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Wagon Liftgate Strut Replacement?

3399 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Daron
I got new struts to put on my liftgate. They are stout! I can't compress them at all with my bodyweight.

Took off the c-pillar covers, dropped the headliner in the rear (forward through the rear dome light mounts).
I muscled on the passenger side strut by lifting the gate HARD while connecting the cups on the strut to the body/gate mounts. Connected the liftgate joint first, then lifted on the tailgate and was able to get the front/body mount to pop on.

The driver's side is off by 1/2-1/4 inch, and I can't figure out how to get the ends to snap on the mount points. I can't find a point I can use to pry on the strut to compress it, and I am lifting hard on the gate to the point I fear bending or breaking something. I can't fit a huge pair of channel locks up there to squeeze the cup onto the ball, the angles are weird and the lift/hydraulic actuator is too close to the mounting point.

Has anyone else done this?
Is there a trick to get it on there?
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Well, I tried a ratchet strap to compress the strut a little bit so that it fits on the mount points, but of course when tightened, the strap blocks the "socket" on the strut so I cannot pop it on the "ball" mount points.

Gave up and tried to make an appointment to bring it in to the dealer for them to mount it. He said there is a trick to it and just bring it by and they will put it on while I wait. We'll see if he thinks it is like an escalade or other exposed strut where I wouldn't be having this problem, or if he is familiar with the CTS wagon system. I hope he's right.
I will update after I swing by there some time in the near future.
When I changed mine, I swapped in the driver's side first, then the passenger side. Not sure if that makes a difference. On the passenger side strut install, I had to force the tailgate open very far...almost to the point I thought I was going to break or buckle the roof panel.
Took it by yesterday and I was right, they thought it was an external mounted strut. He was perplexed. I made an appointment for today.

Took about 2 hours to install (some of that was him replacing the one I already installed, and then saying "it still doesn't stay up" -- I guess there was miscommunication on which side needed to be installed), $110 in labor.
I didn't get to talk to the tech to find out what trick he used to muscle it on there.
No handprints on the headliner, no buckles in the roof, and the liftgate stays up. I'm happy, but not being able to do it myself bruises my ego a little bit. Next time I'd probably try doing the driver's side first as mistergreeen did.

While I was there, saw a 2017 cts-v... Wow, the interior is nice. Trying to resist the urge. I wish they came with a manual. The black raven shows the orange peel badly.
Old thread I know…. Just replaced my rear gate struts for the wagon. I found I couldn’t get the new struts on without undoing the hydraulic lift strut as well. The gate just wouldn’t open far enough. After disconnecting the lift strut all went together nicely.
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