The first $2000 - Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum
4x4 / Off-Road Tech This section contains all discussion related to taking the FJ Cruiser in Off-Road situations, 4x4 applications and any armor modifications.

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post #1 of 176 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 07:29 AM Thread Starter
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The first $2000


2 Days ago (Death Valley, California)

One week ago (Kanab, Utah)

DUSTPARK high Centered (Deep Creek, California)

UNDERACTIVE swamped (Azusa Canyon, California)

I just returned from a run in the Death Valley area (Ballarat/Panamint Range) with POKERDAWG and others. He asked me to post my opinion on mods for "the road less traveled". What order? I know that everybody has a different opinion on the subject. This is only mine. What is the "road less traveled"? It's an expedition concept that is mild to wild because you NEVER know what you're going to run into. Many unimproved roads change with every rain storm so the trip that you thought was going to be an easy one can suddenly turn into a challenging run.

My philosophy is "getting home". The Scorpion was modified not to be glamorous or make a statement but to get me home at the end of the day.

In order:

(1) Rear lower control arms and leading edge armor plates to protect them. The OEM arms are weak. One good strike on a rock and you can break them. If you break one, you're screwed. You can disconnect a front or rear drive shaft and you can play games with other "getting home" magic, but once you've lost a lower rear, you're not going anywhere.
Recommended: MAN-A-FRE rear lower control arms with bushings. They're heavy duty (most unlikely to break), they are not adjustable because you don't need adjustable rear lower control arms (IMO) and MAF stands behind their products. US$299.00 for the rear lower control
arms. TLC Trailing Arm Skid US$90.00

(2) Tow Straps/Shackles/Recovery gear is very important. I recommend the ARB recovery kit because it's everything in one bag. I bought my components separately and always keep spare shackles.
Price Estimate: 2 x 10,000 lbs 3/4" Pin Bow Shackles - US$13.00 each & 2" x 30' 8,000 Kg Snatch Strap - US$70.00 & Tree Protector 26,000 lbs 3" x 10' - US$50.00 Total: US$146.00 (estimated)
Again, I bought all my components separately and threw them in a bag. The ARB kit is a one stop shop but there are a number of ways to skin that cat.

(3) Skids will protect your vital engine components. I recommend BudBuilt Skids. There are a lot of people out there who will tell you that this skid is better than that one. They're all right. This is just my opinion folks - more armor is better. Bud stands behind his products, he is a small shop and yes, you may have to pay for shipping, but the product is excellent, he's excellent and that's just how it is. US$650.00

(4) Sliders are also necessary. I recommend DeMello Offroad Sliders. They offer maximum protection, Jason DeMello cares about his customers & is one of the most talented FJ Cruiser fabricators there is. I'm proud to call him my friend. $429.00

(5) Hi-Lift Jack with Wabfab slider adaptor. I hate the Hi-Lift Jack, for the record. They're awkward to use, they are big and heavy and they rust when left out on the roof rack or the spare tire (wherever you store them) but they're essential. If you are going to get a Hi-Lift, do yourself a favor and also buy the Wabfab adaptor so the Hi-Lift won't slip off when you're jacking it, damaging your rig, you or both. Hi-Lift (about) US$70.00 & tubing adapter US$59.00

For about $2,000.00 (I threw in a couple hundred dollars shipping that you'll pay) you've protected your rig. You have some gear to either recover yourself or to aid others who want to help get you out of a tight spot. Now all you need is to go out, and get practical experience.

Another word: When running "out there", water is important. If you have to walk out of a bad situation, your water jug is nearly useless. Buy some inexpensive canteens. I keep 3 gallons of water in canteens to carry with me if it comes to a hike.

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unaltered, to find the ways that you have changed.

Last edited by Layonnn; 08-21-2012 at 12:41 PM.
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post #2 of 176 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 07:49 AM
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Re: The first $2000

Great post Larry. I agree with everything you stated and I have the exact same Philosophy. I made the Raptor to get me out there and back home safe. Thanks for the post buddy


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post #3 of 176 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 08:45 AM
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Re: The first $2000

Great thread!

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post #4 of 176 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 09:17 AM
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Re: The first $2000

Thanks for this Uphill.

I'm happy to know I have many of these items but I'm disappointed that I don't have all of these item. I've purchased 3 sets of tires since FJC ownership but should've routed my early budget to "getting home" must have items.

I'm going to make a point in completing this list.

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post #5 of 176 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 09:23 AM
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Re: The first $2000

Im going to have to follow your list. Anyone wanna give, i mean borrow me 2000 bucks?


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post #6 of 176 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 10:06 AM
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Re: The first $2000

Great post...but it left me w/ one question:

There's mud in Death Valley???

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post #7 of 176 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 10:14 AM
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Re: The first $2000

good post, always good to hear more advice like this. i may have been under estimating the lower control arm idea, wasnt high on my list - but i should give that some more thought
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post #8 of 176 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 10:17 AM
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Re: The first $2000

CRAW previously said: View Post
Great post...but it left me w/ one question:

There's mud in Death Valley???
Yes there is. In the pre-run I found it and just had to lead the group through it. Actually when I was there there was standing water where the recovery took place. That was the first of two mud crossings.


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post #9 of 176 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 10:23 AM
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Re: The first $2000

Great advise Larry - my next purchase - a set of MAF lower control arms - should have been my first.

Vince / volhoo

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post #10 of 176 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 10:45 AM
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Re: The first $2000

NICE LARRY !... Great info and POST, I'd give you
a REP, But...

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