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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)

E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 11-28-2006, 04:06 PM
AussiePaul AussiePaul is offline
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Mein Auto: X5, E36 325i
Attention - All E36 Owners - Fuel Leak, Gas Smell, Gas Leak

I have just finished replacing the left hand side "Fuel Sender Unit" as a result of the problem described in the title of this thread.

I got my E36 '94 325i Convertible earlier this year, and had been able to smell fuel fumes for a few months whenever I went into the garage and occasionally when walking up to the car, especially after filling up, and was a little concerned.

Initially I brushed it off as the gas can I had in the garage for the mower, but it seemed too strong so I decided an investigation was better than an explosion.

I checked and double checked the Fuel Pump lines (right hand side) as I had replaced the Fuel Pump when I first got the car. The fuel line were all retightened and the smell still persisted.

Eventually I did a search and came upon a thread on another Bimmer board, luckily, as it pointed me to the left hand side Fuel Sender Unit, which I did not know existed, and had never thought to check.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I discovered that the plastic unit has some hairline cracks in it at the base of the electrical connector on the top of the unit and I could see the fuel slowly seeping out, which would form a big puddle.

I called the local st(d)ealer and picked up a new unit ($50-$60) and had it changed out in 30 minutes and it all looks good to go.

So if you have replaced fuel hoses, clamps and still smell gas, it could be the sender unit. Double check it and check the pump side aswell. Clean all of the dust and grime out and look for seepage.

One of the key factors in me finding the hairline cracks was because I had just filled up and the fuel level was high.

I hope this helps anyone having the same problems I was, as this may save you some time and more importantly, MONEY!!

Cheers,

Paul
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  #2  
Old 11-29-2006, 09:10 AM
texas319 texas319 is offline
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thanks good looking out
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  #3  
Old 03-06-2008, 04:01 PM
meridan99 meridan99 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1994 325 convertible
gas leak smell

I read your article and it was very informative. I have a 1994 325 convertible and found the leak on the driver's side sender unit. I want to sell the car and not invest in new parts so I cleaned the top of the unit and used some sealent to cover the crack. The smell dissappeared as well as the leak. Do you think this is ok?
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  #4  
Old 03-06-2008, 05:47 PM
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gldfshkpr gldfshkpr is offline
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Mein Auto: 1997 318i BMW
Thanks for the insight. A friend of mine has a gasoline smell after the car has sat all day. Will check out this area as well. Thanks.
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  #5  
Old 09-09-2008, 01:10 PM
giloutwest giloutwest is offline
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Thanks Aussie Paul. I found the same problem with mine. Using your info helped me to trouble shoot. I just ordered my left fuel sensor and will install when I get it. You saved me some $$$$$'s! Thanks for posting.
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  #6  
Old 09-15-2008, 06:08 PM
youngun2141 youngun2141 is offline
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Location: Pembroke Pines, Fl
 
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Mein Auto: 325I
thanks. i will check this tomorrow. i get a very strong gas smell especially after filling up and i barely get 210mi off a full tank
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  #7  
Old 09-15-2008, 10:11 PM
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oakley oakley is offline
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Awesome thread nicely done- never know u may save someones life with this one!
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  #8  
Old 09-16-2008, 05:33 AM
C Sean Watts C Sean Watts is offline
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Ditto

Quote:
Originally Posted by oakley View Post
never know u may save someones life with this one!
You beat me to it!
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  #9  
Old 09-16-2008, 11:59 AM
vull vull is offline
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so the FSU is on the left side behind the driver?
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  #10  
Old 09-16-2008, 05:17 PM
youngun2141 youngun2141 is offline
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Location: Pembroke Pines, Fl
 
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Mein Auto: 325I
yep.top was loose and the bigger hose wasnt even connectedit was hanging there. think the fuel tank was removed before
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  #11  
Old 01-17-2009, 03:34 PM
jczarne jczarne is offline
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Location: Dayton OHIO
 
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Mein Auto: 1995 325i conv
Question about replacement.

Is is difficult to replace yourself? Did you remove fuel before working on the line.

I have done work on everything but the fuel components.

I have the manual and they say to remove the fuel by draining.

Sorry for this line of questioning but can someone take me through the steps they took to change out the left fuel sending unit.

Thanks,
Jerry


Also, I think I need to change the fuel pump...

Can someone take me through the steps to do this...specifically what to do with the fuel and the lines that go to this.

Thanks much.

Hope this isnt wasting anybody's time.
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  #12  
Old 01-17-2009, 03:58 PM
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BMR_LVR BMR_LVR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jczarne View Post
Is is difficult to replace yourself? Did you remove fuel before working on the line.

I have done work on everything but the fuel components.

I have the manual and they say to remove the fuel by draining.

Sorry for this line of questioning but can someone take me through the steps they took to change out the left fuel sending unit.

Thanks,
Jerry


Also, I think I need to change the fuel pump...

Can someone take me through the steps to do this...specifically what to do with the fuel and the lines that go to this.

Thanks much.

Hope this isnt wasting anybody's time.

Great post Paul. Thanks for informing all of us.

Jerry, try taking a look at this site to see if it helps:

http://www.bimmerdiy.com/dir/e36

There are other good help sites as well.
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  #13  
Old 01-17-2009, 06:35 PM
freydaddy freydaddy is offline
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Mein Auto: 1993 325is
i had the same problem(gas smell)
only occurred when the tank was full.
mine actually came from the top of the fuel pump-on the pass. side.
if you tighten the ring lock too much it WILL leak.
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  #14  
Old 01-19-2009, 05:24 PM
jczarne jczarne is offline
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Location: Dayton OHIO
 
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Mein Auto: 1995 325i conv
Thanks for this.

I appreciate the input. Great site. Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMR_LVR View Post
Great post Paul. Thanks for informing all of us.

Jerry, try taking a look at this site to see if it helps:

http://www.bimmerdiy.com/dir/e36

There are other good help sites as well.
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  #15  
Old 06-25-2009, 04:00 PM
seankun seankun is offline
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Location: Los Angeles
 
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Mein Auto: '89 BMW 325i Convertible
Hey Guys,

Does this same situation apply to an '89 325i Convert?

I've got a pretty major gas smell and when full a small leak just behind the driver's side door.
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  #16  
Old 11-23-2009, 04:22 PM
luketheduke luketheduke is offline
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Mein Auto: e36
thanks for the info! i wouldn't have known this would be the problem in my car! lots of kudos and thanks to you!
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  #17  
Old 11-29-2010, 12:30 PM
bluehazard bluehazard is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 Z3
I'm having a similar problem with this stuff now with my 1998 Z3, 1.9L engine.

There's gas leaking from the excess line on the rear passenger bottom side.

I don't know if there's more gas leaks elsewhere. When I open the window I can smell the gasoline smell, as it is no doubt dripping from the excess line. When I close the window - I think I don't smell it. But it's hard to tell if I'm used to the fumes at that point or not.

The mechanic says its the fuel pump. I don't know. It SEEMS like there's a pressure problem as the gas tank "thinks" its overfull when it's not.

I think the previous owner already changed the fuel sender unit the felt is cut behind the side.

Can someone give me a very systematic approach to diagnose the problem since no computer code is flashing?

And how would one see a hairline crack? Should I run the car in park and see where the gas is leaking?
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  #18  
Old 11-29-2010, 01:52 PM
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crisscross crisscross is offline
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I would try to search in the z3 forum.

Here is the link:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=7

Good luck!
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  #19  
Old 11-29-2010, 02:57 PM
bluehazard bluehazard is offline
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I posted here because it seems to be a similar problem with the Z3 and to be right on point.
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  #20  
Old 12-01-2010, 04:45 AM
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Jim Spence Jim Spence is offline
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Mein Auto: 1993 325i
Quote:
Originally Posted by jczarne View Post
Is is difficult to replace yourself? Did you remove fuel before working on the line. Can someone take me through the steps to do this...specifically what to do with the fuel and the lines that go to this.
Try this:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...600&highlight=
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  #21  
Old 05-08-2012, 12:32 PM
amccd amccd is offline
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Location: Ohio
 
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Mein Auto: Z3
stolen catalytic converter

someone stole the catalytic converter from underneath my car and the car stopped working totally. they cut the whole piece even with oxygen sensor in it. the wires to the oxygen sensors are dangling from below and every time I try to start the car I smell lots of fuel. Im wondering if the gas line was cut and thats why the fuel smell. I also don't know if the wires to the oxygen sensor have anything to do with it. I looked at the computer and its still intact so it must be something else. the dealer is kinda overrated and I wanted to see if I can find an answer here!
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  #22  
Old 05-09-2012, 11:17 AM
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drive by72 drive by72 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amccd View Post
someone stole the catalytic converter from underneath my car and the car stopped working totally. they cut the whole piece even with oxygen sensor in it. the wires to the oxygen sensors are dangling from below and every time I try to start the car I smell lots of fuel. Im wondering if the gas line was cut and thats why the fuel smell. I also don't know if the wires to the oxygen sensor have anything to do with it. I looked at the computer and its still intact so it must be something else. the dealer is kinda overrated and I wanted to see if I can find an answer here!
Do you have a puddle under the car? If not theres no leak. The fuel lines arent near the exhaust anyway.

IIRC, the car would be thinking that theres not enough air with a missing o2 sensor, so it adds more fuel. First thing you gotta do is get a new piece of exhaust (dont need the cats) and a new O2 sensor.

BTW, thats really crappy someone crawled under and hacked it off
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  #23  
Old 05-09-2012, 03:17 PM
amccd amccd is offline
amccd
Location: Ohio
 
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do you not need a catalytic converter?

so what is the best way to bypass the need for a catalytic converter? why do you think that I should get just the pipes? does anyone know where one can get a catalytic converter for this car? a used one will do!
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  #24  
Old 08-16-2012, 03:59 PM
Mljungbluth Mljungbluth is offline
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Location: Tucson, Az.
 
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Mein Auto: 94 325i Con.
Cool Puddle not present, but leak persists

Quote:
Originally Posted by drive by72 View Post
Do you have a puddle under the car? If not theres no leak. The fuel lines arent near the exhaust anyway.
*My First Official Post

I started to notice my gas mileage decrease in my 94 325iC, which only has about 64,xxx miles on her. I was initially getting ~330/ Tank, but now I'm obtaining about 280/ Tank, with relatively light driving. (I always fill up the tank completely and refill when the light turns on.) There was a strong gasoline odor from inside the cabin as well as outside the car. I came across this forum and it has been a great deal of help for myself. After taking out the back seat, & getting to the gas tank, I noticed a small leak from the base of the sending unit. The part (sending unit) cost about $60 from the big D. Overall, a fairly easy fix and extremely worth it, considering gas prices. Although you might not have a "puddle " under your car, you still may have a gas leak present. After just completing the fix, I look forward to seeing how many miles I really can get out of her now.
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  #25  
Old 08-16-2012, 09:07 PM
bluehazard bluehazard is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 Z3
Hi thanks for the great advice.

Could you send a link to the part number and a link to the diagram?

I might as well just replace mine, even though I no longer have a puddle as you said as well.

PC
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