Project Cherokee: OME Lift Kit Installation

Project Cherokee with OME lift kit.
Project Cherokee with OME lift kit.

My last Jeep build up (Wrangler Sahara) went a little faster than I would have liked. So this time I slowed down quite a bit and got used to the vehicle first before I upgraded the heck out of it. In fact, it was a little over two years before I actually decided on what lift kit to get. I joined the Jeep XJ e-mail list and read a bunch of people’s lift reviews and asked a bunch of questions regarding their lifts. I watched to see who liked what and who disliked what. I also found the bulletin board. This is a great resource because you can ask questions just like on the XJ list, but because it’s all web based, you can attach photos into your messages. So again, I read people’s lift kit reviews and who thought which kit was the best etc.

Old Man Emu LogoPeople on the forums are always asking, “What lift kit is the cheapest?” and “What lift kit is the best?” The one thing that pretty much everyone seemed to agree with was the Old Man Emu suspensions by ARB were the best in terms of ride quality and flexibility. I also talked with several people that had the kit on their trucks and they were very happy with it. They said they had no problems with groans or creaks and that the ride quality was better than stock from the factory. I have been into four wheeling for several years now and knew that OME was pretty good quality, but hearing it from a bunch of other people that were happy with their kits helped sway my decision.

The one thing that I wanted in the lift kit was the ride quality. This truck is my daily driver and spends more time on road then off road, so the ride quality had to be there. In fact, ride quality was one of the reasons I sold my Wrangler and switched to the Cherokee. I have had lift kits in the past the clunked and banged and I can’t stand that. I am one of those people that are really finicky about their trucks and just can’t ignore a noise. I have to know what it is and get rid of it.

So after I decided on the Old Man Emu lift kit, I started looking for the best price. After a little bit of searching around I found prices as high as $800 and prices as low as $680. Obviously I would have to add at least $40 or so for shipping as the kit is pretty heavy. Then one store kept popping up on the Jeeps Unlimited bulletin board was Numerous people kept saying that he had the best price on ARB bull bars, so I decided to check out his prices on OME stuff. I sent an e-mail asking for their prices and quickly got an e-mail back from James asking me to call him or to provide a number for him to call me. I called him back and spent some time on the phone while he looked up prices and figured out how to get me the best deal. Well, his prices were already a lot cheaper than everyone elses. The price he gave me on the OME JC1A rear spring packs was $135 each…the cheapest I saw when looking was $150 and some where as high was $165. So he saved me $30 on just the rear spring packs alone. And I didn’t say, “Oh, so and so had the rear packs for $xx dollars.” This was the price. So altogether I got the whole kit shipped to me $680. And this included the transfer case drop kit which most kits don’t include their kits. I never ended up using it anyways.

Before picture:

2000 Cherokee with out lift kit.

2000 Cherokee with out lift kit.

After picture:

2000 Cherokee with Old Man Emu Suspension lift kit.

2000 Cherokee with Old Man Emu Suspension lift kit.

OME part list:
(2) OME JC1A – Heavy duty rear leaf springs
(2) OME 934 – Grand Cherokee front coil springs
(2) OME N35 – Front firm valve shocks
(2) OME N36 – Rear firm valve shocks

To complete the lift, I also added some non OME parts:
(1) RE1333 – Rubicon Express .75″ coil spring spacers set
(1) JKS2000 – JKS quicker disconnect for XJ 2″-3.5″ lift
(1) JB Conversions heavy duty SYE for NP231
(1) CV style rear drive shaft
(4) U-bolts
(2) Rear leaf spring bushings (front eyes)
(2) Rear leaf spring bushings (rear eyes)