Old Man Emu Suspension Review after 100,000km

Old Man Emu, or OME has been around for a very long time, distributed by ARB and sold all over Australia (and in fact the world!). Back in 2018, we fitted a Dmax GVM upgrade to our Isuzu Dmax, and used OME Suspension with their nitro charger shocks.

Since then, we’ve done about 100,000km of varied terrain, from the usual school drop offs and general commuting through to the Gibb River Road, lots of 4WD tracks in Australia and a huge number of corrugations.

Put simply, the suspension has been used extensively, and now its time to do a review.

Old man Emu Suspension
The OME suspension in our Dmax after about 50,000km

Prior to that, we also replaced the suspension on our 80 Series Land Cruiser with Old Man Emu, and had that for several years, giving it quite the flogging off road.

Now, the usual disclaimer here; this product in both cases was purchased with our own money, and we’ve received no kick backs from ARB.

This post was not initiated by ARB, and none of the opinions below have been influenced in any way by them, or anyone else. We did get trade pricing from them though, which was nice.

Old man emu suspension
We ran Old Man Emu Suspension on our previous 80 series Land Cruiser too

What’s good about Old Man Emu Suspension?

It just works

For me, what I care most about in a product is how it functions. I don’t care how it looks, or what others think about it, but it must work, and the old man emu gear does exactly that.

It gets used on a heap of 4WD’s all over the place, and for us, it just works. We’ve had no leaks, no cracking, nothing come loose, or anything else go wrong.

I’m sure there are better products on the market, and we could have certainly purchased something else, but they didn’t fit the bill in terms of warranty, price, GVM upgrade capacity or lift amount.

4 years later in the Dmax
After 4 years of hard work, its still performing perfectly fine

It hasn’t sagged

I’ve seen some pretty shocking suspension kits that have been a decent height for a year or two, and then sagged considerably.

I haven’t measured our Dmax, but its still sitting up very high, and I have no doubt that the sag would be minimal, if any at all.

I have seen some other brands sag very quickly, and long term too. Given ours is about 6 years old and has had a pretty serious work out I’m pretty confident in it.

Old Man Emu Springs
600kg constant load springs on the rear

It’s cost effective

Our Dmax build was done with the idea of using products that would do the job, but not break the bank. Some of the ARB gear is extremely expensive, but their OME nitro charger shock absorber and springs GVM upgrade is pretty decently priced.

I compared it to a number of other brands and it was in the middle, with a warranty that was better than some of the other brands.

I don’t mind paying a bit more for a quality product, but paying more for something that doesn’t last like it should is not much fun at all.

If you want to know how much our build cost, check out What did our Isuzu Dmax build cost?

Dmax and Reconn
Our entire build was done trying to be cost effective

It’s available anywhere

You can get OME suspension replacement parts from all over the country. This is important when something goes wrong and you are miles away from home, or from the nearest major town.

Touch wood we haven’t needed to do this, but if it happens, there are distributors available.

OME availability
No matter where you are in Australia, spares are not too far away

What’s not so good

Squeaking

The only complaint that I have about the OME suspension is the fact that the rear leaf springs squeak terribly sometimes. I have no idea why, and even after greasing, they will just squeak.

You’ll hear it backing out of the driveway and going off the curb, or when you go around a sharp corner, but the most annoying is when you are off-road, and doing slow speed work.

Its not the end of the world, and hasn’t caused any issues, but it is certainly annoying. What is strange is that it comes and goes; sometimes you won’t hear it for months on ends, and other times it never stops.

Given how important suspension is, and our only gripe being the squeaking it hardly affects our OME suspension review.

Squeaky suspension
The rear springs often squeak

Old Man Emu Suspension Review

We are really happy with the suspension so far. It’s now done close to 85,000km, and hasn’t really missed a beat. Would we get it again?

Yep, absolutely. If we had need of remote reservoir options I’d shop around to see what alternatives were about, but for this build the OME gear has been perfectly suited to our needs, and trouble free.

We’re currently running our Old Man Emu Suspension on our Big Lap of Australia 5 years after the vehicle build, and it hasn’t sagged, nothing has broken and I’m still very pleased with it.

Old Man Emu Off Road
The Old Man Emu Suspension has proved itself on two vehicles now

Have you had experience with OME suspension? Do you rate it?

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8 Comments

  1. Hey Adrian,

    Replacing the shock absorbers will do very little for comfort. A shock absorber does not change the ride; it stops the spring from bouncing uncontrollably.

    The springs are what does the absorption of bumps, and these determine your comfort level. Of course, having the two working well together is imperative to a good suspension system.

    The ride obviously became firmer when we upgraded the springs, but with the constant weight in its as good as I could have hoped for.

    All the best
    Aaron

  2. Great read. I have a question, how is the ride comfort for on-road use, when comparing to stock absorbers? My plan is to only replace the 2 rear absorbers (keeping the stock leafs) to improve ride comfort for my kids

  3. Hey Dave,

    Interesting, and thanks for your comment. I’ll have a look at mine. The squeak seems to be mainly gone except when the springs get wet (or when they randomly decide to do it!)

    All the best
    Aaron

  4. Hey, I had the same squeaking on my Triton rear springs and found that it was the front bushes on the rear springs, binding against the chassis. I fitted slightly longer tubes through the bush so they were contacting the chassis and not the bush itself. Squeak gone!

  5. Hey Andrew,

    They didn’t; I never took it over the pits afterwards, or had it reflected on the registration paperwork. I just carry the details of the GVM upgrade with me, and ARB told me it wasn’t a necessary step.

    I assume if you did get it upgraded the cost might go up a bit?

    All the best
    Aaron

  6. Andrew McGovern says:

    Did the registration costs increase due to the GVM upgrade?

  7. Peter Sherwood says:

    Thanks for your information,very much appreciated.