[Review]: ECS Mk4 Rear Hatch Pop Kit

darkscout

Grammar Scout
Joined
May 28, 2006
Location
Michigan
TDI
2003 Golf
Perhaps you've seen the ECS Tuning hatch pop kit. (Product Link)
The premise is simple, you press your hatch release and it automagically opens your hatch for you! (Video). Great for groceries, pets, hit men.

Installation:
Installation is straightforward. Well, except for the design flaw.
The design of the mechanism causes a moment which causes the supplied metal lever to pop out.

It's pretty well outlined here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chNzkVSqc4c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZ0raA2qoUs
And I found my fix after digging through the hardware store:

After my suggested fix, it works great: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KolnhJNnHCY
I made a comment on the forums, got a ping from the vendor account here to send an e-mail to them, I did. And heard nothing. So I sent it again, CC'd the account here and finally got a ping back from marketing saying I'd get a fixed version (Still waiting).
The official reply was much shorter., but whatever my trunk worked.
Then it started not opening all the way. First it was about 1/3 the way. Then it'd just occasionally pop open a crack. But as long as I lifted it to at least half way with my foot it'd open which was sufficient for my use.
I blamed it on the polar vortex. I mean, it gets cold. You can't blame things for not always working when they're cold.

Then the real fun began. The ball and socket joints decided to stop working. First it was one side. Then it was the other. It first started when I was opening. I noticed the lift strut was jammed up against the bump stop and that's why it stopped lifting.
Then it started happening when I closed it, like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFFTJ2897fI
Then they just started falling off completely: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P81vHOkxv5Q
And every single time I'd cause another scratch, dent, or other damage to my vehicle:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41IfFV_5JuI
So now I have a very low tech but reliable solution. A 1x4" of poplar.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38T-D0Dy7W0
So if anyone from ECS is watching, here is my suggestion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Edgyqnns5ZE
You're probably thinking "This is so exciting. I would love the opportunity to spend $200 to have a non-working hatch and potentially break my tail lights".
But wait... there's more!
I was going through the car wash and just happened to notice a large amount of water entering. Now I've never had good luck with water in VWs. I'm cursed. Every single one has had a water leak somewhere or other.
And now so does my 'new' to me Mk4 Golf. I got out and looked. Sure enough there's a massive dent about where you would expect one if a foreign body just happened to find its way into the hatch. Anyone want to guess what foreign bodies have recently started jumping into my hatch closing?


That's right. The first car I've sunk considerable money into (Just spent $2k more at ID Parts for a SB clutch, flywheel, diff and 5th gear) has a massive dent in the hatch and is taking on water...
And that's in addition to the broken bumper stops and scratch tail lights.

Random scratches inside of the hatch.

And the necessity to use precicely calibrated piece of American made hardware to hold the hatch up.

But don't fret, this product could still be for you:
  • Getting a divorce and your spouse is getting the Mk4 Golf? Install this time bomb. Before long their hatch is useless.
  • Sending your kid off to college and don't want them smuggling beer back to the dorms in the trunk? No problem. 4-5 months after installing they won't even be able to hold a case of beer and open the trunk at the same time.
  • Repo men coming for your prized Golf because you're late on payments? Just take out a payday loan for $200 and send those bastards away with a soon to be useless trunk.
  • You actually enjoy a wet musty smell in the back of your car or the water logged tail light look.
 

TDI_G

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2011
Location
Sugar Hill, Georgia
TDI
None Currently- 2008 BMW 335I
I saw this post over on VWVortex. What was ECS Tuning's response to it? My wife's Sienna opens like this and it would be awesome if my VW did the same. I just don't want any dents or water leaking into my Golf...
 

dremd

Veteran Member
Joined
May 31, 2007
Location
South Louisiana
TDI
06 sprinter. 03 jetta wagon premium with 6 speed ALH swap, 14 JSW
Disappointing. Especially after as far as I can tell they just copied GSR silvers design.

Thanks for letting us know.

Edit: totally ghetto, but I have fixed dent related leaks with thin adhesive weather stripping available at any hardware store. Just more layers where the dent is deep and less where it is shallow. Cutting the edges at a steep angle also helps the factory seal make the transition from body to foam.
 
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darkscout

Grammar Scout
Joined
May 28, 2006
Location
Michigan
TDI
2003 Golf
Well this keeps getting better.

Today I was at the hardware store and got a big fan for the shop. Only way in was through the hatch.





So I propped up the hatch (as is customary these days). Started maneuver the box in when that split second blackout when you take a hard hit to the head/nose. I had knocked the board loose and onto my head. Well damn it, I prop the hatch up onto the back of my head, knock the board out of the way and start pushing the fan in when I start to feel a trickle down my forehead.... I just dab around with my index finger until it's wet and look. Yep. Definitely blood.


NSFL:

Photo 1. Photo 2.

I guess I'll be ordering some OEM parts soon.

Anyone with a Golf know if the Wagon struts fit? I found these on AutoHausAZ:

https://www.autohausaz.com/search/p...&cid=hatch@hatch&gid=11445@Hatch Lift Support

Nothing shows up under Golf for 'hatch'.


What was ECS Tuning's response to it?
Just the generic "Please contact us!" (And that was just on the vortex). Like I said I did that before and it was less than helpful.

As far as a replacement... Have you ever owned a product so crappy that if the manufacturer sent you a free one every time the other one broke you'd not take it? Because this is it. Every 4-5 months I run the risk of putting another dent in my trunk to let water in, punching a hole in the lights or just scraping up the paint. It's like voluntarily installing a time bomb into your car.

totally ghetto, but I have fixed dent related leaks with thin adhesive weather stripping available at any
That's the plan. After I try the dry ice / hair dryer trick. It's such a huge structural dent I highly doubt it'll work. That or fashion up something to pull a vacuum on it.

It was a southern kept nice black golf, the nicest VW I've owned such far. Oh well. I guess I won't care too much about shopping kart accidents. I mean I paid to put this dent in it.
 

lapse

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2003
Location
Toronto, ON.
TDI
2003 Jetta TDI, 2003 Golf TDI
I got my wagon ones (that work great) from this guy. http://www.fixmyvw.com/rear-hatch-lift-strut-for-golf-iv-12-month-warranty/

They are listed separately, so I'm guessing they are different (check the part numbers though).
I have the Golf versions of these. The struts are really strong.. strong enough that the metal spring clips let loose and the hatch lid falls.

Fortunately this happened to my wife and not me, but I did have to hear about the agonizing pain that she was in for a week.

I had to pinch the spring clips with a vice grip before re-installing them.
 

BigBadThor

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2010
Location
Toronto, ON
TDI
2003 Tornado Red Jetta Wagon GLS (sold); 2014 GSW Wolfsburg Edition CPO TDI

darkscout

Grammar Scout
Joined
May 28, 2006
Location
Michigan
TDI
2003 Golf
strong enough that the metal spring clips let loose and the hatch lid falls.
Fortunately this happened to my wife and not me, but I did have to hear about the agonizing pain that she was in for a week.
So exactly the problem I have with the ECS ones.

They need to get some machined Rod ends in there and make it so it has a cotter pin or circlip holding it together. No more accidental discharges of the struts.
 

Nuje

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Location
Island near Vancouver
TDI
2015 Sportwagen; Golf GLS 2003; 2016 A3 e-tron
Well - glad to hear (actually, not really - sorry for your pain and suffering and money loss) I'm not the only one who essentially took two benjamins and lit them on fire.

The stuff I received seemed to go together ok, but probably once every three times I'd shut the hatch, I'd hear a loud POP! and yup - one of the hatch struts had blown off the ball and was hanging there. The plastic socket (that the ball sits in) was cracked and so the cir clip wasn't holding the ball well enough

On the plus side:
1. ECS sent me a replacement strut at no charge.
2. It didn't cause any damage to my car or my body (sorry about yours)
3. No water leakage

On the (continuing) negative side:
1. $200 later and the hatch releases, but doesn't self-open - I still need to give it a nudge for it to lift open.
2. I'm worried that the one strut that was blowing off caused some imbalance and bent the hinges a bit - my hatch no longer closes evenly: when closed, the passenger side taillight and the hatch are pretty much flush/flat, but on the driver side, the hatch is probably 0.5cm away from the surface-plane of the taillight.
The long-term water-tightness of that is suspect at best.

Overall, if I'd spent $60, I'd be disappointed; being that I spent $200....well, let's say I'm a little more than disappointed. :mad:
 

darkscout

Grammar Scout
Joined
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Location
Michigan
TDI
2003 Golf
Well - glad to hear (actually, not really - sorry for your pain and suffering and money loss) I'm not the only one who essentially took two benjamins and lit them on fire.
You may want to share that on the Vortex. I did a lot of looking for reviews before I purchased and didn't find any. I figured if it was bad there'd be at least one person that said so. I guess I get to have the privilege of being that first person.

http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?6969233-Review-ECS-Mk4-Rear-Hatch-Pop-Kit

1. ECS sent me a replacement strut at no charge.
That's pretty much what I expected the 'solution' to be. "Here, have a another defectively designed product!"
 

volmaniac

Veteran Member
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Oct 20, 2003
Location
McFadden's Ford, Stones River NMP M'boro, TN
TDI
02 Golf GLS

darkscout

Grammar Scout
Joined
May 28, 2006
Location
Michigan
TDI
2003 Golf
ECS has given me 2 options.

1) Send the entire kit back and get a replacement.

2) Send the entire kit back and get a refund.

Basically what I expected.
 

Louis_TDI

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2008
Location
Gatineau QC
TDI
2003 Golf Gls 2014 Golf sportswagon
I was thinking of getting these this winter man i'm happy i din't get them yet thanks for talking the time to right the review. I had got a set of strongarms but they open to harshly so i'm back to oem now
 

darkscout

Grammar Scout
Joined
May 28, 2006
Location
Michigan
TDI
2003 Golf
That's a gnarly gash, Jed. :eek:
Yeah, I probably could have gotten stitches. I just used butterflies and super glue.

So he thread on the vortex has been deleted.



I guess we know how the wheels of the Vortex get greased. I was never aware that a review for a product meant you had to allow a company to try and fix it. Trying to fix it now won't heal my head. It won't fix the water leak in my car. It won't fix the scratches. Those events all happened and are all

Too bad I saved it to PDF first.


I'll restate what I've already had to state multiple times with people not understanding:

Short of a new hatch, a full refund and OEM struts I'm not interested in ECS 'helping' this problem. I was given 2 options.

I can see that a new kit is sent to you at no charge or refund you in full pending the return of the old one. Please let me know which route you with to take.
As you can see those aren't even close to compatible and let me explain for everyone why they aren't satisfactory.

1) Why would I voluntarily re-install this kit? So every 4-5 months I can wonder if the next time I open my hatch it's going to punch a hole in my tail light? Scrape up my car or put another dent in the hatch such that more water leaks in?

2) Why would I have kept the defective parts? It was broken. Useless. I'm not going to ship them back. They were worth their weight it scrap metal prices and that's where they went.


So if everyone could do me a favor and just put this link in a sig or PM me any where you see ECS selling this. Perhaps I can become the #1 google rank search for "ECS Rear Hatch Kit". Because anyone searching the VW Vortex won't see the review.
 

darkscout

Grammar Scout
Joined
May 28, 2006
Location
Michigan
TDI
2003 Golf
I'm pondering taking this to Vendor Disputes because of how insulting the offers are.

First offer was this:



To which my reply was:

1) Why would I want another defective kit that had the potential to damage my Golf even further.

2) I threw away the struts. Why in the hell would I keep those? Would anyone here have kept struts that kept exploding into your tail lights?

To which I got an even better offer.



For the low price of $110 I can have new OEM struts! (AutoHaus sells Boge for $22 each).

Ever wonder why they're so insistent on me returning ALL of the parts? It's so that they can sell them at a discount to someone else and really screw them over. I ran one person at the Vortex that had this exact same thing happen to them:

.

So far I am out:

- 2 struts.

- 1 water proof hatch.

- 1 scarless face.

I fail to see how anything that puts me out of MORE money into the pockets of ECS is good customer service. Should I take this to the Vendor thread?

And look me long and hard in the eye when you think about that answer (NSFW/NSFL).

And in talking to many people over PM. I'm not the only person that has had multiple problems with ECS. Everyone I've talked to says their stuff is pure Chinesium. It's just another Prothe.
Their 'Schwaben' line of tools sound German but are more Chinese than the takeout I got last night.

If we don't allow Prothe to advertise his parts here, why does ECS?
 
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lapse

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2003
Location
Toronto, ON.
TDI
2003 Jetta TDI, 2003 Golf TDI
Ever wonder why they're so insistent on me returning ALL of the parts? It's so that they can sell them at a discount to someone else and really screw them over. I ran one person at the Vortex that had this exact same thing happen to them:
I work for a company that produces consumer end goods. Typically we ask for failed product so that we can do a failure analysis.
 

darkscout

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Joined
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Location
Michigan
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2003 Golf
I work for a company that produces consumer end goods. Typically we ask for failed product so that we can do a failure analysis.
There are at least a half dozen of these failed in the field. Me providing one more set won't fix it. They know exactly what is wrong. Everyone knows exactly what is wrong and that is that they used OEM ball joints that aren't designed for the forces of lifting the hatch.
 

TDI_G

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2011
Location
Sugar Hill, Georgia
TDI
None Currently- 2008 BMW 335I
I personally would not have thrown the bad pieces away if I knew I would eventually want a refund. I know it sucks, but I would send them back what you have and take a loss and vow never to do business with them again. I dealt with them once and didn't have a pleasant experience either. Not as bad as your experience but I don't intend on doing business with them if I can avoid it.
 

darkscout

Grammar Scout
Joined
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Location
Michigan
TDI
2003 Golf
I personally would not have thrown the bad pieces away if I knew I would eventually want a refund.
You may have skipped over the fact that I was moving. My wife and I cut a lot of dead weight because it was either "Load it in a uhaul and drive it and then unload it" or recycle bin.

And I never planned on a refund. Because I knew what a refund would be. This just started off as my review thread. That's it. My trials and tribulations with this kit from a vendor.

Then ECS kept trying to appease me both here and on Vortex THEN Vortex mods deleted my thread when I said I wasn't interested in a refund just to show up in search so this didn't happen to anyone else (Makes you wonder how moderation decisions are made over there $$$).

Then ECS kept trying to shoehorn itself into a refund to the point that what they were offering was insulting through what I've been through.

- "Here, send us MORE money and parts of the kit back and we'll send you 2 OEM struts!"

Thanks but no thanks.

would upgrading to heim joints fix it?

Yuuuup. The only thing I'm not sure about is if they have the range of motion. However whatever is done it needs to be a captive joint. Like the ball joint. The ball joint isn't going anywhere unless the bolt holding it in magically comes loose AND falls out. And even then in 'extreme' scenarios you can always cotter pin that bolt.
 

hskrdu

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2003
Location
Maryland and New England
TDI
2003 Golf GLS 4D 5M, 2015 GSW SE 6M
First, sorry for your troubles and injuries to both the car and (more importantly), your forehead.

Next, the closing of your review thread by VW Vortex is unconscionable, although others have complained of similar actions on their behalf. I was one of hundreds scammed by Underground VW Parts in Florida, and Vortex first defended them, then looked the other way, and finally, very quietly, just distanced themselves.

Lastly, since you carefully documented your install, I would argue that ECS, in your case, need not require the return of all defective parts in order to issue a refund. Given the documented damage to your car as a direct result of their product, and the personal injury that followed (although not a direct result of their product), a good company trying to maintain good faith with its community would at least reimburse your for the cost of the product. On top of that, they were not so quiet in their using "revised" parts- which provides you tacit acknowledgment that they recognize the flawed design. If it were me, I'd send them a bill to have the car repaired back to good condition prior to the use of their product, and give them 2 options: (1) A full refund based on proof of purchase, documented install, and return of any bits and pieces you still have; or (2) A full refund and costs to cover all documented damage to your car.

On your part, though, you need to willing to let them "fix" the situation via a refund, otherwise you appear irreconcilable, whice leads others to claim you are only there to "bash" ECS and are not open to a solution.

Thanks for posting.
 

TDI_G

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2011
Location
Sugar Hill, Georgia
TDI
None Currently- 2008 BMW 335I
On your part, though, you need to willing to let them "fix" the situation via a refund, otherwise you appear irreconcilable, whice leads others to claim you are only there to "bash" ECS and are not open to a solution.

Thanks for posting.
That's the way I am feeling as well. Please don't think I was trying to bash you over throwing the bad struts away. I am getting the feeling that you are more concerned with warning people about ECS Tuning's poor reputation in an effort to steer us away from doing business with them in the future (It's working) than of getting your money back and getting your car/forehead fixed. We have plenty of great vendors already here that provide great customer service (Bora Parts, ID Parts, Metal Man, Dieselgeek, Etc. just to name a few of them).
 

darkscout

Grammar Scout
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Location
Michigan
TDI
2003 Golf
I am getting the feeling that you are more concerned with warning people about ECS Tuning's poor reputation in an effort to steer us away from doing business with them in the future
Yup. If I had a better CS experience the first time I pointed out a problem maybe I would have gone back to them before the internet. It's a front of a company shuffling cheap chinese crap marking it way up and shoving it out the door. They very much appeal to the Vortex market of people that care more about a blue tinted LED than a hatch not falling on their face.

I'm already out $200. It's been made more than clear through multiple e-mails that ECS has no intention of actually righting this short of me shelling out more money. I can either pay for my own OEM struts AND ship the parts back to them. Or they can send me more defective parts. It's $200. Would I have rather used that money to feed starving children of Africa and clothe the homeless? Sure. But I'm sure it's doing just fine in someones pocket at ECS.

It's not about the money. It was about the absolute insulting way to 'stand behind their product'.

If it were me, I'd send them a bill to have the car repaired back to good condition prior to the use of their product, and give them 2 options: (1) A full refund based on proof of purchase, documented install, and return of any bits and pieces you still have; or (2) A full refund and costs to cover all documented damage to your car.
I wish. I gave them those options. (1) is off the table because I tossed the struts and they really want them back.

(2) I said I wanted a new, OEM black hatch. I'll even live if it doesn't have the TDI badges on it. Basically over and over I've been given 2 options. Both of which I end up with a defective product or I'm out more money.

This latest offer came in yesterday. Hey we'll cut the prices of most things you need to probably still more than we pay for them! And it won't even fix your problem!



First off the gasket is fine. It's the massive DENT in the hatch that is causing the leak.

Keep in mind this is the 3rd or 4th offer and they keep backpedaling further and further to what I want. Maybe in another week or so of this being in the top 10 hits of Google for "ECS Rear Hatch Pop Kit" I'll actually get what I want. That's right. The way Google's search works is when say Rear Hatch Pop Kit or Volkswagen MKIV Rear Hatch Pop Kit. It goes "Hey these keywords are relevant to ECS Mk4 Rear Hatch Pop Kit for the Golf" and it starts to put them in the search results.

But this peeves me to no end. If you stand by your product that much why do I have to fight tooth and nail for something? And it's not just me. I feel bad for the girl I talked to on the Vortex that bought a used kit and got screwed on that. Her situation was the classic "As Seen on TV" marketing. "Sure we'll send you replacement struts for $17, oh did we forget to mention $15 in shipping?" That's another huge reason I don't want to send any parts back. If I send parts that just means another "used" kit gets on their shelf.



Does that sound like 'standing behind your product'? Even if it was used. With all the research and PM's I've done with respect to this I've figured out that it was most likely broken and returned for a refund.

I can eat the $200. I'm financially in a situation in my life where I'm not going to miss rent. I don't know what I'd do if I was a student and spent say some Christmas money or something on the hatch kit.

Don't get me wrong, when it works it's awesome. Arms full of groceries and it's pouring down rain? Pop the trunk when you get close and it works. For any parent with a Mk4 Golf or Wagon I can see where $200 would actually be worth the upgrade (and it'd be more than just a 'bling' upgrade, it'd be functional). It just has a few major, documented, design flaws.

I would hate to put someone in the 'used kit' situation that can't afford it. Especially when I know how ECS stands behind their product.

Finally, every year at TDI Fest vendors will donate stuff to be actioned. It's what pays for this site. Notice all the banner ads? Notice all the intrusive ads between each post (like some forums do)? That' all funds raised at Fest or other means. And when compared to other vendors I heard ECS always donates tens of dollars of merchandise to be auctioned off.
 

hskrdu

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2003
Location
Maryland and New England
TDI
2003 Golf GLS 4D 5M, 2015 GSW SE 6M
I hope you took my post in the supportive manner it was intended. I agree with your sentiment, and I think there's nothing wrong with warning other members about a vendor, regardless of the nature of that warning, be it product, service, cost, or standing behind their product. TDIClub members are smart enough to heed your warning as they see fit- which is not my experience with VW Vortex. On the Vortex, as long as a vocal group or those are getting what they want (be it members or hosts), they will turn a blind eye to abuses of the community, and for many of us, that's what sets Fred's apart.

In terms of your goals, I understand you primary aim is to publicize the issue, and let others know what happened and how you were treated as a customer. I would suggest not to dismiss the financial aspect, even if $200 (and the cost of repairs to the Golf) isn't significant to you. Getting your money back sets a precedent for others, many of whom can't ignore $200 plus repairs, but more importantly, the cash refund (even small) is what gets noticed in the marketplace, by both vendor and community.

If they ignored my documentation of the issue and damage to my car, they'd get an itemized bill from a lawyer. It sucks to take that step, but if your goal is to show how little they support their product and make good for the customer, there is no better way to demonstrate it than reveal what steps make ECS respond properly to your complaints.
 

darkscout

Grammar Scout
Joined
May 28, 2006
Location
Michigan
TDI
2003 Golf
After taking time off to heal and cool off, I'm thinking of sending this counter offer. Thoughs?

- Replacement OEM Struts. With a VW Part number and non Chinese country of Origin. (Not at a "discount". Free)
- Full refund. I'm not tearing into my trunk hatch again to dig out a $5 piece of chinese electronics so they can resell it to someone else and screw them.
- No lawsuit
- I'll deal with the hatch myself. Perhaps keep it as a 'scar' on the car to show at Fest as to why not to get anything from ECS.

If they refuse I'll raise the issue in the Vendor Issues thread putting their vendor status on TDIClub in jeopardy.

But chicks dig scars, right?

 
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