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2003 Escape 3.0L V6 149,000 miles 4x4. Three weeks ago a very strong fuel smell coming from rear of vehicle after I park it. Don't smell it anywhere else. Replaced the original fuel cap with after market. Smell stopped for a couple of days, then smell came back. Vapor smell so strong, have to leave overhead garage door open for hours or smell gets into the house. Fuel mileage is still good and idle is still smooth with no loss of power during acceleration. Looking for answers please.

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Do you see any evidence of fuel leakage on the garage floor? Drips might evaporate so you'll want to have something that will show evidence: e.g., white paper. Along those lines, is this an original fuel pump? Are you seeing leaks near the pump? – Bob Cross Sep 23 '13 at 15:06
check engine light on? Don't park it in the garage until you get this sorted out. – mikes Sep 23 '13 at 20:19
Check engine light is not on. Not seeing any signs of leak. Not sure if fuel pump is original. I have not gone to auto parts store to see if there are any codes to download. – William Gray Sep 26 '13 at 4:08
Check the fuel tank straps. There was a recall on some 2003 Ford Trucks for corrosion issues, and I've seen one report of a similar problem on a 2003 Escape (not part of the recall as far as I can tell). – Mark Johnson Sep 26 '13 at 18:11

The source of smells (not unlike rattles & squeaks) are deceptive.Check all components of fuel delivery system for leaks

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Have you checked the fuel filler pipes? These can sometimes rot or perish and cause vapours to escape.

The same can also happen with the fuel tank ventilator pipes, which allow air in to the tank as the fuel level drops.

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