HIGH-LIFT Hood Strut by Spiker Engineering mod for 1st Gen Tacoma

Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
290
#1
Introduction:

A few months ago I was tagged to goto a thread with someone needing help in testing out the install of a high-lift gas strut hood kit by Spiker Engineering (web site: https://spikerengineering.com/ ) for a 1st Generation Toyota Tacoma. More specifically, as much as possible, an early 1st Generation Toyota Tacoma, which mine happens to be a 1998. I offered my help to Leon in using my truck to be used as a test bed to confirm clearances were good in certain areas along the inside hood-edge making note if the battery is of any concern of being an obstruction to the gas strut assembly when fully closed. As well as going through the instructions sheets and giving any input and/or any changes that I think would be of help to improve install for future customers.

This is how it came packaged... as you can see, very professional looking and great care with their product. The mounting hardware, instructions, and the gas struts. HAHAHAHAHA, I was hoping for a sticker as well???

1_Packaging.jpg

Discussion:

So, I will first discuss 1) packaging and tool prepping 2) reading the instruction sheets and doing a pre-check before any drilling or installing 3) watching the suggested video that the instructions suggested will help in visualizing your own install 4) the install itself on my ’98 Tacoma and what I think would be helpful tools to have and finally 5) my thoughts about the product.

1) Packaging and Tool Prepping:

So, when Spiker Engineering shipped me the kit, which was fast and extremely well packaged with tracker provided, I emptied the contents of the box and unfolded the instruction sheets noticing a components inventory check list of what is included with the kit. Reading a bit further, tools needed for the install. I inspected the gas strut assemblies as well as the ball stud mounting brackets. You will find that the construction of these gas struts and the ball stud mount brackets are very sturdy looking and feeling. In short, a very professional looking kit for sure that, once installed, you will be proud to show off.

As for the install, a basic hand rivet gun, razor blade, electrical tape, a ratchet type load bar, right angle power drill (will discuss this further), basic tool set (i.e. screwdrivers, ratchet socket set, etc), a sharpie, and a drill bit set. I also found it helpful to have digital caliper, but definitely NOT necessary.

2) Reading the Instructions and Pre-check

I made sure to read the instructions as it is not all that long and it has some good example pictures of what to look out for during your install. It helped to look at the future work area while reading and understanding the instructions, which I will discuss why it is important to do a pre-check. But with that said, I recommend simply taking the time to read the instructions first and looking over the “future work area” as it really helped with my install and I was able to avoid a possible problem if I had not taken the time to do a visual inspection first while reading the instructions (i.e. the pictures below will show how my setup was at the time before install).

Also, as part of my pre-check, I propped the hood using the stock hood prop and made sure my ditch lights, as well as any other brackets/light assemblies/etc were not going to be an issue if I was to raise the hood as high as possible. Then I “unlatched” the hood prop from the hood itself and raised the hood as high as possible without “over raising”, if you will. Or put simply, I raised the hood until I could no longer raise/open it and just stopped where it stopped. This also helped me visualize what it would look like.

3) Suggested Video Before Install

Within the instructions, it will direct you to a url for a video to watch of an actual install. There is one thing in the video of the hood bracket itself installed backwards, but the instructions, as well as I, will point out how to install the hood bracket correctly. In either case, taking the time to watch the video really helped with visualizing the install that much further. I keep stressing this point because once you start drilling holes, mistakes are not going to be very forgiving. So, measure many, MANY TIMES and drill once!!!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
290
#2
4) The Install Itself

NOTE, NOTE, NOTE: It is VITAL to have the hood the same "desired" height when installing the struts!!! It even says so in the instruction sheets!!! I used a ratcheted loading bar, which worked quite well. Just be sure NOT to move the ratchet if you have to store it away to work on the mod another day???!!! What you want to avoid is having one strut "off angle", if you will, because you don't want the struts to be "out of sync"!!!

Anyways...

For starters, as stated just above, I used a cargo load bar to consistently keep the hood propped up at the desired height, which in my case, was as far as the hood would open taking notice of my ditch light brackets and such.

I did the driver-side first taking notice that my custom wire harness I did a few years back for my KC Lights, fog lights, etc were likely going to be in the way and from the looks of it, it looked as if there just might be just enough room, but rubbing was still going to take place for sure. I simply took the time to relocate my custom wire harness.
2_WireHarness_PreCheck_before.jpg

I moved and partially re-wired my harness. It was not really all that hard to do, but just that alone took a few hours. Since I could only realistically do this after work, the amount of daylight hours were highly limited for me so I had to work on it across a couple days. In the end, the wire harness ended up looking really clean. NOTE: you will notice the ball mount bracket already installed in the picture because I took this picture after the fact just to show how much more room there was after my wire harness relocation.
3_WireHarness_PreCheck_after.jpg

I took a razor blade (NOTE: the sharper the better) to cut away the excess body filler. Cutting it was easier than I thought. I pressed the bottom ball mount bracket up against the edge noticing that if the bracket was moved too far back, the curvature of the paneling would start to raise/skew the bracket and make it cockeyed not fully letting it sit flat and flush properly (see locations P1-1, P1-3, P1-2 in the picture just below). I moved the bracket forward just enough until I could feel it seat/flatten properly.
4_p1.jpg

Notice how much more flat the bracket sits (see P2-1, P2-2, P2-3). At this point, I took a sharpie to mark the hole centers.
5_p2.jpg

I had already cut the filler, but take notice on how "flat" it is (see the location marked P3-1 in the picture below). This is what you want so that the bracket will rest against the metal edge as much as possible. Also take note of the curvature towards the back. For mine, I moved the bracket forward until it sat flat/flush against the sheet-metal. Then start drilling your holes at the marked points. I would start drilling a little bit and then check how the hole placement would look before completely drilling through the sheet-metal. NOTE: This is important because you do NOT want the holes off-center as much as possible!!!
6_p3.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
290
#3
This was the razor cutter I used to cut away the excess body filler. The blade handle made the cut very clean and easy to do.
7_RazorBlade.jpg

Keep in mind that at the hood hinge, you will need a fairly small length drill body to clear the hood so you can drill the holes!!! I found that a right-angle drill worked well OR one could simply use a smaller drill body, which I did not have a smaller drill body to clear the hood hinge area. I personally liked the right-angle better anyways.
8_RightAngleDrill.jpg

A hand rivet gun, like what you see, worked very well. I'd get something similar to the right angle head just like the rivet tool you see in the picture. For me, I was able to control the "pressure" each time the handles fed the rivet into the gun. Just make sure to keep a constant even pressure against the surface/pieces you are riveting together.
9_HandRivetGun.jpg

I drilled, riveted, and installed this end of the gas strut tube to get the next point to be drilled... the hood ball mount bracket. Raise the gas strut until it reaches the highest point possible on the hood.
10_p4.jpg

The correct way to install this bracket is how you see it here. Those flat RED lines simply show the "curvature" part of the hood-brace and I simply made the bracket flush against the curvature and as flat as possible (see the picture below marked location P5-1). NOTE: before drilling the hood holes, make SURE to wrap about 10-15 layers of electrical tape roughly 3/4in away from the tip of the bit. This way, if the drill happens to "grab" the sheet-metal while drilling, it doesn't punch a hole through your hood!!! Mark your holes with a sharpie.
11_p5.jpg

The picture below shows how it should look when finally assembled on the hood end.
12_p6.jpg

The picture below, is to show how much clearance there is from the negative battery post to the gas strut on the driver side. I'm estimating a clearance of at least an inch or more, for sure. If your body is flexing THAT much, then you have more things to worry about (see the picture below marked P9-1). When you close the hood, the gas strut tubing is approximately this distance from the negative battery post as well as the battery body. In short, I firmly believe that there is quite the clearance and nothing to worry about. As you can see though, if I didn't relocate my wire harness, it would have been pretty cramped and maybe even damage the gas strut, the wire harness, or both. So, I simply took the time to do it right as much as possible.

13_p9.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
290
#4
Okay, now for the passenger-side, I have my PA Horn that is connected to my CB on that side of the truck and I have future plans to put other "items" in that general area. So looking at it ahead of time and making sure that the hood-strut tube has plenty of clearance taking notice that, just like the video and instruction sheets, the window washer tube needed to be relocated, which was NOT a big deal to do. The clip can be a bit of a PITA to disengage, but it is definitely doable.
14_Horn_PreCheck.jpg

Here is the passenger-side window washer tube. Just pop it out and moved it over to this spot for now (see location P7-1 in the picture). I will likely move it again to make it look a little bit of a "cleaner look", but as you can see, I have LOTS of DUST in my engine bay!!!
"Don't judge me..."
As you can see, the bottom mount has been installed at this point. Basically the same procedure.
15_p7.jpg

This is the top passenger-side hood strut.
16_p8.jpg

I had originally installed one of the gas struts and noticed that the label/sticker was facing "inwards" and didn't like how it was going to look. I wanted it to look as "professional" as possible and have the manufacture labels facing "outwards" to give it a "cleaner look" to show off and people will notice the label quicker that way of who the struts are sold by!!!
Notice how the labels face outwards at locations P10-1 and P10-2 annotated in the picture.

17_p10.jpg

The two pictures below are just showing the left and right-sides with the hood open.
18_p11.jpg

19_p12.jpg

Before... btw, take notice of the factory hood brace. IF, that is, IF one wanted to for whatever reason, you can still use your factory hood brace!!!
20_p13.jpg

After... notice that there is no factory hood brace AND there is much MORE work area that opened up along with the fact that the factory hood brace is not in the way. This is max hood lift, which is what I was aiming for!!!

21_p14.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
290
#5
Below, this is on 4 July 2019 up at the "Parking Lot" halfway up Santiago Peak here in Orange County, California. I wanted to get some "scenic shots" and decided to check out my hood struts to see if they took some off-roading abuse. The trail is a fire-road type trail, but there are quite a few sections that still "contort" your vehicle and bouncing around for sure depending on how fast you are traveling. The struts held up just fine (closed of course
). I have since been up on that trail a couple more times and still in good working order. I have another off-road trip coming up with SOME "rock crawling" involved (i.e. definitely not your fire-road type trail). NOTHING too intense, but a medium trail with a decent boulder field nonetheless.

Anyways, here are the pictures taken on 4 July 2019.
22_SantiagoPeak_ParkingLot_4July2019_p1.jpg

23_SantiagoPeak_ParkingLot_4July2019_p2.jpg

24_SantiagoPeak_ParkingLot_4July2019_p3.jpg

Again, just showing the factory hood strut holding the hood up...
25_SantiagoPeak_ParkingLot_4July2019_p4.jpg

And just the gas struts holding the hood up...
26_SantiagoPeak_ParkingLot_4July2019_p5.jpg

5) Final thoughts about my newly installed HIGH-LIFT Hood Strut(s)

I LOVE these HIGH-LIFT Hood Struts and HIGHLY RECOMMEND them as part of your next Tacoma mod!!!
I've already opened my hood a few times and you just simply unlatch the hood like normal, do your latch release, start "lifting" the hood and within a couple inches or so, your hood will "lift on its own"!!!
There is plenty more working space with no factory hood brace being in the way!!!
I'm constantly working on my truck, well, when time permits, but the point being is that having the HIGH-LIFT Hood Struts makes it that much easier to deal with when working in the engine bay of a 1st Gen Tacoma.

I give a great THANKS to Spiker Engineering and Leon for letting me be a part of this development phase.

Please visit their web site: (here is their website again...)
https://spikerengineering.com/
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
290
#10
Nice write up. I've been meaning to order these and just haven't done it. Looks great.
Thank you for the kind words. :thumbsup::beerscheers:

Just recently I jump started someone here at work and I really liked the way it works... as simple as it sounds.

But yeah, glad I have them. Pretty sure you will like them too. :thumbsup:
 

Spiker

Official Vendor
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
17
Location
California
#14
A little birdie told me to come check this thread out, so here I am :).

I LOVE these HIGH-LIFT Hood Struts and HIGHLY RECOMMEND them as part of your next Tacoma mod!!!
...I'm constantly working on my truck, well, when time permits, but the point being is that having the HIGH-LIFT Hood Struts makes it that much easier to deal with when working in the engine bay of a 1st Gen Tacoma.

I give a great THANKS to Spiker Engineering and Leon for letting me be a part of this development phase.
Thanks for participating in the development of the kit and for the great writeup @WileECoyote, and it's great to hear that you're loving the hood strut action. To this day it remains one of my favorite 4Runner mods, wish I had done it sooner.

The original plan was for me to "borrow" @WileECoyote's truck to prototype the kit, but as the timing worked out, I managed to do that on a neighbor's '00 Taco. So we decided to have @WileECoyote be the "customer" trailblazer, i.e. be the first person to receive the kit in the mail and follow the instructions to install the kit. So that's what you see above, I'd say @WileECoyote exceeded anything I could have expected :D. Thanks buddy!
 

Spiker

Official Vendor
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
17
Location
California
#15
$84? That's disappointingly spendy
It's pretty hard to do much better than that short of resorting to crappy components. It's like trying to save money on tires - sure, the good ones and the cheap ones look the same and have the same size stamped on them, but that's where the similarity ends :).
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
290
#16
A little birdie told me to come check this thread out, so here I am :).



Thanks for participating in the development of the kit and for the great writeup @WileECoyote, and it's great to hear that you're loving the hood strut action. To this day it remains one of my favorite 4Runner mods, wish I had done it sooner.

The original plan was for me to "borrow" @WileECoyote's truck to prototype the kit, but as the timing worked out, I managed to do that on a neighbor's '00 Taco. So we decided to have @WileECoyote be the "customer" trailblazer, i.e. be the first person to receive the kit in the mail and follow the instructions to install the kit. So that's what you see above, I'd say @WileECoyote exceeded anything I could have expected :D. Thanks buddy!
You're more than welcome Leon!!! :thumbsup:

There are some things I want to add in to the write-up, but nothing really all that significant, mostly rewording and maybe a few more pictures? Other than that, the write-up is, for the most part done.
 

4runner DOA

Hold my beer
Staff member
Joined
Oct 2, 2018
Messages
7,416
Age
40
Location
OC
#17
You're more than welcome Leon!!! :thumbsup:

There are some things I want to add in to the write-up, but nothing really all that significant, mostly rewording and maybe a few more pictures? Other than that, the write-up is, for the most part done.
You did a good job on the write up, and @Spiker is an official vendor now here.
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
290
#18
You did a good job on the write up, and @Spiker is an official vendor now here.
Thanks a bunch Danny!!! :thumbsup::beerscheers:

AWESOME!!! I saw that, but wasn't quite for sure!!! Kool beans!!! :rockon::):welcome: @Spiker Leon!!!

HAHAHA, tomorrow/today is gonna suck!!! I'm gonna unbolt my bed to redo my original CB mount. Truck beds are actually pretty HEAVY AF!!! :deadbanana: Thankfully I just need to slide it back just enough, but repositioning is a NIGHTMARE for me!!! :eek::boom::deadbanana:
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top Bottom