“Aerodynamically the bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn’t know it, and so it goes on flying anyway.”

– Mary Kay Ash

Old Man Emu Suspension Install

The original suspension in this truck was clapped out.  The rear springs sagged with the lightest load in the bed and the shocks could barely dampen the ride with the original tires.  Now that we’re going to be running larger tires and hauling lots of gear on roads, trails, and beaches through Central America it was time for an upgrade.  Our trip to ARB netted us a sweet new pile of suspension gear for our pickup.

This is what we picked up:

  • 1x 303003 – Torsion Bar Hilux/4Runner Pair
  • 2x N98 – IFS 4Runner Front Shock
  • 2x CS020R – Hilux/4Runner Heavy Duty Dakar Rear Spring
  • 2x 60062 – Sport Shock Hilux/4Runner
  • 2x OMESB43 – Bushing Kits
  • 4x OMEU53B – U-Bolts
  • 1x 181469 – OME Sleeve Kit
  • 1x 5″ Trail Gear Greasable Shackle Kit


1″ 4Crawler bodylift and 265/75R16 tires.  Otherwise everything is stock.  Looks good, rides like a truck with a bajillion kilometers.

OME Install-1

These parts have been marinating in our condo awaiting installation for the last 4+ weeks and I finally had a chance to install them.  Ashley is super excited that she no longer has to kick them out of the way when trying to make her way into the kitchen.   I am happy that at least the ARB fridge is still there so I can check it out every morning and dream of the future road trip.

OME Install-2

The installation is straightforward but if you’re a little guy like meworking on an old truck you’ll be using lots of penetrating fluid, some really long breaker bars and an angle grinder with a cutoff wheel to ditch most of the old suspension.  I definitely needed a protein shake or two after working my ass off tearing the old suspension out.  Significantly more fun (and productive) than going to the gym.

OME Install-6

I should have asked for help to make this go a little faster, but I didn’t.  It took me about a day and a half once the dust settled.  This included picking up extra bolts I broke along the way (torsion bar adjuster, front leaf spring hangers, front lower shock mounts).  Do yourself a favour and buy ALL brand new hardware before you start and just cut everything out (unless you actually want a workout.)

OME Install-5

I started with the rear and removed the shocks, shackles, springs, and also the LSPV rod while I was under there.  I’m going to need as much rear bias as possible so the LSPV (load sensing proportioning valve) is adjusted to provide that.  (Don’t let Richard near your truck with an angle grinder that has a zip disc attached, you’ll end up with a pile of “extra” parts when he’s done).  The hardest part of removing the old suspension was getting the old leaf springs out.  They’re not light and the rear shackles/bushings have had 25 years to bond together.  I used a couple of old drill bits to drill out the rubber bushings at the shackles.   The front bolts required the trusty zip disc once again.

Installation was straightforward and opposite of removal.  It’s significantly easier with new parts!

OME Install-4

Now for the front!  Brenton from Ruined Adventures said that the torsion bar replacement was easy… and he was right.  Just follow the Toyota FSM instructions and you’ll be done in a couple of hours.

I replaced the sway bar end links as well… but now am reminded to deal with the ball joints, tie rod ends, and brakes…

OME Install-7

So as it sits now, the truck looks like a jacked up Duster from the 70’s (AWESOME!).  This is what 1.5″ longer shackles combined with OME HD Dakar leaf springs looks like.  There is actually less weight than stock right now (no spare tire, no bumper) so the 6″ lift over stock is expected.  Once we start loading the truck up and the springs settle we’ll see how much it drops.  I expect it’ll level out nicely.

OME Install-10

I also installed a pair of Hella Rallye 4000 lights that Hella so kindly gave to us for our journey!

OME Install-13

OME Install-11

I installed our Alpine CDE-121 CD/MP3/iPod receiver and Type E 6×9 speakers.  Tunes!!  (The front speakers installed by the last owner were in good shape.  Bonus!)

OME Install-8

This is the reason why we’ll be replacing the stock 22RE.  321,231km!

OME Install-9

And here are our new SR5 seats!  Comfy!!  Look Ma’, no mould!

OME Install-12

If you’re looking at purchasing any gear, feel free to click on our Amazon affiliate link. The price always remains the same, but we get a little cut of Amazon’s profits 🙂 Thanks!


  • Richard

    Yeah, the seats are awesome! Especially compared to the mouldy and ripped bench seat that was in there originally.

    Haha, I was thinking the same thing when I was cruising Jalopnik the other day!! I also got distracted and started to look into details about the 24 Hour of LeMons race… but that’s a different story all together.

  • Juan

    By any chance do you have a part number for the trail gear shackles, i checked the trail gear website and they have two different 5″ shackle kits.

    I love the truck, i myself have an 89 toyota pickup dlx with a 4″ lift. i just rebuilt my 22re with only 2k miles on the motor and 194k on the frame.

    • Rich and Ash


      Check on trail-gear.ca

      They should list the shackle part numbers by year of truck.

      Otherwise, contact alexis@nsor.ca!


  • TORN

    Just what I was looking for! Pictures of the OME lift kit with 31″ sized tires. The truck looks great by the way! I have a 94 pickup that I’ve been meaning to change the shocks out on and thought about the OME lift. I would most likely be getting the standard/medium duty rear leafs and OME shackles. Did the SR5 seats bolt right up to the stock bench bolt hole locations?

    • Rich and Ash

      We are really liking our OME suspension! Medium duty springs will be perfect if you’re not carrying a constant load.

      The passenger side seat bolted right up and 3 out of 4 bolted in on the drivers side.

  • Mark

    Have the same 94 extra cab and building an expo rig. Curious how the rear springs made out and what they finally settled at.

    • Rich and Ash

      Hi Mark,

      The springs have settled fairly flat and are quite soft with all of our gear in the truck. Our 5.5″ long shackles give the truck a slight rake. It would sit level with stock length shackles.

  • John

    Don’t worry about the mileage. That Toyota motor will do double that mileage if cared for with good oil. If you can replace, then do it and enjoy Really neat pick up. Enjoy.

  • Mark

    I have an 89 Toyota Pickup. Thinking of doing the same… How are those rear leaf springs doing now? I am not wanting to lift it at all, just keep stock everything but the OME leafs only come as a 2″ lift from stock. With all stock size shackles you think it’ll look funny on my truck?

    • Rich and Ash

      Hi Mark,

      The springs have settled a very little bit (about 1″) and are working great. I expect with the medium duty springs instaed of HDs and stock shackles you’ll end up with a couple of inches of lift, but I don’t think it will look funny at all. The ride quality of the Dakar rear springs will definitely be worth it.

  • Scott

    How are the nitrocharger shocks? I was looking at putting bilstein 5100s on with the HD Dakar Springs and shackles. Can’t find a right part # for the 5100s though. Are the greasable shackles worth it?

    • Rich and Ash

      The Nitrocharger shocks have been great, but I only have the stock shocks to compare them to. The greasable shackles were only $90 for the pair and I had to cut the original pair when taking apart the stock suspension.

  • Leo

    Hey there, so with the OME CS020R, all the info I’ve found about them say that they are a 2.25 inch lift over stock springs. So 2.25in (ome) + 1.5in (shackles) + 1in (bodylift) I’m only coming up to almost 5in but you guys say you fig
    ured you got around 6. Is this because of the weight reduction? I ask because I built a sheet metal and square tubing box for myself after my old one rotted away, I used 2in wide by 1/8th inch thick square tubing for most of it and 16 gauge steel sheet. It’s obviously heavy as hell and I didn’t want it to be underbuilt but I think I ended up doing some wild over engineering. Anyways I figure it’s 250-350lbs heavier than stock and I’m thinking about getting the same springs. I just don’t want it sitting like a cat in heat due to my unlifted front end. I figure they’d sit right at the +2.25 considering my extra weight, which would be just right with my cranked stock torsin bars. Let me in on your thoughts! Also I couldn’t find the amazon affiliate link, unfortunately, I would go out of my way to use it if you guys can lend me some help here. Thanks!

    • Rich and Ash

      Yes, I ended up with a 6″ total lift (not including the body lift) in the rear when the truck was completely empty. After adding a few hundred pounds it came down to about 4″ lift (with the OME CS020R and 5.5″ shackles). After adding another few hundred pounds it came down to about 3″ of suspension lift. No worries about the amazon links, they haven’t been working properly the last couple of years!


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