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Looking to swap factory shocks on SV for Bilstein 4600 or other. I've read that it's cheapest to buy the shocks online vs. Dealer. Did you do this? How much did you pay for them? Install?

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I appreciate the link, but I pulled up hundreds just like it with a Google search. I'm more interested in feedback from those who made the swap. Was it DIY? Did they pay for the install? How much did they pay for the shocks? Buy them separately or from the installer? 5100 or 4600s?

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I'd recommend the bilstein 5125s for the rear shocks offered by prgproducts. They're already modified to bolt right up so they cost $189. No need to pay someone else to install them. It's literally only 2 bolts per shock, you don't even need to lift the truck off the ground. All you need is some 17mm wrenches/sockets and an arm.
 

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It really depends on how mechanically savy you are and how much work YOU want to do.
You don't need to buy the pre modified rears from PRG as you can swap over the lower bushings from your current shocks. The bushing swap is only required on the 5125s as they are universal fit shocks (needed if you have more than 1" of lift in the rear). If you buy the5100 they are bolt on as they are designed for the truck. As for cost just find them online for a good price, Amazon is usually hard to beat.

5100s (bolt in, can level front): ~$380 if you install
Front (can add up to 2.5" of lift if desired)- https://www.amazon.com/Bilstein-24-187053-Front-Nissan-Xterra/dp/B004WO9P1A/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1470235771&sr=8-3&keywords=bilstein+frontier

Rear (can handle up to 1" of lift)- https://www.amazon.com/Bilstein-24-187152-Shock-Nissan-Frontier/dp/B004WO9PV0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1470235538&sr=8-1&keywords=bilstein+frontier


4600s (bolt in, no lift):
~$290 if you install
Front- https://www.amazon.com/Bilstein-24-137430-4600-Shock-Absorber/dp/B007N6OWGM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1470235838&sr=8-2&keywords=bilstein+frontier

Rear- https://www.amazon.com/Bilstein-24-186155-Monotube-Shock-Absorber/dp/B004WO9MNG/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1470235933&sr=8-4&keywords=bilstein+frontier

Know that both series of shocks have the exact same valving for our trucks and the only difference beside appearance is that the 5100s can provide lift in the front. This means they will ride the same.
To the others that think I'm full of crap, this info was straight from Bilstein. The OEM 4600s (the ones that come on Pro 4s and Nismos) ARE valved different from the aftermarket ones and will feel firmer.

As for installing you have a few options:

1) You do everything, this will be the cheapest obviously. You will need to remove front coilover and disassemble it to get the spring and top hat to use on the new ones. This requires a spring compressor that you can rent from Autozone or the like for a $50ish refundable deposit. This shows the proper order of components on the front. Once the new coilovers are assembled they can be reinstalled. The rears are cake and will only take about 20mins or so.

2) You do the some of the work. You remove the front coilovers and take them and your new front struts to a shop. Pepboys (or other shop) can move the parts you need from the old to the new so that all you need to do is bolt them in once they are complete. Cost is about $30-50 each to do this. The parts are all easy bolt in now and you do the rest.

3) You do nothing and pay someone. This is really an easy job to do so I'd only suggest this if you are either incompetent with vehicles, have no tools, or have no time. A shop will probably charge between 3-4 hours of labor at $80-100 per hour depending on the shop.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Very informative response. Thanks. I will probably do the rear swap myself. Look at a spring compressor rental for the front or work out a deal with a shop. I will watch some videos on YouTube first before I attempt the front. If the 4600 and 5100 series are identical minus the lift adjustments, I will go with 4600's. I thought I read somewhere that others were bottoming out with the 4600s. Doesn't seem like that should be an issue.

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5100 Bils

I have a full set that I had on my truck while it was still stock ride height (if you are still looking). I did the install myself split across two days, the rear being straight forward and easy and the front requiring a little more time. Make sure you read the sticky about the assembly for Bilsteins 5100 for the front as you reuse some stock pieces. I believe I spent just under $400 for all four of mine and installed myself.

As for ride quality: My truck had just under 100K miles on it when I swapped them and I would only assume that I pulled off the stock shocks so I feel that my ride quality improved. It firmed up but not to the point of a harsh ride. I believe that the type of tires you have will provide more feedback from the road than a swap from stock shocks to the 5100s.

The only reason I replaced the 5100s was to put the full OME medium duty suspension on my truck. I know if you have questions the members here have answers.
 

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The OME kit came with springs for front and rear, so swapping the worn out stock springs for the OMEs raised the truck and made the ride a bit more firm. For comparisons it is still softer than a late 90s Taco (brother in law has one) and I believe I'm past the settling time for them so I would say it rides like a small truck. Pulling my boat (maybe 2500 lbs) with this setup was exceptional for ride quality. I have no bumpers or armor so if you have any added weight it may be smoother for that kind of setup but my truck is stock except for the suspension.

I would pick the OME setup over just the 5100s (retaining stock springs) everytime... but I cannot based that on anything with any proof one outperforming the other yet. It is completely a matter of preference until I can get more off road time. The swap was mainly done in preparation for the next set of tires for added clearance and whole package appeal.
 
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