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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

The '99 Forester has a bad fuel line drip under rear drivers side passenger seat. I don't know much at all, but I get things done with clear instructions. I developed the impression that people can get at the fuel lines by taking out the back seat. I did that, and now what? I see the three lines going down through, but there aren't any more nice bolts to take out. Do I start cutting, prying, chiseling to get through? I don't mind covering it all up again with duct tape if I have to. Just want to keep the old beater going.

Any kindly advice greatly appreciated...
 
2017 2.5i Fozy CVT
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The leaks are underneath yes? So why hack up the floor? Are you thinking of cutting out the bad portion and splicing with High pressure fuel line?

Since I am a firm believer in Murphy's Law, I would assume that new leaks would appear after you efforts, unless you splice in new Hard Line for some distance..
 

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Hi,

Thank you for the reply

I don't see anything looking at the three lines coming out after I took out the back seat. I think that some people go under there and find the leak. That's where I am hesitating.. If I have to just start ripping through like a bear going after a camp cooler, I'll do that. If there's nothing to find right under there, then I'll have to start dismantling further.

If there is a better way than to just start cutting, I would rather try that. The guy at the shop down the street said that he would have to take out the back seat and then go from there. He said that he might find it right away, but that otherwise, the cost would keep going up astronomically.

I appreciate any thoughts. I see other posts where people are cutting and clamping the line, sometimes after removing a quick connect. I just haven't gotten in that far..

The guy at the shop down the road said, after he looked at it dripping underneath, that he would take out the back seat and start looking, and if he didn't find it right away, the cost would go up astronomically. After taking out the back seat, all I see is a very short section of the three lines popping out of a hole and then heading elsewhere. It seems that I have to get under the part where the seat was resting but not all the way through to where the street would be visible. . Don't the lines somehow run through the interior there? at. I just don't know how to go further without resorting to cutting and prying.I see other posts where people take out the back seat and do some kind of jury-rigged fix with the clamps and the high pressure line. But they have gotten through to see a longer section of the line.

I don't mind fixing replacing as much of the line as I have to. And if more leaks appear, then I'll have an idea of how to keep going back and addressing them. The alternative is to scrap an excellent car. Its DIY or scrap. I have insanely high estimates from all the mechanics I have asked, including the guy who looked at it.
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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If there's no leaking under the access hatches... I'm assuming you looked under both, then your fuel line is likely rusting thru underneath where the salty road spray splashes. You'll have to place your forester on ramps or jack stands so you can look under there.
► Moderators note - your posts have been merged to this thread. For the best results, don't scatter your posts, on the same subject, in different forum threads.
Bobby...

['07 FSXT Member Journal] ['03 X Member Journal]
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I believe that it is the access hatches that elude me. Once I have simply taken off the rear seat there is nowhere to go unless I actually pry, tear, cut. I can try to look from directly underneath the car, but the mechanic said that his procedure was going to be to dismantle through the interior starting with that back seat. He said that he might find it under the rear seat, but then he would have to start dismantling further in both directions if the leak wasn't originating there above where it is dripping underneath the rear driver side. I don't know why he wasn't going to lift it and explore from underneath...

It might be worth getting some ramps for this and future eventualities. Maybe used/cheap somewhere. The whole joy of a great, but weathered old car is to keep it running cheap. After one expensive repair, the Murphy's Law mentioned above guarantees another one within three weeks...

I thank you again for taking the time. If I can just figure out access hatches, which are not apparent to the naked eye for my model, I can at least check under the rear seat.
 

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I've used UV visible dye to detect where leaks originate from. In your case, you put a little in the gas tank and run the car. After a while, you park it someplace dark and look around. Without it, it can be a bear to find where a fluid leak originates from because it travels. The UV dye and a UV light lights up the path of the fluid (oil, gas, etc) with a yellow glow.

You'll need the dye and some sort of UV light source.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you for this suggestion. I may well have to do this. First I have to finish working out how to see enough of the line. I haven't gotten past the elementary problem of locating "access hatches." should find time to get out there again today...
 
2017 2.5i Fozy CVT
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. I haven't gotten past the elementary problem of locating "access hatches."
Do you have a good floor jack, stands, ramps? Is it leaking in the cabin under the seat, or under car? Can you see it drip or just a resultant wet spot after parking? Strong smell of gas?
Get under the car and stop looking for a hatch that is not there above your leak.
Do get the dye and UV SOURCE first.

Do I start cutting, prying, chiseling to get through?
:( Fuel line leak + spark from above operations=Darwin Award nomination.

Once you get at the offending leak below deck use a miniature tubing cutter to remove offending section. Plumbing stores, home center have these that need no more than an inch or so of space around the line.
 

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Thank you for this suggestion. I may well have to do this. First I have to finish working out how to see enough of the line. I haven't gotten past the elementary problem of locating "access hatches." should find time to get out there again today...
Wait... you have yet to locate the access hatches?

Bobby...

['07 FSXT Member Journal] ['03 X Member Journal]
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hi,

I am responding to these last three message. Thank both of you for the continuing attention:

1. No, I don't see the under rear seat access hatches. There is something that may be detachable if I unbolt the long bar. This is what appears to be a welded on cover with a hole where the three lines come through through a small circular plug. I think I would have to tape it back on if I did pry it off with hammer and chisel or the like.

2. I DID look up from underneath with the engine running. The leak does seem to be right there at what I gather is the quick connect fitting. When I squeezed on where it is attached to the hose going toward engine, the leak was redirected and poured out over my hand instead of going down from the spot a few inches away where it had been traveling along the surface of fitting & pipe before yielding to gravity. By touch, I determined with some degree of certainty that the line is dry any short distance before and after that fitting.

3. I spent a lot of the day researching the better jack stands and wheel chocks, so I haven't actually lifted the car yet to get a better view. If there is a way to get at this mess from above, it would be easier to deal with. I do see the post where the 5/16th fuel injector hose was used in conjunction with a "compression barb" fitting. All that I think I can figure out. I will look for the miniature tubing cutter.

Thanks again. With every suggestion, a little more fog clears...
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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Take a look at this write up for our '03 X fuel pump upgrade. This is for the SG ('03-'08), your Forester is an SF ('98-'02), but it should help you locate the access hatches.
Bobby...

['07 FSXT Member Journal] ['03 X Member Journal]
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Got it. THAT was the very detail I was looking for. All the other info is quite useful, too, of course. I'll see if I can get a better angle from that direction. Otherwise, I'll get it up on jack stands. If it still looks dry on both sides of the quick connect, I'll see if cutting it out and splicing works. I'll skip the UV detection step unless I need it, but that is a good technique to be aware of. Maybe just disconnecting and reconnecting will work if I first sacrifice a bull to the appropriate deity.

Thanks once more...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hi,

In case you are still following this thread, here is the update on my very green efforts:

I did have to access by jacking up, since the leaking quick connect was the one directly under the back seat. I pulled on the metal line, and it broke off completely at the rusty point right at the connect. After about half a gallon of fuel, which is all that was left in the tank, I'm pretty sure, trickled out, I went ahead and cut the flexible line on the other side just with a sharp knife, and so removed the quick connect.

The very cheap miniature tubing cutter I got still doesn't have room to spin around and cut the bit of the steel pipe I can reach before it heads back up into the interior and emerges under the back seat there. Nor is there room for it to spin up there over where the back seat rests. I am therefore ordering the Robinair 42071 tubing cutter, which a reviewer on Amazon said worked in very confined places to cut his fuel line where others couldn't fit. I hope that the mention of brand name is not a breach of taste.

I have two more questions, if anyone has the patience:

1. When the cutter arrives, I prefer to give myself a little more room to work and cut the fuel line where it emerges into the the interior up there. However, I think it is encased in an additional metal sheath that I will have to cut back a little further to expose the actual line. Is there any special reason not to do that?

2. I will also make a little cleaner cut on the flexible tubing going toward the fuel tank, but there is enough of that left. The other question is about the actual fittings to attach the 5/16'' fuel injection/fuel line, which doesn't seem hard to find. The posting I saw involves a compression to barb fitting, but that has to be ordered. I see that some people just use a compression fitting both for the steel line and for the new flexible fuel injection line. I would prefer to actual go in and buy that, since I will be able to see whether it is the right size for the cut off end and the line I am working with. The post here also talks about just shoving the flexible line from the tank into the new line and clamping, so I'll see if that is workable. Otherwise, I'll be looking at some other type of fitting.

Excuse the long post. Every comment so far has been helpful, and any more will be greatly appreciated.
 
2017 2.5i Fozy CVT
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There is no way to free up the existing line to use the cutter you have on hand? The one I use for plumbing needs an inch, at most , to spin around.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hi,

11/4" is about all I have to work with.The very inexpensive cutter I got at Menard's can't spin around. May I ask what brand model you use with the 1" clearance? The Robinair doesn't say specifically. I haven't ordered it yet.

Thanks...
 
2017 2.5i Fozy CVT
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I think it's a RIDGID and the "inch" was a guesstimate.

I cannot think of any other way to safely cut the line, other than to replace whole sections.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I see that there are really small C shaped cutters that are designated for specific sizes like 1/2,", 3/4" etc. So far I haven't found one for 5/16". The ones that allow a range of sizes (such as 1/8" to 1/2") are supposed to be for small spaces, but they require more clearance. The Ridgid of this latter type was the one that the reviewer on Amazon had said didn't get enough clearance to cut his fuel line, so he used a Robinair. But now I don't know if he meant the multi-sized wrench-shaped Robinair or some specifically sized one that I might be able to locate. I gather from the Amazon reviews that the new Ridgid needs more clearance than the old one, and you may have an old one that squeezes around in the inch range. Or perhaps you have one of the really small C shaped ones? The one I got at Menards looks like all the ones of the square shaped type though, and it is too big.

A couple more questions:

1. Are you using a little C shaped cutter, or is it one that has more of a square shape with the tightening knob at one end?

2. I'll keep looking into cutters that can get 11/4" clearance, but in a pinch, do you think a slightly rougher cut with a file would allow for a tolerable fitting? Alternately, I might get a slightly diagonal cut with a Dremel. On the other hand, while he fuel tank is empty, I suppose I could get a respectable explosion with the slightest spark. I think I'll answer this second question for myself. NO.

Thanks again. I greatly appreciate the responses.
 
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