Introducing A Brand New Suspension Line From ARB / OME – The MT64: A Perfect Middle Ground Between The Affordable Nitrocharger & The Race-Inspired BP-51
It’s not uncommon for suspension companies to offer several tiers of suspension kits for their customers. After years of research, development, and testing, Old Man Emu (OME) has just released a new expansion to their current line. The MT64.
For daily drivers who seldom venture off the pavement, entry-level suspension kits are a solid option. They help reduce body roll and the dreaded nose dive during moderate braking. If you like to rip down uneven terrain, top-of-the-line kits with remote reservoirs are a no-compromise option. Albeit, they can be susceptible to more maintenance since there are more complex moving parts.
For everyone in between (weekend warriors and overlanders alike), mid-tier suspension kits like the OME MT64 prove to be the sweet spot of uncompromising off-road performance and daily driver dependability, and low maintenance.
I had the awesome opportunity to work with ARB / OME and got my hands on this set well before launch day. I’ve spent time reading, testing, installing and watching everything unfold. And so, we’re now able to bring you this article the day after the official release!
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What Is The OME MT64?
The name MT64 comes from the kit’s specs. It’s a monotube (MT), internal floating piston (IFP) shock. It can provide up to 3″ of lift, depending on your application. From there, though, the MT64 cranks every spec up a notch.
For starters, it features a 63.5mm (round up to 64 to get that part of the name) piston and an extra beefy shock body that’s 2.8″ in diameter. That doesn’t mean much to the average person, but it translates to a much beefier piston than in the stock suspension and comparable to even the BP-51. In fact, it’s actually larger than the aptly named BP-51’s 51mm piston.
If you aren’t aware of why some shocks include “2.0” or “2.5” in the name, it usually refers to the diameter of the shock body.
A comparable kit, the Dobinsons IMS kit, for example, has a 50mm piston and a 2.2″ shock body. This means that the MT64 has more capacity for oil, which makes it capable of going further on even terrain without shock fade. Compared to a 2.0 shock with a 1.8″ piston, the MT64 can hold up to 90% more oil!
The entire shock body and its components are made from Type III hard anodized aluminum. This is excellent for heat dissipation, rust resistance, and weight savings. If you live in a rust-prone area, you want aluminum shocks over steel body ones for their higher corrosion resistance. For the lower shock mount, OME uses a natural rubber bushing for a maintenance-free service life. Finally, the MT64’s rear shocks utilize the BP-51’s lower shaft guards for extra protection against debris.
This new offering is really geared towards overlanders and daily drivers who have a lot of gear and added weight. Its digressive valving is designed to support better on and off-road control for rigs with a lot of shifting weight such as rooftop tents.
OME backs the MT64 with a 3-Year/Unlimited Miles warranty.
If that doesn’t speak to the overlander lifestyle, I don’t know what does.
Nitrocharger Vs. MT64 Vs. BP-51
I’ve mentioned that the MT64 sits between OME’s base Nitrocharger Sport and top-of-the-line BP-51 kits, but what exactly does that mean?
In the above graphic, we can compare all of the features for the complete suspension line side-by-side.
Referring back to shock diameter, the Nitrocharger has a 2″ shock body while the MT64 has a 2.8″ body. The BP-51 has a slightly smaller 2.5″ shock body but also has remote reservoirs and bypass technology. The MT64 compensates for the lack of a remote reservoir with a larger diameter shock body so it can still hold a large amount of oil.
I was never a huge fan of remote reservoirs and hoses that increase the potential for oil leaks, so I am definitely in favor of having everything contained within a single unit.
Finally, the OME MT64 and Nitrocharger Sport shocks use OE-style lower shock mount bushings while the BP-51 uses spherical bushings.
In terms of performance, the digressive valving of the OME MT64 will ride firmer on-road but can take bumps and rutted-out forest roads with good control, especially at speed. With the MT64’s larger oil capacity, it can take more of this abuse than the Nitrocharger before the effect of shock-fade starts to kick in.
The BP-51 has progressive and position-sensitive valving, so it’s a bit like apples and oranges when comparing performance. While the MT64 will greatly improve your control off-road, progressive valving can feel a bit more comfortable for daily driving. The BP-51 also has compression and rebound adjustments for a ton of customization. At around $1,000 more though, you’ll need to determine for yourself whether that price difference is worth it.
Which Is Right For You?
To sum things up, the Nitrochargers are an economical suspension that alleviates the body roll and squishiness of the stock suspension. The BP-51, on the other hand, can handle blasting through the whoops at speed. That comes at a heftier investment, though.
If you’re the set-it-and-forget-it type looking for a dependable shock that can sustain repeated abuse off-road, with practically no maintenance, and will last for years to come, the MT64 is for you. This line is perfectly positioned for the intended usage for the vast majority of buyers.
OME MT64 Vs. Dobinsons IMS
When I first bought my 4Runner, I picked the Dobinsons IMS for its price-to-performance value sentiment. I could afford a bit more than their entry-level shocks but wasn’t quite ready for remote reservoir shocks with the fear of additional points of failure. This is the same target market as the OME MT64.
On paper, the OME MT64 edges out the Dobinsons IMS – it has a larger shock body to hold more oil and a larger piston for added strength.
When comparing the Dobinsons IMS/MRR and the OME MT64/BP-51, it seems like OME has made more of an effort to differentiate the MT64 from its big sibling. While the Dobinsons IMS is essentially just the MRR without the remote reservoir, the MT64 has a larger piston and shock body than the BP-51. There was a clear effort to help compensate for its lack of reservoirs in terms of performance.
With daily driving, the MT64 is ever-so-slightly more plush. It does take a few hundred miles for the suspension to break in a bit, and at that point, they really start to shine. Off-road, I feel like the increased oil capacity of the MT64 keeps washboard roads feeling smoother for longer. Plus, the beefier construction and the peace of mind that comes with it are always welcome.
OME offers different valving for the MT64, while the IMS does not. For my testing purposes, I am reviewing them with the standard valving that comes out of the box.
Since the MT64 caters to overlanders and heavy rigs, I would highly recommend checking it out if this describes your build. With their more robust construction and larger oil capacity, they’ll likely hold up a bit better for long-distance endeavors.
Front Coil Options
For the 5th Gen 4Runner specifically, there are are two different front coil options to pair with the MT64 shocks. By default the recommended provided spring is the 4007.
With a simple coil spring options, there is adaptability to the changing needs and vehicle setup from person to person. The main purpose here is to allow fine tuning of suspension ride height as your build evolves. This simplifies the process of choosing the right suspension for your rig. Less confusion and more flexibility.
- 4001 – Light Load (may produce unsightly rake)
- 4007 – Heavy Load (recommended by default)
Rear Coil Options
Similar to the front coil options above, there are several rear coil options to choose from for the 5th Gen 4Runner.
The first option is designed to provide around a 2″ lift with moderate weight (like camping gear). However, that may be closer to 2.5″ without any weight. The last two options are designed to provide a 2.5″ lift up to the specified weight ratings.
- 2895 – Light Load (Stock Weight, Normal Cargo Load)
- 2896 – Medium Load (330 lbs. Constant Load)
- 2897 – Heavy Load (660 lbs. Constant Load)
Let’s talk about adjusting the MT64 coilover. With six spring positions, fine-tuning your suspension is simpler than ever. Pair that with different available spring rates and you can be sure there is a configuration that fits your needs.
While I really like the premium threaded shock body the BP-51 one has, this setup certainly presents a similar level of adjustment. The snap rings that hold the spring perch are beefy, larger than other competitor offerings.
Below are the coil seat positions and their corresponding weight recommendations. So, these weight ratings should be respective to the coils’ intended lift height. Position 1 will be the first notch on the bottom of the shock body. Each notch is 5mm apart, which results in about 10mm or 0.4 inches of lift.
- Position 1 – No Accessories, Low Height
- Position 2 – No Accessories
- Position 3 – LoPro Bumper
- Position 4 – LoPro Bumper + Winch OR Full Bumper
- Position 5 – Full Bumper + Winch
- Position 6 – Full Bumper + Winch + Accessories
I won’t go into details about the installation steps as they’re identical to every other guide on the internet.
If you need a refresher, you can check out this BP-51 install guide.
I want to give a huge shoutout to Nomad Overland Adventure in Burien, WA for helping me with the installation. Sure, I could do it myself, but having more competent minds than my own installing as well as having all the right tools is better for my peace of mind. I’m trying to work smarter, not harder, haha.
I can personally attest that the crew at Nomad has an excellent eye for detail. I’m sure I made them nervous documenting the process every step of the way, but the installation was done perfectly.
If you’re in the greater Seattle area, be sure to check them out and let them know that I sent you – they’ll take care of ya!
What My Setup Looks Like
For reference, I currently have a SSO low-profile front bumper that weighs about 40 lbs. more than the stock bumper components. I also have full aluminum skids from Cali Raised LED. In the rear, I have about 175 lbs. of constant weight between a full cargo MOLLE setup and a DIY single-drawer system.
With the provided springs, I first had them seated at the third position from the top. I ended up leveling out the driver’s side (driver’s side lean) by moving the perch to the second position from the top. This resulted in a little over 3″ of lift. For the rear, I went with the medium load 2896 coils for about 2.5″ of lift once it settles.
With my previous kit, I had rear coils that provided a similar lift height. While it rides a little firm under normal driving, I like having the flexibility to load up the cargo area for longer trips without causing the rear end to sag.
On pavement, the OME MT64 suspension rides a tad on the firmer side. That’s probably due to its digressive valving and undoubtedly, my M/T tires. My last lift kit actually had a slightly firmer ride despite having progressive valving.
Rather than focus on a super-plush ride with these mid-tier suspension kits, I look at how they handle uneven terrain and bumps in the road. While I can certainly feel them, I feel like I’m in total control when I hit them at speed.
With a soft suspension like the factory one, you end up fighting the steering wheel a bit in these scenarios. The MT64 really takes the drama out of the steering wheel off-road and keeps the vehicle pretty level when taking sharper turns on the road.
ARB USA MT64 Product Launch Video – Shot & Produced by TrailCo.org – An Overland Marketing Company
Competition in the marketplace really benefits us as consumers. It drives companies to constantly innovate and improve upon their products. As OME’s first entry into the mid-range suspension market, I think they knocked it out of the park with the MT64. It’s a solid option in the sea of premium shock options.
For you early adopters, there shouldn’t be any concern about this being a new product. OME took the best parts of their Nitrocharger and BP-51 kits to create a shock that more than meets the needs of the majority of customers. Will they be 100% perfect for everyone? Probably not, but that’s pretty much impossible for any off-the-shelf product.
Overall, these are extremely stout shocks that should undoubtedly handle off-road abuse for tens of thousands of miles to come. Time will tell, however. For the time being, watch out Dobinsons and Bilstein.