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Linear Actuators


New member
Hey.... life got in the way and in 2015 we moved to the big city. There was way too much going on with the new house and grandkids. I put the Sterling in a four place enclosed snowmobile trailer that I rebuilt and then expanded a Menards utility shed four more feet and that is its new home. It works so well. During this time, the car was moved several times and driven around the block but it was having electrical issues. I have replaced the wiring harness twice on this car, and now have yet another one to install but I AM GETTING OLD!!! I did find the problem though. I didn't put in hydraulics; I left the orginal lift tubes in place and added linear actuators to them. With the balance, the lineators should have lasted forever.... they didn't. One failed and that is why it was painfully slow for the canopy to lift. I thought it was the battery. It wasn't. Then the hard starting gremlin was next. I keep a trickle charger on it and it will start fine.... If I run the started a bit and run down the battery before starting, the push button start will not engage the starter... I thought it might be the push button start failure; it wasn't. After research, I found out that wiring gets old and drains the juice to where a VW starter solenoid has problems. The solution? JBUGS sells a hard starter relay for about $20. I now own that and this spring this car will get this installed. I am 99% sure this will solve that problem. As far as the linear actuators failing for any reason... .dead battery... or whatever. They are installed on a piggyback system to the original lift tubes. They bolt on with a 9/16" bolt.... therefore, if I am in the car and it fails, the thought of crawling out the window like a NASCAR vehicle isn't in the cards.... I carry an old 9/16th in wrench in the car... I would removed the nut and pull the linear actuator free of the original tubes and simply push the canopy up.... I also have several electrical switches that can be used to activate the actuators in case one switch fails. I am hoping to get the car out more this year..... And yes, my granddaughter, Rosie. likes to drive the car.....Have a good one! Dennis


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Site Owner
Staff member
Hi stranger! Good to hear you’re still enjoying life and playing with projects.

Yes, I’ve crawled out my window once or twice and it’s about as fun as it sounds.

As for finding replacement linear actuators, if you liked how your originals functioned and you can read any ratings on them that should help you narrow down some replacements. They’re usually rated by load, speed, voltage they were designed for, and the actual dimensions (open, closed, and the overall throw.) I don’t have any secret source for them but I’ve been able to successfully google stuff in the past. I know that the Eureka guys over in Australia have always liked a brand called Lineak (sp?). They are reported to be fast, strong, and reliable.

We’ll see if anyone else weighs in on options. But yeah, every instance of using linear actuators represents a builder-modification and there doesn’t seem to be any standard size (etc.) that I’m aware of. But replacements exist!

Brett Proctor

Well-known member
There are many posts on starter issues and the solutions seem to be to get rid of the VW starter and replace it with an after market starter that doesn't need the pilot bushing. Just make sure your running the right gauge wire for the distance between the battery and starter. In DC voltage there is a greater voltage drop in the distance the voltage has to travel .

Like you crawling out of the side window isn't going to happen with me. To old and to fat for that.
So I used the rear lift gate actuators out of a Grand Caravan. The system disengages when there is a power loss so your not trapped inside and it has a manual release if you don't want to use the actuators (gas struts are used with the system). So far I'm happy with it.


New member
Hi.... just goofing off today and found myself at this site again.... time worth spending here... and an update kind of.... in the last three years I have restored a salvaged title 2004 Ranger I bought for $500 with 160 hours of mechanical and body repairs https://www.flickr.com/photos/194674506@N05/.... Last winter I started sanding the paint off my 1995 Chevy c1500.... I also welded in some patch panels and door skins... I was so sick and tired of working on this truck which I started around Halloween last year and finished just a few weeks ago..... The Sterling got the first fix... a low voltage alternative I bought from the Bugs California outfit... It didn't take all that long to install and instantly solved the starter issues.... I no longer have to have a fully charged battery to start the car... I also reworked the battery terminals to clean them up and provide more direct circuits. It too went extremely well... However, age is taking its toll... my age.... my doctor told me I was "aging gracefully"..... He never tried to get in an out of a Sterling.... We rarely drive the car now. It sits in the expanded Menards shed and I drive it once/twice a year. I thought I heard a brake line loose on the drivers side rear..... so I spent a half day tracking down the brake lines... I thought they ran inside the side bulkheads but they do not... they run inside the cockpit right next to the driver in this case.... and it is NOT loose.... so the sound must be coming from the passenger side rear brake.. and I will address that issue next. I was concerned more about breaking a line.... I have no idea if the emergency brake works... and it is buries in a custom made middle console anyway..... I have vowed 2-3 times to stop rebuilding vehicles and this time I mean it.... I will go fishing instead... The Sterling still gets all the looks you would expect. If I do one more update on it I am going to spend some time/money on first class linear actuators..... My new ones work... just not fast enough for me though to look cool..... Thanks Rick for the link to Linak actuators.......

Hope this update finds everyone well.... Dennis.... Professor229