Don’t slam your DB9’s Bootie – Changing the Boot Lid Gas Strut on an Aston Martin DB9

Ever since I bought Aston 2209 the boot has effectively closed under free fall. We have of course learnt to be careful with it, but after a couple of frighteners where we have dropped it and it has slammed shut I decided for the small amount of money involved it was crazy not to resolve the problem. The potential for breaking the rear glass really exists. The boot lid is supported on gas struts that are part of the hinge assembly but once the gas has started to leak away they loose their effectiveness. Even when you have removed an old gas strut you will find it very hard to depress so you might think there is nothing wrong with it. Unfortunately there is, so bite the bullet and buy a couple of new ones.

[Editors Note:  I’d like to thank Mike Potts (@aston2209) for contributing his time and knowledge in writing this article – Thanks Mike!]

The method for changing them is quite simple with only a narrow bladed screwdriver being required. As with all jobs that are near the paintwork take care and use covers or microfiber cloths to protect the immediate area.

If only I had taken my own advice !!!   I removed both the old gas struts and carefully pushed the boot lid back until it came to a rest in the fully open position. I wrongly assumed it was resting on the hinge bracketry but it was actually resting against the edge of the rear window. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png
Chipped paint on boot lid due to contact with rear window glass edge

When I had fitted the new gas struts and closed the boot lid for the first time I saw a chip in the paint. I couldn’t work out where this had come from and decided to remove the struts and move the boot lid carefully to see if I could establish what I had done. By slowly moving the boot lid backwards it was clear that the hinge did not stop the boot lid before it came to the glass.

It’s an easy job but take your time and DON’T REMOVE BOTH STRUTS at the same time. It could just as easily been the glass that had broken so be careful.

Here is a short video showing how to change the struts.

Mike (Aston 2209)

10 thoughts on “Don’t slam your DB9’s Bootie – Changing the Boot Lid Gas Strut on an Aston Martin DB9

  1. Graham Rollins

    This thread is very timely, having just filled my car of petrol some 20 miles south of Edinburgh plus fuelling a couple gallon cans for auxiliary tools. With the boot lid open and fuelling the cans the lid slammed shut and frightened the life out of me!
    Definitely my next project.

    Like

  2. stuart carson

    Hi Steve,

    Now that you fitted new struts, how does the boot lid behave? I fitted two new OEM struts a few weeks ago from – I think – a reputable supplier mentioned in this blog often and there is basically no difference. Still slams dreadfully if allowed to fall under its own weight. I had imagined it would self open when released …or at least close less catastrophically, but no.

    I am wondering if I was sent old / deteriorated stock and need to request replacements, but had nothing to compare against…until now. Please advise. Thx Steve.

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    1. mike2209

      Hi Stuart,

      It’s Mike (Aston 2209) here, it was me who posted the Blog on changing the gas struts on the boot. I always buy OEM parts from Aston Martin direct so I know I’m getting the genuine item ! That said I have bought direct from Brembo for rotors/discs and EBC for brake pads. There is always a temptation to buy from other suppliers particularly when spares can be quite expensive also there are some sellers on auction sites who will say a part is OEM when perhaps it isn’t.

      The gas struts I received performed perfectly (when compared to the old units) and if you watch the video with the article you will see how the boot lid moves now. I’ve just been out and checked the operation from inside the Aston (to see if it self opened) as it was something I meant to check for myself but kept forgetting about it. When I operate the switch in the Aston there is a click from the rear which is the boot lock releasing. The boot didn’t self open but when you go to the boot it will lift up but it does not move when the lock is released. I must admit I was also hoping that the lid would have lifted on it’s own from closed to fully open, but at least it doesn’t slam down now. In operation you have to lift it about half way and then the gas struts take over and lift it the rest of the way. On closing the boot lid has to be pushed for the first half and then drops the second half, again check out the video. Can anyone else give some feed-back on how their boot opens and closes please.

      If your new struts don’t seem to make any difference then send them back for replacement, you could always refer them to my video to show them the minimum you would expect from a new set of gas struts.

      When I received the new gas struts I did a somewhat crude experiment by trying to compress the struts. I could depress the old struts when I pressed them against the floor but it took quite a lot of force, I was surprised. The new struts were impossible to compress by pushing them against the floor. You could always undertake you own test with one of your old struts and one of the new struts and see what the comparison is.

      Let us know how it works out,

      Mike (Aston 2209)

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  3. Robert Haywood

    Having viewed the video posted by Mike, I replaced the struts on my car (2005 DB9), but with parts purchased from SGS. These were slightly less costly than the AM parts and are slimmer. I confess to having experienced some problems with getting the spring clips to retract symmetrically, but eventually managed to get the new struts on. The boot lid now closes and opens as Mike has described, so I am happy. I too had hoped that it might open when the internal button release was operated, but ho-hum. Oddly, I am a retired engineer, who also succumbed to getting a personalised plate, X20 RGH. I confirm also that I am getting more and more grumpy!

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  4. mike2209

    Hi Grumpy Robert,

    Good to hear you managed to sort out your boot struts and that they seem to be working OK.

    My DB9 is also a 2005MY and I do all my own servicing and repairs, once you get to know your car it’s technically no different to any other, except looks, power, style, etc., etc., etc..

    If you do any jobs on your DB9 drop us a line and if it’s something we haven’t covered already Steve might consider it for the Blog.

    Good luck,

    Grumpy Mike (Aston 2209)

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    1. Robert Haywood

      Mike,
      I recently took the plunge and had some work done on the suspension. I attach a brief article that I wrote that I hope may be of interest.

      ‘Aston Martin DB9
      Suspension Improvements

      Towards the latter part of 2016 I had the opportunity to purchase a 2005 DB9 coupe.

      As this was a long-held aspiration, I jumped at the chance. The car was in pristine condition, with no modifications, Blue Sapphire with Sandstorm interior and 32k miles on the clock.
      I was in total awe of the car, revelling in its performance, comfort, looks and noise.

      As time has passed, with the clock now showing 40k miles, I have become aware of some of the less desirable elements of the driving experience, the ‘crunchy’ suspension, the somewhat vague feeling that the rear end was not always where I thought that it should be, the dip of the nose under firm braking and the fight with the turn-in on higher speed corners.
      I had done much reading of the plethora of forums that exist that confirmed that my car was not in any way out of the ordinary, so I suppose that I had concluded that I was going to have to put up with these minor imperfections. The only modifications that I have made during my ownership were the fitting of a new set of lighter weight rims (Carbon Black edition) accompanied by titanium wheel nuts and Michelin tyres. I should state at this point that I did not want a track car, nor even do I want to hurl it around pot-holed roads; I would like a comfortable, fast road car.

      The real turning point in this whole process occurred when I drove a slightly younger version of the same car, but one that benefitted from having the Sportspack modifications. The major difference that I immediately noticed was that the suspension was more supple and didn’t exhibit any of the rather rigid characteristics that my car did, despite having higher spring rates.

      Further reference to forum material confirmed that much of the overall problem was most probably due to the OEM shock absorbers, the Multimatics Dynamics dampers. I therefore set about identifying a suitable brand of dampers to replace these items, knowing that mine were in working order, with no evident leaks, anecdotally a common problem.

      I contacted several suppliers and organisations each one of which possesses a reputation for remedying the particular characteristics that exist with un-modified, standard vehicles, which, in my view, take the shine off a beautiful car. I was fairly disappointed with the response that I received from several of them, which simply immediately offered their off-the-shelf solution, without even asking what was my requirement.

      I eventually found an advertisement for Vantage Engineering bespoke shock absorbers that offered a damper that could provide various ‘stiffness’ responses as well as height adjustment, characteristics that were admittedly on offer from other suppliers.

      I contacted Vantage Engineering and after voicing my problem was put through to Terry Couzens, the owner. Vantage Engineering is based near Horsham in West Sussex and has a well-equipped workshop that carries out maintenance and modifications to solely Aston Martin cars, both recent and vintage. The big difference was that Terry listened to my description of the problem and then suggested what nobody else had, that I bring the car to him and he would drive it to ascertain any issues and then recommend solutions!

      This I duly did; Terry was broadly in agreement with my concerns and recommended that he fitted a set of Vantage Engineering’s own brand of dampers, using the existing road springs. Terry agreed to set the damper responses and heights that his test driving and ‘feel’ identified, followed up with a complete geometry check and re-set.

      After the initial work had been completed, I was invited to Vantage Engineering’s workshops in order to test drive the set-up that had been implemented.

      In a nutshell, I was amazed at the difference! I wouldn’t go as far as say that a complete transformation had been effected; it was still the same basic car, with the same springs, rims and tyres, but suffice to say that I was absolutely delighted with the result! Terry had lowered the front of the car by approximately 15mm and the rear by 10mm. The damper response had been adjusted to settings that Terry considered appropriate. Both ride height and damper response settings were well within the range offered by the bespoke shock absorber units. The geometry has been adjusted to remain within overall factory recommendations with the rear wheels having been toed in slightly, whilst caster has been removed from the front wheels. The suspension is now far more accommodating and compliant, with no jolts or crashing, with more travel in the suspension afforded by the new set up. There is considerably less dip on hard braking and the rear of the car feels much more secure. There is no longer a fight with the turn in. The whole car has become more comfortable, combining suppleness with control. I am over the moon with the result and now consider that I own the car that I really bought. Huge smile on face!

      The real message of this post is that it is clear to me that it pays to have work of this nature carried out by a properly qualified motor engineer who understands the complexities of suspension and geometry and can ‘tune’ the component parts to provide the optimum solution. I consider that I was most fortunate to have found Vantage Engineering and asking them to carry out this work and did not rely on some other organisations that would have merely provided their stock response without driving the car and listening to my requirements.

      Well done Vantage Engineering, I wish you every success in the future and rest assured I will strongly recommend your services to others.’

      Bob Haywood
      7 December 2020

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      1. mike2209

        Hi Bob,

        Great information and another good contact for all us Aston drivers in the UK, thanks.

        When I first started reading your post I thought this sounds like shock absorbers to me and I was pleased to read on and find I was pretty much right but as you explain it was only part of the problem.

        You’re right it always pays to go to people who really know what they are doing rather than to someone who will simply offer you what they have available off the shelf.

        When I first got Aston 2209 the handling left a little to be desired and tyre ware on the outside edges of the front tyres was alarming. I checked everything, leaks from the shock absorbers, ball joint wear, suspension bush condition, roll bar, etc. and everything seemed fine. I decided the best course of action was to get the Aston to a reputable garage for a four wheel alignment track and geometry check. Needless to say just about everything was out of the norm albeit still just within outer tolerances set by Aston. After a good couple of hours of laser alignment and manual checking all was pronounced satisfactory and so it proved to be. The handling was significantly improved and the excessive tyre ware appeared to be gone so much so that I decided to invest in a couple of new Bridgestone Potenzas and I can indeed confirm there is no more edge ware.

        The moral here is to recognise your limitations and when needed use the professionals who have right tools for the job that as a private owner you could never justify buying.

        Nice post Bob with some good information for all.

        Many thanks,
        Mike (Aston 2209)

        Like

  5. Chris Seymour

    I replaced mine with the OEM shocks on my ’11, thinking that its heavy bootie must not be properly countered by the original shocks. It didn’t make a difference, unfortunately. I haven’t had any dis-functionality, it’s just that the trunk is heavy. Ideally, I wish the shocks were a notch higher pressure to lighten the trunk a little.

    Like

    1. mike2209

      Hi Chris,

      Couldn’t agree more a little more pressure would go a long way, might even make the boot open on the internal release switch, don’t see the point of it if the boot doesn’t lift. Difficult to understand why Aston haven’t jump on the issue before now.

      Thanks for the comment, all comments and experiences are always welcome.

      Mike (Aston 2209)

      Like

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