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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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This is what I got from Summit Racing today, I ordered my front struts on 6/29/2018. This happens everytime I ask on the last known ship date. Keeps moving out 2 months. My rears arrived several months ago but I have not installed them yet.

"[FONT=&quot]We appreciate your recent order. This email is to notify you that part numbers BSN-35-171669 and BSN-35-171676 are currently out of stock. Based on the most recent information from our supplier, these parts are expected to arrive in stock for shipment on 04/30/2019."[/FONT]
Honestly, you should have ordered them from BNR like I recommended. They at least are able to reach out to their sales rep and find an actual order date instead of just sitting on the order and waiting for it to arrive.
Summit ordered them for me and they are direct shipped from Bilstein, is this different than BNR? Bilstein just isn't making them from what I can tell. Perhaps BNR has more clout with Bilstein but I have my doubts. The BNR site only offers a waiting list option, not an order option. I think this is more of a Bilstein issue.

Summit hands my questions off the the drop ship team and they do contact Bilstein and that is where the date comes from, Bilstein.
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The latest response from Summit Racing. This is the first time they gave me a different delivery date for each of the part numbers. Maybe that means the date might mean something. I'm not getting optimistic however.

I apologize about the delay in response and would like to thank you for waiting patiently. I spoke to Pat over at the vendor and it is not that they have to receive so many orders to manufacture these for you, they are actually missing an important material that is used in making these, and are waiting on that product to come in. They have been on a large manufacturing backorder since last year sometime and have been trying to play catch-up since then. No matter how many of these we would put on order here would cause us to get them to you any sooner. I apologize. The dates have changed to: BSN-35-171669 (08/20), BSN-35-171676 (09/29). If you have anymore questions or concerns feel free to contact us via email, Live Chat or phone.

We appreciate your business.
Thank you,
Summit Racing Equipment
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.

We appreciate your recent order. This email is to notify you that part numbers BSN-35-171669 and BSN-35-171676 are currently out of stock. Based on the most recent information from our supplier, these parts are expected to arrive in stock for shipment on 11/29/2019.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. If you have any questions in regard to this issue, please feel free to contact us at

We appreciate your business.
Thank you,
Summit Racing Equipment
Apparently the dates they gave me really do mean nothing. I just got an email at the beginning of the weekend informing me that BSN-35-171669 has shipped. Back in July they said this strut would ship on 8/20, then last week said it would be 11/29, but it just shipped on 8/30. It shipped from Bilstein so Summit has no tracking number. Back in July they said the other part number would ship in late Sept. so hopefully it will be along in a month or so.
I just got the tracking number for the 2nd strut. One year and five months since ordering my shocks and struts, I'll have them all. Crazy, I'll probably never order Bilstein anything that is not in stock again.
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I've had the B6 shocks and struts on my Cruze for over 2 years now. They are great, just a touch firmer than the original units and I expect they will last the rest of the life of the car. Hopefully the car lasts as long as I want it to.
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