Old Man Emu 4×4 Suspension

OLD MAN EMU 4X4 SUSPENSION

MORE THAN JUST A LIFT KIT

A suspension lift kit is designed to raise the vehicle’s ride height from the ground, giving the body greater clearance from obstacles and allowing for the fitment of larger than standard tyre sizes.
 
The major advantage of lifting a vehicle for off road use is the increased ground clearance offered to the body and mechanical components, which can be further enhanced by the ability to fit larger diameter tyres. Increased ground clearance and approach and departure angles help a vehicle negotiate difficult terrain without contact with the ground, whilst the extra wheel travel associated with suspension lifts helps keep the wheels in contact with the ground providing maximum traction.

LEARN MORE ABOUT LIFT

HOW OFF ROAD SUSPENSION DIFFERS FROM YOUR VEHICLE'S STANDARD SUSPENSION
There’s a common belief that ‘off road’ suspension is simply a taller version of factory supplied OE suspension. Depending on the brand you choose, it may well be just that! However, a properly engineered suspension lift is so much more.
 
Lifting a vehicle by raising its suspension height changes the vehicle’s centre of gravity which can have a substantial effect on how the vehicle handles, corners or brakes. Depending on the suspension design, it can also have an adverse effect on driveline angles which can lead to vibration issues and component failure. Engineered correctly, the right suspension system will address these issues, whilst providing an improved ride and weight carrying ability over a variety of road types both on and off road.
WHY WE DESIGN OFF ROAD SUSPENSION THAT RAISES YOUR VEHICLE
The major advantage of lifting a vehicle for off road use is the increased ground clearance it offers the body and mechanical components which can be further enhanced by allowing the fitment of larger diameter tyres. Increased ground clearance and approach and departure angles help a vehicle navigate difficult terrain without contact with the ground, whilst the extra wheel travel associated with suspension lifts helps keep wheels in contact with the ground providing maximum traction.
 
Body lift is another means of raising a vehicle’s body height for more ground clearance, allowing the fitment of larger tyres. However, body lift does not raise the suspension system. This may or may not increase approach, departure, ramp over angles and mechanical components distance from the ground. A body lift won’t give the greater articulation/wheel travel associated with a suspension lift. There are many other modifications that may also be required such as wiring, radiator hoses, brake lines etc. Larger body lifts always require an engineers certificate for registration.
WHY NOT ALL OLD MAN EMU KITS OFFER 50 MM/2 INCH OF LIFT?
Old Man Emu Suspension kits offer the greatest legal lift without affecting other components that may have an adverse effect on vehicle drivability. Where possible, Old Man Emu engineers strive to achieve a 2 inch (50mm) lift, however, due to limitations with modern independent suspension designs, this is not always possible without major modifications.
 
Achieving a lift larger than 50mm is possible on some vehicle models with live axle designs, but as these are not legal for road registered vehicles in Australia, they are offered for off road competition use only.

WHY UPGRADE YOUR SUSPENSION?

When a vehicle manufacturer designs a 4WD, they’re designing it for a mass market that has a variety of uses for that vehicle.
 
It may be a daily driver picking up kids from school and doing the grocery shopping, it could be a tradesman’s vehicle carrying a variety of tools and equipment, or it could be a touring vehicle towing a camper, caravan or boat.  Additionally, it could be a weekend warrior, tackling harder off road tracks and trails. Hours, weeks, months and even years have been spent developing and testing that vehicle and to be able to satisfy the varied uses, many aspects of the design of that vehicle become compromised.

SUSPENSION COMPONENTS

A suspension kit usually refers to replacement shock absorbers/struts and springs, as these are the simplest items to change in order to enable a vehicle to handle the additional requirements you are placing on it. However, that’s not where a suspension kit stops.
 
Depending on the type of suspension design your vehicle has, there are other components that may be complementary to the fitting of the shocks/struts/springs or require replacement as the components wear or the vehicle ages.
Read More

These components include but are not limited to:

  • Bushes
  • Greasable shackles
  • Anti-inversion plates
  • U-bolts
  • Centre pins
  • Spring packers
  • Caster correction kits
  • Steering stablisers
  • Trim packers
  • Gearbox packers
  • Sway bars
  • Sway bar links
  • Control arms
  • Adjustable drag links
  • Fitting kits
  • Stone guards

LEARN MORE ABOUT WHY YOU MIGHT UPGRADE YOUR 4WD’S SUSPENSION

LIMITATIONS OF STANDARD SUSPENSION
If you’re planning to drive your vehicle in its standard configuration, there’s nothing wrong with using factory supplied OE suspension.
 
Ultimately, the suspension has been designed to do a job and it will do so for many thousands of kilometres. However, if you are planning on modifying your 4WD with a range of accessories, plan to carry regular constant loads, tow a trailer or need more ground clearance for that off-road adventure, the O.E suspension on your vehicle may not necessarily be the best solution.
SHOULD I UPGRADE MY SUSPENSION FOR GENERAL 4WDING?
Although it’s designed to carry up to the GVM (gross vehicle mass) of the vehicle, standard suspension can begin to sag the moment you start fitting accessories or carrying a load of any considerable weight. This can cause steering vagueness, effect cornering and braking performance, as well as issues with headlamp and driving light alignment.
 
Any accessory or substantial load that’s permanently affixed to the vehicle should have its weight compensated for with a constant load spring and shock specification.
SHOULD I UPGRADE MY SUSPENSION FOR TOWING A CARAVAN OR BOAT?
With the rear of the vehicle sitting lower under a heavy tow ball load, a vehicle can start to pitch fore-and-aft; causing the steering to float as the weight on the front of the vehicle is lessened.
 
Not only can this ride be uncomfortable, but in a situation where evasive steering or sudden braking is required, the vehicle will be unstable. Although a weight distribution hitch can help in this situation, they’re not designed for off road driving where the vehicle needs to negotiate undulating terrain such as ruts, spoon drains and other obstacles.
 
Fitment of upgraded springs and shock absorbers will help carry the load, whilst maintaining correct vehicle rake and handling characteristics.
DOES IT REALLY MATTER THAT MY VEHICLE SITS A LITTLE LOWER WHEN LOADED?
Clearance isn’t just about the distance between your vehicle and the ground.
 
Once your vehicle is loaded and the suspension settles down, the clearance between your axles and their bump stops is reduced; resulting in less upward suspension travel. This can lead to harsh bottoming out on undulating terrain, less wheel articulation off road and poor handling on road.
 
Upgrading to an increased ride height suspension can allow for longer suspension travel and unhindered wheel articulation, as well as giving more body clearance to obstacles and allowing the fitment of larger off road biased tyres.
WILL A 4X4 SUSPENSION KIT EFFECT THE DAY TO DAY COMFORT OF MY VEHICLE?
Modern 4WDs are being designed to be more ‘car-like’ in their handling and appointment level, and as such their suspension systems tend to be biased toward comfort – leaving them lacking when off road performance or load carrying is required.
 
Customising a suspension package to suit your vehicle and driving style doesn’t have to mean you can’t have the best of both worlds.
CAN I JUST GET A MECHANIC TO FIT A HEAVIER SPRING?
Whilst your local mechanic is highly qualified in fitting suspension systems and diagnosing any issues with wear and tear on components, if they are not a licensed OME fitter, then chances are they will be fitting components that may just be original equipment replacements or be a mix of components from different brands that were never designed to be used together, not suiting your more specific 4WDing needs.
 
OME suspension systems are engineered as a complete package, fully tested to ensure compatibility with both your vehicle and your off road requirements. The fitment of just heavier (higher rate) springs without matching to the correct shock absorber can not only adversely affect the handling characteristics of the vehicle, but may also result in damage to associated components.
WHERE ARE YOUR SUSPENSION COMPONENTS MADE?

ARB designs and engineers Old Man Emu (OME) suspension components in house and sources from reputable manufacturers that meet our stringent quality control requirements both in Australia and internationally. ARB’s premium internal bypass shock absorbers, the BP-51, are manufactured entirely by ARB in our Thailand plant.

enquiry form

    BP-51 Shock Absorbers

    The BP-51 is a user adjustable internal bypass 4WD shock absorber that delivers increased comfort and control; both on and off road.
     
    All BP-51 shock absorbers are designed and manufactured in-house by ARB using state of the art machining and hard anodising equipment.
     
    The body of a BP-51 shock absorber is manufactured using 6061 anodised aluminium to dissipate heat more efficiently than steel or alloy steel and provide superior corrosion resistance.
     
    Extensive dyno, real world and destructive testing has been undertaken during the development process to ensure that reliability, longevity and performance all meet ARB’s impeccable standards.

    NITROCHARGER SPORT SHOCK ABSORBERS

    During the development of Old Man Emu’s Nitrocharger Sport shock absorbers, Ride Control Engineers tailor shock absorber valving to work with the different springs in the range, often resulting in multiple shock absorber options for each vehicle.
     
    Old Man Emu Nitrocharger Sport is a twin tube design with the outer reserve tube providing protection to the internal components off road. Utilising the latest advances in shock absorber technology, Nitrocharger Sport is the most finely tuned 4×4 shock absorber on the market.

    NITROCHARGER SPORT FEATURES

    VEHICLE SPECIFIC BUSHES

    High quality, vehicle specific bushes manufactured from polyurethane and rubber materials for extended life

    DIRT SHIELD

    Impact resistant, polyamide dirt shield provides additional protection from stone chips and off road debris.

    PISTON ROD

    Super strong 18mm induction hardened chrome piston rod is engineered to handle rigours of heavy loads and tough 4×4 touring.

    TRIPLE LIP OIL SEAL

    Large, durable seal incorporates a gas retention check valve design to virtually eliminate contaminant damage while providing outstanding gas and oil retention.

     

    SLIP RING

    Teflon infused bronze slip ring ensures a more consistent and uniform damping performance by providing better control of oil flow between the rod and rod guide.

    ROD GUIDE

    Large, low friction Teflon impregnated bronze bushing for long lasting durability.

    NITROGEN GAS

    Increases the temperature operating range and improves oil flow through the valving, ensuring optimum performance.

    HIGH FLOW PISTON

    Free flowing design reduces aeration and high oil temperature, extending shock absorber performance under harsh conditions.

    DUAL-STACK DEFLECTIVE DISC TECHNOLOGY

    Durable rebound and compression multi deflective disc stacking on either side of the free flowing piston allows infinite tuning options.

    HIGH QUALITY OIL

    Petroleum based, high performance formula designed to resist fade and aeration for improved durability and shock absorber performance.

    HEAVY GAUGE RESERVE TUBE

    Heavy gauge (1.6mm) steel reserve tube is 23% more effective than common 1.3mm wall tubing to protect internal components from stone damage.

    MULTI-DISC COMPRESSION VALVING

    Six valving discs allow greater valving options for maximum ride and handling performance

    EXPLORE MORE ABOUT THE NITROCHARGER SPORT

    MONO TUBE VS TWIN TUBE SHOCKS

    Shock absorbers come in all shapes, sizes and designs – from the outside it’s hard to know what’s what!

    Whilst mono-tube shocks are common in aftermarket 4WD suspension, by design they offer less travel for a given external length and can be more prone to failure if impacted by rocks and debris off road; a dent to the single tube can damage the internal components.

    Old Man Emu Nitrocharger Sport is a twin tube design with the outer reserve tube providing protection to the internal components off road. Utilising the latest advances in shock absorber technology, Nitrocharger Sport is the most finely tuned 4×4 shock absorber on the market.

    EXTRA COMFORT - BOTH ON AND OFF ROAD

    Old Man Emu’s Ride Control Engineers spent countless hours in design and testing to ensure Nitrocharger Sport valving is precisely matched to an OME spring selection that is right for the accessories fitted to your vehicle, as well as your load requirements.

    Testing is carried out both in the field with sophisticated data logging equipment, as well as inside the OME laboratory using shock dynamometers to ensure durability under all conditions. With Nitrocharger Sport’s vehicle specific valving technology, owners will experience improvements in both ride control and comfort whether it be on or off road.

    COMPRESSION AND REBOUND DAMPENING
    WHAT IS COMPRESSION AND REBOUND DAMPING?

    Damping refers to the slowing of the shock absorber’s oscillation. This is controlled by a series of valves that slow the movement of the hydraulic fluid through the piston. Valving controls the movement of the pistons both during compression and rebound strokes.

    WHAT EFFECT WILL THESE ADJUSTMENTS HAVE ON A VEHICLE?

    Adjusting the compression valving has an effect on how comfortable or firm the suspension is when the suspension of the vehicle compresses. Too firm and the vehicle will feel every bump and ripple in the road surface as the shock tries to prevent the spring from freely compressing. Too soft and the ride will become more comfortable, however, more body roll can be felt when tackling corners and the vehicle may nose dive during braking, resulting in less control. The suspension may also easily bottom out on the bump stops.

    Adjusting rebound valving effects the rate at which the shock allows the spring to return back to ride height once it has been compressed. Higher rate springs are used to maintain correct ride height when either accessories or greater constant loads are added to the vehicle. When these springs are compressed with greater load, the energy stored within the spring is also greater and requires extra damping control as it rebounds. Not enough rebound control may cause the shock absorber to top out, causing internal damage to the shock or allow the suspension to bounce numerous times after hitting an obstacle, resulting in less control of the vehicle.

    OLD MAN EMU SPRINGS

    When undertaking remote area travel, the need to carry sufficient fuel, water, vehicle spares and safety equipment invariably means that your 4WD will be fully loaded, placing a lot of strain on suspension components. Combine this with punishing off road conditions, and the limitations of standard springs soon become apparent.

    Whether it’s coils, leaves or torsion bars, Old Man Emu springs are designed to improve the load carrying capability of your 4WD, allowing you to tackle more challenging terrain with confidence.

    LEAF SPRINGS

    Old Man Emu leaf springs are engineered to provide optimum ride performance irrespective of the conditions in which they operate.

    Numerous spring options are available to suit each user’s specific needs, allowing you to set your vehicle up for recreational or commercial purposes. A set of Old Man Emu leaf springs, matched to a set of Old Man Emu 4×4 shock absorbers will deliver vastly improved ride, handling and load carrying capability.

    LEAF SPRING FEATURES

    LEAF SPRING FEATURES
    • Draw tapered and diamond cut leaves ensure the load is progressively distributed over a larger surface area, reducing the high stresses that develop at leaf ends, increasing ride comfort and longevity
    • Leaf clamps are bolted to allow installation of anti squeak nylon liners
    • Fully scragged to ensure the spring takes a permanent ‘set’ which reduces the risk of sagging
    • Load testing ensures the spring meets the required specification
    • Military wrap designed to provide added safety
    • Re-greasable nylon interleaf anti friction pads reduce friction at the leaf tips where the load is the greatest
    • Flat axle seat area allows a positive, safe axle mount reducing spring stress and increasing spring life
    • The tension side of all leaves is shot peened to reduce spring stress. This process can double the life of a spring
    • Two-stage leaf pack featured on most rear springs for optimum comfort. When unladen, the vehicle is largely riding on the primary stage, with the secondary stage providing additional support when a heavy load is added

    GREASABLE SHACKLES

    Should your Old Man Emu 4WD suspension system include leaf springs, Old Man Emu urethane bushes require periodic lubrication to ensure longevity.

    Old Man Emu greasable shackles and pins facilitate this without the need to remove the shackles, greatly reducing the time and effort involved.

    GREASABLE SHACKLE FEATURES
    • Unique, easy bolt together assembly eliminates out of angle ‘shackle pin to side plate’ problems commonly associated with press fit assemblies
    • Each pin has two grease outlet holes to guarantee maximum grease coverage between the shackle pin and the spring bush – increasing bush life and improving ride quality
    • Heat treated pins ensure long life under heavy loads and off road conditions
    • Side plates are zinc plated for protection against corrosion

    COIL SPRINGS

    ARB designs an extensive range of Old Man Emu coil springs for each vehicle, using state of the art micro-alloyed spring steel to ensure superior resistance to sagging and corrosion. With such a wide range on offer, coil springs can be better matched to your specific load requirements and intended vehicle usage.

    While ride height increases are attained, a great emphasis is placed on ride control improvements. Further fine tuning is achieved when the springs are matched to a corresponding set of Old Man Emu shock absorbers, delivering a fully integrated system designed specifically to suit your vehicle.

    COIL SPRING FEATURES
    • manufactured from state of the art micro-alloyed spring steel for superior strength and durability
    • Double scragged before and after shot peening to reduce spring stress and enhance spring life
    • Constant and variable rate coils available for multiple applications
    • Formed on computer controlled, precision mandrels to ensure manufacturing consistency
    • Spring end configurations designed to exact specifications, guaranteeing perfect fitment to your vehicle
    • Finished in durable, hard wearing black powder coat
    • Designed and manufactured in Australia

    TORSION BARS

    Old Man Emu Torsion Bars dramatically improve your vehicle’s ride and handling, both on road and off.

    Designed and set for optimum ride performance with increased spring rates to suit accessory fitment, Old Man Emu Torsion Bars work best when Old Man Emu coil or leaf springs are fitted to the rear of your vehicle, with bars and springs then carefully matched to our range of 4WD shock absorbers. Together, they’ll transform your vehicle’s suspension performance.

    .

    TORSION BAR FEATURES
    • Manufactured from premium grade spring steel with a resilient powder coat to protect against corrosion
    • Precision drawn, dropped forged ends for optimal strength and integrity
    • Pressure rolled splines for precise fitment and increased spline durability
    • Hardened and tempered to exact specifications for improved performance
    • Preset and hardened to prevent sagging and increase life cycle

    HOW DO I DECIDE WHICH SPRING TO CHOOSE?

    SHOCK ABSORBERS AND SPRINGS - WHAT DO THEY DO?

    Put simply, your vehicle’s springs hold the vehicle weight and set its ride height, while the shock absorber controls the motion of the spring during compression and rebound; keeping the tyres planted firmly on the road. Both components are designed to work together, so the changing of a spring’s specification should also require the changing of the shock absorber that controls it.

    For example:
    Increasing the spring rate so that it is capable of carrying more load will require the shock absorber to be valved so that it can handle the increased forces of the rebounding spring whilst also providing controlled compression. Increasing a spring’s length for greater ride height will require lengthening of the shock absorber body and possibly lengthening its range of travel in order to prevent the topping or bottoming of the shock absorber.

    DECIDING WHAT RATING SPRINGS TO PUT IN YOUR 4WD

    Old Man Emu’s Design Engineers have spent countless hours testing and developing spring and shock absorber combinations to best suit a range of accessories and loads that our customers are likely to fit to their vehicles.

    Our sales team is trained in selecting the best options based on your individual requirements, however as a starting point the Old Man Emu suspension selector is an easy way to get started. Selections are based on the amount of additional weight added to the vehicle with the front suspension selector including allowances for different bull bar and winch combinations whilst rear selection includes options for constant loads. It is important not to underestimate the loads of both accessories and payload as this can result in choosing the wrong components for your vehicle’s needs.  Email us on support@oldmanemu.co.za for advice.