Mark D Stephens: Adventurer, writer, photographer, ambassador of the sonoran desert
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Equipment Review and Evaluation:
Old Man Emu suspension for Jeep TJ

Old Man Emu jeep suspension review

Locate a dealer from ARB USA:
www.arbusa.com

First impression
Everything included for a successful install: 4 springs, 4 shocks, one panhard rod bracket, and a transfer case drop kit. Everything has a nice finish, and the shocks are painted bright yellow, indicating that this is a nice product from inside to out.
Installation
Swapping suspension components is not terribly difficult, but some portions are specialized: you need strut compressors and impact wrenches, plus you will need to perform an alignment. Expect about 4 hours or so. One bolt on the rear trackbar is difficult to reach, and I recommend impact tools. You will need strut (spring) compressors to get the new springs into place, however getting the original springs out is as simple as lowering the axle and letting them fall out (one side at a time).

The Old Man Emu set up includes detailed instructions. Beware that what we call a track bar in the U.S. is called a panhard rod down under. The instructions are in Aussie English.

Performance
OME jeep tj suspensionIncredible. Smooth ride, spot-on valving in the shocks. I use the "medium duty" springs, so I suffer from compression when fully loaded with gear. Entirely worth it in my opinion. With the anti-sway bar disconnected, my off highway articulation is excellent. You can always rely on ARB to produce top-notch products. Decide for yourself which springs suit you better. I just don't mind the (approximate) 1" I lose when this Jeep is loaded.

Notice, too, that I have a significantly heavier bumper (Garvin Wildernes system) on the back of this thing, and it doesn't pose a problem with the medium duty springs. If I had a hard top, the scenario would be much different. Again, the medium duty springs are great.

Value
Retail value is approximately $700. It's not the cheapest "lift," but this is not just a lift. Old Man Emu is a suspension system and worth every penny to the off road adventurer and enthusiast who gets out at least once a month.
Evaluation

You can expect a superior suspension system with Old Man Emu. I've found that on-road performance is very different from the original equipment. For instance, the original suspension was very "tight," and simple speed bumps and dips in the road went straight to my back rather than being soaked up buy the shocks and springs. Additionally, a day on the trail was exhausting, even with the anti-swaybar disconnected. Since my trips in the Jeep tend to be at least one full day, I welcome improved comfort.

Trail performace makes me happy, too. Some of this might be placebo, due to having longer springs, but I do have a measurable amount of gained articulation - some call it "flex." Whatever you want to call it, articulation is how to maintain traction. This is why I call the Old Man Emu suspension a system. Some other lifts will just get your Jeep higher in the air with no provision for allowing the axles to float over ruts, rocks, and gulleys. It's just fun to watch this Jeep walk over a rutted hill and never lose traction thanks to the superior articulation.

OME jeep suspension flexing and articulatingWhile this yeilds approximately 2.5" in added height, you can safely fit 33" tires that are 10.5" wide. Match this suspension with a 1" body lift, 1" motor mount lift, and you can get rid of the transfer case drop kit.

This Old Man Emu suspension has been with me for many miles at this point, and I don't regret a thing. It's a fantastic set up that you'll be impressed with.

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Mark D. Stephens: Adventurer, Writer, Photgrapher and Ambassador of the Sonoran Desert