Hello fellow Jeepers!
I've been pouring over this and other Jeep forums soaking in as much as I can on shocks / suspension. I've got a tight time window to make a decision, so any thoughts would be appreciated. Here's the decision I need to make, but first my Jeep setup:
-1993 Jeep Wrangler TJ Sahara
- Transer Case: 4.56
- Front Axle: Dana 30 w/ Powertrax Lock Right
- Rear Axle: Dana 44 w/ ABS Selectable Locker
- Suspension: BDS 3" Lift (25k miles on this, came with BDS springs / shocks)
- Tires: 32 x 11.5 x 15 MTRs
- Front Bumper: Daystar Rock Krusher Jr front bumper w/ 4 fogs
- Recovery Gear: Warn x8000i
- Rear Bumper: Stock but Class 2 hitch attached below
- Softtop most of the time, hardtop 3-4 mos out of the year
- Rear seats removed
I mention all these things so you have a decent idea of the normal weight distribution in the rig as it relates to my suspension question. Keep in mind tis is a daily driver, offroaded on weekends (primarily crawling or firetrail / washboard roads at speed).
I was looking for a bolt on / low cost / low maintenance suspension solution to allow me to better handle potholes / bumps (daily driving) as well as washboard roads / dirt tracks on weekends. I considered coilovers (too expensive), replacing the springs in addition to the shocks (but the BDS springs are working well for the lift), and have bascially boiled it down to shock upgrades (as from what I'm reading this is the quickest / easiest way to help ride issues). From reading, majority of consenses for shocks were Bilstein or OME (with RE monotubes and Skyjacker Hydros in there, but not as highly rated). Between the two I'm leaning towards the Bilsteins as:
- Consistent praise I read from most posts for their performance / quality
- Price (sale on 5100's right now make them very appealing)
a)Bilstein 5100: $67 (these are the ones on special, bundle of 4 from E shocks com for $270 w/ free ship)
b) OME: $84 (these are competitors to the 5100)
c) Bilstein 5150: $99 (next class up with external reservoir)
So here are my questions:
1) BDS shocks are not mentioned much in the forums, but when they are it is inevitably positive. Would the Bilstein models increase the performance over these notably?
2) 5100 vs 5150 - From what I'm reading unless I'm driving high speed over washboards / jumps for an extended period of time, the 5150s don't differ significantly from the 5100's (just the added benefit of the ext. reservoir for cooling). And yeah, they look cool, but is it worh the extra $130+ for that cool look?
3) And I am aware of airing down the tires, disconnecting the sway bar, etc to help handling the bumps when offroad - but all things being equal will this shock upgrade help me accomplish what I want with my current setup or is it wasted money?
Thanks for the help! And please keep the comments focused to the above, a lot of these threads tend to go off tangents about other "shocks that are better", etc - I feel pretty comfortable with my potential choices thus far and am looking for specific answers to my questions - thanks!