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The name of the game is to remove the outer cover so you can while the unit is unplugged observe the mechanism and locate the area that is full of gunk and jamming it up. If absolutely no screws anywhere then unit has snap on parts and you have to pull them apart.
It was put together by man - it can be taken apart.
That long rod and spring sound like the rod that the opperating lever rides on, kind of a guide, the spring is what pops it up when the toast is done .. should be sitting verticle in a groove or hole in the opperating lever.
If you mean a serpentine channel that serves as a strain relief for the cord, (with the appliance upside down on a stable surface) try just a bit of fresh electrical tape to hold it in place while you ease down the base on it; check just before it meets, that the wire hasn't moved (and nothing else is getting pinched!), and hold it down while you get the first screw back into it to keep it. Then put the rest of them back in and once they are all well started, snug them all down. Test outside on a dry, fireproof surface, from a GFI outlet for safety.
remove bottom plate.....remove 10 screws holding the bottom brown plastic base...loosen screw under push down lever....romove light, dark knob small center hex screw....cover will now lift off....gently....watch #20 toast "wires"
It could be the slide button connections or loose wires. You would have to take it apart to try and figure it out. It should be under warranty, though. I don't know if the box is required. You'll have to ask Back to Basics about that.