OMEJK4 Old Man Emu – Off Road Review

OMEJK4-ARB USA-Jeep-JK

A lot has changed since we began reviewing the OMEJK4 suspension system. New tires, new wheels, new suspension, winch installed, and new exhaust just to round out the changes. Life is a constant change, and reviews can’t be done without actually testing the equipment.

For the details of the on road performance you can click the link and read, or reread, the original articles.

How do you rate a suspension system? That’s really the question when it comes to writing these. What criteria matters? Is it just raw numbers, things like CTI scores that measure flex, or is it purely subjective as to how it handles and feels?

Around here we like raw numbers but in the grand scheme of things they mean very little. Like any other situation if you cannot get traction to the ground you will not go anywhere.

The Good, The Bad, and The Meh

The OMEJK4 kit handles very well on road but at 4 inches of lift height it does get affected by wind and road irregularities more than at the stock ride height. Once you leave the pavement however that goes away and it is like riding on a magic carpet with mud terrians. It’s almost as if the Jeep and the suspension wanted to be on dirt the entire time.

The Good

Off road bump compliance is soft and smooth. No hard jarring or bouncing, transitions between obstacles is predictable, and the entire Jeep stayed settled.

Traction is a function of tires, and the vehicles ability to keep the tires in contact with the ground. You can have all the flex in the world but if it doesn’t help you move it isn’t useful. We have witnessed vehicles twist themselves up in knots but they couldn’t make it work to traverse obstacles. The OMEJK4 is able to flex over downed trees, mud holes, uneven terrain, and off camber area you would normally see when overlanding with ease. Extreme rock crawling or severe off camber situations would be sketchy and scary at best but doable at a slow enough speed and with an experienced driver. If you need to cover those obstacles often you should be looking at a much more aggressive setup.

Our testing was done in the mud, woods, and waterways of the East coast forests. Keeping the Jeep moving in this environment is paramount to not getting stuck. The OMEJK4 handled all of that and it was comfortable at the same time. The ride was just like stock but 4 inches higher. Which is not a bad thing at all as the stock Jeep rides very well.

DSC00440

The Bad

The bad centers around a couple different minor items – first the steering stabilizer failed, second the front springs were softer than they claimed.

The steering stabilizer failed for no particular reason, there was no impact damage, no visible breach yet it puked every ounce of oil it had out on the ground. Giant mess, and bigger clean up. ARB/OME did immediately put us in for a replacement under warranty. Sadly though that was two weeks ago as of this being published and it is still on back order. That’s the bad – deal with a company who has to ship from Australia and you run into shortages. (Update-delivery is scheduled for today! Today being the day this was published.)

Despite trim packers that came with the kit the front of the JK still had that forward tilt. I put this in the bad because ARB and OME clearly state it eliminates this condition. (So do many other kits that also don’t eliminate it.)

OMEJK4-Stabilizer-JK

The Meh

We already discussed earlier pros and cons to reusing the stock control arms in our on road review. One other item is drilling the lower control arm mounts to use the offset washers. When we switched to a new setup we had to cut them completely off and weld on new mounts. Not the end of the world but definitely not free to fix.

It also means that if your plan is to add control arms later – you need to factor in the cost of the mount and the welding. Mounts run about $80 and welding depends on your local shops.

Final Verdict

AEV, ReadyLift, Super Lift, Rancho all have systems in this price bracket that are very similar in reusing stock control arms and including shocks. There are other options that are 8 arm replacements. Life is always a get what you pay for situation. In the case of the OMEJK4 you are paying for the Old Man Emu development, quality, and warranty. Here at 4WAAM we give it a thumbs up and rate it a very good purchase that will work well on a variety of terrain while retaining the stock ride characteristics of your Jeep. Since most lifted vehicles are subsequently sold because the ride quality suffers, and they become unusable as a daily driver, we felt that it was the most significant item to rate the suspension by. If this was a competition setup we would have used a different rating system.

 

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.

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