P38 Fuel Filler Switch Fixes
The switch on the dash that opens the gas cap lid is hard to find if you don't know where it is -- when I first stopped at a gas station it took several minutes for me to locate it!! More seriously, the switch is prone to failure, even causing vehicles to be towed into the dealer through inability to gas up.
Operating the Filler Lid Latch Manually
The standard fix is to remove the right hand side panel in the load space so you can reach in and operate the latch from the inside by hand. If you are concerned about this problem recurring, you can take preventive measures by a) getting an updated switch installed or b) attaching a string or wire to the inside of the latch in advance, leading it out through the access door at the rear of the load space side panel.
Replacing or Repairing the Dash Switch
One solution to the problem is to get an updated replacement switch installed. Rafael Herbosa devised the solution shown later on this page, with an elegant new switch mounted in the loadspace. However he subsequently found the cause of the problem on the original switch on the dash -- he was repairing some cracked plastic parts on the fascia underneath the steering wheel when he poked a little bit more to check the wire on the fuel door switch and whalah!!! It just managed to fall out of place! Rammy reports that "As I was feeling its connection, I managed to push the switch in, then tested the switch back to its original connection, all is working fine now!" In retrospect, it may be that someone working under the dash had pulled the connections loose, or, as in a case I found in the HEVAC system of my 98 model, the connector had never been snapped home properly at the factory".
Installing an Emergency Switch
Rafael Herbosa had his first romance with his Range Rover when the gas filler lid would not open. He could not get the string idea to work well, as he found you have to get the string carefully aligned for reliable operation. So he designed a modified solution -- instead of adding a string, he bypassed the electrical circuit and created a nice small push button switch that activates the actuator, with wiring tapped into the rear lights. (This approach was possible because the actuator on the filler lid was still in good condition). He mounted the switch on the rear light access panel as shown in the photos below.
Rammy reports: "My problem was to make it engage which means it needs electricity. I tapped the electrical wiring from the park/head lights which means I wont be able to open the fuel door without either turned on. Installed a push button switch and just drilled a hole in the cover as shown in pic and thats it! As you look at the final appearance, it looks decent, dont you think?"