I own a 2003 Traverse and recently had to change the lift struts that support the top. I learned some things along the way and thought I'd share them for the next poor so-and-so who faces this task.
First, get the correct part. This is harder than it sounds.
I contacted PW (my Traverse is a 2003, but I suspect they're all the same). They told me the part is from "Normont Industrial Hardware", PN NSE1500M15OPS100.
But there is no "Normont Industrial Hardware" anymore. They were bought out by NMT Systems. I contacted NMT Systems and they gave me the replacement part number: NSG3550L150MT2.
Bottom line:What you want is this:
It cost me $100 for the pair of them, including shipping to CA. Yes, shipping is $35 of that, but hey, these guys aren't really in the mail-order parts business, so it does probably take a lot of extra time to ship to individual customers. Just think of it as $100/pair and forget the shipping.
The first thing you need to realize (I didn't!) is that the metal thingie at each end is NOT a spring clip, it's a retaining clip. So, although it LOOKS like it should just pop on and off the post as-is, this is NOT the case. You have to REMOVE the clip, put the end over the post, and reinstall the clip.
Here's what I would recommend:
- Rig up a temporary brace to hold the top up while you've got the support strut off (change one at a time). I used wood, others have used PVC pipe.
- Put the ratchet strap (I used a 1-1/4", 1000 lb load Husky from Home Depot) around the old strut and snug it up. Make sure you have a spare ratchet strap. Wrapping around that head is hard on the strapping material and you may destroy straps this way. Check after each use for fraying.
- Now find the big metal bracket that holds the top of the strut. The center nut holds the post in place. Remove the plastic cover on this nut and loosen the nut a little. This allows you to see when you have enough pressure on the ratchet strap to completely offload the post. (Note: the nut is 1/2". There's a 9/16" hex head on the post itself. You might have to hold this to loosen the nut)
- Tighten the ratchet strap until the post is "straight" and loose - unloaded. As far as I can tell, this is the only way of knowing when you've properly unloaded the strut.
- Remove the nut and push out the post (should be easy if you did step 4)
- Remove the ratchet strap from the old post.
- Remove the spring clip holding in the post and remove the post from the old strut. Similarly, remove the spring clip from the other end and remove it from its post (which is still attached to the van)
- Remove the spring clip from the lower (thin) end of the new strut. Put it over its post and re-install the clip. Do the same to install the other post (the loose one) in the other end of the new strut.
- Install the ratchet strap on the new strut and tighten until you can easily push the post through its mounting hole and secure it with the nut. Note: Make damn sure you don't have any strap hanging over the post that can get caught btw the post and the van (voice of experience here). Another note: You WILL have to use the 9/16" hex head on the post to tighten the post down properly.
- Put the plastic cap back over the nut and repeat on the other side.
Using this method, the job involves no force (except on the rachet strap) and no sudden changes of loading. It's all smooth and easy. A simple DIY project - if you do it this way.
Of course, all disclaimers apply. This is just my recommendation after doing mine.
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