I decided to get the gas shock from the local autozone. I just picked it up and took the old one out. Unfortunately the ends are a bit different so I have taken a few pictures to show you the difference. I don't think I want to use this new one as the holes seem larger and that means this thing is going to rock back and forth on both ends and since the rubber end pieces are smaller, they will end up ripping apart. One of them is a bit ripped already but can still be reused.
Here's the part autozone has for the 80 rabbit.
Here's the difference with the original on the bottom.
The actual part number from autozone. It's the 95065.
The top side.
The back of it. It also looks welded a bit crooked.
The other end of the autozone part.
The part number on this blue label.
The thickness differences and the original rubber pieces.
The other side thickness.
Here are the hole differences. The original is the bottom which is what the pin size is. The USA version on the top has the larger hole. This is going to rock up and down and rip the rubber pieces if I even try to install it.
The holes on the other end.
The original rubber pieces don't quite fit this as it's thinner and wider. The autozone part does not come with any end caps.
Here's where I tried to install it on the other side to check fitment.
The one with the small rip actually fits better.
And just for completeness and fun, here's a ballpark of their width. This one is the original. The original holes are about 8.2mm. I say about because I still have some dirt in there.
Here's the autozone part. In short, I ended up returning this one back. It just didn't fit correctly.
September 15, 2014
Today I got the FCP euro gas shock for the rabbit and although it was a tiny bit shorter, it worked fine and I can't tell the difference other than my hatch is super strong opening and staying. I even have to be careful not to let it open too fast or it could really hit me from under my chin. Here's what this one looks like. This is where I bought it and it was 12.95 plus shipping to california.
It came in a box and it was bagged like this.
Here's the tag that came attached to this one. I did get the one they had for the same number as my original. Then when I looked for my vehicle there, it said this would not fit.
So far it was just a tiny bit shorter but everything else looked fine.
The end holes where similar...
On both sides.
Thickness was also good. Slightly thinner than original, but good.
My rubber end caps fit just fine, I just wished these were included.
The other side which was also reused.
In short, thanks to Briano from the vwoc for the link where to get it. Now my hatch works as it should and I don't have to use my body to hold that heavy door. This looks good and strong. I now have to be careful not to let it open up too fast since it's strong enough because it could actually hit me and that would hurt. In short now I have to hold the door opening it or closing it as this strut seems pretty strong.
So to recap, the removal and installation is pretty easy to do. You will just need a pair of pliers, and when taking these off, start with the top (door side), then the one on the body. I did it the other way around and I was having a hard time removing the pin. Taking off the door side first also allows you to push the door up to loosen it up, making for a quick removal. Well I hope this is helpful for anyone else needing to fix this. Now I just have to see how long it lasts.
On a side note I noticed they raise the price like a buck...it sucks when sites do that because you actually buy a part. Go figure.