A few years ago the gas struts supporting the
top tailgate of my RRC gave up the ghost and lost the ability
to hold it open. I replaced them with aftermarket ones from a
Land Rover parts outlet but found that they had a different fixing
from the originals, similar to that seen on the later Classics.
Whilst they certainly had the oomph to open the
top tailgate, it wouldn't open fully without some extra assistance
from me. I also noticed that when I closed it, the last few inches
required more force than I remembered.
It occurred to me that this might explain why
some owners have reported metal fatigue fractures of the fixings
on both the top tailgate and the frame.
According to the what I have been able to discover,
the Land Rover specification for the struts is:-
LR part number:
An alternative part listing is the Stabilus Liftomat
671363/0225N with a slightly lower eject force of 225 Newtons.
On the recommendation of a friend, I went to see
the chaps at Gas Strut Engineering in Bedford (www.gasstrutengineeering.co.uk).
They checked the aftermarket struts and confirmed they had an
ejection force of 225 Newtons, so they ought to have been all
As you might imagine, a gas strut contains not
only gas acting as the spring, but also fluid to act as a damper.
They suggested that making up a new pair of struts with the same
gas pressure but less fluid might help. Amazingly they manage
to make the new struts while I waited!
I was overjoyed to see that the new ones have
identical fixings to the originals which came on the car from
the factory, so the car now looks like it should. They have little
spring securing clips which look as though they might be a bit
fiddly, but actually went on without any problem. And, even better,
the tailgate now opens and closes properly without undue force.
So, for anyone who might wish to know, the Gas
Strut Engineering recipe to which the new struts
were manufactured (although this probably wouldn't apply to other
the top and bottom tailgate on the Range Rover Classic are prone
to rusting. This can necessitate their replacement.
fellow Register member enlisted my help for this, as it is much
easier to do with two people.
Vogue Tdi's upper tailgate was badly corroded, so that the lip
holding the rubber seal had broken away.
neat little tool from Snap-on extracts the studs retaining the
headlining, without breaking them, to give more room to work.
the headlining can be eased out from its support and the side
of the headlining needs to be moved down to give access to the
cables, which run inside the shrouds.
only a single heater connection on the left side, but the right
side also contains the remote locking leads in later models, which
can be fiddled out of the headlining with the connector block
The top tailgate is fixed to the rear body frame by a single hinge
bolt on each side, which can be loosened with a small socket wrench
before disconnecting the gas struts, but don't undo them completely
is where the second pair of hands comes in, to support the top
tailgate and prevent it falling when the gas struts are disconnected.
Now undo the hinge bolts and remove the tailgate.
The central locking mechanism and outer handle with lock are removed
from the old unit and will be transferred to the new tailgate
the wiper blade and tie back the wiper arm to keep it out of the
way when fitting the new tailgate. We needed to adjust the hinge
position, to get the seal to fit properly (the middle picture
shows it gaping on the left).
You can see how badly rusted the old tailgate was. After refitting
the central locking mechanism, handle and exterior lock, adjusting
the turnbuckles inside the lower part of the frame is how you
get both catches to release simultaneously.
done! Time taken about an hour and a half. No special tools required,
but copperslip grease on all the threads is a good idea to make
it easier next time.
Bottom Tailgate Swap
It was a year or two later that the bottom tailgate
needed replacement. Although it can be done single-handed, it's
quite a bit easier with two people.
First remove the trim panel. The buttons nearest
the hinge unscrew off metal studs, whilst the handle surround
is attached by thin plastic pegs (which can easily be broken)
into spring clips in the tailgate.
Remove the circlips which secure the side stays, taking note
of the order of the components especially the washers on the inside.
Slacken the four bolts which attach the tailgate to the hinges,
but do not undo them completely yet.
Slide the tailgate away from the car to reveal the leads for
the number plate lamps (one runs on each side lamp circuit, so
there are two red and two black wires). The grommet in the bottom
edge of the tailgate comes out and remains on the car side of
Now remove the hinge bolts and slide the tailgate away from the
car, taking care to let the spring-loaded hinges return gently
to the default closed position. This is where an extra pair of
hands comes in very useful.
The hinge fits between the outer skin (bottom) and the reinforced
bracket inside the tailgate.
Fitting the replacement tailgate is exactly the reverse procedure.
Don't forget to connect the electrics and the grommet. Some fiddling
of the hinge bolt positions and of the latches may be necessary
to get it to align with the rest of the body panels, so don't
tighten anything up until you're sure it's right. A neat trick
to help make this easier is to nip all the bolts up just short
of tight, close the tailgate and tighten everything up from inside.
Time taken just over an hour, but I was helping a friend who
had done another one previously.