If you smell gas…

I was going to title this post “Even pros make mistakes” since this is not a story of something I did, but rather a tale of something my old mechanic did not do.

Every time I ran my 308, the garage always had a heady smell of fuel after. I dismissed this as a side-effect of the Webers. I mean… each of the eight bowls is filled with fuel and its not unreasonable to expect that fuel to evaporate off slowly and make my garage reek once I had been for a drive.

Ferrari 308 fuel leak
Fuel leaking from the incoming fuel line

However, the Webers were not to blame. While I was testing the new throttle cable I happened to be running the engine without the airbox on. After a short time, I saw fuel leaking out of the incoming fuel line accompanied by that familiar acrid smell. And not a small amount either, enough to wet the hose and the cam cover below it.

A quick investigation showed the hose clamp was loose. Really loose. Like never been tightened loose. This was a hose my mechanic had swapped out during the last service 5 years prior. Clearly, this clamp had been forgotten while the fuel lines had been replaced.

I’m not mad at my mechanic for missing this. My day job is one where mistakes are extremely costly. We take special precautions to find them early and eliminate them before they can become a problem. In other words, I know mistakes happen when humans are involved and one cannot eliminate them completely.

So, I suppose this post is a call to arms to double check work you have done on your car because mistakes will happen. And if you smell gas from a carb 308, check it… That smell could be a potentially dangerous leak and not just the romantic stench of some old Webers.

Disclaimer: 308restoration.com describes the restoration work I perform on my car and only my car. I am not a professional mechanic. The website content is presented for entertainment purposes only and should not be seen as any kind of advice, information, instruction or guidance for working on any other car. The opinions stated here are my own and no-one else’s.

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3 Responses

  1. Martin N. says:

    Do you have the flap in your freshly restored airbox? If yes, the car will smell anyway. On my 80 Euro carb car all is dry but after a good drive I ‘cook’ the fuel in the bowls and vapors escape through the intake duct. I became accustomed to it.

    • David says:

      The flap is now permanently open so the carbs can still vent after shutdown but so far that has not smelt as much as the leak did.

  2. Tom Jacobsmeyer says:

    My 1980 Euro 308 used to smell a lot after a run but it was due to poor carb tuning. The carbs were rebuilt 18 months ago and were not tuned very well. Since a retuning I don’t have the lingering gas smell after a run.

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