Fuel Smell from the exhaust
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This is a discussion on Fuel Smell from the exhaust within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Hi... I'm brand new to the forum and brand new to Subaru as well. I recently got a used 2004 ...

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    Fuel Smell from the exhaust

    Hi... I'm brand new to the forum and brand new to Subaru as well. I recently got a used 2004 Impreza WRX in Texas, moved to Colorado the day of purchase (long story...), and am currently experiencing a very strong fuel smell from the exhaust, and fuel economy is suffering. I do not smell any fuel in the engine area. No parts have been changed, and no mods since purchase. I am brand new to the "mods" concept.

    It also seems that the car is a bit sluggish on initial acceleration.



    MODS -- I honestly do not know. I wasn't told of any engine modifications, but the car does have a scoop on the hood. I can post a pic of the engine area later this morning if that would help.

    GAS -- Sorry to say that finances don't allow more than Regular Unleaded (87 Octane I believe?)

    MILES -- 78000

    I haven't done anything yet to try to fix this problem, however, I would prefer to work on it myself if there are some general things I can try before taking it in. I enjoy working on my Jeep, but I'm no auto mechanic. I can follow instructions, though! Is there any chance the change in altitude has anything to do with this? And if so... would it have been immediate or could it have taken some time to develop?

    Thanks in advance for any help or advice!!
    Tracy

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    Registered User maus's Avatar
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    Whoa whoa whoa....

    First stop using 87 octane. It costs like $2 more to run 93 octane and these motors need it. You're asking for problems if you continue running 87 octane and it is probably sluggish because of this. You probably have mad knock.
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    Sammich Makin' Pwincess wrxtreme06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maus View Post
    Whoa whoa whoa....

    First stop using 87 octane. It costs like $2 more to run 93 octane and these motors need it. You're asking for problems if you continue running 87 octane and it is probably sluggish because of this. You probably have mad knock.
    +80 bajillion. i know times are tough but if you honestly cant afford the extra few dollars you must sell your car and buy one that runs regular or find another means of transportation. we cannot use 87 octane

    if youre not sure of what mods the car has you should have a knowledgeable subaru mechanic look over the car. if you have a true WRX, the hood scoop is stock. if you have an impreza, the hood was probably swapped with a wrx hood

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    Quote Originally Posted by wrxtreme06 View Post
    +80 bajillion. i know times are tough but if you honestly cant afford the extra few dollars you must sell your car and buy one that runs regular or find another means of transportation. we cannot use 87 octane

    if youre not sure of what mods the car has you should have a knowledgeable subaru mechanic look over the car. if you have a true WRX, the hood scoop is stock. if you have an impreza, the hood was probably swapped with a wrx hood
    +90 Bajillion

    Key items to know
    1.) Boxer engine, AWD - All Wheel Drive
    2.) 2.5i, WRX, WRX STi are the 3 different model types (generally only the WRX and STi have hood scoops that direct air to your intercooler)
    3.) WRX and and WRX STi REQUIRE high octane fuel because they are turbo charged engines, do not put 87 Octane in a WRX unless your stranded and have no other choice.....
    3a.)Get the 87 out of your fuel tank as quickly as you can if you have a WRX
    4.) Read your owners manual. Please for your own sake.

  6. #5
    FMS
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    You may have a catless downpipe, I have seen this cause an exhaust smell in the cabin. Is the exhaust stock?
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    93 Octane fuel is only 5-10% more expensive than 87 octane. On a typical $50 fill-up, that's half of a tip at a nice dinner. If you drive 10K miles a year averaging 22mpg, you're only spending approx. $115 extra in gas from 93 octane PER YEAR. $115 is certainly much cheaper than the $5K+ you'll spend in an engine rebuild when your motor inevitably toasts a piston ring.
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    Ok... I am more than open to the gas change. I simply have to admit to ignorance. It's what I've always used, but for certain, I've never owned a car similar to this! And the dealership was nice enough to sell it to us without an owner's manual, which we didn't realize until we were states away!

    So... I have a 1/4 tank of this gas left. Should I fill it up with high octane gas before driving further? Or should I drive to almost empty before refueling?

    Also, is there any additive that I can use at this point to further help the situation I've caused? Would the Chevron Techron that I've read about be of benefit?

    Lastly... is it completely plausible that the choice of gas is the sole cause of the problems at this point?

    Further info: I cannot find anything in the engine area to tell me if there are any mods; exhaust says "STI"; I don't know enough to say if it is a catless downpipe but I am trying to educate myself; rear of car says Impreza WRX. I believe a search of the VIN also lists the car as a WRX, not a WRX STI. I will work on posting photo from under hood...

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    Registered User maus's Avatar
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    I would start fueling up with 93 as soon as possible and drive the car really easy on this tank. I wouldn't use any additives. Just take it easy on this next tank. Definitely post pictures of the engine bay and anything else you have questions about.

    You can get the Subaru owners manual here:

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    Quote Originally Posted by natimage View Post
    Ok... I am more than open to the gas change. I simply have to admit to ignorance. It's what I've always used, but for certain, I've never owned a car similar to this! And the dealership was nice enough to sell it to us without an owner's manual, which we didn't realize until we were states away!

    So... I have a 1/4 tank of this gas left. Should I fill it up with high octane gas before driving further? Or should I drive to almost empty before refueling?

    Also, is there any additive that I can use at this point to further help the situation I've caused? Would the Chevron Techron that I've read about be of benefit?

    Lastly... is it completely plausible that the choice of gas is the sole cause of the problems at this point?

    Further info: I cannot find anything in the engine area to tell me if there are any mods; exhaust says "STI"; I don't know enough to say if it is a catless downpipe but I am trying to educate myself; rear of car says Impreza WRX. I believe a search of the VIN also lists the car as a WRX, not a WRX STI. I will work on posting photo from under hood...
    You should refill now. You will increase the effective octane of the fuel to safer levels.

    Please take a picture of the engine bay, and specifically the rear left of the engine bay and post it here.
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    ...hoping the image insertion worked... I will work on a couple more. I welcome any information anyone has to give me regarding this image. Thanks for the owner's manual link!! I will read it!!!

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    Left rear of engine bay...
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    Captain James of the SS Impreza has gone down with the ship Drews's Avatar
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    Very stock.
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    zax
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drews View Post
    Very stock.


    Yep. Can't get more stock than that.
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    Captain James of the SS Impreza has gone down with the ship Drews's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zax View Post


    Yep. Can't get more stock than that.
    Could take the strut tower brace off. That wuld be more stock.
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    Do you just smell gas when the car is warming up? This may be normal as the car is in warm-up fuel enrichment mode. Is the car a manual or automatic? If an automatic, it will be sluggish regardless off the line. Keep in mind that a Kia Rio will have more off-the-line torque compared to this low-displacement, low-compression motor with a large exhaust restriction (turbo).
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