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Old 03-08-2015, 02:56 PM   #1
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Rear Hatch lift solutions

Team,

Doing the research right now for options to enhance the operation of the rear engine hatch. Current setup requires me to get a buddy, lift the matress and slide it towards the rear windows to allow vertical clearance of the hatch with the ceiling, and then open it with about 40-50lbs of force. Then prop it in place with a metal pipe.

Looking at the following options:
1. Gas lift struts, requires a customized build.
2. Electro-mechanical lift, expensive.
3. Borrowing Dakota's idea and modifying the rear deck to shift the bed further to the rear, and customize the end space into a bench for dressing and undressing. Plan would be to make it a trunk to maximize storage.

My questions are:
1. Who has added an assist to their rear hatch, or any hatch that weighs in at about 40-50lbs, and what did you use?
2. What lessons were learned during your project?
3. If you had to do it all over again what would you do differently?
4. If you were not restricted by money, what idea would you pursue (money is a restriction, but I find expense limits ideas, and with a bit of imagination, you can usually execute within a budget)

Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-08-2015, 03:07 PM   #2
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We have modified/refurbished the hatch on our 2001 LY XC360, but suspect it's different from yours. Our modifications include new plywood cover, a new SS piano hinge and new (replacement) gas struts. The final installation of the mods will include a catch (to keep the lid safely in place when closed) and a built-in prop for use when the lid is in the up position.

BTW, while you're in this process, you might want to take a look at the engine insulation. Ours was drooping (it was glued on, so doomed to fail) and some had obviously fallen down into the engine compartment. Not a good thing, but that's a story for another time.
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Old 03-08-2015, 04:56 PM   #3
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Weld up two pivot hinges on the front bumper attaching body to frame, attach Jaguar XJS bonnet stay to front part of frame close to pivot points, remove all body bolts to frame, attach two grab handles below windshield, grab handles placing feet on bumper, lean back and pull until Jaguar bonnet stay stops the body then release grip.......maybe should have told you to make sure wife is out of rig, all loose items are stowed properly and you don't attempt to open body underneath an overpass.

Cheers
Tony
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Old 03-08-2015, 09:18 PM   #4
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Tony... that would be quite the spectacle.
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Old 03-09-2015, 01:47 PM   #5
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Why was this moved from the classic forum?
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Old 03-09-2015, 02:33 PM   #6
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Why was this moved from the classic forum?
Vycan,

Your thread was inadvertently moved during some housekeeping. It is now back in its rightful location.
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Old 03-10-2015, 11:48 AM   #7
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Rear Hatch lift solutions

My gas struts are a little weak. I pulled a set of heavier ones from a SUV rear hatch at the junk yard for $10. Should do the job. I have a fiberglass pro-prod that clips to the side of the bed with broom clips. It doubles as the handle for the broom, mop, squeegee...

I'm also thinking of putting gas struts on the rear access door to get rid of the rubber latch straps and clips that hold it open. It's fallen on my head too many times.
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Old 03-14-2015, 12:01 PM   #8
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Gas Struts are available thru any automotive outlet, but choice might be limited. Go to Ebay and research for length and strength. For the bed lift, you would want longer struts, and maybe as heavy as 150 lb rating. You would mount them so that they have maximum leverage. (That is located too the open end.) Gas struts of this weight rating require solid anchors, so make up some type of backing plate to help anchor the struts.
For the safety pole, (NEVER TRUST GAS SHOCKS) to keep the bed up. I now use a discarded ski pole, ( Light and strong) stored in tabs on the riser at the foot of the bed where one can grab it when you need it. (might even be useful fighting off that bear when camping in Banff?)

Trial and error, and you usually have success in the end!

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My gas struts are a little weak. I pulled a set of heavier ones from a SUV rear hatch at the junk yard for $10. Should do the job. I have a fiberglass pro-prod that clips to the side of the bed with broom clips. It doubles as the handle for the broom, mop, squeegee...

I'm also thinking of putting gas struts on the rear access door to get rid of the rubber latch straps and clips that hold it open. It's fallen on my head too many times.
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Old 03-14-2015, 01:53 PM   #9
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Thanks for the feedback team. I am continuing to research. I am on a business trip until the first week of April, and hope to have the time to have something in place by the late april gathering.
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Old 03-14-2015, 03:46 PM   #10
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I am looking at using the gas struts, with the recommended rating from massey farm. Do you gentlemen think a safety hold down in addition to a prop bar is a good idea? I am thinking in the event I drive over a bump... wouldn't want the bed compartment to pop open.
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Old 03-14-2015, 06:11 PM   #11
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Rear Hatch lift solutions

If the gas struts are installed parallel to the lid they don't apply any opening force until they start to extend. They can even be installed to provide an over center force to hole it closed with a little geometry and injuneering. With correctly designed struts I wouldn't worry about a prop rod. I have to use one because it won't stay open on its own and it has multiple uses.

I'm going to use gas struts on my rear hatch too. Tired of getting hit in the head as those little punchers let go if the engine is running.
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Old 03-14-2015, 08:06 PM   #12
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Rear Hatch lift solutions

I put a scale under the end on the bed. It takes 80 lbs of force to lift it. That's with mattress and bedding. Most of the air struts I've found for lift gates on minivans and SUVs seem to be about 125 to 150 lbs force. As a reference.

As far as safety, the car manufacturers trust them to hold lift gates and hoods open for kids and soccer moms. Their failure mode is generally slow leeks and not catastrophic.
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:56 PM   #13
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I had this close experience with the two struts on the big basement door on the CLIPPER. I had the door open, as I had taken out some tools to work on the step. I crawled under, using the open compartment ledge for a hand lift hold, so I could slide under the motorhome. I had just take my hand from the ledge, and a heard a PSSSSSST, and the cargo door came crashing down. The seal had blown out on the gas strut, and the other strut was not strong enough to hold the door up. After that, I am very aware not to leave my fingers in that situation again. It might only happen once in a life time, but I got a clear message that day!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, on the CLIPPER, my bed has to be lifted to get into the engine compartment. Unless there needs to be major work done, I leave the mattress and bedding intact. ( one can get the bed frame up a bit higher if the mattress is removed ) If it was to come down while you were in there, chances are you would be very uncomfortable, and maybe not in a position that you could get leverage to lift it to get back out. One is usually working at the hinge end of the engine compartment. I would never go into the engine bay without the safety prop in place.


Dave
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Old 03-28-2015, 04:48 PM   #14
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Rear Hatch lift solutions

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These struts are working great. 1 hand job to open and close with mattress in place. Goes up by itself the last 1/3 of the way. Struts and ball bolts are from a Ford Excursion rear hatch. About 120 lbs of push. $8 for the pair at the local "auto recycler".

Interesting that while I had the old struts out my prop rod kicked out and it hit me in the back. No damage except for the plastic cap on the prop rod that busted causing it to slip out of the cup.
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