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Discussion Starter #1
I installed upgraded hatch struts tonight and I'm very pleased with the result.

I had installed some minor hardware in the hatch for a handle, lever, lock, then added the spoiler, and I already had issues with 'cabana-sag'. Sometimes the hatch wouldn't fully open, even without the cabana on. So I decided to upgrade.

The stock Element strut is: Stabilus/SACHS Lift-O-Mat #SG226011 with 315N of pressure.
The upgraded strut is: Stabilus/SACHS Lift-O-Mat #SG225002 with 455N of pressure.

With the stock strut, the lowest point on the fully open hatch was 68.25" from ground, and the outside corners (farthest to rear) were 74.25".
With the upgrade strut, the lowest point (see pic, "A") on the open hatch is 69.25" from ground, and the outside corners (see pic, "B") were 75.875".

I gained about 1.6" of height at the end, and it's more noticeable than I expected (in a good way). They are about 0.6" longer that the stock struts, and have a slightly larger diameter, but fit comfortably. Remember to install the large diameter end on top, or you will get a scary rebound-bounce when the hatch comes up. 455N is a little heftier than I was aiming for, but the hatch still closes with less effort than you would expect. It also opens smoothly, but with confidence. -haha. I haven't set up the cabana yet to test, but I wouldn't feel comfortable with a higher pressure anyway, so it's a moot point. When the hatch [with spoiler] is fully open, it is still clear of the roof and antenna. I couldn't get an accurate measurement unless I was on the roof, since the tightest point would be at the center of the spoiler.

The upgrade struts are in-store stocked items at PepBoys. They were $35 each after tax. There is a clip on each end that holds the strut onto the hardware. Very simple removal of old, and install of new.

If you want more info on other strut options, read the jumbled thread here to see all the research (near the end).

(I had the struts in upside-down for the pics, do it the other way)
 

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Well done!!! Looks like its a good match for replacing the old struts with
just a bit more lifting power.

"It also opens smoothly, but with confidence."

Love that line!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well done!!! Looks like its a good match for replacing the old struts with
just a bit more lifting power.
Just tad longer, and tad larger diameter. 455N was actually a lot more power, and I was afraid it would be too hard to close, but I was surprised how easy it was. If 455N proves excessive in a cabana-sag-test, I would be curious to see how a lower pressure would fare.
 

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Nice! Well done, sir. I might try to do this on mine.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just tad longer, and tad larger diameter. 455N was actually a lot more power, and I was afraid it would be too hard to close, but I was surprised how easy it was. If 455N proves excessive in a cabana-sag-test, I would be curious to see how a lower pressure would fare.
Well, my 5'4" friend said the hatch is kind of hard to get down now. If you don't have cabana+spoiler+othercrap on your hatch, I'm going to suggest some of the other, less powerful options:

Here is the summary of options/info/research I have so far, as others may have different needs and want to pursue this further. I have not purchased, or test fit any of these, except the #SG225002. The actual fit and N measurement may differ:

*I only looked at struts with a minimum length matching the stock strut, or longer*

Stabilus/Sachs/ZFTrading:
The direct replacement is Stabilus #SG226011 @315N
A possible small upgrade is Stabilus #SG201014 @330N
A possible larger upgrade is Stabilus #SG202011 @387N
A longer fitting large upgrade is Stabilus #SG225002 @455N
PepBoys stocks some of these in-store.
*Stabilus support (ZF TRading) is difficult to deal with. I wouldn't even bother.

AMS/RhinoPac:
DO NOT buy struts from resellers advertised as "equivalent-to-Stabilus #______". More often than not, the dimensions or pressure do not match. Find a match using dimensions and your desired force.
*AMS technical support is EXTREMELY helpfu.

LiftSupportDepot:
A possible large upgrade is #49057 @440N
This item is not available on the website, you have to call Toni (1.760.744.2956), or Lou ([email protected]). It sounds like they may be able to do custom specs. Located in San Marcos, CA.
*LSD technical support is very helpful.

Monroe
*I didn't finish my research.*

P.S. Most retails stores will not allow you to return struts, assuming that you have used them. My PepBoys said they would allow it only if the parts showed no wear whatsoever. Be careful if you are buying to test a fit or usability. If you make them order a part that they don't normally carry, you cannot return it...ever.
I'm going to keep my 455N, but 440N from LiftSupportsDepot is the next closest, according to the info they sent me. You might ask LSD if they have anything in between 440N and 387N(the next closest, from Stabilus). Please post any new info for others.
 

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It also opens smoothly, but with confidence. -haha.
I did this mod this weekend and can verify the statement above. :)

I also used a rain-soaked, water-logged, heavy cabana with it in windy condition and the struts held up real well. There was no sagging that I had experienced in the OEM. It does require more pressure to close but that's to be expected. The hatch can't be slammed closed like before. I can't wait to see what it's like in the colder season. The hatch tended to droop on my E on colder days

It also requires the person opening the hatch to be attentive or they will get a "scary surprise" as mentioned in the original post. The hatch will jump up and out right at you. I would have to agree, a weaker set would be sufficient for those who do not need to have anything carried by the hatch but wants a more "solid" hatch.

I got my set (Part # SG225002) at Pep Boys for $31.99.

Thanks again, Legioss, for all the hard work in putting this information together.
 

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Will the hatch actually open itself now, or do you still have to pull it out an inch or two before it will open?
You still have to pull it out a little. The way the strut mounts are lined up, the struts are pushing the hatch straight up towards its hinges. If there was a greater offset between the top and bottom strut mounts, the hatch would definitely open on its own.

Subscribing to this to make my "to-do list" after Afghanistan just a tad bit longer. :)
If you need help installing the new struts when you get back, let me know. :grin:

No, seriously, the install only took a few minutes. Pop the clips from the old struts, pop the old struts off the mounts, then pop the new ones on. You're done! You do not need to remove the old ball mounts and install new ones.

But hey, if you still feel you need help, I can call the local girl scout chapter and ask them to send a scout over to do the install for you! :razz:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It also requires the person opening the hatch to be attentive or they will get a "scary surprise" as mentioned in the original post. The hatch will jump up and out right at you. I would have to agree, a weaker set would be sufficient for those who do not need to have anything carried by the hatch but wants a more ".
No, no, the scary I was referring to was if you install the struts upside down. The hatch will jerk and bounce when it reaches the fully open position.

I must have always guided the hatch up with my hand, because I wasn't at all surprised or attacked when I opened it with the new struts.

Wow, so it works with a rain-soaked cabana! I hadn't even considered that.
 

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No, no, the scary I was referring to was if you install the struts upside down. The hatch will jerk and bounce when it reaches the fully open position.

I must have always guided the hatch up with my hand, because I wasn't at all surprised or attacked when I opened it with the new struts.

Wow, so it works with a rain-soaked cabana! I hadn't even considered that.
Yes. It worked quite well with a heavy, waterlogged cabana on it.

As for the scary surprise, I did not see that bounce at fully open position. I made sure I installed it right side up as you suggested in the original post. :)

But I did notice the hatch pushes out and up in a quick motion briefly as soon as the struts starts pushing it open if you let go. So it can catch a person off guard if they don't pay attention.

Also, I am 5'5". I had no problems closing it, but there is a noticeable resistance now.
 

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Thanks for this thread...those of us with lowered E's are always hitting our heads on the hatch. Maybe this will give the clearance I need 8)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Nice mod 8) Thanks for sharing.
I'm still 2 write-ups behind, and 1 project behind. =P

YAY!!!! I am SOOOOO tired of slamming my head into the hatch!!!
Again, I'm going to recommend somebody look into lower pressure options from LSD, especially if you aren't a cabana user. Remember to check the lengths if you are going for that extra height. Measurements are eye-to-eye.
 

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Thank you for the research------definitely going to buy a pair of those. We don't have a spoiler, but I wouldn't imagine it would affect it that much with it mounting right at the pivot point. Thanks again-----
 

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Thanks to all who did the research and leg work on this issue. I priced them last week at my dealer - $53+ EACH + tax and installation fee. I politely said "No thank you". I came home and found this thread. Then found a pair of Stabilus/SACHS Lift-O-Mat #SG225002 on Amazon for $22 each - including tax and shipping. They arrived late yesterday and were installed before the UPS driver was off my block. Work like a charm!
Thank you again!!
 

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Thanks to all who did the research and leg work on this issue. I priced them last week at my dealer - $53+ EACH + tax and installation fee. I politely said "No thank you". I came home and found this thread. Then found a pair of Stabilus/SACHS Lift-O-Mat #SG225002 on Amazon for $22 each - including tax and shipping. They arrived late yesterday and were installed before the UPS driver was off my block. Work like a charm!
Thank you again!!
You heel! You just cheated your dealer out of $60 quick cash for doing 5 minutes worth of work.
 
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