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Author Topic: Rear Hatch Struts  (Read 3822 times)

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Red Baron

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Rear Hatch Struts
« on: June 18, 2009, 10:35:59 AM »
Several years ago ( maybe more like a decade ) someone published in the Transporter a brief article on how to make and install a simple prop that fits over the rear hatch struts on Vanagons. If I'm not mistaken, Dr. Karl Bloss was the author.

I made one as the original OEM struts on the van were not able to support the weight of the hatch. It was made from a length of 3/4" ID PVC pipe and just fits over the strut cylinder body when the hatch is closed. To support the hatch, the pipe is moved up over the piston rod in the open position and the lower edge shifted to engage the cylinder end.

I used it for several years until I finally replaced the struts. Now, I'm back to the same problem, only this time with the added weight of a new Fiamma Bike Rack, the struts will no longer support the hatch with the added weight of the bike rack. I know many Vanagon owners have the Fiamma Bike Rack, so my question is - Do you use this gadget to support the hatch or something else like a 6' long 2 X 3?

I'm considering using 3/4" ID aluminium tubing instead of the PVC pipe and having the tubing on both struts. Would be glad to have input on this subject and does anyone have a copy of Karl Bloss's article.

Here's the rear hatch with the Fiamma Rack installed. Of course the bike is removed to open the hatch.


« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Red Baron »

prez

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« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2009, 11:00:43 AM »
Yes, Mr. Bloss "unveiled" his supports at his first "Blue Rocks" event in Pa, I was there along with a small group in his pre Phd. days.  I thought it to be smart, foolproff and strong.  It's my belief the PVC will hold twice the weight of the gate.  I would think the first thing to go would be the pins which hold the shock to the gate/body.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by prez »

Vanagonjr

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« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2009, 12:57:39 PM »
I beleive it is jsut a pieces of PVC pipe, I've seen refernce to 1/2" or 3/4" dia, 8" long.  

http://www.telusplanet.net/public/gary2 ... upport.htm
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Vanagonjr »
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beebrew

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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2009, 07:33:04 PM »
I made one a few years back to handle the extra weight from a Fiama bike rack. Mounted on the left side for easy release while lifting the gate. It is made from 3/4" PVC conduit at 8-5/16"length. Plastic is nice, as it doesn't damage the paint, or rattle. :-) Guy
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by beebrew »

Red Baron

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Rear Hatch Strut Support
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2009, 05:58:40 PM »
I took the aluminium tube option and bought a 4 foot section of 3/4" tubing at a local hardware store. Before I purchased it, I miked the OD of the hatch strut and with an ID micrometer caliper checked the ID of several pieces of tubing in the stores inventory. There was significant variations in tubing IDs, most likely due to the extrusion process used by the manufacturer. I did find one tube section with an ID about .015" over the nominal OD of the hatch strut which made a nice slipfit. The wall thickness is considerable less than 3/4" PVC tubing and one tube cut to 8.250" length will support the hatch either on the left or right side, depending on whether you are left or right handed.

Don't forget that once the hatch is fully opened and the tube slides into place it must be released to close the hatch by slightly lifting the hatch with one arm and releasing the tube with your other arm, so it slides back over the strut. It sure helps out with the added weight of the Fiamma Bike Rack in keeping the hatch open.


« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Red Baron »


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