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E39 Touring Tailgate needs more oomph

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55 minutes ago, Pzero said:

BEHOLD EXCRAPIBUR

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Despite this not really being scientifically designed (just got lucky near enough first time after sizing it up against one of the new cylinders), measurements below for those who would also dare to forge this mighty tool. Made with thanks to and assistance from Pzero Snr, who was also providing extra hands for supporting tailgate whilst got my bony fingers in the roof space. Pro tip - Seriously, a second person makes it easy to line up the tailgate hinge and cylinder connecting point. Holding the tailgate at the right height whilst trying to push in the pin and put the circlips on is not cool.

 

Tools required - Hammer. Grips. Maybe a vice. Note that measurements look 'off' in the pictures compared to my commentary, but that's just due to angle of camera.

 

Overall length is 640mm. Shorter would work I guess, or go crazy and make it from a 3m length and don't cut it down. Just imagine how the return on your leverage effort! Oh wait, it would have a ton of give in it. Nah, forget it, keep it short.

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The hook is around 90mm, would imagine probably about 120mm before being bent into shape. So hammer that bastard flat, and then fold it in. Although I forgot to have measure next to it, the folded end width is about 15mm. As long as the end of it is roughly folded in half, that should do it.

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It's bending time. Depth / deflection / whatever of the curve is approx 35mm.

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Now it was a year ago I used this, but I think that the S and L markings on the shaft were for the short and long cylinders (can't remember which is which, but the glass section and tailgate section are of course different lengths). I believe these markings were how far to insert into the cavity to be just right to sit above the balljoint once the cylinders socket is sitting on it. Measured them up against the new cylinders alongside the tube, you may want to do this yourself rather than trust my measurements. For the record, I've marked up S approx 260mm back from tip of hooked end, and L at 300mm approx.

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Popping the old cylinders off you could probably do with a big 'ol screwdriver or whatever, I recall that I came in alongside the cylinders with this, hook pointing towards it and was able to slip it in underneath the cylinder rod just in front of the balljoint. Quick twist of the CRAPI-tool, as if turning a screwdriver, and the hook forced the cylinder up off the ball joint.

 

For putting the new cylinders in, pretty sure I lined the big ones (tailgate) up by feel, getting the socket over the balljoint, slipping this in alongside, hooking around the end gently (not pulling too hard or will pull the socket off the joint and result in swearing), and then twisted the tool upwards around the cylinder, forcing the balljoint down with a satisfying pop.

 

 Turned out not to need to use the hook end for the glass section cylinders, as those cylinders slip neatly into the other uncrushed end of the tube (assuming you used 22mm pipe). Leave the socket end of the cylinder sticking out of the tube, use masking or electrical tape to secure it loosely, enough to stop it slipping into the tube. Line it up (either by feel, or maybe the 'short' marking was measured from the open end of the tube, showing how far to push it into cavity? Sorry, can't remember!), get the socket over the ball joint, sharpish push upwards on the back end and pop, it's on. Just pull the tube off of the cylinder.

 

As for the pins and circlips for the tailgate / glass section attachment, you'll figure that out. If I could have created something to make putting the plastic covers back on the hinges, believe me I would have. That ended up being more fiddly and frustrating than doing the cylinders, once I'd banged out this piece of crap precision engineered this labour saving wonder tool.

 

DISCLAIMER : This is something knocked up on the fly to avoid paying extortionate money for a tool which will only ever be used once in my cars lifetime (hopefully!). Replicate at your own discretion, and ensure that edges of bodywork around the cavity opening are sufficiently protected. I think I used a big wad of folded Amazon box between pipe and roof edge when pushing up on the back of the pipe. I can't be held responsible for any bent roofs or lost paintwork! Also, take the opportunity to hoover out that cavity, so much crap in mine somehow. Not recommended for power tailgates. 

 

Sir, people like you make the internet great.

 

Thank you.

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10 minutes ago, Piper said:

 

Sir, people like you make the internet great.

 

Thank you.

 

Hey man, I've taken enough knowledge from this forum over the years, it's rare for me to be able to give something useful. Most of the stuff I've done to my cars has been from guides / info given here already, so there was no point me doing write ups of how I followed a write up.

 

I confess, i did intend to take pics and do a write up when I did my cylinders last year, but on the day didn't remember it until I'd done it. Oops.

 

I think I've got a box just the right size for CRAPI tool, will hopefully get it tomorrow. Can send it your way as requested, but with one caveat : in the unlikely event that these third party cylinders I installed last year fail prematurely and need redoing, you gotta send it back to me ;) Wouldn't want to do them without one of these!

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@Piper if you were serious about wanting the original CRAPItool rather than making your own, drop me a PM. Found a suitable box from work, but gotta warn you, will likely be a few days before I get chance to post it. 12 hour shifts unexpectedly right now.

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Just now, Pzero said:

@Piper if you were serious about wanting the original CRAPItool rather than making your own, drop me a PM. Found a suitable box from work, but gotta warn you, will likely be a few days before I get chance to post it. 12 hour shifts unexpectedly right now.

Messaged u

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On 17/04/2020 at 07:07, Piper said:

 

That's exactly what I need to do.

 

Do you have any pics / a guide?

Sorry I've not been on the forum for a while.  Shine a powerful torch down the aperture and you will see what you are dealing with.  I did both tailgate and glass dampers with the middle one of a set of three pry bars I got from Lidl or aldi.  It was a bit over a foot in length.  I also used a long thin screwdriver to move things about.  It's fiddly but take your time.  There are ball ends in the roof and sockets on the dampers and they just pop on and off.  I wrapped the pry bar with tape to avoid scratching anything.  Getting them back on was worse than getting them off and the tailgate are harder than the glass dampers.  Hardest thing of all is getting the plastic cable covers back on properly.  The copper bar would work better with the glass than the tailgate dampers I suspect.  I used that technique on my old e34 touring.  Trouble is they bend.  It's really difficult to describe how to do this job because you sort of work it out as you do it.  Pry bar is the one with the yellow black handle.  Probably should have used more tape.  I think I blasted some waxoyl I  the aperture after.20200426_130525.thumb.jpg.59cc4e4fe4f25acac0510c6af305e584.jpg20200426_130600.thumb.jpg.0d32a4322d1304341d769870ea4d7e12.jpg

 

 

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Did all of them on around an hour....

 

 

....thank you tool no. 4!! Was a breeze (ish)

 

New pair of Febi struts / Tool in place / old one out, meeting it's replacement...big smiles all round.

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Edited by Piper

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8 minutes ago, duncan-uk said:

Best get on this - had the struts sat in the garage for a couple of years now!

 

Any tips to add?

Careful taking the plastic hinge covers apart, there is a tiny pin on one half and a slot on the other half at the bottom end of them. It'll make more sense when you do it and see, just take them apart carefully.

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3 hours ago, duncan-uk said:

Best get on this - had the struts sat in the garage for a couple of years now!

 

Any tips to add?

 

You're gonna need the tool....

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1 hour ago, duncan-uk said:

I have bars as above or i can make one B)

 

That's all u need :)

 

Cheapest place for the OEM Febi struts I could find was Car Parts 4 Less with a 19% off code. £61 for the pair. Cheaper than the cheapest on eBay :)

Edited by Piper

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10 hours ago, duncan-uk said:

I have the parts just never tackled the job!

 

It's much easier than it sounds. Go for it!

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