Now here’s an ooh-aah moment. Those clever folk at ARB have been beavering away again in the suspension department at OME (Old Man Emu) and have conjured up a kit of their race-inspired, BP-51 bypass shock absorbers, for owners of the Isuzu D-MAX and Holden Colorado.
The idea of a shock absorber is to dampen the oscillations of a wheel when running over imperfect surfaces. It controls the ride over the lumps and bumps and makes the driving experience either very pleasant or downright dangerous.
You’ve heard us bang-on plenty of times about just how bad standard suspension can be. Can’t carry a load and you’ll get seasick if there are more than two corrugations lined up in a row!
My nearly worn-out ARB OME Nitrocharger suspension kit in my D-MAX is now 5 years old and has done a lot of heavy-lifting and covered heaps of kilometres on seriously buggered up surfaces, yet it still drives better than most of the new dual-cabs I get to drive in a year reviewing them. How can that be you ask, simply because vehicle manufacturers must be working to the plan of some parallel universe where rubbish suspension is acceptable (and likely very cheap).
The Nitrocharger shocks have been great and I’ve used them on my past D40 Navaras, the Defender, various Rodeos and Jackaroos and Pajeros. Every single time coupled to a set of OME springs there was a huge difference made to the ride and safety of each of those vehicles compared to stock standard and the BP-51 series takes that to a whole new level.
The idea of bypass remote canister shockers is to prevent aeration and cavitation in the shock fluid and additionally to remove excessive heat, providing (dare I say it) a much more fluid ride and under control without fade, which can be the case with a traditional monotube or twin-tube shock that’s working hard.
The other complication with new vehicle makers’ fascination with IFS (Independent Front Suspension) is that a typical coil-over suspension design doesn’t allow a lot of space to accommodate a shock absorber body of a big-enough diameter to get the fluid moving about internally and freely. That’s why some aftermarket suspension can be pretty firm and unforgiving on the corrugations. By routing it into the canister you get the double-bonus of more fluid that’ll stay cooler and better damping because of it.
With a 51mm bore diameter, OME’s engineers can do more with the ride compared to the spindly little sticks that came with the car standard masquerading as shockers. A bigger piston inside that shock body can be played with to provide a more measured throughput of oil through its ports and do a better job of controlling your ride. That ride can also be further tuned depending on your application.
Using the external tuning rings you can adjust the rebound and compression rates to match the conditions you might be driving in, settling on a unique setting that’ll be right on any given day.
Each BP-51 is model specific, meaning that a set like in this case for D-MAX and Colorado, will be optimally matched to a set of springs to carry the anticipated loads, leaving the BP-51s to do their job of dampening the reaction that the suspension has to accommodate on the highways and byways of an Oz adventure.
You’ll find ARB’s OME BP-51 kits at your local ARB stockist and here’s the link to their website https://www.arb.com.au/old-man-emu-4×4-suspension/bp-51-shock-absorbers/