Bilstein 4600 shocks & struts & rear coil springs - Jeep Commander Forums: Jeep Commander Forum
Suspension / Lifts This is the place to discuss the suspension, lift systems, and other stuff underneath your Jeep Commander

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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-11-2015, 06:30 AM Thread Starter
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Bilstein 4600 shocks & struts & rear coil springs

Between larger tires and a 2 inch Rough Country lift kit my Commander is raised about 3 inches above factory ride height.

The height for me is fine, but it feels like I feel every bump in the road and my suspension/shocks are still all OEM factory parts - never changed as far as I know.

In 5 days I am having Bilstein 4600 shocks & struts installed and I am replacing the rear coil springs with a new set of Chrysler OEM rear coil springs.

My mechanic who specializes in 4x4's and installing lifts/suspensions insists the Bilstein 4600 shocks & struts should be a major upgrade. I asked about the Bilstein 5100's and my mechanic claims they don't make them for my 08 Commander with a 2 inch lift installed but I know there are some here who have used them. That being said, I am pretty much deferring to this guy's judgement and getting the Bilstien 4600's installed.

Replacing the rear coil springs was my idea - my mechanic said it probably wasn't necessary because I only have a little over 73,300 miles on it, but, I told him I want the rear coil springs replaced anyway. So I ordered these:

http://www.justforjeeps.com/06xkcoresp.html

I will let you know how it feels when everything is done.


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Last edited by Big Blue; 12-11-2015 at 11:14 AM.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-11-2015, 08:13 AM
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I have the Blistien 4600 at OEM ride height and OEM sized tires. They seem to be a minor improvement over the OEM ride, perhaps slight overdamping to make it handle better and ride firmer, but that is just a very vague perception. One of my front shock/struts was blown when I pulled it, so my OEM ride/handling was definitely degraded by the time I replaced them with Blistien's. They appear more durable than the OEM shocks/struts, so I'd agree they are an upgrade in performance and durability, considering the price if you comparison shop (the same if NOT less than the OEM part, but a little more than cheap aftermarket replacements that won't perform or last nearly as well), they are well worth it. NOT sure I would agree they are "Major" upgrade, don't expect a "Major" difference unless your shocks/struts were in really bad shape, and in that case it would be getting the original ride/handling back plus then a little more.

Judging shocks is such a vague endeavor anyway, for two reasons. One the math is so incredibly complex amateurs like you and I can't compare them by numbers, and shocks are one where the bigger or smaller number is NOT best, its the "RIGHT" number (or a whole table of numbers really). Mechanics and Technicians aren't capable of judging a shock on specs alone either, that is why you won't find specs for shocks, I'm talking engineers that specialize in suspensions are the only one's capable of evaluating a shock on its specs, everyone else has to trust brand reputation and experience of others giving qualitative evidence of how well it performs. Two, most people replace older worn out shocks, so the ride slowly degraded over time, so folks become accustomed to the degraded ride like a frog in a pot of water heated slowly. Thus fresh shocks give the perception of great improvement in ride/handling, when in reality the original ride/handling was just restored by replacing the worn out shocks. The ride/handling might NOT be as good OEM, just better than ride of the worn out shocks.

Blistien only "lists" their 5100 shock for the Jeep Grand Cherokee (JGC), the WK and XK are the same platform (different body codes) and share the same suspension parts. So any shocks for a JGC will fit and work (maybe NOT as well) in the same year/generation Commander.

There is thread on here about a guy complaining that he put Blistien 5100 on his Commander, had one blow, and Blistien refused to honor the warranty. Blistien claimed that he was off-roading because the photos he sent had the suspension splattered in mud, which voids the warranty. But mostly because Blistien does NOT list or sell the 5100 for the Commander, although some resellers knowing it will fit, will sell them for the Commander (Blistien can't be held responsible for other company's reselling their product differently then they intended).

Still no word from Blistien why they don't list their 5100 for the Commander, when Chrysler itself builds both the WK and XK (platform/body codes) with the same shocks?

Your mechanic has to worry about liability, that alone could be a reason why he might refuse to install a part not intended for your vehicle, especially suspension, which undeniable can be a factor in many accidents.

The 5100 shock is 2" longer, making a good shock for lifted vehicles. The 5100 front shock/strut has an adjustable perch, and at its lowest setting is 3/4" higher than the stock ride height. So this throws off the ride height when using a lift kit, that most are designed to raise the front slightly more than the rear and level out the Commander. There are lots of threads about this, either folks in the know recommending NOT to use the 5100 shock in the front to avoid the mismatch in ride heights or buying different or swapping around or stacking spacers to even out the differences to get an even ride height. If you're happy with your ride height, that alone is a good reason to avoid the 5100 in the front because it would change it and you would spending money and time trying to get it back to a ride height you like. I'm NOT sure, but judging from the few things I read, if you used the 5100 at the lowest setting on a non-lifted Commander or JGC, it would raise the front 3/4" and would level out the vehicle very nicely with the OEM ride height in the rear.

Replacing springs? Ok, modern high quality OEM springs will last many millions of cycles, easily 200k miles or more. I wouldn't hesitate to use a junkyard spring, that is how well they last. True the old Leaf Springs, for various reasons did NOT last or were easy to damage that resulted in them sagging. Today, modern coil springs? The only reason they would sag or degrade in performance was if they suffered damage. And extreme use could damage them, so its possible but NOT likely in most vehicles. We are talking extreme off-roading, overloading the rear suspension while towing, etc, etc.

On top of that, if you want a lift and replace your springs, why didn't you buy aftermarket springs that are taller? Usually, granted NOT always, raising a vehicle with taller springs produces far better performance then raising it with just blocks stuck under the springs.
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Last edited by Mongo; 12-11-2015 at 08:47 AM.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-11-2015, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mongo View Post
I have the Blistien 4600 at OEM ride height and OEM sized tires. They seem to be a minor improvement over the OEM ride, perhaps slight overdamping to make it handle better and ride firmer, but that is just a very vague perception. One of my front shock/struts was blown when I pulled it, so my OEM ride/handling was definitely degraded by the time I replaced them with Blistien's. They appear more durable than the OEM shocks/struts, so I'd agree they are an upgrade in performance and durability, considering the price if you comparison shop (the same if NOT less than the OEM part, but a little more than cheap aftermarket replacements that won't perform or last nearly as well), they are well worth it. NOT sure I would agree they are "Major" upgrade, don't expect a "Major" difference unless your shocks/struts were in really bad shape, and in that case it would be getting the original ride/handling back plus then a little more.

Judging shocks is such a vague endeavor anyway, for two reasons. One the math is so incredibly complex amateurs like you and I can't compare them by numbers, and shocks are one where the bigger or smaller number is NOT best, its the "RIGHT" number (or a whole table of numbers really). Mechanics and Technicians aren't capable of judging a shock on specs alone either, that is why you won't find specs for shocks, I'm talking engineers that specialize in suspensions are the only one's capable of evaluating a shock on its specs, everyone else has to trust brand reputation and experience of others giving qualitative evidence of how well it performs. Two, most people replace older worn out shocks, so the ride slowly degraded over time, so folks become accustomed to the degraded ride like a frog in a pot of water heated slowly. Thus fresh shocks give the perception of great improvement in ride/handling, when in reality the original ride/handling was just restored by replacing the worn out shocks. The ride/handling might NOT be as good OEM, just better than ride of the worn out shocks.

Blistien only "lists" their 5100 shock for the Jeep Grand Cherokee (JGC), the WK and XK are the same platform (different body codes) and share the same suspension parts. So any shocks for a JGC will fit and work (maybe NOT as well) in the same year/generation Commander.

There is thread on here about a guy complaining that he put Blistien 5100 on his Commander, had one blow, and Blistien refused to honor the warranty. Blistien claimed that he was off-roading because the photos he sent had the suspension splattered in mud, which voids the warranty. But mostly because Blistien does NOT list or sell the 5100 for the Commander, although some resellers knowing it will fit, will sell them for the Commander (Blistien can't be held responsible for other company's reselling their product differently then they intended).

Still no word from Blistien why they don't list their 5100 for the Commander, when Chrysler itself builds both the WK and XK (platform/body codes) with the same shocks?

Your mechanic has to worry about liability, that alone could be a reason why he might refuse to install a part not intended for your vehicle, especially suspension, which undeniable can be a factor in many accidents.

The 5100 shock is 2" longer, making a good shock for lifted vehicles. The 5100 front shock/strut has an adjustable perch, and at its lowest setting is 3/4" higher than the stock ride height. So this throws off the ride height when using a lift kit, that most are designed to raise the front slightly more than the rear and level out the Commander. There are lots of threads about this, either folks in the know recommending NOT to use the 5100 shock in the front to avoid the mismatch in ride heights or buying different or swapping around or stacking spacers to even out the differences to get an even ride height. If you're happy with your ride height, that alone is a good reason to avoid the 5100 in the front because it would change it and you would spending money and time trying to get it back to a ride height you like. I'm NOT sure, but judging from the few things I read, if you used the 5100 at the lowest setting on a non-lifted Commander or JGC, it would raise the front 3/4" and would level out the vehicle very nicely with the OEM ride height in the rear.

Replacing springs? Ok, modern high quality OEM springs will last many millions of cycles, easily 200k miles or more. I wouldn't hesitate to use a junkyard spring, that is how well they last. True the old Leaf Springs, for various reasons did NOT last or were easy to damage that resulted in them sagging. Today, modern coil springs? The only reason they would sag or degrade in performance was if they suffered damage. And extreme use could damage them, so its possible but NOT likely in most vehicles. We are talking extreme off-roading, overloading the rear suspension while towing, etc, etc.

On top of that, if you want a lift and replace your springs, why didn't you buy aftermarket springs that are taller? Usually, granted NOT always, raising a vehicle with taller springs produces far better performance then raising it with just blocks stuck under the springs.
Thanks for the feedback about the Bilstein 4600 & 5100's Mongo.

As far as replacing the rear coil springs, I am not replacing them because I want more lift. As I stated in my original post, I am happy with the current ride height - I just want to replace the rear coil springs so I know that they are new and that I will never have to worry or wonder about them again. Since I am replacing the shocks anyway, it seems like the perfect time to replace the springs.

I'll let you know how it feels to me when everything gets installed next week.


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Last edited by Big Blue; 12-11-2015 at 11:37 AM.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-11-2015, 12:08 PM
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No my point was, unless your springs were damaged, they'd likely last longer performing like new, longer than the rest of the car. That is why I agree with your mechanic, it isn't necessary to replace springs, the money is better spent somewhere else.

My other point was, usually it works/performs much better if you lift a vehicle by putting in taller springs and shocks, then just blocks. That was my point, even if you have an existing 2" lift from blocks, then replace the springs and shocks anyway, it would be better to put in 2" taller springs and shocks and throw away the blocks.

Besides, on the rear live axle replacing the spring after you have a new shock on, is just a matter of removing a single extra bolt. The front shock that is configured like a Strut, is the one that replacing the spring with the shock saves a lot of time and effort, and replacing one after the other is basically re-doing the entire job again.

Since the front is independent suspension, blocks are no worse or better than taller springs in the front, in the Commander's case at least. So you're still limited by the front suspension travel, so getting rid of blocks in the rear with taller springs and shocks for more suspension travel, is not going to be that big of an improvement overall with the front so limited.


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Last edited by Mongo; 12-11-2015 at 12:18 PM.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-17-2015, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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I just had the Bilstein 4600 shocks & struts installed as well as a new set of factory OEM rear coil springs.

There is a significant improvement in the handling and overall ride quality, everything feels so tight and positive now and I am not feeling the bumps in the road nearly as much I was.

It also appears my rear end has raised up slightly - probably a combination of the new shocks and rear coil springs.

It didn't raise up much, maybe a half an inch - but to me, it's noticeable.

I am very pleased with the results, money well spent.

I will take some pics in the next day or 2 and post them here.


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Last edited by Big Blue; 12-17-2015 at 05:04 PM.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-13-2016, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Here are the pics with the the new Bilstein 4600 shocks, struts and rear coil springs installed.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-18-2016, 06:58 PM
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So how do you like the new Bilsteins so far? I am looking to replace my shocks/struts and as of now have the Rough Country lift. I am debating on using the Bilsteins 5100 series and removing the front spacer or going with the 4600 series and am interested on how you like the 4600s

06' limited Hemi, QDII, 2" Rough Country lift with 265/70/17 Nitto Terra Grapplers.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-23-2016, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Oct 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Concours14 View Post
So how do you like the new Bilsteins so far? I am looking to replace my shocks/struts and as of now have the Rough Country lift. I am debating on using the Bilsteins 5100 series and removing the front spacer or going with the 4600 series and am interested on how you like the 4600s
I went with the 4600's because my mechanic (who installed my rough country lift kit) said they were the only ones that would fit properly with the 2" Rough Country lift kit.

I know there are some here who have used combinations of the 4600's & 5100's, however, I felt it was best to defer to my mechanics judgement, who knows far more about lifts & 4x4 suspensions than I do. I also had him install a new set of MOPAR Hemi-rated rear coil springs (JustForJeeps Part #'s 52124213AA & 52124214AA which are slightly heavier than my stock rear coil springs) while he was doing the shocks & struts - mainly because I have a trailer I pull around over long distances and I wanted to make sure the rear springs were up to snuff.

There is a significant improvement in the handling and overall ride quality, everything feels tight and positive now - where there was some slop before - and I am not feeling the bumps in the road nearly as much I was.


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Last edited by Big Blue; 09-03-2017 at 10:56 AM.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-06-2016, 07:54 AM
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I am getting ready to install a 3" front lift and 2.5" rear lift. I will be keeping my OEM springs. I am considering the Bilstien 4600 all around, but wonder if I should use Bilstien 5100's in the rear or all the way around. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-06-2016, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surphknut View Post
I am getting ready to install a 3" front lift and 2.5" rear lift. I will be keeping my OEM springs. I am considering the Bilstien 4600 all around, but wonder if I should use Bilstien 5100's in the rear or all the way around. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks
Well, my recommendation is to run to the longer shocks 5100 in the rear.
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