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Old 09-09-2016, 08:18 PM #1
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5100 top setting vs. stock setting with spacer

This may be covered somewhere, but my searching hasn't led me to this particular question, so here it goes...

Is there an advantage, one way or the other, between using Bilstein 5100's up front at their maximum height, or upgrading to 5100's at factory height and attaching spacers (ProComp) to achieve basically the same height?

One thought I have is that using the shocks only and utilizing their built in adjustment keeps things simple (fewer parts). On the other hand, it crossed my mind that adding the top plate spacer to factory height 5100's might give the same benefits, but retain more down travel and feel since I'm not essentially "preloading" the shocks with their built in adjustment.

I'm on a budget and can't afford true coilovers, etc., so I've decided on buying 5100's either way. As you can see, I already have the spacers.

Does anyone have any input or experience with this decision? Any factors I'm not considering? Thanks for the input
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Old 09-09-2016, 09:08 PM #2
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leaving them stock and adding a spacer is pointless and defeats the purpose of 5100s. unless you run after market coils I would say lift it
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Old 09-09-2016, 09:19 PM #3
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What are you trying to do other than new shocks? Rear lift aswell? Just leveling the front? Do you care about the "dive"?
If your looking for a better(more stiff) ride and level the front, use the "adjustments" feature on the billy.
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Old 09-09-2016, 09:44 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrenchToasty View Post
What are you trying to do other than new shocks? Rear lift aswell? Just leveling the front? Do you care about the "dive"?
If your looking for a better(more stiff) ride and level the front, use the "adjustments" feature on the billy.


^^^this? You need to clarify what your purpose is.... Are you trying to simply level the front for looks? Do you hate the nose dive? Do you prefer an overall stiffer ride?

Answers to these questions would change the answers offered.

Even clarifying some of these, most on the forum will tell you to go ahead and use the 5100s all around and set the front to the desired setting/result (many, many threads on here directing you to the resulting height from the different settings).

Still, just my 2 cents... depends on what you are trying to accomplish. A front spacer isn't necessarily a horrible thing; it just doesn't accomplish much except aesthetics.





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Old 09-09-2016, 10:19 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RioRunner View Post
This may be covered somewhere, but my searching hasn't led me to this particular question, so here it goes...

Is there an advantage, one way or the other, between using Bilstein 5100's up front at their maximum height, or upgrading to 5100's at factory height and attaching spacers (ProComp) to achieve basically the same height?

One thought I have is that using the shocks only and utilizing their built in adjustment keeps things simple (fewer parts). On the other hand, it crossed my mind that adding the top plate spacer to factory height 5100's might give the same benefits, but retain more down travel and feel since I'm not essentially "preloading" the shocks with their built in adjustment.

I'm on a budget and can't afford true coilovers, etc., so I've decided on buying 5100's either way. As you can see, I already have the spacers.

Does anyone have any input or experience with this decision? Any factors I'm not considering? Thanks for the input
I think you are getting some terminology mixed up. There are two types of spacers that can be run up-front. A top plate spacer and a coil spacer.

A coil spacer increases pre-load and raises ride height to a fixed position. The travel range of the wheel typically stays the same although up travel could be limited due to spring binding. It's not any different than adjusting a collar on a coil over or position on the Bilstein adjustable. The big difference with a coil spacer is it is fixed... The Bilstien adjustable are really not adjustable without complete disassembly. Coil overs allow adjustment on the truck with no disassembly.

A top plate spacer simply moves the shock down to increase ride height. this also increases the maximum down travel, but limits up travel by the same amount. This is good for typical trail/low speed crawling performance. However, the stock UCAs can't take much of an increase in down travel at all and shortly after that the CVs begin to bind. So with stock UCAS you could only add about 1/4 top plate spacer if that and still be safe (!1/2" wheel travel). If you went to aftermarket UCAs 1" or so top plate would probably be safe resulting in about 2" more down travel.

The key to a good ride, is good shock valving and a spring rate that matches the weight of the vehicle. The 5100s should offer better valving over stock. Once you add weight.... more tuning is required and that just can't be done with a 5100 style shock on stock springs. Pre-load has a very limited usefulness in terms of tuning the ride.
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Last edited by wfo9; 09-09-2016 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 09-10-2016, 01:00 AM #6
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Thanks for the input guys. Basically, my main goal is to improve ride quality and maintain the ride height I currently have. I put the level lift kit on right after buying the truck, recently upgraded rear shocks, and now it's time to upgrade the front as well.

I guess to sum it up, my question is really just trying to determine whether the ride quality will change with the various height settings on the shocks? For example, do things stiffen up as the height increases, or are these completely unrelated issues? Forgive my ignorance, I'm on a quest for knowledge LOL

Thanks again
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Old 09-10-2016, 11:34 AM #7
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I would just run the 5100 at the proper perch setting. My opinion is combining a spacer with the 5100 is not what it was designed for. I have run a spacer setup on the stock shocks (I assume this is what you are doing now) and than i ran the 5100 on the proper perch and the ride was far greater. This is for sure a result of the 5100, not really the spacer. But, i say if you are getting the 5100. Use them the way they were designed.
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Old 09-10-2016, 03:31 PM #8
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^^ what he said. But I think they also make a 5100 without the perch adjuster. I thought that is what the OP was asking about.
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Old 09-10-2016, 04:22 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wfo9 View Post
^^ what he said. But I think they also make a 5100 without the perch adjuster. I thought that is what the OP was asking about.
Yeah, maybe I wasn't clear but this is basically what I'm trying to determine. Pros and cons between using regular factory height 5100's with the same top plate spacers I'm using on the factory shocks vs. adjustable height 5100's set to the highest perch setting? Essentially, would there be a difference in the ride or performance either way?
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Old 09-10-2016, 07:09 PM #10
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@RioRunner You're not gonna see a difference between adjustable 5100s versus non-adjustable + top plate spacer set at the same height. Your ride will get worse the higher you go, especially with factory UCAs as @wfo9 said. Not necessarily in terms of stiffness, but you'll feel more roll and side-to-side head toss. I learned this with my 4th gen after having a 2" spacer leveling kit followed by a 2.5" spacer lift.
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