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Component Selection and Product Review
Metal Tech Front Bumper
I decided to go with a tube bumper for a few reasons, but the driving factors were weight and approach angle. If I was going to be doing quite a bit of traveling I didn't want to add more weight than absolutely needed. The second aspect was enabling the best approach angle I could. While it may look like the Metal Tech tube bumper comes out quite far it actually is closer to the body then most plate bumpers. I chose to go with the Metal Tech based on their reputation and the fact that another user on here was getting rid of his FJ so I got a deal on it I couldn't beat. I like the fact that the winch plate mounts parallel to the frame rather than how some of the plate bumpers bolt on. Overall I am quite happy with the bumper and don't have any major complaints. I like how it hugs much closer to the body than comparable tube bumpers which stick out and don't look as clean.
Some might say it leaves your front end exposed, however you would have to hit some sticks at some pretty odd angles to have anything come near your radiator. Plus look at all the users on here who have them and there really haven't been any major incidents.
Overall I wouldn't hesitate to buy this product. The only other bumpers I might consider replacing it with down the line (if I wanted to switch it up for something different) are LCNW (similar to Athena's) or a FabFour with bull bar.
Metal Tech Rock Sliders
I went with the Metal Tech Rock Sliders to have something which would act as a step, still protect the body, yet not hit every single thing on the trail. It was actually my first purchase for the FJ. The sliders suited my needs perfectly for the original goals I had set out and have taken a few good hits and have yet to yield.
Down the line if I become more concerned about body damage I might switch over to some budbuilt custom sliders. In the end its a trade off between having a kick-out and not having one. As can be seen in the picture below if I had a kick-out I wouldn't have been able to continue on this trail due to a 3' drop off into the mud pit. The line I took in the picture looks a bit odd because there is a tree right next to the rear quarter panel on the FJ which made me hug the edge of the pit in the rear. But it does prove the point that the sliders give you some more flexibility. However, if I were to overlook a rock or tree it does put they body of the FJ at a greater risk.
Ricochet LCA Skids
This was the first product I purchased from Ricochet. In general the product was well constructed and extremely easy to install. I have yet to test these a great deal. But at TOTH they did there job without any issues. Once I've hit a few more trails with them I will be sure to post up more. Only complaint I have at this time is a lot of dirt and debris end up actually getting trapped on top of the skid and the LCA. Maybe some small drainage holes would be an improvement so that material could be washed out rather than having to go under the rig and pull it out with your hands.
Metal Tech Tube Doors
Out of all the purchases I have made for the FJ this is probably one of the top five. It makes driving the FJ a completely different experience and really more enjoyable. While I do enjoy the typical doors and the ever exciting "hell I hope my wheel is where I think it is and I'll just give it gas", the tube doors open your field of vision immensely. It is a huge help being able to see where you are putting the tires when offroading and it makes it a more fun experience in general. Only issues I have had with the doors is that the heep mirrors vibrate out of position fairly easy and the latch on the door can easily be bent which if it occurs must be bent back into place or else your stuck in the FJ. These two items can be overlooked for all the enjoyment they bring. Hopefully someone will offer a cover for these down the road so they can be used in the rain and year round.
GOBI Stealth Roof Rack
I went with the GOBI Stealth rack to offer greater storage capacity on the roof than the OEM rack. I liked the look as it followed the contour of the FJ's roof rather than being completely flat like ARB's or Baja rack. I know there are disadvantages to this if you wanted a RTT or something along those lines. However, this rack sits lower than all the competitions and is actually lower than the OEM rack. I am able to clear a 6'7" garage which I couldn't do with the OEM rack with 3" lift. In the end it met my needs and still allowed me to fit in the parking garage in downtown Houston. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this product to anyone else. Ordered directly from Sandra at GOBI and she was more than accommodating in getting it to me within my needed time line.
GOBI Rear Ladder
Received the GOBI Rear Ladder for free as part of a special GOBI was offering which was similarly priced to a vendors group buy on this forum. Ended up receiving the best customer service from GOBI so I ordered through them. IMO the install isn't exactly the best method, but it works. I use the ladder more than I expect and it does its job. In the end it will probably come off the rig if I get a swing out rear bumper, as I am guessing they will be incompatible.
At first I really didn't care for the idea of having a Snorkel on the FJ or like the look. However, after getting stuck with a good portion of the passenger fender under water I figured it couldn't hurt to have one. Really if you get into water up to the doors your going to have trouble regardless. It's more of a safety measure and I'll be adding doing the SCUBA mod in the near future to ensure the FJ is as protected as it can get during water crossings.
I took quite some time to decide how I wanted to go about this mod. The major issue I had was the fact that I am not a fan of using barbed hoses or the red filter which Shadow-Warrior used. However, I saw ToledoFJ's post on how he purchased a kit which used pneumatic quick connect fittings. Having used them in the past for quite a bit of automation work I was sold that this was the way to go. These are air tight and less likely to leak than threaded or barbed connections. Unfortunately I couldn't afford the $200 price tag on the kit which Toledo had.
So I went about designing my on kit with manifold. It took quite some time to find and obtain all the parts for my design, but this is what I came up with.
OEM Wheel Powder Coated Black
I had planned to get another set of wheels, but Fourwheelparts dropped the ball and after waiting 2 months for them to come in I decided to go an alternate route. Had the wheels powdercoated at SABS here in Houston. They came out great and have really held up well. Except for some recent rock scrapes from TOTH they still look new. These wheels are only a temporary place holder and will be swapped out for beadlocks down the road.
Pro Comp Xtreme Mud Terrain
Got a deal on these at 4wheelparts and overall have been happy with them. Running 285s and they have been on the car for around 10,000 miles. No complaints.
Icon VD – 2.5 Coilovers
As for suspension products ICON offers some of the top quality items on the market. So when an opportunity came around to purchase there suspension system at a discounted rate I couldn't pass it up.
Icon VD – Rear Shocks and Springs
Went with the ICON rear suspension as well. Down the road I might switch over to something a bit stiffer to compensate for the rear bumper with swingout.
I would probably go a different route if I had to do this again. Cam burgs squeak quite a bit and seem to need lithium grease on the ball every few weeks to keep the noise down.
Icon VD – Rear Lower Control Arms
I will reserve commenting on these until I tested them a bit more. I want to give them a fair opportunity, after an initial shakey first run, before completing my review
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