Bilstein 5100

Suspension & Our Winch Mounts

by USOffRoad on May 01, 2021 Categories: Technical Articles

Updated for 2019 at the bottom.

While this is geared towards the FJ Cruiser it will apply equally to all Tacoma models.

After installing one of our FJ Winch Mounts and Viper Max 12K winch in my 2010 FJ I had a total drop of 3/8" up front, not bad but with the factory rake it didn't need any more. I decided on the 5100's from Down South Motorsports and went with the 3rd notch which was perfect. Ride is very good, much less nose dive and just generally looks better. I couldn't be happier.

Here are my before/after measurements:

Prior to winch/mount install:
LF: 35"
RF: 35 1/4"
LR: 36 5/8"
RR: 36 1/2"

After winch mount:
LF: 34 5/8"
RF: 34 7/8"
LR: 36 5/8"
RR: 36 1/2"

After winch/mount and 5100 install:
LF: 36 1/4"
RF: 36 1/4"
LR: 36 5/8"
RR: 36 5/8" (seems to have leveled out on all 4 now)

So, I have gained a net total of about 1 1/4" from stock to now or 1 5/8" before installing the winch...however you want to look at it.

After a year of driving it this way, and quite happy with the results still, I decided to take the front up to the 4th notch on the 5100 shocks and bought some Icon 2" lift springs for the rear from TRDParts4UDown South Motorsports was kind enough to provide me with a set of 5100 shocks for the rear that can accommodate the added lift. As I haul my M101A2 trailer quite often and keep some gear in the back of the FJ it was riding nose high most of the time. Having a little rake is a good thing when dealing with loads and helps keep the MPG up as well.

New measurements:
F: 37"
R: 38 1/4"

I expect the rear to settle a bit, maybe 1/4-1/2" or so, we'll see. So, 1 to 1 1/4" is not really much of a rake.

I've measured several stock FJ's which could have 1 1/2 to 1 3/4" of rake. When the tires are replaced I'll likely go with some 285's of some sort. As a side note, my first tank of fuel after raising it I recorded 18.75 MPG which is as good or better than after I lifted it to the 3rd notch. I suspect having some rake keeps airflow reduced under the FJ. I also noticed a reduction in roof rack wind noise.

Update April 2014: I've had a set of 285/75/16 Hankook DynaPro MT03 tires installed. The old BFG Rugged Trails in 265/75/16 were 31.8" in diameter where the DynaPros are 33", so a gain of 1.2" total there, not necessarily a full 1.2" in height though. Then I installed our new FJ Winch Mount Bumper (V 2.0) which is 4.5lbs lighter than the previous version at 52.5lbs, an Engo winch with synthetic rope, aluminum hawse and two of our Sirius LED lights for a net gain of 1" to 38" in height, up from 37" previously. (see below) Here's an example of how much this setup will weigh:

Winch mount bumper: 52.50 lbs
Engo 10000 winch with no rope: 53 lbs
85' x 3/8" AmSteel rope: 3.6 lbs
Aluminum hawse: 1.5 lbs
Coating and fasteners: 1 lb

Total weight: 112 lbs


  Before/after pics:

Stock suspension. Stock suspension. Stock suspension. Stock suspension.
3rd notch on 5100 shocks. 3rd notch on 5100 shocks. 3rd notch on 5100 shocks. 3rd notch on 5100 shocks.
4th notch on 5100 shocks and Icon 2" springs and 5100 shocks rear. 4th notch on 5100 shocks and Icon 2" springs and 5100 shocks rear.


DynaPro 285/75/16 DynaPro 285/75/16



Fast forward to December 2018 and having sold my beloved 2010 a few years ago to a life long friend of mine who was wanting to trade up from his well used 2007 FJ (which I regretted doing every day since I sold it) and I decide to buy another FJ. I found a very clean 2008 Trail Teams with a TRD Supercharger and a few minor mods but overall stock with 95,000 miles.

First thing I noticed was the front end was sitting very low. No surprise, I've measured many of these and after X amount of miles the front springs tend to sag. This one was no different at 34" from ground to fender flare. It should have measured 35". I decided to try the new (since my last FJ) 6112 coil over shocks as the front springs needed replacing anyway. The 5160's are the companion shocks for the rear but as every warehouse I deal with was out for many weeks to come I opted for the 5100's and if they seemed out of sync with the 6112's up front I could swap them out later. So far though they seem to work well together.

Here are the initial measurements with the OEM style BFG KO2 A/T's.

F: 34"
R: 36.5"


The rear was pretty typical but as you can see compared to my measurements on my 2010 up top the 2008 was sitting an inch or so low in the front...and rode like it. More go kart than FJ.

After installing the 6112/5100 combo with some new Icon 2" springs in the rear and new upper strut mounts up front this is where it landed:

FR: 38.50"
FL: 38.25"
RR: 39.00"
RL: 38.50"

Typical of the 'FJ lean' it had .25-.50" of sag on the driver side yet we came up a total of 4.25-4.50" lift up front! Why the big jump over the advertised 2.5" from Bilstein. Simple, we gained the lost 1-1.25" lost up front by the sagging OEM springs and then I installed a set of Hankook Dynapro M/T's in 285/70/16 tires which are 32.8" vs the 32" BFG's so that accounts for .800".  That gets us pretty close to the advertised 2.5" from Bilstein.

  • If you have over 75k miles on your FJ expect a few things.Once you lift a stock FJ the inner CV boots will probably leak.  You will need to cut the factory clamps off and install some special stainless worm gear type clamps with rounded edges. I ordered up the following small and large clamps (for the outer boot) from McMaster Carr for reference:

PN: 5574K16 - Worm-Drive Clamps with Smooth Band for Soft Hose/Tube, 304 Stainless Steel, 1"- 1-5/8" Clamp ID Range, Packs of 10

PN: 5574K24 - Worm-Drive Clamps with Smooth Band for Soft Hose/Tube, 304 Stainless Steel, 3-1/2" to 4-3/8" Clamp ID, Packs of 5

  • Don't be surprised if you start hearing popping up front. Your balljoints and bushing may be worn and after sitting at a certain angle with a specific load for XX amount of miles it's to be expected. For 2.5" of lift you don't HAVE to replace the upper control arms but I will this time around as my components are worn. Those are another topic on their own.

I have not installed one of our winch mounts as of this writing but have one along with a ComeUP SEAL Gen2 9.5rs sitting here waiting. This will add about another 100 lbs net on the nose which should drop the front another .250-375" up front and preload the front end just a touch more. As it rides now the springs are really very good, some nervousness up front on really choppy roads but that could be shock valving as well but it's very minor and overall rides much better than stock, especially since my front springs were done. I expect the ride to improve a touch with some more weight up front.  Dropping the nose another 1/4 to 3/8" will help increase the rake front to rear. My 2010 actually gained 1.5 MPG back when I did this and I anticipate a gain when I do it on my 08 as well. We shall see.

Stock, with the supercharger, I was routinely seeing 17.5 MPG as long as I kept my foot off of the skinny pedal. Once I installed the tires and lift it dropped down to 14.5 for several tanks but has settled in around 15.6.

I will update this once the winch mount and winch is installed.

UPDATE 7-15-19 (read all the way to the bottom): With one of our winch mounts and a ComeUp 9.5Rs installed the front end dropped 1.00". Why? The stock springs on the 6112's are 600 lbs/inch, which is fine stock but that's it. With one of our mounts I'd suggest 650 lb springs and with a full plate bumper and winch, 700 lbs, which are available from Bilstein. More to come.

Also, on another note, I weighed all of the items removed for a winch mount install. The plastic chin, the section cut out behind it, the lower grille and of course the crash bar and mounts. Total is 20.2 lbs.

Here are a few lousy before and after photos to illustrate the change.

Before with sagging front springs and stock TT shocks.

After with Bilstein 6112/5100/Icon 2" added along with Hankook 285 M/T's.

More Details: After noticing the 1" drop I realized one thing I forgot to take in to account was the weight of my supercharger/aftercooler setup which is around 90 lbs. So, with the net gain of 90 lbs from the mount and ComeUp winch along with the supercharger I'm at 180 lbs or so which is too much for the 'stock' 6112 springs which are rates at 600 lbs/in.

So, to clarify...

If you intend to keep it stock you can run the 600 lb springs perfectly, you can run our winch mount and a winch and probably be ok, although steel cable may push it. I would suggest the following:

600 lb springs: Stock or our mount with a winch and synthetic rope/hawse

650 lb springs: Same as above and/or a winch with steel cable and a roller fairlead.

700 lb springs: If you happen to have a supercharger plus our mount and a winch or if you are running a full steel bumper and winch.

Bilstein offers 650 and 700 lb springs or you can go with Eibach, King or Icon at 14" and a 3" ID.