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Smelly Austin 7
I have recently acquired a 1938 Ruby, which was restored by somebody else a few years earlier.  It gives off a strong petrol odour and makes our garage and basement smell of petrol.  I have closely examined carburettor, fuel pump, piping and underside of the tank and cannot find any evidence of leakage.  The only place not inspected is the top of the fuel tank, which I cannot do without dropping the tank.
The petrol filler has a relatively new rubber hose connecting it to the tank.  I recall a thread mentioning that someone felt that the newer rubber hoses were not impervious to petrol vapour and that they also pick up the smell of petrol. I have not been able to find this thread again. Perhaps this might give me an answer if someone could refer me to it.
Also can any members give me the benefit of their experience to held me reduce the petrol smell?

Graham Barker
New Zealand
Hi Graham

Can’t help much but I suggest you ventilate the garage very well.

I think the fuel gauge sender is on top of the tank and a vent pipe runs from the top and down the back. I’ve got a feeling that you may need to drop the tank Undecided.


Graham, do a search for curious petrol smell and you will find the thread.

You are right it appears some petrol filler tubes soak up the petrol fumes, you may find it easier to remove the tube to check if it is the culprit.
Here you go, Graham:
Hi Graham, I have a Mk1 Ruby and also have this petrol smell. I put a couple of comments on that previoustbreae about this. I also renewed the petrol pipe between filler cap and the tank but it did not improve things at all. The smell is strongest just after a fill up of petrol and lessens as the days go by. The smell is worse in the summer with warmer weather evaporating it off quicker. I now believe it comes from the tank vent pipe as this is not sealed in any way. I am against sealing it as this would cause a vacuum in the tank when running and eventually stop the fuel flow. When parked in hot weather it would also possibly damage the tank with the expansion of petrol gases even perhaps an explosion.
I now just put up with it and try to bring it home after a run will the tank almost dry and keep the garage well ventilated. Because of low fuel levels I always carry a gallon can (correct green plastic for unleaded) of petrol in the car.

John Mason
Would you believe it "Her who must be obeyed" refers to my Ruby as the toy.
(11-02-2021, 11:41 AM)John Mason Wrote: I am against sealing it as this would cause a vacuum in the tank when running and eventually stop the fuel flow. When parked in hot weather it would also possibly damage the tank with the expansion of petrol gases even perhaps an explosion.

John, the fuel vent pipe can be safely sealed up. I ran Rubies and LWB Box type cars years ago and always sealed this pipe as, if you are careless and too quick on the forecourt (who isn't at 17?), overfilling the tank sets up a syphon and empties the last 1/2 gallon (2.25l for our overseas cousins and younger readers) that you put in, onto the floor causing mayhem and shouting from the cashiers.
I used to stuff a 1/4" bolt into the tube, there's plenty of breathing capability in the cap as they're not sealed in any way, unlike modern vehicles. Also unlike moderns, the tank won't pressurize in hot weather or implode in cold weather.

I had a young MoT tester trying to fail my car once because there was no rubber seal on the filler cap, therefore it must be missing and therefore "Not Compliant". What can I say???
I don't know what the general view is, but I have never had a noticeable petrol smell in the garage - the up and over door has about a 1/4" gap at the bottom but it is otherwise not draughty.  After a run there is a fume smell in the garage for a short while when the car is put away, and on first opening there is the usual oily/old car smell - but not petrol.  It is an ARR Ruby.  So this suggests that there is something unusual?  What is the temperature of the garage? - in the UK mine ranges between 8 degrees and the mid-20s on rare occasions.  A tiny leak somewhere - a pinhole - might lead to fuel accumulating and then evaporating?  Is there anything petrol-soaked in the garage anywhere?  Or petrol stored?  An occasional drip from my Zenith carb onto the plate below, from which it evaporates, doesn't lead to my garage smelling of petrol - so it takes a fair exposure to cause this?  Or perhaps it is a matter of sensitivity to the smell of petrol?
Thanks a lot for the replies.
Garage temperature has been in the low 20's since I bought the car.  Will block breather pipe.
Can anyone suggest a company that would sell me a new hose and post it to NZ?
Hi Graham,
Any Automotive Store in Auckland will have the correct hose and clips,
Suitable for the Fuel we have in NZ


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