How To Replace Trunk Torsion Springs with Lift Struts

  1. Mopar Tim
    I have been looking for good trunk torsion springs for my 69 Dart GT convertible. Well to no avail... So I will put struts in the trunk to keep it up... The struts I use are from a 1996 Ford Windstar. I did the same in a 66 Dart GT but did not document the process, so this time I will.
    More to come...
    You will need 2 struts, and four ball mounts. The Windstar has only two screw in ball mounts, on the bottom. So you will need to get 2 more from another Windstar.
    The struts are 26 inches long.
    The longer white ball mounts are from the Windstar. The others are from a Chevy Suburban. Both will work, the Chevy ones are a little shorter, and I might use those....
    More to come...

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    Ok first thing to do is prop up the trunk and remove the old torsion springs, you want the trunk up as far as it will go, then drill a pilot hole in both trunk hinges, 10 inches from the lower trunk bolt.

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    I used towels to keep from ruining my paint, much easier on a unpainted/old paint car.

    You need to get this hole to 1/2 inch

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    Center the hole, not like mine:lol:, will work either way.

    You will be pressing in these nuts into those holes.

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    The rounded side towards the hole.

    Clean off the paint around the hole, since you will be welding.

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    I used My rusty Vice grips! Keep going till the nut is near flush with the hinge surface..

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    Weld in the nut, be careful not to ding up the threads in the nut..
    I used an extra bolt to keep the threads clean while welding.

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    A couple of pics are backwards, but you get the info..

    Then screw in your ball stud. I am going to use the short ones from the Chevy for the upper point.

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    Screw it in till flush.
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    You will need to jack up the car, support with jack stands, and remove both back wheels...Need to get access to the wheel wells on both left and right side..

    Make sure this weld is good, I welded it better then this pic shows..

    More soon, I ran out of welding wire. Got new wire, finish welding in the nuts. MUCH easier if hinges were out of the car. BUT I am working alone and I don't think I could get trunk lid back on without screwing up the paint...

    Did some more, pics to follow...

    So, on to the bottom ball studs mounting. Lower the trunk about 6 inches, from max opening. Important. Get some flat stock, and cut two pieces three inches each. Flat should be 1 1/2 by 1/4. Then Drill three holes in each, The two outside holes need to be drilled to what ever size bolt you use, the center needs to be drilled to 17/64 inch, will be tapping a hole for threads.

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    Next tap the center holes using a tap that matches the thread on the ball studs, I used a 8mm X1.25 fine thread. It says to use a 17/64 drill bit.

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    Now you have two of these backing plates made, paint them, I like black. They will not be seen in the wheel well.

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    The lower ball stud is located by snapping on the top mount, and temporarily placing the lower stud on the strut lift, then carefully marking where the stud needs to be located, as near the floor as you can. Then from the inside, drill the right size hole, then get one backing plate, run a spare bolt thru the tapped hole till it sticks out the back about 1/2 inch. Then, go from the outside, put the bolt sticking thru into the hole you drilled from the inside, use it as a template, and drill the other two holes from the outside. My drill just fit under there. Take out the spare bolt from the plate. Then mount the plate, on the outside, using appropriate bolts and nuts, and flat washers on the inside. Then screw in the lower ball stud from the inside, will look like this.
    Then tighten everything up, do on both sides the same.

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    The bolt nearest the rear has to be turned around, with the nut on the outside for clearance.

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    After you get both lower ball studs in, using the longer ones, still keeping the trunk propped open, just snap both lift struts in with the canister part down. Now you should be able to remove the prop, trunk should stay open.

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    More, might be duplicates,,

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    Top picture shows the clearance with the top down, the back glass just clears the struts, on the top.
    This is the distance you should have from the hinge and the stop above.
    Jack stand used to keep work area clear of boot.

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    One thing I missed, after drilling and welding in the nuts on the hinges, lower the trunk about 6 inches before you position the lower ball studs! Important . When top is down, just enough clearance for the back glass, top of strut lifts, so be careful first time you put top down. Put wheels back on. I had to some minor adjustments on the trunk lid, but not hard. Trunk will be stiff to close, but will be ok. You will like the difference compared to the weak ass springs that were there before. Next I will install bump stops, had to order parts....Later. Any question feel free to post..Using this to make bump stops
    Moog K8772 Sway Bar End Link Thermoplastic Bushings Front Each | eBay

    One more thing, don't just bolt the lower ball stud thru the sheet metal. It will seem to work for a while, but will cause the sheet metal to flex, and crack and fail. Ask me how I know.... These are supporting lots of weight, considering the leverage.

    Got parts to finish this project, tomorrow I will post the bump stop fab, install.
    Thantks....

    Finished, Pics and the rest in a few....

    So after several starts, and ideas, I finely came on to the right way to do this. BUT I used some aluminum channel that has a special profile. Not available to everyone. So If anyone wants to duplicate the bump stops, Message me and I will send you what you will need, just a small flat rate box charge.
    So first we need to make two bump stop mounts...

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    They are two inches long. Small hole is 1/4 inch the other is 5/16.

    you need a flat spot to mount the mounts too...

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    So hammer the old stop area down till it is flat, also there is a lip on the back that needs to be bent straight.

    Take the bushing from the sway bar link kit, there are four in the kit, and slide it in to the channel of the aluminum mount. Put a 1/4 inch carriage bolt thru the small hole you drilled, thru the bushing. Temp put nut on the back. I used longer then needed bolts and cut them off in the end before final install.

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    This picture was of the parts as I was figuring out the install, does not show the 5/16 hole. This is where the stops are going to fit...

    Pull the trunk down a little to dry fit the part where you see it.

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    Then use a long 5/16 inch drill bit to drill thru the hole in the mount thru the old bump stop,the area you flattened out

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    Do the same thing on the other side

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    Disassemble and paint the new parts...

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    Assemble with a 1 inch by 5/16 bolt and nut. Tighten all. that's about it. Thanks for looking. Good luck..

    Back of my 69 with the project completed...

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    A little closer

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