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Ken,
They are called gas springs, and quite cheap if not stainless. Stainless ones are available too. See McMaster-Carr. The ratings are for initial force required to collapse the spring. The force increases only about 10% when collapsed fully. They should always be mounted rod end down. This keeps the internal oil lubricating the exterior seal, which is the one that always fails first. Hope this helps.

Gary H. Lucas
 
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