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Bump-Tamer: Bilstein B8 8100 Series Install on a 2017 Tacoma TRD Off-Road


Tyler AdamsPhotographer, Writer

Our ’17 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road has treated us well over the past year and a half and 46,000 miles of ownership, but once it’s loaded up with a bed full of camping gear and enough supplies for a seven-day trip, the stock suspension is simply overwhelmed. What started out as a midsize truck that was light on its feet when empty, now feels bloated and lethargic when fully loaded, lumbering around corners and bottoming out on the smallest of bumps.

Bilstein has a cure for the boat-anchor blues—its new B8 8100 series direct fitment suspension system for the ’05-’18 Toyota Tacoma. All four corners of the vehicle have been specifically engineered with a uniquely tuned shock, taking into consideration the exact weight measurements on each corner. The front and rear shocks each have left- and right-hand-side delineation and have a preset lift height depending on drive-type, engine, cab, bed, and year range.

The front B8 8112 (ZoneControl CR) shocks consist of a shock absorber and coil-spring assembly, with motorsports racing–derived position-sensitive damping technology built in. ZoneControl offers an internal 2-inch hydraulic two-stage compression stop and a 1-inch internal rebound stop. The triple-piston design offers three compression valving stages and two rebound valving stages, giving the vehicle an incredible highway and off-road ride, soaking up anything in its path. Front ride height can be adjusted 0.5-2.5 inches, with a threaded spring seat lock ring and supplied spanner wrench.

The rear B8 8100 (bypass) shocks are also position-sensitive damped and look like they came off a Baja Trophy Truck. The twin-tube external bypass design features “incremental flow” bypass adjusters, allowing you to adjust the ride of your truck depending on the amount of gear and added weight loaded in the bed. When the going gets rough with unexpected G-outs, the shock utilizes a bottom hose remote-reservoir exit port for increased compression control at full suspension cycle that eliminates the need for a hydraulic bumpstop.

Last, but not least, we installed a set of Deaver Spring rear leaf-spring packs to help control the rear of the truck with the additional weight and also to give us an additional 2 inches of lift for ground clearance and bigger tires. Deaver Spring offers three stages of rear leaf-spring options for additional weight capacity: Stage I is good for 0-300 pounds, Stage II for 400-600 pounds, and Stage III for 700-1,000 pounds. All three stages offer approximately 2 inches of overall lift height. For our Taco, we went with the Stage II, which will help haul our bed full of goodies.

Now our Tacoma rides, handles, and performs great, whether loaded or unloaded. Follow along as we cover the truck’s transformation.