How To Replace Your Factory Hood Prop with the Sokietech Gas Powered Hood Lift System: Hood Strut Install & Review For 2016+ Toyota Tacoma
What are piston hood struts/shocks and why should you install them on your Tacoma?
A piston hood strut lifts your Tacoma hood to full open height once you pop and unlatch your hood. The hood on the Tacoma is on the weighty side, and when you add a +3” lift and bigger tires to your rig, propping your hood up to full height becomes a little challenging.
While you can solve this problem by not being short or by lifting weights, another route is to install a pair of Sokietech piston hood struts to lift your hood smoothly and quickly as soon as you release the hood latch. The great thing about Sokietech’s struts is that they require zero drilling or riveting, and you can install them with common garage tools.
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- Sokietech Shock Struts: Check Price
Tools and Materials
- 10mm wrench
- 12mm wrench
- Cleaning wipes
Step 1. (Driver’s Side) Install Right Side Bolt & Washer
After opening the hood, locate the grounding bolt on the right side fender wall next to the battery and fuse box.
This bolt grounds the negative terminal of your battery to your truck. Using your 10mm wrench, remove this bolt. You will no longer need it, as the new hardware will replace it.
Install the strut stud bolt. With the same 10mm wrench, now install the new strut stud bolt and washer.
Be sure to feed the bolt through the grounding cable, to connect the battery negative back to the body of the truck. No torque value is given, so tighten it down snugly. But be careful not to strip the bolt or sidewall threads.
Step 2. (Passenger’s Side) Install Left Side Bolt & Washer
You will now need to remove the left sidewall cover.
Push inward toward the engine at the top of the cover, and the cover should pop/slide off fairly easily.
Install the strut stud bolt and washer. Retrieve that 10mm wrench again and install the strut stud bolt and washer.
If you opted for a socket in steps 1-2, you will need a wrench this time because of the tight clearance between the wall and the air filter.
Reinstall the cover. The sidewall cover slides back into its slots just like it slid/popped off.
The strut stud bolt is closely fit to the sidewall cover, which will want to go over the bolt, covering it. Be sure to tuck the flexible bottom portion of the sidewall cover above the strut stud bolt.
Step 3. (Driver’s Side) Install Right Side Strut Hood Mount
Now you’re ready to install the strut mount that attaches to the hood itself.
First, you will need to remove the top hood bolt with a 12mm wrench. Remove it completely and do not worry, the hood will not move, since the rear bolt is still tightly secured.
Next, you need to prep this area circled in green by cleaning with the wipes mentioned in the materials list.
The reason for cleaning this area is because the Strut Hood Mount comes with 3M tape which needs a clean surface to adhere to.
Look carefully at the circled area in the previous photo above. The tape will adhere approximately here.
Install the Strut Hood Mount using the original hood bolt and the 12mm wrench.
A special note for those who have ditch lights as shown here. For optimal fit, you will need to install the Strut Hood Mount sandwiched between the ditch light mount and the truck’s hood mount. Otherwise, if you install the Strut Hood Mount on the very outer layer, the 3M tape will not adhere well to the hood. It will want to pull away.
Step 4. (Passenger’s Side) Install Left Side Strut Hood Mount
Now, you will remove the left side top hood bolt in the same manner as the right side, paying attention to the same area for cleaning as well.
Install the left side Strut Hood Mount just as on the right side, remembering to sandwich the Strut Hood Mount between the hood mount and the ditch light mount.
Here’s another closeup of the left-side positioning.
Step 6. Install Shock Struts
Finally, the struts themselves.
Note that one strut is longer and one is shorter. The shorter strut goes on the right side (driver), the longer on the left (passenger).
This is the easy part. Don’t over-complicate it by trying to pry the strut heads apart. The directions tell you NOT to do this. Simply push the strut head onto the strut mount, and the head will self-lock around it securely. You may need to push up on the hood as you fit both ends of the strut onto the strut mounts since the struts are longer than the stock hood height.
I chose to put the body end downward and toward the front, and the piston rod end upward and toward the back.
Accomplish the same step for the left side. At this point, you are finished. Now, test your hood struts to see if they work properly. Both should smoothly go down as you pull the hood. They should both smoothly push the hood upward, stopping at the same time.
You will find that the struts don’t immediately power the hood upward when you lift the hood latch. This is because there needs to be some play for the hood to close and remain closed without being under tension. Normal operations.
I’m extremely pleased with my Piston Hood Struts. They make opening the hood a breeze, and they even make shutting the hood much less dramatic on the way down.
This quick and easy mod saves you the worry of a wobbly rod holding a heavy slab of metal above your head. It’s also a little showy in front of your friends.