Hatchback and Hood Lift Repair

Installing replacement hatch lifts for better hold

If the hatchback or hood of your vehicle isn't holding up its end of the bargain anymore, it may be time to replace those tired old lift supports. Using broomsticks, baseball bats, old family photo albums, emergency roadside kits, spare tires, or some other makeshift support in place of factory engineered equipment is a head injury waiting to happen. You may not think much about it, but the materials that comprise the hatchback or hood are heavy. Real heavy. All that steel, glass, insulation, wiper motor, rubber trim, lock mechanisms and whatever can add up to a couple hundred pounds in a hurry, and are the absolute last thing you need to knock you on the noggin while attempting to retrieve that errant pint of ice cream that rolled out of the grocery bag. The lift supports work in much the same way as shock absorbers, and like shock absorbers they eventually wear out and lose their lift.

Fourhanded Venus Flytrap

Lift support replacement is a relatively simple task but can also be dangerous. The utmost in caution should be taken anytime a few hundred pounds of steel lay in wait to take a bite out of you like an automotive Venus flytrap. The first thing you need is a helper. This is one case where two heads really are better than one, and four hands will prevent any unwelcome head knocking. DO NOT use a broomstick, box, baseball bat, battering ram, or other makeshift device to hold up a hood or hatchback while replacing lift supports.

The next thing to consider is the lift supports themselves. For no reason whatsoever should a gas pressurized lift support be opened or cut apart. Absolutely do not attempt to dismantle gas charged lift supports, and don't even think you can compress new lift supports by hand. No one, not even Charles Atlas, or the Governor of California can accomplish the task. While installing lift supports, also be careful not to scratch or nick the polished surface of the lift support rod, as this can cause premature failure of the lift support.

A World of Fasteners

While the lift supports may be held onto the chassis by two simple fasteners, these fasteners may be buried under a sea of plastic trim. Before attempting to replace lift supports, take a good look at how they're mounted to the vehicle body. What looks simple may be insidiously complicated. Today's vehicles are assembled with parts from all over the world, and getting down to the two regular old 10mm bolts that hold the lift support to the body may require all manner of tools. Removing plastic interior trim is often like a lesson in the geography through fasteners from around the world. You may find everything from Czechoslovakian compression plugs to Canadian square head screws in your travels. Be prepared.

Also take a good look at each end of the lift support before ordering up replacements. All ball-ends, fasteners, and swivels should work out the same on the set of replacement supports. Make note if the hatchback or hood features wipers, gizmos, or any electrical systems before you order the replacements to save trips back and forth from the parts store. As in any two-sided replacement procedure always work with one side at a time. Having an assembled reference point can save any headaches, especially in this case.

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