How do you ride?

Thura is a new firefighter working in the San Bernardino National Forest. His driving style includes fire road explorations to and from new campsites and driving up and down the mountain road to his home in Los Angeles. Some of the requirements this new suspension setup needed was the ability to fit slightly larger tires, in this case a 275/70 R17 Falken Wildpeak AT3W and to do so on a budget. With this being a RWD truck, he needed the best set of tires he can get for the times when there is snow on the ground. Knowing all of this, we knew that the Bilstein 5100s were going to be the best option for him.

Why Bilstein 5100?

The Bilstein 5100 allowed Thura to level out his truck without decreasing his ride quality thanks to not only the machined grooves on the strut body, but also due to the slight increase in suspension travel over OEM length shocks. With the Bilstein 5100s being monotube shocks, they are going to be a nice upgrade over the factory struts and shocks. The 2” diameter piston has more surface area and provides more damping force than the factory shocks. This makes for a smoother ride off-road while still having the damping abilities to keep the larger tires in check. Going up and down curvy mountain road passes can get very tiring fighting body roll in a truck. The digressive valving in the 5100s helps prevent this, giving the truck a nice and controlled feeling in the turns, but still nice and comfortable off-road. Coming from driving track cars years ago, we knew that this was going suit his driving well and the feedback from him so far has been great!

What's next?

When the tires on the truck wear out, Thura may consider going to a 285/70 R17, or a 33” tire. The biggest issue that people encounter with larger tires like this is the tire rubbing on the cab mount located at the rear of the wheel well. To eliminate this rubbing, people will cut the cab mount back and weld a new plate on there making the overall profile smaller. Another option is to use an aftermarket upper control arm like the SPC’s that allow you to make adjustments to camber and caster at the upper ball joint in addition to the factory alignment adjustments at the lower control arm mounts. The SPC arms will allow you to make adjustments to the lower cam to move the tire more forward while also moving the upper ball joint to give you max clearance at the back of the wheel well. These upper control arms were key to helping me fit 35” tires on my own Tacoma without having to tub the firewall and still have full suspension travel.

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