After getting over the initial shock of the cost of the AK Gas Strut kit, I looked into ways of doing it for less $$. Having researched options, I quickly concluded that the AK kit was actually pretty good value and placed an order!
The kit arrived and consists of:
- Four gas struts, 2 for the bonnet, 2 for the boot (they have different end fixings)
- 4 brackets to sit on the bonnet/boot ribs. Be careful, two are slightly wider for the bonnet!
- 2 brackets for the engine bay
- 2 brackets for within the boot
- No instructions… grrr..
Having read Tommy’s blog I thought I’d better orientate myself to the struts and attempted to find the gas relief valve. It turns out AK now use a different gas strut and the valve is no longer concealed at the end of the piston, but is actually the small black grub screw on the side. Unfortunately for me I wasn’t expected the purge of high pressure gas as I undid this grub screw and consequently lost most of the gas (seems to be a running theme…). I’m hoping there’s still enough for the boot, but I’m sceptical at the moment.
- Locate a clear fixing point on the inner wing, near the front chassis horizontal. Make sure the threaded section sticks out enough for the gas strut to connect without fouling the body. I located my idle by-pass valve next to the alternator so had to pick a point a little closer to the nose than others have done.
- Check that the gas strut can be accommodated within the engine bay when in the closed position.
- Prop the bonnet open. Put the engine bay mounting bracket up against the underside of the body and square to the s/s cladding in the engine bay.
- Mark the bottom hole position. Then centre punch.
- Drill out this hole to take an M6 bolt.
- Remove the front wheel
- From within the wheel arch, line the engine bay bracket up with the bottom hole and mark the position of the top hole.
- Centre punch and drill the top hole for an M6 bolt.
- Bolt the bracket onto the s/s cladding in the engine bay.
- Connect the gas strut with the thinner end connected to the engine bay bracket and the thicker end will be connected to the boot lid.
- Connect the other end of the gas strut to one of the wider rib brackets.
- Open the bonnet to the position you want it at when fully open.
- Locate the rib bracket onto the bonnet rib and mark the fixing holes or top/bottom if you cant get to both holes.
- I decided to follow Tommy’s lead and use Rivnuts to all me to remove the brackets prior to paint. Drill out the fixing holes to take an M5 rivnut.
- Fix rivnut into hole.
- Bolt bracket to bonnet.
- Now, very carefully(!!) support the weight of the bonnet with your shoulder (so the gas strut isn’t in compression), slowly under the grub screw into a very small amount of gas is released. Leave it open for a couple of seconds before closing and releasing the bonnet. Keep doing this until the gas strut only just supports the weight of the bonnet.
- Repeat the bracket installation on the other side but don’t let any gas out of the strut.
- Once all brackets are installed, remove both struts. Find a handy set of bathroom scales and gently push the gas strut (the one that you have let some gas out of) into the scales. As it compresses, make a note of the reading. Mine took around 23KG.
- Take the second gas strut and let a bit of gas out (I couldn’t compress mine at all when fresh out of the box).
- Keep letting a small amount of gas out and testing on the scales until you get the same reading when compressing.
- Fit both struts back onto the car.
- Test the bonnet opening and closing. You may find that you need to bleed a little more gas so that closing the bonnet doesn’t put too much pressure on the brackets and S/S engine bay cladding.
Work in progress…