Old Man Emu 4 inch Lift Install

DSC00465Like the title says we are installing the ARB USA Old Man Emu 4 inch lift. It is an all in one kit designed to take your stock JK and lift it over 2 inches with just exhaust spacers needed for maximum articulation.

That’s a pretty bold claim that we decided to put to the test. (Ed: We did add a driveshaft, as we only wanted to be under their once, but it would work without replacing it.)

We placed the order with ARB USA for the OMEJK4 4 inch lift. The kit includes, shocks, springs, sway bar links with quick disconnects for non Rubicon models, new front track bar, steering stabilizer with relocation kit, rear track bar relocation bracket, brake line relocation brackets, and new washers to correct the caster.

Laying the components out for inspection.
Laying the components out for inspection.

How to install the lift:

  • Step one: Remove the old components.
  • Step two: Install the new components.

If only it was really that easy to do. We did have the benefit of a lift so it was easier than doing it in your driveway and did require some tools you may not have. Duplicate size wrenches and the die grinding bit are the two most likely culprits to throw your install off.

Wheels off and the Jeep is up on the lift, although removing the wheels before you lift it is not necessary it sure makes rolling them away easier. DSC00332

It’s important at this stage to support the axle assembly before removing anymore parts. We used a tall support jack to make sure we controlled how far the axle dropped when we removed the shocks.

DSC00350Remove the shocks, disconnect the sway bar end links, remove the track bar and disconnect the steering stabilizer. At this point you can lower the axle or conversely raise the vehicle to get clearance to easily remove the springs.

A couple of precautionary notes. Loosen the brake line brackets, disconnect the axle electrical plugs if you have a Rubicon, and watch the tension on any other connected lines. At this point you can disconnect the lower control arms and prepare for enlarging the holes to relocate the control arm points.

DSC00374Instead of new control arms ARB and OME use these new washers to correct the caster. It worked remarkably well and with one on each side of the bracket they are very robust. Notice how they are squared instead of adjustable. Much more permanent and less likely to move than what many kits use. The kit provides a longer bolt to accommodate the extra width. Now that everything has been removed and the holes are done it is time for reassembly.

Remember those notes about the brake lines? The kit comes with a relocation bracket to lower them. We opted to perform a little modification to get additional length. We removed the bracket that holds the line to the axle housing and bent the bracket off of the lines. This gives a massive amount of drop and keeps the hard lines in the stock location.

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There are also new bump stops to be installed. They mount to the axle as you can see in the picture above. It is much easier to install the springs and then bolt the spacer into place than trying to force the spring over it.

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Once the springs are installed, mount the new shocks into place. Don’t torque anything yet as there will be some adjustments to make before everything is complete. OME includes their FK50 steering stabilizer relocation bracket. It moves the stabilizer above the tie rods so it isn’t the lowest part of the suspension. Mount the track bar into the upper mount and leave the lower mount loose. You install this once the vehicle is on the ground and using ratchet straps you center the axle side to side and then adjust the track bar to line up with the holes in the bracket. You still need to get toe in set but this way you are back to centered for driving. Speaking of which, make sure you center your steering wheel when you are done. If you don’t the stability control goes a little crazy and you won’t be driving anywhere.

DSC00385That buttons up the front end. When you first think about the washers as relocation bits it feels a little weird. So many manufacturers use adjustable control arms. When you break it down a little bit this system has some advantages. Using the stock control arms makes for cheap replacements if you damage one. Craigslist is full of new take offs from people installing a lift.

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Now that the front is buttoned up we move the rear of the vehicle. Instead of running through the entire process I am going to cover what’s different.

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The rear track bar gets a massive relocation bracket to correct the geometry. It lifts the track bar back to level and is designed to correct the centering of the rear axle. The rear drop brackets for the brake lines are a bit short. Jeep made some changes to the chassis holes and OME and ARB are reworking them to get that full droop length corrected.

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Because we installed the lift on an Unlimited the rear relocation washers are optional. The driveshaft length is long enough and the angle enough that you can get away with the stock geometry. Our pinion angle is currently 0 degrees. We are doing testing and then will go back and install the washers to see if there is a discernible difference.

There are bump stops for the rear as well but they install outside the springs and mount to existing holes on the axle. The kit also comes with some 10 mm trim packers. Used to level the suspension out depending on the weight on the front and rear of the vehicle.

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Total install time took about 5-6 hours with a lift. If you are doing this in your driveway you should definitely allot for two days worth of time, and have a friend handy to help remove and install the springs.

Once everything is connected and the wheels are installed lower the vehicle back down, check your alignment side to side one more time. Then go back through and torque every single bolt that you touched. The directions from ARB have the torque specifications for all the bolts which is super handy and they also broke it down for the front and rear. That’s a nice touch added to the kit.

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Stay tuned for the ride report and we definitely want to send a big shout out to Paul at World Tour Off Road without whom once again this project would still be waiting in pieces in the basement.

Remember to check out our Featured Partners page and also ARB USA for their support of Project Overland.

 

William Connor

As the Editor, William is responsible for all the good, the bad, the ugly and the indifferent that happens at 4WAAM. William brings a wide range of experience to this role having been a cook, a painter, a machinist, part time mechanic, computer programmer, and writer. He also wields a freely shared opinion on just about everything., just ask him.

  • Cory

    Great write-up(s)! Earlier this week I purchased the OMEJK4 kit and will be installing in the next couple weeks (as time permits). I’ll be installing myself because who can/wants to pay $85/hr? Anyways, did you take a video, or run across any videos, chronicling or detailing the step-by-step installation process? Every little bit helps. Thanks, and I look forward to your off-road review on the kit!

  • I had not found a single step by step video. The written directions are very good for the kit. If you have installed a lift before it will be relatively easy. Thanks for the compliments as well.

  • William Connor

    Did you get everything installed OK? How do you like it?

  • DJ

    How much lift did the kit actually give you? Could you give the total height of the jeep? And what size tires are you working with? I want to do this but I am working with a garage that only allows 6’4 tall vehicles.

  • 4 inches total lift as advertised. Maybe a little higher in the rear as we didn’t have a hard top. It was over 6’4 at the tallest point on 37 inch tires. We have a different lift now but I believe it was almost 8 foot at the rear roof hoop.

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