You know I’ve been a ute guy for 25 years now and in that time I’ve swung open many a tailgate and closed it again. There’s been a huge difference in the weight of these things, some are light but most are heavy and while I curse the heavier ones, I’ve been hoping that that weight equates to some extra internal strength in the door offering greater longevity. I’d hate to think if that weren’t the case that the wear and tear on my shoulders was all for nought!
Vehicle manufacturers are stingy buggers, you’d think offering a gas strut to hold up the bonnet or in this case lower the tailgate, would be part of the whole package because the engineering ain’t rocket science. But no, on top of an already eye-watering recommended retail price for a new ute, you have to put up with a job half-finished.
Luckily we have the aftermarket to plug the gap.
Those clever buggers at ARB have got the tailgate dilemma licked with their newly released Tailgate Assist package, conceiving of a pair of gas struts (one to lift and one to lower) to open and close a tailgate with ease.
They sit one on each side of the tailgate, bracketed securely and employing a Stabilus gas strut to do the hard work. Each strut has its own role, one for lifting and one for lowering, as they are two differing actions.
German gas-strut maker Stabilus is a company founded in 1934, creating products for just about every industry and their reach is truly international. You can see their influence on our lives in the following video:
So rather than just buy a few thousand no-name struts and bung them in, ARB’s boffins have researched the weights of the tailgates, measured the lengths required (as each ute is different) and Stabilus have provided a pair of matched struts to do the job.
The bracketing to attach them again is unique to the vehicle, as is its location in the tub/tailgate reveal. What I thought was clever thinking on ARB’s part was to limit the exposure of the strut to an impact when the gate is open.
The original cable that limits the travel of the gate is retained and has to be there and if you’re a tradie or a reccie that tailgate is a great place to build something or pull it to bits. Sometimes those projects are longer than the tailgate is wide and a bit of ducking and weaving is required to miss the cables. Imagine if that space was further impeded by the position of the strut?
The Tailgate Assist struts are placed as close to the hinge as they can be so their arc of travel is well out of the way and less likely to get clobbered.
Tailgate Assist is available for PX Ranger and Mazda BT50, Holden Colorado and the Isuzu DMAX (beauty that’s me), D23 Nissan Navara and the Mitsubishi Triton and they tell me there’s more to come.
OK ARB, your next challenge is bonnet strut kits!
To find out more about the ARB Tailgate Assist product, click here to head over to ARB’s website.