|Posted: June 11 2007 at 12:17 | IP Logged
You should make all efforts to find the source of the fuel odour immediately.
Typically, your AC draws air from not only the cold air return but the bilge. I find that I get whatever odour residing in my bilge being delivered by the AC.
Partial Solution: Clean your bilge and check your engine's exterior and surrounding area for oil deposits/leakage.
Critical: You should be concerned that those bilge odours are normally vented by your blowers and passive bilge vents and rarely make it in the cockpit or cabin where they may raise attention. Your AC may be making you aware of a much more serious problem.
Normally you should do a sniff (by nose) test of your bilge to check for explosive gases. This is done while the engine is not running, nor the blowers or AC that may reduce the concentration. You can do it again with the engine running (after appropriate blower time prior to starting).
More importantly, visually inspect for fuel (liquid or vapour) leaks. Check the fuel tank fill and vent lines for cracks as well as the fuel transfer line to the fuel pump and delivery line to carburetor. Check that the flame arrester is clean and if not, clean it with soap and water (not gasoline or solvents).
Naturally, I assume you have a gas detector installed. If not, get one.
The movie at the link shown gives an idea what happens if sufficient fuel vapours are present and a spark in created. Note comments about non-marine electrical components.
1983 355 AC