After what seems like forever working on the exterior of the 40 with paint and panel work, I was over the moon to finally get stuck into something I’ve really been looking forward to, fitting the Old Man Emu 4×4 Suspension. I picked up all the components a couple of months ago and have been waiting patiently to get to this exciting part of the build, after all , suspension is what makes or breaks a 4wd both for on road comfort and off-road abilities!
After much talking with the team at my local ARB Store, I was able to work out the best individual suspension components tailored to my exact needs. It may be worth noting here that in the photos below, the 40 is still very much in an unassembled state, so I am confident once the Bullbar, winch etc go on the front and all the custom work I have planned for the drawers,bar etc in the rear, the suspension ride height and shackle angle will be corrected.
The complete kit is made up from the following individual items:
-Front OME heavy-duty leaf springs to suit bar/winch/lights
-Front OME Nitrocharger Sport large-bore shocks to control the springs movement comfortably
-Greasable anti inversion shackles and pins, bushes and u bolts to hold it all together.
-OME steering damper to take the shock out of steering inputs when off-road
-Rear OME heavy-duty constant load springs to take the extra weight that will be added with drawers/fridge/recovery gear/rear bar etc
-Firm valved OME Nitrocharger Sport shocks matched to the intended extra weight I will have.
-Greasable shackles/bushes and new u-bolts to hold it all in place.
Many years of neglect and lack of proper care from the previous owners, meant the removal of the old suspension was quite the mission. From dry seized bushes, bent hangers and damaged u-bolts… I had to use a large manner of different tricks and tools to safely remove the old parts limiting any damage to the key mounting areas. Yes, a lot of WD40 was used to assist removal!!!
I couldn’t believe how much parts deteriorate over time without proper maintenance, but I do have to remind myself that the 40 is a lot older than me… However, I found the grinder was the only way to remove the stubborn parts, otherwise I’d still be trying to.
Once all the old components had been removed, I spent a good day cleaning everything up and even gave the diffs a fresh coat of paint. Then it was time to move onto unboxing everything and bolting it in.
It was easiest to assemble the bushes into the leaf springs before lifting them into place, after a quick coating in grease, they were all fitted and ready to be installed… Might I add, those leaf packs are bloody heavy!
The Old Man Emu greasable shackles are designed with the anti inversion plate incorporated into the side, giving me confidence that on full flex the springs won’t invert and cause any damage.
Arguably the most important part of any suspension package is the springs, after all they hold the weight of the car, provide a lift over standard suspension (in this case approx 35mm front and 50mm rear) and for me most importantly – Give better ride quality , especially when I’m used to coils!
Having run old Man Emu Nitrocharger shocks in the rear of my Vitara, I knew the performance and quality would compliment the leaf springs I was installing in the 40. This was an easy choice to match the correct shocks with the leaf springs and loads I intend to be carrying when complete.
The Steering damper came with all new mounting pins and bolts, so the trusty grinder was called upon to remove the old seized parts making an easy install for the new one.
For me it’s all about the little details and taking the time to do the absolute best I can, 1st time around. The bonus to having a hoist available to use really made this part of the build much quicker and easier. It allowed me to go one step further and put a fresh layer of undercoat protection on the chassis, diffs and under body, as well as tidy up the bird nest wiring I discovered.
Having finished the installation over a couple of days, I was over the moon to lower the 40 back down onto the ground and admire how great it’s sitting now. A quick check over all bolts with the torque wrench, some fresh grease injected into the bushes and that finished the job off.