Gas struts on galley hatch

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    This may well seem a little presumptuous, so I’m just trying to confirm my suspicions here.  I’m a complete CLC Teardrop Wannabe, so no experience with the teardrop, but I do have some experience with gas struts.

    Two things about the gas struts on the galley hatch.

    Firstly, any gas strut engineer I’ve ever dealt with will tell you that struts should be mounted rod-down (for lubrication purposes).  I’ve seen lots of photos of them mounted rod-up, which makes me suspect everyone is carefully following instructions to that effect, even though that may be ill-advised (at least according to the engineers).  Is my suspicion correct?

    Secondly, gas struts can be used just to hold a hatch up (commonly) or just to hold it down (less commonly) or to do both (to push the hatch cover down against the seals until it’s lifted past a certain point at which the struts start to push up.  I’ve read on the forum many concerns/complaints about sealing issues and it strikes me that having struts push closed more firmly could potentially be a real help.  But looking at pictures it seems to me that with the geometry that’s been chosen, there’s not going to be much down-push from those struts, if any at all.  Am I reading that right?  (To be fair, it’s not super-easy to tell from photos of fully-open catches).

    If so, I’m curious to know if anyone has experimented with alternative locations for the bulkhead end of the gas struts (in particular, further out, away from the bulkhead?  Any mechanical engineers lurking?


    Hi Andrew,

    I think the manual does indicate that the struts are mounted rod up. What you say about mounting them the other way makes perfect sense and is really interesting. I can’t comment on the geometry and have no experience of mounting them differently but I have found the strength of the struts to be woefully inadequate to keep the galley hatch up. I don’t know if they were perhaps specified for warmer climbs but I live in the UK and summer temperatures are not generally high and in cooler weather the struts don’t have the strength to raise the hatch fully or keep it up when there is any breeze.

    I have thought about upgrading the struts to ones with more ‘power’ (or whatever the correct term is!) but what you say about them pushing against the closed lid had never occurred to me and has made me re-think whether upgrading is a good idea. I might resort to some sort of fixed arm, or an arm with a lockable elbow instead. At present I have to clip a piece of suitably sized plastic plumbing pipe around the rod so that it provides a collar between the cylinder and the mounting point on the hatch. This effectively stops the hatch from closing down on my head! This is far less convenient than some form of lockable folding arm which is looking like my preferred solution.

    Has anybody found alternative approaches to keeping the hatch up that they can share?



    My two cents…My struts are installed according to the directions. I don’t have an alternative but could tell the supplied rods (30 pounds I think) were not going to hold the galley hatch up well. It would close several inches and it hadn’t even been completed yet. I added a stiffener and glassed part of the inside of the hatch so it had some extra weight but was simply too heavy. I bought and used 40 pound rods instead and they’ve been fine. Also, I disconnect the rods at the top pretty much all the time the hatch is closed. Doing that minimizes both side gaps so that water has very little room to get in (while sitting outside or driving). It only takes a few seconds to reattach the rods at the tops after opening the hatch so I think the trade-off is worth it.



    Here’s an option – to avoid issues with upward pressure acting on the hatch when closed, I chose to go old-school and fitted brass telescopic stays instead of the suggested gas struts. Very secure, with the added bonus of infinite height adjustment!

    brass telescopic stays


    I cut an aluminum pipe to the length of the extended rod and installed the springs rod-down. Had to cut recesses into the galley hatch stiffener, but that’s not a real issue. One has to carefully sand smooth the cutting edges (and, at best, add some protective plastic film) of the pipe so it does not damage the cylinder’s paint and wall… So when opening the hatch, the cylinder automatically slides into locking position. One has to push it up when closing the hatch again. Works pretty well.


    @RowingBoatmanSteve where did you fid the brass telescoping stays. Those are slick.  I was just looking to replace the supplied gas springs when I saw your post.  Thanks.


    The brass stays (also available in chrome plated) are made by Foresti & Suardi in Italy.

    • A couple of sizes are available, but the one to suit the CLC Camper is 320mm-500mm, and remember to order a left and right side!
    • (Available in Australia through Classic Boat Supplies), so I’m sure there would be a supplier in your part of the world.

    If you go ahead with the install, the position measurements that worked for my build were:

    • on the lid:   300mm away from the stiffener (as per manual)
    • on the galley bulkhead: approx. 410mm up from galley shelf (to rest on left side galley unit shelf)

    I fabricated a brass bracket to spread the load to both the bulkhead and the galley unit (if you have one). If you don’t have a galley unit, a mounting block will be needed (due to the orientation of the brass attaching hinge). Here’s a picture to illustrate the bracket (95 x 25 x 1.5mm):

    Hope this helps!


    i switched out the 20# gas springs to 30# and they hold it up fine


    andrew tune now i have to go out and see if i have to flip them over



    Thank you @RowingBoatmanSteve.  PS I like the map on the underside of your galley hatch.  Nice touch.


    This is absolutely gorgeous!!


    The map has some meaning too- it is a vintage military map that belonged to my Dad, and shows the area that he grew up in. It also shows the location  where my wife and I began our honeymoon 25 years ago.

    I added two layers of fiberglass on the inside of the hatch along with an additional ply batten for stiffness, before embedding the map under a final couple of resin coats.

    The galley hatch edges don’t flex when it is closed, and the added ply stiffener acts as a great handle when closing and opening the lid.

    Here’s a pic of the process underway – sanding between epoxy coats…

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