It all started with the purchase, as all builds do. I was in the market for a new vehicle, and wanted something for hunting, overlanding, car camping, etc. While this is a work in progress, it will now be sucking every spare penny and moment I have, and my hobby has now turned into an addiction. There are some amazing builds in here, and I can in no way compete unless I sold my house and moved into my FJ. But this is a work in progress….
When I first called a dealership in 2014, I was informed they had a few remaining, but that I would be paying a premium over MSRP, so I decided to go the used route. Life happens, and things got in the way, but I finally made a purchase back in 2017. Here’s how it looked when I bought it…
After the purchase (likely should have done it first) I took it into my local shop to have a once over. They found a couple of things, for starters this is what they found on the filter…..
Then they informed me the suspension was no bueno, so I replaced the front and rear. This was mistake #1
, because I was an idiot. The previous owner told me it had a 1.5” lift installed, so without inquiring at the shop, I went ahead and got the suspension fixed, because I thought they were repairing the already lifted FJ. Turns out it was bone stock and a lesson to be learned on my part. Several lessons actually.
I happened to come across the Insane Audio FJ1001 head unit for sale here on the forum, I figured the price was far lower than new and it was a decent price in general, so I bought it. The instructions were very clear, concise and easy to follow, but it’s plug and play anyway.
Immediately after install, my stock speakers went to crap. So I got some Pioneer 6x9s and swapped those in, following Cement Phantoms thread that covered it perfectly
The next issue I ran into while camping was storage, I found the rear cargo area to be lacking in functionality for me. I also wanted to run a fridge for the kids milk and food as opposed to a cooler. So I sat down and drew up plans for a rear shelf and fridge slide.
At the same time I also purchased and installed the MPAC fold down rail in the rear, which I really like. However I didn’t think about it at the time of purchase, but with the fridge, I can only mount equipment to half of the rack…
This was the first abortion of an attempt of the rear cargo area.
I immediately found it to be lacking, wasting space, and just not being very well executed. So I decided to follow the general idea of some other completed setups. That’s when I came across Dennx thread (https://www.fjcruiserforums.com/foru...wer-build.html
). His shelf looked amazing, and I wanted something similar in fit and finish.
So I redid my plans, and decided what I wanted and drafted a slightly different design. I wanted the following:
-Access to the rear compartment
-Fridge with a slide
-Shelf on top of the fridge
-Removable shelf (my wife wanted to occasionally carry strollers and the like)
-Firmly mounted to the body, even after removing the top shelf
-A locking drawer in the rear
-As close to the rear 12v as possible
-Decent fit and finish
And this is what I came up with…
The second attempt was so much better than the first. It’s still nowhere near as good as Dennx, but it was acceptable for my uses. It works out well, and with the butterfly screws on there, removal is easy and it only takes about 45 seconds.
Then I added my emergency kit, stuffed into an ammo can and strapped down.
It was at this time that the tires (which were on the FJ when I bought it and already fairly worn) had finally created a wobble, and were really just very worn down, so it was time to get some new ones, I settled on BFG 285s.
There is just enough wiggle room, and I haven’t noticed any rubbing or anything else as of yet.
Next up was a simple change, Plastidipping the silver interior portions, swapping the door handles, and Plastidipping the rear view mirrors. Since the passenger rear view mirror was broken, I didn’t care about how it looks until I replace it with the blacked out ones, but it let me see how it looked in person. I occasionally remove the plastidip and reapply, or sometimes leave it off for a week or so if I’m feeling lazy after removal.
I went on to Plastidip everything I owned… Thus the name was born…
I also got tired of carrying a key and the fob in my pocket, so I followed the instructions in TinCans post (https://www.fjcruiserforums.com/foru...-fob-swap.html
), and now I have just the key and fob, nothing else. No point in adding a pic of that, since the write up covered it completely, and mine looks the exact same.
After that I wanted to convince my wife to camping more often, so I got a RTT. I went with the Smittybilt XL, and sure it’s no James Baroud roof top tent or anything, but I think it’s awesome, and it was a heck of a lot cheaper. After the store owner delivered it to my house himself, I set it up that night. Installation was simple and straight forward and the directions were pretty decent as well and easy to follow. I didn’t need any help mounting it or anything. I just gutted it, mounted it myself and then put the mattress and everything else in and on one thing at a time. The image below isn’t from when I first got it, but I can’t find that picture, so this is from the trip we made shortly after purchase. It was fairly simple for an initial install, but very time consuming, cutting the bars, etc.
Then I dragged my wife and kids on a trip up the PCH, bottom to top and back (pic above). No set dates, nothing booked, just camping as we went, staying where we wanted (availability depending), and we never had an issue. Just plot a point on the map the night before. No cellphone, no GPS, no set timetable, nothing, merely a map and a general idea. My wife had to return to work, so she flew back from Seattle to Phoenix and I took the kids with me for the return leg. Immediately prior to the trip, I also installed refinedcycles jerry can holder (https://www.refinedcycle.com/JM1-Jer...-years-JM1.htm
) to drag around some spare water. I like it.
The rear cargo area held up pretty well during the trip, and suited my needs fairly well.
I got stuck in traffic in San Bernardino on the return leg, and had the joy of watching a kid throw a rock from the pedestrian bridge towards my FJ. With nowhere to go I got to watch it fly all the way down and crack my windshield.
The windshield was replaced while I was gone, and the guy didn’t put the clips in, so I lost a cowl while I was driving, and the passenger side stayed on only because of the antenna. So I had to order a new cowl and clips.