Office Chair Pneumatic Gas Lift Cylinder Repair

If you have an office chair that won’t stay up anymore you have a few options for a fix. You can replace it with a new cylinder  for around $20 or so, or if you always maintain your chair at the same height level (like I do), you can permanently fix your cylinder at next to no cost and relatively low DIY difficulty level.

Here is the material and tools list to get the job done in about 15 minutes:

  • 4″ long 1-1/2″ diameter PVC pipe – (look in your basement, garage, ask a friend, or get from a local hardware store for pennies)
  • A flat-head screwdriver
  • Either a hacksaw or a PVC pipe cutter

Step 1.

Remove the retaining clip by pushing it from the side with a screwdriver tip and slide out the chair base with wheels.



Step 2. Measure and cut the PVC pipe to a desired length with a hacksaw or a pipe cutter and slide it onto the cylinder.



Step 3. Put the smaller diameter plastic cylinder skirt (if included with your chair) in a reverse direction so that it covers up the PVC pipe. Slide the larger diameter plastic skirt in a normal direction to cover up the base of the cylinder.

0172241e6948b080528eda9ae835ccfc3157d29adfStep 4.  Slide the wheel base back onto the cylinder and fasten it with the retaining clip.


017a4d9b4d31ea920fe461400fd2c49939aa4f542bDone! Your office chair will no longer adjust in height, but you will have a working chair with fixed height, as a permanent, or as a temporary fix, until your new cylinder arrives.

60 thoughts on “Office Chair Pneumatic Gas Lift Cylinder Repair”

  1. Thank goodness to find someone who doesn’t have a ‘throw it out’ mentality – a bit of common sense.
    Just because things are cheap doesn’t mean we should throw them out. The planet gives, but so often we treat her with disrespect and lack of gratitude.
    I was actually wondering if it was just a seal that had gone, but once I have the chair at the right height there is no reason for me to change it. So thank you for this very sensible idea. I will give it a go. My chair is in perfect condition apart from taking me down a peg whenever it feels like it.

    1. I agree with you Liz. I think most of us can afford a new cylinder but I rarely ever set my chair at a different height, so I am okay with this set-up. One instance you might need the new cylinder when in a household multiple people of different heights might be using the chair. For a single person yeah, you could set the desired height semi-permanently.

    2. Oh please…enough of this Mother Earth whining.

      We use the raw resources to make the things that keeps you fed, housed, clothed, and safe. If Mother Nature had her way, we would be another extinct species.

      Why is it those with little to no real-world life experiences or science background always interject the EPA-slogan of saving the Earth?

      bad news to all as Mother Earth and the cosmos goes through another cycle we have not lived here long enough to remember, we again will be challenged to survive and worrying about the planet is for fools – it will outlive us all whether she challenges us and we fail, or we do ourselves in with wars as good refuses to end evils reign on the planet.

      Try to get away from the buffoons and charlatans at work with some repairs to be done, and again they are everywhere like cockroaches with this Mother Earth nonsense while probably forgetting God altogether like some pagans of the past.

      1. Well, as far as I can see the only whining came from you buddy. You can choose to live the way you want, and your children will be happy there were people who cared about the environment even if you weren’t one of them.

  2. Thank you! This was a great fix and I now no longer need to run out and get a chair. I hope this will allow a few more months / years with this chair.

  3. Super easy fix! I was about to drill a hole through the cylinder and insert a pin at the right height… Yep, your fix is much easier 🙂

  4. joey you are a bit of a sad mixed up dude. Hope it all comes right for you some time. I guess you are trolling another forum to put forth your rubbish. Did you fix your chair or buy a new all leather one ??
    I was able to fix mine thanks.

  5. Hi David, This looks to be a Really great idea for fixing my office chair. Another question though, What can I attach to the back seat or my back to make it a high back? I am 6’1″ tall and the top of the back of my seat only comes to the height of my shoulders. Thanks so much. Harold.

  6. My chair problem is that the rubber tube ring that encases the steel cylinder keeps rising and then exits the surrounding tube base so that there is nothing to keep the chair from wobbling because the steel rod is within a wide tube with no protection. Chair goes up and down fine. Obviously if I raise the chair too high, the rubber tube pops out, but I can twist it down back into the tube, but eventually it works its way up and out again. Help?

  7. This worked great! My only issue was that I broke the clip and somehow the thin part that came out of the silver cylinder went into the cylinder and won’t come out. I was able to put the wheels back on and put duct tape over the bottom hole so no grease would come out. Hopefully that will do the trick!

  8. This looks very cool! I have a question: I am 6’1″ tall and really need and extra 2-3 inches in seat height. I have a Steelcase Drive Task Chair that is 20.5 inches in seat height. Instead of your 4 inch PVC length, do you think I could use a 6-7 inch PVC length?
    Many thanks! ~ Steve in Gainesville, FL

    1. While I am by no means a chair expert and I am not familiar Steelcase Drive Task chair, you can always give it a try and see if it works. It’s cheap[ enough (or free) fix to try.

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  11. I have already drilled 2 holes and then found it was’nt a good idea. I stumbled on this and wow, my chair is now good for years to come. Just goes to show “when in doubt, consult the manual (Google)”

  12. Thanks, OP; I will be doing this tomorrow. I however will measure first as extended as possible, then just have it cut at the Casa De Despots. Thanks.

    As for the Eco-warriors out there, I think George Carlin said it best:
    “The planet isn’t going anywhere. We are! We’re goin’ away. Pack your s#it, Folks, we’re goin’ away. We won’t leave much of a trace either, thank god for that. Maybe a little styrofoam, maybe, little styrofoam. Planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake, an evolutionary cul de sac. The planet will shake us off like a bad case of fleas…”

    1. You are welcome. As far as your “Eco-warrior” comments, besides using that term for people who care about our environment, being a bit passive aggressive, the problem with the kind of thinking you show, are the people who take scientific opinion from a non scientist (case-in-point George Carlin). Sure, we may not be around in a hew million years (or sooner), but what “Eco-warriors” want is that we don’t shit all over this planet, so that our children and grandchildren may enjoy a quality life, as well as the the many animal species we enjoy being around of. So feel free to express your opinion, but don’t expect me not to say “asshole!” when I see a guy in a Rolling Coal tossing out his McDonald’s bag on the side of the road.

      1. The Earth, as we know it, will be completely melted down within about 500 years. The magnetic poles are on the verge of flipping (why do you think compasses fail in certain areas, like the Bermuda Triangle?). Nevertheless, why waste anything to the landfill, to keep the junk manufacturers in business? A disposable paradigm, with its planned obsolescence, denotes absolutely no pride in workmanship, rather, a demonstrable lust for the almighty dollar. I feel sorry for our descendants, with their throw-away mentality, when the SHTF. We should be setting an example. We can go green, or turn yellow. It’s our choice.

  13. If you only need to bump up the height an inch or so, you can always unscrew the seat cushion from the cylinder stem plate and slip a piece of plywood (with holes drilled to match the plate) in between to act as a spacer, and re-attach seat with longer machine screws.

  14. Hi David,
    Thank you for the quick and easy solution. Lifts were always a problem in my home office chair where I was spending over 14 hours almost each day. Even after many replacement lifts, my chair would still go down.
    Our approach provided a permanent solution especially that I am always using my chair in the highest position.
    Really appreciated.

  15. Woo Hooo.. I have two office chairs, one old and one new, and the new one just started sinking too.
    I’m fixing BOTH tomorrow. Awesome simple fix. Thanks.

  16. I’ve been eyeing this blog (& other YouTube videos) for a few weeks now, but before I took the leap I found a website for a place nearby that repairs and sells repaired office chairs. I called to verify, they said yes, then drove 30 minutes to their warehouse. Wheeled the chair in, the guy took one look and said ‘I won’t fix that chair’. He went on to say that Steelcase chairs are really a hassle to replace the cylinder (but I could buy a replacement chair from him). So today I bought the PVC pipe and in about 30 minutes, start-to-finish, I fixed my chair!! I’m a 59-year-old female, not handy with tools, but I did it! Thank you so much for your help! (Now my boss just needs to reimburse me for the pipe instead of paying for a whole new chair.)

    1. Sure, your method will probably also work. however the way I did it allows for the cylinder skirt to fully cover the PVC pipe.
      In addition, I already had a piece of a PVC pipe laying around and did not have to buy anything. Even if I were to buy one, it would cost me $3.65:|0&pl=1&Ntt=pvc+pipe to buy a pipe that would fix my chair and have a left over for 5 more. This versus $5.80 (4 x 1.45) you would have to pay for the Split Ring Hangers you are proposing.

      As far as the assembly, with PVC pipe method you pretty much take off the chair base, slip on the pipe, and put the chair back into base – not much disassembly. Sawing of a PVC pipe took me under a minute with a hacksaw. Whereas with your method, you would need to tighten 8 screws on four Split Rings (one PVC piece vs, 4 rings also better for stability). Not a huge deal either way, whatever works for you the idea is the same, to bypass the cylinder.

  17. Thanks a bunch man. I was thinking about how to hack this chair for months, but my ideas weren’t this simple. I actually already had some ABS pipe that was exactly the right diameter for this!

  18. Thanks for this info. Took me only 5 minutes to remedy my “sinking seat” problem. Only cost me $2.49 for a two foot piece of black PVC from which they cut a 4 inch piece for me.

  19. Thank you for this fix, I run a community Facebook page where we tackle all sorts of issues such as littering and fly tipping, I often see abandoned office chairs so have shared your fix for our residents to use should they have the same problem.
    We throw away so much these days when we could so easily make do and mend, the pipe cost me nothing as a friend gave me a piece, it was easy to cut the pipe and job done under 5 minutes.

  20. So happy for this easy solution to a nagging problem. My sinking chair was driving me CRAZY! It’s the simple things that bring me joy. Today you have brought me joy! Thank you!

  21. I wonder if it’s this chair. I have exact same one as pictured and it too no longer stays up. I was going to use a rope wrapped extremely tight around the pole but this is a far better solution. Dang genius. Why didn’t i think of it?

  22. Hi, I’m just a little confused about the length of the PVC you suggest. First you said to get one 4″ long, but then you say, “Measure and cut the PVC pipe to a desired length”… So, what’s the “desired length” if not 4″? And is one piece 4″ long all we need? Thanks in clearing this up for me…

    1. Hey Steven,

      It is quite simple really. The 4″ pipe is the raw material you need and is likely the longest you can physically insert around the cylinder (depending on your chair make/model). So from that starting point, you can cut it to your desired length. I would put a maximum length and see if you are comfortable, if not then estimate how much you need to take off and cut down to that size. Your’s may end-up 3-3.5 inch – whatever suits you best. Thanks for asking.

  23. Great fix! I tried a 4.5″ PVC based on measuring, and it was a TIGHT fit. All came back together, but if I were doing it over, I’d take your advice and use the 4″ piece. Wonderful to fix this aggravating problem on the cheap!!

  24. You are a blessing!
    I had a 1 1/4 in piece of PVC in our garage (for irrigation repair) and it worked perfect on my husband’s leather office chair. He is disabled and when the chair slides down, instead of standing up and correcting it he would just “hunch” over. I felt compelled to get this done any way necessary but you saved us money and time.
    Thank you for your great idea.

  25. Followed your instructions and got the perfect results. Simple, inexpensive (NZ$2.00) and 15 minutes. How can it get better than that?


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