Introduction: 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. 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

- 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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.