Fuel Tank Venting at Altitude

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 09:57
ThreadID: 3118 Views:1146 Replies:8 FollowUps:9
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Hi All, just returned from Bendethra on the weekend and on the way in at Dampier Trig we noticed a strong petrol smell in the vehicle. On inspection of the fuel cap we noticed that we had been venting fuel as we gained height. Fumes and actual fuel were spraying from the small hole below the filler cap. Has anyone else experienced this?? We originally thought that after some low range work and with the altitude that the fuel may have been heated and was just venting. Others in our party did not think this was right. Vehicle is a current model Pathfinder that had about 3/4 of a tank at the time. Any advice would be appreciated as Nissan do not want to know about it. Thanks
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Reply By: Truckster - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 11:18

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 11:18
as Nissan do not want to know about it.

shock horror!
AnswerID: 11983

Follow Up By: Member - Moggs - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 11:35

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 11:35
Truckster - yeah...wasn't too surprised at Nissan's response. I love their vehicles but have given up filling in their post service survey forms as nothing ever happens when you have anything negative to say. Last service Nissan removed a unifilter and threw it away (as it was non-genuine), left tyre pressures at 26psi (were at 35 psi) and didn't rotate,, left a large ding in the bonnet (I'm guessing a dropped spanner) and left the battery loose (don't know why they had it out). This was following my request to 1. not touch the airfilter, 2. not adjust tyre pressure and 3. to rotate the tyres and swap in the spare. If you live around Hornsby I recommend to travel further afield for servicing.

Have you ever heard of fuel tanks doing this before?? We are unsure whether we should be worried or not.
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FollowupID: 6870

Reply By: Truckster - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 11:47

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 11:47
Fuel expands when it gets hot, but the air pressure as you go higher gets less. and colder, so the fuel would get colder not expanding. unless the air was colder than the fuel, this could have somethign do to with it.. I would think its not normal.. But could be wrong.

As for throwing away the unifilter, i would demand another one and ding in the bonnet? Low tire pressures etc...?? come on!!!! Write letters to Nissan, and CC the dealer, this usually gets some action.

OR

Stand there in the showroom, or the reception area of the workshop when there are lots of customers in the shop and get LOUD.... it works. Get everything fixed and never go back.
AnswerID: 11987

Follow Up By: Member - Moggs - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 11:56

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 11:56
I agree - the fuel venting doesn't seem normal - I suppose I'm just hoping that there isn't a $$$$ fix a coming! Hopefully if no one else has experienced it it may just be a filler neck / cap issue.

As for Nissan - I got loud and they had one of their apprentices in the dumpster retrieving the Unifilter. They didn't want to know about the ding in the bonnet and of course had no memory of my specific instructions from when I dropped the car off in the morning. As I picked the car up at closing time they were not interested in anything I had to say - it was all "this is not good enough ... but it wasn't me ....who did you talk to again???" I have complained in writing before about their service or lack there of and had no reply. I've being lazy in not taking it elsewhere as they are local. I will never be going back there now.
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Reply By: Truckster - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 12:32

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 12:32
Which place in Hornsby was it? Hornsby Nissan (is there one?) would be handy place to know not to go to!
AnswerID: 11991

Follow Up By: Member - Moggs - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 12:47

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 12:47
Yes there is one - it's on the Pacific Hwy at Waitara. They even refused to take my details at the showroom to let me know if any 4.5ltr Patrols come in on the Lot.
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Follow Up By: Truckster - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 15:20

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 15:20
I would ring Nissan and complain, since the French(Renault) bought Nissan out their service sucks.

As for the dealer, I would only ever go back to drop my pants, part my cheeks at them as I get out of my next car bought elsewhere.

If they have any big SALES days comin up, plaster details all over your car, and park it in their driveway with details of your dealings with them in big letters and arrows pointing to the dent in the bonnet etc...

That sometimes gets you satisfaction as you see people walk out without a car!

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FollowupID: 6895

Reply By: zigglemeister - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 17:04

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 17:04
This is stretching my memory a long way back, but I had a similar problem once with a Suzi ute. I think it was due to a blockage in the vent line to the carbon canister, which led to it venting out the fuel filler instead. I would check all your lines from the fuel tank for blockages (if you can get to them.) It shouldn't happen, I believe environmental regulations require the venting to go through a carbon canister or something similar to prevent excess hydrocarbons venting to atmosphere, so Nissan's response is pretty poor.

Regards, Tim Z.
AnswerID: 12014

Follow Up By: Member - Moggs - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 17:16

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 17:16
Thanks for the pointer - I will get it checked out - I'm in the process of getting a written acknowledgement from Nissan that they do not consider it necessary to check this out - every indication is that they are happy to provide it!
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Follow Up By: Zigglemeister - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 17:31

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 17:31
Tell 'em you'll be passing their letter on to the EPA for their input! This is why those orange temporary fuel caps that you sometimes see for sale in servos (at least, you used to - can't say I've seen one for a while) are technically illegal.
Hope you win!
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FollowupID: 6909

Reply By: Janset - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 19:26

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 19:26
Moggs.

I have had dealings with Nissan on my wifes car (it finished up in court, and the dealer lost) and with a number of other larger companies and this is the procedure that I have found seems to work the best.

If you do not get satisfaction from the dealer (get his name and position, this usually puts them on the back foot). When he asks why, go ahead and tell him that the matter is not going to end there unless you get satisfaction, and you need his name for proceedings. Some times that works.

Next, forget about telephone calls as you can not identify to whom you are talking, even if they give you their correct names, and no sooner you hang up, you are forgotten.

My advice then is to write a snail mail addressed to the Public Relations Office, Head office of Nissan Australia. Be polite but firm giving the exact chronological sequence of events naming names and dates and responses you were give. Be truthful as that does come across.

The wording of the letter should be so couched that you explain that "this is the problem and this is what I expect from you".

Like I said, be polite but firm.

I can give you 2 examples where a Yamaha O/B dealer who came the bounce can very near to loosing his franchise and was forced to not only clean up his customer relations image but also his workshop as it was an absolute pig stiles, and he did.

The second was a so called Diff specialist who lost his Detroit diff franchise because of his attitude and general workmanship.

But you must deal from strength so you need facts, but be positive.

And there you have it, it doesn't alway work, but then, it just may!

Regards
AnswerID: 12018

Follow Up By: Member - Moggs - Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 11:21

Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 11:21
Thanks for sharing your 'Nissan' experience Janset. I will see how I get on - it is good to see that people like you have had success in dealing with Nissan.
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FollowupID: 6977

Reply By: Lux - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 21:49

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 21:49
Moggs, well we should have nissans banned on the roads cos they may cause an accident, sack all nissan mechanics because they are a threat or should we send them to the USA .that's your theory and thinking....I'm a proud gun owner...............
AnswerID: 12027

Follow Up By: Truckster - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 22:21

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 22:21
Pass it around, it must be some good shiat your on.....
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FollowupID: 6945

Follow Up By: Member - Moggs - Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 09:48

Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 09:48
Yeah...thanks Lux, top bloke. Feel good now do we??? I question your right to hold a firearms licence - your obviously just a tad aggresive by nature.

Proud gun owner???? More like a bloody idiot.
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FollowupID: 6968

Reply By: Mr Bean - Thursday, Jan 30, 2003 at 15:32

Thursday, Jan 30, 2003 at 15:32
Look for mud wasp nests in the breather tubes
Air does expand at altitude.
AnswerID: 12174

Reply By: StephenF - Thursday, Jan 30, 2003 at 16:51

Thursday, Jan 30, 2003 at 16:51
As you gain height, the air pressure drops, and the air inside the tank will eventually be at a higher pressure than the air outside. If the small hole below the filler cap is the end of the vent tube, and the other end is either below fuel level or is being splashed as the fuel slops around in the tank, some fuel will be forced out of the hole by the higher air pressure in the tank. If this is the case, the problem should go away as the fuel level drops.

Dunno what the solution is. Perhaps loosen the cap as you gain altitude so the air expands past the cap instead of being forced through the vent, or else travel with half a tank and carry jerries when you go mountain climbing (although you could have the same problem with the jerries!).

Stephen.
AnswerID: 12181

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