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Old Man Emu Suspension Lift

Old Man Emu 2.5" Suspension System

Part #: See Below

In the past I have gone with the big lift, big tires idea to get over all the obstacles.  After a while I found out that I was no longer enjoying myself on the trails.  Where was the challenge when you could just drive over everything.  So this time around I decided to go minimalist, just enough lift to clear 33's.  I had already installed my JKS 1 1/4" body lift, so now was time to put in a suspension lift.  I had looked around at the kits that were out there.  This is my daily drive so I really wanted something that was well mannered on the road and very capable off road.  Now I really only needed 2 inches of lift, so that cut down my choices of lift kits.  I didn't want to put in a budget boost, so that left me with a spring lift.  There are a few manufacturers out there that make these kits.  I looked at all of them and the front runner was Old Man Emu.  What finally sold me on this kit was a comparison ride.  I rode a similarly equipped Jeep with the OME across a section of broken concrete in the parking lot at work.  Now this section is really harsh in the Rubi, so I expected with the lifted Jeep that you would be able to feel this and the Jeep would roll.  I was really surprised when the OME just drove over it.  You could still feel it, but you really had to think about it.  The ride was outstanding.  So I purchased the OME kit.

OME Suspension Kit (Direct from ARB USA)

Front HD springs - OME 933
Rear HD springs - OME 942
Front Shocks - N66
Rear Shocks - N67
Track Rod Extension Bracket - FKWTJ02
Bump Stop Spacer - FK16
(Note: I ordered 2 of these since I was putting in a 3/4" spacer in the front.)

Now I have heard many different measurements for this lift kit, so I decided to take a set of measurements before I lifted it.  My Jeep currently has a winch in the front along with rear corner guards, Hi-lift and recover gear in the back so I am fairly balanced on additional weight.  I also have a 1 1/4" body lift installed.

Critical Measurements
(includes 1 1/4" body lift)
  Before Lift  After Lift Total Lift
(includes 3/4" front spacer)
Front Fender
(Centered through tire from ground)
34 1/8" 36 1/4" 2 1/8"
Front Fender
(From center of wheel)
19 5/8" 21 3/4" 2 1/8"
Frame behind Front 
LCA bracket
14 5/8" 16 3/4" 2 1/8"
Center of Rocker Guard (Centered on middle body mount) 20" 22 " 2"
Skid Plate 
(Lowest point under Transfer case)
10 1/4" 12 3/8" 2 1/8"
Frame in-front of Rear LCA bracket 15" 17" 2"
Rear Fender
(Centered through tire from ground)
34 7/8" 36 5/8" 1 3/4"
Rear Fender
(From center of wheel)
20 3/8" 22 1/8" 1 3/4"
Note: When I removed the factory shocks I was surprised when the vehicle dropped.  I went back and remeasured the Front and Rear fenders from the ground.  The front had sagged 1/2" and the rear 3/8".  Nobody has ever mentioned this drop.  Now the OME shocks are not high charged Nitrogen like the factory shocks, so if you go back to the numbers, take out the factory shocks and the Teraflex spring spacer the actual spring lift with the OME is 1 7/8" front and 2 1/8" rear.  

 


Before


After

 

Spring Characteristics

  Factory Front OME Front Factory Rear OME Rear
Length 17 1/4" 19 1/2" 12" 15"
Width 4 7/8" 5" 6 1/4" 6 7/8"
Wire Size 0.508" 0.558" 0.610" 0.640"
# of wraps 8 +1/4" overlap 11.25 6.5 6.25
Shock Characteristics
  Factory Front OME Front Factory Rear OME Rear
Extended 21" 23" 19" 22"
Compressed 14" 14" 12 1/2" 13 1/2"
Comp. Force

90lbs

10lbs 90lbs 10lbs
Note: Compression Force Measured on scale by applying weight stacks to top of shock.  Force is Approximate of what is required to hold shock compressed.

 

Additional Parts:
Anti-seize
Teraflex 3/4" spring spacer
6502468 - SCREW, Hex Flange Head, M8x1.25x20, Coil Spring Bracket, Mounting
52005917 - BRACKET, Spring, Coil
Tools Needed:
Drill
1/2" Drill bit
7/16" Drill bit
Pliers
3/8" Ratchet
4" extension
13mm Socket
15mm Socket
13mm Combo Wrench
15mm Combo Wrench
18mm Combo Wrench
Phillips Screwdriver
Flat tip Screwdriver
Vise
Floor Jack
Jack Stands (6 tons)
Small adjustable Wrench
T-55 Torx

 

Installation:  

I did this in my garage, so it is fairly simple.  I do have some really neat tools for working on Jeeps, but I didn't need anything other than the basics.

OME Suspension Kit
Front Suspension:
I started in the front of the Jeep.  Jack up the vehicle an place jack stands behind the front Lower Control Arm Frame Brackets.  You will need to pick this up fairly high.  I maxed out my 19" throw floor jack and put the jack stands up as high as I could get them.  Be careful when you set the Jeep back down.  If you have a winch on the front or a heavy bumper be ready for the rear of the Jeep to shift.  I gained about 4 inches in the back, not enough to affect working on the front, but it did raise and eyebrow when it did it.  Now pull the tires off, I do hope that you already loosened the lug nuts since we started on the front.  
The first things you need to disconnect are the sway bar linkage, and front shocks.  I have JKS Quicker Disconnects already installed, so I just pulled the pins and off they came.  For those of you that don't have these you will need a T-55 Torx and a 18mm Combo wrench to remove the bottom bolt.  Place the Floor jack back under the axle to hold the axle. 
 
The front shocks are what limits your droop, so the axle will fall away once you take the shock off, don't worry it doesn't go far, but can make getting the shock off a pain.  The front shocks. are held in by a 15 mm nut on the shock tower at the top, and (2) 13mm nuts and bolts at the bottom.  With this being a new Jeep I was able to get the Nut off of the top without any problems.  I placed a ratcheting box end wrench (5/8" worked, but was loose) over the nut, and held the top of the shock tower with an adjustable wrench.  Then I removed the lower nuts and bolts.  You will need the extension on the socket to be able to reach the nuts or bolts.  I actually took mine off while it was still on the ground since we were putting a Motor Mount lift and Body lift in another Jeep at the time.  This is when I noticed the droop in the front after I removed the shock.
 
Remove front shocks
Now that we have everything removed we need to get the spring out.  Let the axle down all the way and place the floor jack under the opposite side brake disk.  Make certain you are only lifting the disk, not any other parts.  Now jack up the disk and compress the spring on this side.  Watch until you just take the frame off of the jack stand.  Once you do that let the jack out until you are resting on the jack stand again.  Now the spring will be loose on the other side, so have a buddy (beer belly friends work the best) put pressure on that disk and now pull the spring out.  Yes, you could use spring compressors to do this, but after having one break a finger for me I don't like to use them.
jacking up one side

Once the spring is out I needed to install my Teraflex 3/4" Spring Spacer and my OME bump stop spacer.  I removed the factory 5/8" (I measured) spacer and inserted the Teraflex.  I put a little silicone on the inside of the spacer to allow it to slide up and into place.  This spacer is actually 1 3/8" tall, so if you were to combined it with the factory spacer would create a 2" spacer.  Maximum lift would still be 1 3/8".  Once I got that installed I needed to put my bump stop spacers in.  

NOTE: I discovered that my Teraflex Spring spacers were deformed by the weight of the vehicle.  I had lost a minimum of 3/8" in height because of this.  The factory spacers have a steel insert in them to prevent this.  I would recommend purchasing an additional set of factory spacers and installing them.

front bump stop
You will need to pull out the rubber bump stop from the cup.  If you look on the cup, you will see 3 indents.  I just grabbed mine, and gave it a sharp tug to the side and it came right out.  Now if it doesn't you will need to stick a thin screw driver up along side the bump stop and pry down on it at these 3 points to walk it out.
removing bump stop
Once you get the bump stops out, you will need a 15mm socket and the small extension to get the bolt out of the bottom of the cup.
removing front cup
Once you remove the cup, place the spacer on the bolt, and reinstall the cup.  The OME spacers utilize the existing bolt.  You will need to screw it in by hand until the threads engage.
Suspension 9.jpg (49072 bytes)
After you get that done, it is time to put in the new spring.  Since OME is designed for Australia you will need to change the position of the front springs.  Their system is designed to compensate for the weight of the driver and the direction of engine torque.  I noted that the springs were different heights because of this.  Now both of the taller springs were marked R/H for Right Hand.  In Australia this would be great since the driver is on the Right side, but since we drive on the wrong side of the road as they would say we need to swap the front springs around.  So the R/H spring becomes the L/H and vice versa.  If I confused you then put the taller spring on the driver side and the shorter spring on the passenger side up front.   Now get your buddy involved again to step on the rotor.  Insert the spring up around the bump stop cup.  The tricky part is getting the spring up over the lower spring perch and getting the bump stop into the spring.  I tried putting the bump stop in the cup and then putting the spring on, but it didn't work.  Since this is the first side, it is easy to put the spring in, rest the bottom edge of the spring on top of the bump stop plate and then stick the bump stop into the spring from below, don't worry about which way it points their is room to turn it inside the spring.  Now push the spring completely onto the spring perch.  Getting the Bump stop back in is simple.  Push it into the cup by hand and then use a big screwdriver and the coil to lever it up and in the rest of the way.  Rotate the coil until the pigtail (end of spring) slides into the indent in the bottom spring pad. Repeat on the other side. 
lower front spring perch
Springs

I now installed the spring clip and bolt.

spring retainers
You can find these clips on the old ZJ's and I believe XJ's in the junk yard if you get lucky. Or you can order them from Jeep to get exactly the right ones. I decided to get the bolts also, just because. Here you can see the 2 holes that the clip fits into. The tang on the clip goes into the hole furthest away from the spring. You will need a 13mm Socket.
spring retainer mount point
Here it is installed.
retainer installed
Once you are done, put the new shocks back in. As you can see the OME shock is a little larger in diameter than the Factory one. See below for bar pin installation.
shock comparison
Okay lets talk about shocks real quick.  The shocks have bar pins that need to be inserted.  Pay attention to the bar pins, and don't just dump them into a big pile.  The front bar pins are shorter than the rear.  A vise makes putting the bar pins in easy, but if you don't have one take a big deep well socket and put it on one side against the ground, and then drive the bar pin in from the other side.  Simple directions is put washer on bar pin, drive bar pin through bushing, put washer on bar pin, put external snap ring on bar pin.  Make certain the snap ring goes into the groove.  I did discover that at full droop in the front, I still needed about 1 inch of extension on the shocks.  This is caused by having a spring spacer installed.

Now reinstall the anti-sway bar end links.  You will notice that this pulls the anti-sway bar below horizontal.  The effective range of the anti-sway bar when the vehicle is on the ground is +/- 20degrees from horizontal.  The preferred range is 20 degrees above to 5 degrees below horizontal.

 
Go ahead and put the tires back down and take it off of jack stands.
 

 

 
Bar Pin Installation:

Way #1 (Tools required: External Snap Ring Pliers, 2 Deep well sockets, Hammer)
Insert one washer onto the bar pin so that is sits on the shoulder, wedge the end of the bar pin in the bushing, now using a deep well socket as a support for the bushing drive the bar pin through the bushing. It should look like this before you hit it. Deep well on the ground with ratchet side down, then shock bushing, then bar pin sticking up. Drive the bar pin all the way in. Flip the shock over and put the other washer on. Use a set of exterior snap ring pliers, insert the prongs of the pliers into the two holes and gently pry the snap ring open. Open it just far enough to slide down over the bar pin, you need to kind of get it over the round part of the bar pin, vice the flat mounting area for the shock bolts. The snap ring will not go into the grove on the bar pin. Now take another deep well, that will just fit over the bar pin, give the deep well a couple of smacks with the hammer working the snap ring down and into the groove.

Way #2 (Vise, External Snap Ring Pliers)
Basically the same way as #1, but you can use the vise to press in the bar pin, and hold the washers in, while you install the snap rings, this way you can actually install them right into the groove, with out having to use a deep well and a hammer. Only problem is you lose that satisfying thunk of the hammer.
OME Bar pins installing bar pin socket and hammer method

 

Rear Suspension:
Jack up the rear suspension and place it on jack stands just in front of the Rear Lower control arm frame brackets.  Now let the suspension down and remove the tires.  Support the rear axle with the floor jack and remove the rear shocks.  You will need a to remove the (2) 13mm bolts from the top, and in my case the lower 3/4" bolt (Teraflex Shock Relocation Bracket), otherwise the lower bolt is a 15mm and 18mm.
   
Now remove the rear track bar so that you can install the springs and trackbar bracket.  The axle ends uses a T-55 Torx and the frame side is a 15mm and 18mm.
Rear spring
Disconnect the 2 anti-sway bar drop links. This requires a 15mm and 18mm socket or wrench.
 
Now to get the rear springs out, just let the axle droop all the way down, and have a buddy step on one side, pull that spring out, and then go do the other side.  
spring removed
Now to install the track bar bracket.  This was a pain to put in.  You will need to drill 2 holes in the original bracket.  Of course you will either need an angle drill, or a short electric drill.  First thing you do is bolt the bracket on in the original location utilizing the supplied bolt, spacer and nut.  Don't worry their are plenty of washers and very poor directions on how to install them.  I used the lock washers, and just determined how much room I had to use the regular washer also.  Getting your fingers into the little holes to put on the washers and nuts can be fun and entertaining for those watching you.  You can drill either hole first, but I recommend that after you drill the hole, you insert the bolt and tighten it down before drilling the second hole.  The top hole is 7/16" and the side hole is 1/2".  Get yourself some good drill bits.  I used titanium and drilled right through.  I drilled an 1/8" and then worked my way up, instead of trying to drill the hole the first time.  Stepping up in drill sizes will also allow you to have a tighter clearance on the actual hole size.  Reason is that if you drill at the 1/2" size (for example) the center point will wander in a small circle as it drill through causing your hole to be slightly larger.  This is why they came up with the pilot point drill bits. 
track bar mount
new track bar bracket
Once you get all the bolts in and tightened down you can reinstall the track bar.  Bolt it into the bracket and then lift the axle up to get the frame end to line up.  Doing it this way will make it a little harder to get the springs in, but makes it easier to get the track bar in.  I'm really not happy with this bracket.  The RE bracket is better designed, but is for the 3.5 and up kits.  If you are going with an adjustable rear trackbar like JKS they provide a better bracket.
Installing the track bar
Now I installed the rear bump stop extensions.  You will need to pull out the rubber bump stop from the cup.  If you look on the cup, you will see 3 indents.  I just grabbed mine, and gave it a sharp tug to the side and it came right out.  Now if it doesn't you will need to stick a thin screw driver up along side the bump stop and pry down on it at these 3 points to walk it out. 
 
Once you get the bump stops out, you will need a 15mm socket and the small extension to get the bolt out of the bottom of the cup.  Once you remove the cup, place the spacer on the bolt, and reinstall the cup.  The OME spacers utilize the existing bolt.  You will need to screw it in by hand until the threads engage.  You can reinstall the bump stop.
 
Reinstalling the springs in the back isn't as easy as the front. 
Spring comparison
Once again you will insert the spring up around the bump stop.  Get your same buddy to stand on the brake disk, to give you just a little.  Mine ended up not moving, so we went on to plan #2. 
Spring and foot method

This time you will actually need a pry bar to get the bottom of the spring up over the bump stop pad in the bottom spring pad.  Yes, once again I could have used a spring compressor to do this.  Once you have the springs in, all you need to do is install the shocks, put the wheels back on and let it down.

new spring installed

 

Once you have gotten everything installed you will notice that the steering wheel is off.  Your toe in will also be off, but that is a little hard to see.  You will need to get an alignment to set everything straight.  With the steering wheel of it is difficult to drive it, lots of bump steer that can quickly lead to death wobble.  Real scary the first time.  You will need to adjust the drag link to recenter the steering wheel.  Loosen the two nuts on the adjustment with a 15mm wrench and adjust the drag link out until the steering wheel is centered up.  You may need to drive it a couple of times and adjust as necessary.  Quick primer on Jeep Alignment.
Drag Link adjustment

 

Now you will also need to adjust your headlights.  Headlight adjustment.

Problems:
I know you don't want to hear that there is problems, but I have a few issues so far.  I had to take out the Teraflex shock relocators in the rear.  The shocks were bottoming out.  I will reinstall these when I decide on a lifted skid plate and have to rotate the rear pinion angle.  Now with these removed I have a small line across the passenger shock canister right about the area of where it would hit the spring perch.  No damage to the shock other than the scratched paint, but I will be keeping an eye on it.

Front Passenger spring is rubbing on the mount.  This appears to be a factory problem.  I measured and this mount is actually located further from the front by 1/4" than the driver side.  I will keep an eye on it to see how bad the rubbing actually is.  The other thing I noticed while I was under there is that my stock tires are rubbing the mount bucket near the top.  Time to upgrade to those 33's.

All of the shocks have popped the snap rings loose and have moved around on their bar pins.  I took them all off and reinstalled the snap rings.  This is something else I am going to have to watch now.  

The rear track bar bracket has come loose on my twice now.  Hopefully I got it this time.  Nothing else was loose, so maybe this was a fluke.  I expected things to be loose the first time, so this was a surprise.

 

  N-m Ft. Lbs. In. Lbs.

FRONT Shock Absorber Upper NuT

23 17 -
FRONT Shock Absorber Lower Nut 28 - 250
FRONT SPRING RETAINER CLIP AND BOLT 21 16 -
FRONT STABILIZER BAR UPPER LINKS 61 45 -
FRONT STABILIZER BAR LOWER LINKS 95 70 -

REAR Shock Absorber Upper BOLT

35 26 -
REAR Shock Absorber Lower Nut 100 74 -

REAR Track Bar Frame Bracket Nut

100 74 -
REAR Track Bar Axle Bracket Bolt 100 74 -

This page last updated: 16-Apr-2008

Content and Design © 2002-present WanderingTrail,  Ron Seegert
Common Sense and Safety should always be observed when working on your vehicle or doing modifications. Jackstands, wheel blocks, disconnecting the battery are a few of the basic safety precautions that should be used and may not be mentioned in the write ups on this site. You are responsible for your own installation, these write ups are a helpful guideline and should not be taken as an official installation instruction. My write up may be different from the kits currently out there, so alwasy double check the manufacturers installation instructions when installing anything. I try to keep the site up to date with changes that have occured as I discover them, but may not have the latest unless someone lets me know. If you feel that an install is above your capabilities after reading my write ups, I recommend getting together with a club and getting some help. Only a few times have I needed to employe some actual help from a shop to get something done. Usually welding or A/C work.
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