

DSCF3170.JPG

 

thanks for this photo.

 

I think there may be a problem with the floats. Easing on the gas, car drives fine, no problem, but if I try to give it full or near full throttle anywhere, it will hesitate and bog down and I have to lift off the gas.

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Tim, with the engine idling and the air cleaner off, look down the primary throats. If the float seats are leaking, you may see dripping from over-flow.

 

Except for the pump (will do that too), I went thru the entire fuel system. From a flushed fuel tank (with a soldered-on tag) to a rebuilt AFB carburetor using FI hoses and clamps. All good now. 

 

On 7/16/2021 at 8:43 PM, Jim Cannon said:

It is very cool that you still have the car that your family had since new.  Don't get rid of it, figure out how to store it in a way that does not make you feel sick.

Yes, I wish my Dad did the same. Keep it!

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Is the carb on your Riviera the stock carburetor? If so, is it the Carter AFB (Aluminum Four Barrel) or the Rochester 4GC?  In my experience, the Rochester, with gaskets below the fuel bowls, is prone to leaking past the gaskets.  The AFB has no gaskets below the fuel bowl and is not nearly as prone to leakage.  Hopefully if your carburetor is the Carter AFB, it has the stainless heat shield between the bottom of the carb and the carburetor gasket that sits on the intake manifold.  If there is no stainless heat shield, exhaust gasses will corrode the aluminum carburetor and leaks will develope.

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22 hours ago, Tim_ said:

 

thanks for this photo.

 

I think there may be a problem with the floats. Easing on the gas, car drives fine, no problem, but if I try to give it full or near full throttle anywhere, it will hesitate and bog down and I have to lift off the gas.

Do you notice black smoke when this happens or any other time? May indicate over-rich condition due to floats out of adjustment. Also may indicate a bad accelerator pump.

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Or pull a couple of spark plugs.  Are they sooty & black (not oil fouled)...?  If so, you could have a sunk float, high float level, leaking needle or power valve.

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6 hours ago, EmTee said:

Or pull a couple of spark plugs.  Are they sooty & black (not oil fouled)...?  If so, you could have a sunk float, high float level, leaking needle or power valve.

Fix any problems like that and your Miles/Gallon will probably double!!  😁

 

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