The "Moab Junky" Build Thread - Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum
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post #1 of 420 (permalink) Old 02-21-2015, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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The "Moab Junky" Build Thread

I thought I would wait to do a build thread until I actually built something for my 2010 FJ Cruiser.

To see my FJ in its natural habitat please go here. BTW, the habitat should get a little bumpier after I install my new RCI skids.

https://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forum...dventures.html

I found our FJ on Craig's List 11 months ago. It had 24,000 very easy miles on it. In fact, it had never been off road and was in immaculate condition. The Gentleman was a gem to deal with and graciously met me in Vail Colorado, 2 hours from our homes, to do the sale.

This picture was taken the day we brought it home.

Attachment 416002

LET THE DEPRECIATION BEGIN!!!

He had the Icon 3" lift installed, Draw Tight hitch and OEM rock rails, the short shift with the TRD knob and a good set of 285/70/17 BFG AT's.
It also has the convenience and off road pkg, rear locking diff and A trac.

Last month it looked like this:

Attachment 416010

And today, it looks like this:

Attachment 619521

Attachment 421018

Attachment 416018

Attachment 420634

When my Wife and I purchased our FJ we also had a 2007 2 door Jeep. It was lifted, locked, and turning 35" tires with 5.13 gears.

Off road, our Jeep was the Bomb!!

Attachment 489594

Attachment 416026

Attachment 418034

My Wife and I decided to keep both the FJ and the Jeep. I swore many times I would NEVER sell the Jeep.

In spite of all the negative press about them, this little 1/4 ton Chrysler was 100% reliable, and it would climb almost everything we pointed it at.

After a full summer with the two 4x4's, I noticed a considerable amount of garage dust building up on the Jeep. It seemed like every time we had a weekend trip planned, the FJ keys were the ones we reached for. The FJ was always more comfortable, had more room for our dog and all our gear, had the bed in the back, the full sized rear cargo door, the roof rack. It handled better, was safer and quieter on the freeway. Of course it had those two very useful and appreciated suicide doors and most importantly of all, it was built by TOYOTA. Needless to say, our beloved Jeep was sold. (pause for a moment of silence)

This is my third Toyota. If I were to rate auto makers based on personal experience, I would have to put Honda and Toyota at or near the very top. Chrysler would no doubt be bringing up the rear, and I use the term rear, loosely!! (As in two bags of chips, three Mountain Dew's and a half pound of Raisinets loose) We got lucky with our Jeep but that corporation is a total mess. I won't elaborate on some of the things that outfit would not stand behind for us.

My FJ build is probably quite a bit different than most. It will be very tame compared to many of the builds I've seen on here. I will walk you through my thoughts, mods, mistakes, dislikes and future dreams. When I design something that works, I'll sing it from the roof tops. If it fails, I'll post that too, just in smaller text.

I also am open to any input from the members here, for it was you my Friends who gave me the knowledge, courage and desire to purchase this Toyota in the first place. I lurked here for weeks and weeks before pulling the trigger. Thank you Forum Members!!! We love our 6 speed manual FJ Cruiser!!!

My goal isn't to build the most capable rock crawler or to spend countless hours clawing and spinning my way up a nasty boulder ridden hill side. We've been there and done that. I will drive around every mud hole I possibly can. Forget about fording deep water. The only snorkel I will own will be in my mouth and be used at the reef. If I do choose to get it good and muddy, you can bet your bottom dollar it will be washed before the end of the day or trip. I will use my winch to get me out of a pickle, not up a waterfall.

My Wife and I want to go places and see things that the average Joe cannot in his BMW or even stock SUV. If we are in the middle of a wonderful trip, we do not want to be forced to turn back because things got a little dicey. We will lock the rear diff, choose a good line, stack a rock or two if we have to, let the clutch out and let the FJ work its magic.

If we get tired, we will pull over and sleep in the back!!!

On with the build!!

BED/STORAGE SYSTEM:

The first item of business was to make a comfortable bed in the back. I wasted no time doing this. I must say, if I were to build a new sleeping/storage system for my FJ, I wouldn't change a thing.

The two skinny storage spaces on the sides will have a hinged "flip-up access door making access easy when the bed is occupied. I made certain canned goods would fit standing up in these.

The odd shape was designed so I can access the 110 volt outlet on the right and remove my OEM jack from the left side while the bed is in place.

Attachment 459746

Attachment 415986

Attachment 416042

Attachment 416050

Key components of my system are;

The forward platforms do not rest on the seat backs. I feel if they did the foam in the seats would eventually be damaged.

The platforms fit nicely on top of the cabinet. I ratchet strap them down and fold the seats up for company. No bunk beds so they will have to throw in their own tent.

I can still access the storage compartment that holds the jack and tools. I can also get to the 110 volt outlet without removing the cabinet. I like that.

There are two hinged access compartments on the sides. We can get a can of peaches, bottle of water and a fork while we are in bed!

The cabinet is ratchet strapped down to the factory D-Rings. In the event of an accident it will not turn into a projectile. The sleeping planks are screwed down to the cabinet. The entire setup can be removed in minutes.

The platform legs between the seats have pins in the tops They simply slide inside holes in the planks. No bolts or screws to deal with there.

I installed 10 D-Rings to the top of the cabinet for securing our gear. I still have access to the factory D-rings.

The drawers simply slide in and out without tracks. I sanded and waxed the bottom of the drawers and the cabinet base. They slide effortlessly, make no noise while driving, are secured by a 1/4" pin and are easily removed for stocking purposes. I honestly believe that the trackless drawer system is actually better than one on tracks with bearings. In the garage, no, in the FJ, yes.

The handles are made out of 1" nylon webbing, cost.....FREE. I was able to make the cabinet longer by using this method and don't have to worry about hard handles scratching my rear door skin. I also drilled large holes in the rear of the drawers and cabinet to help air escape while sliding them in and out.

I made a long skinny table that slides out and has a hole in it that accepts a single burner propane stove. I drilled a large hole in it so I can slip it over my gas can carrier tube. Details of can carriers later on in thread.

Attachment 480873


The platforms are hinged in the front making set up time less than one minute, if the planks are in place. Simply slide the seats forward, fold the extensions out, place a 1" dowel underneath and relax. I curved the planks around the storage compartment so we could utilize that space.

Attachment 418058

I fold them up and tie them to keep my cargo from shifting forward.

Attachment 516002

We installed a nice piece of carpeting back there. Holes were cut into it so we could still access the D-Rings. The dog enjoys the carpeting as much as we do.

Attachment 658929

Last year we arrived in Ouray and it was raining buckets. We pulled over in the Ironton Park area, where Corkscrew pass comes out. Not wanting to get wet and muddy, we crawled between the seats into the back, reached up front and slid both front seats forward and then tilted the seat backs forward. We unfolded the platforms and stuck a dowel under each side.
We covered the windows, turned up the stereo and relaxed in our 6' 2" long bed. To me, that is what excites me most about this rig. Being able to see some rugged country and be fully self contained. Go wherever, sleep wherever, do whatever you want.

Waking up in Ironton Park.
Attachment 420458

The next night we got prepared. It didn't rain a drop!
Attachment 420466

For more details on the storage system, drawers, or how the bed was built, please go here: Again, any comments are welcome. Good, bad or ugly!!

https://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forum...-bed-back.html

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post #2 of 420 (permalink) Old 02-21-2015, 11:02 PM
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Re: The "Moab Junky" Build Thread

Great looking FJ! The FJ on the bumper is just icing on the cake. I believe that black rims would take it to a new level and some extra lights.

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post #3 of 420 (permalink) Old 02-21-2015, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The "Moab Junky" Build Thread

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Great looking FJ! The FJ on the bumper is just icing on the cake. I believe that black rims would take it to a new level and some extra lights.
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Thanks Matt. Black wheels have been discussed. I'll let my Wife read this, perhaps your comment will get her wheels turning!!

Sleeping in the back, we noticed it was difficult to get out of the rear door when nature called. I got on here and read several write ups about it. We opted to do something a little different but must thank you members for the inspiration.

I bent a small piece of aluminum pipe and clamped it to the door handle rod.

Attachment 416106

I positioned it right behind a small access hole so I didn't have to cut or drill a hole in the door skin. It works like a charm. The entire process took less than 45 minutes to do.

Attachment 416114

Edit: 4/19/15

Today we added another 2" of foam to our bed. This extra foam made it somewhat difficult to reach the piece of pipe to unlatch the rear door. I copied Sonof40. Here is a link to his brilliant thread.

https://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forum...cs-follow.html

This knob is much easier to reach, in fact, since we sleep with our head forward, I simply hold the para chord and tap the rod with my foot. This mod does however require drilling.

Attachment 460946


Next I wanted to be able to open the rear window from inside. I read some clever ways to do this on the forum. Some used their key Fob. Brilliant. I went with this cheap, easy, yet effective route. Notice the hole drilled in the plastic just above the green para chord.

Attachment 416122

I didn't get measurements, just looked at a pic on here and went out and drilled the hole. A bit more to the left would have been perfect, but it is still very easy to reach in there with one finger and pop the window open.

As you probably guessed, the para chord is used to close the door from the inside.

Attachment 416130

Another short piece of para chord with a dog leash hook on it holds the rear window open while my little Dog checks out the car behind us.

Attachment 416138

So now we can easily open the rear door and window from the inside and drive with the window partially open. Just remember not to use the key fob to lock the doors if you have the rear window open, it sets off the alarm. You must use the lock button on either door. Unlocking with the Fob works fine.

All of this crawling in and out got to be a real pain in the ars. I'm too old for that so I made this. My Wife and I love it. Of course it comes out if we are on a trail we think it will get hung up on.

Attachment 416162

Attachment 416170

Speaking of sleeping with the windows open or down. We hated the mosquitos buzzing about inside so we made these for the two front windows and the rear. We ordered the screen material and the magnets from Amazon.com. A cheap but very worthwhile and necessary mod.

Also in the picture you can see the silver sheathing. This is insulated plastic foil that we also purchased from Amazon. It comes in a 25 foot roll ( a buck a foot) and is easy to cut with scissors. It does not fray or come apart when you cut it but it will eventually start to separate. I duct taped most of the edges and think it will hold up for a very long time. We have them for every window and can sleep in the dark even when the sun is out. Like I said, We are old, we need our naps.

If you are thinking about security, we rest inside our FJ with total peace of mind. The Glock is ALWAYS in the center console. When the goblins come a knocking, I let the magnums do the talking.

Attachment 416146

For more screen pics, go here:

https://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forum...dows-pics.html

The next item of business was to tint the windows to give us some additional UV protection, keep it cooler inside, more private and help out with my upstairs black out theme.

Attachment 416154

I went a bit darker than the sheriff likes. I just have to roll them down when I see him.
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Re: The "Moab Junky" Build Thread

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Thanks Matt. Black wheels have been discussed. I'll let my Wife read this, perhaps your comment will get her wheels turning!!

For now you could even just plastidip the hubcaps... I think it looks cooler that way. Here is mine when I had the stock alloys.

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Re: The "Moab Junky" Build Thread

Quote:
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For now you could even just plastidip the hubcaps... I think it looks cooler that way. ]
Those do look nice Matt. Thanks for the idea.

THE WRAP:

I love the white roof for keeping things cool inside during the summer months and while camping. However, I thought my particular FJ would look better black on top.

So I took it in and a buddy, Greg @ http://uvkills.com/ (great guy) and myself spent the better part of a day doing a vinyl wrap. We left the top of the roof alone, but wrapped the sides, the pillars, top half of the rear door and the trim piece above the windshield.

I even cut out an FJ and stuck it on the doors.

Attachment 416178

The white roof is rarely even visible.

Attachment 416186

Not diggen the silver mirrors now. I painted the top of them flat black. If you wheel with a guy named sweptwingnut your truck will look like this: (Super trip, Super Folks!!!)

Attachment 416202

After spending all this time in the FJ, we longed for some more 12 volt power outlets. Especially some that were always HOT. I don't like sleeping in it with the keys in the ignition. I wired in two, hot always outlets. We love them.

Attachment 416194

This is a bit out of order but..... We really needed some sliders that stuck out farther for more protection, to use as steps and were more durable than the OEM ones that came on the FJ. I ordered some TG sliders and bolted them up. These things are super strong and are made out of quality tubing. The welds are top notch.

Attachment 416210

They really didn't ride as high as I wanted so I ended up wedging them for now to give me more break over clearance. I often will run over a large rock instead of straddling it. I really need sliders with more clearance. I will probably get around to replacing them or cutting them up and re-welding them. They are like new. Paid $150 to have them powder coated. First 300 bux takes them!!! Local p/u or meet in person somewhere only.

Attachment 416218
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Re: The "Moab Junky" Build Thread

OIL CHANGES:

I went to change my oil and found out about cartridge style oil filters. Even though I own 5 different oil filter wrenches, none of them would spin this thing off. I had a large piece of pipe on the rack so I made this.

It looks like h3ll, but works like a charm. And by now, you must certainly know, that function is way more important to me than form!!!

Attachment 416266

ROOF RACK IDEAS:

I love having a roof rack. We are still rocking the OEM roof rack. We store light, bulky items up there but I do not like having a lot of weight up that high. I consider the factory rack to be a governor, preventing me from placing too much weight up there.

As far as I can tell, the weakest links of the factory FJ roof rack are the plastic end pieces on the cross members. For this reason I purchased an extra rack from one of our members. I took the four X-members off of his rack, (thanks Snafu58 ) and added them to my rack for a total of 8. Even though I've increased the payload of my rack considerably, I only store light things up there. And if I'm going to be running an off camber trail, I put less or nothing at all up there.

If and when this rack takes a dump, I will invest in a stronger aftermarket one.

Here you can see the 8 X-members.

EDIT: Thanks to FJPDX I'm now rocking 10 cross members.
Attachment 476097

EXTRA FUEL:

These FJ's are hurting for fuel storage. The small gas tank, coupled with the poor fuel economy, (which gets worse every time I bolt something onto this rig) makes it mandatory for us to carry extra fuel from time to time. I'm not a huge fan of fuel on the roof. That being said, I have done it and will prolly do it again.

An auxiliary tank would be the bomb, I'm just not ready to go that route yet. Swing out tire carriers are also a great option. Have you priced a rear bumper that comes with one??

I welded up a carrier that works fine. It does not swing out, so that is a bit of a pain to remove when the cans are both full. However, just 2 to 3 hours into any trip we stop and dump one can in. This makes removal of the carrier a snap for the Wife and myself. We just leave the cans attached to the rack and slide the whole thing out. And frankly, with the suicide doors we can usually go without removing the rack at all until it is bed time.

Attachment 421402

Attachment 416322

Attachment 416330

TIRE CHAINS:

These snowy pictures remind me of the importance of having a heavy duty set of tire chains. The owners manual says you cannot run them on the front. I'm here to tell you that I have. Your FJ may be a little different, so do so at your own risk.

Every off road vehicle I own will have a full set of chains, one for each corner.

The first thing I did up front was the body mount chop. Why Toyota didn't weld this bracket 2 or 3 inches to the rear is beyond me.

After cutting the excessive mount off, I shaped and welded in a 2 inch strap cut out of 1/8" steel. I also gave the mud flaps a hair cut since they were simply in the way of the tire chains. Function over form.

Attachment 416346

I also installed spacers on the front end only. These will come off when things warm up. I'm not a huge fan of spacers. Running spacers will never be as safe as running an adequate wheel with the proper back spacing. I will say this, the hub centric spacers available today are an engineering marvel compared to the spacers available a while back and when properly installed are very safe. I ran these chains for three days straight, logging over 60 off road miles. This pic was taken in a flat, usually sunny part of the trail. Much of the trail was in the timber and or on North facing slopes. The roads were very icy, snow packed, steep, rutted, cliff ridden, off camber and extremely dangerous.

This FJ, completely chained up was an absolute beast up there. While others were slipping, spinning, sliding, digging out and parking, mine was acting more like a sure footed mountain goat. It was impressive to say the least.

I need to shorten the cross members, these were for my 35's. It's on the list of things to do, it's a very long list!


Attachment 416410


Sleeping in the back of the FJ in the high country 3 nights. The temps were 10, 20 and 25 degrees. I love this dam thing.

Attachment 416338

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Re: The "Moab Junky" Build Thread

REAR SLIDER:

Today I built a rear slider to protect my spare and to ensure a smooth easy exit off ledges. My departure angle wasn't compromised at all with this slick design. The only thing I like more than sliding on a designed skid, is not sliding on the ground at all.
Attachment 466049


The reason I talk a lot about approach and departure angles is because it is so important. Every single degree or inch counts.

If you don't get hung up on your bumpers, and you don't get high centered, you will rarely need to un-spool the winch. (sand, mud and snow is a different story). One thing I like more than using a winch and that is not having to use one at all.

Here it is installed. Came home in a downpour.
Attachment 466097

And in action.
Attachment 466065

Attachment 466073

In this picture you can see that there is a lot of weight off the springs. The hitch and slider are the only things touching besides the tires. What a great feeling to know that I'm not going to hit my spare tire.

Funny experience here. This was during Easter Jeep weekend, 2015. We looked at the schedule of trails that were being ran for the day. We noticed this trail, Porcupine Rim was not on the list. We said, perfect. Previous to this spot we had only seen two mountain bikers. I know we were having more fun than they were.

This ledge was one of the largest on the trail. I was praying that it was tall enough for us to rest our FJ fanny on, it was. We got out, let the dog play, took some pictures and ate our lunch. Wouldn't you know it, off in the distance I heard some vehicles coming our way. Two very built jeeps on 40 inch tires pulled up. Since there was just enough room for them to get by I just left the FJ sitting on the ledge. I'm sure they thought we were wrecked and were waiting for a rescue team.

They politely asked if we needed help and then went on their way, BARELY slowing down for the obstacle that we sized up carefully before going over. I know they were having fun, but I thought about the whole situation while we basked in the warm Moab sun. Not once on this 5 rated trail did they have to get out and "look" at an obstacle. They didn't stack a single rock or drag a single skid. For them, this trail was like a couple of pros playing ball with the neighborhood boys.

I was proud of my Wife for directing me through the more challenging parts of the trail. I was proud of our FJ for getting us up and down some pretty decent ledges without sustaining any damage. While we enjoyed the challenges and mini victories, the guys in the Jeeps probably had to work at staying awake at the wheel. At the end of the day, I'm sure we all had fun.


Attachment 466041


It's very easy to come off a ledge and hit your spare. Hit it hard enough and you could ruin the tire and the mount, and even the entire rear door, hinges and all. The solid roof of the FJ gives the door a lot of strength, particularly the pillar your door hinges are mounted to, however, it is no match for half the weight of your FJ.

The white marks on the slick rock is evidence that many folks were dragging their fannies. I don't want to wince every time I drop off something and hear that screeching sound. If your fanny is properly protected, then scarring up the rocks is just part of the fun.
Attachment 466081

Some of those drag marks are 5 feet long. Ours was only one. I really dig that.
Attachment 466089

I'm not happy with this low hanging hitch. I'll be modifying or replacing it shortly. I'm after every degree of departure I can get.


These types of trails are murder on rear exiting tail pipes. I'll be modifying mine shortly.
This picture was taken before I came up with the adjustable gusset. Not a squeak one when that large bolt is tightened up.
The red paint on the hitch was sprayed on to locate the hitch pin hole location.
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Re: The "Moab Junky" Build Thread

REAR BUMPER:

My main objectives were to keep it light, yet strong. High and tight to maintain the best exit and departure angles possible.

I started with a 5' 2" length of 1/4" 5X3" angle. $22.

Attachment 417010

I wanted to follow the contour of the frame, to maximize departure angles, so I cut V's into it and used the FJ to help out. After all, this was for Her.


Attachment 417018

The hefty FJ made light work out of bending the 1/4" steel. Jacked it up with a floor jack, blocked up the bumper and let her down slowly until I liked what I saw.

Attachment 417026

The angles follow the frame perfectly. Touching all the way across.
Attachment 417034

Trimmed the bottom corners to help with exits. I may bend them inwards, we'll see how the corner sliders match up first.

Attachment 417042

Cutting out the spare tire recess.

Attachment 417050

Attachment 417074



And boxing in the ends.

Attachment 417058

Attachment 420242
These shackle mounts are amazing. The tabs were cut out of 1" thick plate and were keyed into the 1/2" plates. Tig welded on both sides. I bought them from Shackle Mounts, Cutthroat 4x4 Contact Laura for quality products and custom work. Great, talented people who take pride in their work.
Attachment 421314

Attachment 421322

And finished.

Attachment 420234

Super simple, yet super strong.

Attachment 417082

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Re: The "Moab Junky" Build Thread

FRONT BUMPER:

I really want this front bumper to improve the factory entry and approach angles, A LOT!!! Also provide some desperately needed strength, accept a slide in cradled winch, have some nice D-Rings for recovery and save me a ton of money.

After removing the factory bumper shell and bumper I was amazed at how weak the factory frame horns were. I understand that this is all crumple technology, however I want to put a winch on the front. A winch would taco the existing frame horn plates for sure.

I trimmed the inner fender skirts, removed windshield washer bottle, cut off factory tow hooks and tucked A/C line behind hood latch support.

The first task at hand was to reinforce the frame plates. I built these:

Attachment 418098

Here I'm preparing them for paint. Burning off the oil from drilling holes and warming them up so the paint will stick and dry quickly.

Attachment 418106

Next I needed to make some 1/4" plates to add to the stock ones. I also made some mounts out of 1/4 inch hitch tubing.

Attachment 418114

Here they are welded up. All of this iron is a full 1/4" thick. Should be very strong.

Attachment 418122

And installed, notice the massive 1/2" plates out front.

Attachment 418130

Attachment 418138
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Re: The "Moab Junky" Build Thread

If you want, you can send me a spare tire slider... Couldn't you just use a shackle hitch mount?


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315/75r16
FJ Cruiser Matt is offline  
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  Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum > Toyota FJ Cruiser Discussion > Member Build Ups

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