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Discussion Starter #1
Thinking about upgrading the shocks on my 2019 Chevy 3500HD 4x4 Crew Cab SRW SB High Country. Stock shocks are the black AC Delco’s (not a Z-71 w/ Rancho shocks). Truck now has a Tuff Country leveling kit installed (tubular a-arms, replacement torsion keys, shock drop spacers, differential drop spacers, limit straps, etc.). Truck was lifted ~ 2.5 inches in the front but still has slight rake (~ 3/4 inch). I replaced the stock rims and tires with aftermarket ... but stayed with the stock sizes. Aftermarket rims are a +18mm offset vs the factory +42mm offset ... which equates to widening the stance of the truck ~ 2 inches (~ 1 inch wider on each side). Also added Hellwig front and rear sway bars to eliminate body roll on the corners (definitely stiffened the ride ... especially sided to side ... and uneven bumps in the road).
To be honest, I am looking to achieve the best ride / handling in town ... and on the highway. Truck is used for a daily driver and hauling our RV on the weekends (~ 8 months of the year). We have a Polaris General 4-seater for off-roading ... so our Duramax will rarely even see a dirt road.
Online magazine reviews state the Fox 2.0 shocks are designed more for the off-road and are stiffer than both the 4600 & 5100 series Bilsteins ... obviously not the right shocks for my driving situation. The online magazine reviews also state that the 5100 series Bilsteins are stiffer than 4600 Bilsteins ... and the 5100’s are truly designed for trucks with larger wheels and tires. And to make the decision process even less obvious, one online magazine review stated that 4600’s are meant for lighter trucks (1/2-ton and smaller) ... and the 5100’s were designed for heavier 3/4 and 1-ton trucks.
Can’t seem to find any threads where someone has changed out the black AC Delco stock shocks on their Duramax for the Bilstein shocks ... and can relay their opinions on:
1. Was it worth spending the money ?
2. Softer vs firmer ride ... stock vs 4600 vs 5100 ?
3. Other attributes
 

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4600 is stock height

5100 is for lifted up to 2"

Besides that, everything I could read said they were 100% identical.

In your case I would go 5100 because you have lifted the truck...


I had the shitty Rancho's on my 2500, completely stock, it drove like shit. With the 4600's on it, it was night and day difference.
 

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Bilstein 5100's were night and day compared to stock Rancho's. First speed bump and you'll be glad you spent the money.
 

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4600 is stock height

5100 is for lifted up to 2"
NOT completely true. 5100s can be had for stock height as well.

I thik his question is really about the ride quality with the 5100s vs the 4600s.
 

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NOT completely true. 5100s can be had for stock height as well.

I thik his question is really about the ride quality with the 5100s vs the 4600s.
Tru dat as I have a set of 5100s on my stock LMM.
 

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I just changed my 5100's for yellow and blue. Can't say that I can tell the difference when driving down the road. I thought that I MIGHT see a difference from the rear of the truck as I have drop shackles installed.
 

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Besides that, everything I could read said they were 100% identical.
Totally not true.

Damping forces of Bilstein valvings are measured in Newtons at a velocity of 0.52 meters/seconds (approximately 20 inches/second). The ratings shown below correspond to those measurements; rebound force is the first number, followed by compression force (rebound / compression). The ratings are written as one tenth the damping force in Newtons.
EXAMPLE: Valve rating: 275 / 78
Rebound force is 2750 Newtons at 0.52 m/s and the Compression force is 780 Newtons at 0.52 m/s

So with that information .....

Bilstein 4600
Front 375/38
Rear 236/59

Bilstein 5100
Front 439/128
Rear 179/78

As you can see, the compression valving for the fronts are very different.
 

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I went with the 1500's, as I do on all of my non-car vehicles. They replaced the stock Rancho's. The ride is smoother and more controlled. I wish I had done the swap earlier.
 

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I've had fox 2.0 and Bilstein 4600's.
The fox were much firmer. I find the Bilstein shocks rise better on the road and while towing.
Since your truck is lifted you'll want the Bilstein 5100's.

I also have a new 3500.. are you happy with the ride quality since leveling? Have you towed heavy yet, since lifting?
 

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Also .. the arcitles I read show the 5100 and 4600's to have the same level of stiffness. And with are considered heavy duty shocks.

I use my truck to tow a toy hauler around the country. Upgrading to the 4600's was worth the money. It firmed up the ride some and helped with the floaty feeling ride
 

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Also, I see you added a front sway bar as well. I think your truck came with a front sway bar didn't it? I added the hellwig big wig on the rear of mine and it made a noticeable difference. Was replacing the front one worth it?
 

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I have a 2016 Duramax Denali leveled. The ride stiffend a little when I leveled it. Then I was thinking about doing and actual lift to get my soft ride back. I ended up getting Bilstein 5100 and 35x12.5 mud tires on stock wheels and I'm pretty happy with the ride now. I think 35's fit best on stock offset wheels otherwise you need suspension lift and possibly fender mod depending on how aggressive you go on the wheel offset
 

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I replaced the shocks on my 2004 lb7 with the 5100s. My truck is leveled and has 285 tires. I did not notice much difference at all over stock ones. Even tho the stock ones were shot. It still rides like a bulldozer over broken concrete. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Totally not true.

Damping forces of Bilstein valvings are measured in Newtons at a velocity of 0.52 meters/seconds (approximately 20 inches/second). The ratings shown below correspond to those measurements; rebound force is the first number, followed by compression force (rebound / compression). The ratings are written as one tenth the damping force in Newtons.
EXAMPLE: Valve rating: 275 / 78
Rebound force is 2750 Newtons at 0.52 m/s and the Compression force is 780 Newtons at 0.52 m/s

So with that information .....

Bilstein 4600
Front 375/38
Rear 236/59

Bilstein 5100
Front 439/128
Rear 179/78

As you can see, the compression valving for the fronts are very different.
Thank You ... being an engineer myself this is exactly what I was looking for.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I've had fox 2.0 and Bilstein 4600's.
The fox were much firmer. I find the Bilstein shocks rise better on the road and while towing.
Since your truck is lifted you'll want the Bilstein 5100's.

I also have a new 3500.. are you happy with the ride quality since leveling? Have you towed heavy yet, since lifting?
Have not towed yet. Unfortunately purchased the truck for work use reasons at the end of the RV season this year. Truck will see its maiden voyage with the RV in late March.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Broke down and purchased a set of Bilstein 5100’s today.

Going over a set of railroad tracks recently finalized the decision to replace the stock AC Delco shocks.

Will install the Bilsteins over the Christmas and give my feedback once I have put some miles on them.
 

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You’ll be happy with the 5100’s. The faster you go over bumps, the less you feel 😎😎😎🔥🔥.

They are valved that way.
 
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