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Dodgerench, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 3408
Experience:  30+ years Dodge/Chrysler exp., ASE Master with L1 certification. Driveability/ combustion specialist
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2003 dodge caravan gas spirts out when filling tank

Customer Question

2003 dodge caravan gas spirts out when filling tank
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  Dodgerench replied 1 year ago.

Hi, welcome to JustAnswer!. This is Ed.

When fuel spews back out of the fill tube and soaks your Keds, there is only one possible solution.

Replace the tank.

A forceful regurgitation of fuel when filling happens only when the check valve integral to the tank has failed. I'll explain.

Fuel entering the tank displaces vapor volume, which is forced out through the tank vent valve and through the vapor canister for storage. This happens until the tank reaches capacity, when the vent closes and pressure begins to build in the tank.

At first, it goes unnoticed because incoming volume of fuel from the fill tube exceeds pressure in the tank, but eventually the two values become equal. At that point, incoming fuel no longer has free entry and pressure in the tank is trying to push this fuel backward, up the tube. At this equillibrium moment, fuel should back up in the tube, causing the fill pump to shut off.

Enter: The check valve.

This check valve that sits in the tank prevents fuel from being forced backward. If it fails, fuel still backs up in the fill tube, but once the pump shuts off, there's nothing to stop the pressure built up inside the tank from expelling fuel from the tube out the top. It's quite dramatic, as you know.

The only fix for your 2003 Caravan is to either replace the entire fuel tank or to fill much more-slowly as you anticipate the tank reaching its capacity. Stopping short of capacity will work as well, but that's a judgement call and prone to error.

The check valve I mentioned is built into the tank unit and isn't serviced separately, so you won't find a part number for it.

It's the tank. The whole thing.

Let me know if you have any questions. I'll be glad to help.