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Drewmox's Bilstein 5100 Install

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by drewmox, Jun 23, 2020.

  1. Jun 23, 2020 at 11:52 PM
    #1
    drewmox

    drewmox [OP] Member

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    The first major mod I’ve done on my old 1995 4x4 was to install a full set of Bilstein 5100 shocks. Thanks to my awesome friends I was given a full set for my Birthday and finally got around to installing them this past weekend.


    The tools needed for this job are as follows: 19mm socket, 22mm socket, a breaker bar, ⅜ drive ratchet (or whatever socket size you choose), 14mm box end wrench, a floor jack with jack stands, and of course a spring compressor and impact driver if you are using your OEM / currently installed front springs. If you have a buddy willing to help I recommend purchasing some beer and pizza then waving it around until they show up, especially if your truck is old and slightly rusty like mine is.

    YvDBVbI9u9YjDFJ0Gan9O1uXrw2EI5lPEChaQ3_p_73fa083e90aca3dbbabde1ab3863d355ce79b448.jpg

    We started on the rear by jacking up the truck with the floor jack. It was easiest to align the jack with the rear differential to lift the truck and then setting a jack stand on both sides of the truck under the frame. BTBfAUtR6hJt3VOjOAs52Hn0LhpApy-YqrY2nAKH_8ff612ee8ca98a6473a9cd6a22f2e2fe2d13b41d.jpg


    We then lowered the axle back down to relieve pressure from the suspension. It’s pretty simple to remove each rear shock as only two bolts are used to mount them to the truck.


    4Q8rLETYwqcBZzA5Y5ODBM7P0KvawlURUJoBrZGd_52037ff2b8996ed441132f6d1e16908d23f05851.jpg


    Well…. Assuming it comes off without much force, otherwise you’re gonna have to shake the hell out of it.

    Eiw1nfPCZI_lRbZfqubXBFgw2lBT2hp1xSXFg9h9_39f2a80d1e8ceef59ffc0e2d7650fcb3696633dd.jpg

    Once you remove the old shock make sure that both of the old bushings come off with it and then set them aside. Luckily this kit included new bushings but others might not.


    aBj8ju23JqwSZX-oTsD24IweKJ8hstKr_ot5L3rD_e6a486060fd7d05f0a63339dcd57e251a95d18ce.jpg

    Here’s a glory shot of the old tired suspension vs my new shiny Bilsteins, I’m not sure if these were OEM shocks or not but they were definitely not doing much dampening.

    SX9kcDp977GXBU6-RayMW8L70GAn6qQU5fMF4ODL_ae84deb4b28d1975cc4e532007ea7ba11b8ee09b.jpg

    The next step is to place the new shock in place of the old one. Make sure you install them correctly, Bilsteins' instructions mention that you should be able to read their logo correctly while the shock is installed (Bilstein logo needs to be upright.)


    ZnS1H8pbd5ZyvV12BcDBzFAavWSzRBpeR_iIcMQs_a6372e9690f816c0d0bfea78bb7d5f74b41a15d7.jpg


    Also make sure that you have the new bushing installed on both sides of the eyelets. It is sometimes easier to push a bushing onto the mounts first on both the top and bottom, then place the shock in place, then add the final bushing. You might need to compress the shock a bit to get it into place, this all depends on how high you lifted the truck onto the jack stands.


    ezDOH3TnoVYHVgWtzc0hlBjI5cP7mkreC3AnmGVh_78e8a41edc573fa921f625875f2f059f6c6f69c1.jpg


    Next for good measure I added some non permanent thread locker to keep everything in place. I believe this was Permatex brand but Loctite is good as well. A little bit goes a long way here.


    rZJXcwRCsqgYKfbn5v-0Mz6NRQmgX40Cz4qjkeVM_f5cf1c74a7fd11d3e9f35f9ee5dadd338c359b5e.jpg

    Looks pretty good once installed, and definitely exciting getting the first of four onto the truck. I definitely have a lot of rust cleanup work to do in the future.


    1Pn-4qk3-7_5wO651K8XjEB7TfR4OGpqg0UF06K5_557a861bc348cbe68363f2878b81bedc33ad2e48.jpg


    Onto the next side then! The passenger side is slightly different as the shock is mounted on the front side of the axle instead of the rear so you will need to reach around a bit more. At least the process is the same though, two bolts and 4 bushings.

    ixWswA9N6MBvzh0ZsG4DDgUVRBbOGxPbBnUQbIY2_ad44fa05960dfeee593ab5710d07a5ad97730ed8.jpg

    On this side I had to compress the shock a bit to get it to align correctly just like the driver side. If you’re wondering what that zip tied wire and strange plug on the differential is, it's a differential temperature sensor with an OLED screen that I’m developing to show several temperatures and use it as a clock in place of the factory one.

    WLBqIsyyKGwSnl5EYQNf1aqUKfLZ1zLakVotOpBO_47d892a2681d409b4d19dccb9a97dc734d6c4689.jpg


    Next onto the front shocks. First I loosened the lug nuts on the wheels as we will need to remove them in order to install the front suspension. I then lifted the truck via the center part of the frame and set it on two jack stands. You will want to make sure you lift it enough so the wheels are off the ground once lowered onto the jack stands.

    pwssOLZ3Gs7U_qqH_wFp8xCF3lAesUXJ3f92_2va_bf0a08f55bbb847dfcc39ada7a8ffd88adc7ea59.jpg


    Next pick a side and remove the wheel from the truck.


    tSI_NbzTVnShqTds7rSo55Rbc4oeJdELV93Liq0M_8ab987b8b2b1407448349f62c9d52880b9521076.jpg

    Taking the whole coilover assembly off is pretty simple, just unscrew the top three bolts and then the bottom one on the other end. I used a long nail to tap out the bottom bolt with a hammer.

    oAIY61_00toAUQxLRjw7ZaNpO2zlADkT8hDuIA4D_433c60b95b251dad55fccdfca2de225f033b94cb.jpg

    Depending on how stubborn the old suspension is it’s nice to bask in the glory of your effort so far. We’re getting close to ¾ of the way done with this job.

    sBnSglXkeLjzG80dd1TyNDsR33UryINnpOUTiuje_643169c75d6948e3d69d8c12aa70790cc96b7781.jpg


    Once I got the old coilover off it was time to remove the OEM springs and move them to their new German made home. This is when the spring compressor tools come into play. You will want to attach them on opposing sides of the spring and use your impact driver to cinch down the spring to contain it. Then you can remove the center nut on the end of the shaft and pull off the top spring perch. Make sure to take note of the order of assembly for the washers and bushings as you will need to install them in reverse order later.

    Unfortunately I don’t have photos of this step as I ran into trouble when installing the spring onto the new shock. Per Bilsteins instructions they state to use the OEM mounting components including the OEM bushings. The problem for me was that once they were installed into the proper order there were no threads showing out the end of the final washer. Bilsteins’ shock thread seemed to be about ½” to 1” shorter than the factory threads. Since I only had this one day to get the suspension back on and I was unable to source any replacement bushings locally I opted to carefully cut about a ½” off mine to give enough clearance to grab some threads with the new nuts. I definitely don’t recommend doing this and I will be purchasing a proper bushing for this kit very soon, but I definitely dread having to install these again.

    NVqV7W4xrKt8C09KW1zVFScXSFQclSdormXn2LCy_286a037b6c9cec4ef8c9ebbd6025dfeabf155511.jpg

    Grab your fully assembled coilover and install it back on the side you removed it from. It helps to thread the top three nuts on to hang the whole unit in place. You will want to use something to twist the shock in place to align the bottom mount with the bolt holes on the lower control arm.

    This is now the point where that alluring pizza and beer pays out in gold. Have your buddy handy to help wedge the lower part of the shock into place. We needed to use a pry bar to pull down on the upper control arm while at the same time I would press and pry the bottom of the shock. This will take some communication and considerable effort to do, but once you get everything lined up you will want to put the bolt back in from the back side (rear of truck) and tap it into place until the threads stick out the front. We found that we needed to also use one of the spring compressors to help get a little extra clearance on the bottom for alignment.

    gpcIjtid2dSk8iWN3q_ASuok1eBofnvS3P5V53jU_1f897948cf058e6914fe40ed2664bc49aca45090.jpg

    When you finally get the bolt into place tighten it down to spec; take a deep breath because you still have the other side to do. It helps to take a photo and send it to some friends so you get a few words of encouragement for the job ahead. If you’re lucky you might even get a or a

    lmxuqFiuR0yz7G0EI6XtmcS7e1qXqywRfltkoLZd_7b3ed2f71ba849d833aa2a08f7386da4af8a9b89.jpg

    One relieving fact is at least you know what to do on the other side. This generally means it should go much smoother than the last one.

    t310sI9LtLzWAp7hr0pjBNLvuRPZ2uqCvXhNtZ_L_45a0721eab1e7e22b3be3b97e0fe0b01284c9bec.jpg

    After all the suspension parts are fully installed it’s time to lower the truck and go for a test drive. I was able to find a few bad sections of road to go through and see how these new shocks compared to my original ones.

    -CS_kD8PKmtD78DIHfmM4D181k9dAkI3F3gx_YpM_b0d7061f98b37086c5c64236f703f78ca30c28c2.jpg

    In the end was it all worth it? Yes definitely. The shocks perform a lot better than my tired old original shocks but there are still lots of bushings and rusty parts that need replacing. One great thing about this upgrade for me is I no longer have to worry about bad sections on the freeway causing my truck to lurch into the next lane over. There is still a small sway/dive I suspect is from some other components but as of now there is a very noticeable improvement in handling. If you’ve got the means and the determination to do this install yourself I say give it a go, just know what you are getting into beforehand and plan to replace everything involved if possible.




     
    A Local, CS_AR, Thunder Fist and 3 others like this.
  2. Jun 24, 2020 at 12:05 AM
    #2
    joe25rs

    joe25rs Well-Known Member

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    Appreciate the step by step instructions with pictures. I saved this for future reference. Thanks @drewmox
     
  3. Jun 24, 2020 at 12:06 AM
    #3
    Kwikvette

    Kwikvette LOLWUT

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    @drewmox

    I am sure plenty of people will find this very helpful so good job bud.

    I will add that by adding loctite, you want to be mindful that the torque rating should be adjusted (lessened) as the factory specifies a "dry" torque rating. I've never seen anyone add loctite to shock bolts, but when adding loctite where it isn't normally used, adjust your torque applied.
     
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  4. Jun 24, 2020 at 12:09 AM
    #4
    Kwikvette

    Kwikvette LOLWUT

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    One more thing to add, Bilstein 5100 shocks for our trucks are designed with a lift in mind; due to their longer length both expanded and collapsed, they have the ability to get damaged when used with the factory leaf pack and bump stops.

    If you don't wheel hard then you most likely will never encounter this issue.
     
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  5. Jun 24, 2020 at 7:08 AM
    #5
    drewmox

    drewmox [OP] Member

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    Good info, I'll make sure to back off the torque a little bit then.

    Hmmm, I may need to add the spacers from the kit to my bump stops then. I think it only came with some for the front though.
     
  6. Jun 24, 2020 at 8:41 AM
    #6
    Xtremsiege2

    Xtremsiege2 Well-Known Member

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    Nice write up, did this back in March using the bilstein yellows. Rears are simple, front not difficult but i ended up having to use the factory jack to push the control arm down(for anyone without spring compressors or a friend to assist).
     
  7. Jun 24, 2020 at 8:57 AM
    #7
    jbrandt

    jbrandt Well-Known Member

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    Next time just loosen the cam adjuster bolts on your lower control arms, and maybe the bolt for the upper control arms. The coilover will slide right into place. No excessive force needed. And no need to use the spring compressor while the shock is partially installed. I would avoid doing that ever again... It's not necessary, and probably a little dangerous, too.

    As long as you don't over loosen the cam adjusters, you shouldn't need to worry about the alignment cams moving on you and screwing up your alignment.

    Then set the truck back down on its wheels and re-tighten those cam adjusters. You want the bushings to be "set" at ride height. If you tighten the bolts with the truck on jack stands, the rubber bushings will only be "relaxed" at full extension (they twist with the suspension movement).
     
    drewmox [OP] likes this.
  8. Jun 24, 2020 at 9:15 AM
    #8
    Taco critter

    Taco critter Mall crawler proud , patw and ,ttc#0247

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  9. Jun 24, 2020 at 10:46 AM
    #9
    Morden

    Morden Member

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    I have a 2002 TRD dbl-cab and am on the hunt for aftermarket shocks (probably Bilstein as well). Do the TRD's use slightly longer shocks, since they sit a little higher than the standard models?
     
  10. Jun 24, 2020 at 10:59 AM
    #10
    jbrandt

    jbrandt Well-Known Member

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    If you're referring to the 2wd 5 lug models as the "standard" versions, they are entirely different trucks. So yes, their shocks are totally different.

    There is no difference, however, between the TRD models and other 4wd models. This also includes the 6 lug Preruners which are identical to the 4wd models, just with deleted front drivetrain (axles, differential and transfercase).

    5 lug vs. 6 lug refers to the number of lug nuts on the wheels.
     
  11. Jun 24, 2020 at 11:01 AM
    #11
    Morden

    Morden Member

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    Ah. I have a six-lug 2WD PreRunner.
     
  12. Jun 24, 2020 at 11:05 AM
    #12
    jbrandt

    jbrandt Well-Known Member

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    Yes, then you can look for anything that is for the 4wd model. It's identical. All suspension components for the 6 lugs are the same.

    There's technically a slight difference in the wheel spindles, but they're still interchangable.

    Just make sure you look for similar model years, as there were some minor changes to the leaf springs around 1998. Anything for the front is interchangible between all models of 1st gens (1995.5-2004).
     
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  13. Jun 24, 2020 at 11:39 AM
    #13
    Kwikvette

    Kwikvette LOLWUT

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    TRD Bilstein 4600s and non TRD 4X4 or Prerunners are the same length.
     
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  14. Jun 24, 2020 at 12:41 PM
    #14
    Morden

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    Thanks jbrandt & Kwikvette! :thumbsup:
     
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  15. Jun 24, 2020 at 5:14 PM
    #15
    drewmox

    drewmox [OP] Member

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    I'll have to look into doing it this way soon. I'll probably need new bushings anyways so this seems way easier for one person to handle. I definitely didn't want to put the compressor on again but at least it had locks built in. For sure I was worried about where my hands were while it was on, but yeah in hindsight it was not a good idea.
     
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  16. Jun 29, 2020 at 2:58 PM
    #16
    BlackSportD

    BlackSportD Well-Known Member

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    Icon/TC Mid travel, TRD S/C, PNP Greddy EMU, 625cc injectors, 2.2 pulley, Hayden tranny cooler, AEM wideband, TRD boost gauge.
    Quoted for truth. My dumb ass listened to forum parrots stating 'its monotube, orientation doesn't matter'. Driving on shocks where compression and rebound are reversed is scary- the rear end would buck and like your freeway comment, you felt like you could end up in another lane. Swapped 180, felt great.

    Another quoted for truth. Take it easy until you get the rear end some more height. This is why I went 5125s in the back when I was at OEM ride height.

    OP, the 5100s were a great improvement to my old truck's ride, the next big BIG improvement was to change out the LCA bushings with new OEM rubber. I didn't want the NVH from poly, so I went OEM rubber- big big difference. When installing them, make sure to wait to tighten down to OEM specs when the truck is back down and settled or the rubber binds at the drooped orientation affecting ride and wears them out fast.
     
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  17. Jun 30, 2020 at 6:39 AM
    #17
    andnyleswillriot

    andnyleswillriot Well-Known Member

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    kmc wheels w/duratracs. snugtop topper with bed insert for camping. Bilstein 5100's.
    I had 5100's installed at a very trusted shop (high country 4x4 in Denver) by a buddy of mine who works there, and he added a 1 inch block to the rear since I didn't get new leaf springs (probably will in the future) and I haven't had any issues. Hopefully won't
     
  18. Jun 30, 2020 at 7:04 AM
    #18
    Deeman

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    That is a fantastic write-up, thanks for taking the time to take such great pics!
     
  19. Jun 30, 2020 at 7:14 AM
    #19
    The gold standard

    The gold standard Well-Known Member

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    Excellent write up! I'm gonna have to do the same before too long. I got envy for your powder blue taco! Keep rockin OP
     

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