Introduction: Install Component

Picture of Install Component

If you own a Honda Civic (or Accord) circa 2005 ('01-'05) you may eventually run into a problem with your fuel door not opening when you push the lever. This is a common issue and at least one person is trying to monopolize on it. http://fueldoorfix.com The problem is caused by wear and tare (rust / cracking plastic) at the connection point between the control lever and the cable that runs to the door-latch mechanism. This issue can be fixed in about 1.5 hours and for under $3; avoiding a trip to the dealership to replace the entire cable ($40), and paying for labor because your 3yr/36k warranty has expired. Here's how...

Overview of Steps
1) Tools/Materials
2) Open Fuel Door (so you can gas up until you fix it)
3) Remove Panel Over Driver's Seatbelt
4) Remove Panel Over Hood Lever
5) Remove Panel Over Fuel Door / Trunk Lever
6) Remove Fuel Door / Trunk Lever Assembly
7) Make Component
8) (Optional) Remove Crumbling Tension Piece
9) Install Component

Step 1: You'll Need

Picture of You'll Need

Tools:
- Flathead screwdriver
- Phillipshead screwdriver
- 10 mm hex socket wrench
- Dremel or Hacksaw

Materials: (found at Home Depot)
- 1/2" diameter PEX pipe (5' length found in plumbing - $1.78)
- 2 x 1/4" hitch pins (2 pack found in bolts/hardware - $0.59)

Step 2: Open Fuel Door (so You Can Gas Up Until You Fix It)

Picture of Open Fuel Door (so You Can Gas Up Until You Fix It)

Open the trunk and fold down the back seat.  With a flathead screwdriver pry out the plastic fastener that secures the felt near the fuel door. It's located in between the seat back and trunk. Pull back the felt to access the fuel door from the inside. Feel around in the gap of the frame until you find the cable going to the to the fuel door. Follow it to the latch mechanism and twist to pull it out, releasing the door.

Step 3: Remove Panel Over Driver's Seatbelt

Picture of Remove Panel Over Driver's Seatbelt

This panel overlaps the panel you want out.  Remove it by tugging it up 1/2", prying away the sides that hug the frame, and swinging the bottom frontwards (towards car front).

Step 4: Remove Panel Over Hood Lever

Picture of Remove Panel Over Hood Lever

This panel also overlaps the panel you want out. Remove it by first prying up the edge closest to the door stoop about 1/2". This releases the plastic tab that points downward and locks into the underlying panel. Then pull the panel directly backwards 1/2" (towards car rear). This will release the 2 points of attachment so you can wiggle the panel out and around the hood lever.

Step 5: Remove Panel Over Fuel Door / Trunk Lever

Picture of Remove Panel Over Fuel Door / Trunk Lever

Start by prying up the piece covering the trunk lock with a flathead screwdriver. Unscrew the exposed phillipshead screw underneath. Push the lock up 1/2" with a flathead screwdriver. Release the 6 plastic button attachment points to free the panel (3 under door stoop and 3 on the inside).

Step 6: Remove Fuel Door / Trunk Lever Assembly

Picture of Remove Fuel Door / Trunk Lever Assembly

Loosen the bolt holding the assembly to the frame with a 10mm socket wrench. Pull the assembly backwards 1/4" (towards car rear) and out (towards passenger side), releasing it from the frame. Finally pull the slotted tension piece (encasing the cable) away from assembly and rotate the assembly to release the tip of the cable.

Step 7: Make Component

Picture of Make Component

Use a Dremel tool with a stone disc cutting attachment (or hacksaw) to cut the PEX pipe to the dimensions in the diagram.

Step 8: (Optional) Remove Crumbling Tension Piece

Picture of (Optional) Remove Crumbling Tension Piece

You can cut away the damaged slotted plastic tension piece with a Dremel if you choose.  The 1/2" PEX pipe will fit over this piece and only one hitch pin would be used in this case; however if this piece continues to deteriorate and crumble, it might not remain long enough to provide the tension needed to keep the fuel door operational.

When new, this piece was attached to the metal cable pinch-point, creating tension in both the push and the pull directions of the lever. By separating from the pinch-point it only gives tension with the pull motion of the lever (trunk release still works). This is what needs to be addressed.

Step 9: Install Component

Picture of Install Component

Hopefully your PEX pipe component passed a "dry-fit" so you can install it. Just slide it over the tip of the cable (and plastic tension piece if you left it), then insert the two (or one) hitch pins through the slots to abut the metal cable pinch-point. Insert the pipe into the "U" of lever assembly (use a zip-tie if you're worried about it slipping out), test the function, and re-assemble everything in reverse of Steps 3-6.

Comments

Blacorc (author)2014-04-07

Quick question - In my attempts thus far to repair the cable, I have stripped it back a bit and snipped off some of the metal bracing inside the insulation. Would I need to adjust the size of the component you describe?

a.gasior (author)Blacorc2014-04-07

That rusty metal piece that caps the insulated part of the cable is what will ultimately provide the brace for the pins inside the plastic PEX piece that I sketched. So yes, if you change the length of that piece you'll have to adjust for that change by moving where the pin holes are on the PEX piece (probably the middle pin).

antmat (author)2014-03-17

Awesome, Awesome, awesome fix! Best and easiest out there!

Bobptoo (author)2012-04-02

I tried to get to the fuel cable but had a hard time pulling back the cover after removing the plastic fastener. So I gave up on it and went to the switch up front and dismounted it as you prescribe. I found that the plastic piece was in good shape and was able by forcing the cable forward to open my fuel door. I then lubricated the cable at the plastic area and operated it several times and it worked fine. Able to open fuel door okay. Want to thank you for all the information, a great site. BobP 04/2/2012

chinyeel (author)2012-03-19

Great post, thanks, but as I am not too mechanically inclines and needed my tank opened and fixed. I had no choice but to leave it at Honda Markham for 1.5 hrs and they scammed me for $319.15, I know, don't say it, these dealerships are real rip-off artists. Invoice states: Parts = $84.43 & Labour $220.00 plus tax.

dukale (author)2011-12-13

a.gasior,
Excellent DIY instruction as well as engineering. I have 02 Accord, and your posting worked charm, saved bundle of money, and headache. I only had to use one hitch clip, but added couple of cable tie to hold the assembly in place. Total time spent was about two hours (internet surfing, trip to hardware store, part prep, and installation).

jknaur (author)2011-12-10

Great Fix! Saved us $200. Took a little longer, didn't have a vise, so my cuts weren't as precise as they needed to be. Took a little tinkering with the Dremel to resolve. I also found it necessary to remove the old crumbling piece to make the new one fit. Couple of points for the amateurs out there like me. The new piece fits much better if you remember to put it back under the carpet. Be careful to pull the entire assembly as far forward as you can when you are tightening the bold that holds it to the side of the car. If you don't, the lever runs into the cover when you open the trunk and you have to take all the molding off to adjust it. Thanks again! This really is a great fix!

chirag.827 (author)2011-10-03

Awesome... Yesterday dt: 10/02/2011, I just applied above instructions to fix the broken fuel door and it worked. It was bit tough to make component and fit cable through hitch pin but overall - I appreciate and thank you for saving my $150.

mreds1 (author)2011-07-30

Thanks a.gasior! This was an excellent post. The instructions couldn't have been more clear and exact. I did everything as you indicated and it was a piece of cake. I did use my table saw with the blade set to 1/8th inch to cut the slots. My total cost was about $5 and it took me about an hour. Works like a charm. Nice to know that I wasn't putting out $150+ to Honda. Cheers!

jeffcohen123 (author)2010-04-17

Very clear post. I have an 01 civic, and the same instructions apply. Thanks for posting this! Saved me a bunch of cash.

shantinath1000 (author)2010-02-06

What a drag that I found this today in stead of a month ago.  I had the same problem and had the dealer fix it a few weeks ago.  Nice 'Ible by the way.

skatawandi (author)2010-01-10

What a great solution! Took me about 45min and about 4 dollars for parts. The best thing is, the fix appears to be permanent! I would make sure to add the zip tie holding the PEX pipe in place; it tends to slip out otherwise.

firdawsi (author)2009-08-16

What a great fix! I only wish I had a Civic to apply it to :(

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