NFR Truck shocks

Elliott5400

Active Member
#1
Anyone ever use the Bilstein Heavy Duty? If so how do you like the performance? These are a 2nd gen which are supposed to have a smoother ride than the previous version. Quite beefier than the stock shocks. The ML320 I'm putting them in have really bad bounce with stock suspension and have heard good things about these giving an "on rails" handling feel on highway.
20180102_113057.jpg
 

Elliott5400

Active Member
#3
Don’t know how they are on the 320 but Bilstein 5100s are the shocks Toyota uses on the TRD Off Road package. They are a quality shock.
Have you asked on the vehicle forums?
I don't think they make the 5100s for the ML unfortunately. When I test drove a new TRD off road tacoma with the bilsteins I really liked the ride quality. Hope these are similar. The bounce is so bad (needs control arms and ball joints also) I couldn't take it anymore. Otherwise the AWD system works great and it's a really well built solid suv. I probably should of looked for a vehicle forum section here, mods can move this please if need be.
 
#4
I don't think they make the 5100s for the ML unfortunately. When I test drove a new TRD off road tacoma with the bilsteins I really liked the ride quality. Hope these are similar. The bounce is so bad (needs control arms and ball joints also) I couldn't take it anymore. Otherwise the AWD system works great and it's a really well built solid suv. I probably should of looked for a vehicle forum section here, mods can move this please if need be.
I meant a specific to the ML forum, no vehicle forum here.
 

Elliott5400

Active Member
#6
i have them on my 91 yota. its not a comfy ride but thats not what i wanted either :)
What I'm looking for is more control on highways, less bounce and a sort of "on rails" type of control. Fully expecting to sacrifice a bit of OEM comfort for the performance trade off. Would you say you are satisfied with them?
 

Elliott5400

Active Member
#7
Also do you know if you have the "H1" or "H2" in other words in the Bilstein PN label or stamp it should end with one of those. The latter being a revised edition that brings a little more ride comfort. Not sure if that is just for the ML or other models.
 

Dustin Bise

Active Member
#9
Also do you know if you have the "H1" or "H2" in other words in the Bilstein PN label or stamp it should end with one of those. The latter being a revised edition that brings a little more ride comfort. Not sure if that is just for the ML or other models.
not sure which it is. i bought them in 2013 or so. yes, it makes my truck handle better at speed slightly, and it certainly helped the high speed "bounce" factor for me., but its a 91 yota... it wouldnt say it feels like its on rails. I had a modded 91 eclipse GSX on lowered on a nice set of adjustable coilovers. that thing felt like it was on rails. The truck feels more like a deathtrap, even with the suspension upgrades. but it feels WAY better then it did on beat up old shocks. its a beast on washboards and old forest roads, and can navigate them at decent speed if you dont mind a little spinal compression.
 
#10
not sure which it is. i bought them in 2013 or so. yes, it makes my truck handle better at speed slightly, and it certainly helped the high speed "bounce" factor for me., but its a 91 yota... it wouldnt say it feels like its on rails. I had a modded 91 eclipse GSX on lowered on a nice set of adjustable coilovers. that thing felt like it was on rails. The truck feels more like a deathtrap, even with the suspension upgrades. but it feels WAY better then it did on beat up old shocks. its a beast on washboards and old forest roads, and can navigate them at decent speed if you dont mind a little spinal compression.
Nice. The rest of this car is nicely built. The interior quality beats even some new cars. And the AWD 4matic system just performs great. The only downside is the bad suspension which is to be expected at 153k. If I didn't work in a specialty shop for European cars I probably wouldn't proceed. But I can somewhat turn a wrench (I work parts) and the deals I get on parts like the Bilstein B6 and delivered to my desk within hours or less with our distributors is just too good to pass up. I've seen the M class come in with 230k+ miles still holding up okay if cared for. I'm going to go ahead and replace the upper control arms front and rear (non-replaceable ball joints) tie rods, lower CA bush. And all 4 lower ball joints with an updated HD version. I take it on long highway drives, up forest service roads and snowboarding all the time without much complaint.
 

MRKbass

Active Member
#11
Those look like 4600 series. I've ran both. Unless you get vehicle specific valving, the 5100's will probably be firmer. All bilstein are quality built, some just match up better for your ride. You may want to look into some of the manufacturers with in car adjustable valving. Rancho, king, etc.
 
#12
As you work in a specialty shop have you asked the staff about the Bilsteins? You are right in addressing the control arms and related suspension parts; MB are known for these parts wearing out sooner than some other brands. All suspension parts work in harmony, other contributing factors can be alignment and tire pressure.
My experience with Billy’s is with my 2017 Tundra with TRD suspension and a Miata, both using them in an OEM handling package. In the Tundra, the ride is firm on the highway and really shines on rough pavement and washboard type surfaces. In the Miata, they were bone jarring on anything other than smooth pavement, as in a track. I replaced them with a 16-way adjustable coilover and spring combination that is much more satisfactory for every day road conditions, yet can quickly be adjusted for canyon carving, auto cross or light track work.
As MRKbass suggested, might want to look into the adjustable units, but research will pay off, ask your fellow shop and MB owners what they like.
 
#13
Those look like 4600 series. I've ran both. Unless you get vehicle specific valving, the 5100's will probably be firmer. All bilstein are quality built, some just match up better for your ride. You may want to look into some of the manufacturers with in car adjustable valving. Rancho, king, etc.
These ones happen to be MB ML valves specific. They unfortunately do not make the 5100 for my car but those seem to be more for lifted vehicles. My co worker put King suspension in his 4runner to the tune of $5k. A full set of these including rear with Bilstein springs will run me way way way way wayyyy under a grand. The fronts are easy to install but I have to pay shop time for everything else as it is out of my ability.
 
#14
As you work in a specialty shop have you asked the staff about the Bilsteins? You are right in addressing the control arms and related suspension parts; MB are known for these parts wearing out sooner than some other brands. All suspension parts work in harmony, other contributing factors can be alignment and tire pressure.
My experience with Billy’s is with my 2017 Tundra with TRD suspension and a Miata, both using them in an OEM handling package. In the Tundra, the ride is firm on the highway and really shines on rough pavement and washboard type surfaces. In the Miata, they were bone jarring on anything other than smooth pavement, as in a track. I replaced them with a 16-way adjustable coilover and spring combination that is much more satisfactory for every day road conditions, yet can quickly be adjusted for canyon carving, auto cross or light track work.
As MRKbass suggested, might want to look into the adjustable units, but research will pay off, ask your fellow shop and MB owners what they like.
They don't really drive MB at my work. They drive BMW or Land Rover. Looking in some ML forum these are looking very promising for what I'm looking for. Hoping they help with washboard road comfort if I maybe lower tire psi when approaching. Rocky Ford was very rough last time I took it there with the weak stock stuff. These generation ML (W163) are known for bad ball joints due to a lot of weight resting on them. Hope these heavy duty compound ones hold up better. Then again these did make it 153k miles OK. I have a little 01 GTI with H&R touring cup kit and it's almost on rails and rides a little stiff but not horrible. I was either going to pony up and get the VW alltrack 4motion wagon or a Chevy Colorado but I'm kind of rough on adventure rigs at times so don't really want a car payment for something like that so I figure I'll keep rolling this for a few more years until I'm ready to pay monthly.
 
Last edited:

Latest posts