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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I need to buy a set of shocks and struts for a Nissan Xterra 2004 SE 4WD. The driving is 70 % paved and 30 % not paved terrain. It has stock suspension, no modification has been performed.

I have been searching on forums and most of them recommend Bilstein 5100, then I realize that I can’t use the Front 5100 ‘s because the X do not have Coil Overs, so there is no way to set the shock to 0 lift (Stock).

Looks like the on the Rear end I can use 5100’s but I have to remove the sway bar, which I can do if I stall 5100’s on it.

Can you please recommend a full set of shock for the driving condition described above?

I’m looking for an improvement and durability, so if for the driving conditions is beast to buy a set a cheap set each year it is also acceptable I just want to get the some opinions so I can take a decision on what to buy.

Thanks all :)
 

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I bought an 04 SE 4x4 with 85k miles this past Feb. shocks were stock and badly rusted. I originally wanted 5100's, but I settled with 4600's because they were considerably cheaper and easier to get in Hawaii. The difference was night and day and I really enjoy them, most of my driving is paved and when I do off road it's nothing extreme.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I bought an 04 SE 4x4 with 85k miles this past Feb. shocks were stock and badly rusted. I originally wanted 5100's, but I settled with 4600's because they were considerably cheaper and easier to get in Hawaii. The difference was night and day and I really enjoy them, most of my driving is paved and when I do off road it's nothing extreme.
Thanks for the response 808 Xterra 4x4, i did read that 5100's are the best option, but not available for front on the 1st gen Xterra.
 

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I just put Rancho rs5000's on my stock '02 and they are great. They have their buy 3 get one free shocktober promo starting tomorrow. Hard to best and they last forever.
 

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I'm sure the Ranchos were a big improvement over your 13 year old shocks, but they are not hard to beat. They use an outdated technology and many people have run both and agree, Bilstein are noticeably better. Not trying to be argumentative, there are just a lot of threads about the topic and Bilsteins are the unanimous favorite. They are more expensive though.
 

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I'm sure the Ranchos were a big improvement over your 13 year old shocks, but they are not hard to beat. They use an outdated technology and many people have run both and agree, Bilstein are noticeably better. Not trying to be argumentative, there are just a lot of threads about the topic and Bilsteins are the unanimous favorite. They are more expensive though.
Same thing the jeep guys keep telling me. I've had Ranchos on four lifted jeeps and like the way they ride. I've never ridden on a rig with Bilsteins, maybe they will be better than a Thai massage, but I can't comment on whether they are better or not. Im not sure what technology Bilsteins uses. I'd have to ride on them before dropping $400+. I feel like shock ride is a personal opinion, but there are some performance considerations too.
 

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Same thing the jeep guys keep telling me. I've had Ranchos on four lifted jeeps and like the way they ride. I've never ridden on a rig with Bilsteins, maybe they will be better than a Thai massage, but I can't comment on whether they are better or not. Im not sure what technology Bilsteins uses. I'd have to ride on them before dropping $400+. I feel like shock ride is a personal opinion, but there are some performance considerations too.
The Rancho's are old fashioned twin tube technology. That means that they have trouble dissipating heat.

The way a shock absorber WORKS, is by the motion of the piston being turned into heat, absorbed by the oil.

When the oil can't absorb any more heat, or, more accurately, as the oil absorbs more and more heat, it has less and less of an ability to turn additional motion into additional heat.

This is called "Fade", and the ability to damp ride motions fades away as the shock heats up.


The larger the shock, and the more oil, including the addition of reservoirs, to hold even more oil, etc...the longer the shock can work before its overwhelmed.


Almost any shock is OK on the road...as the motions are small, and, most CAN keep up.

OFF road, especially in rougher terrain, the pistons can be cycling in/out over a longer stroke, repeatedly, for a long time.


The Bilstein 5100 for example are state of the art monotube shocks. This means that there is quite a lot more surface area to dissipate the heat from...and they can take a ton more ride motion and turn it into heat, lose the heat, and keep absorbing motion.


Its not magic, angels don't descend from heaven and blow you when you're driving, etc...but, the damping doesn't fade in hard use.


Add to that the true digressive valving on the Bils, so that the motions are damped more progressively, and faster vs slower and harder vs softer shaft motions are damped differently.

Its the way a catcher soaks up a fast ball by pulling the mitt back as he catches it....so the ball doesn't bounce back out on impact, etc.



In practice, I will give an example from a few years ago. I was riding in a buddies rig, and he had Rancho 5000 on it, and was happy with them over all on road, but, we were in the NJ Pine Barrens, and, there was a nice stretch of whoop de doos (Washboard dirt trail), and he was heading down it, and the ride got worse and worse until he complained his liver was turning to pate.

We ran it again in my rig with the 5100's, and the wheels went up/down with the washboard, but the rig stayed level, and no one's liver was pounded to pate.

Obviously, its not going to make it a pre-runner by itself...no Baja 500 races out of the box, etc....but, for a shock that can fit a bone stock X, its damn fine.

:D


PS - The Bil 5100 is available for the rears as mentioned, but not the fronts....BUT, the HD (Now called the 4600) is about the same, and, IS available for the fronts.

The rear HD are also about the same if you want to save a few buck....they're painted, instead of shiny silver metal, but, inside, they're about the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks All,

So far this is what i have on my list base on your recommendations.

Rancho rs5000's (Good options for the price, quality and combined to my ride 70% paved 30% not paved(nothing like off rode extreme)
Bilstein 4600's (Better technology than rancho's, about the same price as well )
Bilstein 5100's rear + 4600 Front (Best quality option)


Thanks again for your help guys, I'm going to look for online prices this weekend :)
 

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Thanks All,

So far this is what i have on my list base on your recommendations.

Rancho rs5000's (Good options for the price, quality and combined to my ride 70% paved 30% not paved(nothing like off rode extreme)
Bilstein 4600's (Better technology than rancho's, about the same price as well )
Bilstein 5100's rear + 4600 Front (Best quality option)


Thanks again for your help guys, I'm going to look for online prices this weekend :)
Did you not see my post above about the 5100s for the front?
 

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Just in case this point was missed, the front takes shocks too, not struts.

:D
 
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