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canistor vent solenoid
11-25-2012, 09:55 PM
Post: #1
canistor vent solenoid
2000 cavalier......I was just wondering if it is normal after probably 2 years of a canister vent solenoid not being hooked up,for their to be a strong odor of gas coming from the exhaust pipe after being hooked up after all that time. I got the code about two years ago and replaced the gas cap,and it didnt work so I just let it go. I just recently realized the wires from the solenoid to the harness were broke. The car seems to be running really good even noticed the slight miss I had has gone away. I cleared the code and so far it hasn't came back on. Thanks in advance
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11-26-2012, 10:22 AM
Post: #2
RE: canistor vent solenoid
The slight odor may or may not be related but at that age I would double check all of your vacuum lines for both soft ones that can collapse while running, and brittle ones that may be cracked / broken.

That said, the carbon canister is a funny item without any real specs published. The way to check it is to disconnect it and feel it. One with life left will feel like it's empty and weight maybe a pound or so. If it's "used up" or "full" it will feel heavy.... maybe 5 pounds. Basically they clog up with time and in the case where the purge doesn't work for an extended period it may be due for replacement.

Most cars never need one so if you are short on cash you might try the local salvage yard to go the cheap route.

Let us know how you make out here and if that helps the odor. I'm headed out the door on vacation for 12 days but the other guys will be around if you need more info.
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11-26-2012, 02:55 PM
Post: #3
RE: canistor vent solenoid
The smell has gone away I have used carb, intake and injector cleaner on a regular basis and have changed the fuel filter. I have also cleaned throttle body and changed the IAC valve on the car, all within the last week or so. This is the cleaner I used 3 days ago (Berryman® B-12 Chemtool® - Carburetor, Fuel System & Injector Cleaner)So far the car is running great. I am thinking about cleaning the canister and vent valve if the smell comes back. Thanks for your quick respomse
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11-26-2012, 10:40 PM
Post: #4
RE: canistor vent solenoid
The canister is filled with activated charcoal chips that absorb excess fuel vapor. You can't clean it. If it feels heavy the only option is to change it. If it's not acting up (and you are obviously not in a state that requires emissions testing) then leave it alone for now.

Heading to the airport on vacation in 6 hours so drop us a note in a week or two to let us know how things are. Perhaps one of the other moderators can chime in while I am gone.
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11-27-2012, 10:45 AM (This post was last modified: 11-27-2012 10:46 AM by scotttt1970.)
Post: #5
RE: canistor vent solenoid
OK I wasn't aware you couldn't clean the canister. I do not plan on messing with it unless it starts acting up, but just for knowledge sake can the vent valve be cleaned if need be? And thanks for everything, and have a safe flight
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11-28-2012, 06:30 AM
Post: #6
RE: canistor vent solenoid
I really don't know if they "can" be cleaned? I would imagine that it is possible. However, they are also prone to leaking which will turn on the Check Engine Light. I found a new one for a Cavalier (you didn't tell us what engine is in yours) for under $20.00. Considering the work involved to take it off, I think that I would just replace it.

Thanks for using the forum,
Garner

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11-28-2012, 09:07 AM
Post: #7
RE: canistor vent solenoid
Sorry it is a 2.2 liter 4 cylinder. If it starts messing up I will just replace it, I didn't realize it was so cheap. I will leave you alone now with all the stupid questions. Well until the next thing that goes wrong with this car. Thanks for all the good information.
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11-28-2012, 09:25 PM
Post: #8
RE: canistor vent solenoid
Your questions aren't stupid. That's what we are here for, to "try" to answer questions. Who knows, may-be someone else had the same questions but wouldn't ask? Stop back anytime if you have more issues.

Thanks for using the forum,
Garner

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11-29-2012, 10:56 PM
Post: #9
RE: canistor vent solenoid
Sure will
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12-08-2012, 01:59 AM
Post: #10
RE: canistor vent solenoid
Hey, just back and glad to see you are catching on. (even though I am a week late)

That vent valve (usually near 2 inches across, black, round, plastic) has a diaphram in it. When they go bad (hole in the diaphram) the manifold vac sucks excess fuel vapor to the point where you may actually have a drop in MPG or smell raw fuel under the hood. In that case replace the diaphram / valve assembly and let it ride for a few weeks then recheck the canister to see if it has lightened up substantially. Basically the idea is a short term problem may "self purge" after things are fixed and then you are done.
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