We get asked “Why would I upgrade the suspension on my brand new 4WD?” From the factory, most new 4WD vehicles are tuned for comfort during on road driving. Once weight is added, in the form of accessories and cargo, and road conditions deteriorate, performance and reliability of your 4WD suffers. Quality, application specific, aftermarket suspension is designed to increase load carrying capability and improve both vehicle handling and comfort across all terrains, while providing increased ground clearance to better tackle more challenging terrain. Unlike some other accessories, you’ll notice the benefits of a new suspension system every time you drive your vehicle.
Suspension systems, especially when referring to 4×4 vehicles, are extremely complex. Determining the right solution for each vehicle requires special attention to many factors, with weight being the most critical. Old Man Emu 4×4 Suspension by ARB approaches this in a unique way. Instead of offering a compilation of parts that have been chosen primarily to increase the vehicle’s ride height, Old Man Emu 4×4 Suspension provides a range of tuned, matched and integrated systems, each offering optimum levels of comfort, load carrying capability and control characteristics.
The complete Old Man Emu Suspension range incorporates more than just 4×4 shock absorbers and springs. At ARB, we take integration to the highest level with our own selection of bushings, U-bolts, center bolts, spring liners, trim packers and suspension fitting kits.
Old Man Emu employs a team of full time ride control engineers to carry out an exhaustive testing and development program on each component in an Old Man Emu Suspension system. Access to a long list of sophisticated test equipment ensures all development work has an unrelenting, no compromise approach. During development, each new Old Man Emu Suspension system is tested not only for practical performance, but also to ensure compatibility with modern vehicle safety features such as electronic stability control, an area in which ARB has invested heavily in.
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.
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 tires. 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.
Larger lifts ranging from 3-6 inches (75 – 150mm) typically fall within a ‘competition use only’ category, as they do not meet legal standard or require individual engineering in Australia.
With lifts this high, a number of components become affected which can cause possible driveline vibration and steering geometry issues. These lifts may require gearbox/driveline spacers, adjustable upper and lower control arms both front and rear, adjustable pan hard rods, caster correction kits and brake line extensions… the list goes on!
Larger lifts also have a greater effect on vehicle handling due to the increased centre of gravity which needs to be addressed to avoid issues with cornering and braking.
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.
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