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2017 Forester XT Touring
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Discussion Starter #1
So I've learned this is a common Subaru issue - the weather is freezing here and my 2017 Forester XT sometimes smells like raw fuel inside when I have the heater on (until I switch to recirculate or turn it off). I've read it could be fuel lines expanding and contracting in the temperature causing a leak among other things. Anyone have this issue on the XT and how was it fixed before I bring it to the dealer who will probably tell me they can't find anything?
 

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2018 Forester XT Touring
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119 Posts
Yep. I took my '18 XT for service and asked them to check this out. Of course, they couldn't find any issues. My '16 XT definitely didn't do this.

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2017 Forester XT Touring
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133 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
It's so inconsistent too, aside from needing cold weather. I drove earlier with no smell. Now I just went to three different places and on the third restart the smell came back but not as strong as the other day when it was 10 degrees. It's a balmy 22 now.
 

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2018 Forester XT Premium CVT
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4 Posts
My '18 XT does this. Bought it in May, so haven't used the heater much until now. Air smells quite a bit like raw gasoline when it first kicks on after starting the engine. I just started noticing this when I'd leave the heater switched on between restarts. Usually I'd leave it off and then start it up after driving for a couple minutes. I've smelled under the hood after it was warmed up, and yeah, there is kind of a faint gassy smell coming from around the oil dipstick, even though the dipstick handle has an o-ring seal on it. Possibly part of the fuel vent/re-circulation system? Could also just be normal Subie stink. My '14 Outback and '16 WRX heaters both smelled odd, too.

I guess I won't bother taking it to the dealership for now.
 

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2017 Forester XT Premium
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492 Posts
Pull your oil dip stick and take a whiff. You will most likely find the cause of the gas odor.
This.

Your oil level will be high as well. Seems to me the 2.0 DIT is sensitive to overfill when it comes to crankcase ventalition and fumes eminating from the intake side. I insist on no overfill every oil change. When the oil level is dead on I don't have the fumes.
 

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2017 Forester XT Premium
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554 Posts
The high oil level is something that does not happen with my forester, oil level is also consistent and the vehicle does not use any oil but the gas odor is consistent, and I know what people are going to say but because of that odor, I change my oil every 30 days, without fail. In fact if its not raining tomorrow, im doing it.
 

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2004 XT JDM Forester STi 6spd
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483 Posts
If the DIT motors are anything like the EJ series, the end of your fuel lines under the intake manifold (where they are clamped) are probably shrunken down due to the cold. Once the motor warms up or the ambient temp is up you typically don't experience this. It's fairly common in colder climates and I've experienced it on my older EJ motors as well. There has also been TSBs regarding this issue for some older Subarus. Hopefully this info points you in the right direction and below are some links describing the issue.

https://allwheeldriveauto.com/subaru-fuel-smell-a-quick-tip/
https://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2587219
 

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2017 Forester XT Premium
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If the DIT motors are anything like the EJ series, the end of your fuel lines under the intake manifold (where they are clamped) are probably shrunken down due to the cold. Once the motor warms up or the ambient temp is up you typically don't experience this. It's fairly common in colder climates and I've experienced it on my older EJ motors as well. There has also been TSBs regarding this issue for some older Subarus. Hopefully this info points you in the right direction and below are some links describing the issue.

https://allwheeldriveauto.com/subaru-fuel-smell-a-quick-tip/
https://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2587219

Sooo what about the summer months? The gas odor is still there, and up until I did the EGR delete, you could smell the fuel when walking up to the car. Now, I have to pull the dipstick and take a whiff to smell anything.
 

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2014 Forester XT
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48 Posts
Heck, I was about to start similar thread as I’ve been wondering the gas smell as well. I actually disassembled quite a lot parts to find out what is leaking. Didn’t take intake manifold out to see the fuel rail though. Needless to say, I couldn’t find any leak. I can pinpoint the smell to left hand side of engine bay. Recently I did oil analysis and it said over 4% fuel content, which should be addressed according to them. I have changed both O2 sensors to see if it’s running rich. Didn’t help.
 

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2014 Forester XT
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48 Posts
Left hand side of the engine bay. Just right about where the air filter housing is.
No, sorry, the other side. When looking from behind the car.. Somewhere in front of the brake booster servo. Tried also Redline SI-1 whether it would be dirty fuel injector which is leaking to the cylinder.. Didn't help. Checked the hoses as they go on that side and took the insulator off from the high pressure pump and they all look dry and leak free. It could be fuel rail under the intake manifold, but that is lot of work to remove and see. In my case it's not only cold when gas smell as when the car is in warm garage you can smell it.. I've installed AOS, but hoses are tight and no leaks there as well and that doesn't explain high fuel content in oil.

It also looks like that the fuel system goes havoc when using pre-heater. It's like it thinks that the engine is as cold as the ambient air temperature sensor tells because when pre-heated it starts hardly and sputters. Without pre-heating, no problem. I'm pretty confident it is at that point way too rich.

Also it makes me hard to believe the connection between oil level and fuel smell... How could they be related?

Where's the canister located in these cars? Could that be the issue?
 

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2018 XT Forester. Same issue with fuel smell and my dealer cant replicate the issue. Less the 3k miles in the damn thing. Dealer thinks I dont know what I am talking about and acts clueless. someone mentioned calling Subara USA main customer support number. May try that next ad the dealer has had my car for a week now wirh no resolution. One thing I have noticed with reading threads and searching the net is I think it may be related to the weather. It has been cold recently in Texas when I started smelling the fuel smell. Of course, its warm again while at the dealer but I wonder if it’s the cold weather causing something to you shrink or expand. This will be the last Subaru for me if they can’t figure it out. The fact that I am searching threads trying to figure something out for a freaking new car.
 

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2018 Forester XT Limited CVT
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458 Posts
sensitive to overfill when it comes to crankcase ventalition and fumes eminating from the intake side
If there is fuel in the oil that is causing the odour, I don't know how crankcase fumes are making it into the passenger compartment through the intake side. If the odour is present when the engine is running, any gases in the intake side are drawn into the engine, yet we still get the odour when the engine is running.

I'm taking my 2018 XT in tomorrow morning and hope the dealership finds the cause. I get the odour only when the car is running and the environmental control is set to draw outside air in, and in both hot and cold weather.

I'm guessing leaky high pressure fuel system or something, but will report back on what they find.
 

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2017 Forester XT Premium
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554 Posts
@Botnik, please dont forget to update. I have been fighting this since the car was new. short trips, stronger odor. Dealer has gone so far as to tell me its normal and thats what burned oil smells like, or they dont smell anything.
 

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2018 Forester XT Limited CVT
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458 Posts
@Botnik, please dont forget to update
I was at the dealership for about 1.5 h this morning. When I got there I asked them to:

- disable one-touch lane-change signal (just toggling one setting with Subaru Select Monitor)
- update infotainment firmware as per TSB 15-205-16R (Jan 14 2019)
- investigate and fix fuel smell in passenger compartment

The service guy said he smelled the fuel smell when he went to get my odometer reading. I told him I suspected the pressurised fuel system. I told him the oil had already been replaced.

In the end:

- they found everything to be dry, no evidence of fuel leaks, considered replacing injector o-rings and talked to Subaru tech help and were told that yes, Subaru was replacing injector o-rings in some cars. Service guy also said that this was the first car with fuel smell that they have encountered, but they looked on the Internet and found that other people were having the problem. I wonder if they were reading this forum. O-rings are on order

- they can't update my infotainment because I already have the latest firmware in there. This is a mystery to me because I've had the car since April and have never taken it in for service anywhere. They asked me if I had any problems with it and I said yes, the car thinks I'm 100 m behind where I actually am, so when it tells me to turn, I've already turned. They have ordered me a new GPS antenna because they have had to replace some of them, because some GPS systems showed the car driving through people's yards. I don't get yards displayed in my car but I guess they mean cars and nav systems in general

- they disabled my one-touch lane-change signal

They said everything is covered under warranty, and stressed that they disabled my lane change and didn't charge me (hmmmmm). They wanted me to bring the car in and drop it off on Tuesday, and I would have to leave it with them to install the o-rings because they may want to soak the o-rings or something to check for continued fuel smell. Because of scheduling I can't bring the car in again until Feb 20 so that is when the next update will come. They have booked to keep my car for 3 days but I may get it back same day or next day or whatever, depending on what the technician finds when he installs the o-rings. They will install the GPS antenna at the same time.

They say that a lot of firmware updates have been coming out for the 2014-2018. Lots. They always update all cars to the latest because they get paid 1/2 h to do each one. They wanted to do mine but (mysteriously) I had the latest already. They said that sometimes firmware is updated in cars, and installed in new cars, but the actual TSB document may not come out until later, so that may be why my car has a recent firmware even though Subaru hasn't touched it since April.

I asked them not to wash the car and not do any inspections and they said okay. I heard them tell another customer that they can't wash the cars in the cold because the cars get frozen (doors frozen shut etc) so they weren't going to wash it anyway but I wanted to be sure.

Oh yeah. The guy said that sometimes if it takes longer to start the car, there is more cranking, and fuel is injected but just drains into the oil instead of being ignited. And that is one path for fuel getting into the oil.
 

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2014 F-XT CVT
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@Botnik, please dont forget to update. I have been fighting this since the car was new. short trips, stronger odor. Dealer has gone so far as to tell me its normal and thats what burned oil smells like, or they dont smell anything.
my friend with an older wrx had this issue when he was up in Tahoe for the winter. he took it to a subaru mechanic (not a dealership) up in Tahoe and that guy said it was a common issue on all subaru's. if recall correctly, it was the crankcase breather tube popping off. maybe. it's been a long time since that occurred.
 

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'17 Impreza Hatchback CVT
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They have booked to keep my car for 3 days but I may get it back same day or next day or whatever, depending on what the technician finds when he installs the o-rings. They will install the GPS antenna at the same time.
3 days doesn't sound like they really know yet what they are fixing! :surprise:
 

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2018 Forester XT Limited CVT
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458 Posts
3 days doesn't sound like they really know yet what they are fixing!
They said they wanted to allow the new o-rings to soak in the fuel and then check for the fuel smell after the o-rings had been soaking for a while. Does that take three days? I don't know.
 

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2018 Forester XT Limited CVT
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Update Feb 20: I called the dealership yesterday and asked if I can just have the car back when the work is done instead of them keeping the car for 3 days and they said sure. This morning I dropped the car off and they said they would most likely need to keep the car overnight. I thought the work would take an hour and I did a search online and didn't find anything about replacing injectors or their o-rings on a 2014-2018. I found this

https://repairpal.com/estimator/subaru/forester/fuel-injector-replacement-cost

which based on the labour costs suggests about an hour of labour, and I also found this

https://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2308068

which isn't the same car or model year and may not be a stock engine, but he estimates it would be a 4 h job.

They are also going to change the GPS antenna (I have nav and Harmon Kardon) and update whatever firmwares there are to update.

I'm a little bummed that my car was put together at the factory in Jan 2018 and now some guy at the dealership is going to take a bunch of stuff apart and put it together and he might not use a torque wrench or put all the bolts back and all the plastic clips will be broken and a bunch of wires will be loose. Not that I use a torque wrench on everything when I work on my car but at least I take care when I do stuff because it is my own car.

They gave me a 2019 Outback as a loaner car. I know there are nice Outbacks out there but this one I have seems like super econobox, almost like a bicycle. It doesn't even have winter tires on it. I want my own car back....
 
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