Vanagon – kitchen unit lid strut support 

I have the older type kitchen lid ( because I used 82 westy kitchen unit in my Syncro tin top to westy conversion), I think it changed post ’88 but not sure. The change was to the leading edge of the kitchen unit, lowering it which allowed a little more reclining of the driver’s seat back.

Anyhoo, I think both versions use the annoying “broken leg” style support strut to keep the lid up. I really didn’t like the strut. Finally today I changed it. Used a gas charged strut bought from banggood, the listing is here. It’s a small strut with 100 N (around 10kg force).  I wish I could have used at least some of the screw holes from the stock strut but hat wasn’t possible.

And how does it work? I’m telling you Simon, ITS THE BEST MOD EVAH!!!

It is good, i was concerned that 100 N was too strong, but the placement of the strut in relationship with the hinge etc turned out to be perfect. And as a bonus, and this wasn’t planned explicitly, there is an “over centre” force from the strut when the lid is closed which gives a satisfying positive latching force. But I do I wish the old screw holes were gone.

Addendum May 2017

As requested, some measurement pics. Enough there to give you a start.

  1. #1 by mariusstrom on March 30, 2017 - 11:01 pm

    Ordered. 🙂

  2. #2 by Simon on March 31, 2017 - 9:58 am

    Wow, that looks just great! I’m especially attracted by the positive latching force. (Almost) Wish I was home to get installed instead of sitting in a palapa restaurant on a Mexican beach:). Next best thing, I’ll order and will not have to endure the annoying wait but rather will find the strut waiting as a welcoming me home present on my return to Canada.

    • #3 by albell on March 31, 2017 - 6:45 pm

      The positive latching force is noticeable, but I don’t know yet if it reduces rattle. You should have known I bought more than one strut Simon , I bought two pair. Thought you and Stephen, and maybe Randy ( if he’s listening! ) would want one if the idea panned out.




  3. #4 by Jeff on March 31, 2017 - 12:56 pm

    This is excellent. Mostly because that stupid latch/catch on my stove drives me nuts. I’m also really hoping that the strut (when closed) will also provide tension so that the lid doesn’t rattle on rough roads. My current solution is to fold up a hand towel and lay it on the stove grill and close the lid against it. Thanks, Alistair!

    • #5 by albell on March 31, 2017 - 1:16 pm

      Hi jeff,

      Puzzles me why someone hasn’t published this hack before. I’m sure it has been done. I too hope it reduces or eliminates rattles. Still have the stove grate rattle though. I put some little bits of plastic tubing on the grate legs to try and reduce that.

      And dishclothes etc.



      • #6 by Jeff on March 31, 2017 - 1:20 pm

        Best of all… Bang Good! I just spent a half hour in Hardware. Put 6 items on my Wishlist. Thanks for pointing me there. I’ll be wasting…um… I mean spending many valuable hours there…

      • #7 by albell on March 31, 2017 - 6:11 pm

        It’s addictive. I’ve been making a small (20 bucks) order each week. I shy away from machine tooling but I did buy a set of metric centre drills that appear ok but not been put to any hard use yet. I have been happy with the electronic stuff bought. Couple of recommendations… the silicone insulated wires are good. I’ve bought 8 gauge and 12 gauge. Very limp, very fine stranded copper. The silicone insulation is not the most abrasion resistant stuff but the wires are good. Also pleased with the wireless relay, the pwm motor controllers, and temperature controlled relay boards I’ve bought. All of those are in the chamber for a vanagon application.



  4. #8 by mariusstrom on April 23, 2017 - 2:24 pm

    Damn. Won’t work on later kitchen galleys with the eurovan faucet replacement. Not enough room.

  5. #9 by Jeffery on August 27, 2017 - 8:41 am

    Thank you for the measurements. The strut is a great modification, and one few would notice. The best part is the lid does not take two hands to fold down, and no longer slams shut if not held with care. No rattles, no nothing. Easy mod all around. Will post photos on the Samba when time allows. Best to you, Jeffery

    • #10 by albell on September 1, 2017 - 5:35 pm

      Hi Jeffrey,

      Sorry for slow response, been on holiday and partially off line. Yeah, we are liking the gas strut on the lid for the same reasons you mention. Oh, as an aside, don’t know if you saw my post where I installed two of the same struts in my old school Thule box. They work but i think they are not holding the lid up with same force as when first installed. It’s just a suspicion, and anyway the Thule lid is more of a load than the kitchen lid.



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