How to make the transom locker door open to full height on 360/370
This post shows how to replace the lift springs on a 360/370 EC transom locker with longer springs so the hatch opens to full height.
Time to complete: 3-4 hours (45 minutes if the door needs no reconditioning)
Like many larger Rinker cruisers, my 2007 370 has a transom locker that opens to the swim platform. From the factory, the door would only open halfway, so I had to get down on my hands and knees to use the locker. Here's the original geometry:
If there's a good reason for that design, I've never figured it out. Today I replaced the springs with longer ones, and BOOM -- now it opens to a full six feet high! No more stooping over with heavy objects.
The part I used is an Attwood model SL27-40-01 (two required - Great Lakes Skipper carries them). The load capacity is 40 pounds per spring (same as the OEM springs). They fit right onto the existing 10-mm ball mounts. Length 28 1/2" when extended, 17" when compressed.
The installation procedure depends on the condition of your door. Does the inside of your door have dark drip trails under the mounts? If yes, your fittings have developed leaks, and you have water inside your fiberglass like I did! You need to remove the door and address the water issue.
Even if your door is not leaking (yet), it might not be a bad idea to re-bed the hardware anyway.
Here's the first part of the process:
1) With a helper holding the door, remove the original springs from the ball mounts. Use a small flat screwdriver to pry up the release at the end of the spring, and it will pop right off with very little force.
2) Remove the lower ball mounts from the door frame, and fill the screw holes with 3M 5200 or other sealant.
3) Reinstall the lower ball mounts so that the lowest screw is 5" from the bottom of the door opening. (NOTE -- MEASURE YOUR BOAT AND YOUR NEW SPRINGS CAREFULLY! THIS IS THE DIMENSION THAT WORKED ON MY BOAT, BUT PLEASE DO NOT TAKE MY WORD FOR IT.) Dab some 5200 in the screw holes and on the screw threads before installing them.
4) With a helper holding the door, install the new gas springs. They snap onto the ball mounts -- no tool required. Test to make sure the door opens and closes properly.
If you aren't removing the door, you're done! If your door needs work, here's what to do:
5) Disconnect the springs from the door, then remove the door by removing the four screws that hold the hinges to the door.
6) With the door sitting on a table or bench, remove the grab rail and the two upper ball mounts from the door.
7) If the inside of your door is stained with nasty blackness like mine was, now's the best time to clean it. I had already tried every type of spray-and-wipe cleaner without success. But with the door off, I went to the nuclear option: Bar Keepers Friend with a Scotchbrite sponge. I still didn't get it 100% clean, although it is much better than before. Eventually, I might paint it gloss white.
8) If your fittings have leaked water into your door, get that stuff out of there! I spent about an hour with a shop vac and an air compressor getting as much as I could. Try holding the shop vac to one screw hole while blowing compressed air in another. Keep going until you can't get any more water.
9) Reinstall the grab rail using butyl tape (my favorite sealant) inside and out. Do not overtighten the nuts. Reinstall the ball mounts using 3M 5200 in the screw holes and on the screw threads.
10) With a helper, reinstall the door and admire your handiwork.