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Chevy Cruze Bilstein B6 HD Shock/Strut Review

61457 Views 169 Replies 39 Participants Last post by  Cruzing12
I've had the opportunity to put about 100 miles on the Bilstein B6 HD shocks that I purchased for my 2012 Cruze Eco MT6, and feel that I can give a good review. For those who are unfamiliar with these, Bilstein has three shock replacement options for the Cruze; the Bilstein B4 (OE Replacements), Bilstein B6 HD (a heavy duty shock), and the Bilstein B8 (a heavy duty shock designed to be used with lowering springs). Since I have no desire to reduce my ride height with the roads we have around here but did want to upgrade, I went with the Bilstein B6 HD.


The reason I began looking for a replacement set of shocks is that I began to notice a degradation in vehicle stability and comfort. When driving over a highway overpass, for example, I'd hit uneven pavement that sometimes had lane-wide gaps or bumps, and the suspension in the front would bottom out. Most people might not notice what I did, but when the shocks crash through the jounce bumpers, you can definitely notice it happening. On a particular road I always travel to buy car parts, there's a railroad track which everyone slows down on. In the Cruze, I would bottom out the front suspension very noticeably at the posted 35mph speed limit. It was unnerving. Furthermore, when turning over uneven pavement, the vehicle would rock left and right a bit, but overshoot the simple uneven pavement in an attempt to stabilize itself. Braking exhibited more nose dive than usual as well.

This could be written off as worn shocks, and some of it undoubtedly is. I have 66k miles on the vehicle now, with about 50k miles on the actual shocks (they were replaced by GM under warranty due to noise early on), but my shocks at 50k miles did not exhibit any of the typical symptoms that "completely worn" shocks do. It is generally stable on the highway (doesn't "float,"), and rides comfortably.

The Visual Difference
An immediate difference can be seen visually in the shocks. The Bilstein shock is longer, and contains a built-in jounce bumper in the shock itself, so you need to remove yours when installing. This does not affect ride height. The strut shaft is MUCH larger in diameter.

The rears were not as big of a difference, measuring a shaft diameter of 12mm stock and 14mm on the Bilsteins, but it is still an increase nonetheless.

Aside from the obvious visual differences, the vehicle maintained the same front ride height, but gained about 1/2" of ride height in the rear. I've read about this happening with other cars, as this is a pressurized gas shock. Since I have a sound system in the trunk, I don't mind the increase at all and expect it to settle a little over time.

The Driving Difference
The initial driving experience was nothing short of remarkable. I had read other reviews people posted of these shocks on other vehicles where the vehicle was described as "taut," and I think that term defines the change quite accurately. The vehicle simply feels more composed, more controlled, more predictable, and more stable.

I have a couple of places where I bottom out the suspension on a regular basis. The first is the railroad tracks mentioned above, and the second is a transition between two surfaces going over a highway overpass. First thing I did once I installed these is go out for a drive on those same surfaces. The highway transition was such a big difference that I didn't even notice it. When I approached the railroad tracks, I felt a little crazy since everyone was slowing down to 25mph in the 35mph zone, and I was accelerating to 40mph. Went over the railroad tracks and barely felt it. The car didn't have the usual nosedive, slam on the jounce bumpers, bounce back up, and level off again. It just kind of rolled over the uneven pavement as if I was driving on a cloud.

This all came as a surprise because on lighter irregularities in the road, the suspension now feels more sporty. Instead of calling it stiff, I'd refer back to the "taut" reference. While you certainly feel more of the road with these shocks than with OE shocks, you feel less of that road on large anomalies, and even the small road anomalies aren't what I'd call "stiff." On the highway, your bead isn't bouncing back and forth as if the suspension was welded; it simply follows the road more securely as if there was some magnetic force pulling the car to the road. That is, until you hit a big hole or bump in the ground and the car just gracefully absorbs it without making you cringe.

I was very deliberate in not wanting to lower the car. I like how cars feel more planted due to the reduction in body sway, but don't like the harshness you get with the reduction in suspension travel. I feel that with these shocks, I got every bit of sporty handling one would out of lowering springs, but without all the harshness.

On a scientific level, the purpose of the shocks is to control suspension travel; the purpose of the springs is to suspend your vehicle's weight. These shocks more strongly limit suspension travel, so you feel more of the small bumps on the road instead of the suspension absorbing them, but in return, the suspension doesn't bottom out and make you wish you'd have slammed on the brakes earlier when going over much larger bumps in the road. The result is almost an oxymoron; sporty, but comfortable; taut. I felt like I was driving a tuned European car.

On braking, I had 1/3 the amount of nose dive I used to, and it was much more gradual than before. While making quick turning maneuvers, there was less body sway, and the vehicle responded to drive input more quickly and more accurately. Going over uneven pavement while turning, when my Cruze used to rock left and right trying to settle back to a resting position, the shocks kept the vehicle riding level and stable. All in all, the vehicle feels much more confident.

I'll admit, this is the first time I've owned a vehicle that had a truly good set of shocks, so it was a bit of a revelation for me, but I can wholeheardly give this upgrade a solid recommendation for anyone looking to improve the ride comfort of their vehicle without turning it into a land yacht, and improve the handling of their vehicle without clenching their buttocks whenever they see a large bump or pothole in the road.

The Bilstein B6 HD shocks are an all-around solid upgrade for the Gen1 Chevy Cruze and will be my go-to replacement shock for any vehicle I own in the future. For those of you with lowered springs, look into the B8 shocks.

Both the Bilstein B6 HD and the Bilstein B8 shocks are available from order from the BNR Website:

B6 HD: Bilstein B6 HD Shocks
B8 Sport: Bilstein B8 Sport Shocks
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Been checking around and a few places are stating Bilstein has discontinued the B6 front option? This is disheartening because I have the B6 rears and wanted to get matching fronts.

I have been keeping an eye on the front B6 struts since I purchased the rears from Autozne back in Jan. 2017. They FINALLY have the fronts available for purchase. So this is another source to get them from locally and utilize the lifetime warranty with a lot less hassle. Before I could only ever find B4 OE or the B8 performance struts available from a local retailer.
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So it’s not just an issue from my parts dealer, everyone’s having an issue with getting Bilsteins? I’ve been waiting for several months now and was told sometime in September was the new estimated ship date. I’ll be waiting on these to come in.
Yikes, means I should order know in prep for replacing before winter hits I guess... Not good to hear.
the b14 bilstien kit is 1100 if i recall. lifetime warranty, can be rebuilt many years down the road, mono tube shocks, fully adjustable ride height, designed to be lowered so no worries of a bottom out hurting the shock. 250 a corner for monotubes and springs is cheap
Daily driver even through the winter. I like all the ground clearance I have currently. With the long wait on Bilstein products its always a treat trying to get replacements it seems. Couple that with a lowered ride just makes things harder to get back on the road when it goes down since you wouldn't have an good alternative to swap in.
if you want the proper way of lowering this is it. the shocks and springs are engineered together to work as a team vs individual components. it is ride adjustable so you can always have it at the highest ride setting. replacements may take a while but you know they will always stay in business and can do quality rebuilds. today its a miracle to find a set of koni monotubes for my Daytona C/S today. only option is used and to rebuild them. once you got them your good to go.

if your worried about winter roads why would you ever consider lowering? i would toss in B6 shocks and stock springs and leave it be.
I'm not considering lowering. I have the B6 for the rear, getting B6 for the front seems to be the challenge. Even tried seeing what type of availability on the B14 kit was and that wasn't looking the same. Not sure what is up with Bilstein lately as far as manufacturing. Seems they are always behind. I thought it was bad when it took a month to get replacement front shocks for my truck under warranty. This has been 5x worse. Hard to give good feedback to good product when you can't get it though.
I was told from Billstein this morning not to expect the B6's for the cruze until Sometime late December, but he also said the ride would be much harsher for a daily driver and I should use the B4's

The one thing that I can't seem to find/concerned. I have a diesel which has different part numbers from ACDELCO and KYB Excel G's which it should since the car is heavier, but MONROE/Gabriel and Billstein all use the same strut numbers for all 3 models of cruises. Anybody have any info on that. I cancelled my order from 3 months ago with Summit for the B6's and and went with the KYB's for about 170 less, I'll let you know how it works out.

Any update on your Bilstien B6 order? Still been trying to order and OOS. Hoping they haven't gotten pushed back further than they already are.
Last update for my order was mid January to get the fronts. Still patiently waiting.
Good to know. I guess I won't be looking for them anytime soon then. Will have been almost 2 years since I bought the rears and would like to eventually get the fronts. Kinda stupid on their part because people usually want to buy matching items for all 4 corners.
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Finally got both of my rear shocks. Ordered from 2 different places and it took several weeks to get them. Looks like they are directly shipped from Bilstein. Now to wait for the fronts....
From the sounds from other members you are going to have a long wait... My rears are going to be blown out before I can even order a set of fronts because where I am trying to order keeps saying they're OOS.
Per the last update on my order, the Cruze struts were considered a slow mover.
Since many sites won't place an order if they are not in stock, ya, they won't move anywhere if there is no stock. Tell them you know a **** ton of people wanting to order and some places won't place an order if there is no stock.
Again, this is why I recommended you contact BNR. BNR had them drop shipped to me straight from Germany. Stock is irrelevant.
As much as you think stock is irrelevant, it is. I don't want to pay for a product and wait a whole year to receive it. That is absurd and bad business.
I waited 7 weeks.
mechguy78 has been waiting since last march for bilstein to build and drop ship his fronts. 1 year tomorrow. I haven't had issues with rears being available, only the fronts.
For what they're charging for those you think it would be on their list to get it done. Big price jump between even Bilstein's OE style vs the B6.
For what they're charging for those you think it would be on their list to get it done. Big price jump between even Bilstein's OE style vs the B6.
You would think but then again, one of their reasons for not starting production of these yet is that they are slow movers. This falls back on them as most of the vendors I contacted would not take an order for these, they just wanted to put me on a waiting list until they were available.

Bilstein themselves did did offer me to get the B4 struts instead as these were the readily available option for the Cruze. Needless to say I declined on that option. In the mean time I will continue to keep contact with them on availability.
It’s a huge fail on Bilstein. They think they’re a slow mover but when their suppliers won’t let you order because they’re out of stock it turns into a black hole of, we don’t have orders so why should we make them. Customers can’t buy if it’s not available, retail 101.
The latest from Summit. My current struts and shocks are holding up okay, I'll probably install the rear Bilstein's soon, do my front brakes and hope the front struts hold up until I finally get these. This will be a minimum of 17 months on back-order.
Absolutely asinine... Bilstein just needs to drop the B6 on this application. I've been looking to order for 2.5 years and can't in good conscious buy the fronts and just by my luck there is an early failure and need to get a replacement. Not waiting 2.5-3 years for a replacement. Love Bilstein for truck shocks, but this is downright stupid.
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