Piper Cherokee 180 Fuel leak in cowling area

Once in a great while, I noticed a fuel leak from inside the cowling when sumping the Curtis drain valve on the fuel strainer. It only occurs when activating the sump drain. Unfortunately, I didn't get the cowling off in time to pinpoint where the leak was coming from. The fuel drips from inside the cowling and exits to the ground from the bottom of the cowling. Then it usually stops for months before the fault suddenly occurs again with no warning.

Does anybody have an idea what is leaking and why it suddenly stops?


Jack Bantle


  • Hi Jack,
    I've just repaired two fuel leaks in my '77 Seneca and I happen to have a 1968 Cherokee D (180) manual in front of me. My Piper experience (over 50 years and seven airplanes that I've owned) tell me the following. Curtis drain valves need to be replaced every couple of years. They're cheap and are available from Aircraft Spruce, among other suppliers. Regarding the gascolator (sump) drain; that drain valve may also need replacing. The rubber gaskets in them crack and get foreign material in them. Replace it and the drip should stop. :) Good luck!

    Scott Sherer
    FAA Master Pilot
    Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.
    Need help? Let me know!

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