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Gas Cap Lock
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djkeev
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:00 am    Post subject: Gas Cap Lock Reply with quote

I have an 86 Vanagon with the "factory" locking gas cap. The same key works the cap that works all the doors and the ignition.

The Problem is that it is VERY difficult to turn, to the point I fear breaking off the key in it for the key is the "handle" to rotate the cap off.

A few photos......

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As you most likely know, the red latching part rotates, it's Plastic on plastic.

Has anyone successfully lubricated, disassembled, fixed a tight cap? I've tried a few lubricants but thus far with no success.

Thanks for any help!

Dave
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singler3360
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never had this problem because I manage to leave them behind at the pump every few years, most recently earlier this month while on vacation in a state where you can pump your own gas. Glad I had an extra on board. I never thought it could be keyed to the ignition, a better alternative to driving away without it.
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syncrodoka
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Push out the rod at the end and it will fully disassemble. It probably needs grime cleaned out.
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djkeev
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take it apart, that's what I was thinking for the next move, nice to have someone say....."Just DO it!"

I knocked out the pin and pieces came off easily and uneventfully. After removing the pin, red housing, spring, metal latch and the seal assembly, all that was left was the exterior housing with the key in it.

The key still turned just as hard!

It was a little tight but I fearfully and with cautious low grade force pushed the tumbler assembly out towards the outside of the cap.

It came with some resistance and it was clearly evident where the problem lies.

The tumbler is totally gooped up with dried grease laden with dirt.

Now to clean it all up. Lube the tumbler with graphite, a bit of white grease on the plastic housing it should be good for another 25 years?

I wonder though on the plastic, should I use a white grease or maybe use a Teflon based lube? Any suggestions? It's a plastic on plastic rotation.

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Dave
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djkeev
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

singler3360 wrote:
I've never had this problem because I manage to leave them behind at the pump every few years, most recently earlier this month while on vacation in a state where you can pump your own gas. Glad I had an extra on board. I never thought it could be keyed to the ignition, a better alternative to driving away without it.


Yeah, hard to drive away without the gas cap when your ignition key is inserted in it and needed for reinstallation! Smile

Dave
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djkeev
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, I cleaned up the lock cylinder. I opted on using Electrical Contact Cleaner for I feared for what effect a harsh cleaner such as Carb cleaner would have on the plastic pieces.

It cleaned up nicely, pay attention to how it all fits together as you disassemble the unit.

I used a stainless wire brush to remove the more stubborn chunks of debris.

During reassembly I tried...........
Silicone, graphite and white lithium grease. Far and away the lithium grease worked the best for pastic to plastic lubrication!

I did use graphite in the tumblers though.

It works fine, some resistance but that is probably as it should be.

Dave
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syncrodoka
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

djkeev wrote:
OK, I cleaned up the lock cylinder. I opted on using Electrical Contact Cleaner for I feared for what effect a harsh cleaner such as Carb cleaner would have on the plastic pieces.

The plastic pieces come off of the cylinder so that you can clean it better with whatever you want.

I am not a fan of white lithium grease as I have found that it dries and gets hard over time.
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Steelhead
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

revisiting this topic. My locking gas cap works fine at normal temps, but when I drive in the blazing heat it doesn't want to lock. Unlocking usually ok (though harder), but when I go to re-lock I could easily break my key. Twisted it a few times already. Could it be from the expansion of the rubber gasket?
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atomatom
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

djkeev wrote:
singler3360 wrote:
I never thought it could be keyed to the ignition, a better alternative to driving away without it.


Yeah, hard to drive away without the gas cap when your ignition key is inserted in it and needed for reinstallation! Smile

Dave


Mine is keyed to anything flat that you can stick in it. In fact, several ignition keys have been bent thanks to the grunge in it - so I currently use the mailbox key which is tougher.

Thanks Dave for posting - I think I'll try the deep clean.
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:31 am    Post subject: Re: Gas Cap Lock Reply with quote

Dave - My gas cap is almost impossible to turn at this point.

Question for you: After a couple of years of use, have you had to repeat this procedure or is it still functioning well?

Thanks - Rick
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E1
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

djkeev wrote:
Yeah, hard to drive away without the gas cap when your ignition key is inserted in it and needed for reinstallation! Smile

Dave
You've just uncovered my entire Idiot-proof plan.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:31 am    Post subject: Re: Gas Cap Lock Reply with quote

FWIW an early Rabbit cap works just fine if you don't need a locking cap.
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timichango
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Gas Cap Lock Reply with quote

Wish I saw this earlier — I did this exact repair a number of weeks ago. My cap was bending keys in cold weather.

I stripped it, as you did, and cleaned the whole thing up with — of all things — electrical contact cleaner. It's plastic-safe, and cut the dried grease and oxidation in there pretty well.

Then I used a rubber conditioner on the rubber gaskets, used some lithium grease in key spots, and put'er back together.

The cylinder/tumbler unit on mine is seized — essentially it just works as a rotating unit that doesn't depend on a key anymore (you can open it with a screwdriver), but that's been true since we bought the van in 2012.

Edit: damn, I just realized that this was a necro-thread. And that djkeev and I are both fans of contact cleaner Smile

PDXWesty: I'm going to wager that his is still fine. After being in there, I can say that it's ultimately a super easy job to take it apart, and if you select your lubricants well, you'll likely get a lot of service out of a cleanup.

I suspect the issue is more contamination of existing lubricant over time, than the og. lubes failing, so the environment you're running the van in probably has some bearing on longevity, but given how little this part actually gets used in real terms, a little lube should last a long time.
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djkeev
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Gas Cap Lock Reply with quote

My cap still works great!

I use a key lube (Lock Ease) to keep things turning on occassion.
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