CJ / YJ / TJ Gas Strut Hood Lift
A lot of modifications are done to increase the performance of the vehicle, make it look better, or both. This one doesn't do either, but is still a MUST HAVE! When opening the hood on a Jeep vehicle that's been running recently, you'll probably notice the front edge of the hood and the support prop are incredibly hot, enough to burn the palm of your hand as you grab them! Remember that radiator exceeds 100°C (210°F)! Add the hood being exposed in the sun, and the higher air temperatures around the engine block, and it's gonna hurt. You're forced to lift up that hood, hold it there with one hand while you release the even hotter prop and put that into position before you can let go of anything.
It doesn't have to be that way though! The HoodLift available from Quadratec, Kilby or direct from Jim Piatt at Hoodlift.com solves that and adds a little more refinement to the simple rugged Jeep. You just release the catches like normal and lift the hood a little less than a foot and the gas struts take over and lift the hood for you, just like the rear glass on the hard top. It should also be noted that the struts are helping all the time, and the hood feels very light lifting it that initial few inches. Opening the hood is now effortless and with no burn marks on your hands! You no longer have to look for make-shift oven gloves (greasy rag, old T-shirt etc !)
For those that like to lay the hood back against the windscreen on occasions, you just have to give the struts a pull and they pop right off the ball joints, and you can lay the hood back. Just don't forget to reconnect them before you close the hood and let them hang down on moving parts!
The HoodLift kit is pretty simple and includes the adjustable length support rods, the mounts, the all important gas struts and all mounting hardware. The kit retails for approximately $135 US which is a small price to pay for not burning your hands! You also get a spare ball-mount incase you happen to break one, a nice touch. The pic on the left is courtesy of www.jeepin.com as I forgot to take one of all the components!
The HoodLift kit ships with 8 pages of very detailed instructions, and I'm not going to re-write them here. This will serve more as a brief overview of what's involved before you do the project. The instructions start by telling you "PLEASE READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS ALL THE WAY THROUGH BEFORE STARTING THE INSTALLATION". It's tempting to look at the pictures and figure it out as you go along, but the information in the text will save you from damaging the hood, drilling extra holes or just generally screwing up. My own fear of screwing up the new AEV Heat Reduction Hood gave me plenty of time to read it through! Jim Piatt has the Instructions online so you can read them while you're waiting for the package to arrive on your door step!
Hoodlift install instructions.pdf
R E A D - T H E M ! !
Now on with the pictures and write up!
- Safety Glasses
- Measuring Tape
- 1/8th" Drill bit
- Masking / Duct Tape (be careful on paint if using Duct tape)
- Electric Drill
- 3/8th" Socket or Wrench
- 1/2" and / or 13mm Socket or Wrench (Ball studs vary in size)
- 1/2" and / or 13mm Wrench (Or 2 wrenches in place of socket)
- Inch-Pounds Torque Wrench recommended
- (2) 7/16th" Wrenches (or 1 wrench, 1 socket)
- 5/16th" Socket for TJ owners ('97+) to remove and replace original Prop Rod screws
- Phillips [+] screwdriver for CJ only ('72-'86)
The kit is very flexible and designed to fit a range of configurations. The same kit works for the CJ, YJ and TJ and within reason could be used on other vehicles too, perhaps with a little extra work or fabrication. The positioning of the rods and components is flexible and you need to work around what you have in the engine bay.
On the stock TJ (1997-2005) your main clearance issue is the windscreen washer bottle on the drivers side, so it's best to start here. Begin by notching the webbing in the middle of the bottle, as the support rod should fit into this gap for a perfect fit. Try to leave enough to secure the bottle lid. You don't need to remove much, and the picture on the left shows the finished product (click to enlarge).
Next install the lower ball mounts on the Radiator support rods. Ideally you want them about 6" from the firewall, but the instructions say you can vary this to adjust the lifting force. The important thing would be to make sure they are equal. In some cases the saddle can crack due to varying thicknesses of the support rods. On ours this didn't happen but the instructions say if it does, that's normal and results in a better fit. Be careful not to overtighten the ball studs as you may strip / break them.
Next up, a little precaution. You don't want to drill too far into the hood so a great tip is to place some tape on the drill bit to give you a good visual indicator of the drill being all the way through and not too far. The tape will also stop the drill bit pushing in further anyway. Duct tape is tough and will stop the drill bit from going deeper, but leaves a bit of residue on the drill bit, so use masking tape if you're more worried about the drill bit than the hood. To protect the hood at all costs, duct tape works! Also while drilling you will notice the tone of the noise change just before the drill bit is about to go through, so just ease off the pressure when you hear that. Easy does it! Insert the self tapping screws, being careful not to over-tighten as you may strip the thread in the metal.
If you've got a stock TJ, start with the drivers side as it's the most tricky to position. You want to make sure the front edge has enough DEPTH behind the holes you drill so the screw doesn't reach through to the outer-skin of the hood, and then you want to position the rear mount so that the arm falls into the gap you created in the washer bottle. This is a classic example of measure many times and drill once. Wipe the areas clean with a rag and then use tape to test-fit the support arms until you're happy with the placement. The marks shown in the pictures are the residue left from the duct tape.
Now follow this up with the other side. This one typically won't be so tricky as in most cases there will be less obstructions. Custom air intakes or on-board-air compressors will be ones to watch out for, but Brad Kilby has this kit on his TJ with an AEV 5.7L Hemi engine, AC, On-Board-Air, On-Board-Welder and probably a few other tricks under there! The flexibility of this kit lets you make it work with almost any situation. With no obstructions in my engine bay, I just aimed for symmetry and tried to match the drivers side, hopefully it won't need too much adjustment with future upgrades.
The Passenger side rear area has two oval holes in and you need to find a position that allows for at least 4 screws. The drivers side (shown) is pretty flexible giving you plenty of space to find the right spot to clear that water bottle. The front mounts on the TJ re-use the stock prop-rod bolts so you will have two self-tapping screws left over, allowing you to do 5 per side on the rear if you want to.
Finally decide on the height you want the hood to open to by placing the ball stud in the correct hole on the rod, and press the gas strut on to the top and bottom studs. The further forward hole you select, the lower the hood will stop. For now we selected the lowest setting to make sure we can close it again! Don't forget, you can simply pop the gas struts off and lay the hood back against the window if necessary.
Now feel free to open and close the hood a few times to admire a job well done! It's easiest to close from the middle as that distributes the force evenly, and when it opens it's normal for it to bounce a bit as the radiator supports flex. No more burnt hands and if you do have something to show off in the engine bay, well this just makes it easier. Also note that you no longer have the obstruction of the hood prop at the front.
The Hood Lock Quadratec also sells will prevent people getting the 5-finger-discount from your engine bay when you're not around! Part numbers for that are at the end of the article, be sure to order the correct one for your Jeep's latch style.
Speaking of things to show off, you'll remember earlier I mentioned Kilby's AEV 5.7L engine swap... I did the install myself at the dealership workshop (a good relationship helps here!) for some shade and to escape the humidity... and look what was on the stand in the workshop! One day we'll have one of these greeting you as the hood rises smoothly and effortlessly! No Transmission with this one so I'll have to keep looking for a totalled 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee!
|Quadratec Gas Strut Hood Lift|
|Featured Product numbers:|
|# 13027 00:||Hood Lift|
|Related Product numbers / articles:|
|# 12503 100:||AEV TJ Heat Reduction Hood|
|# 13103 01:||1997.5+ TJ Hood Lock|
|# 13103 00:|| Early 1997 sideways TJ Hood Lock|
|# 13003 00:|| 1987-1995 YJ Hood Lock|
|# 23003 00:|| 1972-1986 CJ Hood Lock||
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