The Bilstein Tacoma 5100 Series is an excellent set of Aftermarket Shock Absorbers for those of you looking to upgrade or modify their Toyota Tacoma. In this Bilstein 5100 Tacoma Review we’ll see what these nitrogen gas-charged dampers have to offer in terms of innovation, quality, and improving your ride, control, and stability of your Toyota Tacoma.
A simple lift design allows for a one, two, or three-inch lift to the front suspension without any mechanical modifications while using the factory-fitted suspension and components. The rear shock absorbers are not adjustable, but they allow for a three-inch lift. The Bilstein Tacoma 5100 Series will keep you safer, improve towing capabilities, upgrade towing and hauling capabilities, and boost 4×4 ability.
Pros and Cons of Bilstein Tacoma 5100 Series Shock Absorbers
- German quality and innovation with over a century of automotive expertise and experience
- Built to OE quality and Standards
- Innovative Self Lift Design offers a one, two, or three-inch lift to the front suspension
- Rear Shocks are not adjustable but do have enough travel to accommodate a three-inch lift
- Improves safety, ride, stability, and control
- Independent rebound and compression tuning
- Nitrogen Gas Charged
- 46 mm Zinc Plated Monotube Design with floating piston
- Well Priced
- Lifetime Warranty
- Well Packaged
- Rear Shock Absorbers are not adjustable
Where are Bilstein Tacoma 5100 Shock Absorbers made?
Bilstein Tacoma 5100 Series Shock Absorbers are currently manufactured at Bilsteins North American Production Facility in Hamilton, Ohio. Traditionally, all Bilstein Shock Absorbers were manufactured in Germany, but the company set up the North American Facility in 1972 to enter the OE market and service the United States. This venture proved to be a massive success by providing shock absorbers produced with German technology and innovation combined with American quality.
Bilstein Tacoma 5100 Series Shock Absorbers Design
Bilstein Tacoma 5100 Shock Absorbers are zinc plated with a monotube design. The monotube is filled with premium hydraulic fluid, inserted with nitrogen gas, and features an innovative floating piston design.
Front Shock: The upper mount features a stem mounting, and the lower mounting features a 12 mm Bushed Eye. Piston Rod Boot included.
Rear Shock: The upper mount features 19 mm Bushed Eye mounting, the lower mounting features a 19 mm Bushed Eye Mounting. Piston Rod Boot included.
What makes the Bilstein Tacoma 5100 Series Shock Absorbers so unique?
The Bilstein Tacoma 1500 Series offers you a quality shock absorber, made with premium components and backed by over a century of automotive knowledge. They are built to OE specifications and loaded with innovation. What makes them so unique is the simple lift design, that allows you to raise the front either one, two, or three inches. It can be achieved without any mechanical modifications and using factory-fitted components.
By simply removing the spring pan (the spring pan houses the bottom of the coil springs)from the factory height and repositioning it, you can set it to the height position of your choice. It will instantly provide the desired lift when the shocks and springs are re-fitted to your vehicle with no cutting, no grinding, no spacers, no problem. The rear shock absorbers are not adjustable but they have enough travel to accommodate a three-inch lift.
Bilstein Tacoma Dimensions
- Collapsed Length: 356 mm (14.02 inches)
- Extended Length: 582.7 mm (22.94 inches)
- Monotube Design
- 46 mm ID Smooth body without a coil-over
- Finish: Zinc Plated
- Includes Piston Rod Boot
- Black Bellows
- Upper Mount Type: 55 mm x 10 mm threaded Stem Rod
- Lower Mount Type: 12 mm Bushed Eye
- Original Equipment Part Number: F4-BE5-C476-H0
- Collapsed Length: 357 mm (14,07 inches)
- Extended Length: 561 mm (22,09 inches)
- Monotube Design
- 46 mm ID Smooth body
- Finish: Zinc Plated
- Includes Piston Rod Boot
- Upper Mount Type: 19 mm Bushed Eye Mountings
- Lower Mount Type: 19 mm Bushed Eye Mounting
- Original Equipment Part Number: 48530AD051.
How are they packaged?
The Bilstein Tacoma 5100 Series are expertly painted silver with blue and bright yellow stickers displaying the fitting instructions and company logo. They are presented in a professionally branded and sturdy cardboard box that is easy to carry, transport, and store.
They are packed singularly (one in a box) but I strongly recommend that you always replace your shock absorbers in pairs (both front or both rear), where possible, replace all four units at the same time.
Where can you purchase Bilstein Tacoma 5100 Series Shock Absorbers?
Bilstein has been making innovative and quality products for over a century and has earned a reputation for producing world-class suspension components. Their products are highly sought after and can be purchased from numerous companies such as suspension connection, SummitRacing, Amazon, and southmotorsport.
Bilstein Tacoma 5100 Warranty
The Bilstein Tacoma 5100 Series offers a lifetime warranty.
How are they priced compared to their competitors?
Bilstein Tacoma 5100 Shock Absorbers are well priced when compared to their competitors. You can purchase a set of four for around $338, whilst a set of Monroe Rancho RS9000 XL will set you back at around $400. Old Man EMU Nitro-Charger is the most expensive, with a set of four costing about $600.
Bilstein Tacoma 5100 Alternatives
Below are three quality alternatives to Bilstein Tacoma 5100 Series Shock Absorbers.
- Monroe Rancho RS9000XL: The Rancho RS9000Xl is a fabulous set of off-road shock absorbers made by Tenneco Inc in Monroe, Louisiana. These incredible shocks offer nine levels of performance to your Toyota Tacoma suspension. They need to be adjusted manually and are ideal for hauling, towing, and Overlanding. They are a great replacement for original shocks, especially if you enjoy 4x4ing over rough and rugged terrain. Monroe Rancho RS9000XL shock absorbers are made from premium materials and components and offer a lifetime warranty.
- Old Man Emu Nitro-charger: Old Man Emu are fantastic Shock Absorbers with vast amounts of research and technology dedicated to the 4×4 market. Old Man Emu is the leading Shock Absorber manufacturer in Australia. The company is well-known for producing heavy-duty units to conquer the harsh Australian outback. The ARB suspension upgrade will improve control characteristics, boost performance, and increase load-carrying capacity. Old Man Emu offers a three years unlimited mileage warranty. U-bolts, pins, bearings, and shackles are covered by a 40 000 km or one-year Warranty.
- KYB MONOMAX: KYB is a Japanese company specializing in maritime, rail, and aeronautical hydraulic technology for almost 100 years. They are the country’s leading Hydraulics company and have an annual production capacity of around 75 million shock absorbers from its 15 factories across the globe. The MONOMAX Series is a good pedigree of heavy-duty shock absorbers and the most affordable option available. It is a heavy-duty monotube with a robust design that improves control and handling with fade-free performance. KYB MONOMAX Heavy-Duty Shock Absorbers offer a lifetime warranty.
About the Company?
Bilstein was founded by August Bilstein in Altenvoerde in 1873. Initially, the company produced window fittings, their reputation for quality quickly spread throughout the region and across the borders into neighboring countries. In 1927, Bilstein supplied the first chrome-plated bumper for a series of automobile production.
This achievement created a firm foothold in the automotive industry. That same year the company produced the first functional side-car jack. In the 1950s, the company developed this first shock absorber using research and theories from French oscillation researcher Bourcier de Carbon. In 1957 the company produced the first gas-charged shock absorber for BMW and has since been a key player in the automotive world.
Bilstein Original Equipment Contracts
Below is a list of just a few vehicle manufacturers who insisted on Bilstein Shock Absorbers as Original Equipment:
- Bugatti (Veyron)
- Lamborghini (Gallardo)
- Porsche (911, Boxster, Cayman)
- Aston Martin
Why do you have them?
The primary function of a Shock Absorber is to keep your tires in contact with the road, keeping the tires firmly on the road increases levels of safety, stability, and control. The secondary function is to absorb the bumps and shocks of the road, ensuring a pleasant and comfortable ride. It does this by using an intricate set of thin metal discs housed within the digressive piston. This velocity-sensitive piston reacts to the changing terrain by allowing hydraulic fluid to pass through it at a predetermined rate.
Why do you need to replace them?
Shock Absorbers are a safety-critical item and work hand in hand with both the braking and the steering system of your vehicle. They are not physically connected, but defective shock absorbers affect your braking ability because your tires are not constantly in contact with the road. It is the same case with your steering system, if your tires are not constantly in contact with the road you will suffer reduced steering ability and over-steering.
Worn shock absorbers can cause flat spots on your tires and also add tremendous strain to other suspension components, which will deteriorate rapidly, as they try to keep you on the road while compensating for the worn shocks. Springs, engine mountings, top shock mountings, brakes, and suspension bushes are the most affected components.
How often should you replace them?
Shock Absorbers are a wear and tear item, and unfortunately, will not last forever. Some reputable manufacturers will offer a lifetime warranty on their Shock Absorbers. A lifetime warranty does not mean that they will last forever but more of a case of them hoping you will sell your car before they fail. Consumers are replacing their vehicles more frequently today and generally get a new car every three to five years.
When driving on perfect road conditions, you can expect to get around 90 000 km from your shock absorbers, if the road conditions are substandard or if you are traveling off-road, this number can drop significantly. I recommend that you have your shocks checked every 20 000 km, and change them after 80 000 km-90 000 km.
Benefits of Gas-Charged Shock Absorbers
Early examples of shock absorbers consisted of cylindrical tubes filled with hydraulic fluid. An innovative piston design, consisting of numerous thin plates, would allow the hydraulic fluid to pass through at a predetermined rate. This design offered high levels of comfort but it did have some flaws. If the vehicle was being used for 4×4 activity, the shock absorbers would work so hard that the hydraulic fluid would begin to boil and form aeration.
This resulted in the air passing through the carefully designed piston and would render the dampers ineffective. Gas-Charged Shock Absorbers are of similar design but instead of hydraulics and air, the units are inserted with nitrogen gas, which keeps the hydraulic fluid under pressure. Inserting nitrogen gas results in a safer and much more responsive Shock Absorber but simultaneously eliminates the possibility of aeration within the cylinder.
Fitting Bilstein Tacoma 1500 Series Shock Absorbers
Fitting a new set of Bilstein Tacoma 5100 Shock Absorbers to your vehicle is quite simple, provided you have the correct tools.
The most important tool is a spring compressor that will allow you to safely remove and refit the coil springs to the front units. To ensure safety and a consistent ride height, the coil springs are under immense pressure and tension. Removing them without a coil spring compressor can lead to serious injury and even death. First, remove the complete unit from the vehicle by loosening the top and bottom mountings.
Connect the spring compressor, and slowly compress the spring until it has enough play to be removed. Remove the top shock mounting and remove the spring from the spring pan and old shock absorber. You can now re-fit the coil spring to the new shock absorber and fit it into your vehicle.
The rear shock absorbers do not feature coil springs, and by loosening the top and bottom mountings will allow you to remove and install the unit easily.
You must never use a pneumatic air gun when fitting shock absorbers and all work should be completed by hand. A pneumatic air gun can loosen the nut that holds the piston together and in place. If this nut comes off the piston rod the entire piston can fall apart, damaging the shock absorber and voiding your warranty.
Misconceptions about Vehicle Ride Height
Many people assume that shock absorbers are responsible for the ride height of their vehicle but this is not the truth. The springs are solely responsible for the ride height, whether it is a coil spring or leaf spring design. Leaf springs are typically fitted to the rear suspension of light delivery vehicles and trucks, while coil springs are fitted to the front suspension.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: Are Bilstein Tacoma 5100 Shock Absorbers better than original equipment?
Answer: Bilstein Tacoma 1500 is better than the Original Equipment and is designed for modified vehicles. Modified vehicles typically feature larger tires and wheels, generally are lifted from OE spec and can be heavier than stock vehicles. The Bilstein Tacoma 5100 offers a firmer ride with increased performance. Additionally, they allow for a simple lift using the factory components.
Question: Are Bilstein Tacoma 5100 Shock Absorbers good for towing?
Answer: If your vehicle is stock and you just tow every other weekend, then the Bilstein Tacoma 5100 is ideal. If your vehicle is stock and you haul heavy loads all the time, then the Bilstein Heavy Shock Absorbers may be a better bet. They are cheaper and offer a comfortable ride, even when not towing. They have a larger volume of hydraulic fluid to assist with heat dissipation and overheating. If your vehicle has been lifted, then the Bilstein Tacoma 5100 is the only option for you.
Question: Are Bilstein Shock Absorbers better than KYB?
Answer: Bilstein and KYB are quality Shock Absorbers, made from premium materials and components. KYB is manufactured all over the world, innovation and quality are high on the list, they are also slightly cheaper than Bilstein. However, Bilstein is a pioneer in this field with decades of expertise and experience and is superior to KYB in every department. The long list of OEM contracts speaks for itself, particularly when supplying German car manufacturers like Porsche, Audi, BMW, etc.
Question: Is Bilstein an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer)?
Answer: Bilstein was founded by August Bilstein in 1873 in Germany. The company supplies Shock Absorbers and other suspension components to both the Original Equipment and After-market. OEM contracts come with stringent requirements and only the best manufacturers in the world are awarded these contracts.
The Bilstein Tacoma 1500 Series is a fantastic set of Shock Absorbers proudly made by Bilstein at their North American production facility in Hamilton, Ohio. Over a century of automotive knowledge, passion and expertise result in a great option for all off-road and 4×4 enthusiasts driving a legendary Toyota Tacoma.
The 5100 Series is specifically designed for off-road and 4×4 enthusiasts looking to get more from their driving experience and offers improved handling, control, and stability. They also offer an option of a one, two, or three-inch lift to the front suspension without any mechanical modification. This instant lift will improve off-road capability, towing and hauling, and overall performance. The rear shock absorbers aren’t adjustable but do have enough travel to accommodate a three-inch lift.
The Bilstein Tacoma 5100 Series is well priced, well packaged, easily accessible, and offers a lifetime warranty. Whether you are new to the world of 4×4s or an experienced overlander, these shock absorbers are a great option for you. They will keep you safer, improve towing capabilities, upgrade towing and hauling capabilities, and boost 4×4 ability.