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What are Gas Struts?

Gas Struts, also referred to as gas shocks or gas springs, have many applications in RVs. They are used as supports to keep baggage doors or entry doors open, and to hold up an RV mattress when the underbed storage is being accessed. They also have many automotive applications, the most common being support of hoods, trunks, or rear hatches.

The end connectors on most gas struts are universal, they fit onto a round ball that is part of a mounting bracket. The mounting bracket can be different configurations (flat horizontal, flat vertical, 90 degrees, etc.) depending on the configuration of the mounting surface. But the ball to strut connection is consistent.

Gas Struts look similar as well. The difference is the length and the amount of force or pressure that the gas strut exerts when it is extending or supporting. The length is determined using two measures: The open length and the closed length. The pressure is expressed in pounds (short for pounds per square inch.)

Measuring the Strut

If you are replacing a gas shock on your motorhome or travel trailer, here's how to measure:

  1. Measure the open or extended length of the gas strut from the center of the one ball socket connector to the center of the other ball socket connector (end to end) when the prop is completely extended.
  2. Measure the closed or compressed length of the gas prop from the center of one ball socket connector to the center of the other ball socket connector when the prop is completely compressed.
  3. Measure the Diameter of both the Barrel and the Rod to get the gas shock size. It is usually recorded as the Rod diameter over the barrel diameter. (e.g. 6/15, 8/18, 10/22, 14/28, etc.) and the more robust the strut is, the "fatter" it will be.
  4. Measure the exposed Rod length from the Barrel to the center of the ball socket when the gas strut piston rod is extended. This is the stroke length.
  5. The force of the gas strut will usually be marked on the barrel of the strut. Look for a number that is followed by "Nm" or "N". This stands for Newton Metres, a measure of force.
  6. If there is no force marked on the strut, you'll have to determine what force you need by the application. See below for a few common RV gas prop applications and the force required for each of them.


Common RV Strut Applications and Required Strut Force

Horizontally Hinged Baggage Door

rv strut





Up to 24"

Up to 24"

20-30 lb.

10-20 lb.


24" to 48"

30-40 lb.

20-30 lb.

24" to 29"

Up to 24"

30-40 lb.

20-40 lb.


24" to 60"

40-60 lb.

30-60 lb.

30" to 35"

Up to 24"

50-80 lb.

30-40 lb.


24" to 72"

60-100 lb.

50-80 lb.

36" to 40"

Up to 24"

50-80 lb.

40-60 lb.


24" to 72"

60-100 lb.

50-100 lb.


Vertically Hinged Baggage Door

rv baggage door





Up to 24"

10 lb.


More than 24"

20 lb.


RV Entry Doors

rv entry door



68" X 24"

10 lb.

68" X 26"

10 lb.

72" X 24"

10 lb.

72" X 26"

10 lb.

80" X 26"

10 lb.

RV Bed Lifts

rv bed lifts

Mattress Size



80-120 lb.

Full or Queen

150 lb.


Buying Gas Struts

For further information on the range of gas shocks available, consult the RV hardware section of our catalog, available by clicking on "Catalog" on the main menu of every one of our web pages. You have no need to purchase your gas struts from Princess Auto, contact one of our customer service representatives if you need any assistance identifying or purchasing a gas shock for your RV.

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