Jackson Taylor (jacksonpt)
Toyota Tech: Toyota SUV Suspension Lift Collaboration
4x4Wire Toyota Tech Short Cuts
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1996 Toyota 4Runner SR5, 4WD, 3.4 Liter, 6 Cylinder, Automatic

Front:
Old Man Emu Heavy Duty springs/regular shocks
Thermonuclear "20 Megaton Performance" front sway bar disconnects

Rear:
Old Man Emu Heavy Duty springs/regular shocks

Old Man Emu HD springs, regular duty shocks

I went from a completely shot factory suspension with about 53,000 miles on it to my current Old Man Emu gear. The difference was immediately noticeable. The Old Man Emu gear definitely gave a stiffer ride, but the handling was much improved. And the lift definitely added to the overall aesthetic of my rig.

Ride Quality

Ride quality with the Old Man Emu gear is not at smooth as with the factory suspension, and that should not surprise anyone. When empty, the front seems to ride fairly well -- only slightly stiffer than when stock. However, the rear seems to bounce around with the stiffer springs, making uneven pavement somewhat uncomfortable for people used to a smooth ride. The Old Man Emu gear really shines when my rig is loaded up, or when Im towing my boat (or both). Having the added weight seems to keep the back end down, reducing the bouncing feel. I see about 1 in sag when loaded and towing (an additional ~500lbs in the back) and that seems to level out the vehicle almost perfectly. The ride becomes very comfortable with the extra weight. Off-road, Old Man Emu gear seems to do pretty well. The Old Man Emu allows for a great deal of flex in the rear, and modest flex up front (flex is limited up front by the factory sway bar); you can see the difference in the photos. The stiffer springs do not allow for as much compression in moderate conditions, but when put under more stress, the gear does very well.

Handling

Going from stock suspension to Old Man Emu gear made a dramatic improvement in the way my 4Runner handles. Let me say this right up front I dont drive like Mario Andretti. However, those first couple of nice days in the spring, I really like the fact that my rig can zip around town (I use the term zip somewhat loosely here). The Old Man Emu gear makes my rig much more stable and comfortable in turns. There is much less body roll/lean, and it feels like the 4Runner is holding stronger through the turn. Even my wife noticed the reduced body roll.

Lift

I went from a completely shot factory suspension to Old Man Emu Heavy Duty springs/regular shocks. I saw about 2.5 of lift in the front, and just over 3 in the back. Some people with the same setup got less lift than I did, but there are 2 reasons for this. First, I probably had more sag in my original suspension than they did, and second, its easy to be off by .25-.5 when measuring, and these errors add up fast. The lift made my old 235/75-15 tires seem like they belonged on a tricycle. Some 32/11.5-15 Bridgestone Dueler ATs quickly took care of that. The lift coupled with the larger tires makes for a great looking rig.

Conclusion

All in all, Im pretty happy with my Old Man Emu gear. I got it because I needed something that would be comfortable not wear out under heavy loads (when towing). The Old Man Emu gear is perfect for this. If you want a nice, smooth ride, go with something else (probably Old Man Emu regular duty springs/shocks). If you want something that can take a beating, hold up under stress, and give your rig a mean stance, this is just the stuff.

Before Lift After Lift OME Parts

Front Shock Rear View Front View

Front Angle On The Trail

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