1988 XJS Charcoal Canister


I took it in to shop to have the fuel smell checked out…again…and shared all of your comments.
I’ll let you know what they say.

(Ed Sowell) #22

I predict they will say something like “Don’t believe everything you read on the computer.”

(Greg) #23

I predict you won’t get out of there for under $400

(Kirbert - author of the Book, former owner of an '83 XJ-S H.E.) #24

I predict the car will still stink.

(Paul M. Novak) #25

If they say something like “they all smell like that”, leave and find another shop. The trunk will only smell like fuel if there is something wrong with the fuel tank, fuel hoses, fuel filter, fuel pump, or seals for the fuel quantity indicator or filler cap/tank neck. Sometimes it takes a while to find the problem. An electronic sniffer can be handy to track the leak down.

Do not accept a trunk that has fuel smells. That is wrong and can be dangerous.



A fuel smell in the trunk has to be a poor connection, a leaking hose or leaking component right? So you just check them all and fix them right?

On my 86 coupe that would be the following…
Fill tube seal
Tank body
Fuel return connector
Return hose
Tank connector
Fuel level sensor seal
4 vent hoses
4 collector connections
Collector body
Carbon canister hose
Fuel tank Outlet conn
Outlet hose
Sump inlet
Sump seal
Sump body
Sump outlet hose
Filter inlet conn
Filter body
Filter outlet conn
Fuel pump supply hose
FP inlet conn
FP outlet conn
FP to hard line hose
Hard line connection

That’s a lot of options for a leak. Maybe this could be simplified?


You guys are really helpful, wow!
It was $300.00 just to find what they probably won’t fix.
I’ll keep you posted.
They do have a ‘sniffer’…a guy with a big nose:)
But seriously,
More soon.

(Greg) #28

My gas smell is gone since I replaced tank and all fuel lines in trunk. I believe my issue was pinhole leaks in a rusted tank.

(Ed Sowell) #29

I have a sniffer that I’d be willing to loan. You’d have to pay postage both ways and and a deposit for safe return. Contact me via email if you’d like to borrow it.


Might take you up on that.
Let’s see what the genius comes up with at the shop.


Photos of what appear to be bad connections and leaks…last shop didn’t tell me about these or replace.
Could these cause the smell?

(Douglas) #32

Any and all of those could definitely cause the smell. The mat under the tank appears to be saturated at least in places. It will never dry and suggests to me you ought to remove the tank completely. I’d then replace all fuel lines in the trunk with gates barricade and inspect tank carefully. If its rusty or at all iffy just buy a brand new one from SNG Barratt (I did and like the one I got) or someone else.

Probably good to replace compression fitting components too. Also check for leaks through the bulkheads (I have them there too and am working on them now).

Hope this helps!! Let me know if you have other questions.

(Greg) #33

Yes, unfortunately I had similar problems. Steel tanks rust, and rubber deteriorates. Luckily I was able to replace all myself, with cost of about $800 (tank, hoses, compression lines).

Fuel smell is completely gone.

(Kirbert - author of the Book, former owner of an '83 XJ-S H.E.) #34

A couple of those appear to be nothing more than overspray of carpet glue. That last pic, though, looks bad to me. As described in the Book, there is a short section of rubber fuel hose directly over the rear axle on each side of the car – supply on the right side, return on the left. The right side one on my '83 was leaking so badly it was dripping on the floor. Yours looks like it’s running down the outside of the trunk.

It’s actually relatively easy to fix. That particular fuel line can be disconnected just forward and rearward of the rear suspension and snaked out. When out, just mark the alignment of the metal parts, then remove the offending section of rubber hose and replace with new hose and EFI clamps. I then simply wrapped mine with some aluminum foil to provide some protection from radiant heat from the nearby exhaust system. That worked fine, but you could get fancier and buy some genuine insulation wrap.


Thanks all.
I think the last shop put the tank in wrong…sloppy. When I got it home gas smell was 10 times worse.
Why they didn’t replace all those hoses I’ll never know. And we’ll throw out the old padding etc.
I think i’m closer to conclusion now.
they are pulling the tank next week. I’ll let you know what they are replacing.
All your assistance has really helped me out.


Got it back today after 2 months.
Shop agreed that the canister is not the problem.
They found a leak under the tank the first shop missed.Repaired it. Actually the tank shop at first said no leaks, when my shop put the tank back, it leaked, so took back and found the leak and repaired it. Hoping.
They cleaned the carpet back there, but still smells like fuel. Not as bad but still there.
To replace fuel rails over two grand, so just had the tank repaired.
Going to clean entire interior with the old baking soda treatment, and if still bad will have it detailed professionally.
I’m at the point where I have more in it than it’s probably worth. Have to decide how much I want to invest vs return.

(Douglas) #37

I recently went through replacing my tank and associated fuel lines in the trunk. I get what you mean about the lingering fuel smell as I’m still dealing with it somewhat too.

I bought a steam cleaner and have found that steaming the carpet has really helped the smell. I have no idea if steam cleaning is bad for the wool but I’m not worring about it since the carpet is trash if the smell doesn’t come out. Baking soda and vinegar had minimal effect when I used them but maybe you will have more success.

Seems that stale gas is a very lasting odor.

(scrimbo) #38

You can make a new pad under tank using a yoga mat…change brass tank ferrules and the metal tubes…see articles about that on this site…good luck

(Ed Sowell) #39

My experience is it goes away after a short while, once the source is dealt with properly.

(Douglas) #40

It certainly got MUCH better very quickly for me. But a fair quantity of gas also got on part of the carpeting so that’s where the smell is lingering.

I also wish I could leave my trunk open for days to air but alas I have no garage space.