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.


Instead of offering a compilation of parts that have been chosen primarily to increase the vehicle’s ride height, OME 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. 


During the development of Old Man Emu’s Nitrocharger Sport shock absorbers, particular focus was placed on how well they are matched to the specific springs they’ll be controlling; with Ride Control Engineers tailoring shock absorber valving to work with the different springs in the range, often resulting in multiple shock absorber options for each vehicle.


Designed, developed and tested entirely in-house by ARB’s team of Old Man Emu ride engineers, BP-51 shock absorbers are engineered for each vehicle and utilise existing suspension mounting locations.  The internal bypass design ensures there are no exposed fluid transfer channels on the exterior of the shock.


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 bushes, U bolts, centre bolts, spring liners, trim packers and suspension fitting kits.

BP-51 high Performance Bypass Shock Absorbers
Nitrocharger Sport Shock Absorber
OME Springs


The Old Man Emu brand has its roots firmly planted in off road racing and draws its name from the emu’s ability to maintain great stability when moving over uneven terrain at high speeds.  From humble beginnings in 1976, ARB purchased the company in 1988 and has continued to develop and test the products in Australia’s harsh 4WD environments.

With an engineering focus for off road comfort and on road handling, today Old Man Emu supplies tailored suspension solutions for over 200 popular 4WD vehicles. Whether it’s for work or play, touring or hardcore off road, Old Man Emu has a selection of springs, shocks and associated suspension components that will transform your 4WD’s ride, handling and off road capabilities.


A suspension kit usually refers to replacement shock absorbers/struts and springs, as these are the simplest items to change in order to enable a vehicle to handle the additional requirements you are placing on it. However, that’s not where a suspension kit stops.  Depending on the type of suspension design your vehicle has, there are other components that may be complementary to the fitting of the shocks/struts/springs or require replacement as the components wear or the vehicle ages.


If you’re planning to drive your vehicle in its standard configuration, there’s nothing wrong with using factory supplied OE suspension.

Ultimately, the suspension has been designed to do a job and it will do so for many thousands of kilometres. However, if you are planning on modifying your 4WD with a range of accessories, plan to carry regular constant loads, tow a trailer or need more ground clearance for that off-road adventure, the O.E suspension on your vehicle may not necessarily be the best solution.

Although it’s designed to carry up to the GVM (gross vehicle mass) of the vehicle, standard suspension can begin to sag the moment you start fitting accessories or carrying a load of any considerable weight. This can cause steering vagueness, effect cornering and braking performance, as well as issues with headlamp and driving light alignment.

Any accessory or substantial load that’s permanently affixed to the vehicle should have its weight compensated for with a constant load spring and shock specification.

With the rear of the vehicle sitting lower under a heavy tow ball load, a vehicle can start to pitch fore-and-aft; causing the steering to float as the weight on the front of the vehicle is lessened.

Not only can this ride be uncomfortable, but in a situation where evasive steering or sudden braking is required, the vehicle will be unstable. Although a weight distribution hitch can help in this situation, they’re not designed for off road driving where the vehicle needs to negotiate undulating terrain such as ruts, spoon drains and other obstacles.

Fitment of upgraded springs and shock absorbers will help carry the load, whilst maintaining correct vehicle rake and handling characteristics.

Clearance isn’t just about the distance between your vehicle and the ground.

Once your vehicle is loaded and the suspension settles down, the clearance between your axles and their bump stops is reduced; resulting in less upward suspension travel. This can lead to harsh bottoming out on undulating terrain, less wheel articulation off road and poor handling on road.

Upgrading to an increased ride height suspension can allow for longer suspension travel and unhindered wheel articulation, as well as giving more body clearance to obstacles and allowing the fitment of larger off road biased tyres.

Modern 4WDs are being designed to be more ‘car-like’ in their handling and appointment level, and as such their suspension systems tend to be biased toward comfort – leaving them lacking when off road performance or load carrying is required.

Customising a suspension package to suit your vehicle and driving style doesn’t have to mean you can’t have the best of both worlds.

Whilst your local mechanic is highly qualified in fitting suspension systems and diagnosing any issues with wear and tear on components, if they are not a licensed OME fitter, then chances are they will be fitting components that may just be original equipment replacements or be a mix of components from different brands that were never designed to be used together, not suiting your more specific 4WDing needs.

OME suspension systems are engineered as a complete package, fully tested to ensure compatibility with both your vehicle and your off road requirements. The fitment of just heavier (higher rate) springs without matching to the correct shock absorber can not only adversely affect the handling characteristics of the vehicle, but may also result in damage to associated components.