Defender OME long-travel suspension installation

ByDean MellorMay 19, 2020
Defender OME long-travel suspension installation

Check out a Defender OME long-travel suspension installation in this Unsealed 4X4 video.

With tracks closed and camping prohibited now seemed as good a time as any for a Defender OME long-travel suspension installation, despite having replaced almost all of the other components under my 1994 Landy over the past few years. Yep, the springs and shocks were well past their use-by date, so it was out with the old and in with the new… before all the tracks open up again and we’re allowed to go camping once more.

Over the years I’ve driven a lot of vehicles with a lot of different suspension systems and, if money was no object, I would’ve probably gone for an OME BP-51 setup, but fully adjustable bypass shock absorbers don’t come cheap so I opted for the next best thing – a set of OME long travel coil springs and matching OME Nitrocharger Sport shock absorbers.

I’ve driven two Defenders across the Simpson Desert fitted with similar OME suspension setups – a 130 Crew Cab across the Madigan Line in 2005 and a 110 Wagon via the Rig Road and WAA Line in 2016 – and I came away impressed on both occasions.

The OME kit I ordered comes with four long-travel coil springs, four Nitrocharger Sport dampers, bump-stop extenders, brackets for the sway bars and all required fitting hardware. As there are no sway bars fitted to my Defender, the supplied brackets were not used.

As for spring rates, I opted for heavier front springs to suit my setup (steel bullbar, winch and lights) and rear springs to suit a 0-300kg load, as the Defender gets used mostly as a daily driver and for shorter weekend trips into the bush rather than fully loaded long-distance expeditions.

Land Rover specialist Peter Davis at Roving Mechanical in Peakhurst NSW fitted the suspension kit – Pete’s been looking after my Defender since I’ve had it – and while it’s a pretty straightforward job, it helps if you know what you’re doing and you’re familiar with the vehicle. It also helps if you have spare parts on hand, especially when working on an older vehicle like my Defender, which had a buggered shock-mounting retention ring up front and a threaded shock bracket at the rear.

Defender front wheel travel

The old shocks were worn and the old springs didn’t offer a lot of travel up front.

As you can see from the video, the OME springs are significantly longer than the springs that came out of the Defender and as well as a significant height increase they should provide a lot more wheel travel, which I found was quite limited up front.

Since the OME suspension installation I’ve only driven the Defender on the road and it has a much more compliant ride with better control. I’m looking forward to getting it off-road to see how much more suspension travel I have, especially up front. I’ll keep you posted.