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Old 01-05-2022, 10:45 PM   #1
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The Smog Check Fiasco

My 2013 E350 was due for its first smog check so I started over a month early to get that taken care of. I had a 5-Star tune on my van so I reset it back to stock and then drove it a couple hundred miles. On the day I took the van down to get smogged the check engine light lit up on the drive there. What are the odds? I checked the gas cap and it was hanging loose behind the filler door. I assumed someone tried to steal gas and left the cap off. I screwed the cap back on and drove home where I cleared the PO442 (small evap leak) code and went back to the station to get tested. I soon learned that there was a “drive cycle” to complete before I could get smogged. The smog check guy showed me how to use my code reader to tell if all of my monitors were ok and ready for the smog check.

So I set off to drive the van in the required fashion when a gas cap light lit up. That soon turned into another CEL coming on as well. I checked the gas cap and it was deformed and wasn’t able to get a proper seal. I ordered a new cap and once it was installed I cleared the CEL and then set out to do the drive cycle again. The CEL came on again just as I completed the cycle and got all of the monitors ready. I was about 2 weeks from the due date for my registration so I took the van to a shop. They tested the system and found that the purge valve was bad & would not handle pressure greater than 15 psi if I remember right. That was replaced and away I went to clear the monitors again.

Before I could get them cleared and ready for a smog test the CEL light came on again. So I took the van back to the shop and made sure that they did a smoke check to see if there were any leaks elsewhere. They ended up finding a leak above the 46 gallon Transferflow tank. Dropping the tank showed there to be a crack on top. The shop originally thought that a new tank was likely needed but after calls were made to Sportsmobile and Transferflow it was decided that a new sending unit/rollover valve would be the fix. So that was done and away I went again.

I drove the van and did see a pending PO442 code but hoped that it would go away. Just as I got the last monitor to clear the CEL came on. Again. After questioning the shop as to their ability to fix the problem they assure me they could do it. So back to the shop it went. They dropped the tank again and tested everything thoroughly and found nothing wrong. They did clear a bit of debris from the fill tube that may have caused it not to seal properly. They cleared the Evap monitor and no pending codes were seen so things looked good. I drove the van home and over the next couple of days I was able to get all monitors cleared and ok to smog. No pending codes at all. I got the van to pass smog a couple of days ago and have driven the van over 100 miles since and no pending codes are found and all looks good.

My van doesn’t get used due to busy work schedules and only has 17,000 miles on it. It appears that pressure built up in the tank somehow and did not get vented. I think the pressure blew the cap off causing the deformation. The pressure also likely killed the purge valve and cracked the sending unit on top of the tank. Does anyone who has read this far know how the vent could get blocked? Where would I find the vent? Kind of a bummer that a vehicle that sits in a driveway somehow ends up costing me $1,700 and a lot of stress. It was a couple weeks late but it finally did pass smog.

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Old 01-06-2022, 12:16 PM   #2
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Not sure if your 2013 is the same as my 2007 with the V10...but a few years ago I started having problems with getting fuel into my tank - back pressure making the nozzle pop off. The problem was traced to the vent for the charcoal canister for the fuel tank that sits up behind the spare tire (stock location). That canister has a vent on it, and I found mine to be completely plugged with dirt and mud (my van lives in the dirt). I cleaned out the vent, and then attached a vent line to it that runs all the way to behind the driver's side headlight. No more problems with dirt plugging up the vent.
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Old 01-06-2022, 12:26 PM   #3
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Google "Ford TSB 09-20-12". It has to do with the charcoal canisters being completely clogged with dirt, plugging the vent and creating pressure in the tank.
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Old 01-06-2022, 03:24 PM   #4
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As mentioned by deserteagle, I had the same issue with a faulty vent hose/tube which would not allow me to fill up the tank very easily. The gas nozzle would constantly click off. When I got my 4x4 conversion done, the guys at Agile said the hose was deteriorated pretty bad and replaced it. Never had a problem since.

Where did you get your tank from? I passed on getting a bigger tank when I got my conversion done, thinking I wouldnt need it, but now that I tow a travel trailer it would be extremely helpful to have the extra gallons.

With the new smog laws and aftermarket tunes, do you just have to reload the factory tune and you're good to go? I'm wanting to get a 5 star for my van and also get my CTS-V tuned.
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Old 01-06-2022, 03:55 PM   #5
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Same thing happens in my old Land Cruiser. There is a reason those emissions canisters aren't used anymore
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Old 01-06-2022, 08:23 PM   #6
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I sometimes have the pump annoyingly click off when filling......so I need to clear the vent line from the tank to the carbon canister?
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Old 01-06-2022, 11:12 PM   #7
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Seems like running sea foam through it would clean it. Some people get all worked up against that but it is just petroleum distillate not napalm
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Old 01-06-2022, 11:39 PM   #8
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The Smog Check Fiasco

Thanks all. I’ll check the charcoal canister and all hoses. I’ve never had an issue filling up the tank. It always fills normally and never clicks off early.

My tank was a Transferflow tank that Sportsmobile added as part of my original build back in 2013. I did call Transferflow when it was thought that I would need a new tank and they stated that they don’t make them anymore. SMB was the main buyer of those tanks and I guess they now use someone else.

As far as the tune goes you just need to put it back to stock. The stock tune is saved on the device 5-Star uses so it’s a simple procedure. You then need to drive some distance so that whatever data they look at can populate. I drove around 200 miles before trying to get smogged.
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Old 01-07-2022, 09:21 AM   #9
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The TransferFlow "46" gal tank was made for SMB and QuadVan. Quadvan still buys them but they have to buy a minimum of something like five. They usually use them only for their conversions and do not sell them individually.

The tanks are CARB approved in CA. Note though: different model year ranges have different approvals so, strictly as an example, a 1999 to 2002 approved tank does not meet CARB if used in a 2006 to 2009 van and vice versus. The TF sticker on the door jamb is important to pass a smog check, at least in most of CA.
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Old 01-07-2022, 12:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boywonder View Post
I sometimes have the pump annoyingly click off when filling......so I need to clear the vent line from the tank to the carbon canister?
On my van the blockage was not between the tank and canister, it was the vent for the canister itself. It's best to take down the whole canister assembly and make sure it doesn't have a buildup of dirt/mud inside.

If you google TSB 09-20-12 you'll see a parts list on there, part of which is a vent kit for the canister. That may work for you. Again, because my van is constantly in the dirt I chose to move the vent opening all the way to the front of the van where there would be minimal dust.
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