Main > Tech Articles > 4x4-Specific Tech > 1995.5-2004
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Old Man Emu Lift Install

By: Jeff

Before you get started, make sure you have everything you need:

    Suspension Components:
    • OME coil springs
      (either the 880s, 881s, or 882s)
    • OME front shocks
      (either the N91s or N91sc) or some other long-travel shock
    • OME leaf springs (Part #s 15a and 15b)
    • OME rear shocks (Part # N85)

    Recommended Accessory Parts:
    • (2) Toyota strut top plates
      (Part # 48609-35010)
    • OME greasable shackles (Part # GS12)
    • OME shackle bushings (Part # SB88)
    • OME exhaust bracket (Part # FK21)
    • Daystar greasable front leaf bushings (Part # KT02017)
    • Front differential drop kit ( or (additional tech article)
    • Metal plate to relocate brake proportioning valve (can be purchased at Lowes or Home Depot)

    • Floor jack and jack stands
    • Full socket set, including deep well sockets up to 20mm
    • Torque wrench
    • Coil sompressors (if you plan to compress the coils yourself)
    • Drill
Compressing The Coils
Before you get started, you should decide whether you will be compressing the coils and shocks together to make the strut yourself or if you will let a shop do it for you. I highly recommend taking them to a shop as it is one of the more difficult (and potentially dangerous) parts of this installation. If you take your coils and shocks to a shop, make sure that you purchase a set of 2 Toyota strut top plates (see part #s above). They will need these to complete the strut assembly.

If you plan on compressing the coils yourself, take a look at this diagram to get an idea of the assembly of the strut and top plate. As always, be VERY careful when compressing your coils. Make sure that the coil compressors are in good shape and that they've got a good hold on the coils.

The OME instructions also recommend that you install the factory retainer washer (it goes directly under the top plate). I didn't install this retainer and haven't had any problems. Others have done the same and they have not had any problems as well.

If you are assembling the strut yourself, try to make certain that the bottom shock eyelet is parallel with two of the strut top plate studs. This will make your life a LOT easier when it comes time to install the strut.

The Front
Once you have your assembled strut, you'll want to jack up the front of the truck and put jack stands under it. For optimum access to the strut assembly, remove both front wheels.

On the strut top plate, you'll see three bolts with nuts on them and the top of the shock sticking up through the center. Do NOT remove the center shock nut at this time. Instead, unbolt the three nuts on the strut top plate. Unbolt the bottom shock mount and remove the shock.

To install the new longer strut, you'll need to press down on the upper control arm. It is common to use a bottle jack to jack the upper control arms down. Be very careful in your bottle jack placement on the control arms: it may be difficult to find a stable place to jack. Bolt in the lower shock mount and the three upper strut plate nuts and torque to proper specifications.

Put the front tires back on and remove from jack and/or jack stands. The front is done!

Compressing the coil

Assembled struts

Bottom shock mount (factory shock shown)

The Rear
Jack up the rear of the truck and place the frame side rails on jack stands. Remove both rear wheels. Support the rear differential with the floor jack, placed directly under the center of the differential.

Note: It's easier to work one side at a time, completely finishing one side before continuing to the next. OME leaf spring part #15A is for the driver's side and #15B is for the passenger side.

Unbolt the shocks and remove. Remove the u-bolts and bump stop. Un-bolt the rear shackle frame bolts. You'll probably need to use a mallet to tap the shackle bolts out. If you are using the optional OME bushings, it isn't necessary to remove the shackles from the leaf springs. Loosen the front leaf spring hanger bolt and remove. Remove the leaf spring from the truck.

Install the new bushings (or reuse the stock bushings) for the front and rear leaf spring mounts. Grease and install the OME greasable leaf spring shackle bolts (or the stock shackle bolts). Install the leaf spring and torque the front hanger bolt to proper specifications. Line up the leaf spring with the shackles and tighten the nuts onto the shackle bolts. Torque to proper specifications.

Front hanger

Rear bushings

Assembled shackle

Before you can install the bump stop, you'll need to drill out the bottom center hole to allow it to fit on the OME leaf springs. Place the bump stop and u-bolts onto the leaf spring. (The stock u-bolts work fine) Due to the nature of the OME leaf springs, the axle will most likely need to slide forward about 1/2. Make sure the leaf spring center pin lines up and drops into the axle's centering pin hole. Also be careful not to jerk the truck off the jack stands when shifting the axle. Install and torque the u-bolt nuts to proper specifications. Install the new OME rear shock.

Repeat for both leaf springs.

The Exhaust Bracket
If your tail pipe still comes out at the factory location, it's a good idea to relocate it slightly lower to give proper clearance for the leaf spring. You can purchase the FK21 exhaust bracket which does this with ease. To install it, first remove the two bolts holding the factory bracket to the frame. Using the included hardware, bolt the exhaust hanger bushing to the new bracket using two of the holes in the bushing. Using the factory bracket bolts, bolt the new bracket to the frame in the factory location. All done!

Relocating The Brake Proportioning Valve
In order to keep your rear brakes functioning properly after the lift, it is important to raise the brake proportioning valve relative to amount of your lift. Usually, this is around 2.5 to 3. The easiest way to do this is to go to Home Depot or Lowes and purchase a metal plate with pre-cut holes. They're normally found in hardware near the window and door hardware. Cut the metal plate down to around 4 inches. You may have to slightly ream out a hole or two in order for the bolt holes to line up properly. Bolt the bottom of the plate to the factory BPV location using the stock bolts and then attach the BPV to the metal plate using some spare bolts and nuts. In an attempt to prevent rust on the fabricated bracket, I painted mine flat black after this photo was taken.

The Front Differential Drop
When lifting the front of your 4x4, the angle of the front drive shafts increases and may cause premature wear on your CV joints. One simple remedy is to lower the front differential. You can either purchase a front diff drop kit from Cornfed Suspension or you can gather the necessary parts and engineer it yourself. Read the full tech article on the front diff drop >>

Final Notes
Some people have found that they need to extend their rear brake lines when installing this lift. In my case, my brake line was long enough, even with the suspension flexed. After the installation, you will probably want to find a place to flex your new suspension and check the length of brake line. If it is pulled tight, you will want to purchase an extension for your rear brake line.

Also, don't forget to grease your new bushings when the installation is complete, and keep them well lubricated. A simple grease gun and some lithium-based grease will work fine.

Finally, as with any suspension modification, you'll want to take your truck to a good shop and get it aligned. I found that my camber, caster, and toe were all incorrect after my lift.

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