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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2019, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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looking to get into an fj

Hi all, New to the forum and interested in becoming an fj owner.
My wife and I live in NC, but go to Colorado for a month every summer. In the past we have either pulled a trailer out with our atv or side by side so we can get up in the mountains, or have rented a jeep. We like the alpine loop, Imogen pass, Ouray, lake city areas best. On this years trip out I began looking at what vehicles the locals prefer for all around use, both on highway and off road and noticed that jeeps and fj's seem to be predominate. Since we drive close to 2K miles of interstate just to get there I am ruling out the jeep thinking the fj will be much more comfortable getting there than the jeep as well as more trouble free. I have owned many tundras and tacomas and very aware of Toyota's reliability and longevity so am looking for a nice low mileage fj for our Colorado trips.
My question is if I find one all stock and buy it what will I need to spend to get it raised a bit in order to be able to get it off road. I am hoping some of you may be familiar with the area of the alpine loop and give me some guidance on how much lift, what size tires, etc I would need to be able to do it. I am 76 YOA and not wanting to do serious rock crawling, but very much enjoy getting offroad. I am also wondering how much I can change it without affecting the highway comfort and reliability.
And of course I would like an Idea how much money it will require to change a stock fj to the one that will do what I want so I can judge the value of ones I see for sale as far as stock vs already lifted and modded. I have a lift, well equipped garage and maintain our other vehicles ( 3 porsches and a vw ) and can do most of the labor myself.
I very much appreciate any insight anyone can give me so I can better shop for an fj. bob in north carolina
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2019, 11:54 AM
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Re: looking to get into an fj

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We like the alpine loop, Imogen pass, Ouray, lake city areas best. On this years trip out I began looking at what vehicles the locals prefer for all around use, both on highway and off road and noticed that jeeps and fj's seem to be predominate. Since we drive close to 2K miles of interstate just to get there I am ruling out the jeep thinking the fj will be much more comfortable getting there than the jeep as well as more trouble free.
Hi Bob! I help run a Colorado-based offroading club for Toyotas. FJ Summit is a 350+ vehicle Toyota offroading event based out of Ouray each year in July. So many of us here have extensive experience in the Ouray / Lake City areas.

I have been to 9 FJ Summits in Ouray, and have led trails and helped to train trail leaders at 7 of them. My equipment advice for the Ouray area: you need a 2.5-3 inch lift, 33-inch all-terrain tires (Goodyear Wrangler Duratracs are excellent) and some rock sliders. Skidplates would be an insurance policy for the harder trails -- Imogene, Black Bear -- and necessary for the hardest trails -- Poughkeepsie. But for most trails in the Ouray area, you just need lift / tires / sliders.

Since you are FJ shopping let me suggest the buy/sell guide, here: https://www.fjcruiserforums.com/foru...j-cruiser.html

I wrote that ^^^ guide so feel free to ask me any questions here.

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My question is if I find one all stock and buy it what will I need to spend to get it raised a bit in order to be able to get it off road. I am hoping some of you may be familiar with the area of the alpine loop and give me some guidance on how much lift, what size tires, etc I would need to be able to do it. I am 76 YOA and not wanting to do serious rock crawling, but very much enjoy getting offroad. I am also wondering how much I can change it without affecting the highway comfort and reliability.
There are essentially three tiers of offroading suspensions for the FJ:

1. Cheapest: Increases your ride height by a fixed amount. About $800-900 in parts, the Old Man Emu 2.5 inch lift is the basic suspension to start with here.

2. More expensive, but more functional: increases your ride height by a variable amount (via a threaded collar above the spring), but is useful if you add a bumper / winch later and need to handle the extra weight. About $1200-1400, the Toytec Ultimate / Boss are good baselines here.

3. Most expensive: height adjustable but also with a remote reservoir for additional suspension softness (adjustable rebound / compression). If your goal is comfort, these are the suspensions to look at. These start around $2200-2500 and go up from there. For me the best of this type of suspension are the Old Man Emu BP-51's, I have owned them on both an FJ and now a 4Runner. If you ever pass through Denver on your trips, you are welcome to swing by my house and drive mine.

For more questions about lifts, my advice would be to call Hugo at Toytec Lifts (303-255-4959). They are Denver-based, Hugo is an admin for our local club and is very knowledgeable about Toyota lifts.

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And of course I would like an Idea how much money it will require to change a stock fj to the one that will do what I want so I can judge the value of ones I see for sale as far as stock vs already lifted and modded. I have a lift, well equipped garage and maintain our other vehicles ( 3 porsches and a vw ) and can do most of the labor myself.
The nice thing about buying someone else's modified truck is that you can get the parts at a fraction of their new cost. My own FJ with $13,000 in mods sold for market price (for the FJ) plus about 45% of the (new) mod value.

The problem with buying someone else's modified truck is that you don't know how well the work was done . You may be buying a project. They may have driven the vehicle too hard and damaged some of the parts. Or they may have used cheap parts that you'll need to replace.

Happy to help with any other questions you may have!
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2019, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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Re: looking to get into an fj

Jimmy, Thanks ever so much. Advise means a lot more from someone familiar with the area we will be using it. Over the last 30 years we have done pretty much everything in the Ouray area except Poughkeepsie. Did black bear last year for the first time. It is our favorite place to go. Lots of snow this year and no wildflowers the first half of July. We just left there july 15 and Imogen, engineer and cinnamon were still closed as was the road from silverton to animas forks. We are leading a group of a dozen of the Porsche SUV's out there next july and we will do the non abusive backroads in them and rent jeeps for the loop, Imogene, etc.
I am happy to know that a 3 inch lift and tires will be sufficient since I like to do as little change to the stock vehicle as is necessary in hopes that the engineers knew what they were doing when they designed it and little changes will not ruin the overall drivability. Also that is an inexpensive mod to do. Hopefully I can find one already done right. Trying out 2 tomorrow, both stock . May reach out to you next year before our group trip for ideas.. Taking them to Cripple Creek, Crested Butte, Ouray and Durango July 1 thru 15.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2019, 01:29 PM
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Re: looking to get into an fj

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Jimmy, Thanks ever so much. Advise means a lot more from someone familiar with the area we will be using it. Over the last 30 years we have done pretty much everything in the Ouray area except Poughkeepsie. Did black bear last year for the first time. It is our favorite place to go. Lots of snow this year and no wildflowers the first half of July. We just left there july 15 and Imogen, engineer and cinnamon were still closed as was the road from silverton to animas forks.
We were just up there this past week for FJ Summit 13, 7/13-7/21. Both Cinnamon Pass and Mineral Creek opened on the 16th. Imogene Pass was not open before we left, but may be open now.

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Trying out 2 tomorrow, both stock . May reach out to you next year before our group trip for ideas.. Taking them to Cripple Creek, Crested Butte, Ouray and Durango July 1 thru 15.
If the FJ's you're trying out are posted for sale online and you'd like to private-message me the links (you need 5 total posts to private-message, so post in a few threads), I'd be happy to take a look at them for you.

As for July 1 through 15, that is typically on the early side of crossing the highest passes here in Colorado. Late July or early August are typically ideal, if there's any way to push your window back a few weeks. This was a record snow year so you would have hit snow anyway but in any other year, that's still a little early.

Happy to help!

Want to see what FOUR years (updated!) of offroading in Colorado looks like? Click Here

Join the Colorado FJ Cruisers Facebook page for Colorado mod days, trail runs and other organized events! Not from Colorado, but planning a trip here? Join up, we'd be happy to suggest some offroading locations for you or even coordinate a run with the locals!

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2019, 01:49 PM
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Re: looking to get into an fj

and don't forget - a stock-ish FJ did the Rubi. It even dragged the support LC out of a few spots too. it's pretty capable with good shoes.


but yeah, what ^ said about the lifts.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2019, 07:27 PM
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Re: looking to get into an fj

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2019, 09:40 PM
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Re: looking to get into an fj

Hi bjfutrell, welcome from central Ohio!

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2019, 10:43 PM
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Re: looking to get into an fj

Welcome from Vancouver, Canada!

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-24-2019, 04:02 AM
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Re: looking to get into an fj

Welcome from Dubai!
Jimmy-buffett knows his stuff.

Only thing that I have to add is that 2007-2009 models have the single VVTI engine and the 2010+ has the dual VVTI engine, which is a bit more fuel efficient (no loss of power).
Manual transmission models are full time 4WD, and automatic is part time 4WD. On paper, the auto gets slightly better MPG than the manual.
If going for an auto and you're towing, a thermostatic trans cooler might be a good idea.
Both transmissions are rock solid.
A desirable option to look out for - rear diff lock. ATRAC is also super useful, but I believe it can be easily retrofitted by purchasing the switch.

Good luck, and welcome onboard!
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-24-2019, 04:50 AM
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Re: looking to get into an fj

Welcome from KY !! yes that buying/selling link from Jimmy-Buffett is great info. Helped me out a ton




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