Review & Install Video
I'm Ryan from extremeterrain.com, and this is my review of the Bilstein 5100 Series Shock, fitting all 2007 and up JKs. These shocks are available individually, so you'll purchase a pair for the front or the rear. Or if you need all four, of course, you can get those. You can also get them in a kit of all four if you choose to go that direction. These are also available for a few different lift sizes, from 1.5 to 3 inches, and 3.5 to 5 inches. So make sure you get the right ones for your lift kit.
Today, we're gonna talk through the installation of these shocks, which is a very, very simple one out of three wrench install. As with most shocks, these are going to bolt directly in place of your factory shock, and the installation shouldn't take you more than a half hour per shock. But we'll talk more about the installation in just a second. We're also gonna talk about the construction and a few of the features of these shocks.
There are a few different reasons to get a new set of shocks on your Jeep. Either you've purchased a lift kit that doesn't have shocks and you're looking at these as the shocks you're going to run with that lift, or you purchased a lift that has shocks and you want shocks that give you a different ride quality, or the shocks you currently have are worn out. Regardless of the reason, a Bilstein 5100 Series shock is going to be a really nice option to install if you're looking for a shock that rides a little bit on the stiffer side of things but is very well-built and is going to last a good, long time.
Now, in the world of shocks, there are hydraulic shocks and there are nitrogen shocks. And the 5100 Series is a nitrogen-charged shock. So all shocks have liquid inside of them, and when you work that liquid very hard, then you can get some foaming and some cavitation, causing shock fade. The nitrogen charged inside of the shock is there to eliminate that foaming and cavitation, ensuring that you don't get that fade. Now, the vast majority of us aren't working a shock hard enough to have it foam up and cavitate. We're not doing high-speed desert racing, we're not riding over washboards. However, if you want that protection against foaming and cavitation, a nitrogen shock is going to be a nice option for you.
However, because of the charge inside of a nitro shock, they generally ride a little bit stiffer than a hydraulic shock. Now, the vast majority of the ride quality that you'll get from a shock is in the valving, however, again, in general, a nitro shock will ride a little bit stiffer. And the 5100s are known for being a bit of a stiffer shock. Now, the benefit to that is getting rid of some of the body roll if you do have a larger lift on your Jeep. However, the downside can be a little bit of a rougher ride. So it's something you have to weigh out and figure out what sort of ride you want on your Jeep and what sort of handling characteristics.
In general, the Bilstein shocks, again, are known to be a very high-quality brand. They're not going to be quite as expensive as a Fox shock or a King shock, however, they are going to be in the mid to upper end of both the price range and the quality range.
This is going to be a mono-tubed shock with digressive valving, and it is built to last. Any way you look at it, no matter how you're using your Jeep, the shocks do take a beating and you wanna make sure you're getting something that isn't going to blow out, the seals aren't going to blow out, you're not going to bend the piston rod. It's just going to be something that is going to last you a good long time, and that's what you're going to get with a Bilstein shock. These shocks include the dust boot with them that you can run. There are arguments in both directions with the dust boot. Some say that it keeps junk out of this area of the shock, keeping it clean so that those seals hold up a lot better. Others will say, once you get stuff in there, which you definitely will, that you can't get it out as easily because of the boot. Normal road wash, rain, or even hitting it with a hose doesn't clean that area off. So, again, two schools of thought. You can decide whether you wanna run a dust boot on your shocks or not.
As far as this install goes, again, I'm giving it a very simple one out of three wrenches. You're gonna be able to install a shock every half hour or even a little bit less, depending on how much rust you have on your JK. Now, the first step is definitely spraying all of your shocks bolts with a good penetrating oil, especially the front upper shock nuts. That is, in my experience, the most difficult part to get disassembled when you're swapping out the shocks on your Jeep. There's not a lot of room in that area. If you do have a lot of rust, you can't really get a socket on there. Oftentimes, we end up just breaking the top of the shock off if there is a lot of rust, which is fine because you're replacing the shock anyway, but it's just not the easiest area to get to. So, definitely spray those with a good penetrating oil well before you get started.
After that, it's really just a matter of disconnecting the lower shock bolt and the upper shock nut up front, removing that factory shock or aftermarket shock, and assembling the new one. This comes with all of the rubber bushings and the nut that go up on the top. In the rear, it's pretty much the same story, one bolt on the bottom, two bolts up top that hold the bar pin in place. Just make sure, again, that you spray everything with a good penetrating oil. You don't want it to strip or break off those upper shock bolts in the rear because they can be a little bit difficult to repair if that happens. All in all, you're just gonna need your traditional hand tools and a little bit of time. This is gonna be an easy install that anyone can do in their driveway.
Bilstein does have a good name in shocks and you are getting a very high-quality and well-built shock when you purchase the 5100 Series. So I think that they are priced appropriately. Again, they're in that mid to upper-mid range of both price and quality, so the cost does match the quality here. You're not purchasing an adjustable shock, you're not purchasing a shock with an external reservoir, which are a couple of things that can increase the cost of a shock. You're also not buying a King shock or a Fox shock or one of those companies that really command a much higher price for any of the higher build quality and for even more R&D that goes into the shocks. Here you're going to be at a little bit lower of a price range but still get something that's very high quality and is built to last.
So whether you're swapping out your shocks because your current ones are worn out, blown or bent, or you're just looking to get a little bit of a different handling characteristic or a different ride quality characteristic, the 5100 Series are a very nice option. So that's my review of the Bilstein 5100 Series Shock, fitting all 2007 and up JKs that you can find right here at extremeterrain.com.