If you have a Boxster or 996/997, there is an excellent chance that one day you will exit the car, press the remote to lock the car and hear a terrible noise coming from the right front fender. This will be one of those “finger nails down the chalkboard” kind of noises. The noise is made by grinding plastic gears and rods screaming for mercy.
You see, when you press the remote the alarm control unit energizes a small electric motor. This motor turns a gear which pushes a rod out that locks the gas door. It is essentially doing the same thing you do every night when you set the dead bolt on the front door before going to bed.
But today the 86-cent plastic guide piece that holds that rod in place has fallen out. The rod is now grinding against the side of the gas door lock hole. If you take care of this now it will cost you less than a dollar in parts and scarcely over a minute of your time. (Much less time than it will take you to read this article).
If you ignore this for more than a few days the noise will go away, but your troubles won’t. The most common thing that happens next is that the lock rod becomes galled and jambs up the gas door. You will discover this right after you pull into the gas station with the low fuel level light on.
If you let it get to this point, the repair will require more than the “buck and a minute” investment of the quick repair. If the door just won’t unlock, open the passenger door and look above the upper door hinge. There you will find the emergency release ring. Put your finger through the ring and pull firmly. (Picture #1)
If you are lucky this will pull the lock rod out of position and you will be able to replenish the fuel supply to your thirsty car. Not working? Then read on.
If the gas door still won’t open then you will have to do it the hard way. Remove the right front wheel, then the fender liner. Once the area is exposed, you will have to remove the actuator from the car. If you are lucky, you will only have to remove it to free everything up, install a new bushing and reassemble everything. If you are less lucky, you will have to shell out another $65 to replace the damaged gas door actuator.
But you are an informed Porsche owner and will do the following instead:
2. Open the gas door with your hand.
3. Activate the door locks with the remote and watch the locking rod move into the gas door area. You can remove the door stop pad next to the lock rod for easier access.
4. Take your new dollar part and slide it over the lock rod. Note the location of the notch in the bushing in relation to the body and firmly click it into place. It should be flush as it contacts the body. (Picture #4)
5. Cycle the door locks once or twice and watch that you have smooth quiet operation as the rod moves back and forth.
6. With the door locks in the unlocked position (rod in), reinstall the rubber door stop if you removed it. If you pull the tail through the hole towards the lock rod it will just pop into place. Forcefully pushing it through from the outside will be less successful.
7. Now close the gas door and make sure it shuts and is even with fender of the car.
9. Smile—you just saved yourself a lot of time, money and frustration by spending less than a buck.