My review of Bilstein 5100's on a 1500

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ginandtonic

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Hey all,

I've gained a ton of knowledge from these forums so I wanted to take this opportunity to provide some insight in return.

For context, I have a 2014 Ram 1500 Crew cab 4wd 5.7. It currently has a 4" Rough Country lift set up with the diff drop in the front riding on 35/13.5/20's. In the back I have the 2.5" spacers that came with the kit and Icon 2.0's.

I recently swapped out the stock shocks for the Bilstein 5100's set at stock height, along with a new diff (long story), cv axles, and a couple ball joints for good measure. I wanted better shocks (at least better as much as I could afford haha), to handle the weight of the 35's and improve the ride quality. They made a small improvement over what I had before when it comes to comfort. I've seen a lot of guys say they ride rough and I think it's important to note specifically what you're comparing it to when you say they ride rough. They're firm, but if you've driven a 4" lift with larger tires on the stock shocks, it is significantly more composed and well-balanced over bumpy roads, which leads to a less anxious-feeling ride IMO. Compared to Ram's squishy shocks with stock tires and standard ride height, then ya, they're probably way rougher, especially if you're using them for a lift, but as part of a whole "package" that includes heavier parts that need to be dampened, they do improve the ride - nowhere near what a fox/king 2.5 would though - I'm saving the pennies already to put those on my next truck.
Screenshot 2023-10-05 at 4.47.12 PM.png
 

TotallyHucked

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I bought some lightly used Bils from a forum member here for my '17. They were already set up at the highest 2.8" setting with new upper mounts. Coming from torsion bar GM trucks that ride like a covered wagon when you level them, I LOVE the way this truck rides. Stock these trucks are so squishy and soft, they lean over in a corner something fierce. These greatly improved the stability (though I still want to upgrade the rear sway bar) and make the truck actually feel like a half ton truck, not a Cadillac. It still rides very nicely and absorbs bumps very well, but it's not Cadillac or Honda SUV soft now. They're perfect.
 
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ginandtonic

ginandtonic

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@ginandtonic What tires are those and how do you like them?

They're Nitto Ridge Grapplers, 35/13.5/20's and they are fantastic. Unfortunately, I'm up in an area of Canada that gets a significant amount of snow so I'll be switching over to something 3 peak rated before winter comes.. which I'm realizing right now will be far too soon. I'm leaning toward BFG K02's, Toyo ATIII's, or Duratracs. Changing the size too - going from this to 325/60/20's, which is only a half inch more narrow but almost a full inch taller and still a fair bit lighter.
 

augiedoggy

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I found the same experience with the 5100s on my 15 ecodiesel. bilstien did a marketing change and clearanced the older looking 5100s for like $260 for the set of 4 on amazon new, They improved corner handling and such with the firmer ride. I do regret lifting my truck though as I bought is used and the previous owner lowered it with a 4" drop in the rear and 2" in the front.. I ended up lifting it about 5" in the front (2.5-2.8" over stock) and 6" in the rear. I installed the 34" version of the same 4 ply nitto terra grapplers (vs 31" version that were on the truck when I bought it). truck drives great and handles well, I just lost 9mpg on the highway after correcting speedo for the tires... I got 34mpg on the highway which was amazing for a 4 door 6.4" bed 4x4 truck with it lowered and now the max I can obtain is 25mpg averaging only 18-19 in the city during summer and 17 in the winter..
In conclusion I learned the wind resistance matters along with the change in gear ratio of the 34" tires and I even have the stronger 3.92 gears.

I also tried some used 10ply 34" tires for about 3 months while waiting for the backordered (covid) nittos... I found the mpg improved almost 2 mpg with the lighter 4 ply tires but my 34 " nittos along ith the new heavier 18" rims weigh in about 30lbs more per tire than the 31s on stock 17" rims.

I know, Who cares about mpgs, its a truck.... Well diesel is $4.70 a gallon right now vs the 2.60 it was in 2021 when I bought the truck..
 

Cmz2800

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I bought some lightly used Bils from a forum member here for my '17. They were already set up at the highest 2.8" setting with new upper mounts. Coming from torsion bar GM trucks that ride like a covered wagon when you level them, I LOVE the way this truck rides. Stock these trucks are so squishy and soft, they lean over in a corner something fierce. These greatly improved the stability (though I still want to upgrade the rear sway bar) and make the truck actually feel like a half ton truck, not a Cadillac. It still rides very nicely and absorbs bumps very well, but it's not Cadillac or Honda SUV soft now. They're perfect.
I have to disagree. I drive my 17 ram 1500 like I used to drive my mazda 6 turbo. I take the highway ramps like a champ (like an idiot) lol and she doesn’t even squeak the tires.
 
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ginandtonic

ginandtonic

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I remember seeing some threads talking about increased down travel with the 5100's. Today I had it up on the jacks and sure enough, the tires seem to hang lower, which also seemed to max out the upper ball joints. Anyone upgrade their UCA's because of the billy's? Mine are at the first setting so no ride height difference.
 

DILLIGAF

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Limiting straps do a better job when trying to limit down travel. :cool:


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ginandtonic

ginandtonic

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here's my 2-week update - the only notable improvement is slowing the bouncing of the tires after hitting potholes and feeling a little more even-keeled through corners. Normal driving comfort improvement as far as eliminating the little bumps in the road is negligible.
 
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ginandtonic

ginandtonic

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Edit: Just realizing I posted my tire update in my shock thread, mods feel free to move or delete! Sorry!

Yet another update about 3k in.. far superior winter traction compared to the Nitto RG's obviously. I haven't been in 2' of snow yet like I was with the RG's, but ice performance is far better. Wet performance is also much much better when compared to when the RG's were new. Shaving 9lbs per corner off and losing 1/2" width has also saved me about 1mpg since the change which is pretty wild because I've done more city driving in this round of tracking than I did in the previous one. I'm about to do a 1200km road trip this weekend so we'll see if that spread gets any wider.
 
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