EZ DOES IT

RATED

WORDS AND PHOTOS GLENN TORRENS

gear PRODUCT TEST – EZDOWN

RATED

AVAILABLE FROM: www.ezdown.com.au RRP: $175-$215 (depending on model) WE SAY: Convenient and safe option (especially for kids).

TAILGATE GAS STRUTS ADD A TOUCH OF CONVENIENCE AND CLASS TO A WORK-AND-PLAY UTE.

THE EZDown – gas struts attached to a ute – easily lowers the tailgate as it’s opened. Installing them is dead simple, but my Toyota Hilux – like many utes these days – uses Torx fasteners for some of its fittings, which threw up a minor challenge. Rather than borrow, I bought a small, inexpensive kit of Torx bits to provide me with the means of unscrewing things.

Instructions are provided and the task took about 20 minutes, including some chin-scratching time and a cuppa. I removed the Hilux’s cable upper retaining bolts – one side at a time to prevent the tailgate dropping – and replaced them with the provided bolts that hold the top end of the gas struts.

The tailgate bolts were dealt with in a similar way; the original Torx screws were removed and the EZDown hardware installed to suit the ends of the gas struts.

The EZDown allows the tailgate to open gently. Unlatch the tailgate and it slowly and safely swishes, rather than abruptly drops, into its open position. It banishes the ‘tailgate fumble’, where slippery or inexperienced fingers cause the gate to drop with a donk. There’s no extra effort required to close the tailgate as the struts’ two-way valving provides little resistance to lifting and closing the tailgate.

Unlike some other kits I’ve seen, the EZDown struts work in tandem with the vehicle’s standard steel cables, so there’s no diminishing of the tailgate’s load rating, which is very important for the loading and unloading of working and touring vehicles where heavy equipment places considerable weight on the back.

I’ve had the EZDown for five or six years now (and close to 200,000km), so there’s no question about their long-term durability. Prices are $175-$215 depending on the model ($195 for my 2005 Hilux), and the EZDown is a smart idea for any touring ute.