After seeing the EZ-Down Tailgate Supports on a forums , I decided to give them a try. I bought a pair of kits off Amazon.com for $21-each. The part number to search for is SG325900EZ.
Installation is fairly basic, and should take less than 20 minutes, without rushing. You will need the tools listed below (#1-4) for a standard install; if you get the extra items (#5-12) then you can install the EZ-Strut kit exactly as I did.
Required Tools (shown above)
- Ratchet and 10mm, 12mm, 14mm sockets
- 5mm and 6mm hex wrenches
- Phillips screwdriver
- Medium-sized needle-nosed pliers
Optional Items (shown below)
- 1/2” drive breaker bar (highly recommended!)
- 1/2” drive 14mm socket
- Regular automotive grease
- Anti-seize grease
- Shop rag
- 3/8” I.D. neoprene washers, 10 pcs.
- About 2” of heat shrink tubing, 5/8” I.D. (before shrinking)
- Heat gun or blowdryer (just for the shrink tubing)
STEP 1: Following the included basic instruction sheet, remove the LEFT side safety cable and bolt using your ratchet and a 12mm socket. I found that instead of trying to remove the cable first, it’s easiest to just unthread the bolt as-is, once you get the bolt out it will easily separate from the cable eyelet.
STEP 2: Using a 6mm hex Allen wrench, thread the new bolt and metal standoff into the bed side (thick lip towards the bed). Before installing the bolt I put a small dab of anti-seize on the bolt threads, and only went hand-tight on the bolt once it was flush.
STEP 3: Next was to replace the lower brake lamp retaining bolt. This is o alsquick and easy using a ratchet and a 10mm socket. Like the cable bolt, I also put a dab of anti-seize on the threads of the new round head bolt, then installed it per instructions with a Phillips screwdriver.
STEP 4: Now on to the EZ-Down mounting bracket. The plastic guide just pops onto the bracket, and then you have to remove the tailgate bolt.
This is where I strongly recommend having a 1/2” drive breaker bar and 14mm socket – the tailgate bolt is on there really tight! Also, the left side bolt requires you to pull upward to loosen it – but if you try with a regular-sized ratchet handle, you’ll just pull the whole tailgate up. Instead of struggling I just sat on the edge of the tailgate and easily broke the bolt loose with my old reliable breaker bar.
STEP 5: The curved part of the EZ-Down bracket goes around the tailgate hinge. Line up the EZ-Down bracket bolt hole with the tailgate bolt hole, and install the new flathead bolt with a 6mm hex wrench( don’t forget the anti-seize!). As you tighten the new bolt down, the coned portion of the bolt will align the EZ-Down bracket perfectly into position. If you have any trouble lining up the new bolt with the threaded hole in the tailgate, try lifting the tailgate slightly; this will help get the new bolt started in the threads.
STEP 6: Here’s where I deviate again from the standard instructions. I noticed that the metal retaining tab on the upper eyelet was just clamped on. I didn’t like the fact that I could pop the tab off with just my fingers:
Before installing the struts I decided to use some heat shrink tubing to hold the little metal tabs in place. First I slid a 1/2-inch piece of 5/8” I.D. (inner diameter) tubing over the strut body until it was over the retaining tab, the I used a heat gun to shrink it. Then I added a longer 1-inch piece that overlapped the strut body for good measure.
STEP 7: With the strut ready, I put a small dab of grease on the upper standoff, then popped the safety cable back on followed by the upper strut eyelet. I like how the added heat shrink on the strut actually makes it match in appearance with the safety cable.
STEP 8: Now for the bottom part of the installation – attaching the EZ-Down strut to the tailgate. First I put a small dab of grease on the bracket pivot post, but before attaching the strut I slid a pair of 3/8” neoprene washers onto the pivot post.
The inner diameter of the washers are slightly smaller than the diameter of the bracket pivot post; this was done on purpose. Because they are stretched onto the post, the outer edges of the washers can be “flipped outward” to apply some slight pressure to the lower strut eyelet, keeping it from rattling around…
…which makes for a nice vibration/sound dampener. With the washers in place I then slid the lower eyelet onto the pivot point, and used needle-nosed pliers to snap the E-clip in place.
BONUS LEARN SOMETHING FUN FACT: All metal E-clips are “directional”. One side has a rounded edge, the other side has a squared edge. To figure out what side is what, just pinch the e-clip between two fingers and move your fingertips – the side of the e-clip that catches onto your skin is the squared side.
That said, when you install the e-clip, make sure the rounded edge is against the strut (squared edge facing outward). The rounded edge will not grab like the squared edge, so the e-clip will less likely pop off on its own. Here is a photo of how the lower parts look when assembled:
…and here’s a photo of the final result:
At first I only installed the left side EZ-Down strut, then checked the speed at which the tailgate came down and I didn’t think it was enough. Also, like the example videos showing how the EZ-Down works, the first 1/3 or so of the tailgate dropping open is at normal speed – then all of a sudden it slows down as the strut catches and does its thing. This sudden “jolt” also pulls the upper eyelet back into the groove in the standoff, which I suspect adds to wear and tear and possible strut failure. With that in mind I went ahead and installed the second EZ-Down strut on the right side (exact same steps as the left) and now the tailgate slows down much quicker and with no tailgate jolt.