Bilstein 5100's on 2wd Z71

Discussion in 'Lifted & Offroad Suspension' started by mah2496, May 5, 2012.

  1. mah2496

    mah2496 Member

    I just bought some Bilstein 5100 leveling shocks for my NBS 2wd Z71. After 6.5 hours trying to install, we threw in the towel. I took my truck to NTB, but they claim they were unable to install the shocks on any settings above the lowest/OEM ride height. Whats the secret to installing these to get a leveled look? I'm very irritated that NTB wasnt able to do what I asked. I'm considering visiting another NTB to get a second opinion, and possibly a discounted rate to change the setting if they believe it's feasible. Any feedback would be appreciated.

    Attached Files:

  2. moogvo

    moogvo Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Shocks are not intended to be used to lift or lower your truck. That is done with springs and altered suspension components. Adjustable shocks can simply be used to match your lift to give the suspension full travel without bottoming them out or breaking them apart from them being too short.
  3. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    Quoted for truth. The only exception of which I am currently aware are the King coilover replacements. I believe [MENTION=40941]aloxdaddy99[/MENTION] has them and they provide him a modest 2" of lift or thereabouts. They're also exceptionally spendy ... like 2k or something crazy.
  4. mah2496

    mah2496 Member

    These 5100's actually are intended to lift your front end up to 1.75". Many others are using them in lieu of adding spacers such as the Rough Country 2" spacers.
  5. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    Per my signature, below, I'm running 5100's on my truck and they are NOT what provides the lift; they're adustable to account for the travel necessary for different lift heights.

  6. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Ok this is just random thinking here and since I havent torn into the front suspension on my new truck so I might be missing something, my experience with this type shock mostly comes from about 15 years building suspension systems with using this type shock on first gen Toyota Tacoma 4x4's and Pre Runners so here goes:

    As Tom said the shocks dont per say provide lift, they provide suspension control and their required length is dictated by suspension travel, normally, the springs do all the lifting, but these particular shocks are very similar to a coil over design although they are not considered a coil over.
    How the lift is provided with these shocks is by the bottom spring retainer plate being mounted higher on the shock body, and normally the shock body will be slightly longer, since they're similiar in style to a coil over this provides lift being the bottom spring retainer plate rests around the shock body, ie mounted higher on the shock which is a part of the spring support that provides the lift.
    Look at his provided pictures and you'll see what I mean.
    So with this knowledge and experience I'm not understanding why you cant get the new shock/spring package into place.
    These particular style shocks preload the spring when mounted to the shock, and no matter what anyone says I've yet to see one that doesnt make the suspension ride stiffer unless you change spring rates.
    So how is your shock/spring not fitting, is it a matter of the upper balljoint not being able to be connected?
    Many times when using the longer package you need to use new modified Upper Ball joints and or modified upper control arms, there simply isnt enough articulation in the suspension to connect things up with the new longer shock/spring package.
    Also many times the spring needs to be bounced off the ground rather briskly after being mounted to the shock then re tightened to help it settle properly onto the retaining plates.
    Also prior to putting everything together did you compare the old shocks side by side to the new ones and ensure they were the correct part number, just because some guy that works in the parts store handed them to you it doesnt mean the parts in the box are correct or he even got the right part number off the shelf.
    Also when comparing the parts due to design mechanics a part designed to lift 2" may only have a 1" difference when compared to the original part, this doesnt mean it's wrong, it's just different.
  7. mah2496

    mah2496 Member

    Maybe I'm crazy but everything I researched led me to believe the "ride height adjustable" 5100 series shocks (there are standard version and ride height adjustable version) had different settings that can raise the front end. Check out the product at

    Furthermore, there are others with similar truck as mine who did use only the "RHA" 5100 series shocks to lift their rigs. For instance check out these posts

    What am I misunderstanding here?
  8. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    Maybe it's different on NNBS trucks? :neutral:
  9. aloxdaddy99

    aloxdaddy99 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I do in fact have the King Shock OE performance shocks on my truck. They dis raise the front of the truck about 2". It was a simple install. It was three bolts on the top of the shock/coil assembly, and two bolts on the bottom attaching the assembly to the lower control arm. After looking at the instructions from the link provided your swap is a little more involved. It is not hard just a bit more involved. Since you are reusing your stock springs a spring compressor is needed. You can either do it yourself or take it to an off road shop and they can switch the springs from your old shocks to the new. I bought a ring compressor set from AutoZone and have used them many times for various cars and trucks. The easiest way I found to do it was to jack up the truck and compress the springs using the vehicles weight. Attach the spring compressor to the spring than tighten the compressor till the spring is off the perch. Some trucks have a spring retainer (a small piece of metal with a bolt on either side to keep the spring from turning). Then pull the assembly out from under the truck. Pull the spring off the shock and install the spring on the new shock. And than install the assembly back on the truck.
    If I can help anymore let me know. If you live around the triangle area of NC I would be more than happy to give you a hand.
    Ok I just looked at your pics again. It looks like you need to compress your springs and move the clip higher up on the body of the shock.
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
  10. mah2496

    mah2496 Member

    I had to rent two pair of spring compressors from Autozone to compress a coilspring far enough to get the new shock into the coilspring assembly. There wasnt enough room to leave the compressors on while I put the assembly back onto the truck. The bottom of the new shock was below the lower a-arm; I was able to the the new shock onto the lower a-arm. NTB said they fought like hell to get the new shock onto the lower a-arm with the factory height/no lift setting.

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