There are a few situations where replacing the stock tailgate gas strut with a longer one will be of benefit to you. The main reason is accessibility and the perhaps less important one is function.
With significant plans for the rear of the camper this year I set about testing the different sizes of gas struts and numerous forces (N).
Let’s talk about the main reason for the change.
If you’re adding some sort of base deck with drawers, fridge sliders or even during general use the tailgate not fully opening can be a problem. I have the tailgate molle panel installed to optimise small items storage and extending the opening is especially useful for our needs.
In the photograph below you can see the angle at which the stock gas strut opens the door. It’s a less than optimal angle in my humble opinion but I’m sure Suzuki have their reasons.
I forgot to read the actual angle but you can see it below.
The standard gas strut measures 48cm in length including the ball sockets. The end fixings are 10mm ball sockets.
The best length for 90º
I’ve experimented with 4 different gas strut lengths that open the door from 90º and slightly beyond. In my view trying to extend beyond 90º is a bad idea. It can get aggressive on the hinges past 90º if you don’t dial in the force perfectly. Too much and it literally shakes the vehicle if you leave it to open unaided. It also feels awkward in practice, as if it’s broken. I suspect it’s not wise even if you find the perfect settings for your gas strut, maybe someone with more knowledge on this can share in the comments.
The final size I ended up using was the GS8-18-200-250 Fixed Force Gas Strut from SGS Engineering. It is 45cm long with a force of 250N. You enter the force before you add it to your basket.
Please note: I paid for this with my own money, no discounts, no kick backs etc for sharing their link.
It turned out that the specifications I was told to get early in this process from instagram buddies was spot on. In the spirit of experimentation I still wanted to try different configurations to make sure. This is the product many Australian Jimmy owners go for GOLIATH 250N X 502MM BLACK MEDIUM PRESSURE GAS STRUT.
UPDATE: Oli the Jimny mentioned some issues with the Goliath gas strut. Cheers mate!
Side note: I maybe miss out by refusing to use Facebook every day but Instagram is as much time thievery I want to allow a social media company.
The total length of the GS8-18-200-250 including the end fixings (Stainless Steel 10mm Ball Sockets to fit M6 thread) is 50cm.
Here’s the stock gas strut alongside the replacement strut. As you can see there’s only a marginal increase required to achieve the 90º opening.
Here’s a link to their fitting guide, anyone can do it. Obviously make sure the door doesn’t swing out and into a wall when you remove the stock gas strut. Be careful not to jam your fingers in the door, it’s not heavy but you certainly don’t want it slamming onto your fingers.
The resulting angle is perfect. You can even get good clearance with fully packed molle pouches on the tailgate, so that’s the result I wanted.
Here’s a few slideshows so you can switch between the before and after shots to see the difference. I also though it prudent to show the change in how far the spare wheel protrudes on the side of the car when the door is fully open. Owners with narrower garages may need to factor this in.
The force of the stock gas strut looks like it may be 280N based upon the picture below. Don’t quote me on that it may just be a product code coincidence. If that is true then it’s a force of 28.5kg according to our Google overlord.
I decided to go with less force than the way Suzuki have specified it. 250N which 25.5kg.
There has been occasions, particularly in supermarket car parks where the force of stock gas strut means the door opens fully when you don’t want it too. I’ve had to quickly throw shopping bags in the back and grab the door to stop it hitting a bollard, wall or worse still another vehicle.
Yes, you might argue this is a non-issue and I’m perhaps nitpicking to help justify the mod. However, I do prefer having to move the door to where I want it. As you will see on the instagram footage below the force of 250N helps the door to open slowly and unaided (on flat ground) after the first ~30º. I’m forfeiting some of the automatic opening of the door initially.
Depending upon the angle at which the car is parked. On a slope towards the engine the door will open easier of its own accord. The opposite is true of sloping in the other direction, the door will need more assistance from you to open it fully. Likely it will start to self close if you leave go before it’s reached halfway open.
One of the reasons this accessory exists is part of the need to control the door opening better. Here’s part of the product description.
Using the Tailgate Stopper Belt, you can limit how far the tailgate opens by holding it in place while you go about your business. No more holding the tailgate nervously with one hand to stop it from swinging open while trying to load your luggage one-handed! Perfect for supermarket car parks and those who park on the street regularly.
I may have to increase the force in future as I have some other modifications in progress for the tailgate. For now this seems okay. Your opinion in practice may vary if you have 16″ wheels and a heavy tyre mounted along with a ladder. Perhaps adding a little more force will be better for you? I could not comment on that without trying it but certainly don’t go for less than 250N.
A word of warning, too much force is very disconcerting when it rockets to a stop and wobbles the car. That’s not a nice feeling.
I hope this blog helps anyone looking to carry out a similar change to their Jimny.