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Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 09:57:22 -0800
From: Juan Rico <>
Subject: Gas leak...

Well, after 5 years and 140K my M3 left me stranded yesterday for the first time... :(
I don't blame her-- she has been flawless all this time. I was leaking fuel all over the freeway and inside the car, under the rear passenger seat.
I consumed 1/4 of a tank in just 3 miles, so that gives you a good idea.

I've heard of this happening before to other people on this list, but I don't remember what the cause was. Anybody have the 411 on this? The car doesn't leak when engine is off. Is this the fuel pump or some brittle hoses that need to be replaced? Is this going to seriously affect my Christmas shopping budget?

Thanks much,

Juan (Driving a Biturbo Audi All Road today to ease the pain...)

Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 14:37:22 -0800
From: "Michael Lawrence" <>
Subject: Re: [E36M3] Gas leak...

Had the exact samething happen except I was in stop and go traffic and just noticed a gas smell really bad. It was my 95 M3 LTW, popped the seat out, took the passenger side cover off. I could not believe my eyes, the fuel line was just resting on the nipple, seems BMW uses a one time clamp and from age, it had slipped off. The fact the car would run amazed me, it was just resting against the nipple, no idea how fuel was getting to it. Anyway, I just used a hose clamp and reattached it, been fine every since.

For any of you M3 owners, I would check this ASAP. When I checked my other 95, I could pull it off wiht my hands, even though there were no signs of leakage yet. Pull the seat bottom out, undo the cover on the passenger side of the car, check the clamps and lines on the fuel pump going into the tank. I think it was the passenger side, not 100% positive about that. I am surprised or wonder how many M3/325i have burned due to this happening. Alot of fuel comes out if the hose becomes unattached.


Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 12:29:55 -0800
Subject: Gas leak fix in E36M3; VPC off topic observation

Michael Lawrence and Juan Rico have experiences with this.

So do I.

Took LTW out for a weekend drive but consumed fuel way too fast. Parked car in upward sloping driveway, front up rear down. Came back out 5 minutes later and found fuel running behind the car that had come off the top of the fuel tank.

In my case:

Take off rear seat cushion.
2 oval covers.

Took off passenger side oval cover and hose is loose on plastic nipple. Clamp loose and useless. Is a one time, non "screw and groove" clamp. Replaced with a good screw and groove clamp and no problems since. I think the same type of clamp is used under the drivers side oval cover. Easy to take off so just take it off and check. Replace all those clamps with good ones and that should do. It did for me. I think sometime in 95 the fuel line and fuel sensor configuration in the rear changed because Bentleys seems to have 2 different configurations. I have not seen the differences personally and I don't know if this affects the fuel hose and clamp problem but is something for thought.

Bob Stommel helped me with mine (hi Bob! Thanks!) when it occurred.

This is a quick cheap fix. Just do it in a well ventilated area away from open flame or heat sources and watch the sparks.

It amazes me how many people I have seen fill up their cars while smoking cigarettes or cigars. The subtle forces of Darwin at work. Unfortunately others are usually at the gas stations as well. Don't these people understand that it is the fumes that explode??? Liquid gas burns, fumes explode!

Sorry for the rant.


Side note re M cars and VPC

The M cars that come direct off the boat from Germany to the BMW VPC (vehicle preparation center) have "break in oil" in them for the trip and for the various short starts and drives around the VPC. Near the end of the process at the VPC the break in oil is sucked out of the car and for cars with M3 engines (M3, Mcoupe, Mroadster) they put in Castrol full synthetic 10W60 oil. For M5 engine cars (M5, Z8) they put in BMW branded oil 10W30 I believe. I have no idea if they did any of this with the E36M3 cars. The guy was actually taking the cap off of the quart bottles of oil to put in the cars by hand.

Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 15:55 -0500
From: "Sean Silva" <>
Subject: Re: gas leak

I recently suffered a similar problem where my M (70k miles) dumped about 7 gallons of gas in 1.5 miles. Also, it only leaked when running. The problem was that the "feed" hose attached to the top of the fuel pump (under the rear passenger-side seat) h
ad backed off substantially and the fuel pump was shooting fuel around the bottom of my car. Strange thing was that the top of the fuel pump cover was dry and dirty (ie the excessive amounts of fuel being sprayed in the area hadn't cleaned it which mad
e me think that this wasn't where the leak was). The fix was to pull the hose completely off the fuel pump, pull of the old hose clamp, put on a new hose clamp, press the hose as far on as it seems willing to go, and tighten up the new hose clamp well.
Not a bit of trouble since. Hope this helps you.

Sean Silva

Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 21:50:52
From: "Ron Buchalski" <>
Subject: Deteriorating Fuel System Hoses

I was reading about fuels, additives, etc., on the ChevronTexaco website:

(Excellent information about a variety of topics)

and ran across this Q&A:

Specifically, the question and answer:

Q: Why did Chevron put a warning label on its dispensers when it

introduced RFG in California?

  1. The label warned the owners of older or high-mileage vehicles that

    testing indicated that California RFG may cause some fuel system parts, particularly those older or worn fuel system parts in a very small percentage of older or high-mileage vehicles, to fail. The parts of concern were parts containing elastomers synthetic rubberlike materials like 'O'-rings, hoses, valves and diaphragms. Chevron did not expect RFG to "attack" or otherwise damage the parts. Our concern arose because the properties of RFG differ somewhat from those of conventional gasoline and as some older elastomers tried to adjust to the property change, leaks or other failures might occur. When RFG reached the market place, we learned that the concern was not justified. There is no credible evidence that fuel system leaks or vehicle fires increased after RFG was introduced.

After reading the recent list postings about fuel lines deteriorating and spilling fuel onto the top of the tank, I'm wondering if this is credible evidence that RFG caused the problem.


Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 14:16:46 -0800
From: Juan Rico <>
Subject: RE: [E36M3] Gas leak fix in E36M3: Thanks!

Michael, Marc, Sean and all who responded,

Thanks so much for the info. You guys nailed it. The hose had become loose. Apparently it had been leaking slightly for over a week before it decided to finally let loose yesterday. I recently changed to 100 octane unleaded gas, and I was worried that this might have been the culprit since, as the urban legend goes, this type of gas chews up rubber hoses, or so they say.
Time to put some serious thought into this, though.

Everybody else, if you start smelling gas, LOOK UNDER THE REAR PASSENGER SEAT!

And the car is ready... ;)

Juan. (95///M Ready for another 140K trouble-free miles...)

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