Fuel door fix
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2009 MP3 400
Joined: 27 Jul 2008
Posts: 2005
Location: Saratoga, N.Y.
Fri Sep 10, 2010 3:11 pm quote
I have a permanent, elegant solution to the sticking fuel door.

The problem, it turns out, is that the arches of the lid are molded a bit off, and there's no way to simply adjust the placement of the pivots at the ends of the arches or to move the depressions in the cover where the pivots sit.

I used a heat gun to soften the plastic, then bent the arches down and a bit inward (because the spring tends to bend them outward.) This required heating the web between the arches as well as the arches themselves. I took a good 10mm out of the curve, i.e., the empty space of the "C" shape. It's hard to tell how much is really necessary because I previously removed material from the latch end. The gap on the latch end is now slightly greater than that on the hinge end. The release mechanism works just fine on the bench. If the lid pops open while riding, I can just bend the metal latch a bit, but it seems quite secure.

The plastic is very tractable when warm, and it only takes a few seconds for the gun to soften it, so be careful not to overheat it. Also be sure the plastic is completely cooled before reinstalling the lid back into the cover (a few minutes in the freezer should suffice).

The arches don't want to come out of the cover; it takes a bit of force to pop them out, and even more to get them back in after narrowing the gap. Also the spring is a bit of a PITA to get back onto the pivots.

Distance from pivot to front edge of the lid after modification. Narrow the gap by 5mm to 10mm, depending on how off-center your lid is.

Looks pretty cockeyed, but once installed the pivots line up straight.


Last edited by ramblerdan on Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:45 pm; edited 3 times in total
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: 29 Aug 2010
Posts: 69
Location: Fort Worth, Tx
Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:01 pm quote
Very interesting. I haven't had problems with my fuel door sticking, but if I do I'll attempt this method. Thanks a lot.
1961 VBB1T and now a 2009 MP3 400ie
Joined: 15 Aug 2010
Posts: 474
Location: City of the damp Emerald
Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:34 pm quote
Thank you so much for this info! A friend has this very problem and now I can attend to it.
2009 MP3 400
Joined: 27 Jul 2008
Posts: 2005
Location: Saratoga, N.Y.
Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:42 pm quote
If you haven't had the tupperware off before, be sure to consult the illustrations in the service manual. There are a lot of nonobvious connections, and damn near everything has to come off to get to the fuel cover. I waited until I needed to get at the valve cover (for 20K km valve clearance check) before taking this on.
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