How To Change The Hood & Deck Lid Shocks On An Air-Cooled Porsche 911
Hey you, stop propping your hood or deck lid with a stick. Replace those tired shocks once and for all with this short DIY.
The hood and deck lid (aka engine lid) on the Porsche 911 use two pressurized gas shocks to hold them open. Over time, the pressurized gas leaks out and the shocks become less effective at supporting the weight of either lid. This is especially true if the deck lid has a large, heavy spoiler on it. For some reason a lot of people don't replace them and resort to a stick for lid-propping purposes. Fortunately, they are very straightforward to replace.
Model Years Applicable:
All Porsche 911 models up to 1989.
Tools Needed To Complete This Repair:
Long, lightweight stick to prop up hood or deck lid (broomstick, hockey stick, piece of wood, etc)
Small flat-head screwdriver
Shock mounting hardware, if any is missing. Each shock end requires:
Hood Shocks Replacement Procedure
Step 1: Prop Up Hood
Open the hood far enough to release the load on the hood shocks. Grab one of the shocks and give it a light twist or wiggle to make sure it is not supporting any weight. At this point prop up your hood securely so it will not bang you on the head. Use a long lightweight stick such as a broomstick.
Step 2: Remove Right Hood Shock
Start with the right shock first because there is less clutter in the way of the lower mount. The left side has the master cylinder reservoir, brake booster, and some heater plumbing in the way. Depending on the year of the car, each end of each shock is held in by a cylindrical pin with either a wire retainer clip, or a flat c-clip style retainer. Using needle-nose pliers or a flat-head screwdriver, carefully remove each retainer and pin, taking care to not drop them into the depths of the trunk crevices. The procedure is similar to a video we did on a BMW E30, linked here.
Step 3: Replace With New Shock
Install the new shock with the rod side facing down. To get the hood to open at the exact angle you need to get the retainer pins into each end of the shock, you may need an extra pair of hands or gently use the top of your shoulder to support the weight of the hood. Once you get the retainer pins into both ends of the shock, install the retainer clips. Do not leave the retainers out or the pins will eventually fall out.
Step 4: Remove and Replace the Left Hood Shock
Repeat steps 1-3 for the left shock. Since you already have a fresh right side shock it may be strong enough to hold up the hood all on its own while you work on the left. You may be tempted to stop here, but it is recommended you press on and replace the left one, as it will reduce the stress on the right shock, the mounting points, and will have greater durability in the long run. Plus, you don't want your 911 to be lop-sided, right?
Your hood shocks are now finished.
Deck Lid Shocks Replacement Procedure
The process of replacing the engine lid shocks is very similar to the hood shock procedure. If you have a large rear wing, like on a Carrera or Turbo variant, it's even more critical to replace both shocks, and not just one. Clearance is a bit tight, especially with engine induction hardware in the way, but it can be done without removing any engine components.
Step 1: Prop Up Hood
Step 2: Remove Right Shock
Step 3: Replace With New Right Shock
Step 4: Remove Left Shock
Step 5: Replace With New Left Hood Shock
As with the hood shocks, be very careful when handling the pins and retainers so you don't drop them behind the engine. If you do drop anything, prepare to spend some time with a flashlight, a mirror, and a telescopic magnet to try and retrieve it. Some cars will have a bolt threaded into an integrated nut on some of the shock mounts. In this case re-use the bolt and take care not to over-torque it to prevent binding at that shock mounting point.
It is critical with the deck lid shocks to make sure the retainers are installed on the pins. You don't want any retainer hardware falling and getting sucked into the engine fan, or worse, down the engine intake tract.
Your deck lid shocks are now finished and you can leave the prop stick at home from now on.