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Porsche Crest Notorious Carrera 3.2L rear fuel line leak revisited (long)

Yes, I was just plagued by the dreaded leaking rear fuel line. This is the rear rubber fuel line that attaches to the fuel pressure regulator, and runs longitudinally behind the intake. This is a notorious problem on the Carrera 3.2Lís. Considering the number of failure incidents (not to mention car fires), the factory should have issued a recall for this a long time ago! Porsche even redesigned the part, so when you go to your dealer to drop $500+ for it (more on that later), you will get the updated version.

So, before I go any further: If anyone with a 3.2L Carrera has a strong fuel odor (especially when operating the center heat levers), this line is probably the culprit. It can happen quickly, and can GUSH fuel into your engine compartment . NOT GOOD! To the DIYíer this will prove to be a challenge, but from my experience, it is very straight forward if you take your time. If this is something that you donít think you can tackle, then prepare to spend between $800-$900 at a shop (which is a "fair" price range).

First, I want to dismiss the myth that you have to partially drop the engine, or at least remove the intake to do the job. You donít have to do either. While it might be quicker with a lift to partially drop the engine to gain access from underneath, most of us donít own a lift. I did it with the car on the ground, engine in, and intake on. The only pieces I removed were the air flow meter and airbox (as one unit), blower motor with shroud (as one unit), and the blower-to-exchanger air tube. Granted, the job was much easier with the aid of a good shop light and inspection mirror.

Next, I want to dismiss the myth that you have to use the factory replacement line because they are ďPorsche-onlyĒ fittings. You donít have to bend over at the dealership parts counter and pay the ridiculous $500+ price. Unfortunately though, compatible fittings can be difficult to find. After making about 6 phone calls, I found a large fitting supply company that had them. They made me a whole new line in about 20 minutes using better-than-factory (and still metric) fittings and hose for under $75. The other route is to go to a shop that specializes in aircraft or racecar fittings (AN, Aeroquip style) and have them fabricate a new line using your existing fittings. This involves cutting the existing fittings off of the old hose, and brazing AN connectors on each one. Although, the Aeroquip line will probably cost you a lot more (still nowhere near $500 though). Just make sure that the person making up the line is aware that the line will be used for unleaded gasoline in a high-pressure fuel system, so the correct type of hose is used (there are many types of hose).


Ok, now on to fixing this nasty problem (mini tech article?):

1. Disconnect the battery.
2. Remove airbox cover(snorkel), and filter.
3. Remove the 10mm nuts that hold airbox to the intake runners.
4. Remove 10mm nut from the air flow meter (AFM) manifold bracket.
5. Unplug the AFM wiring harness.
6. Unscrew clamp that holds AFM to black rubber intake boot.
7. Remove AFM and airbox as one unit (donít have to remove airbox from AFM).
8. Block intake boot with a clean cloth (old T-shirt, or shop rags).
9. Unscrew clamp to heat exchanger tube (next to the dizzy cap).
10. Remove two 8mm bolts (one in front, one behind) holding heat tube to blower motor.
11. Remove heat tube.
12. Remove four 10mm bolts that hold blower shroud in place (this is the black plastic piece that usually has the shell sticker on it). Quarter-drive short & long sockets go a long way here. You will need to remove the dizzy cap to gain access to the lower bolt. You donít have to remove the wires though, just the cap. It may also make things easier if you remove the ground cables that attach to the manifold as well (one 10mm bolt).
13. Remove three 10mm nuts holding the blower motor in place.
14. Unplug wiring harness/plug from the blower motor.
15. Slide blower motor and shroud out (as one unit) out from under the cruise control cable (if applicable).
16. Loosen the driverís side fitting of the fuel line (19mm open-end/fitting wrench). This is where patience, persistence, a good work light, and that inspection mirror come into play (for me this was the most difficult step, for both removal and re-installation)! First find a short(er) 19mm wrench. Next, prop up the light and mirror so that you can clearly see the fitting, but keep them out of the way. Now coming from the left, simply find your way to the fitting, and get a good seat on it with the wrench. Now pull the wrench towards you to loosen it up. Just be aware that it is on there pretty tight, so watch your fingers/knuckles. You will probably need a couple turns with the wrench before being able to use your fingers too.
17. Loosen the passengerís side fitting of the fuel line. This is MUCH easier, and you have quite a bit of room to work with. Basically, the same routine as above, except this time remember to push the wrench to loosen instead of pull!
18. Cut any zip-ties that hold the fuel line to the wiring harness.
19. Gently pry the fuel hose from the center bracket from the bottom, using a long small flat screwdriver or other tool of choice.
20. Slide the fuel line out, feeding it to the right through the opening where the airbox sits. Be careful not to knock the vacuum line off that runs to the back of the rubber intake boot.

Installation is the reverse of the previous steps, but here are some tips:

1. When installing the new line, connect the driverís side fitting first. Make sure that the line is in, or at least on top of the plastic holding bracket before you start!
2. During this entire process, you will have to get creative with where you can fit your hands and/or fingers. Donít be afraid to ďget in thereĒ. I found it easiest to fold up a couple big ďgarageĒ blankets to kneel on during the whole thing, with another draped over the rear of the carís bumper and reflector panel.
3. Make sure that you have correct thread engagement with the new fittings before using the wrench to tighten things up.
4. Make sure to remove the T-shirt/rag from the intake boot!
5. Prior to reinstalling the heater motor/shroud (but after installing everything else), start the car and inspect the entire line and both fittings for leaks, using the mirror and light. Once you confirm that there are no leaks, install the blower motor/shroud.
6. Congratulations, you are done, and you just saved a heap of cash!


any comments, suggestions, or corrections are appreciated!

Last edited by Eric Coffey; 12-24-2002 at 03:06 PM..
Old 09-13-2002, 07:36 PM
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Who made your new fuel lines? Do they work mail order?
-Chris
Old 09-13-2002, 08:33 PM
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Here is my experience:

Bought 86 Carrera 2 years ago with slight fuel leak. When engine was out to replace clutch mechanic said to replace fuel line for $100 plus small labor cost because engine was already out. I said OK.

Called back to say Porsche had changed the part and it was now $500. Despite his strong advice I had the original fuel line repaired professionally for $80 than buy a new one for $500.

A year later coming back from the store one day I smelled strong gas smell in the car. Driver in the car next to me motioned to roll down the window, when I did he said gasoline was pouring out of the back of my car.

I pulled over on the next street in front of a house with a red 930 in the drive way. Owner let me use his hose to wash down the engine. What if the engine had been hotter or if there wasn't a hose near by?

Had the car taken to another mechanic near by and the fuel line replaced with the $500 part. The old line didn't leak where it had been repaired it leaked in a new area. Mechanic did not need to drop engine the second time, but did remove intake system. Allows you to clean in that part of the engine and replace injector seals. Eliminated the slight vacuum leak and idle is now smoother.

Moral of the story is replace the fuel line with a new one. The original lines are old and very prone to leaking. Repairing the old one is a waste of money and dangerous.

Pete
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Old 09-14-2002, 09:27 AM
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Pete,
I think there is a difference between patching a damaged line and rebuilding/reproducing one. Every rubber part should have been replaced not just the leaking part.
-Chris
Old 09-14-2002, 09:46 AM
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I think there is something inherently wrong with the design of the part. What makes me think that? I've never heard of any other make or model of car with such a high incidence of fuel leaks.

Also why would Porsche quit making the original part and replace with a completely redesigned and more expensive to make part? I don't buy the argument that they are trying to stick it to the customer.

My opinion would probably be the same as yours if I did not experience that massive fuel leak.
Old 09-14-2002, 09:54 AM
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after having a repaired line leak, i'm not going to do that anymore. just new ones. pelican can beat the dealer price by a considerable amount.
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Old 09-14-2002, 10:57 AM
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Porsche Crest Don't repair the old line!!!

Pete and John make excellent points. So, I hope there was no confusion on my original post. I do NOT advocate fixing the existing line. That is just asking for trouble. I had a completely new line made up (new fittings, and hose). The new line uses the same metric fittings, and actually better hose than the factory part uses. It is rated at much higher psi as well.


Chris-

The company that made up the line is called "Western Fluid Components". I'm not sure if they do mail-order though. I had to come down so they could take a look at the old line, and ask few questions before making the new one.
Old 09-14-2002, 03:57 PM
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I am trying to replace the "other" leaky fuel line which is the one from the pressure regulator to the damper. I can't seem to get a wrench on the end on the driver's side. There does not seem to be enough room to move even a tiny wrench assuming I could get it on there. Has anyone done this without removing the engine? I have most of the stuff out of the way, i.e. heater plumbing, air flow meter, etc.
TIA
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Old 10-28-2004, 04:34 PM
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My 88 3.2 is about ready to have a clutch replacement.
Is there a list of rubber that needs to be replaced as long as the engine is out?
I 'd like to have them in hand from Pelican so I don't need to pay the $500 part bite from the Porsche dealer via my mechanic.
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Old 10-28-2004, 04:55 PM
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The part I replaced was sent overnight from Pelican...absolutely awesome service I might add and the part was only $57. The others are reasonably priced except the one $500 part that pretty much everyone agrees is an absolute ripoff. This is the one that most shops can just replace the rubber part and it's good as new, or better. I would not bother with "repairing" the others since they seemed pretty reasoble, if bought from Pelican.
I'd hate to drop the engine just for this but it looks like I may have to.
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Old 10-28-2004, 05:05 PM
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I found that you could replace the three T-lined fuel line by cutting the offending leaking line, and disconnecting the pieces with the intake and plastic still on the engine.

I only took off the heater blower motor and my cruise-control unit.

I then further found the adapters (the hard metal sides) have nipples on the rubber fuel line side. After cutting the crimped pieces off, you now have a nearly perfect nipple and adapter piece.

I have replaced all three rubber lines with "FUEL INJECTION" hose at my local auto parts store. I then put FUEL INJECTION clamps on each nipple side.

This was done two years ago, no problems so far.


Putting it back in was fairly easy, as I didn't connect the fuel line to the nipples BEFORE I put the hard lines back on.
In other words, I put the hard lines on, then connected the rubber lines on the nipples. Clamped it all together. Done.


Good luck.
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Old 10-28-2004, 07:08 PM
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I have two really small photos, before I got a digital camera... but for some reason, I can't upload anything right now.
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Old 10-28-2004, 07:11 PM
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Eric, There are two fuel lines on the 3.2L cars that go bad. From your description it sounds to me like you replaced the one that went bad on my car, except that hose only costs $50 from Pelican and is relatively easy to get in and out. You shouldn't have to remove anything but the airbox and the blower and blower duct and should be a 30 min to 1 hour job. The other hose that goes bad costs $500 at the dealer and can also be done without a partial engine drop but will take much much longer and be much more difficult. For that one you probably really are better off dropping the engine.

The one line, the one that it sounds like you replaced is a straight rubber line with crimped metal ends that is about 18" long. It's pretty much impossible to see because it's behind the intake. THe other that you did not replace is mostly metal, about 3-3.5 feet long altogether, and is shaped roughly like a capital J or a T with a tail. The metal portion runs from the rear driver's side of the engine near the fuel filter behind the engine, then makes a 90* curve to run directly under the intake down the center of the engine, and then at the back of the hump for the alternator and fan it forms a T. At this T the metal line gives way to crimped on rubber line running to each front end of the fuel rails.

I tried to make a drawing of the top of the engine with the cheap, relatively easy hose in blue and the much more expensive harder to replace hose in red/black. THe red portion is the metal, and the black is the rubber. It runs under the blue hose and intake which is why it's not continuous.

I hope this helps. BTW, if I just misunderstood, I apologize. I don't mean to criticize, I just want to make sure everyone has a good understanding of what's going on.



The round part on the left is the fuel filter, the black box on the right is the airbox (or what I hope passes for one), and the two gray lines on either side are the fuel rails.

Hopefully the drawing isn't too big, I have my resolution set high, so I never know how these'll look on a more normal resolution.
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Old 10-28-2004, 07:13 PM
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This happened on my brothers 87 coupe when the engine was reassembled after sitting for a year. The old one leaked like a sieve. He bit the bullet and got a new one, even when the garage offered him a used one of another car for free. You don't want to take any chances with fuel leaks in the engine compartment.
Old 10-28-2004, 07:14 PM
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WHen I had my car I did what Nick did. Total cost was about $10 for fuel line hose and clamps.
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Old 10-28-2004, 07:17 PM
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Does anyone have a pic showing the new updated Porsche $500 line?
BAT in Florida sells 14X1.5 male fittings for use with Aeroquip line, essentially the line could be made up in 3 sections with a "T" mounted to the tab in the stock plenum location.
Thanks,
J.P.
Old 10-28-2004, 07:18 PM
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Eric:
Do you have the contact # for Western Fluid Components?
J.P.
Old 10-28-2004, 07:22 PM
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Yah, that's as big as they get.
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Old 10-28-2004, 07:23 PM
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Ahhh, here's my write-up.

It has held up GREAT!

I kept a VERY watchful eye on it for two days (commute 21 miles each way). I kept the heater on (it was a little warm during the spring-time) so I can smell for any fuel...

Turning the heater(s) on helps to blow air in from the engine compartment.. thereby allowing you to smell for fuel.

I did smell fuel, however, it turned out to be my evaporative control system inside the trunk area (cracked lines). You can imagine how often I pulled over!

My driverís side on the "T" line is what started to leak. Since I spent all the time pulling the line out, I decided to do ALL the fittings.

I simply cut the metal clamp parallel to the fuel line with a hacksaw. Be very careful not to damage the hard "T" line. Basically, as soon as youíre through the clamp, you hit rubber. But be careful of the hard "T" lines nipples. After the clamp was cut, I was able to get a screwdriver and some pliers underneath the clamp and pop-it-off. All right only five more to go!

Be sure to get some GOOD quality (GoodYear) fuel-injection line. As I know, I certainly don't want to do this again. Also get some FUEL-INJECTION clamps. These are the solid screw type clamps as opposed to the clamps with holes in the strap
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Old 10-28-2004, 07:25 PM
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I had my lines done in braided stainless hose. Cost me $150 and they look better as well!

Ralph
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Old 10-28-2004, 08:55 PM
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