Need new Toyota shocks…Recommendations?

Tom n N

Advanced Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2022
Messages
56
Location
Los Osos, CA
I had been considering replacing my approximately 20 year old KYB shocks, but of course the old saying “If it aint broke…” kept me from actually doing anything. Well, I returned last week from two weeks in Death Valley and the Mojave Desert to find that the weld holding the lower mount to the rest of my rear shock had separated. Time to finally get around to replacing them.

I had always figured when the time came I’d replace them with a set of Bilstein 4600’s. I made the mistake of doing a little research on this and other forums and of course now it’s much more complicated. Not only did I find out about the whole mono tube vs twin tube issue, but I also stumbled onto a thread on this forum from 2012 stating Bilsteins aren’t even made for offroad??? Now I’m confused! Also saw some great articles by Jon Hansen implying the best brands for my particular usage might be Boss or OME, but of course neither lists an application for my truck.

The particulars of my truck are as follows:
93 4x4 Toyota extended cab V6. It is unlifted. Half the year it only has an empty shell on it and rarely leaves pavement. The other half it has a fully loaded FW Camper on the back and spends a considerable amount of its time well off the road. Like a lot of you out there, when I’m headed out into the sticks, it’s overweight. Front axle is rated 2600# but is 2710# when loaded. Rear is rated 3000# but is 3740# when full. Yes, I’ve done a lot to mitigate this, but that’s a whole other thread. Right now I just want a recommendation on the best available shocks. As far as usage, I spend a lot of time on desert washboards, but at very slow speeds. I am NOT that jerk that passes you at 60 MPH on Saline Valley Road. While I am not a Rubicon rock crawler, I do frequent trails that use every bit of my stock articulation (to use another D.V. example, think Goler Wash / Mengel Pass after a bad storm year).

With that, what do you all recommend? I really appreciate any of you that have read through this long winded question, and look forward to hearing your opinions,
Thanks,
Tom
 
Thanks for the input Dennis. Unfortunately Fox also doesn’t list an application for my truck.

Through all my research it looked like Old Man Emu twin tubes would be my best bet. Lots of sites showed applications for an unlifted truck, but when I contacted ARB directly the very helpful tech guy said they had nothing that would work with less than a 2” lift, despite what some of their vendors claimed. Really appreciated his honesty in talking me out of their products, but was disappointing nonetheless.

Looks like without going the crazy expensive race shock route (which I definitely don’t need) my choices are KYB or Bilstein, both of which are monotube.

Anybody have thoughts?

Thanks
Tom
 
For what it's worth - I do not drive a Tacoma but I have used Bilstein 4600 shocks on my truck for 265,000 miles without complaint. And I've driven my truck to a lot - a lot - of backcountry places.
 
Bilstein 5100s work great for me and are nice upgrade from the stock Bilsteins on my Tacoma Off Road
 
Sledawg said:
Bilstein 5100s work great for me and are nice upgrade from the stock Bilsteins on my Tacoma Off Road
Ya, I liked the specs on the 5100’s but again, like so many other premium shocks they don’t have an application for an unlifted version of my truck.

ski3pin said:
For what it's worth - I do not drive a Tacoma but I have used Bilstein 4600 shocks on my truck for 265,000 miles without complaint. And I've driven my truck to a lot - a lot - of backcountry places.
Looks like that’s the direction I may be heading. Have read a lot of your very entertaining trip reports, and it appears we travel a lot of the same routes. Also appreciate that like me, you seem to keep stuff a long time, so your testimonial carries a lot of weight.

Thanks to both of you for sharing your opinions,
Tom
 
nikonron said:
Running Icon's on my 09 Tacoma, so far, so good.
Thanks for the input, but the curse of the unlifted pre Tacoma Toyota strikes again. Ironic for a truck that used to be common as dirt. Oh well, I’m still keeping it!
 
First, you got 20 years out of KYB shocks? You should send them to the Smithsonian. :)

While I do prefer twin-tube shocks for most overland-type use, there's nothing at all wrong with the Bilstein 4600.
 
I've been happy with the Bilstein 6112 in front and 5160 in rear on a 2nd gen Taco. I take everything including the kitchen sink when I go camping so I also upgrade rear springs to the OME Dakars and its a good combo with the Bilsteins plus gives about 1-1/2" lift. You can get more opinions about the Bilstein here:

Bilstein 6112 | Tacoma World
 
I will always recommend #Bilstein first, they are the best off the shelf shock. As far as 46 or 51 series, I was told by a Bilstein tech that internally, the shocks were the same and only difference was that the 5100 series were a little longer made for vehicles with a slight lift and included shock boots.
 
I've been running the Bilstein 5100s for a bit over 10 years on my 2013 Tacoma. It is unlifted and stock. I gather that series won't fit on your '93, but it's a vote for the brand, nonetheless.
 
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