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Old 08-25-2015, 10:09 PM   #1
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Help me understand how e46 gas door works

Hello all,

I am trying to understand how the gas tank flap works and whether it's supposed to lock when the car is locked (mine doesn't, I can normally open the flap at all times by pushing on it and it releases.)

In my car, the gas door is spring loaded to close and to open it, you push on it to release the spring on the actuator under the black rubber covering. This pops the actuator out (similar to how a clicky pen works - push to expose tip and push again to hide) and pushes the gas door to an ajar position after which you can just open it with your fingers. However, I can normally open the gas door without pushing on it by wedging my finger into the slot between the door and car frame and pulling it open - there is no resistance of any kind. This means that anyone can come in and steal my premium car food!

The above works when the car is locked and unlocked. My question: Is the gas door supposed to lock somehow (so that you cannot open it without breaking something) when the car is locked? if so, how would it lock? There's no hinge or any metal slots of any kind to *lock* in place and prevent the door from opening.

Please explain it to me!
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Old 08-25-2015, 10:16 PM   #2
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Yes, it locks when you lock the car.

Take a look at your gas fill area with the door open. You should see a small hole. Leave the door open and unlock your car. You should see a lever push out and in when locked and unlocked. If not, it could be broken.

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Old 08-25-2015, 11:47 PM   #3
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yeah theres a little rod that pokes out when it locks. mine freezes up in winter and everytime i want gas i have to pour hot water on my fuel door to unfreeze it. but then the water i poured on it freezes three hours later and then i have to repeat
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Old 08-26-2015, 12:04 AM   #4
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The pin only engages when you lock the car. If the fuel door doesn't lock when your doors lock, you might try lubricating the pin to see if that helps, or simply replace the actuator all together: https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...do-67116988090.

Here's what it should look like in the locked position:

Source: http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho...8#post10095798

Depending on your build date, part number for the actuator is 67116988090 (pre-03/2003) or 67116987637 (post-03/2003). Here's a diagram and part numbers of that area, as well: http://realoem.com/bmw/enUS/showpart...04#67116988090.

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Old 08-26-2015, 05:41 AM   #5
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Ok I see it now, thanks for the photo. When I checked the pin wasn't visible but it just might be stuck in the open position. Thanks! this is exactly what I was looking for.

Last edited by svv0; 08-26-2015 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 08-26-2015, 07:25 AM   #6
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To clarify, it doesn't lock when you lock the car from the inside with the interior lock button, only when it's locked from the outside with the key or key remote.
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Old 08-26-2015, 09:07 PM   #7
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Thanks. I get it now. I checked my car and it doesn't even have the pin - the little tunnel it sits in is hollow
I imagine there's a way to macgyver something to act as the pin without replacing the entire actuator?
Actually, I probably should take that area apart and see if I even have an actuator in there...
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Old 08-26-2015, 10:22 PM   #8
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I'm still new to these cars, and I'm discovering all the neat ways BMW implemented different features. I at first thought that fuel door lock was optional, and not present on my car. Then I got curious about the green pull in the trunk that had gas pump imprinted on it. I pulled aside the felt covering on the right side of the trunk and discovered the fuel door lock actuator. I actually pulled that piece out of its place completely, and had to fiddle to reinstall it. That's when I realized that fuel door only locks when you lock the car. That green pull is your backup in case the actuator gets stuck in the locked position.

Pull your felt cover out on the right side, you may find that the pin and cable simply got removed from their mount point, and you just need to plug it back in.
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