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Bilstein 4600 vs 5100 Series, what are the major differences?

The famous yellow shock has led the way in stock replacement shocks absorbers, utilizing their famous monotube design that increases vehicle control both on and off-road (if thats your thing). The digressive piston and valving of Bilstein's shocks mean low speed inputs (turning, braking, acceleration) have a firmer response than a typical factory shock. This reduces body roll and nose dive in daily drivers.

Whats better for a daily driver, 4600 or 5100?

We opt for the 4600 series on a daily driver and commuting vehicle. Most drivers probably wouldn't even notice a difference between the 4600 and 5100 on their commute under the same vehicle and circumstances. The only real differences come if that same vehicle had a higher center of gravity from a lift kit, or if that same vehicle has larger wheels and tires over factory specs. Thats when the benefit of the 5100 comes into play with appropriate valving to handle the added unsprung weight.

Specification Comparison

Shock Body Size Body Material Finish Piston Size Rod Size Rod Material Best For

Bilstein 4600

1.95" Steel Painted 46mm 14mm Chrome Plated Steel OEM / Hwy

Bilstein 5100

1.95" Steel Zinc 46mm 14mm Chrome Plated Steel Hwy / Offroad

The 5100 series has had a strong lead in the consumer offroad segment of weekend warriors and offroad enthusiast for the last decade. The Bilstein 5100 zinc plated monotube shock is described by Bilstein as being more oriented for lifted trucks, heavier-than-stock vehicles, trucks or Jeeps running larger wheels and tires, and basically anything modified and not factory.

  • The 5100 shocks DO RIDE FIRMER than stock, do not be mistaken. The 5100s are valved slightly firmer in case of bigger wheels and tires (+unsprung weight), or added offroad equipment.
  • The response will be different though depending on what vehicle you have, a heavy duty 3/4 ton or 1-ton vehicle will respond differently on these shocks than a smaller half ton or Jeep vehicle that doesn't throw around as much weight.
  • 5100 Series struts are adjustable height, allowing a minor lift / level of the vehicle, usually between 1.75" and 2.5"
  • 5100 Series are available for lifted trucks and Jeeps, some applications offer a factory height version of the 5100.
  • Most factory height vehicles will only have a 4600 series available.

Bottom Line

If you are doing anything more than a typical commute with your daily driver, such as offroading, fire roads, or you're hauling equipment, the 5100 is the answer. If you're in the market for a leveling kit on a strut-equipped truck, and also need new shocks, the 5100 series adjustable height struts are a no brainer.

Both of these shocks will provide excellent longevity and consistency.