I might eventually attempt to fix. After saying that I need to stop buying cameras on eBay, I bought a Nikon FM. Hopefully 3rd camera is the charm (though if not, I should be getting my FA back next week) I'd been looking for a 28mm Nikon lens (well, mostly for a Nikkor lens, but you know what I mean), and there was one (a Series E) going for less with an FM than for the lens alone. It'd be nice if the FM is working, but of course, the seller said they hadn't taken pictures, but had loaded it with film and it snapped through several frames with no problems. I guess time will tell. Also doesn't mean the meter is working.
Anyway, all that to say, if it winds up being usable, and the FA is usable, I might try to look into the problem...or just wait until I can afford a proper repair, and make sure I don't make it worse.
I'm still using my original black FM that I purchased in the mid 70's. The FE-2 is a very good camera.
Sometimes it helps to compress the back against the body (where it opens) while holding the rewind release and pulling up on the handle. Also, there is a possibility that the film cartridge has rotated and/or is putting pressure on the inside of the back and preventing the release from activating. Or there just may be grunge/piece of film in the 'receptacle' where the film cartridge resides creating pressure on the back.
I just had light seals installed in my F2 and it created enough pressure on the release mechanism that I have to squeeze the back/body together to get it to release properly.
I've tried pushing against the back as well, but either I'm not doing it well or it's not really helping.
Oddly enough, today I decided to give it another go, and I managed to pop it open. It went once, and I closed it again...and popped it back open again. Took the film out, and decided to close it, thinking since I got it twice in a row I would get it again, and maybe I could get it going properly. Well, back to not being able to get it open. Haha. I'm going to use the film as my first test for home development, but as noted in this thread by others...I'm guessing I probably didn't have it spooled on properly, so likely nothing on there.
Was very odd how all of a sudden it worked as it's supposed to, and just as quickly decided not to again. Oh well.
On a side note, the ebay seller I bought the FM from just finally sent it yesterday. 6 days after ending. Lame.
If you are mechanically inclined, the mechanism can be easily accessed. I looked at my FE2, and if it is similar, it looks like a 'C' clip holds the cover plate (rotating release plate) in place. I would think you could remove the C clip and gently lift the plate and look for debris/piece of film lodged in the mechanism. The rewind handle can be removed by simply using a piece of wood/plastic between the legs of the rewind fork to hold it in place and gently turning the rewind handle counterclockwise to access the plate and clip.
Since I used to be a watchmaker I am somewhat comfortable getting into cameras. Not being aware of your background/skills please consider the above information and proceed at your own risk. Good luck.
I am mechanically inclined with my vehicles, I do my own repairs in that aspect, but not as much with smaller things (no experience & less small tools) that being said, I might look into it.
Got the FM in the mail today. Seems my luck is holding. Everything mostly seems to work fine except 2 things - the film advance will wind over and over, doesn't seem to lock, unless it's because I haven't loaded film - and the meter might not be working. I put in new batteries (though they may be suspect, I had another set from the same batch that died in my FE after about 2 days - another pair have been in the FE for a month with no issues) and the LED on the - (underexposed) stays lit. I put it on ASA 3200, f/2.8, 1 second shutter, and still shows underexposed. And yeah, the lens cap is removed :) On the bright side, the back opens nice and easy. I just push the locking lever, and pull up and it pops open just like it should. Haha.
Mostly bought it for the lens though, so I might just look for a handheld light meter to use with it if it turns out the rest works.
Also turns out the guy (garry's camera) working on my FA says he can't fix the DOF preview lever. Sigh.