After 7 years of being in a Volvo S40 I wanted to get back into an SUV. Before the Volvo I had a modified Jeep Liberty, I didn't want to get another jeep because they have become in my mind too proud of their product for what you get. FJ had all that I wanted.
Picked it up Sep 16th. I hinted at the wife that I probably want to add some stuff to it.
About 2 weeks, I took the wife with me to one of the last dirt roads in the town we live in and dipped into the mud. Wife was hooked and joking asked me if you had a list of things you wanted to add. I responded yep and I'll send you the link to the Google doc. She then gave me the ok to buy stuff. Not only to buy stuff but get a large chunk of it done by the time we go hunting in December.
Well didn't want to make her mad.
November 9th, approx. 50 days after purchase, I planed on this taking about 3-6 months to put on.
November 16, happy wife happy life @ Bridgeport OHV park.
What is currently on it.
- Off-road package
- Base convince package
- OME front/rear heavy
<- Removed blew 3 of 4 shocks/struts
- Toytec 2.5 Coil overs
- Metal Tech Offset Rear Lower Links
- Metal Tech rear long travel
- Icon 2.0 rear long travel shocks
- Sway bar disconnects
<- removed pending a better pin solution.
- Camburg UCA
- Removed front sway bar
- Ironman Commercial Winch Bar FJ Cruiser
- All pro rock sliders, standard
- Budbuilt 5 piece combo, bare metal
- Budbuilt dif guard, bare metal
- Washer bottle guard - |details here|
- Front lower link skids
- Rear lower link skid
- Rear shock armor from fjtoymanoffroad
- Garage built rear bumper - Build starts |here
- Warn M8000
- Synthetic rope |install here|
- Ironman Large recovery kit (snatch strap, winch extension, tree protector, shackles and block.
- Treds recovery ramps mounted to the roof of the FJ.
- 48" Hi Lift jack mounted on the front bumper.
- Jakjaw high lift adapter.
- Hi Lift jack base plate
- 8k manual winch
- Smittybuilt compressor
- Smittlybuilt rear shackle
- Springtail FJ cruiser console straddle
- Ryobi soft tool bag (the ones that come with cordless drills)
- 5 x collapsible crates
- Rear cargo shelf/organizer |Install Here|
- Warrior platform rack. |Install Here|
- 48" x 24" Rear hitch basket.
- 2 x Roof mounted Jerry can holders. |Build here|
- Swing out (Build starts here
- 15" antenna <- Old one hit the garage door. Removed and OEM renstalled.
- Cobra 75
- Icom 2300h Install starts |here
- 4ft Firestick CB
- 4ft Firestick 2m
- 4" LED flood lights x 2 (bumper mount) |install here|
- 32" Cheap light bar ($30 on amazon) |install here
- LED Map lights (red/driver, white passenger) |install here|
- LED dome lights
- Nuvi GPS, mounted above the rear mirror on custom bracket. |Install Phase 1|
| Install Phase 2|
- 120v inverter, simple cup holder inverter.
- PRG snorkel <- |install here|
(Learn from my mistakes)
- 285/70/17s BFG KM2s tire discussion thread (destroyed)|here|
- 285/70/17s BFG AT Went to the AT and haven't noticed any major off-road performance difference. This is including deep mud and clay.
- 4x 20L Nato Jerrycans
- Fire Extinguisher
- 2 spare inner tie rods and 1 outer
- Home made roof rack air dam. |link|
- Grand Tour Medium RTT
- 3500 lb rated camp trailer - build thread |here
- Foxwing eco 2.1
- Trail Toys Convex side mirrors
- Scuba mod (relocated breathers for front/rear dif, transfer case, transmission and e-locker)
Why did I get what I got?
Phase 1: Protection
I figured the first thing I need to do is protect this 5 year investment. The Budbuilt skids looked to be the best option for me. The idea of a full skid going back to the pumpkin was what I was looking for and I managed to get it. The few times we took the FJ with the stock skids they seemed to be more of a gravel catch than I could imagine.
I went with all my plates and skids being bare metal. If they get used they are going to scratch. I would rather pay 50 bucks in paint opposed to a few hundred to get everything powder coated.
I am currently one of the only people I know that has a crawlable SUV. Self recovery was a big deal for me and that is why I went with a winch. I had an ARB bumper on my Liberty and it was awesome. I figured I would go get the same. That is until I found the Ironman bumpers. Same lift points, same winch point but with the poly bumps and a separate winch bar then bump AND cheaper I changed course and got the Ironman.
I didn't change course on the shocks though. I remembered as soon as we put the bumper on the Liberty seeing the front end sink. I went with the ARB because that is what I knew and it hasn't failed me yet.
I didn't like how the bumper tied into the wheel well or there lack of and how with the new editions of FJ they exposed the washer bottle. We covered it with a plate that ties the bumper to the plastic wheel well on both sides.
Finally when I'm out at the parks or hunting I like to carry at least one extra can of gas with me. As of now I have been storing them on the roof rack just strapped in. I'm looking at building a rear bumper with a swing out to hold the tire, a couple cans, maybe the high lift, and maybe a small basket to hold dirty recovery equipment. I consider this protection because it will be a replacement bumper and properly hold those flammable gas tanks.
Phase 2: Convenience
Since I have most of my protection completed. I have started on the convenience side of things. I added a set of flood lights on the bumper for better night travel.
I changed out the bulbs in the CRAWL control console to red driver and natural white passenger LEDs. I opted for red driver side because the LEDs are plenty bright and I didn't want to hit the map light and blind my vision outside. The passenger side white LED is plenty bright and I get enough wash on the driver's side to see with out being blinded by direct light. I also chose 2 48 LEDs for the dome lights. Enough to have better light but I didn't want to get a tan with 96 in each dome.
Radio, needed to go off roading with groups of people. I chose the cobra 75 is a simple CB that is small. The truck is still new and I don't want to be claiming the few stock storage areas for a CB set.
Center console saddle bags was the first thing I got for the truck. There isn't much stock storage in the cab and it was a simple fix to get some more. I also added two collapsible crates in the back to keep things from rolling around. I will be add a shelf in the back that has 3 bays to hold 2 crates and the compressor/shovel. The top has rails that I can attach tie downs.
Phase 3: Repair
So far I have had 1 bolt fall loose from my front bumper. I had to head over to Lowes and get a suitable replacement. I have done my 1 year check of everything required some touch up paint and a slight modification of my washer bottle skids. I had to fold over an edge because it was starting to wear on the washer tank a bit.
I have had my bumper slip some since I had not drilled my 4 "Pinning" bolts yet. Im glad I hadn't since when I first mounted the bumper it was took close to the body and rubbed on the front fender. To get the holes drilled I had to get a 90 degree drill to fit into the pinning hole locations.
The GPS console had the suction cup fall and loose its ability due to some paint fusing to the cup. I fixed this by bolting the mount directly to the plate. No issues since I have done this.
These few things I have had to do some touch up paint on the front bumper, rock rails and skids. Nothing major that a rattle can cant take care of.
First expensive repair is now acquired. In March of 2015 I managed to kink my winch line in a few locations. Too much to cut off and re-crimp. So I have on order a synthetic line from red-dirt offroad. The install was simple. |Link|
About a year of wear and tear.
Here is my rolling totals. (issue/repair)
- Lost bolt from my bumper./Easy Home Depot Fix.
- Kinked winch cable./Replaced with synthetic.
- Over heat from too much mud in radiator./Fix with concentrated power washing.
- Blown OME rear shock x2./Replaced, installed MT rear long travel
- Blown OME strut /Replaced with toytec 2.5
- blow out 2 BFG MTs/replaced set with BFG AT, commonly stocked.
- Damaged front skid plate, sheared body nuts./Reformed plate and installed rive nuts.
- Bent driver side CV axle/Replaced
I still really like the OME suspension, most people ask me "how the hell did you do that to OME" not it figures. OME is sturdy as hell I just guess I like to party.
- Front Long Travel
- None planned
- None planned
- None planned
- Second battery (deep cycle) with isolator
- Off Road lights (side/rear)
- Move power consumption of lights/winch possibly CB to secondary battery.
- None planned
- None planned