Bilstein 5100 series DIY How To
I figured I would do a little write-up on the Bilstein 5100 series shocks as I came across a lot of threads asking a lot of the same questions when I was searching to figure out which shocks I wanted to use to replace my old worn out factory ones.
I donít know if the way I did it is the fastest way or best way but this worked great for me and Iím sure will help a lot of people. This is for the front only as installing the rears took me less than 5 minutes and is a 0 on the hard to do scale.
For those of you who live in colder climates where they use salt on the roads and rust is a big issue be ready to fill up the swear jar as the bolt that goes through the lower A-arm for the strut will be seized so badly to the inner metal sleeve youíll think the whole bushing has to come out with the bolt.
Alright, here are the step by step instructions on how I completed this task.
So now you are ready to tackle the infamous seized lower strut bolt (for those of you who didnít have this problem.. I hate you lol)
- Remove brake caliper and tie it to the frame with some wire.
- Remove rotor and set aside.
- Remove upper sway bar end link bolt along with the metal washer and rubber bushing.
- Remove bolt for the upper ball joint BUT DO NOT SEPARATE YET. Keeping this connected to the spindle will help when using the BFH to hammer out the bolt that is seized in the lower bushing.
- Remove the 3 nuts on top of the strut hat.
Begin by removing the nut off the bolt, donít worry about needing a wrench on the bolt I promise you itís not going anywhere yet. With the nut off spray with penetrating oil (I found WD-40 worked well) and let it sit for a good while. This is the chance to get caught up on any household chores youíve been putting off. After about 30 minutes of spraying the bolt and bushing with penetrating oil my dad and I took the torch and heated both ends of the bolt, watching the rubber bushing very carefully as you donít want to destroy this. Take the 18Ē Johnson bar and start pulling, youíll find that the rubber bushing inside the a-arm is just twisting with the bolt and not actually turning, keep applying heat to the bolt periodically and penetrating oil every now and then. Once we got the bolt to spin freely when we put the impact gun on it we used the sledge hammer and hit the tip of the bolt like it owed us a lot of money, once the bolt is pushed into the bushing youíll have to take the punch and hammer it through the rest of the bushing (this whole ordeal took us about an hour to do on each side, and it was NOT be easy.)
- Required for removing this I recommend an impact gun, a 3lb sledge hammer, a punch with a pointed tip, 18Ē or longer Johnson bar/breaker bar, penetrating oil, and a torch.
Before I put the bolt back in the lower strut bushing I made sure to use a lot of antiseize grease on the shaft of the bolt to make future disassembly hopefully easier.
The end result; the front of my truck now sits 1.5Ē inches higher and the rear sits 0.5Ē higher. The truck has a much nicer stance, the shocks ride and feel great and I couldnít be happier with my decision to install the Bilstein 5100 series shocks.
Hopefully this helps anyone deciding to buy these to make a well informed decision and installation a breeze. Since I am a very visual person I find pictures always help with instructions so here are a few.
- Now you have the strut floating between the upper and lower A-arms. Take the sledge hammer and give the upper A-arm a few good hard taps and it will separate from the spindle allowing you to wiggle the strut out.
- To remove the spring I just rented a spring compressor kit from Part Source and did it myself. I had to take a file to the shaft of the old shock in order to make a flat surface to clamp and adjustable wrench onto to keep it from spinning while using the impact gun to take the nut and bearing off the shock with.
- Using a vice, clamp the spring perch from the old shock and pull it off, youíll be re-using this on the new Bilstein shocks. You also need to remove the cap from the old shock to get the spring perch off, again I just clamped it in the vice and twisted until it came loose and pulled off.
- Reassemble the new shocks according to the instructions. This was pretty straight forward and easy.
- Depending on which setting you have the Bilsteins set at youíll have to compress the spring even more to get the bearing and bolt back on. I put mine on the second notch.
- Finally put the new strut back in the truck and reassemble everything. I put the sway bar end link back together, then the upper ball joint and finally the brakes.
The 3 things you need take apart to remove the strut.
Everything taken apart and ready to tackle the lower strut bolt.
Strut assembly removed.
Area I had to file so I could get and adjustable wrench on so the rod wouldn't be able to spin.
I forgot to take a picture of the new assembly but this shows that I didn't have any problems with the spring compressor kit. Looks sketchy but I felt totally fine using it.