Gas Springs

I'm thinking of adding the gas springs that many of you have to help lift and hold up the rear bodywork. Would someone please share the part number of the spring? If someone has them and doesn't like them could you please share why?


Dimi Terleckyj

Lifetime Premier Supporter
Hi Richard

The gas struts that I used in mine came from a Mazda 626 Hatchback.

The reason I chose these ones was that the weight of the hatchback is about the same as the rear clip.

I have posted some mounting detail on my build thread.

Gas struts make it so much easier to open the clip and also doubles as a restrainer to hold the clip in the open position without the worry that it will fall back closed if the wind blows or the clip is bumped.

I also fitted gas struts to the front clip as well.

I like Dimi, have added the gas struts to my car as well. I got tired of suspending a rope from the rafters to hold the rear clip open while I worked on it. Originally, my rear clip had a steel rod that held it open and was a pain to clip it in place while balancing the clip every time I opened it.
Rather than rely on the breaker yard for these I went on ebay and found a seller that once you won the shocks or hit the "Buy it now" button, he would let you list the short and extended lenght and the weight you wanted to raise, Mine are a max lenght of 20"(9" thrust rod and 11" body). The trick is where do you want to mount the shocks. I supported mine with rope to find the maximum height. I then picked the points where I wanted them to mount and measured the distance, Then I closed the clips and measured the closed distance. With his options I eventually found the proper place to mount them. The hardware that comes with them is important also. Mine came with two sets of mounting hardware. A flat mount and a right angle mount. It worked out good for me because of the frame mount for my particular car.

Yours may vary and you can use just one type. Pick some strong point on the rear clip. Mine had steel bracing that I used to mount it to.

The front isn't quite as needey as it is lighter than the rear. Choose the weight you think you need to lift and divide it in half(2 shocks per clip). I think I chose 50#. Been too long ago to remember if that is right. I can now lift the rear hatch with one hand.
I set the front clip with it opened with a few loading blankets under the front clip to make sure it had an inch or two to spare from hitting the roadway. The fiberglass substructure is O K for mounting as its weight is probably half that of the rear clip. Just don't use tiny washers.

I am updating this thread with my solution, in case others want to copy.

I ordered (2) 60 lb gas springs from McMaster Carr (about $17 each). We fabricated some 1/8" steel brackets to sandwich the fiberglass under the rear bodywork.

The gas springs come with 5/8"-16 ball stud ends. For the lower mount, we measured 8.5" from the rear subframe crossmember (this is mentioned in one of the other threads as the Olthoff way of doing it). We drilled and installed 5/8"-16 rivet nuts into the subframe at the measured location.

The upper mounting point was an educated guess from the Olthoff photo and other references. Note that we drilled three different upper mounting points to be able to adjust the geometry and overall action of the installed springs.

I may replace the 60 lb units with units having a bit more force. But the action is very smooth and I believe better than a single spring could be.



The Olthoff units have a plate that runs down to the "Parrot Beak" hinge and ties the stress into that point.

You will find the struts want to lift the beaks off the pivot. I drilled holes in the beak and used a spring clip that passed through the holes to lock the beak to the pivot.
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Thanks everyone for the help. I'm still looking for a make and model# for the rear especially one of the Olthoff units.

Bill is the hing in the lower center of the last picture the pivot for the front clip. Even though the SPF's front clip is historically correct it's a real pain. Can you post enough pictures so I can figure how yours tips up?
My car being a DRB has the front pivot as a door hinge at the base of the front frame. Trying to duplicate it would be the only way my mounting points would work for you.
What you will have to do is trial and error the placement measurements of the specific spring setup you have, compressed and extended (assuming you already have a set) If not then you will have to pick a spot(s) and measure total length while clip is closed and total length while open. Then you will have to pick a set of springs that meet the total lengths you have picked from that one spot. The hard part will be trying to get the body and extended portion to match the measurements you have. Its a geometry problem. Reread my earlier post.

Thanks Bill. Due to a move and other issues my poor car hasn't moved in some time. I started awhile back thinking it would be a good time for projects like the one we're talking about here. However after spending time with the car today and the fact that winter is officially over I may have to reconsider. There are still a few roads out there the car and I haven't been on.