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Leak in my fuel line!

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by hilly, Apr 12, 2008.

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  1. hilly

    hilly Feeling the Heat

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    I can't seem to find an answer to this question anywhere, but I have a leak in a fuel line in my jeep (it's a steel fuel line) and I'm not sure if it can be repaired, or if it needs to be replaced.
    Thanks.

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  2. wwburning

    wwburning New Member

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    what's the year and make of the jeep?
  3. hilly

    hilly Feeling the Heat

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    It's a '97 Jeep TJ, made by Chrysler.
  4. imiller1974

    imiller1974 Member

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    If the leak is in an easy to get to spot, is in a straight section of line, and away from the exhaust, then you can repair it. Go to the auto store and buy a foot of high pressure fuel hose and 4 clamps. Fuel hose is sold different sizes based on the inside diameter, and standard use or high pressure (fuel injection) hose. You'll have to buy the same size as the outside diameter that's on your Jeep and you'll need the high pressure kind. Use a tubing cutter to cut the line where the leak is and try to flare the ends if you can. You may have to cut a few inches out to slip the hose on each end. Use 2 clamps on each end for extra insurance. If you have to buy a flaring tool, tubing cutter, and whatever other tools you may need, it might be cheaper just to buy a whole new line. You never know, the new line might be pretty cheap somewhere, just just check around and do your homework before you do it. Oh, by the way, you're going to get gas everywhere so be prepared...
  5. wwburning

    wwburning New Member

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    If the line is steel, than you can repair it as the previous poster said. There are some parts of the line that are braided steel and or plastic in many chrysler/jeep/dodge cars and trucks that cannot be repaired. Also if the leak is @ a quick connect fitting, the repair may be alot more difficult.
  6. hilly

    hilly Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks very much for the advice. I think I'll first see if I can replace that section of line. I've heard that the dealer carries the prebent stuff, and if that fails, then I'll try the rubber tubing bit.
  7. struggle

    struggle Minister of Fire

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    NO you should not splice a section of it. It runs at a high pressure since the fuel pump is in the tank. The whole line should be replaced. Replacing the line is the best way to fix it.

    If you have the tools and are bent on splicing a section in it will need to be double flared on both ends and the splice line as well will need to be double flare. A compression fitting would be very dangerous.

    If the line that is leaking is the return fuel line then it could possibly be done with a hose splice but if rust is the reason it is leaking and most likely is then new lines are just the best choice.
  8. hilly

    hilly Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks Struggle. I wasn't too happy using the rubber tubing, so I will try the dealer and if that doesn't work, I'll take it to a mechanic.
  9. imiller1974

    imiller1974 Member

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    I'm a mechanic... Splice the damn thing, just use high pressure fuel line...
  10. struggle

    struggle Minister of Fire

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    So am I but I would never take a risk with someone elses life in terms of possibly help create a dangerous situation with a less than suitable repair.


    This person could be carrying around his whole family in this vehicle and the last thing a person is going to want is to knowingly put his family at risk over a few dollars in the long run of doing it right the first time. If the line rusted thrrough then other areas could be comprimised as well.
  11. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I would splice the line with rubber to get home but then replace it when I make it there with an entire section of bolt in replacement line. You've got to figure that the entire line is on the verge of rupture if the thing already sprang a leak.

    My truck's fuel system runs at 60 psi so it will leak with enough force to make a nice mist spray.
  12. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    ABSOLUTELY JUST SPLICE IT. Good grief most cars have rubber sections in them anyways way up on top of the tank where you can't see them. While you are at it take a good look for other areas that are rusty and if they look to be getting rusty you would better do the whole thing. After all you do live in the rustbelt like most of us, If for some reason you have to drop the tank ( which you shouldn't) consider highly putting in a new fuel pump while its off. Yours is one of the dumber ideas Jeep ever had with the fuel pump and filter being in the tank and typical American quality. They do like to fail a lot too, ask me how I know. Other than that the rubber hi pressure line will easily take anything the pump can put out just use double clamps, nothin to it.
    Be happy, out 2000 grand Cherokee had a ring bust last week and knock a hole in the cylinder bore. Toast at 117,000 K boo hoo. $1500 shot to hell. Now don't you feel a little better???????
  13. struggle

    struggle Minister of Fire

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    High pressure rubber lines have typically compression fittings on them that are put on with many times greater pressure than two hose clamps will ever hold.

    Putting two hose clamps and a rubber section in place with out a ridge on the line for the clamps to press against will only allow the rubber line to slide off the steel line in time.
  14. hilly

    hilly Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for the debate, it helps to see both sides of the issue. I'll phone the dealer today to see how much pre-formed line is.
  15. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    There are rubber hoses and then there are rubber hoses. Yes, rubber hoses are used in all vehicles to account for vibration and needed flexibility in fuel systems. Not all of the fuel hoses are pressurized and the pressurized ones will not be held on with hose clamps. I have rubber hoses on my tractor rated for 3000 psi but the connections are crimped on and threaded for a positive connection. I have a rubber vacuum line on my pickup that will fail at very low pressure and it is held on with a hose clamp. The pressurized fuel lines on the jeep need to be held to the higher standard whether made of metal or of rubber.
  16. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    The third time around replacing my fuel pump on my 97 Yukon, I went with rubber. First time I had a bad pump, second time the pre-formed OEM plastic lines bent (pita in my opinion). The third time the guy at the auto parts store gave me low pressure hose, after discovering that and getting the correct high pressure hose it worked slick. It was a long weekend to say the least, but that was two years ago and I haven't had a problem since, at least fuel system wise.
  17. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Look at the bright side hotz, that job at the dealer is well into 4 figures. My 98 chevy pickups pump (same as your Yukon) died and left me stranded at work. You've got to drop the fuel tank to get that pump out and it looks way too messy to do in a parking lot.
  18. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    Due to all the practice, I can probably do the job in a half hour now! I did not replace the rock shield, that is a pita and was rusted all to heck. The rig has 220000 miles on it, last weekend I drilled out the cats to let it breath, runs much better. Guess I'm not driving to CA any time soon?
  19. struggle

    struggle Minister of Fire

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    What do you mean drilled out the cats??

    As memory serves there are two cats on there and they also have 4 O2 sensors and provided all the electronics are working properly your down stream O2s will now read rich on fuel and then would lean out the engine fuel requirments which could cause engine damage. GM uses pretty wide parameters before setting a check engine light so it is possible to burn valves etc if you did actually drill the cats out.

    Have you noticed it getting better fuel mileage since this?

    At 220,000 miles the engine could run another 80K plus if cared for but I kind of doubt it if it is running lean all the time.

    I am not real big on being a tree hugger but the false sense that no cats are better than cats is very 1972 mind set.
  20. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    It was coding the cats for the last 6-8 months, running sluggish and stinky. I planned to take the cats off period, but it was a pain to do so piping in the driveway. I ended up punching a few 1/2" holes through the cats and remounting them. It runs much better, not sure on the gas mileage because I can't afford to fill it up! So you think it may cause problems? I read up on it quite a bit, from what I could tell at that mileage it is not a big deal? Feel free to inform me otherwise, I still don't plan to spend hundreds or more to replace with new at this point (the tranny will go the minute I do).
  21. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    There are two cats on these trucks and 4 O2 sensors. The downstream O2 sensors do nothing except to verify proper cat operation. Nothing that you do to the cats or to those downstream sensors will affect the fuel ratio. The ratios are dialed in by the front O2 sensors. If you can only afford to replace 2 of the 80$ sensors then do the fronts.

    I cooked my cats about a year ago towing a vintage station wagon on a trailer and had to replace them. The cats and the entire exhaust system downstream were glowing red from a bad misfire. By the way, a flashing SES light is bad. I used magnaflow high flow cats and they seem to work fine. 168000 on my truck.

    Our trucks do a weird test sequence where the fuel system either runs lean or rich for a few seconds and the computer looks for a change from the rear o2 sensors. Outright cat removal might cause this test to fail and a gore light to come on.
  22. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    Highbeam, so it should be ok? The O2's seem to be working fine, none of the codes were O2 specific (at least primarily), the codes I was getting were cat comments (due to the 02 readings?). The engine light was solid, I know blinky is bad. The light did come back on post repair (?), it stayed off for a couple of days then came back on. Before the drilling, if I reset the codes the light would be back on in hours. I plan to get the codes read again this week, the local auto parts store does it for no charge. They also did not feel there was a risk to doing this, just said don't drive in CA. They were more concerned about not doing anything because the engine was starting to have some perfromance isssues. Sorry to highjack the thread everyone, wasn't my intent!
  23. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Well you didn't really remove the cats but instead just made them less effective. So you are now working within the sensor's range of tolerance on when it calls foul. Worse case is the gore light will come on and stay on, the code will be a defective cat.

    You can drive all you want in CA but just don't move there or submit to an emissions test.

    I chose to replace them. Can you maybe source a set at the junkyard? The whole Y-pipe assembly is bolt-in. The GM cat system is pretty decent on these trucks.
  24. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    I think I'll coast for a while and just check the codes now and then to be sure I'm not missing anything. My original intent was to unbolt at the backet right before the muff, liquid wench, heat, and my air hammer had issue with that idea. I ended up making three cuts, was able to remove one cat totally and the other one side so that I was able to get at it. The biggest problem was getting parts, the shops kept saying 2", I kept saying 1 7/8", they didn't believe me until I walked in with a piece of pipe. Like I said before, it is running noticabily better, my wife even said something without even knowing what I'd done. I'm going to get another 100K out of her if it kills me!
  25. hilly

    hilly Feeling the Heat

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    Well, I got a prebent section of fuel line from the dealer and went to work. The rear comes off simply by pressing in two tabs, but the front was a quick-release fitting, that isn't unless you have the right tool. $20 later I had the correct tool and in about thirty minutes I had the old line off and the new one installed. It feels great to save a bunch of money and to have the ability to do-it-yourself, it's even better when my do-it-yourself work doesn't cost me four times extra because I create other problems to fix!

    I did find something odd with the old fuel line though. Where it was leaking had been, at one time, wrapped with some type of tape. My guess is that while it was under warranty the dealership saw the leak and did a quickie fix to it. Anyone heard of this before?

    Thanks for all the advice.
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