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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-21-2019, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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Leveling & Proper Measurement

Hey guys, Happy Easter to all! I've been combing the older threads and had a quick one regarding proper measuring on a leveling kit. I run a 2012 S, CC, 4x4 and I was told by a local shop to measure from bottom of tire to the top of the wheel well. The rear is close to 41" and the front measures at 37". Some of the threads indicated no more than 1.5" - 2" level on a 4x4, but with that amount of difference I wondered if either would be enough to truly get a close level.

Initially I looked at the 3" RC leveling struts over the PRG spacers, but I want to check with the experts here to see if I was told correctly and/or what would be best. It is a daily driver and I still run stock wheels/tires as I just got the bad boy in early March.

Thanks in advance and if I missed a thread that covered this back in the day; many apologies!
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-21-2019, 06:33 PM
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Re: Leveling & Proper Measurement

I raised the front of my 2015 SL Crew with the Bilstein 5100's 1" and my truck is almost level. I put a level on the bed rail when I was done.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-21-2019, 10:54 PM
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Re: Leveling & Proper Measurement

The size of the spacer used will not indicate the amount of actual lift gained. The spacer will alter the spring rate because it is under more tension and this will create lift along with the thickness of the actual spacer. This is the same concept for the bilstein lift, it alters the spring rate and increases ride height. Think of it as if you had a coil over and you are adding preload to the shock.

So an 1.5 spacer will raise the height approximately 2-3" depending on spring condition. The bilstein shocks work great actually and give a nice ride.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 03:27 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. That make a lot more sense. I was starting to wonder if something was wrong in the front due to that much difference...

I’m sure now it all mainly comes down to price between struts and spacers. I feel like a lot opt for the spacer for the quick level. Hard to beat those prices anywhere.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 10:11 AM
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My 2004 4x2 LE was wearing front the front tires unevenly. The front end mechanic (not dealership and trusted impeccable) said he had adjusted to the end of its capability. We put 2” spacers under the front springs which permitted additional adjustments and also provided a more level body. Thereafter, with new Michelin tires the front tire wear was flat across the tread. I never noticed any issues after that and no degradation of the ride or handling. Of course that was a 4x2 and a 4x4 may react differently. The ‘04 was a great truck after Nissan took care of the undersized front rotors, calipers and differential (total rear assembly replacement; differential, axels and all). Opted to buy a new 2018 SL last June, sold the ‘04 to a friend and he LOVES it as much as I did!
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 10:30 PM
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Re: Leveling & Proper Measurement

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Originally Posted by Titanrunner04 View Post
The size of the spacer used will not indicate the amount of actual lift gained. The spacer will alter the spring rate because it is under more tension and this will create lift along with the thickness of the actual spacer. This is the same concept for the bilstein lift, it alters the spring rate and increases ride height. Think of it as if you had a coil over and you are adding preload to the shock.

So an 1.5 spacer will raise the height approximately 2-3" depending on spring condition. The bilstein shocks work great actually and give a nice ride.
The reason the size of the spacer doesn't directly equal the lift gained is that you're putting the spacer on top of the shock and the tire is out at the end of some arms which move in a triangulated fashion with regard to the top of the strut. I can assure you the above assessment regarding spacers preloading the spring and altering spring rate is not correct (nor even physically possible in this configuration). For that to happen, you'd have to put the spacer under the "hat" on top of the spring. Otherwise, all you're doing is mounting the shock lower, which isn't preloading the spring and certainly doesn't change the spring rate. Another way to look at this is to consider that when you put a 2" block under the rear leaf spring, it doesn't preload the spring or change the spring rate, it only lifts the mount point of the spring 2" above the axle. Now, that's not a 100% identical comparison, because the rear block lifts exactly as it's measured, since the live rear axle doesn't articulate in a triangulated fashion with respect to the spring mount, as the IFS does.

Now, Bilstein 5100s do actually preload the spring, but they preload because they have an adjustable spring perch. There are a few other shocks with adjustable spring perches, and all preload the spring in varying amounts, depending on where you place the adjustable perch. But with the OEM shocks, there is no preload of the spring when you add a spacer. And the spring rate remains unchanged throughout, regardless of preload, because Titans do not have progressive springs, but rather have constant rate springs, so preload only changes the load at rest (the preload), not the force required to compress the spring (which is the spring rate).
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 12:26 PM
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Re: Leveling & Proper Measurement

I paid right at $300 for my 5100's front and rear. Well worth the money and a world of difference in ride and handling. Plus the 1" lift I got was just perfect. I had an alignment done afterwards and it handles like a new truck.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC61 View Post
I paid right at $300 for my 5100's front and rear. Well worth the money and a world of difference in ride and handling. Plus the 1" lift I got was just perfect. I had an alignment done afterwards and it handles like a new truck.
All great notes and suggestions from everyone. I think it is money well spent. Saving a ton going with a spacer but if I end replacing the OE struts down the road anyway- why not just get it done now?
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 03:08 PM
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Re: Leveling & Proper Measurement

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Originally Posted by HoosierTKM View Post
All great notes and suggestions from everyone. I think it is money well spent. Saving a ton going with a spacer but if I end replacing the OE struts down the road anyway- why not just get it done now?

I did all the work myself, except the alignment. Local shop wanted almost $200 to do just the fronts. I did it all in one day by myself. Had to buy the spring compressors at Harbor Freight but that was the only additional expense. Alignment was $70

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 07:15 PM
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It does alter the spring rate because you have extended the total length of the strut assembly. When you compress the upper arm and lower arm back together to the spindle you have to put more force to collapse the strut because of the length thus altering spring rate and compression. This is just facts. Not hard to figure out.

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No, that's not correct. You haven't changed the length of the spring at all, nor have you altered the spring rate. The laws of physics don't work that way. If that were the case, I could alter the spring rate by taping a rubber bushing to the bottom of the bottom eye.

And it doesn't require any different force to compress the spring, with a spacer on top. Not sure where you're getting this info, but its incorrect.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 10:32 PM
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I do agree with you guys. Please don't take what I am saying to literal. I am not trying to get to scientific. I have installed probably 20 sets of spacers from various heights. All the trucks had a stiffer ride and never does the height after reflect the actual thickness of the spacer. Trust me when you try and reassemble the arms to the spindle it can be a pain in the butt. You will have to use allot of force to get upper arm back in position because the total length of the strut has changed. Yes I stand corrected on spring rate because the rate of the spring is what it is. However your spring will stiffen the farther you are into the compression of the coils. By having a longer total length of the strut are you into the coils more when you compress it to install back into the truck. I think yes and this is why it gets stiffer. I only know from my tools and not a computer.

Jason
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Re: Leveling & Proper Measurement

This isn't rocket science nor does it need to be scientific. Simple laws of physics. When I installed the 5100's I removed the old shocks on the front compressed the springs and installed the new shocks on the middle perch. Reinstalled the assembly without issue. No idea about the spacers but the 5100's I think is the best route to go for a small lift.

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 04:19 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC61 View Post
This isn't rocket science nor does it need to be scientific. Simple laws of physics. When I installed the 5100's I removed the old shocks on the front compressed the springs and installed the new shocks on the middle perch. Reinstalled the assembly without issue. No idea about the spacers but the 5100's I think is the best route to go for a small lift.
Yeah, I think there is a certain satisfaction of knowing you’re running on new shocks too. I’ve heard from folks that they regretted going with the spacer due to the ride quality or finding themselves ultimately replacing the shocks some time later. Great feedback from everyone.
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