|FAQ: What is the Difference Between a Bilstein 5100 Series Shock and a Bilstein Heavy Duty Shock?|
Although they are different brands and may appear to be very different from each other the Bilstein 5100 and Heavy Duty actually share many of the same components and ride characteristics.
The main difference between the Bilstein Heavy Duty vs Bilstein 5100s is that the Heavy Duty or 4600 series is designed for stock height trucks and the 5100 Series is built for lifted trucks. The other major difference between the Heavy Duty and 5100 is that the Bilstein 5100 Series shocks have a zinc coating with a brushed metal shock body and a black boot while the Heavy Duty uses a painted yellow body with a blue dust boot.
The Similarities: The 5100 series and the Heavy Duty shocks use the same technology internally. Both use the same internal valving and at stock height will ride the same (shocks for lifted trucks may use different valving settings in order to accommodate the extra weight of larger tires). Both shocks are pressurized with 360 psi of nitrogen to prevent shock fade and foaming of the shock oil. The outer construction of both shocks is identical as well with an extruded metal body rather for maximum strength and top of the line seals. The 5100 series and Heavy Duty 4600 series are both covered under Bilstein's limited lifetime warranty that protects against any manufacturer defects for the life of the shock.
For stock height trucks, the Bilstein Heavy Duty yellow and blue shocks are the most popular choice, because they typically cost a few dollars less than the 5100 shocks and provide excellent performance for towing, light offroading or normal driving. Many customers do prefer the 5100 Series even on stock trucks because the shortest 5100s are typically built for 0 to 2 inches of suspension lift, meaning they can run the 5100 on their stock height truck but leave the option open for a lift later on down the road.
For leveled trucks, where the owner has either purchased an aftermarket leveling kit or turned their truck's torsion keys up, Bilstein has shocks designed specifically for a 1-3 inch leveling kit. On some trucks with coilover type front shocks, a Bilstein 5100 Leveling Shock is available that is capable of lifting the front of the vehicle up. We recommend using the 5100 rear shocks along with your front 5100s on leveled trucks because the rear 5100 shocks are usally an inch longer than stock to accommodate a small lift. In our experience, once someone gets a taste of lifting their truck, they always go back for more. If you already have the 5100 shocks on the rear, you always have that option without needing to buy new shocks when you decide to add the lift.
For lifted trucks, the Bilstein 5100 series is the only choice. With a few exceptions, all Heavy Duty shocks are designed only for use on stock height trucks. Bilstein 5100 shocks are designed for every size of lift for popular trucks, so whether your truck is a modified daily driver or an all-out offroad monster, there is a Bilstein 5100 shock to fit it.
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