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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
If you're on a budget for your T-swap and are doing it in stages this is pretty much the ideal setup. You may even find that you don't need the very expensive Radflos/SAWs. This setup will get you ALL the benefits of a full on T-swap and a fraction of the cost.

What is it?- These are Gen1 (99-06) Toyota Tundra Front Coilovers. You use a Tundra Strut and either a Tundra or 4 Runner Spring with a Frontier/Xterra Top Hat or custom Top Hat to max out the travel.

Do they fit the Frontier/Xterra?- Yes*, on a Titan Swapped Frontier/Xterra they fit nicely with Aftermarket Titan UCA* Must swap over Top Hats*. If you choose to use the OEM Top Hat, it will be slightly difficult to install the assembled Strut. The custom Top Hat makes the fit much better.

How much wheel travel do these cycle?- With Aftermarket UCAs they will give you a solid 7"-10" of actual wheel travel depending on which Strut and Top Hat you choose. (Nearly the same as what a 2.5 Radflo/SAW would provide) Stock Frontier/Xterra cycles 5.6" for reference. With OEM Tundra Struts, Springs, and OEM Top Hats I had exactly 7.5". With Tundra 5100s, 4 Runner Springs, and OEM Top Hats, 7.75". With Tundra 5100s, 4 Runner Springs, and Custom Top Hats, 10". These were all with Total Chaos Clone UCAs, which were the limiting factor when using OEM Top Hats. PRG/Dirt King Arms will put you closer to 8-9" when not using the custom Top Hat.

How much do they cost?-
For the lower travel versions (7.5-8") ~$300
To get max travel with the custom tophat (10") ~$450

How much lift do they provide?-
In my opinion, the sweet spot with this setup is at about 3.5" of lift. This provides a great balance of ground clearance and ride quality, but you can go up to about 5" and as low as about 2".

Tundra Bilstein 5100s:
Tundra Springs -
No snap ring grooves added, OEM Top Hat: ~4"+ (7.75" wheel travel)
1-2 snap ring grooves added, OEM Top Hat: ~3"+ (7.75" wheel travel)
3-4 snap ring grooves added, Custom Top Hat: ~2"+ (10" wheel travel)

4 Runner springs -
No snap ring grooves added, OEM Top Hat: ~2"+ (7.75" wheel travel)
No snap ring grooves added, Custom Top Hat: ~4"+ (10" wheel travel)
1-2 snap ring grooves added, Custom Top Hat: ~2"+ (10" wheel travel)

How would you rate the handling/overall performance of these compared to other setups? B-
What's good: ride on the highway, handles washboard very well, tundra springs firm enough to reduce most body roll, provide near perfect lift height for droop/bump travel ratio, small and large bump compliance
What's not so good: Good amount of body roll with 4 runner springs, spring rate a little too high with tundra springs to be able to stuff tire all the way, rebound valving too light (feels like a 5100 with too much preload, minus the topping out)

Technicals:
Gen 1 Tundra 5100
P/N: BIL 24-188265
Collapsed Length (IN): 13.23"
Extended Length (IN): 18.68"
Travel Length (IN): 5.45"

2.5 SAW T-Swap
Collapsed Length (IN): 14"
Extended Length (IN): 19.5"
Travel Length (IN): 5.5"

Struts:
All of the ones used in the few variants of this setup are designed for the 1999-2006 Tundra. At the moment, there are two in particular that work the best. They are the Bilstein 5100 and the ProComp ProRunner SS. Both are similar in design but have different ride qualities and lift amounts. There is more data points on the 5100s currently as that is shock this setup was originally dialed in with. I have switched to the ProComps on my truck and you can read my 5k mile review/ comparison Here.

Some brief details on each:
Bilstein 5100- Softer/looser/bouncier ride, slightly lower cost, tend to leak fairly early in their life, no warranty.
ProComp ProRunner- Firmer ride, more stable/planted feel, less body roll, higher cost, only 1 lift setting usable without shock body mods, ability to use flat ground end springs (Eibach, etc), available 3 year no questions asked free replacement warranty.

*Some modification required to use certain Springs on both struts

Springs: You have a few choices, the original version of this setup used 99-06 Tundra Springs but I've since switched to 4 Runner Springs. These are the two spring variants that have been proven to work well. With the Tundra 5100, if you are open to adding more snap ring grooves to the body you can run just about any Toyota truck/SUV Spring (4 Runner, Tundra, Tacoma, FJ, LC, etc). Nearly all use the same Coil diameter and end type and as long as the free length of the spring is within 13"-15" you should be able to use it. See this post for details on how to decide if you need to modify your 5100s (add snap ring grooves) for your intended setup.
CAUTION: If you decide to buy used OEM 4 Runner Springs be mindful of year. 98 and 99 Springs are considerably longer than the rest and can result in too much lift.

More info on Struts and Springs

Top Hats: This is really the deciding factor on how much travel you'll get. It's pretty simple, if you use the OEM top hat you will be limited to about 7.5-8" of wheel travel (slightly more than you would get in a ext travel setup). CBC and the shock bottoming earlier than it should is what drives this. You will absolutely need to extend/replace the lower Bumpstop on the LCA with the OEM Top Hat (needs to be about 2+" tall). The Shock will bottom out and the factory one will NOT protect your Shocks. If you use the custom Top Hat, you will get a solid 10" of wheel travel. The custom Top Hat allows the shock to compress more before bottoming without affecting droop. You will still need to extend the LCA Bumpstop with this but only by about a .25-.5". You can not buy these at the moment, you'll need to find a way to make them. I am considering doing a run of 10-15+ sets summer 2017. Until then, shoot me a PM and I'll send you the design and additional info (Donations appreciated).
Click here for all the info you need on the Custom Top Hat

Current Gold Standard: (Check list for what has been proven to work)
Updated: 11-28-17

Option A, Stock Tophats:
~2"-5" of lift
7.75" wheel travel
595lb/in spring
no shock mods
$330-$390

Item______ Model-P/N______________________________Approximate cost
Strut: Bilstein 5100 - 24-261425(new P/N)____________________~$110ea
Springs: Moog - 81092____________________________________~$50 per pair
Isolator: KYB - SM5699________________ ___________________~$12ea (free if reuse)
Top Hat: OEM Frontier/Xterra (KYB SM5698 )___________________~$16ea (free if reuse)
Bump Stop: Wheeler's Super Bumps__________________________~$60

-------------------------------------------

Option B, Custom Tophats:
~3.5"-5" of lift (minimum height of about 3.5" without added snap rings)
10" wheel travel
580lb/in or 633lb/in spring
Optional shock mods for less lift
$460-$584

Item______ Model-P/N______________________________Approximate cost
Strut: Bilstein 5100 - 24-261425(new P/N)____________________~$110ea
Springs:
-OEM 4 Runner (580lb, good for stock weight)___________________~$140 per pair
-OEM FJ (633lb, heavy truck)_______________________________~$130 per pair
Isolator: KYB - SM5699________________ ___________________~$12ea (free if reuse)
Top Hat: Custom Top hat (DIY/shop built)_____________________~$50-140 per pair
Bump Stop: Wheeler's Super Bumps_________________________~$60


CAUTION- Recently I've seen two cases where the lower shock eye has failed due to coil bind when using the Moog 81092 or 81108 springs with custom tophats (this does NOT effect those using stock tophats). It is because of this I have changed the gold standard to not use the Moog springs with the custom top hats. The issue is that due to the number of coils on the Moog springs, coilbind can occur before the shock bottoms fully putting all of the bottoming force on the shock body. The solution for this is to use longer bumpstops or OEM Toyota springs. If you choose the bumpstop route, some stops that are 1.75" or taller should do the trick. If you choose to change springs, OEM 03-09 4Runner (580lb), 04-15 Tacoma (580-616lb), and 07-14 FJ (616-630lb) springs have been used with good results. This is due to the fact that the OEM springs have far fewer coils than the Moog counterparts and coilbind becomes a non-issue.


Buying New Pre-assembled:
Due to the popularity of this setup now and the sizable market share it has started to take away from other choices, the big vendors have taken notice. PRG and Nisstec are now offering/currently working on their own variants of this setup. While this is great and wonderful for the community, it really takes away from the cost savings this setup provides. Last I checked, PRG was selling its version for $619, while this is cheaper than Radflos, its a far cry from the average DIY cost of about $300-350. There are some Pros and Cons of buying from either vendor vs doing DIY.
Pros:
-One stop shop, easy bolt on, no hassles, can return, etc
-Both variants are using Eibach Springs, so getting the correct spring rate is easy
-NissTec variant will use a threaded collar so height adjustment will be just like Radflos

Cons:
-COST, can be double the cost or more of DIY
-Top Hats they come with will not get travel numbers that my custom top hat provides (at least for now), can still change the top hat they come with to the custom one though. Travel with provided hats will be comparable to that of OEM Top Hats.

Installing:
1) Change Top Hats-
*Must use Fronty/X Isolators, Tundra ones will not work*
Go rent a Spring Compressor and remove the Top Hats from the Stock Fronty/X Coilovers. You can only use the Toyota Springs as the Frontier/Xterra ones don't fit. The Toyota Springs are only just slightly larger in diameter than our Springs so they fit just ok in the Fronty/X Isolators. The key is to try and center the Spring on the hat as best you can when assembling them. They will make a depression in the isolator over time. Assemble each strut exactly as they were on the stock Coilovers.

2) Mount on truck-
When installing I had separate the UCA/Spindle bolt, but not completely remove it to get the Coilover in. I just backed the nut off until it was only on by about 3 threads and that was enough. The lower mounts are actually slightly smaller (about 1/8") than ours, so the LCA mount tabs will bend in just slightly. The lower bolt is exactly the same, so just reuse the stock bolt. Toque down everything and your done!

Other Potential:
This opens up alot of other Coilovers to the T-swap crowd. It would seem that any Gen 1 Tundra OEM length Coilover would work as long as the Top Hat is able to be changed. Another thing too is that Gen 1 Taco or Gen 3 4Runner Coilovers could also work, although they have slightly less travel due to being a bit shorter overall. If you go this route (used OEM Struts that is) I can provide no assurance that it will work well/if at all. It has been a mixed bag thus far, some have worked and others have provided way too much lift. If you are considering this route, shoot me a PM or post a reply in this thread on what you want to try.

Overall:
If you are strapped for cash but have/want a T-swap and still want to get most of the benefits of it (namely full travel) this may be a good alternative. Or if you need a coilover to hold your truck up that doesn't suck while getting your nice coilovers rebuilt, these are what you want.

Q and A Here!

Some threads to take a look at:
Tundra Coilover Research/Data - Nissan Frontier Forum
http://www.yotatech.com/f2/new-suspension-setup-trd-front-lift-3rd-gen-4runner-41848/
Coil Spring Color Code help - Toyota Tundra Forums : Tundra Solutions Forum
The Club Frontier Thread


PHOTOS:

Travel:



Mounted Up:


Space Between UCA and Bucket at Ride Height:


New Stance:




Flex:



Does not stuff as well as previous setups due to Higher Spring Rate:


Lift Measurements:
Front Hub to Fender: 24 1/8" or about 4" of lift over stock
Ground to Fender on 285s: 39 1/4"
 

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This is great. So, just to clarify, you are using an OEM style strut and spring. Which, in my eyes is a great choice for many people with a daily driver vehicle or one that sees harsh winters. As nice as the aftermarket options are, I'm seeing a general thing that they will need some regular inspections and or rebuilding if used on a daily driver.

This may actually sway me in the direction of a titan swap as cost and longevity in MN winters is a factor in my choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
^Correct. Literally all OEM parts, just from two manufacturers. Tundra strut and spring with Fronty tophat and isolator.

I've been running this setup for close to a month now and am quite pleased with it. To be perfectly honest, if the deal I have going with Bilstein falls though I wouldn't be all that bummed as this works really well.

Q and A

Will these work with stock Frontier arms? NO
These struts are about 3" longer than stock ones and about 1.5" longer than extended travel. You physically could not get them in unless you had a spring compressor on them and even then the UCA would be terminally on the bucket.

So any oem length gen1 Tundra, gen1 Taco, or gen3 4Runner coilover will work if I switch the tophats? Maybe, I've have personal sucess with gen 1 OEM tundra struts with saggy tundra springs (provided about 4"). Others have had good results as well with the tundra stuff. On the flip side, someone tried OEM gen3 4Runner struts and springs and got 6.5" of lift (no bueno). If you go this route understand that it may of may not work as you'd expect.
Your best bet to a proven setup is to use the Moog 4Runner springs with the Tundra 5100s.

Will I be able to use a front spacer lift with this setup in addition to the struts? NO

You will not be able to use your front spacers with Tundra or Taco struts. The struts are the correct length already and adding any more length will only make you lose travel. The is especially true if using the OEM Frontier hats. With the custom hats you may be able to use a small spacer.

Will X parts work with Y struts and springs? Usually yes

Most combos will work well enough. The only thing you may want to do is put some additional thought into is strut and spring choice as this is what ultimately determines how much lift and how it rides. Take a look at This thread for info on struts and springs.
At this point I'd only recommend the tundra springs if you want/have one or more of the following:
a) You have a steel bumper/winch and or skids
b) You want lots of lift (4"+)
c) You like a firmer ride

For the rear suspension, I'm looking at running _________ lift components and want new shocks but I don't know style/length to use in order take advantage of _________. How can I figure this out?

Figure out how much lift you'll have in the rear with all lift parts you will have installed and start by looking at what PRG/Nisstec offer. Then decide what kind of driving you'll be doing and choose your shock style. Remember, if you don't see what you'd like for Frontier specific shocks, there are other options. If possible to make nearly any shock you can think of work with a little effort on your part. This thread will tell you how buy the right length and set your bump stops accordingly.
 

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this looks like a great option for pulling out the sway aways to get them rebuilt. thanks! been pondering how I was going to do that for sometime knowing it would take a couple weeks probably to get them rebuilt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Would this set up work without going t-swap route?
Sorry, but these would be t swap only. They are already on the longer side for a t swap. I don't think you'd be able to even reconnect the upper ball joint. These are nearly 3"s longer than stock frontier coilovers.

And no problem guys! It never even occurred to me that these would be perfect for a downtime replacement, but they are.
 

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question for you: I don't have any old stock coilovers sitting around from my truck. long time sold/parted. so I need to source the top strut bracket and rubber ring thing that sits between it and the bracket. is there anything else needed? I am ASSUMING all the washers/bolts/stuff on the top of the actual shock that synch down to the strut bracket are ok to use from the Tundra shock? I hope that made sense.

in other words I hope to buy this:
05 12 Fits Nissan Suzuki 2 5L 4 0L 5 6L Front Strut Mount Pair Eagle 5317 2 | eBay

and a set of Tundra coilovers from a Gen1 and swap the strut top bracket with the rubber ring thing.

appears that straight forward but thought I would run that past you to see if I am missing anything.
 

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question for you: I don't have any old stock coilovers sitting around from my truck. long time sold/parted. so I need to source the top strut bracket and rubber ring thing that sits between it and the bracket. is there anything else needed? I am ASSUMING all the washers/bolts/stuff on the top of the actual shock that synch down to the strut bracket are ok to use from the Tundra shock? I hope that made sense.

in other words I hope to buy this:
05 12 Fits Nissan Suzuki 2 5L 4 0L 5 6L Front Strut Mount Pair Eagle 5317 2 | eBay

and a set of Tundra coilovers from a Gen1 and swap the strut top bracket with the rubber ring thing.

appears that straight forward but thought I would run that past you to see if I am missing anything.
I'm really loving your willingness to pave the way for alot of us budget minded T-swappers, as I just dont need the adjustability or extreme performance of Rads\Saws. I'm interested in the ebay top hats aswell, as they would allow me to keep complete stock struts if I wanted to sell 'em or revert back to stock. On another note, do ya'll know of a place to get a cheap set of springs? From what I've seen on yota forums, Factory, OEM, and Eibach springs all cost around $200 a set.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
question for you: I don't have any old stock coilovers sitting around from my truck. long time sold/parted. so I need to source the top strut bracket and rubber ring thing that sits between it and the bracket. is there anything else needed? I am ASSUMING all the washers/bolts/stuff on the top of the actual shock that synch down to the strut bracket are ok to use from the Tundra shock? I hope that made sense.

in other words I hope to buy this:
05 12 Fits Nissan Suzuki 2 5L 4 0L 5 6L Front Strut Mount Pair Eagle 5317 2 | eBay

and a set of Tundra coilovers from a Gen1 and swap the strut top bracket with the rubber ring thing.

appears that straight forward but thought I would run that past you to see if I am missing anything.
David I'll need to double check for you but I believe I actually used all the Frontier stuff in the top hat (bushing, washers, collars, spacers, etc). Imagine taking the whole assembly off the Frontier strut and putting it on the Tundra strut, but using the Tundra strut nut to hold it together. I think the only bit I used from the Tundra hats were the actual nuts the hold the strut into the top hat.

Ross:
Check out Craigslist in your area. When I was looking I found a few set for sale. That's actually how I came to the cost number in this thread.
 

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alright man! I am following your lead to swap in a set of these while I get my Sway Aways rebuilt. I have this terrible knock/clunk from the drivers side sway away that I have narrowed down to the sway away assembly and have the parts to rebuild the uniballs that mount the bottom of the assembly to the lower arm. almost positive that's my culprit but will likely just send them in somewhere to have the whole thing rebuilt while I have them out. been on the truck for about 3.5 years now. wasn't easy on them either!

found a set of 05' coilovers from a tundra that were apparently pulled off just after the trucks first oil change and been sitting in a guys garage since. look really clean and getting them to my door for just under 100$. plus the misc top hat parts from a frontier and I will be in for less than 140$. wonder how much a rebuild on the sway aways are going to run...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
^Nice! Great find! Which ones are they? IE what trim/ body did they come off of?

Good luck on the rebuild, depending on what they need I've seen some cost up to about $350 to rebuild a pair. Yours will probably be less though, as the ones I'm referring to need nearly everything replaced.
 

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the seller said they came off of a 4 door 4wheel drive NON TRD package. so they are not the bilstiens, just no name black OEM. for the price I am totally fine. and again, just temp to keep the daily driver going.
yeah, I hope the sway aways rebuild isn't too much. but they have been awesome so I am sure what ever it is will be worth it. (keep telling myself)
 

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I noticed Dirt King sells Upper arms with Heims and with bushings. Do you know if one gives more clearance over the other? Only the description on their site about it is on the one with heims. I'd prefer to avoid Heims Up here in MN with the salty winters and all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
the seller said they came off of a 4 door 4wheel drive NON TRD package. so they are not the bilstiens, just no name black OEM. for the price I am totally fine. and again, just temp to keep the daily driver going.
yeah, I hope the sway aways rebuild isn't too much. but they have been awesome so I am sure what ever it is will be worth it. (keep telling myself)
Let me know how they ride and what paint marks they have on the coils please. I'm curious, and would also like to log what has been tried as well.

Shizz: I'm pretty sure they are the same or very similar. I think they will still be better than my TCCs.
 

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I noticed Dirt King sells Upper arms with Heims and with bushings. Do you know if one gives more clearance over the other? Only the description on their site about it is on the one with heims. I'd prefer to avoid Heims Up here in MN with the salty winters and all.
the bushing arms might not give you the adjustment you need where they mount to the frame to get your alignment dialed in. not a fact, just a suspicion.
 

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Let me know how they ride and what paint marks they have on the coils please. I'm curious, and would also like to log what has been tried as well.

Shizz: I'm pretty sure they are the same or very similar. I think they will still be better than my TCCs.

according to the pictures they have two reddish/pinkish paint marks on each coil. the shocks themselves have a single red line around them towards the base.
when I get them I will see if there are any other markings that can be seen to pin down exactly what they are.
I didn't order up any other parts from a stock Nissan coil other than the top plate and big rubber ring thing. will find out if anything else is needed when I go to swap on the frontier top plate onto the tundra shock. will be good to confirm EXACTLY what parts one needs to source to make this all work.
I also suspect I wont get as much lift out of it that you got. I have a big ole bumper that probably weights 100#'s without the winch.
I need to remember to get some measurements before and after to get a good reading.
 
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