Old Man Emu HD


The main modification I've been waiting to do is an Old Man Emu suspension upgrade giving the Monty the lift it needs, not easy to come by since it ships from Australia.

I measured wheel well and ground clearance.

Thirteen inches from the ground to the rock sliders and three inches in the wells.

I began with the front, removing the battery and tray on the driver side and the air box on the other, making access to the three nuts on top of each strut tower. Next it's necessary to remove the top A-arm. Remove brake and traction-control lines from the support on the arm. I then used a breaker bar and a 22mm socket to free the bolts for the A-arm and the strut tower mount and then removed that assembly.

I disassembled the strut assembly using spring compressors to take the load off the top of the strut tower, allowing its removal. I kept track of the order of the strut hardware for reassembling the new strut and spring components.

To do so, the new spring needs to be compressed. I made the initial mistake of not placing the spring compressor hooks at the farthest point on the spring and failed it compress it enough to get the strut nut to bolt on top.

When I repositioned the spring compressors I found I didn't have enough length, nor could I torque them enough to adequately compress the spring for the installation, so I took everything to a garage where I had them assembled.

Installation is straight forward, install the strut tower and secure the three nuts on top, attach the strut assembly to the lower A-arm, and then reattach the upper A-arm. Be sure to toque all bolts with the suspension loaded, that is to say, place a floor jack under the lower A-arm assembly and raise the assembly until its travel removes the suspension chassis from a placed jack stand, loading the A-arm assembly with the vehicle's weight. Torquing to specs this way eliminates damaging the bushings.

I was able to do the front install in about three hours with the Montero parked half-way in the garage to avoid the rain. I did the rear install in the driveway since the lift would have exceeded the height of my garage door.

For the rear spring and shock removal, the vehicle needs to be raised to a height adequate enough to drop the lower control arm far enough down to allow the spring egress.
I started by removing the nut at the top of the shock tower, then the connecting bolt at the lower control arm, and then removed the shock. Then I loaded the suspension assembly by lifting it with a floor jack using a short 2X4 underneath the arm. With the spring compressed I removed the bolt holding the arm and the hub assembly together, and then carefully lower the jack down, unloading the arm and allow the spring to drop out.

Assembly was done in the opposite order, being sure to roque all bolts with the suspension loaded as above. Done in about two hours.

The key to this was the height of the vehicle allowing the spring to come out freely once the control arm was dropped.

Once I seated the suspension on a short test drive I measured at the wheel well and from the ground to the rock sliders and realized a gain of two and a half inches.

Pre-lift...

And lifted.


In driving, gone is any hint this was a luxury SUV. More feedback at the wheel, stiffer response, quicker turn-in, all providing a sense of being better connected to the road and trail.

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