February 2017 Member of the Month: iwashmycar
Recent trip down through Asheville this fall
We'd like to congratulate iwashmycar - Adam for being selected as the February 2017 Member of the Month!
I have also reordered and reworded the classic MotM Thread questions in a way that makes more sense.
Hayden: Tell us a bit about yourself (age, family, school/job, hobbies, where are you from, how long you’ve lived where, etc.)[Basically anything you’d like to share as if you were meeting someone new for the first time]?
I kid you not, I just had to Google “how old am I calculator” to find this first answer. I guess I am 32! Just had a birthday in December, and obviously; a terrible memory. Any who, I currently live in Columbus, Ohio. Right near The Ohio State University. I do all the architectural design for a custom home builder in the area. 3 Pillar Homes if you want to check them out. Hobbies have come down to mainly yard work and the FJ! We have a 2-year-old daughter that keeps us on our feet so as a lot of you with kids know, most time goes to her. I am happy to report she seems to like offroading and we call the FJ “Hadley’s truck” since it very well might be hers one day.
Hadley and I
Hayden: How/when were you first introduced to the forum and what made you decide to join?
I signed up right after I bought it. I have always been into using the various forums for whatever vehicle I was in at the time. Racked up a few years and thousands of posts on Stangnet when I had my 1990 Mustang GT, then the same on North American Motoring, with my 2009 Mini S. I’ve always been into working on cars myself and my dad always used a Haynes manual; I did that as well, but then quickly found the net to be a great resource for general maintenance as well as some great modifications.
Hayden: You have quite the iconic forum username/avatar combo, any story behind that? Can we assume you frequently wash your FJ?
Well, again this stems back to previous cars. My first car was a 1993 Chevrolet Corsica…it was “smurf blue”. I’m not proud of the actual car, but it was the cleanest 1993 Corsica in existence! Probably got washed twice a week or more. I have always been pretty OCD about detailing. While most of the time the FJ is clean, it is almost therapeutic to go take it out and get it dirty (NOT muddy) and add a few pin stripes to its honor. After that I can go out in the garage, have a beer, and clean it back up!
That Corsica (I was 16 and Fast and Furious JUST came out)
As far as the avatar…I think I’ve used it since I started on any forum. I just liked the picture!
Hayden: Is the FJ Cruiser your first off-road vehicle? If so what led you to owning an FJC? If not, what was your/the first vehicle you took wheeling?
Yes, it’s my first. After college when gas was over $4 a gallon (In Ohio!) I sold that beautiful 1990 GT (which I regret every day) and bought that Mini. Two short years later I was at 50K miles and that’s when Minis warranty is up. I started getting the itch to not shift in traffic, or having to dodge every pothole or crack in the road like in that slammed Mini. Started looking up FJs due to their unique styling and traded in the Mini shortly after.
I bought the FJ in May 2011. Got married in June 2011, then moved down to Columbia, SC in August 2011. It was while down in SC I found the North Carolina FJs group through these forums. First place I went was Gulches ORV park in Laurens, SC. It was awesome and I was absolutely blown away at what a stock FJ could do. Brian7758 (https://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forum...n7758s-fj.html
) on here was like a mentor to me as far as offroading went. Really helped to teach me how a vehicle reacts to different terrain and obstacles. I’d be freaking out thinking I was going to roll it, in the driver’s seat, and Brian would just say “pull forward a little” and then I’d be off it. I am glad I decided to go out that day. I went on many trips with those guys during the two years I spent in SC. Typically Uwharrie, Gulches, or one of the Mountain roads up near Asheville.
First Time out – Gulches ORV Park
Another time at Gulches – Brian showing me down Rebel Blvd.
Hayden: What modification has been your favorite or has been the most worth the money/time/effort that you’d recommend it to someone else?
Husky Liners. Yep. Those little slabs of rubber have been the best investment ever. Ranks low on the money, time, and effort scales!
Hayden: What upgrade has been your least favorite, or what modification would you do differently if you had to do it over again?
The 50” light bar on the A-pillars. Yeah it still looks cool, and works like the sun at night, but I never use it. I have always been sort of a purist and this just goes against that.
Light bar – Ok, so it came in handy here.
Hayden: What future modifications do you have planned for your FJ Cruiser?
I just rolled 100K so my current wish list is a lot more maintenance oriented. I need to cut my seized LCAs out and put fresh ones in. I also kind of want to throw on new calipers at the same time…just so it’s all nice and well sorted. My ideal scenario would be to put a new actual 3” lift on it at that same time….Im sick of the 5100s and stock springs. Too cushy.
Hayden: Has anyone on the forum inspired your build or been a go-to resource for you?
Oh, many people. But remember that first question? I don’t even remember how old I am, so I am just as terrible with names. Brian7758 for even getting me into it. I always found great information from Bandi’s posts. There was the Old Cruiser build, jimmiee (with this endless transmission knowledge), DEWFPO, 1911, and so many others I see countless times in the threads I have bookmarked in special ‘How-To’ and ‘Cool parts’ folders.
Hayden: Where all have you been with your FJC? What trail/park/location is your favorite?
My time down in SC took me to quite a few places. The list of places is limited, but I never go somewhere just once. SC/NC gave me Gulches, Uwharrie, and the mountains. All absolutely amazing, except when muddy! That red clay is NO JOKE. I still found some 4 years later when I took my rocker trim off.
After SC we moved to VA for a year. This had me just 45 minutes from OBX!. Would go to that quite a bit but without the expensive park ORV pass, we could only offroad up in Corolla, NC. at the 4x4 beaches. Also, while in VA, the GWNF was awesome. It was at least 3 hours away but we did many trips out there…still have a big dent in my door to remember it by! I’ll continue with Ohio in another post or two.
Bottom line, Uwharrie was my favorite. Scenic trails and lots of rocks! Much fun.
Staging up at Uwharrie
Hayden: What trail/park/location that you have not been to yet would you like take your FJ to?
Windrock. Its decently close but just enough where it requires real planning and an overnight. I have not been able to make it to the various FJ events held there. Hoping to change that!
Hayden: Being located in Ohio what is the FJ community like there? Do the local FJers get together to go wheeling or have any other meet-ups? Any neat annual events located in the area?
Ohio doesn’t hold a candle to what I experienced in the southeast as far as getting out and wheeling goes. We have small get-togethers every now and then, and there is not a whole lot in Columbus. Cincinnati has a presence as well at Cleveland, but those are so far apart it’s hard to get any one large meet arranged. There are a couple private parks scattered about. The largest is probably Southington Offroad Park up near Cleveland. Those guys up by it frequent it a lot. Otherwise you can find some interesting trails in the southern part of the state where it gets hilly. Generally, Ohio = mud…. and IH8MUD.
Some of the Ohio crew at Southington
Somewhere in Ohio
Tacomaworld Ohio crew burning up back roads and trails
Hayden: What has been the most memorable experience with your FJ Cruiser?
While in Virginia I hung out with the FJ Bruisers for a day. We drove all the way down to Ocracoke Island, saw the light houses, ect. HUGE convoy. At the end of the day I was meeting some NCFJ friends at a beach house about 12 miles up the beach. It had gotten dark by the time I reached the beach so I aired down and stuck it in 4WD. I had NEVER driven on a beach before…I only had my two headlights, and had to go 12 miles up it in the dark. It was terrifying. I was so afraid of getting stuck. After finally arriving at the house and having dinner we went back out to drive the beaches for fun. Let me tell you it was awesome! Realized the FJ was a beast in the sand, but the rollercoaster of experiences that day was one I’ll always remember.
The huge group
Lunch on Ocracoke
Hayden: What has the FJCruiserForums done for you and what do you feel you contribute to the forum the most?
It’s just such a vast wealth of knowledge. From the simple things like “which fuse location has keyed power?” to the more complicated “this is how to put a whole lift kit on”, it always delivers. I have also met new groups of enthusiasts on here I never would have. Made some good friends in the community.
Hayden: What advice do you have for someone new to the FJ Cruiser or the forum?
Get out there with some new friends. Even if you buy an FJ just because you want a SUV to go to work in (I did) you will be astounded at what these (and most 4x4s in general) can do off the pavement. It’s an experience you should try! Also, if you plan to modify, just do it as you need to. Except for the darned light bar, that has been my philosophy. Kept offroading..’oop, need some skids’…’and sliders’….tires…compressor, ect. You don’t have to do it all at once!. Also if you are new here, 285’s should fit. :P