How firm are the Bilstein HDs?

Mike534x

Well-Known Member
Hello everyone! I'm planning on swapping out my front struts soon. Well, looking into it. My only experience with them was on my Avalanche and my dads Yukon but they were pretty well worn by that point. I've got the Moog 81112 springs, which I think fell between the middle of firm and soft out of the line up. So in theory, with it combined with these springs it shouldn't too "firm", or I can go with the softer Moog springs. While the front Monroe's are good, they're feeling a bit soft lately. So I'm trying to find something firm, but nothing too firm/harsh that'll make the drive miserable. I'm doing about 70-80% highway driving, and 20-30 city driving. So the Bilsteins would be great for city, but I want something comfortable on the highway. I'm aware this question has been asked several times, but opinions usually change overtime so was looking for more input on them.

I was looking at;

Blue/Yellow Bilsteins

Black labeled Bilsteins that came on the TBSS firm ride option


Smooth ride Delco struts

And whatever springs are recommended with these, or stick with the current Moog ones I have now.
 

aaserv

Well-Known Member
Just put the blue and yellows on my 03 V-8 and it drives a good as any brand new car Ive ever driven. stuck with original springs. we got some crappy roads and it it feels great. havent done a lot of highway miles but like i said drives like a brand new car.
 

gmcman

Well-Known Member
Mine with 4 fresh OE springs and HD Bilsteins on all 4 corners, still rides smoother than our stock Highlander with 90K miles.

That's with stock size tires, if you are running rubber bands then it's almost a moot point.

It won't be a Town Car, but also won't be a 3/4 ton P/U either.
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
I put the blue / yellows (4600 series) on a couple of years ago (with existing springs.) Couldn't be happier with them.
Granted, my OEMs were worn out w/ 128K (?) on the odo, but my Envoy XL rode kinda like a Buick - soft on the turns & corners, a little floaty on bumps, etc. With the Bilsteins, that's all gone. It's firmer, but not as harsh as my Sierra.
I've also towed 5000 lb with them, and no troubles there (I do use a weight dist. hitch)

TL;DR : +1 for the Bilstein 4600s. Check out Shock Warehouse for pricing
 
OP
OP
Mike534x

Mike534x

Well-Known Member
So they aren't as harsh as most claim they are? I'm not running OE springs, but it shouldn't be too bad. I can't say I've had much experience using the 4600 series, well my Avalanche (as well as my dad's Yukon) came with them but they were already well worn at that point. How is it over bumps and whatnot? I don't mind the firmer ride as long as its not that kind where every single thing is felt.

I did check shockwarehouse, looks like Amazon is the same price.
 

aaserv

Well-Known Member
Mine are nothing close to harsh. More like riding in a limousine! And believe me if the roads where you live were worse than Louisiana roads they'd be impassable....lol I got them from Rock Auto for $67.79 each, used the Monroe mount kits for $19 for a total w shipping of $212
I used part # 24-103336
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
How is it over bumps and whatnot? I don't mind the firmer ride as long as its not that kind where every single thing is felt.
It's not. 'Control, without excess harshness', is how I'd describe them. The roads where I live are in decent shape, tho (esp. compared to the rest of IL). If yours are washboard, you'll feel it.
 

WarGawd

Well-Known Member
Hello everyone! I'm planning on swapping out my front struts soon. Well, looking into it. My only experience with them was on my Avalanche and my dads Yukon but they were pretty well worn by that point. I've got the Moog 81112 springs, which I think fell between the middle of firm and soft out of the line up. So in theory, with it combined with these springs it shouldn't too "firm", or I can go with the softer Moog springs. While the front Monroe's are good, they're feeling a bit soft lately. So I'm trying to find something firm, but nothing too firm/harsh that'll make the drive miserable. I'm doing about 70-80% highway driving, and 20-30 city driving. So the Bilsteins would be great for city, but I want something comfortable on the highway. I'm aware this question has been asked several times, but opinions usually change overtime so was looking for more input on them.

I was looking at;

Blue/Yellow Bilsteins

Black labeled Bilsteins that came on the TBSS firm ride option


Smooth ride Delco struts

And whatever springs are recommended with these, or stick with the current Moog ones I have now.

I bought the Bilstein HDs with Moog springs and got a slight lift in the front which I wanted, and slightly firmer but still decent ride. I was pretty happy with the results. I'll just checked my records, and can confirm I went with the moog 81112s
 

Dadwagon

Active Member
My 4.2 had (presumably) stock shocks, they were very worn out and bounced on the highway like a monster truck. The Bilstein HD with Moog springs tightened everything up. Wife felt confident enough driving on twisty roads through Mendocino to the point I felt nervous. So I guess they are a good fit on-road. Off-road on rutted dirt, they feel a bit harsh with stock size 17" and tires at 30lbs front, 35lbs rear, but could be alleviated by airing down.
 
OP
OP
Mike534x

Mike534x

Well-Known Member
Hey all so having some trouble. The upper shock bolt is stuck on the driver side, going to loosen it just causes it to spin. Any tips or tricks for how to get it out? The passenger side came free no problem.

I found this image online of the upper mounting bracket, it looks like the nut is tack welded to the bracket? I tried getting locking pliers, and even a wrench to try and clamp down on it but still no luck. If I can get that bracket/nut out, I think I can get away with using a large washer and replacement bolt. I tried finding the bracket online, but I can't even find a part number.

1599876907067.png
 
Last edited:

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
Ah - that's the back, correct? That's a captive nut - yes, it stays in place (or is supposed to)

I had a pair of the same things on the front bumper of my Sierra, and *was* able to break them off cleanly (accidentally, for the first one). But the problem with the one in your location is that it's on the inner side, and no room for anything but perhaps (?) a flat open-end wrench (which really shouldn't be needed, anyway.) It's been awhile since I've been back there, but I remember it's a tight spot - that's why they have the captive nut.

If the nut is turning while you're turning the bolt - then the nut has broken free, anyway. But I don't think that's what's happening in your case. If it is, you may be able to get a sawzall blade in between the nut and the frame bracket (and I very much doubt GM had a separate part # for it - it was considered part of the frame, if I remember the location correctly).

If the nut is stationary, and the bolt is turning (but not coming out) - then the threads may be stripped in the bolt / nut. And I think that still means you're going to have to cut it off to get the bolt out. But let's see if anyone else has other suggestions before you do something irreversible and get yourself into a tougher situation. If you don't get further responses here, you may want to create a 'Need Help' thread with some supporting pics to illustrate the area in question.

If you cut the bolt off, then you'll have the remnant in that nut / bracket that you'll have to extract -- likely via drilling it out, using larger and larger bits until it's out. Time consuming. If you have some cobalt bits, it'll go faster. I had to do this with one of the three studs on an exhaust manifold recently, and it took a long time (I used a standalone bolt / nut combo for the replacement).

If *all* else fails, a pro welder could probably get the bracket off with a torch, then either weld it back on afterward, or fab up a replacement.

Good luck - and hopefully someone else will come along and confirm my thoughts, or provide alternative strategy. A pic or two might (?) get a quicker response.
 
OP
OP
Mike534x

Mike534x

Well-Known Member
I'll get some pics uploaded tonight after it stops raining! Yeah, its the upper one tucked behind the frame where the upper half of the shock rests in. Dealer said its non-serviceable and the bolt was discontinued, but its $4 for a replacement from Home Depot.

From what I can tell, the nut is turning with the bolt. I tried getting some pliers in there and even a wrench but the lack of room makes it a pain to get a good grip. The times I did get a good grip, I could feel the nut breaking free while trying to turn the bolt. A shop near me wants $80 to get it out, so I wanna try and do what I can do before going that route.
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
Just thought of another couple of options, since the nut is apparently toast...

- A small pair of locking pliers or something else so you can immobilize the nut.

- Drill the nut, so that you can crack it off. This will take time / effort.

- If you can't get a sawzall in there, a small hacksaw blade (between nut and bracket). This is how I got my manifold stud / nut off. If you've got a power jigsaw / longer blade, it will speed things up. I did mine by hand (limited room.) Took a couple of hours (not continuous) and a few blades, but I got it off without trashing the manifold, which is what I wanted.

If you have a HF nearby, they sell a box of 50-100 high carbon hacksaw blades for $5 or so. You'll prolly go through 10 or so, given the size of that bolt.

If you have the recip. saw and can get in there, it'll come off in about 10 minutes. A cutoff wheel, even faster.

If you can get most of the bolt cut through but not the last of it, a decent size pry bar may work to finish the job.

Try not to notch / cut through the bracket, as it may weaken the mount / give way under load. No bueno.

For the replacement bolt, get something just as strong, if possible, as stamped on the head. If not, then use what you can get, but make time to visit a pick-n-pull, etc, so that you can get another 'like kind' bolt.

The replacement nut isn't as critical; it's the bolt that carries the load. Just get something that matches the thread. Take your good bolt to the hardware if you need to match it up with replacement.

That's all I can think of, for now. Good luck!
 
OP
OP
Mike534x

Mike534x

Well-Known Member
I tried to cut the bolt, but I could not get enough room/good point to cut it away. I ended up going to a shop who did it for $50, and they got a replacement grade 8 bolt + locking nut. So upside is, its fixed and I can take that side apart again in the future! But right now, I'm pretty happy with the way the rear feels. There's a shop that wants to charge $40 a strut to swap my springs and whatnot over to the new struts. I'll be doing that this weekend, so I'm pretty excited to see how it rides with all four corners matching.

The biggest difference from what I can feel is that the ride is softer then the Gas-a-Just shocks from KYB, they were definitely firmer. I mean every good bump you could feel throughout the truck, now driving through that same patch it just absorbs most of it.
 

Mooseman

Moderator
So which shocks/struts did you go with?
 
OP
OP
Mike534x

Mike534x

Well-Known Member
@Mooseman


I went with the Bilstein HD 24-103336 for the front, and 24-103350 for the rear! The good ole blue/yellow :biggrin:

Still rocking the Monroe OESpectrums up front until I get a free day to yank them, and run it to a shop to do the swap over. Right now the Bilsteins are installed on both sides in the rear. The KYBs were good, but I noticed the ride with them was only good when the rear end was loaded down. I suspect thats a trait for the gas pressured ones? They didn't take bumps/dips too well compared to the Bilsteins which definitely make it feel more "confident".
 

Online statistics

Members online
7
Guests online
177
Total visitors
184

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
20,698
Messages
600,183
Unanswered questions
2
Answered questions
2
Members
13,948
Latest member
smd456
Top Bottom