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1-Piece Hatch Gas Spring Conversion Done---->


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Looks good; I'm thinking about doing the same thing to my '98 VLX.

How difficult was it to install the latch through the upholstery? Did you use the OEM Malibu part? What capacity struts did you end up using?

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The power lift is cool....for about 5 minutes. But it is slow and cumbersome. If someone is on the swim platform they can't shut the hatch to get in the boat or if you want something out of the rear compartments you had to wait for the hatchn to raise & lower.

Mechmaster, I took pictures of the whole process. It took a bit of fabrication to do it, but not too bad. The hardest part was figuring out how to position everything.

I started out with 60lb struts, but with where I mounted them they ended up being to strong so I returned them for 40lb struts. I think weaker is better as the hatch is made of honeycomb aluminum that isn't very strong.

The latch is a perko part I'll get the part # for you............

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Traktor - I'd be interested in seeing how you did it as well. The power lift on my 99 drives me crazy.

Juice, I'll write something up the first of the week. It's real easy if you don't have to do any trial and error...........

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I will first say I got much of the idea on how to do this from an old post on here that made things way easier.

Here you go-

Parts needed


1-Perko 1091DP1BLK latch.

2- 40lb Gas Springs 20" extended by 12" compressed

4-L Spring mounts with ball ends

1 Piece of 1/8" aluminum plate or equivelant

Misc SS screws


First remove hatch and ram.

Mark center and drill 3 1/2" hole through just the first layer of aluminum. If I did it again I would cut a bit further in to stay away from the vinyl.


Remove the center honeycomb from hole. I used some wire cutters and a dremel.

Drill second 2 1/2" whole through top layer of aluminum for latch (ignore the washer I didn't end up using it.)


I used a cupholder to trim out the hole cut in bottom of hatch. I had to cut about 1/4" of it out as it was a bit too big.


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On top I used a donut cut out of 1/2" rubber mat to space the latch up so it didn't sink so far into the padding and look bad.


Here is the latch and trim ring mounted.


For a catch I took a piece of 1/8" aluminum and bolted it between the two hatchstops currently on boat.


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Gas Springs-

Put hatch back on and put a stick in to hold where you want maximum open to be.

Because the aluminum of the hatch is so the I made mount plates out of the 1/8" aluminum to spread the load out.


It took a couple tries to find the right spot(how far down) for the lowers spring mounts. I ended up about 3 1/2" down.


Once the bottoms were mounted I put the springs on and set the upper mounts where they matched up on the hatch. I marked them, cut the carpet and epoxyed them on for better hold. I also put 4 screws in. I then marked and mounted the upper L brackets for the gas springs.


I did some final clean up to make things look better. The finished pics are up top. I originally had 60lb springs but with where they were mounted it was too much pressure. I think the less pressure is better as it will be less stress on the aluminum. All in all in was pretty simple and well worth it. Hope this helps.........

Edited by Tracktor
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I did mine last year, and I love it. I got new vinyl this spring, and had it trimmed out a little differently around the latch. Our upper mounts look almost identical, but I used rivets instead of screws. I mounted the base of the gas struts up higher, on the gunwale. The linkage ends up going just over center, and holds the hatch down when it's closed (not sure if yours does this or not). This is good and bad - the latch has already been left unlatched once on a highway trip! Surprised.gif But, it didn't pop up, and nothing happened. I think I would rather it not stay down unless the latch is latched.



Edited by trace
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