I have a 1986 ford ranger [2.9] and I am getting a strong gas smell
this is a problem- a fire hazard and an environmental hazard- (you're breathin' it)- somehow, your closed fuel system has developed a leak- look for drips- last time this happened to me, it turned out to be injector seals on my 1981 Fiat Spider
Stop driving until you can figure this one out. The Nylon fuel lines, fuel filter and sometimes a fuel pump are on the frame rail under your seat (as you described it). If you aren't mechanically inclined, have it towed to a shop. Don't drive it.
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