Liftgate strut replacement
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Cadillac SRX First Generation Forum - 2004 - 2009 Discussion, Liftgate strut replacement in Cadillac SRX Forums; Had the struts replaced for the second time in a couple years. (used GMPP) The service manual shows the rear ...
  1. #1
    n7don_srx is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Liftgate strut replacement

    Had the struts replaced for the second time in a couple years. (used GMPP) The service manual shows the rear panels and tail light assembly removed to get at the lower attachments. However there's no evidence this happened. The only "telltail" it looks like some adhesive was added to the rubber trim piece at the top of the tail light assembly suggesting it was either removed or peeled back and reglued.. this might give access to the lower ball attachment. If these struts only last two years I'll be doing the replacement next time. The question.... has anyone changed the struts and got access to the lower attachment by peeling back the rubber trim piece?

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  3. #2
    The Wrench is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Liftgate strut replacement

    I had mine replaced about two years ago under warranty, and they definitely removed the interior side panels and the taillights. The side panels are kinda loose now, due to the snap-in clips being yanked out. Yeah, two years is about the max, especially when it gets colder outside. I found some aftermarket ones for about 80% less $$$ than the dealer ones, but I've been hesitant to pull those panels loose again - barely hanging on now.

    If you find a way around the top of the taillights, please post it here.

    Every time I open the trunk or hood on my old Mercedes I just smile - real springs.

    DG

    DG

  4. #3
    NoJive is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Liftgate strut replacement

    I'm watching this thread as well. Mine need replaced, and I didn't have any clue how to get to the lower joints.

  5. #4
    n7don_srx is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Liftgate strut replacement

    Hopefully mine will last awhile but if history repeats they'll need replacing in a couple years. I didn't turn up anything in a web search on how to get the lower joint off. You might look closely at the rubber trim at the top of the tail light assembly. Is any glue evident? It looks like if a rag were stuffed into the opening once the rubber trim was peeled back it would prevent the clip from falling but that's conjecture on my part. Maybe if Cris from Rippy Cadillac would ask one of their trim techicians to share how it's done. I got to believe there's an easier way. I suspect there's enough replacement on these struts it's not an uncommon repair.

  6. #5
    Jschuch is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    I faced this too and thought, you have to be kidding, remove all this stuff just to replace the struts. Reminds me of headlamp and fog lamp replacement. Here is how I solved this. I carefully removed the rubber flashing that sits on the top of the tail light. From here I cut a clean access window using a dremel to access the struts, minorly cuting into the black side of the lamp assembly, taking my time to not bucher the plastic. From here easy access to change struts any time I want. Just like a normal car. Then I used an appropriate amount of double sided tape to put the rubber flasing back. Then I used a small amount of neoprene tape to cover my "access window". Looks very good, and just shy of OEM. Now I can change them as often as I want using affordable auto parts store struts. I hate when they wear out and the lift gate balances just around my forehead height. Ouch. Fresh ones keep them with enough clearance to walk under.

  7. #6
    The Wrench is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Liftgate strut replacement

    Don, sounds like they did the same thing JSC did. If you poke around on the top rubber piece, maybe you could feel the "notch" he had to grind in the top of the light housing to gain enough access. That would answer the question.
    Seems like it can't really be done without some plastic grinding. I checked mine, definitely unmolested in that area, and the side panels inside are pretty floppy, so they did it the hard way. of course, for a dealer tech, removing the side panels is a 2-second job - just grap and rip, and hope the $300 part doesn't break. For us, it's a bit more scary.

    DG

  8. #7
    n7don_srx is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Liftgate strut replacement

    There's no evidence that anything has been trimmed or notched. It does appear the rubber trim piece has been partly reglued with trim cement. I can't see enough to determine if the clip holding the ball can be removed with the rubber trim moved back. Also on the replacement can the joint be forced over the ball with the clip inplace. I don't know if the replacements comes with a retaining clip or if you have to use the old ones. Even if the old clip fell to the bottom probably could get out with a long magnet.
    If I understand Jschurch's method correctly he cut the access hole on the side of the black plastic. I can see that could give access to the joint. Maybe he can confirm.

  9. #8
    The Wrench is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Liftgate strut replacement

    Don, the new ones come with the clip, and can just be popped on without repositioning the clip - I bet you could do that quite easy even with the lights in place - of course you have to first remove the old one, Ha.
    Yeah, Jsc may have trimmed the notch down on the side of the light. But for sure, you must have to do something like that, or the manual would just say "pop off/pop on" instead of "remove half of car".

    DG

  10. #9
    Deans is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Thumbs up Re: Liftgate strut replacement

    After experiencing problems with the hatch struts on my 2005 SRX this winter, I bought replacement units from my local auto parts store ($28 each). When I looked for installation instructions on this message board, I was worried by the warnings. I inherited this car from my mother-in-law and have been frustrated many times trying to make what one would expect to be simple maintenance items (I have replaced my fog lamps three times in the last 5 years & now have that process down to about 2 hrs. I have been quoted $150 at the dealer).
    Iím happy to report that I was able to replace both struts in less than 30 minutes without having to remove the inside panel. I first released the strut from the hatch, then as noted below, I was able to peel back the rubber seal on the top of the tail light cover, reach into the tail light housing with a small bladed, long stem flat head screw driver and release the clip holding the strut. I had to use a pen light to see into the housing and a pair of needle nose pliers to pull the clip free. Donít worry about losing the clips, the new struts come with clips and if you do drop one, I found it fell through to the garage floor. I also had to prop the door open with a broom handle as a single strut will not support the open door. A few additional notes, install the bottom connection first and reset the rubber trim piece in place before connecting the top side as the trim piece will not easily fit in place after both ends are connected.

    IT CAN BE DONE!

    Deans
    n7don_srx likes this.

  11. #10
    kcross61's Avatar
    kcross61 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Liftgate strut replacement

    I did the same thing a couple of weeks ago. The same way as stated above. Very easy and fast. Used super glue to glue the rubber back on

  12. #11
    ceenite's Avatar
    ceenite is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Liftgate strut replacement

    You guys are the best, like kc, I found it quick and easy, peel, pop, pop, snap, snap, done.
    Struts from Amazon for $43 delivered.
    I didn't peel the boot off completely and don't forget to reinsert it before engaging the top of the strut.
    Thanks again!

  13. #12
    markkra is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Liftgate strut replacement

    Kudos to JSCHUCH and DEANS for the dremel tool solution. I spent 30 minutes taking interior trim panels off, looking for access points and screws, feeling like I was just digging a deeper and deeper hole to nowhere.....until I stopped and said there has to be a better way. Got on to this thread and read the dremel tool approach and voila, within 15 minutes I had both replaced. Thanks guys. I'll be back when I have to replace the rear tail lights....looks tricky so there has to be a trick to fix it right? Dremel tool? lol

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