The weather has been warming up here so the boat has become more of a priority in my mind. I finally got just about all of the hardware needed to complete this.
I put the struts on today. I used a pair of 60 lb ones from maxumhardware.com (MH-GS20-6NN-60):
I got the all plastic end fittings for them because they come with the metal clip style that I've seen rust pretty badly (MH-BNEF-CM- R10-6A):
I also got the ball stud and ball stud bracket for the port side to replicate the factory configuration on the starboard side (MH-BS-10B and MH-MLBKT-D):
Those small parts had a minimum quantity of 4 each. Unfortunately I only needed one of each of the ball stud and bracket. So, if someone else is interested in this modification I have 3 additional sets of this hardware that I could mail you if you pay shipping.
Total from MaxumHardware was $57.36
I got some miscellaneous sheet metal screws, washers and a nut for the port side ball stud from the hardware store for another $6.
I ordered the "keeper" and the latch catch bracket from MasterCraft through my local dealer over the phone for $15.36 shipped to my house.
I then ordered the latch from eBay from a seller called GreatLakesSkipper. It was a "SOUTHCO MT-99-6 SUNDECK BOAT HATCH LATCH w/ PULL CORD" for $23.95. This could be had from MasterCraft for something like $35 and would probably be easier just to order with the keeper. I was a little in the dark about what was what at the time though and my dealer was unsure too so I delayed the latch order until after I was sure I had the keeper part figured out.
Now onto the install: The sundeck appears to be made out of some kind of aluminum honeycomb with aluminum sheet metal on top and bottom. All of the factory hardware is attached with machine screws and there are corresponding T-nuts (or something similar) on the top side of the deck (But under the foam and upholstery). This is probably the ideal way to fasten to this deck but the only way to replicate that would be to remove the upholstery, install the nuts (possibly even having to weld them in place) then reupholster. That didn't seem like a good option so I just used 1.5" stainless sheet metal screws. Be careful when predrilling not to go al the way through the foam and vinyl. My drill punched through the sheet metal so easily that I had to be really careful. Use a short bit if you have one.
I may go back (Now that the sheet metal screws have done their "work"), remove each screw, and knock the point off with a grinder then reinstall. Not sure how much penetration I got but I would hate for someone to kneel right on that spot on top of the deck and poke a hole in the vinyl.
You will have to drill a hole for the lower ballstud too on the port side. I just got done installing a tower so I was very familiar with drilling through the gelcoat. Drill a pilot hole first with the drill in reverse and "burn" through the gelcoat. Once through the gelcoat you can put it in forward but go slow because it will penetrate pretty fast. Then repeat the same process with a larger bit.
The 60# struts seem about perfect for this application. They hold it up firmly but don't take much effort to pull it down. To lift it I pull it up to about 1.5 ft open and then let it go. The struts take care of the rest. To lower I pull it down with about 5 lbs of force and when I get to that same 1.5 ft. mark I can let it go and the struts will allow it to close.
My hinges had taken a beating over the years and were a little out of whack. When combined with the new forward force applied by the struts in the down position this made the deck bind against the rear seat. I had to remove one of the hinges and beat it back into shape. Once I did this it's working perfectly.
Onto the latch: Well, sometime between when the latch catch and keeper arrived from MasterCraft and now I lost the latch catch. The latch from GreatLakesSkipper/eBay came with a similar latch catch but it's much lower profile and needs to be about 1 7/8" taller. I don't want to spend $10 for a little bent piece of metal by the time I pay shipping and what not from MasterCraft so I will probably just try to find a suitable piece of aluminum or SS at work and make a suitable catch.
So, total bill will be about $102 which is probably in the ballpark of what it would have cost me to have the motor rebuilt on the actuator but now I don't have to worry about it failing or stuck closed with a dead battery anymore. It's also way easier to access the port side of the engine because I don't have to remove the stupid actuator to flip the partition down. When I get larger ballast bags back there I won't have to worry about abrasion from the actuator either.
The first pic shows the new struts holding up the deck. The second pic is a closeup of the new bracket installed on the starboard side. The third one shows the Southco latch and the "keeper" from MasterCraft.