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DIY: Fuel Door Actuator Lock Removal / Clean-Lube / Replacing

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Old 01-05-2011, 04:21 PM
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DIY: Fuel Door Actuator Lock Removal / Clean-Lube / Replacing

After my wife calls me complaining about the fuel door not opening again when attempting to fill up (this has been a frequent event lately), I searched the forums and found some feedback on what the problem could be. Can't remember who was all involved, but you know who you are... Thank you!

So I decided to do a DIY because it seems that this may be more than an isolated incident.

Apparently the fuel door lock actuator latch gets sticky/gummed up and it makes it difficult for the solenoid to move it, so here are some simple steps of locating, lubing and replacing yours.

1. First lets open up the trunk and locate the plastic pop rivets (should be three to four of them). Two are the cargo net anchors (circled), one in the middle of the panel (circled) and the other may or may not be hidden behind the rear seat panel (arrow).

DIY: Fuel Door Actuator Lock Removal / Clean-Lube / Replacing-p1090368.jpg

Pop these out using a small flathead screw driver (pry underneath the flat slots until head pops up about 1/4" or so).

DIY: Fuel Door Actuator Lock Removal / Clean-Lube / Replacing-p1090367.jpg

2. Remove the inner trunk panel and set it aside. Note: it will probably be easier to remove the trunk floor carpet and foam cushions prior to removing the inner trunk panel.

The actuator should now be easily accessible.

3. Disconnect the wire harness and pull the latch to the rear to manually unlock the latch (see arrow in pic below).

DIY: Fuel Door Actuator Lock Removal / Clean-Lube / Replacing-p1090366.jpg

Note: This would be a good time to check voltage to the plug (wire harness) while activating your remote lock/unlock. If no voltage is detected, then begin troubleshooting electrical issues (ie: fuses, corrosion, etc.)

4. Now, open the fuel door and remove the quarter-turn cam lock (this has two tabs that need to be pryed just a little from their respective notches in order to rotate the cam lock). I just took two small allen wrenches and wedged them in each tab to free them up.

DIY: Fuel Door Actuator Lock Removal / Clean-Lube / Replacing-p1090365.jpg

5. The actuator has a safety tab on the back side that will need to be detented (used the allen wrench again) with one hand while the other reaches back inside the trunk and removes the actuator assembly.

DIY: Fuel Door Actuator Lock Removal / Clean-Lube / Replacing-p1090364.jpg

Now you should have the actuator removed and ready to clean/lubricate...

Last edited by 19kdrill; 01-05-2011 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 01-05-2011, 04:28 PM
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Continued...

6. Spray small amounts of WD-40 in and around the latch (front and back) and in the small openings (one on each side) near the working end. Work the latch back an forth several times, adding more WD-40 until you feel comfortable of a smoother operation.
DIY: Fuel Door Actuator Lock Removal / Clean-Lube / Replacing-p1090360.jpg

DIY: Fuel Door Actuator Lock Removal / Clean-Lube / Replacing-p1090363.jpg

Shake excess WD-40 from the actuator assembly and wipe it down.

7. Plug the actuator back in the harness and test the operation by locking and unlocking your doors via remote.

Note: If it still does not operate properly or is dragging, then repeat step 6.

If the operation of the actuator is satisfactory, then replace everything in reverse order.

Good Luck!
rob.g
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Old 01-05-2011, 05:11 PM
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Nice! Thanks for this.
Old 01-06-2011, 12:52 AM
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NP! It actually spawned some cleaning of the trunk area and checking out my spare and such, so it was a win-win
Old 01-23-2011, 04:51 AM
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sigh didnt work . guess ill have to buy a new one for $80
Old 01-23-2011, 09:27 AM
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Thanks for this, mine hasn't worked in some time and I just didn't bother with it. I will try this when the weather get a bit warmer here in NY.
Old 02-09-2011, 08:07 PM
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Beautiful write up! I just had to clean mine up. I started to buy another one this week but i said to hell with that. The actual actuator is mechanical. So the WD-40 did the trick for me.
Old 02-09-2011, 09:05 PM
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Sweet! Glad to hear it!
Old 02-13-2011, 07:07 PM
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Mine is broken. Anyone know where I can get a used one?
Old 02-13-2011, 08:26 PM
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I saw some on Ebay used and new. You can do a search there for "fuel door actuator" and a few will come up. If you want to look elsewhere, the part number is: 78850-AL500

GL!
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Old 02-16-2011, 09:31 AM
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Crazy prices. $99 for a new one or $50 for used.
Old 02-16-2011, 10:40 AM
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^ thought I saw one for $60'ish new...

Edit: Yup, here's one that might be of interest. You might could email them see if they will give a better deal:



Also, try some of the vendors here on the forum, they usually compete with advertised prices.

GL!
Old 03-17-2012, 04:41 AM
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Gas door solenoid repair

If you're a bit handy, you might be able to resurrect one of these. Hey! If it's not working, what do you have to lose? Some skinned knuckles?

After you remove the solenoid as in the previous posts, take a good look at it. You'll notice a seam all the way around where it was ultrasonically welded at assembly.

VERY carefully, take a sharp razor knife or box cutter and follow that seam until you cut through it along its length (remember, it goes most all the way around the housing). At some point, you'll be able to put a screwdriver in the gap and pop the lid off. I only needed to do 3 sides of mine, then bend it back and it separated cleanly.

Inside you'll see the locking slide which is attached to a sector gear, which in turn is driven by a small electric motor with a worm gear attached. There should be some grease on the sector gear/worm gear. If any of the parts are broken, you're done. Go buy a new one. If, however, all seems to be intact, be sure that the little ceramic disc that looks like an old radio capacitor is firmly attached to its contacts. It's in series with one of the power leads. Check it with an ohmmeter. It should read 0 ohms. If it does, carefully remove the electric motor by prying it up at the point where the connectors that are built into the motor housing slip over the connector ends. The worm gear will fall right off, so be careful to not lose it. Now pry up the 4 metal tangs that hold the motor together. Pull the plastic part of the motor out of the metal housing. Don't lose the little clear washer between the commutator and the end of the motor. Carefully pull the armature out of the metal housing. It'll be hard to pull, but that's only because of the attraction of the magnets. You won't hurt it by pulling it out.

Now that you have the armature in your hand, look at the commutator end (that's the skinny copper end). It'll probably be dirty. Wipe it off well with a tissue. Now look into the plastic part of the motor you removed earlier. In there you will see two brushes (alright, they don't look like a brush, but that's what they're called). They provide contact to the armature for the 12 volts DC to turn the motor. The ends of them are probably dirty. Clean them with a tissue. They're fragile, so don't get carried away. They need to contact the commutator when you reassemble.

To reassemble, just reverse the process. I found it best to put that little washer behind the brushes over the hole where the motor shaft goes through the plastic end. Carefully slip the armature through this washer into the plastic part of the motor. The brushes MUST lightly contact the copper part of the armature. Once the armature is fully seated into the plastic motor end, grasp the shaft with a pair of pliers (I used needle nose) holding the armature tightly to the plastic part of the motor housing, insert the armature into the metal part of the motor housing. If you don't use the pliers, the magnetic attraction will pull the armature out of the plastic part of the motor housing. Be sure that it seats completely. Bend down the tangs you pried up to disassemble the motor. Reinsert the motor into the housing, making sure that the contacts are made properly. There is only one way that the motor will fit back into the housing. Be sure that the worm gear meshes with the sector gear.

Re-install the motor. Use gel type super glue around the periphery of the housing. Clamp the whole thing in a vise and let sit over night or until the glue sets. Plug it back into to car's wiring harness to test. It should alternately open or close as you lock/unlock the car. If you've done everything right and there were no hidden problems (like an open motor winding), you should be good to go. Re-install in the car and go have a dinner with that $90 you just saved buying a new one!

Last edited by early g35 sdn; 06-29-2015 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 02-22-2014, 12:17 PM
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I'm reviving this because this is something I'm going to need to tackle in the next few days. I'm really hoping that the solenoid is just stuck because I can't hear anything coming from the fuel door during lock and unlock.
Old 02-22-2014, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Narc 9c1 View Post
I'm reviving this because this is something I'm going to need to tackle in the next few days. I'm really hoping that the solenoid is just stuck because I can't hear anything coming from the fuel door during lock and unlock.
Be sure that you've got power to the solenoid. If your door locks are working, power probably is NOT the issue. Make sure that the connection is good.

It's been a few years since I wrote this. Good luck! Please let me know if it worked for you. If you're not hearing anything, this could (and very likely will) fix your problem. It seems to be a common issue. I probably have my repaired one around somewhere. I bit the bullet and bought a new one BEFORE attempting the fix. I should have operated on the old one first. Could have saved myself around $90.

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03, activator, actuator, cargo, door, driver, fastners, filler, fuel, g35, infiniti, latch, lid, net, replacement
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