I replaced the lift-gate struts on my 1998 GC yesterday. It was a very easy 15-minute job.
I used Mopar genuine parts. On the parts packages, the lift-gate struts are called “LIFTGATE SUPPORTS”. Since there are left and right parts, the part numbers are G0004856AC and G0004857AC. They cost $36.10 each plus tax at the dealership. There are instructions on the back of the packages, but I didn’t notice them until just now.
The bolts on the top of the support use a T-8 External Torx socket. I had trouble finding a set of these in my town, but I did find them at NAPA for about $20. They are ¼” drive and I used a 3” extension on my wrench.
I used a push broom to prop up the lift-gate while I removed the first strut. Something a little longer, such as a 2X4 or stepladder, might have been better to use. You will want to lift up on the gate a little to remove the tension on the bolts as you are removing them.
After the top bolts are removed, use a little screwdriver to pry the ball connector clip out about a ¼” to release the bottom of the strut from the ball connector on the vehicle.
For installing the new strut, I put the bolts in on the top of the strut first (to keep the tension off of the bolts). In retrospect, I think I should have disconnected the ball connector first when I removed the old one, to help relieve the tension off the bolts. If you don’t get the tension off the bolts, there is a possibility of cross-threading them. You don’t even want to cross-thread the bolts! After getting the bolts in, just pry the clip out about ¼” on the ball connector and press it on to the ball.
I thought that one new strut would hold up the lift-gate adequately while I removed and replaced the other side. This didn’t work for me, so I had to again use the push broom handle to keep the lift-gate up.
The great result is that the lift-gate actually goes up automatically after opening it about halfway! It is now working just like it did when it was new. I wish I had done this about three years ago.