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Old 10-05-2019, 08:25 PM #1
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An Outsider's Review: Bilstein 6112s/5160s + 2in Icon Springs Lift + 275 BFG KO2s

I recently upgraded my tires and suspension on my 2016 SR5 (after running stock for about 50,000 miles). I wanted to share my experience here as someone without a lot of background in vehicle mods, in case there are others out there considering whether upgrading their tires and suspension makes sense for them.

How I Use This Truck: I spend a lot of time in the national forests in California, mostly backpacking, camping, shooting, snowshoeing, and generally getting as far away from people and the city as I can. I don't offroad for its own sake -- I drive offroad to get places that are awesome and where others can't go. No rock crawling etc. And I don't care at all how my truck looks -- I just want it to be tough, reliable, and sturdy.

Upgrades I Did This Month: I bought the truck new in 2016, and until now the only mod I've done was putting C-rated BFG KO2s on it, and recently putting on RCI skid plates (which are super awesome, and I'm really happy with). After 50,000 miles, I decided it was time to:

-Upgrade my tires one size to 275/70/17 E-rated BFG KO2s (which is up from C-rated also);

-Upgrade my suspension with the following combo: Bilstein 6112s in front, set to 1.2" lift (link). Bilstein 5160s in rear (link). Replaced rear springs with Icon 2" springs (link).

Where I Did the Work: I got the suspension work done at SWAT Customs in Freemont, CA. Really impressive shop to work with -- they are really good. All in cost with parts, labor, and an alignment was around $2.2K, and was done in less than a week. Tires were done separately at America's Tire in Walnut Creek (which is Discount Tire here) for an all-in cost of around $1.4K for 5 tires (I did the spare also).

What's Different After The Upgrades:

-Higher Up: The new rear springs gave me about a 2" lift in back, and the Bilstein 6112s gave me about 1.2" lift in front. The truck feels a little higher in the driver's seat, which is great. But just a little higher -- most people would not even notice this very mild lift. I now have about 10-10.5 inch clearance from the road to my skidplates (which are 3/8" steel themselves).

-Stability and Ride: The ride is way more stable overall -- less swinging on turns, less nose-dive on stops -- and eats up road bumps much better than stock suspension. It probably dampens road bumps about 20-30 percent IMO.

-Weight and Speed: No noticeable change in acceleration, weight, or MPG so far (it's been about a week). Going from C-rated 265 BFG KO2s to E-rated 275s was a really minor change in my opinion, and the truck basically drives almost the same, with a very very slightly rougher ride on the E-rated. But honestly if you switched these tires without me knowing, I would never notice the difference in how they drive on pavement. For reference, I'm running the 275s at ~40 PSI all around. The 275s don't rub, the spare fits perfectly under the truck, and they balanced out perfectly from the tire shop with no highway vibration or other problems.

-Durability: I've left my truck mostly stock for 3 years because my main concern is reliability and durability. I couldn't care less if my truck looks cool, I just want it to be tough as nails and let me go anywhere I want in the outdoors. The Bilsteins seem really, really well built, and I'm happy with the Icon springs in the rear as well. I don't think I've sacrificed any long-term reliability by making these moderate upgrades, which have really improved the vehicle a lot.

-Cost: I threw a total of about $3,600 at these upgrades, as I didn't do any of the work myself on this. Yes, those are high SF Bay Area prices (but remember Bay Area salaries are really high to compensate). I'm glad I had a top-notch 4x4 shop do the suspension work -- I trust myself to do oil changes and to put on RCI skid plates, but not suspension stuff. So if you pay a shop to do this, be prepared to burn a lot of cash.

Was It Worth It? Am I Happy With the Result? Yes, I am really happy with the result I got. I should have done these upgrades 3 years ago. The truck still feels stock in the sense of feeling solid and reliable, but the suspension is so much more stable, a little higher up, and the E-rated tires offer a lot more protection offroad while still riding about the same as the 265 C-rated BFG KO2s that I drove almost 40,000 miles on before these. I would definitely do this upgrade again, and I would recommend this set up for any mild offroaders out there like myself who are looking for a moderate suspension / tires upgrade.

Some pictures of before and after to follow:

Before the lift and tires, with stock suspension and BFG 265s:


After the lift, but before the new tires, with my old BFG 265s:


Final result, after the lift and new tires:


The parts (Bilstein 6112s, 5160s, Icon 2" springs):






And the awesome guys at SWAT Customs who did the work (thanks Brian!):

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2016 4Runner SR5 4x4. BFG A/T K02s (275/70/17 E Rated). 2-inch Icon rear springs. Bilstein 6112s front (1.2" setting), 5160s rear. RCI skid plates package + gas tank (3/8 in. steel), RCI rock sliders. Raingler cargo nets (roof and rear).

Last edited by the_economist; 10-06-2019 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 11-07-2019, 01:08 PM #2
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thanks for the review.

What was your rational for basically leveling the car? Doesn't look like in the pics but based on your 1.2" and 2" numbers.
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Old 11-07-2019, 01:45 PM #3
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Too much rake for me front needs to be higher.
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Old 11-07-2019, 04:45 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_DML View Post
thanks for the review.

What was your rational for basically leveling the car? Doesn't look like in the pics but based on your 1.2" and 2" numbers.
That's 2 inches up in the back, and 1.2 inches up in the front. When unloaded, as in those photos, I actually added a little more rake, not leveled out.

When you haul a heavy load, or hook on a trailer, it's basically level.
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Old 11-07-2019, 04:58 PM #5
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Your front shocks are set to the lowest or 2nd to lowest perch. I would recommend you go up to 4/5 to have the level look. I have a similar combo. Also a a trick for the rear shock boots. Use a clamp or zip tie to hold it up. After a while they will fall down and hold moisture
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