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I have a 2012 Xterra Pro-4x and want to put a 2" lift on it. The local shop has given me 2 quotes.

Option #1: For the Old Man Emu lift kit which runs about $1170 and about $700 labor including alignment. $1900 Total.

Option #2: Bilstein adjustable shocks which they say can be mounted in the front and give 2" additional lift, and then adding an additional leaf to side in the back.
About $550 for parts and $700 for the labor. $1300 Total

Shop says the following in their quotes to me:
"I think going with the adjustable front bilsteins and a adding leafs in rear is a better way to go. It is less money and going to be a better ride. The old man emu kit is not heavy duty. And there HD kit is too hard of a ride

I would appreciate some feedback from experienced people.
Which is a better way to go for the long haul.
Here are my questions:
1. Does the EMU kit give you high quality shocks equal to the Bilsteins that are already on the Pro-4x?
2. Does the Heavy Duty Emu kit give too hard a ride?
3. Does the Heavy Duty Emu kit increase the load ability of the vehicle as I pull a 1350 lb. trailer and may have some weight in it and I have heard that the Xterras tend to eventually say in the leaf spring area?

I would prefer not to spend the extra money, but am a little confused by option #2 which does not seem to provide very much and yet takes the same labor to install. I know it will be easier to do and wonder if the ability of the vehicle will be as good in terms of articulation of the rear end vs. putting the EMU kit with shackle, etc., on.

Thanks in advance for any input.
 

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Well, the Emu leaf packs are made of sterner stuff than the stock packs, whose performance will not be changed by adding shackles (in fact, it may cause them to wear faster). Ditto, many will tell you that an add-a-leaf only prolongs the inevitable with the stock packs.

As to the harshness of the ride, that's really subjective. My truck runs a full OME light duty kit, I've ridden in Xterras with the HD leaf packs (which are really the LD leaf packs with an extra leaf), couldn't really say there was that much of a difference on-road. Off-road things get a little rougher with the HD. I would also say that the Emu shocks are a step above the stock PRO-4X Bilsteins (though something based on the Bilstein 5100 could perform better still). Your performance will vary depending on your truck and what you use it for; all the Xterras I've had experience with had armor on top of their OME kits.

As to the labor, the shop will be doing the exact same thing for either case: removing and replacing the front coilovers, and removing and replacing the full leaf packs (which would require at least partial disassembly of the packs in both cases, either to switch center pins or add the leaf), so it's not surprising that labor would come out to be the same.
 

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although bilstein makes great shocks, their 5100 front shocks ride like crap when cranked up. if you search them on this forum, theres TONs of posts of people complaining about the ride. if you used them but did not adjust them for lift, they would ride good. also, where are you located? im sure theres tons of people on here (myself included) that would lend a hand with installation and save you the $700 in labor. in that case, you could get a much nicer suspension setup than both of those options. i bet they also didnt factor in the fact that your lower control arm bolts are seized, and you'll need cam bolts for them to properly align it. they will end up needing to cut them out and replace the LCA's.
 

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About a month ago I had the OME LD kit installed. Got the kit from Nisstech (make sure you use the discount code). I went to Big Brand Tires and had the install plus the alignment done for $510. The guy that installed it said he really liked the install, as everything fit together perfectly. I have Hefty skid plates and sliders, a winch, and a rear tire carrier, so the X was feeling reallyyyyy squishy, especially in back with the stock springs. The ride is much firmer and no more bottoming out. The lift went as follows: 33-1/4" to 35" in front, 34" to 35-5/8" in back. I have no regrets with the OME.
 

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Get the ome lift. I have the ld version and rides great on and off road . And as for 700 labour, some friends and beer can do it in 4 hrs

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Agreed. Get the OME through Nisstec, and I think you can even get the coilovers assembled for a small fee($150?), then just find some locals and bribe them with food and beer. Install would be easy, and save you a load of cash.
 

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I've had the OME L D kit for over two years now, it replaced a worn out stock suspension on a 2006 off road model. It performs well off road, and handles much better on the highway and has held up well. I'd do it again. Ps, I installed it myself in a day. Just a note, if u plan on running E load tires, the ride may be a little harsh, fyi.
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1.) OME shocks are good quality from what I've seen- I have run them on other vehicles. Definitely better than stock.

2.) The HD spring's ride quality is subjective, but the shock quality has a lot to do with it. I will say the combination of the OME HD leaf packs and the Bilstein shocks in the back rides WAY better than stock in my opinion, and really shines off road. My stock rear suspension just felt dead in comparison (it was, the leafs were completely shot.)

3.) While OME HD springs will not increase the TOTAL amount of weight your X can carry, they will increase the amount of weight it can handle without sagging. They will also definitely help stiffen the rear suspension for towing. I think the HDs might be a good choice for you.
 

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FYI: for that 1350lb trailer, 10-15% of that weight would be on the tongue if loaded correctly.

+1 vote for the OME LD. Much better ride than stock, the sagging/bottoming out rear spring problem is repaired. I've had it for about 1 year.
The add-a-leaf option on the stock leaf springs is a temporary bandaid fix.
 

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Don't have OME on the X yet, but ran their suspension on 2 other trucks - one had all OME and one was OME coils and Bilstein shocks. OME makes high quality stuff that far improved the road, trail and loaded truck handling over stock suspension on both trucks.

About to lift mine, as well, and am thinking about going with the medium OME coils up front and the Nisstec add a leaf rear. I'd run the Bilstein 5100s with the front set at 1/2" to level out the ride. When I add a bumper in the future, then I can bump the Bilsteins up to 1" to offset the weight of the bumper and winch, if needed.

Having some flexibility in the adjustment of the Bilsteins is nice, though it sounds like they don't ride as well when set up for the full lift. Sounds like they may be underdamped for the preloaded springs.
 
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