Fuel door repair on 1994 Ford Escort

Howdy,
The fuel door on my 1994 Ford Escort (LX Hatchback) won't open. There is a pull-up door release on the floor near the driver's seat, but
something isn't happening. I am a complete car-repair neophyte but I'm willing to poke around with a screwdriver if there is a possible easy solution to this. Any ideas? (Fortunately I discovered this while I still have a 1/4 tank of gas...)
Thanks, Sara
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I fixed this problem on an avenger some time ago, the spring to pop the door open wasn't providing enough pressure to clear the latch. Break out the screwdriver and start prying, it took some trial and error.
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I started to pry before I posted and then I thought, crap, I don't want to permanently break the thing. But it sounds like my brute-force instincts were right? Or does it involve some finesse? I guess I'll just go out there tomorrow and give it a try. Thanks!
Sara
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Sara Make sure you have somebody pull on the lever beside the seat as you pry the fuel door! It should open very easily then.
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Thanks everyone for your help. I thought I'd followed up with my results but apparently that was only my imagination. I discovered that the door opens as long as someone is holding up the release lever at the same time. Which makes it hard to refuel if one is by oneself. My husband found a little piece of wood under the driver's seat and we figured out that the car's previous owner had used that as shim to hold the lever up while refueling... So Bob's your uncle, more or less.
Sara
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sounds like a spring missing in the fuel door area.
punch
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