Poptop lift assist struts installed

I recently purchased a Thule Evolution 1800 cargo box from Craigslist in order to store/carry more stuff when camping/road tripping.

With the added weight on top, I decided to purchase the GoWesty poptop lift assist kit to make opening the poptop easier. http://www.gowesty.com/product-details.php?v=&id=24205

The kit arrived, and I was eager to get started. The instructions were a bit lacking in detail. The first issue I hit was regarding drilling a hole for the mounting brackets. Instructions state to place the bracket just in front of the existing rear hinges, yet there is a rivet there. I was able to find just enough surface to set it, mark, and drill. FYI – a small starter hole with a drill bit is helpful rather than solely relying on the self tapping screw.

But, on the first drill I went through a layer of metal and then hit another one below. Not knowing if this was meant to be, I decided to stop. I called and emailed, and then received a callback the next day.

GoWesty checked another Weekender and admitted that there was a rivet. He said I could drill it out, but he also said that the second layer of metal below is normal. Thus, I decided to leave in the location I chose. I drilled the remaining rear mount bracket holes and installed them with the provided self tapping screw.

Next, I attached the struts to the balls on the installed mounts and to the front ball mounts as well. Then, with the poptop up, I marked where the front mounts should be installed (the struts come extended, and are nearly impossible to compress by hand which I confirmed with GoWesty, I wasn’t sure about this cause I thought that maybe they’d compress and lock for smaller shipping packages… not the case).

So knowing that the struts were at full extension, I drilled and then inserted the bolts/washers from the top. Then, I went back inside, and I was able to thread the nut/washer and hand tightened. Next, I gently closed the poptop for the first time with the struts lightly secured. Now that the top was down, I was able to hold the nut on the inside of the EV while reaching on top with a socket to tighten.

I tightened to a light torque on just one bolt with the 2nd front bolts hand tightened. I still need to get some silicone to seal the outside bolt/washer as advised by GoWesty.

I opened and closed the poptop several times. I’m quite impressed by the amount of lift assistance this provides. I’m eager to load up the Thule next.

Almost done… just need to hit the hardware store tomorrow for the silicone and then final tighten the bolts.

 

10 comments on “Poptop lift assist struts installed
  1. Phillip Davis says:

    Just discovered this site and thanks for the story! I really want to do this, but I’m leery of drilling into the roof myself.

    • John Olinger says:

      If you tend to work on your Eurovan yourself, then I’d say go for it. I was a bit apprehensive at first as well. Yet, after doing it, I’m really glad I didn’t pay somebody else to do it. It was pretty easy. I do a lot of modifications and basic stuff on my 1993 Eurovan, and it saves a lot of money.

  2. Bobby T4 says:

    Do you have a full view of your set up?

  3. John Olinger says:

    By the way, with the Thule loaded on top, the poptop is still pretty difficult to open. But I try not to open it with a loaded Thule box anyway. With the Thule empty, there is still some weight up there, and the poptop struts do assist a bit. With an unloaded roof/poptop, opening the top is a breeze… almost opens by itself.

  4. alex dimond says:

    I have done the same install on my 94 westy and I’m more or less happy with it. with out the struts and a full top box it was imposable to lift the top on my own. with the struts its still a bit of a struggle but I can do it! and once fully extended it will hold the top open with out the H bar nice to know the top no long comes slamming down!

  5. Gordon Kwong says:

    Just curious on how long those lifters are. I would think that shorter ones that would get closer to verticle would have better lifting power. I was thinking of around 28 inch lifters. Was it hard to close without the thule on top. Also wondering how thick the roof was and if drilling was difficult or multi layers

    • John Olinger says:

      Not sure the length, but purchased from GoWesty. It is a tad difficult to bring down, but worth it to have it practically open by itself.
      Roof isn’t very thick. Drilling was quite easy with a good bit. Just be careful and you’ll be fine.

  6. Andy Schell says:

    Thanks, John! Your pics and instructions really helped us install the lifts on our 93 Eurovan. Like you, we ordered the kit from GoWesty. Our Weekender has plenty of room to leave the H bar (we like hanging things from it when the top is popped) without it getting in the way of the struts. Our struts did not match the GoWesty YouTube vids https://youtu.be/DTsNZC7v9Uo, and we couldn’t rotate the plastic piece to “unlock” them. We ended up unscrewing the end, but the tubes don’t just pull off like in the vid. There were two small allen set screws we had to undo on each strut, and then they came off so we knew they were unlocked and freely operative. The entire installation was a two-person job for us, and took several hours…but it works like a charm. What a difference! Glad we did it.

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