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Bilstein 5100 Lowest vs Middle Setting Ride Difference?

Discussion in 'Suspension' started by rustytoys, Jan 21, 2020.

  1. Jan 21, 2020 at 11:04 AM
    #1
    rustytoys

    rustytoys [OP] New Member

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    As the title says, does anyone have experience with both the lowest notch (.87" lift) and middle notch (1.57" lift) on the 5100 - and in your view is there a difference in ride stiffness between the two? Thanks for any opinions.
     
  2. Jan 21, 2020 at 11:08 AM
    #2
    SprinterAE86

    SprinterAE86 New Member

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    The lowest setting will give you a better softer ride. As you move up the setting, your adding load to these spring and giving you a stiffer ride.
     
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  3. Jan 21, 2020 at 11:16 AM
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    rustytoys

    rustytoys [OP] New Member

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    Thanks Sprinter, I'm on the middle setting now, but just starting to feel that the ride is really stiff compared to stock; however, I have pulled the coilovers two times now in the last few weeks and its a bit of a job, so really appreciate opinions to make sure this will actually help my ride before doing it again!

    A few days ago I added a 1/2" height top plate spacer, which gives about a 3/4" lift, so figure that can make up for the loss of dropping the 5100 to the bottom notch.
     
  4. Jan 21, 2020 at 11:17 AM
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    Boerseun

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    There is a misunderstanding that it adds pre-load to the spring. That is not accurate - it moves the spring perch up which gives the impression that the spring is pre-loaded, and yes, outside the truck it actually is. But once you install the spring assembly in the truck, the load on the spring is the weight of the truck; the spring compress with whatever the weight is, therefore there should not be any ride difference.
     
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  5. Jan 21, 2020 at 11:52 AM
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    rustytoys

    rustytoys [OP] New Member

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    I feel like if the springs were linear and not progressive then this may make sense?! although even guys who buy linear springs on 6112's seem to complain about ride stiffness so what would cause that?

    All I can say is that my ride is way way stiffer with 5100's on middle notch compared to stock TRD 4600's!
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
  6. Jan 21, 2020 at 12:27 PM
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    Boerseun

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    I can agree 100% that the 5100's are stiffer than the 4600, because that's just the way they are. They are made to be stiffer. Likewise the 6112's are even stiffer than the 5100's. But, what I don't agree with is that people say that the top setting will be stiffer than the middle or lower setting. That is just technically not true, since it is the same shock and the same spring. The location of where the spring sits in relation to the bottom of the shock is different, but everything just moves up accordingly. Once the assembly is installed in the vehicle, the weight of the vehicle compress the spring to where it is in balance with the internal force of the spring. Whether the spring sits 1-inch, 2-inches, 3-inches, etc from the bottom of the shock, the forces working on it is still the same, = to the weight of the truck. Even progressive springs don't make a difference, since they will be at the same progressive compression, since the truck's weight is still the same.
    Now, if somehow the shock was manufactured to where the stiffness change at different locations as it moves up-and-down, as in a tapered shaft for instance, then it could be true, because the shock shaft will be in a slightly different location at rest, but that's just an "if" statement, it is not the case.
     
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  7. Jan 21, 2020 at 1:57 PM
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    SprinterAE86

    SprinterAE86 New Member

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    5100 is a valved to have a better shock absorbing and rebound. The more you preload your springs it pushes helps contact to the road. Hence you feel the road more that gives you a stiffer ride.

    But, I've been wrong a lot of times. I apologize for giving wrong information.
     
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  8. Jan 21, 2020 at 5:14 PM
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    rustytoys

    rustytoys [OP] New Member

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    Yes, I guess if the spring preload is really not to blame then you have to consider the 5100 itself and maybe even the change in suspension geometry from lift? I am just suprised at how stiff my ride got - its still a very good ride, but if I could make it a touch softer I would.
     
  9. Jan 21, 2020 at 6:26 PM
    #9
    r1-superstar

    r1-superstar Kailua Boy

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    Correct me if I'm wrong here...Moving the clip up and down will indeed affect the preload of the OEM spring. That bottom spring cup sits on the collar; moving the collar up and down will affect the preload on the spring. The preload is what is lifting the truck.
     
  10. Jan 21, 2020 at 6:28 PM
    #10
    r1-superstar

    r1-superstar Kailua Boy

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    I rode on the middle setting for about 5-6 months. I was on stock 275/55-20s and the ride was still pretty nice. It wasn't until I went to 10 ply tires and the top setting that it got really stiff!!!
     
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  11. Jan 21, 2020 at 6:31 PM
    #11
    r1-superstar

    r1-superstar Kailua Boy

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    I don't think this is correct information. Stiffness is measured by spring rate not valving in a shock.

    From Shock Warehouse: https://www.shockwarehouse.com/news/bilstein-5100-vs-bilstein-heavy-duty.cfm

    "Although they are different brands and may appear to be very different from each other the Bilstein 5100 and Heavy Duty actually share many of the same components and ride characteristics.

    The main difference between the Bilstein Heavy Duty vs Bilstein 5100s is that the Heavy Duty or 4600 series is designed for stock height trucks and the 5100 Series is built for lifted trucks. The other major difference between the Heavy Duty and 5100 is that the Bilstein 5100 Series shocks have a zinc coating with a brushed metal shock body and a black boot while the Heavy Duty uses a painted yellow body with a blue dust boot.

    The Similarities: The 5100 series and the Heavy Duty shocks use the same technology internally. Both use the same internal valving and at stock height will ride the same (shocks for lifted trucks may use different valving settings in order to accommodate the extra weight of larger tires). Both shocks are pressurized with 360 psi of nitrogen to prevent shock fade and foaming of the shock oil. The outer construction of both shocks is identical as well with an extruded metal body rather for maximum strength and top of the line seals. The 5100 series and Heavy Duty 4600 series are both covered under Bilstein's limited lifetime warranty that protects against any manufacturer defects for the life of the shock.

    For stock height trucks, the Bilstein Heavy Duty yellow and blue shocks are the most popular choice, because they typically cost a few dollars less than the 5100 shocks and provide excellent performance for towing, light offroading or normal driving. Many customers do prefer the 5100 Series even on stock trucks because the shortest 5100s are typically built for 0 to 2 inches of suspension lift, meaning they can run the 5100 on their stock height truck but leave the option open for a lift later on down the road."
     
  12. Jan 21, 2020 at 8:00 PM
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    rustytoys

    rustytoys [OP] New Member

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    Thanks R1, yes that seems to be the consensus from what I have read at least - not much info on the lowest setting, but kind of thinking it may be similar to the middle as most guys seem pretty happy with the middle setting like you.
     
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  13. Jan 22, 2020 at 4:07 AM
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    Boerseun

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    I agree. That was not the point. The point was that spacers or where the adjustable shock is set at does not add to stiffness.
     
  14. Jan 22, 2020 at 4:11 AM
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    Boerseun

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    That's not correct. I will draw a picture to explain when I get in the office. There is no such thing as preload once the shock is in the truck. Yes, the position of the perch lifts the truck, but that's it. The weight of the truck is what compress the spring, and that is the same regardless of the perch position.
     
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  15. Jan 22, 2020 at 6:09 AM
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    r1-superstar

    r1-superstar Kailua Boy

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    Anytime you compress a coil wound spring, it preloads with tension; this will raise the front of the truck. Unless I'm missing something here. That's why moving the collar up on the shock body of the 5100 and 6112 will in turn raise the front of the truck and vice-versa. It will also make the ride stiffer since the coils have been compressed prematurely. Thoughts??

    https://www.shocksurplus.com/pages/lifted-and-leveling-struts-vs-strut-spacers

    "Leveling struts, lifted struts, or adjustable height struts, all mean basically the same thing. On these struts, there is a coil spring collar that can sit at different heights on the shock body, either through a collar that changes orientation (Pro Comp), or different grooves that the coil spring collar sits in (Bilstein). By changing the bottom mounting of the coil spring, and keeping the same top mounting position, this results in the coil spring being pre-loaded (compressed) prematurely, and when the vehicle weight sits on that new compressed coil spring and strut tower, the vehicle will squat less than it would on non-compressed (loaded) springs."
     
  16. Jan 22, 2020 at 6:12 AM
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    r1-superstar

    r1-superstar Kailua Boy

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    Thinking about motorcycle suspension, this works the same way. Turn the collar on the rear shock and the ride height and sag adjusts according to which way you turn it. Front forks same thing, add or remove spacers in the fork tubes to increase or decrease preload thus raising or lowering the front of the bike. Both of these compress or release compression in the coil wound springs which adversely affect height and stiffness.
     
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  17. Jan 22, 2020 at 6:16 AM
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    r1-superstar

    r1-superstar Kailua Boy

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    The middle was a good setting on the 5100. I went to the top setting and two shims on the driver side and one on the passenger side when I installed bigger tires and different rims. I needed the extra room. After some time driving like this, I want something smoother and less harsh. The 6112s should be the ticket; larger bodies, more fluid, spring rated for the lift and not reusing the OEM spring while compressing it.
     
  18. Jan 22, 2020 at 7:17 AM
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    xJuice

    xJuice This guy...

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    I agree. If the weight of the truck compresses a spring to 10 inches long on clip setting 1 then the same truck weight will still compress the spring to 10 inches at clip setting 2.

    The spring compression doesn't lift the truck, the distance between the perch and the LCA lift it. In reference to the 5100s.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
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  19. Jan 22, 2020 at 8:10 AM
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    r1-superstar

    r1-superstar Kailua Boy

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    Let me clarify what I was trying to say...I understand the different collar grooves lift the truck but so does the spring. I don't remember there being 2.5" from the first groove to the third groove. Can someone measure this? I didn't think there was that much space between each grove.

    6112s...
    Bilstein 5100 Spring Perch Settings.jpg

    5100s...
    hqdefault.jpg
     
  20. Jan 22, 2020 at 8:13 AM
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    xJuice

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    There isn't. The LCA is a lever. It pivots at the frame and wheel assembly attaches at the end. You push down in the middle, and the end will move further than the middle.
     
  21. Jan 22, 2020 at 8:14 AM
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    r1-superstar

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    I can somewhat see what you are saying here. Once the spring is compressed by raising the collar, the preload is no longer a contributing factor.

    No it shouldn't since the OEM spring which was designed for the OEM shock will be more compressed (more preload) using the 5100s at a higher collar setting.
     
  22. Jan 22, 2020 at 8:15 AM
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    r1-superstar

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    Thanks, I'm trying to visualize this.
     
  23. Jan 22, 2020 at 8:43 AM
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    Boerseun

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    Something like this. A small spacer, let's say 1" will result in a much bigger lift, let's say 2". The ratio is proportionate to the distance between the pivot point, spacer location and wheel location, but you get the idea...


    upload_2020-1-22_11-40-5.jpg
     
  24. Jan 22, 2020 at 8:50 AM
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    rustytoys

    rustytoys [OP] New Member

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    On my 5100's the grooves look about 1/2" apart - which would be about right as each notch provides roughly 3/4" of lift - and my billet top plate spacer which is 1/2" high also provides a touch over 3/4" of lift.
     
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  25. Jan 22, 2020 at 8:57 AM
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    rustytoys

    rustytoys [OP] New Member

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    I don't exactly disagree with what your saying, but when I try to logic this out in my mind its really hard. For one, a stock mounted spring and a 5100 mounted spring will be different heights in inches when mounted with weight of truck on them - correct? Because if that is true then that is preload; now I am not saying that preload matters, but if it didn't matter then where exactly does the extra force come from to actually lift the truck? The perch height is not what is lifting the truck - as the perch height does not make the coilover any taller. It seems to me its that 1" or 500-pounds of preload that stiffens up the shock so that it sits higher - once the weight of the truck is sitting on the 5100 then that 500 pounds of force doesn't dissapear, thats what is stiffening up the spring to where the weight of the truck does not drop it as much. Again, kind of thinking out loud here.
     
  26. Jan 22, 2020 at 11:15 AM
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    xJuice

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    The perch is exactly what is lifting it.

    A given spring will compress a certain distance with a given weight. Vehicle weight isn't changing. So that spring will compress the same distance no matter what you've done to it before the weight is put on it.
     
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  27. Jan 22, 2020 at 11:15 AM
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    xJuice

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    upload_2020-1-22_13-15-34.jpg

    *Just example numbers I pulled from where the sun don't shine.
     
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  28. Jan 22, 2020 at 1:24 PM
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    Boerseun

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    The perch is exactly what is lifting the truck. The spring above it stays the same spring so that does not change. What is changing is the distance between the bottom mounting point of the spring and the perch. It is essentially the same as adding a spacer below the spring (but I should not open that can of worms LOL)
     
  29. Jan 22, 2020 at 1:31 PM
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    Boerseun

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    Exactly what I was going to draw up; I just have not been able to get to it. Thanks!

    I think the big thing that people get thrown off on is the word "pre-load". The spring might be "pre-loaded" outside the truck; your 12", 11.5" and 11" measurements, but once you put the assembly in the truck that is totally irrelevant.
    :thumbsup:
     
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  30. Jan 22, 2020 at 2:37 PM
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    rustytoys

    rustytoys [OP] New Member

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    Thanks, the left side of that diagram really helped to visualize this. It does make sense seeing that, but would still love to buy a Branick and measure all three settings in real life just to confirm! I mean the only way your diagram would not work is if the coilover preloaded the spring over roughly 1500 pounds - or the weight of one wheel, in which case it wouldn't compress at all with the weight of the truck - and I'm pretty sure a 5100 on top setting will compress - or else the ride would be dangerous, so I get the theory now.
     
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