My Bilstein Shock Install

Deuce Cam
Posts: 1295
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:41 pm
Location: AZ

My Bilstein Shock Install

Postby Deuce Cam » Sun May 10, 2015 11:23 am

I installed Bilstein shocks a few months back and took some pics during the install.

The hardware:

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Specs:

34-000984: front inverted mono tube insert (internal bump stop)
Extended: 24.07
Collapsed: 18.11
Valving: 1285/725 (Reb/Comp)

24-003193: rear mono tube shock
Extended: 21.83
Collapsed: 13.78
Valving: 1695/740 (Reb/Comp)

A special tool is necessary for the Bilstein gland nuts which can be purchased directly from them. Alternatively, a 1-3/4" pinned spanner wrench like this works perfectly:

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I started here with the pics since removing the strut is easy enough:

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My method for removing the top nut (I used a spring compressor tool to compress the spring before doing this):

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This is how I remove stock style gland nuts (gland nut in vice and pipe wrench on strut):

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I like to wrap 2-3 bands of silicone tape around the insert so it's held securely inside the strut side-to-side. I forgot to get pics of this step with the Bilsteins, but I have a picture from an old setup that will suffice:

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Then I placed the strut in a vice, installed the insert and tightened the gland nut. I placed a cheater bar over the spanner wrench for more leverage since the nuts need to be tight. With everything installed and tight I grabbed the strut in one hand and the top of the shock in the other, then pulled up and down to see if the insert was captive inside the strut and not moving up and down at all (basically to make sure there's no play):

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**The Bilstein instructions said to compress the front inserts all the way by hand before installing the spring, etc. to lube the seal and cartridge (grease is already in there). I put a block of wood on top of the shock and slowy depressed all the way, and then slowly returned. After doing this it said to apply some white lithium grease to the rubber seal on the gland nut so I did.

I could then assemble the coil over strut. Same method as shown above (in reverse) to install the spring, top hat, and strut top mount with retention nut. I tightened the top nut to 34 lb/ft per factory spec:

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Then I slapped them in the car:

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Once installed I checked to see if the gland nuts could be tightened more. Due to the tight space, I found an appropriately sized deep socked and extension slipped over the spanner worked great for more leverage, and still fit under the fender. I got them a little tighter this way:

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My starting point for the rear:

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From the instructions I determined this is how the bushings are stacked:

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Plopped them in the car:

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This is how I tightened the top nut to spec (19 lb/ft. according to Bilstein, 18 lb/ft. according to Toyota, I chose 18). A crow's foot wrench is needed to use a tq. wrench:

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Last edited by Deuce Cam on Sun May 10, 2015 2:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Deuce Cam
Posts: 1295
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:41 pm
Location: AZ

Re: My Bilstein Shock Install

Postby Deuce Cam » Sun May 10, 2015 11:24 am

The review:

I'm now sold on Bilstein shocks. The build quality is the best I've seen so far and they fit perfectly. I like the consistent feel of these mono tubes vs. the twin tube shocks I've tried. As a result they seem more refined.

They are a sport/performance shock so don't expect a cushy ride. You may have noticed from the specs that that the rear shocks have a relatively large amount of rebound force for stock replacements. I'll admit that the valving isn't really my taste; it's definitely rear biased. I was told it's more of an og rally style setup, in other words, tail happy. Although I have yet to match proper spring rates too them, I'm confident a a good compromise between comfort and sportiness can be obtained.

In terms of spring rates the Espelir units (3k/2.8k) were an ok match for the Bilsteins. The front was matched well (sporty and comfortable), but the rear seemed a little over damped.

The stock springs (1.9k/2.2k) are over damped front and rear. This is what I'm using currently. It makes for a bit of a harsh ride considering stock springs. However, it's very tossable and fun. Surprisingly, I don't feel like I gave up too much coming from a proper short stroke setup w/ diy coilovers up front and 8/6k spring rates, but I only use the car on the street.

I do have an intermittent clunk coming from the front suspension since I changed my suspension up when installing these Bilstein shocks. (I pretty much changed everything along with shocks.) It's sometimes present over small bumps/dips. I've spent the last couple months trying to diagnose with no luck. At this point I think it's either in the top mounts, coil over assembly or front shock inserts. I spoke with Bilstein about it and they offered to inspect the shocks if I could send them in since they're still under warranty. They were very cool about it even though it's possible the shocks aren't the problem. Unfortunately, it's my only car at the moment and I don't have a good set of spare shocks so I'll have to live with the clunking for the time being.
Last edited by Deuce Cam on Sun May 10, 2015 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

-zenki-
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Re: My Bilstein Shock Install

Postby -zenki- » Sun May 10, 2015 1:36 pm

I had these shocks but sold them with my parts car. Best shocks i've ever had and still regret selling them.
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Deuce Cam
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Location: AZ

Re: My Bilstein Shock Install

Postby Deuce Cam » Sun May 10, 2015 2:13 pm

I was surprised how little info there is about them online. I came across a handful of one-liner mentions of them on aeu86.org and a few Australian forums, but nothing really specific. From my perspective the same can be said for the Koni shocks. Both are at the top of the range in price which might be why.

I've been meaning to see if these specific shocks can be revalved, and if their CA location offers the service. That would be killer!

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saiGone
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Re: My Bilstein Shock Install

Postby saiGone » Wed May 13, 2015 8:05 am

Great write up!

How much did you spend total?
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Deuce Cam
Posts: 1295
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:41 pm
Location: AZ

Re: My Bilstein Shock Install

Postby Deuce Cam » Fri May 15, 2015 4:11 pm

The Bilstein and Koni shocks are among the most expensive stock drop-in replacements for the ae86. Also, they're probably not suitable for moderate/high spring rates and lowering. I assume that is why there isn't much info about them.

You can get an idea of what they cost by searching the part numbers.

Edit: Regarding the higher cost... it's worth mentioning that in addition to the high quality, Bilstein offers a pretty sound warranty http://www.bilsteinus.com/products/sear ... /warranty/.

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saiGone
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Re: My Bilstein Shock Install

Postby saiGone » Mon May 18, 2015 10:37 am

Thanks. T3 also started carrying them as well.

I'm interested in these for a drift set-up, but
I havn't heard anyone trying them with 8k /6K
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Deuce Cam
Posts: 1295
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:41 pm
Location: AZ

Re: My Bilstein Shock Install

Postby Deuce Cam » Tue May 19, 2015 12:06 pm

The shocks on the t3 site are short stroke and aren't ae86 specific, although he adapted the mounting so they will bolt up to an ae86. According to his description they're probably a closer fit for what you want in terms of spring rates and intended use.

Mine are ae86 specific long stroke stock replacements. I assume t3 can get them since he sells Bilstein stuff now. An 8k front spring rate is going to be way too much for these shocks - they actually started to feel a little supple with 3k springs fwiw. The rear might handle 6k since the on paper specs aren't far off from the TRD race shocks, but the setup would likely be under damped and not ideal (just like trd's on 6k springs imo).

Another thing to consider about the long stroke shocks I'm using.... I wouldn't recommend more than 1" of drop (this goes for all long stroke stock replacements). This is because one runs the risk of bottoming out with milder spring rates. Really high spring rates will help with bottoming out if one is even lower, but the shocks will still be compressed beyond their effective range most of the time which can affect shock performance and shorten the life.

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saiGone
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Re: My Bilstein Shock Install

Postby saiGone » Tue May 19, 2015 2:26 pm

For sure. thanks
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