Seems like nobody has ever done this before! I may swing by a junkyard and see if they have a SportCombi to look at so I know what I am getting into. Removing the headliner looks to be NO FUN, and I have no other reason to do it.. but the tailgate smacking my wife on the head is not the path to a happy life, so, you know.
I FINALLY am getting around to doing this. I cannot believe it's been seven months! Thank Dog the last three months the car hasn't moved (#lockdown) so I don't feel quite so lazy.
It was not as bad as I expected. Here's what I did for my 2008:
1. Remove cargo area lights (pry out) & disconnect electrical
2. Remove post for cargo cover near rear seat (T30 bit)
3. Remove trim rivet below seat back post (push in center gently, then withdraw)
4. Remove c-pillar trim (pry out SRS cover, remove 10mm hex bolt)
5. Remove two trim rivets (push in center gently, then withdraw) and trim screw (philips) revealed by c-pillar trim removal
6. Lift top of rear seat side bolster up and shift forward
7. Remove tailgate sill trim rivets (push in center gently, then withdraw) under main floor
8. Remove tailgate sill trim
9. Remove rear cargo hooks (pry out center trim, remove T40 screw)
10. Fold rear seat forward, remove trim around seat back post (pry GENTLY)
11. Remove left and right trim - the entire thing floor to window is one giant piece on each side. HIGHLY recommend using a trim pry tool to remove plastic rivets individually - there are three clustered around the cargo light area, accessible through the cargo light hole, or via the "slot" for the cargo cover.
12. Remove roof anchor points (pry out plastic covers, pry out plastic rivets, withdraw housing)
13. Remove rear seat grab handles (pull end caps straight out, then pull handle itself straight out)
14. Remove four anchors from headliner (twist GENTLY 90 degrees, pull straight out)
At this point you can squeeze your hands between headliner and roof to access the two hydraulic struts. A pick works great to pop out the retaining rings and remove the struts. Obviously have someone holding the tailgate up.
The whole operation took maybe 30 minutes as I had to do a lot of discovery. Real work time was maybe 15-20 minutes. New parts arrive today and I don't anticipate problems putting it back together.
While I was at this I decided to fix a rattle on the tailgate trim, so I ordered the following parts:
C Pillar Trim Clip
Insulation Retainer Clip
Interior Trim Clip
Ground Shipping to Customer
Sales Tax (7.7500%):
This is ALL the trim rivets for everything I took apart to get the struts out, the struts themselves, and the rivets for the tailgate. Not sure which is which, but it's a bunch of part numbers so you can figure it out yourself. The only actual broken part I had was 1x 12769637, which is for the tailgate trim. But I'm replacing everything because I don't want to do this again til 2032.
I have done this about month ago.
You need to remove LEFT side trim panel. No need to remove right side.
You will need flat head screwdriver to pry out C-rings on both ends.
Do not pry out C-rings of new struts, just push (hard) and they will lock in place.
I used a big paper ball to prevent ceiling from folding.
YOU NEED ANOTHER PAIR OF HANDS to lift tailgate when you remove old and install new struts. At least I am too weak to lift tailgate with one hand and change struts with other.
I got the replacement parts on Wednesday and put it all back together yesterday without issue. I could not hold the tailgate up to remove the struts by myself, but reinstalling the new ones I could do solo. Reassembly took ten minutes tops. TBH, I was really surprised how easy this project was, and how well all the plastic in the car has held up. I cannot say the same about my V70 wagon when it was 12 years old!
I mentioned I was able curing a rattle in the hatch trim, so all of that was off during this process. One thing I did when putting it and the side panels back together was to use fuzzy Tesa tape wherever plastic met plastic or metal to help prevent rattles. Hopefully that does the job. So much of this car snaps together I think rattles are inevitable, but hopefully this reduces them.