Bilstein 5160 & 6112 Lift 5th Gen 4Runner Review

 In 5th Gen Mods, Install, Off-Road

Bilstein 5160 & 6112 Complete Guide for the 5th Gen Owner

Bilstein 5160 Complete Guide for the 5th Gen Owner

Considering a 6112 and 5160 Suspension for your 4Runner? Read this complete guide first!

A suspension is crucial to any vehicle – whether you have a performance sports car, off-road vehicle, all-terrain vehicle, or anywhere between. The reason you need a good suspension is that suspension heavily controls how your vehicle handles and keeps your tires on the ground.

For some people, they want a solid ride on the road and don’t care much about off-road handling. Others want something that resembles a trophy Baja truck that can fly through bumps at 50+ mph. Of course, there is everything in between as well.

The important thing to remember is that although a Baja truck can fly through rough terrain, it is nowhere near ideal for daily driving… and almost dangerous if you ever have to do a quick maneuver.

On the other hand, you are not going to have a nice ride if you take a vehicle with on-road suspension off-road, you might even break something.

Although the 5th Gen 4Runner comes with a solid suspension from the factory, it can be drastically upgraded.

What suspension upgrade?

  • Fox shocks
  • King
  • Icon
  • Bilstein

I will admit, I wasn’t as knowledgeable about suspension as I thought I was until I decided I was going to upgrade the suspension on my 2017 4Runner TRD Off-Road and researched it heavily – and I mean heavily.

Bilstein 6112 and 5160 Lift:

  • Bilstein Coilover (6112): Check Price
  • Bilstein Rear Shock option 1 (5100 1.25-2″ Lift): Check Price
  • Bilstein Rear Shock with Resivoir option 2 (5160 1.25-2″ Lift): Check Price
  • Rear Spring (ICON 52700): Check Price
  • Upper Control Arms – not needed

Fox, King, Icon, and Bilstein?

Fox, King, Icon, and Bilstein?

I’d heard of Fox, King, Icon and Bilstein, but what makes one better than the other? The answer is neither one is “better”, one is just better suited for your application and style.

Going straight for Fox

When I first started looking for some new suspension on my 4Runner I went straight to Fox. The reason being the popularity, following, and publicity that Fox has. Another reason was my 2018 Specialized Camber Comp 29 mountain bike has Fox suspension with adjustable compression and dampening… and man it is amazing. It can soak up bumps like I never knew possible. I also have a friend who has a semi-trophy truck loaded with the finest shocks Fox has to offer.

The problem is that my bike only has two wheels and 4Runners have four, and I don’t have or want a trophy truck… or thousands of dollars to spend on suspension. Although my mountain bike and my friend’s truck with Fox shocks handle off-road amazingly, I have a 4Runner that I use as my daily driver and spend at least 95% of the time on-road. I also don’t want to add any more body roll or nose dive to my 4Runner.

Suspension upgrade that was under $1,500

As I researched further into shocks it became evident that the engineering that goes into the valving and design of shocks is unbelievable. As an engineer myself, I began to understand the differences, benefits and negatives of each type of design.

Each company and each shock has its own unique valving and characteristics that can make it handle better in one situation, but potentially not as good in another area. Basically, I am trying to say it is nearly impossible to have a shock that is perfect both on and off-road.

Of course, as with everything, money can get you a much fancier shock with adjustability, bypass zones, and much more. However, I was looking for a suspension upgrade that was under $1,500 for new front and rear shocks so aspects such as adjustable compression, rebound, and bypass zones were somewhat out of the picture.

The need for on-road shocks vs. off-road shocks

I really wanted to get Fox shocks, but the more I researched I realized how much these shocks were actually meant to be utilized off-road… just like the shocks on my mountain bike. You can no doubt drive on road with this suspension, but there are other suspensions far better suited for on-road use than Fox shocks can provide, it really just depends on the type of performance you are looking for.

I want to be completely honest that although I have an extremely capable 4Runner, I drive it on road at least 95% of the time, maybe more.

I don’t want to sound like some hardcore off-roader. Even though I do take my 4Runner in some extreme terrain when I do go off road for fishing, mountain biking, traveling and just weekend drives, I am still on road 95% of the time and it didn’t seem practical to decrease the on-road handling of my 4Runner just to improve the 5% of time that I am off-road.

What I wanted was a suspension system that would benefit me on-road as well as give me more off-road capability. But is there such a shock?

Making my way to Bilstein Shocks

Here is where Bilstein shocks come into the picture. All TRD Pro 4Runners (prior to the new 2019s) came with Bilstein shock absorbers.

Although the new TRD Pro 4Runners come with Fox shocks, these shocks have bypass zones and other technology that drastically increase the price of the suspension making it far more expensive than other options and therefore out of my budget.

You might ask why Toyota went away from the Bilstein setup on the TRD Pros and switched to Fox.

Well, quite frankly I believe it is because Toyota wanted the TRD Pro 4Runner to be even more off-road worthy, and when it comes down to it, the Fox shocks they put on the 2019 TRD Pro are more off-road worthy…but not necessarily more on road worthy.

If you don’t want this type of off-road shock, then you get the next best 4Runner…the TRD Off-Road. This is simply my opinion, but I think it makes sense.

Bilstein 6112 and 5160 Suspension Setup

Bilstein 6112 and 5160 Suspension Setup

Essentially, the suspension that I decided to go with is what the TRD Pro 4Runner (2018 and older) came with. In the front, the 6112 shocks have ride height adjustability so you can lift the front of your 4Runner anywhere form 0 – 2.5”.

They also have a larger, 60mm digressive piston so you are increasing the amount of oil you have significantly, which correlates to a more rugged shock that prevents shock overheating and can handle longer periods of continuous suspension demand in comparison to the factory shocks.

The overall shock construction is more rugged than the factory front shocks and other options such as the Bilstein 5100s, as the 6112 come with a larger diameter shaft for increased durability. The 6112 also give more suspension travel (new upper control arm needed to gain the extra travel though).

In the rear, the 5160’s are the same diameter piston as factory, however, they come with a remote reservoir so once again you gain the benefit of increased oil capacity…but more importantly the remote reservoir gives you more suspension travel by allowing components that would otherwise be in the main monotube to be located in the reservoir, and therefore giving you extended travel.

The 5160s also come with a larger diameter shaft for increased durability and rigidity just like the 6112s.

Bilstein 6112 (Front Shock)

Bilstein 6112 and 5160 Suspension Setup

As to the design of these shocks, they have digressive valving.

I will need to publish a different article on the three types of valving, but for the purposes of this article digressive valving means the shock dampening curve digresses as the shaft speed increases.

This might not make sense, but it essentially means that these shocks react more when the shock shaft is traveling at a higher velocity. This typically corresponds to larger impacts and bumps, meaning these shocks won’t make smaller bumps silky smooth, but they do a great job at making larger bumps not so jarring.

In my opinion, this is why I think these shocks are so good for someone who uses their 4Runner as a daily driver and spends 95% of the time on-road.

Body Roll and Nosedive

Depending on where you live, roads should be relatively smooth. Of course, your suspension still does a lot of work, but not as much as off road. One thing a lot of people notice with a 4Runner is that it nosedives when braking… a lot. This is because it has a relatively soft suspension from the factory in order to smooth out bumps when going off-road.

When off-road at slower speeds, this is a good thing; however, on road, this gives the 4Runner a clumsy feel with not much composure and also is not the best at higher speeds off-road.

The 4Runner has quite a bit of body roll when changing lanes quickly, going around a tight corner, or if you ever have to make a maneuver to avoid an accident, debris in the road, etc.

All of this nose-diving and body roll decreases the reactiveness and handling of the 4Runner. In general, if you install progressive dampening shocks (like Fox shocks) you will tend to only further increase the nose-diving and body roll while driving on road. Considering most of us are on road the majority of the time this isn’t the best handling for driving on the highway and around cities.

The Bilstein 6112s and 5160s aim to improve on-road handling while still giving a capable off-road suspension… and I think they do just that.

What Front Lift?

A big question that many people might debate is how much lift to get. The 6112 shocks allow you to raise your 4Runner anywhere from 0 – 2.5 inches.

Here are the following heights you can go with:

  • 2.5”
  • 2.0”
  • 1.6” – almost exactly level
  • 1.2”
  • 0.8”
  • 0.0”

As you can see, you have quite a few options, but which one should you pick? It all depends on your application. If you are not going to lift the rear of your 4Runner in some form or fashion, I’d stay under a 1.6” front lift. The 1.6” front lift will be almost exactly level.

If you do decide to level your 4Runner, remember that it will look nice and level… but not if you are towing something or have a significant amount of gear in the back. The extra weight in the back will cause your nose to point up.

Higher lift = decrease on-road performance? 

Another point to mention is the more you raise the front of your car the more you are raising the center of gravity. If you think about it, lifting the front of your car lifts the whole front of the car, including the engine which contributes a lot of weight. In consideration of this, lifting the front will improve off-road capability but decrease on-road handling.

CV axle angles

Lastly, you are also changing the angle of your front CV axles. This isn’t necessarily bad, but increasing the angle of the CV axle will create more wear and tear when 4WD is engaged as well as not transfer power as good as CV axles with flatter angles…however, these are small changes we are discussing so don’t be too alarmed, it is just something to consider that you might not think of.

To me, the 1.6” front lift looks good, however, I do carry quite a bit of gear in the back at times and didn’t want to “pop a wheely” down the road during these times. I also wanted to maintain solid CV axle angles as small of a reason as that may be.

What ride height is right for you? 

I narrowed it down to the 1.2” front lift and 0.8” front lift. Ultimately, I decided to go with the 1.2” lift. Why? It was a good middle ground. The 0.8” lift wasn’t quite enough and the 1.6” lift was too high. I have just a slight forward rake and when I put some gear in the back I am pretty much level. Depending on the amount of gas I have in my tank, I have about a 0.5” – 0.75” difference in height from the front and back. With all my fishing and camping gear loaded up, it’s right around 0.25” difference.

Whatever front lift you decide to go with, if any, make sure to get an alignment afterward. The lift alters the geometry of the front suspension and alignment is needed to get it back to where it needs to be.

Extended Travel?

Bilstein 5160 Complete Guide for the 5th Gen Owner

One of the benefits of installing the Bilstein 6112s and 5160s is increased suspension travel.

Why is this important? Have you ever been off road and one of your tires is in the air or almost in the air? Well, if you had more suspension travel your tires might have stayed on the ground, therefore giving you better traction and improving your safety while off road.

With the Bilstein 6112s and 5160s, you get extra suspension travel but not exactly “extended travel” like a Total Chaos Long Travel suspension. With this suspension, you will see about an inch of extra travel. However, you don’t get this travel right out of the box.

In the rear, the 4Runner has a solid axle. When you install the 5160s in the rear you gain the benefit of about 1.0” of extra travel just by installing the new shocks. The front isn’t quite so simple.

The front suspension has double wishbone independent suspension, and this means you don’t gain the additional travel unless you install aftermarket upper control arms. Even though you don’t gain the extra travel right out of the box, you are one step closer to having more travel in the front suspension by installing the 6112s.

Installation

Installing the 6112s and 5160s can be completed in your garage, but installing the front 6112s will require more time, tools and effort.

For a full reference on the 6112s and 5100s, check out this write up.

I will cover the installation of the 5160s briefly and then conclude with a summary of my overall impression on the suspension.

Step 1

Since you will need to jack your vehicle up off the ground, it is important to be safe. Place blocks under the front tires to ensure your 4Runner will not roll forward or backward.

After doing so, loosen the lug nuts on one of the rear wheels. After loosening all the lugnuts (but not removing them) go ahead and position a jack under your 4Runner’s rear axle and lift it up so you have just enough clearance under the rear tire to remove it.

Note: it is important to lift your 4Runner in the rear by the axle so that it is under load. I place a jack/jack stand under the frame for safety reasons as well. Remove the tire and set it aside.

Step 2

Remove the factory shock. This is straightforward and very simple to do. There is a nut at the top and a bolt at the bottom. I suggest removing the top nut first and then remove the bottom bolt.

Step 3

Install the brackets and worm clamps that hold the reservoir in place. I think Bilstein does a good job with their instructions so I will leave the actual instructions up to their instruction manual.

Step 4

Position the top of your shock into the upper shock mount. Make sure that the shock stem has the lower washer and lower busing in place before pushing the shock stem through the upper shock mount. After placing the shock in the upper shock mount place the upper bushing and upper washer on the shock stem. Then secure the upper assembly with the M12 locknut.

Step 5

Using an assistant, slowly compress the shock and position into place on the lower shock mount. It does take quite a bit of force to compress the shock so two people are best. After positioning the lower portion of the shock in the lower shock mount, install the factory bolt and tighten.

Step 6

Bilstein 5160 Complete Guide for the 5th Gen Owner

The last step is to simply install the reservoir into the worm clamps. Make sure to route the hose to the reservoir behind the main shock tube. After putting the reservoir into position, slowly tighten each worm clamp until the reservoir is secure.

Step 7

Fox, King, Icon, and Bilstein?

Enjoy your new suspension and a much more composed 4Runner – both on and off road.

On Road Handling

On road, the 6112 and 5160 shocks are unbelievable. They drastically transform the 4Runner into a much sportier and reactive vehicle. Due to the digressive valving, the Bilstein suspension makes the 4Runner feel much more composed.

There is much less nose diving when braking, body roll is significantly reduced and overall my 4Runner feels much more reactive and controllable.

I have also noticed I don’t get moved around by high winds on the highway as much either. Going around tight corners and quick unexpected braking have been drastically improved, and as I said, my vehicle is simply much more composed.

There is one road in particular where I live that has some turns that have pot holes right in the radius of the turns. With stock suspension, I would skip just slightly when I hit these holes going 50 mph around this corner.

With these new Bilstein shocks installed I can go around the corner and only feel a slight bump from the holes in the road. Without any hesitation, if you want to increase the on-road handling of your 4Runner, this is a great suspension system to install.

Gravel Roads

Here is where things get a little tricky to describe.

On relatively flat gravel roads the 6112 and 5160 suspension combination does great. You can really fly down the road and feel safe and composed while doing so.

If you are on a gravel road (or on road) with some potholes, the suspension might feel a little stiff or harsh. This is because of the digressive valving. It is hard to explain, but smaller bumps don’t make the suspension react very much.

This is why you have decreased nose dive and body roll, but also smaller bumps are a little harsher. However, if you are hitting some bigger bumps, these shocks react a lot and smooth out the ride much better than the factory suspension.

Off-Road Performance

Off-Road Performance

Off road (slow, crawling) these shocks are pretty good. Although I would need to install new upper control arms to gain the additional travel that the 6112s can provide, I do gain additional travel in the rear from the 5160s and this helps out a lot.

Some obstacles that I used to cause a rear tire to be in the air no longer occur, as the extra travel (about 1-inch of extra travel) allow my rear tires to stay more planted. This gives me more traction, ride quality off road, and an overall safer vehicle.

Vehicle Loaded with Weight

One thing I have noticed with the installation of the Bilstein 6112s and 5160s is that they handle incredibly when the vehicle is loaded with a little bit of weight.

In fact, if you plan on overlanding, or just haul your family around a lot, these would make for a great setup. The extra oil capacity, increased suspension travel, and excellent ride quality when loaded up a bit make for an awesome overland suspension setup.

Overall Thoughts

A suspension can be really tricky to understand, especially since some people might understand terms like digressive, progressive and linear valving while others may not.

What I can say is that after installing the Bilstein 6112s in the front and 5160s in the rear I gained a lot of on-road performance, increased my suspension travel for off-road, and overall improved my cars handling capabilities.

These shocks really shine on the road and are great off-road as well. The extra travel has already benefitted me off-road by helping my tires stay in contact with the ground.

Lastly, although smaller bumps may be transferred a little harsher into the cabin of my 4Runner, larger bumps have been significantly smoothed out by the digressive valving and has therefore given me a much more composed, and smoother ride.

Great suspension upgrade for around $1000

If you are looking for a suspension that is right around $1,000 that will significantly increase the 4Runner’s on-road handling, this may be a good option.

This setup also allows you to lift/level the front of your 4Runner, increase your suspension travel for the times you are flexing your suspension off-road.

If you are looking for these benefits and a more composed ride quality then I would consider installing the Bilstein 6112 and 5160 shocks.

Questions or Comments? Leave them below!

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Showing 30 comments
  • Karen
    Reply

    My son in Colorado owns a Toyota 4 runner, so I have ordered the new Rav4 XLE Premium, red. I do not have the vehicle yet, but I think those red stem caps would look good , where do I purchased them? Can you help?

    • Clint Taylor
      Reply

      Karen, I got them front Autozone but you might be able to get them off Amazon as well. They are made by Slime.

  • Don Love
    Reply

    I have this set up with KDSS on my 2019 OffRoad. It has been the perfect combination. We do about 80/20 pavement/off road, going to trails around Big Bear, out into the desert, and occasionally to Moab. I am very happy with this choice for the same reasons mentioned in the post.

    • Clint Taylor
      Reply

      Glad to hear the suspension is treating you well. I know i love it!

    • Kevin
      Reply

      Don, did you have any issues with KDSS lean with this setup? Is there anything you needed to do to balance out the system?

      • Don Love
        Reply

        I have had no lean, and did no adjustment to the KDSS. I set the 6112 on the second circlip which gave me 1.4” lift in the front. I put a aluminum hidden winch bumper from Greenlane OffRoad that weighs 46lbs and a Smittybilt x20 10k winch with synthetic cable weighing about 60lbs. I also put on a full set of RCI aluminum skids and sliders. I sit pretty much level and very much like the suspension.

  • Adam
    Reply

    This article was very timely for me! I recently purchased a 4th gen 4runner. I came to the exact same conclusions about priorities, and I’ve been trying to figure out a suspension setup with these exact attributes. Thanks for outlining the principles so clearly! It really helped me understand the what and why.

    Now I am wondering what about compatibility or what equivalent part options are available for my rig (2006 SR5 V6 4×4).

    • Clint Taylor
      Reply

      Adam,

      I am glad the article helped you out in figuring out a good suspension for your 4Runner!

      I did a quick search on Bilstein’s website and I believe these are the part numbers you need for a 2006 SR5 V6 4×4:

      Front 6112s: 47-260153
      Rear 5160s: 25-227611

      Please double check before you order.

  • Shaf
    Reply

    @Clint,

    I appreciate the time you took to document your findings and you communicated them well. I got a bit lost when you made the comment of the extra oil capacity. How is the engine oil effected? Also you made the comment that the upper control arms are not required for the front but I took it that you found that to match the long travel of the rear it would be a necessary add-on. If this is the case do you mind updating the link to the proper upper control arm. I have a 2017 model. I live in VA and do not have a garage which sets me back. I have this huge box sitting in my family room for the past 3 months containing a GOBI rack since the weather has not been agreeing with me 🙂

    • Clint Taylor
      Reply

      Shaf, it isn’t the engine oil I am referring to, it is the shock oil. Since the Bilstein shocks are larger in diameter (or have a remote reservoir) you have more volume to hold additional oil…which in hand gives you a higher performing shock because your shock will be less likely to overheat. As to the front suspension, if you want to gain additional travel you do need to install aftermarket control arms. As to which control arm you need, there are various makes and models. Here are a few companies I’d recommend checking out: Camburg, Total Chaos, and Icon. These three companies all make a good upper control arms for a 5th Gen 4Runner. As to your Gobi roof rack….hopefully the weather clears up soon for you, that will look nice on your 4Runner.

  • Bradford
    Reply

    So funny. This post couldn’t have been timed more perfectly. I just got my white 2018 TRD ORP non-KDSS yesterday and I can definitely feel the body roll and nosedive. It’s super smooth on road, but the trade off is that floaty feel that I don’t really like.

    This is my DD and will be taking a few road trips this year to Big Bear, Mammoth, and some road trips to hit some national parks. I was going back and forth between a 2-3 inch lift and bigger tires vs a Pro type look and driving feel. After reading your article, I am going to go with your setup. I think it looks great and will give me a good balance of on road performance as well as some mild off-roading capabilities. Plus I won’t be killing my MPG.

    I am planning to run the matte black TRD wheels along with the Nitto G2s at the same 265/70/17 stock size. Your tires are 265 yes? My ORP will have a Pro look and stance which I’m super happy with.

    Thanks again for this write up. I’ve been a daily visitor to your site for the past 3 months ever since I sold my Tacoma and started hunting for my 4runner. Keep up the great work!

  • Clint Taylor
    Reply

    Bradford, I am glad this article helped you out some! From what you are describing, I think this suspension setup would be great for your 4Runner. I am actually running Cooper Discoverer A/T3 in 275/70R17…so a slightly larger tire than what comes stock on the TRD Pro 4Runners. I highly recommend the A/T3 in 275s. Whatever direction you go with in regard to tires, this suspension seems to be a solid fit for what you are wanting in a suspension system.

  • Hao
    Reply

    I appreciate you for taking your time and effort to write this article, Clint! You just saved me thousands of dollars as I was seriously considering trading in my 2017 Limited for a 2020 TRD Pro in army green since I REALLY love the appearance of the Pro and I am all about OEM reliability(not into mods). But you mentioned that the new Fox suspension on the 2019 and newer TRD Pro was really designed for “true” off-road enthusiasts which I am not since I spend 95% of the time on the highway every day and I only off road(exploring trails) 3-4 times a year. What tires and what sizes do you have on your trd off road? Would you recommend 265 or 285 for us daily driver?

    • Clint Taylor
      Reply

      Hao, I’m happy to hear this article was of value to you. The new TRD Pros are awesome, however, I do believe they are one step closer to even more of an “off-road” side. I am running Cooper Discoverer A/T3 in 275/70R17, load rating C. For a daily driver I wouldn’t go any larger than the 275s I have. 285s look good and are great off road, but they require a substantial lift, potential regearing and impact your fuel economy quite a bit. The 275s are a good choice if you want to go to a slightly larger tire. Here is an article I published on the A/T3 from Cooper in 275s…I highly recommend them: https://trail4runner.com/2018/07/04/cooper-discoverer-at3-review/

      • Hao
        Reply

        Thank you, Clint, for the reply. Cooper Discovery A/T3 seems to be the best all-around tires since it is very pavement and highway friendly compared to most all terrain tires, I will definitely consider that.
        In your opinion, is it worth getting an army green pro if you are really into the color and new features but not into off-roading that much?

        • Clint Taylor
          Reply

          It definitely is very pavement and highway friendly for an all-terrain tire. I haven’t found an all-terrain tire that has better wet roads handling either. There are a lot of factors that play into that decision. I would just recognize that you are paying for a lot of extra off-road features by getting a TRD Pro 4Runner. If you are in the market for a new car I’d say test drive a TRD Pro and see what you think. If you are just wanting it for the color I’d consider getting your current 4Runner painted. Either way it’s up to you, hope this helps!

  • Jacky Yeung
    Reply

    Very helpful article. Thank you!

    • Clint Taylor
      Reply

      Jacky, awesome! Glad it helped you out!

  • Dan
    Reply

    Hello Clint
    Sounds like a great setup –
    I have a question with relation to the lifts/heights you mentioned.
    I currently have a Daystar leveling kit installed on my 2016 Limited- I also have the AREAS shocks of which I would have to remove (System) to install these – this is understood.
    What would the preferred height setting be for the shock when I install them ? would this be set to 0 as the vehicle already has a slight lift from the leveling kits?

    Thanks

    • Clint Taylor
      Reply

      Dan, if I am understanding your question correctly it is entirely up to you. Assuming this is a true leveling kit (meaning you only installed spacers in the front), you could either install the front shocks at “level 0″, or you could remove your Daystar leveling kit and set the Bilstein 6112s to a 1.2″ or 1.6″ setting. My recommendation would be to remove the Daystar leveling kit and set the Bilstein 6112s to 1.2″ or 1.6”. This removes components, weight, and simplifies your front lift. I hope this helps you out some.

  • William Alexander
    Reply

    Hey Clint –
    Thank you for writing a review that addresses how most of us use our rigs, 95/5 city to offroad.
    My 2019 SR5 currently has a “lift” (stock components with offsets) to run a set 285 KO2s, which looks awesome and drives acceptably, but other than the bigger tires the lift doesn’t aid in its ability off HWY.
    1. How does your setup address washboard and other abrupt but not large amplitude impacts on gravel roads and poorly maintained streets? My setup feels pretty harsh.
    2. Would your setup, with the lift, allow me to continue to run 285s, or would there be too much rubbing? What about if I want to increase travel with new upper control arms?
    Thanks!

  • Clint Taylor
    Reply

    William, that was the large intent of this article – a reasonably priced suspension system that most 4Runner owners would benefit from. As to your questions I’ll try to address them as best as possible.
    1. This is a difficult question to answer. To me, this suspension handles gravel roads much more controlled than the factory suspension, but it may feel a little stiffer depending on the particular gravel road. I live in a city with quite a few potholes to say the least and this suspension can really soak up the potholes. The important thing to remember is the digressive valving of these shocks. These shocks will be a little “stiffer” on smaller bumps but really soak up the larger bumps well. I’ve found that I can go much faster on washboard roads with these shocks and this is probably due to the digressive valving. So to sum this up, washboard roads may be slightly more harsh, but you have better control and can go at a higher speed.
    2.You probably wouldn’t be able to run 285’s with just the 1.2″ front lift and no rear lift like I have. You can run 275’s with this setup, but not 285’s. In general, you need about a 3″ front lift and 2″ rear lift to run 285’s…in general. For the rear, you could use the 5160s and buy aftermarket coils that provided the additional 2″ lift. For the front, you could set the shocks to 2.5″ and see how much rubbing you have. Depending on your wheel offset and particular tire you might be able to do some fender trimming and be good to go. If not, you could put in a small spacer lift to give you the additional .5-1.0″ lift in the front. You still might need to do some trimming, but maybe not as much.
    Hope this helps out!

    • William
      Reply

      My understanding of suspension dampening comes from mountain biking, where High Speed and Low Speed Compression Damping are individually tunable. Low speed damping addresses brake dive and weight shifting. High speed damping deals with larger impacts and ensures you don’t blow through all suspension when hitting an obstacle. Is there an article you recommend that further explains Bilstein’s digressive valving?

      • Clint Taylor
        Reply

        William, I also mountain bike (Specialized Camber Comp 29) so I can relate. Unfortunately, I can’t think of a good article that explains the difference in progressive, linear and digressive valving. The best way I can explain digressive valving is that it is kind of like high speed compression. It aims to soak up bumps (typically medium to larger bumps) that make the shock shaft travel at a fast velocity. In consideration of this, the Bilstein’s do a great job at smoothing out medium to larger bumps. However, the smaller bumps can be felt slightly more. Of course you can purchase shocks for the 4Runner that have low and high speed compression settings…but these cost multiple times more than this Bilstein setup. To sum it up, digressive valving gives the 4Runner better on road handling and soaks up medium to larger bumps much better. I hope this helps you out. If you need some further explanation please ask. Thanks!

  • Jake
    Reply

    Thanks for this write up. Like others have mentioned, your timing is impeccable. I am getting ready to purchase a 5th gen 4runner and have also noticed the questionable handling dynamics on the road. That and the “underpoweredness” have given me cause for pause when considering a 4runner (planning on the supercharger, but that’s a separate discussion). In your write up, you seem to indicate that this set up (6112 + 5160) is the best bet for optimizing the handling dynamics of a 4runner. I guess my question is how big of a difference has this made for your vehicle? I’m certainly not expecting the handling of a sports car, but I guess I’m used to a Grand Cherokee which handles much sportier and composed than the OEM 4Runner on the road. Also, have you noticed any difference in ride because of the tires? I appreciate any input you have.

    • Clint Taylor
      Reply

      Jake, if you are wanting to increase the on road handling of the 4Runner this suspension is great. It reduces nose dive significantly, reduces body roll significantly, and simply gives it a more “sporty” and controlled feel…while still giving you a more capable off road suspension than the factory setup. Just to make sure you are aware, I have Cooper Discoverer A/T3 in 275/70R17. I highly recommend these tires. I have tried many all terrain tires and these have been the quietest and given the best traction on road. They are amazing on road when it is raining too, lots of traction. These tires do weigh a little more than the factory tires and they are a little bigger so expect a little drop in your fuel economy, but not much. They do seem to smooth out small bumps in the road much better and also help to make my 4Runner feel a little more planted both on and off road. I hope this helps you out!

      • Jake
        Reply

        Thanks Clint- it does help. In terms of tires, you’d take the at3 over the ko2 or any other all terrains? You have any thoughts on the new at3 LT? Pirelli Scorpion AT Plus?

        • Clint Taylor
          Reply

          For a tire that is better suited for the road, I’d go with the A/T3 LT (this is the most current version of the A/T3 offered). If you plan on doing a significant amount of off-roading, I’d consider the K02s. The AT/3s are a little better on-road and K02s are a little better off-road, just depends on what you use your 4Runner for. As far as all-terrain tires, the A/T3 and K02s are the best I’ve found. Not that there aren’t other options out there that are good, these are just the best I’ve found and have personal experience with. I don’t have any experience with the Pirelli Scorpions AT Plus, but I have heard pretty good things about them.

  • Kevin
    Reply

    Clint, thank you for this write up. I have been researching suspension for far too long and this as steered me into the direction I’m going to go. In your setup did you change out the front or rear springs. I noticed on the link for the 6112’s it includes them and you also have a link for the Icon rear. I was originally thinking about going with 5100s all around and keeping the stock springs but this setup seems like a much better option.

    • Clint Taylor
      Reply

      Kevin, I’m glad the article helped you out! I kept the rear springs but used new springs in the front. As you said, the 6112s come with new coils. The Icon link for the rear is if you wanted some extra lift, however, I used factory springs in the rear.

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aftermarket valve stem capsKing Suspension Install - Step 12