Product Review:
Old Man Emu Suspension System for the Mitsubishi Montero
Http:// Short Cuts

By: Steve Nagy - February, 2001.

OME's system for the Montero transforms the ride - onroad and offroad!

Old Man Emu (OME) has a heritage of developing comprehensive suspension systems for vehicles used in harsh conditions. Their suspensions are tuned to provide superior offroad ride and handling, enhance onroad characteristics, and hold up under continuous hard use for many years.

The OME shock and coil (right) next to the tired '93 parts.

The OME suspension is a system, with the components developed for the specific application. OME does not make a set of universal-fit components and cross-reference them to many different vehicles: rather, their engineers live with a particular vehicle and hand craft springs and shocks to make the entire suspension work better. OME also offers different types of systems for a single vehicle, depending on desired lift and intended use.

Follow along as we learn about this specific system, install it on a 1993 Mitsubishi Montero, and put it through it's paces.

Development and construction of the system

We had the opportunity to speak with Chris Wood of ARB USA regarding the development of the OME system for the Montero. According to Chris, the chief suspension engineer spends several weeks "living" with the vehicle in an effort to understand its handling characteristics in all conditions: rallying up Australian mountain tracks, slow offroad work, jumping the vehicle, and daily driving. Peter Jones, who hand tunes these suspensions, has over 10 years experience doing this, and it's that experience that allows him to craft prototypes suited to the vehicle, and test until it's just right.

Peter has developed an inventory of over 10,000 valving code options for each vehicle. Peter stresses the stock shock on a shock dynometer to understand its rebound and compression, and to test the point at which it fades. After he is satisfied with what improvements can be made, he then hand-builds coils and shocks for the specific vehicle and tests the combination until it works properly.

The front shocks are basically the same length as stock, but offer far superior construction and valving. The rear shocks are 2" longer than stock for the extra articulation the OME coils provide.

Due to the highly proprietary nature of spring and shock valve codes, OME obviously refuses to disclose this information. But the end result is a suspension system that has been relentlessly tested, hand-crafted, tuned, and finally manufactured with the strictest standards for performance and longevity in mind. For example, the shocks - which are produced by Monroe Australia to OME's specifications - feature a massive 18mm rod, and the wall thickness of the gas shocks is at least 1mm thicker than their competitors. And the coil springs in this application are shot-peened and double-scragged to reduce fatigue: each coil is fully extended and fully compressed twice during this test prior to going to market.

Installing the OME suspension

We measured 13.5" from fender lip to the edge of the rim prior to installing the OME coils.

The system we installed on our Montero is the 45mm standard duty coils (P/N 910) and matching shocks (Rear P/N N63G, Front P/N N18). Prior to doing any suspension work, it is advised to spray down all nuts and bolts scheduled to be removed with a quality penetrant, and have jackstands and a floor jack available. Also, be sure to measure each side of the vehicle so lift can be determined after installation.

Because the coils are not intended for maximum lift, they are near stock coil height when unladen and quite easy to fit to the vehicle. We began by lifting the rear with a floor jack, secured the frame rails forward of the rear axle with jackstands, and removed the wheels. The floor jack was then lowered to allow more working room, and the rear shocks were removed. We were able to pull the driver's side coil right out of it's seat: but on the passenger side, a little persuasion from the bottom with a prybar was required to remove that coil.

Jack up the rear axle, secure the frame, and remove the wheels. The stock coils came out quickly and easily.

The new coils were put into place with minimal effort. We seated the top, then used the prybar to guide the bottom end of the coil onto the seat. Once both were in place, the new OME shocks were installed and the tires reinstalled, and the rear end was dropped back down.

Begin by pushing the coil up into the seat. Both coils are seated. Shocks are on, ready to wrap up!

Installing the front shocks was accomplished on one side with the wheel on the vehicle. But on the driver side, we encountered a very stubborn lower bolt which required us to remove the tire and drive the bolt out with a drift. Once the new front shocks were installed (with antiseize on all nuts and bolts), the installation was complete.

Driving the OME-equipped Montero

We measured 14.5" from fender lip to the edge of the rim after installing the OME coils, which was a net 1" lift.

Fortunately it's easy to road test a vehicle on rough roads in northeast Ohio - pick a street and go. Immediately the truck felt much more stable in all conditions, and the suspension gracefully absorbed bumps on city streets and freeways. During the installation of the OME system, we also removed the rear swaybar, which added a bit of body lean but the new springs and shocks help mitigate that. The ride felt a bit sharp at first, but that was due to the overinflation of the tires: with the 32" MT's at 27-28 psi, the Montero is smooth, surefooted, and confident.

The OME suspension provided a great feel onroad, but offroad it shined. The new coils and shocks allowed the suspension to work more offroad, which meant the wheels stayed in contact with the ground more frequently and the pitching of the body was greatly reduced. The OME rear shocks allow 2" additional travel over stock which also makes a difference in how the suspension absorbs bumps and the travel it achieves before reaching it's limit. Isolation of the body from the articulating suspension made for a vastly improved and more comfortable offroad experience. Traveling a trail we frequent, the "new" Montero offered more confident handling with an incredible ride. This system increased my confidence in the Montero's capabilities in all conditions, and has the made the truck more enjoyable to drive.

When crossing it up, the additional articulation allowed the tires to stay on the ground more often. With a 1.5" torsion bar crank up front, the Montero has a great stance - and a better ride.

Contacts Related Links
  • ARB / OME
    Dept ORN
    20 South Spokane Street
    Seattle, WA 98134
    Phone 206.264.1669
    Fax 206.264.1670
    Manufacturer of premium offroad accessories.
  • Peters Offroad
    Dept ORN
    192 Roosevelt
    Salem, Ohio 44460
    Phone 330.337.8903
    Sales and installation of ARB/OME. Complete 4x4 fabrication and service.

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