Comings and Goings

Gas Struts for A’van Bin Lids

A constant problem with the bins at the front of the A’van is having to hold the lids up by hand (or maybe jamming something there to hold them up).

Of all the possible solutions I thought gas struts would be the least fiddly, but the only ones I could find in Australia were far too long. After much searching I discovered Iron Brothers in the UK with an Ebay shop. They had short struts about 185mm long (tip to tip) which would just fit. The softest one was 60N (newton) — requiring 60N, about the weight of a 6kg mass, to compress it. This is still a fairly strong force; obviously designed for a heavy lid, but attaching it close to the hinge of the lid makes it not too bad.

Gas strut installed

I bought three struts, one for each bin. The fitting instructions that come with the struts are unintelligible, but they are easy to fit. I placed the centre of the bracket at the hinge end (right-hand end of the strut in the photograph) about 30mm from the hinge – closer would reduce the effort.

Fixed end detail

The bracket at the other end is attached to a wooden block screwed and glued to the side panel (this was only necessary for the end bins). Adjust the position of this bracket so that when the lid is open there is a gap of about one centimetre between the edge of the lid and the roof — this allows a gap to get your fingers in to close the lid.


I found Iron Brothers good to deal with. When one of the struts died after losing its gas, they happily replaced it at no charge.

Strangely, in the UK (at least on Ebay) they label the strut strength in Nm (newton metre), the unit for torque (as for a car engine) or moment. A small car engine might produce 60Nm of torque; enough to take your finger off.



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