Cannot open gas door on 1988 XJ6

I am working on a friend’s 1988 XJ40 after a multi-year outdoor storage (6 - 8 years of sitting idle outside) and I am unable to get the fuel filler door to open. I tried pushing or pulling the small white lever inside the trunk that is under the filler door solenoid assembly but this does not accomplish anything. I replaced the fuse that is near the underside of the filler door and I have looked at the power on the various pins in the gas door relay socket. Today I tried spraying a lot of penetrating oil under various parts of the fuel filler door edge. I do have power on one leg of the fuse socket when I remove the fuse and check with a VOM.

BTW, I was told that the fuel door is supposed to release if you push down on it for two seconds. When I tried this the fuel door does not move when depressed. I.E. When I push down on the fuel door, there is no downwards movement at all.

Any other suggestions would be most welcome.

Sounds like aot of corrosion has locked the release. Can you get some pb blaster to run down the locking pin?

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I sprayed it all down yesterday with penetrating oil so I will see if that has had any positive effect when I go back over to my shop today.

I dont know if these help bit if you zoom in on one you can see the tiny pin, whis has some rust on it. Didn’t look to hard but I can’t see anyway to free the pin from down below,without smashing the assembly where the whote release is.89 xj40

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Way different system to the 94!
Looking at that, maybe with enough penetrating oil down that hole a repeated “push down” will eventually free it up?

Thanks for the detailed photos David. That helps a lot to be able to see what I am dealing with.


I have heard that some people get rid of it and glue a magnet to keep it closed

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BTW, just wanted to update this thread to say I was finally able to get the gas door to release. I am now trying to figure out how to hold it closed since I am really certain if I push it down all the way it will get stuck again.

David or anyone who has actually done this change, where does the magnet get located? The shape of the inside of the gas filler seems to make it challenging to find a good spot to locate such a magnet and allow the magnet to make contact with the underside of the gas filler door. Also once the door is held closed with the magnet how do you grab the door to pull up strongly enough to release the magnet? Since the outside of the gas filler door on these early cars is completely flat there is no place to stick your finger or fingers to pull up on the door.

Not possible to free up/re and re/lubricate the existing system then?

The existing “system” doesn’t really seem to work. The pin does not move with locking and unlocking the doors and this whole idea of pushing down on the outside of the closed door for two seconds and then having it pop up when released seems to be a piece of fiction at least on this car anyway.

That is how they were designed to work, I would suggest some pb blaster and try to free the pin so it can be unlatched from inside the trunck

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StevenD57, Tip: thoroughly clean the debris out of the filler area. These have a small drain hole which easily plugs causing water build up and multiple other issues including malfunctioning latch mechanism.

A 3 foot piece of grass trimmer line run down this drain hole, along with removing any debris lurking around it, will, as John suggests, keep water from building up and working its way past the filler cap and into the fuel tank and help avoid problems with the release / locking mechanism. This past weekend I looked at an obviously neglected '94 model in a local salvage (breakers) yard that had so much debris buildup it nearly reached the bottom of the fuel cap and of course completely hid the drain. The latching mechanism was, as you might imagine, non-functional.

Apperently when you push down it energizes a circuit to move the pin back so it will release, maybe a screwdriver in where the latch goes would let you test the system? A credit card or fingernail under the door should pop it if you go with a magnet, use a weak magnet.

The other option perhaps is to use a later fuel flap?