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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, I've had my Bilsteins forever and they have always been fine. It's killer on rocks but does ride really stiff. Do the new external res beefy shocks make a good difference with onroad/offroad manners and allow for a less teeth chattering ride trying to go more than 10mph on packed dirt?
 

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Yes, new shocks can help you smooth out rough roads. Every shock has different valving so matching weight and driving style can take some research. I have some Fox coilovers on my TJ that work really nice in the front, but the rear Racerunner coilovers are terrible.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Even on the non-coilovers it seems like the shock piston is significantly thicker as well. Not sure if the 300+ each shock costs is worth the change out investment. I've thought about coilovers too, which makes the spending on normal Fox/Kings vs just going full coilover without the middle step. My RK normal spring long arm has been killer on rocks, but is stiff. I'm curious in the terrible if you care to tell more. What's the feel like vs what you are looking for?
 

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The Racerunner shocks are harsh. The folks who I deal with that do shock valving also tell me that these are difficult to adjust/re-valve to make improvement. For me, I plan to run Fox shocks and replace them at some point.
 

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I replaced my old 5100s with Falcons a couple years ago. They did improve damping on dirt at speed. They are even more firm than the 5100s though. Firm, without being harsh, if that makes sense. My rig is a heavy LJ though and I usually run it with a full load of camping gear. I think they might be valved too firm for a TJ. The ride on the road when empty is pretty stiff.

Have had some problems with them, too. I wouldn't buy them again.

- DAA
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Got ahold of Falcon anyhow and the ones they have for TJ's are only for 3-4" lifts and they don't make them for a bigger lift anyhow, so I guess those are out + with problems there extra out. Looking like maybe it'll be smart to just get the adjustable fox with external res and hope they are good. It's also interesting that Bilstein lists different part numbers for the same lift height in both 5100 or 5160 shock, but different parts for short arm lifts and ones for long arm lifts, while Fox and others are just x amount of lift. I suppose I need longer travel in the shock with how flexy the LA is?
 
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I replaced my old 5100s with Falcons a couple years ago. They did improve damping on dirt at speed. They are even more firm than the 5100s though. Firm, without being harsh, if that makes sense. My rig is a heavy LJ though and I usually run it with a full load of camping gear. I think they might be valved too firm for a TJ. The ride on the road when empty is pretty stiff.

Have had some problems with them, too. I wouldn't buy them again.

- DAA
Thanks for your input on these. My 5160s need to be rebuilt and I was questioning if I should send them in for a rebuild or just get the Falcons. I also considered OME. I have had 5160s leak at 25+/- miles so I have not been completely happy with their build quality. Although its possible I over extended the shock. But the ride is the best I have found for my LJ. What issues have you had with Falcon?
 

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Had some issues with the locknuts on the fronts staying put. Not completely sure why, but talking to friends with lots of industry experience, they think the shafts turn themselves out of the nuts - tell me Bilstein used to be known for that but not anymore. Anyway, had the front shocks come unbolted from the top, at speed, twice, not cool. Second time, was with double Mishimoto locknuts. Even with double locks, I had to check them often and re-tighten frequently to keep them from just coming off. That seems to have finally settled down, using double nylocks (not the Mishimotos) and red locktite.

Rears, bar pins super loose right out of the box, soft plain rubber bushings, clunking SOB's. Had one rear puke all it's oil out, too.

Also got the fancy steering shock, it broke off the mounting stud and self ejected on a mild dirt road. Didn't think that was too cool either. They took a couple months getting it fixed, too. I'm getting rid of the Mickey Mouse single shear mount they provide, it's cracked almost in two.

They do damp and ride great on my heavy LJ off road though. I do have to give them that.

- DAA
 
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You can get any hi-end shock to ride great but not out of the box..having a shock tuned by someone thats "good" and does them all day long is the key. I have SAW's and after modding and tuning they ride fantastic. I went with them as I could fit a 14" travel SAW where all others were 12".

There are differences in "tunability" in hi end shocks so choose wisely.

My suspension is far from normal JK so for a more std suspension on a Jeep I'd look at Radflo's or ADS.
If just a std coil spring suspension spend the $ and get 3 tube bypass's and have them tuned. That will be the best $ spent on your suspension.

If anywhere close to N.Nevada have Phil Liccardi tune them IMO he is the best. He also travels the country so maybe he will be coming to your area. He could send you tuned shocks and revalve them if needed also but live tuning is best.

If anyone wants his info contact me or he's on Facebook etc
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
They are hard to find in the correct lenghts too. The Rancho RS9000XL's might be ok, they say for 5.5" lift and have 9 adjustability settings. The compressed/extended lengths kinda seem a little short though. Anyone run these?
75694


RK calls for this:
Generic Front Shock
Recommendation 19" Collapsed to 29" Extended

Generic Rear Shock
Recommendation 17" Collapsed to 27" Extended

Bilstein 5100's and 5160's both hit those numbers. Not sure what problems might come from the rancho lengths?
 

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I ran the 9000XL in a different length before my Bilsteins. I did not like them. They had no rebound control. The adjustment knob will only adjust compression dampening.

It funny. The only Rancho product you typically see recommended on popular Jeep forums is their shocks. I use their control arms and I have considered their springs. But I would stay away from their shocks. Your mileage may vary.
 

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Bilstein 5100's and 5160's both hit those numbers. Not sure what problems might come from the rancho lengths?

Since they compress shorter, you "might" get away with slightly less bumpstop and get more uptravel. But since they extend less, they'll limit droop by that much - assuming shocks are what is limiting droop. Which, they may well not be, in which case, you'd probably see no difference.

- DAA
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I would never have considered them as a brand before really, makes sense on the price being tgtbt for a decent one. Well I think 5160's it is then. The foxes that seem closet in reach are still not quite wide of a range. How do you know the 5160's are due for a rebuild? How does the feeling change to know?
 

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How do you know the 5160's are due for a rebuild? How does the feeling change to know?
Pretty much like any other shock. If they have leaked out their oil or they are not dampening properly they need to be rebuilt. I've also noticed with steering stabilizers that they can develop a dead spot within the range they normally run. I suspect the 5160 could do that too and would need rebuilding at that point as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well I have decided that perhaps the better first and cheaper step is a spring swap out. My RockKrawler springs are also 15 years old and 1st or 2nd generation and with that were linear rate springs at the time. RK at some point switched to triple rate progressives instead. Figure that might be step 1, then see how the 5100's do with those, then get the shocks. I think the buy once cry once on these might be the way to just go.
Front:
Rear:
 
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