If you need to get a couple extra inches out of your front end, and you have an IFS truck or SUV, then there is a great, cost-effective option out there that not only puts you a couple extra inches in the air, it also greatly improves the ride with better shock dampening and suspension control. For the price of some strut spacer kits, you can get completely new Bilstein 5100 Leveling Shocks to replace the strut (or coilover) front suspension on most popular IFS trucks made today. At a little more than $100 each, it's hard to beat a complete replacement shock that takes your original coil hardware and allows you the adjustability of 0, 1, 2, or 3 inches of suspension lift. We tried a pair of the 5100 Leveling Shocks out on a new Tacoma 2WD Prerunner truck, and complemented them with rear Bilstein 5100 shocks to match. For less than $400, we had new high-end shocks at all four corners and the ability to lift (or level) the front of this Tacoma. 1. To outfit a new Tacoma, we got two Bilstein 5100 Leveling Shocks for the front and two Bilstein 5100s for the rear.1. To outfit a new Tacoma, we got two Bilstein 5100 Leveling Shocks for the front and two 2. There are four different slots on the new 5100s where a collar snaps onto the shock. A new free-floating coil seat it given that sits on top of the collar. This is how you can adjust the height of a truck's front end using the Bilsteins.2. There are four different slots on the new 5100s where a collar snaps onto the shock. A 3. We started at Ericson Automotive by setting the truck on jackstands, removing the wheels, disconnecting the sway bars, and popping the upper A-arm's ball joint off the top of the knuckle.This is a pretty standard sequence of steps to get to the shocks of any strut or coilover IFS front end.3. We started at Ericson Automotive by setting the truck on jackstands, removing the wheel 4. Ericson Automotive used a strut spring compressor to remove the coils from the original struts since we'll be reusing them on the 5100s. By reusing the coil, Bilstein was able to keep costs down and keep the same spring rate in the front end.4. Ericson Automotive used a strut spring compressor to remove the coils from the original 5. We were replacing Bilsteins with Bilsteins on this Tacoma 2WD Prerunner. You can see that we're moving to a larger shock body, and keeping the same extended length strut, no matter where the height adjustment collar is set. The original 5100 looks longer because it has a spacer on top that gives a longer fully-extended length.5. We were replacing Bilsteins with Bilsteins on this Tacoma 2WD Prerunner. You can see th 6. Once Ericson Automotive had the 5100s put together with the original coil hardware, we reinstalled them into the front end of the Tacoma. Since the new shocks' extended length is the same as the original strut, it is easy to install them.6. Once Ericson Automotive had the 5100s put together with the original coil hardware, we 7. After the new strut is in, the upper ball joint can be reattached to the knuckle. 8. The sway bars should be the last thing to reattach. Also, if trying this at home, make sure that the knuckle is not pulling the brake line tight when hanging free from the upper A-arm. We took no chances during our install and removed the brackets that hold the brake lines to the frame.8. The sway bars should be the last thing to reattach. Also, if trying this at home, make 9. In the rear, we popped the stock shocks off to replace them with specifically-valved 5100 shocks so that the rear of this truck has similar dampening qualities to the front.9. In the rear, we popped the stock shocks off to replace them with specifically-valved 51 Test Drive We took the Tacoma out for a test drive shortly after installing the Bilstein 5100 shocks and adding some 31-inch Falken Wildpeak all-terrain tires. Though the original shocks on this truck were still in good condition, the ride was hugely improved. Handling felt better even on highway corners. There was less lean in the truck and it didn't feel like the rear would come around as much. The spring rates were kept completely the same, but the truck just felt a little more responsive. Sources Bilstein 14102 Stowe Drive Poway CA 92064 858-386-5900 http://www.bilsteinus.com Ericson Automotive n/a 805-781-9424 By Dirk Saters Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!