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Hi,

My other half has arthritis in her hands, and has huge trouble gripping and pulling the rear door on our defenders open. She also struggles with the weight of it on a hill, both the opening and closing depending on the slope. As she uses them daily , I am worried this will eventually make it impossible for her to use the cars, as she currently does daily, taking dogs out. A bonnet mounted spare is one possibility I admit, and we may have to do that. I don't think a rear spare wheel carrier will be much help as the weight will be greater if anything. I wondered though if anyone had tried to use any sort of power to open and close the door, maybe with a remote control. A linear actuator seems an ideal tool for this. If anyone has tried this or seen anything about it I'd be very interested to hear. Nigel

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Thanks for the ideas (keep them coming). The gas strut we have debated - but I can't see it helping all the time (eg to shut it while facing uphill if it tends to push it open) Whichever way you look at it, a certain amount of work has to be done against the weight of the door on a slope, either opening or closing. If it was hinged at the top she wouldn't reach it....I don't like bonnet spares especially, and as she is short it would swap one set of problems for another, Favourite current idea is to remove seats on one side and mount the spare inside.

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There are two types of spare wheel carriers - one that is attached to the backdoor and opens with it as one unit, and one that opens independantly (normally used for drop down tailgates), they swing open very easily as well.

The only catchout with the latter type is if you have rear seats fitted, rear passengers can't open the door.

Rear door handle can get quite difficult to open when they wear with age, so if she struggles to lift the catch to open the door, a new latch mechanism can help massively.

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I have the mantec carrier and the gas assist ram on mine, mainly to help my youngest in opening the door if he's in the back. The ram really helps to open even when on hills (265/75r16 km2 on the carrier) but is of no use when closing as it still requires a hefty slam. It's quite surprising how much force the small gas assist ram provides, if the door is let go when opening it picks up a fair bit of speed!

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I have a Mantec carrier and it has made mine easier to open and close. There is more weight - but it's carried by the chassis rather than the door, which has had the effect of making the door feel lighter...

I don't know if my results are skewed by the size of the wheel or the state of the hinges ... But I wouldn't discount the benefits of just fitting the carrier.

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Don't go with the type of carrier that isn't attached to the door. I've got one on my 88" and it really is a damn nuisance. I've modified mine so that it now picks up the tailgate antiluce on the n/s because the latch kept braking - just couldn't handle the weight of the tyre bouncing around. The rattling and banging it made drove me up the wall as well.

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Replace the door stay with something like this.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DC-12V-10-220lbs-Linear-Actuator-Motor-Remote-for-Electric-Medical-Industrial-/281712008729?hash=item4197581e19

Then the door will open and close itself!

Si

That ^^^ would be the way I'd go to actually open and close the door. The Land Rover catch is not the eaiest to operate even when well adjusted so perhaps a solenoid operated latching mechanism would be worth investigating too.

I fitted a Nakatanga / Nicknackynoo - or whatever they call themselves - gas strut to the back door of my last Puma but took it off in the end as I decided that I prefer to have the back door stay shut than have it forcibly swing open which in itself required a bit of manual input to restrain. It now sits unused in a box in the garage if anyone can make use of it.

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The linear actuator seems like a good idea, and the price is right, but I think it might need something controlling it other than a forward-off-reverse switch in case someone is caught in it. Some of those actuators can exert a fair old force. The electric windows on some cars try for a bit then give up or even reverse. I think it would need some intelligence, maybe limiting current to control force. It's sounding simpler to bring the spare inside!

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I fitted a Nakatanga / Nicknackynoo - or whatever they call themselves - gas strut to the back door of my last Puma but took it off in the end as I decided that I prefer to have the back door stay shut than have it forcibly swing open which in itself required a bit of manual input to restrain. It now sits unused in a box in the garage if anyone can make use of it.

If I can afford it - I'd like that please ?

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Is the arthritis affecting operation of the latch itself, or the actual moving of the door?

If the former, I have always found the spare wheel impedes hand access to the latch handle, especially if the wheel is a bit on the big side. Maybe the improved hand access would make enough difference...

I like the linear actuator idea, but agree that controlling I could be an issue.

Ideally you need a ram that senses movement, then provides assistance of limited duration - rather like some power steering assister rams.

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Yes the arthritis is in the joints of pretty much all her fingers and so the mobility of them is affected; she struggles a bit with the latch. Plus, loading on the joints (eg wrists) also hurts, so pulling the door open against a slope isn't good. She does complain about latch access, but I have noticed (we have a defender with a post 2002 door, and one with the earlier door) ) the later door gives a touch more room.

The sensing ram idea is getting very near it. I did also wonder about hydraulics though you'd need the engine running

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You can get load sensing rams - but they are lots of money. An alternative option would be a self resetting fuse. As the load increases, the current draw increases - thus you could use this to limit to force to something not painful. (Maybe just a bit painful - as a learning experience to watch out next time!).

I've seen similar rams used to open car doors for mobility applications. I would get rid of the latch altogether and just use the ram to keep it closed. Then you have pushbutton open & close without having to lift the latch.

Si

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Just exercising the grey cells some more...

Lots of custom cars have concealed doors mechanisms, and use a wireless remote device to 'pop' the door lock when you want to get in. How could this be transferred to a Defender door?

In fact, thinking further, SWMBO's Corsa has an electric release on the boot door...

Then onto the actual opening of the door...

The outlaws have a Volvo XC70, this can't be the only car that fully opens and closes its own boot door at the press of a button.

I've not looked closely to see how this is achieved, but I wonder if the gas springs are more than just springs???

Need to limit the door opening when space is tight - there must be a way to incorporate a proximity sensor.

Someone else's turn now ?

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>I've not looked closely to see how this is achieved, but I wonder if the gas springs are more than just springs???

They are! Just compact linear actuators.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/RANGE-ROVER-SPORT-L320-TAILGATE-BOOT-ELECTRIC-STRUT-RAM-OFF-SIDE-SDV6-/261868227027?hash=item3cf89009d3

Hopefully in the future they will be fitted to lots of cars - and be cheap on eBay!

Si

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Maybe adding a sharp edge on to the door is simplest. (Just kidding) Simon, do you reckon an actuator would be strong enough to hold the door shut? I think an actuator would have to lie front to back inside and pull it shut so it is more or less straight when shut. If it was across the door in the current stay/gas strut position it would be least powerful when closed. Or the door would have to become a hatch but I think that would be ambitious with the spare on! I have seen the power boots and that set me thinking originally.

Ignoring the hi tech solutions for a mo does anyone know of anything ready made for mounting a spare inside? Or do I need to cobble something? I just thought I'd just try it with a pair of rear seats out, and the spare inside. It's a CSW so I can clamp to the seat belt rail, but I wouldn't want a spare on the back of my head in a bump.

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My Audi has a button type thing that operates a solenoid latch, the boot lid then lifts its self with a little encouragement.

Understandably you want to avoid the hi tec route but maybe the door closed adainst small springs and locked with solinoids Controlled by a remote, when the button is pressed the solinoids retract, and the small springs push the door out which would be assisted by a ram and no spare. Might work with the spare as its Eayer to close then?

Nige at Megasquirtv8 has the assisted bonnet opening kit maybe could that be adapted?

Most cars now are a hatchback or tail gate design so I'm not sure if there is a system you could rob from another car but that seems to be how a lot work now.

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Our 110 has no spare on the door I nearly tore the door off it's hinges the first time I opened it it's so light. Can you just ratchet strap the spare in the back for now to try it then do something more permanent later. I believe some 109's and 110's have a recess that mounts in the top of the wheel box for the spare to sit in upright then a bracket on the capping to hold it back.

Mike

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