My first 'mod' if you will, was within the first 2 days. It was to get rid of that damn seat belt beeping! It's my own choice, thanks Toyota. Another big thanks to bugs1961 for his beautiful permanent seatbelt chime removal. permanently disable all chimes
Not soon after, I decided the lift was going to be my first real mod. Face it, you need
to lift an FJ. I decided on the Old Man Emu from Toytec Lifts because of affordability and quality. For the price i payed, the OME has done flawless. I can honestly vouch for this lift and say it has not given me any issues thus far. I am not hesitant (and have done so many times) to push the FJ to its ultimate limits. I found some cheap used 285/70/17 Big O Big Foots to replace the stock duncraps
Unfortunatley, I had to find out the importance of recovery gear the hard way. My brother in law and I decided to do some local trail riding with my FJ and his CJ. i got ****y and wound up stuck in some pretty thick mud. Cmon, we've all been there. We didn't have any kind of recovery gear so got very creative. There was some random string or shoe laces or whatever in the back of his jeep so we decided to 'braid' them together and make a tow strap. I was very lucky to get out of this one. I now have a Smittybuilt 30k tow strap and ordered a hi lift while i was at it.
One day a short while later, I was wandering through craigslist and found a great deal. Some dude out in Grand Junction (~ 2 hrs away) wanted to trade his black Pro Comp wheels for stock wheels so he could have a better trade in value. Since i was going for a blacked out look, I decided to make the drive out and swap the guy straight up. I ended up making out great because he had 285/70/17 BFG A/T's on his wheels with a lot more life left than my Big O Big Foots.
Since I got 'stuck' with Sunfusion, I knew i needed to black out whatever I could. 1 trip to Home Depot, 1 can of nite shades, and 4 cans of Plasti dip later- front/ rear bumpers, handles, side view mirrors, front side markers, tail lights- done. The plasti dipped hood came much later but we'll just cover that now so I don't have to talk about it again.
Beaver Creek Ski Resort in the background
Later on, with funds strapped and winter in the Rockies fully engaged, I got bored of not doing any mods and wanted something cheap to consume some time. I decided Shadow-Warriors SCUBA mod was necessary! RIP Shadow- never knew ya but you seemed like an FJ innovator.
With Christmas out of the way and some disposable income in my pocket, I decided a bumper and winch would be my next install. I love the pre-runner style, thus, leading me to choose the Rocktec bumper from TRDparts4U (great vendor to deal with) Unfortunatley, at the same time I ordered my Superwinch which i did not realize does not fit into the rocktec because of the top mounted solenoid. Oh-well.... Nothing a little cutting cant fix.
Chinaman Gulch was my first real technical trail. After hearing a lot of bumping and grinding the whole day, I figured I would climb underneath to see if any carnage had taken place. To my relief all was well... aside from my drivers side rear lower link and mount looked a little worry-some. I knew from reading the forum a lot that the links should be replaced either way. I called up All Pro and got a decent deal on the links and link mounts.
Real quick lets back track to late january. It's a cold sunday evening. My beloved Ravens just lost the AFC Divisional Playoff game. The roads are slick but I need to go pick up my work truck from Big O Tires so I have it ready monday morning for work. My girlfriend drops me off 2 miles down the road from our house so I can pick up my truck after it was in the shop for the weekend getting new brakes. WOW, these brakes are new. I tap them once while driving across the Dillon Dam (Dillon Resevoir is where all of Denvers drinking water comes from). Not use to the new brakes i lose control and slide into oncoming traffic then BAM! what a ****ty day.... Thankfully, no one was hurt, nor did they try suing one of the largest corporations in the world (I work for Coca Cola). Thats like guaranteed large settlement!
Anyway, what i'm getting at is this caused me to have to use my personal vehicle for a few days. One of my accounts has a parking garage which i was very used to driving into with my work truck; not the FJ. Not realizing I was now in a different vehicle than I normaly am, I forgot all about clearance heights. My roof rack tore right out of it's mounts. Luckily, my snowboard didn't break, the Hi Lift didn't smash a window, and the holes that the roof rack mounts bolt into were not damaged. Easy 100$ fix, found another forum member selling one for cheap (sorry I forget your name).
After X amount of trail runs, I eventually realized how imperative a CB radio can be. I don't know much about wiring electronics but figured this could be a fine learning experience. The install was very simple, I just ordered the Big Bill Combo off walcottcb.com and plugged it up.
NOTE: If you are using a boztec mount, it does not work with the coaxial cable included in the Big Bill Combo. You need to order a 180 degree coax instead of the 90 degree coax.
Once summer came around again I knew i needed to step up the tire game a little bit. After much back and forth, I opted with the 295/70/17 Nitto Trail Grapplers. I am blown away by the rock crawl ability of these tires, the difference was black and white. Replacing the BFG A/T's with these meat balls made me realize a body mount chop was absolutely required.
Finally, June came. My first FJ themed birthday!
My wonderful girlfriend took the lead on this one and let my parents know i needed a c02 system. They live back in MD so they just ordered The Source from TRDparts4U and shipped it to me. My super awesome girlfriend also ordered me some Staun Deflators (she also took us out for an awesome weekend getaway). Thanks to Layonnn, I didn't have to pay a stupid amount of money for an mpac side rack so i just kinda stole most of his idea and fab'd up my own.
Another cool birthday gift, something not on my to do list but still a fun mod to give my FJ it's own thing- my brother in law who's really into imports (mainly subarus) got me some cool projecter halo headlights. Not sure where he got them, but they look pretty bad ass.
Just before leaving for Summit VI, Coke gave all of its employees iPads. I downloaded an app called Gaia GPS which is great for off roading and not getting lost! While at summit, I met Kevin (dockbox) who showed me the route he went with mounting his iPad. I wasn't a fan of the floor mounted iPad mounts that RAM sells specifically for the FJ so i completely stole the idea of Kevin mounting his directly to the dash. takes a little drilling and cutting, but it turned out perfectly.
The ongoing purpose for this build is to make it just as capable if not more so than any other heavily modded yet still road legal 4x4 out there. My ultimate goal, as a lot of you is to one day have an all new drivetrain. including, a solid front axle. Stay tuned, maybe we'll get there.