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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have deemed that my FJ is finally in a stage of it's life (as of 2018) to warrant a build page :)

My name is John and I'm originally from St Louis MO and moved to Denver CO in 2016. My wife and I love everything outdoors and thus the move to CO. We are avid bikers and Moab is like a second home to us :) The FJ is our main exploration vehicle and with just the two of us it's the perfect-ish size.

Story behind the purchase:
I can tell you the exact date I fell in love with the FJ Cruiser... January 2006 @ the Detroit Auto Show. It was the Vodoo Blue 2007 ARB FJC that started it all for me. Since that moment I knew that I'd have an FJ in my life one day. From 2006-2009 I always kept the FJ in the back of my mind. Only a few years out of college, I was not quite at a point in my adult life where I had the financial means to purchase a $25K+ vehicle. So I got my fix with a 1993 Jeep Cherokee Sport 2-door. Not going to lie, I still miss the XJ to this day. Fast forward to mid-late 2009 and I was in a position to really think about buying an FJ. At this point in history (similar to the FJ buying landscape today in 2018) it was a only a few thousand dollar difference to buy a new FJ vs a used one. I stopped looking at pre-2009 FJ's and started shopping the dealer lots for 2010's. In early 2010 amidst the snow and crappy weather, my wife decided to go for a drive around the local Toyota dealers and stopped in at Lou Fusz of Kirkwood as they had a bunch of FJ's on the lot. Honestly, I didn't even know that in 2010 the FJ had gone thru some changes (I currently prefer 2010+ over the 2007-2009 versions), we just happened to like the full Iceberg color. They also had a Sandstorm Trail Team version on the lot that I absolutely loved but in the end my wife didn't prefer the color :( I still kick myself for not being more persuasive in that discussion but alas here we are with an FJ after 8 years of marriage :) That night, we drove our new Iceberg off the snowy lot to it's new home.

How did the mod bug strike?:
I'll try to keep this brief in (3) timelines...

The FJ stayed stock for around the first 3 years of it's life. We did purchase a professionally installed Hollandia 790 sunroof about a month or so into ownership (thread here). Other than that, the next biggest "mod" was the HID Retrofit headlights (see link below) and removing the black vinyl tape from around the door windows. I got my fill of FJ rowdiness with some fellow FJ'ers that are/were on this forum back in STL (fjrohrs and jbell = thanks guys for the inspiration). These guys had some built rigs and I got to ride along on some cool trails with them. The trails around MO are mostly tight trees and rock gardens so their FJ's typically saw some type of trail scar on every run... I was not ready to commit my FJ at that point.

Fast forward to 2013, I was able to purchase fjrohrs's ICON front coilovers / ICON billet UCAs and MT rear springs with ICON 2.0 shocks. They didn't go on the FJ for another year but I got time to think about the rest of the build and how I wanted to build the FJ. When it finally came time for new tires, the lift was ready to go on! Knowing that I still wasn't going to be too hard on the FJ, I went with a decent Falken Rocky Mountain AT2 (285/75/16) tire on the OEM wheels. The FJ was now lifted and the mod bug was officially biting at the wallet. The FJ stayed in this form (with an OEM roof rack on and off) for the next 3 years in STL.

Let's bring this up to 2019. We moved from STL to Denver in 2016 and the mod madness began! Driving around CO I saw the coolest rigs and learned what mods worked for this mountain state. To jump backward a moment, wheeling in STL consisted of tight, wooded trails with lots of rock features and thus the original build plan centered around maximum articulation... heim joints, uniballs, sway bar deletes. In CO now, the theme of the FJ has changed to exploration and *gulp* overlanding... let's not fixate on that word. Anyway, gone from the FJ now are fancy ICON billet UCAs with heims and uniballs and in their place are simple SPC UCAs with cheap/easy fix ball joints. The Metal Tech Long Travel rear kit as evolved from medium springs and ICON 2.0 shocks to a full blown Stage 6 kit w/ sway bar delete and ICON 2.5's w/ CDCV. Shortly after that came armor, nice steel armor. Bumpers, sliders, skids and misc protectant bits. Also, regretting the decision to not get the swingout version of the EXP1 rear bumper, I found some awesome rear carrier solutions for a jerry can and propane tank from (a FJC owner too, Craig Wheat). Finally, the Falken AT2's wore out after 4 years and I stepped up to some meaty shoes and new wheels. This meant the FJ looked and performed well enough to take the final plunge of badassery to remove all the fender flares and warrant this build page :)

What's the FJ's current purpose?
One word: exploration. It's my version of a solid built rig with a mixture of performance suspension parts and OEM style joints. Hopefully parts that require less maintenance and simpler trail replacement in case of breakage. Moreover, parts that keep NVH to a minimum. My wheeling criteria in CO is different. It's more about the marathon rather than the sprint. We are going longer distances on trails, more remote locations and less technical/tight lines. Don't get me wrong, the gnarly stuff still exists but there's a choice in terrain out here in CO that a dedicated super flexy, trail style rig is less of the focus for us... or maybe I'm just getting older and don't want to break stuff or deal with race car parts that make race car noises :) The FJ has an amazing hardshell RTT and stand alone awning now so that home is where we stop for the night. Again, it's part of the fascination that we can travel 1-6 hours in either direction of Denver over a weekend to see some amazing views and be self sufficient overnight or way longer.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?:
If you read anything above, ironically the answer to this question is going to be hypocritical... I would love to have a Total Chaos 2+ Long Travel up front or a SAS (I mean aren't all FJ owners supposed to say that want SAS one day, ha). Both of these options re-introduce flexy, complex, noisy components back onto the truck but wouldn't it be great to have either? I do truly want a flexier rig someday and maybe just removing the front sway bar could scratch that itch. Although the logical side of me knows that this is still a daily driver in the mountains and I am carrying a bunch of weight up top. To that end I still think a TC LT 2+ kit up front would be great. I think the MT long travel rear setup is bound to stay on for a while as it performs great. Who knows, if this is just going to be a wish list now maybe I'll just start typing words like...37's, a supercharger, an atlas t-case with tummy tuck skids, long tube headers, full stereo upgrade, (insert more words here).


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927 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser (Iceberg)

Purchase Date: February 2010

RESZ Fab V2 Front Bumper
- Expedition One washer relocation kit
- (old) original version washer bottle relo (link 1 see posts #12-14 ) and (link 2 see post #4 )
Expedition One Rear Bumper
Refinedcycles JM1 Jerry Can holder
Refinedcycles JM2 Propane Tank holder
RCI Engine Skidplate
RCI Trans Skidplate
Trailworx Rear Lower Link Skids
DeMello Round Sliders
Rhino Rack Backbone side rails with Alu-Cab 1450mm load bars
Rad Rubber Splash Guards

5th Gen 4 Runner "Big Brake" kit front and rear
- Power Stop red powder coated front/rear calipers w/ Import Equipment "TRD" decals
- OEM Rotors front
- Centric Rotors rear
- TRD Brake Pads f/r
- SS Brake Lines f/r
- Russel Speed Bleeders f/r
- Trimmed lip of OEM dust shield w/ body saw to clear larger rotors

Alu-Cab Gen 3 Roof Top Tent w/ optional load bars
Alu-Cab Shadow Awning
Alu-Cab Wall Kit for enclosed room under awning
ARB 47QT fridge
Custom flat mount fridge slide
Manchester 5lb Propane Tank
Adventure Mat changing mat
Alu-Box 60L chuck box

Baofeng Handheld HAM radio

East Coast Gear Supply 4.56 re-gear clamshell & 3rd assembled swap front & rear w/ locker

Off Grid Engineering Dual Battery System w/ starter battery relocation
Odyssey Extreme 34R-PC1500 (aux battery)
Odyssey Extreme 35-PC1400 (starter battery)
Powertrays (electrical solutions mount)
Zamp ZS-10AW Solar Controller
Blue Sea 8-cir fuse block
Blue Sea 10-cir negative bus bar
Lensun 80W Solar Panel mounted to hood
Blue Sea Below Deck 12v panel with USB and Voltage gauge in rear cargo area
Chi Town 4X4 Power Rear Window Kit = MUST HAVE
HKB Electronics MK3 Mini blade 7.5A Voltage Booster fuse

Outer Limits Supply "Weekend Warrior" First Aid Kit w/ quick release mount
Nissan Xterra First Aid bag for grab-and-go
ARB Rechargeable Adventure Light 600

MBRP 2.5" Hi-Tuck T409 Stainless Catback Exhaust Part#S5310409 Off-Road Tail, No tip (5 of 10 on loudness scale)
Raptor Tuned - Powergate 3 handheld tuner with "all fuels type" tune
Stock Airbox Mod - removed vortex fan, 90-degree fender well neck and airbox "tunnel"; added TRD air flow accelerator and aFe Pro Dry S air filter

Quickfist Clamps all over the place
Springtail Solutions Rear Driver Basket
Orangeboxx Fabrication Full Side Passenger PSD
Refined Cycle Off-road overhead molle rack w/ Blue Ridge Overland molle bags
Custom Built Platform (3/4 inch plywood) in rear cargo to make a flat surface to back seats in folded down position
Custom rear door skin (1/8" thick ABS plastic)
Blue Ridge Overland velcro backed bags
Frontrunner Drop Down Table
Honda CRV picnic tables stored under rear cargo platform

HID D2S w/ halos Retrofit from The Retrofit Source = huge write-up I did here: Official HID How-To Thread
Diode Dynamics 30" combo beam light bar on front bumper
Baja Designs Squadron Sport R driving combo lights in rear bumper
Revel Gear Trailhound 30ft LED 5V USB powered light strands (i.e. in tent, hung around awning, misc strands for camping)

ARB Single Compressor w/ Wit's End chuck plug
ARB Digital Gauge
ARB Speedy Seal II Tire Repair Kit
ARB Inflation Case
Coyote Auto Deflators

ICON 2.5 Extended Coilovers w/ 650lb springs
SPC Upper Control Arms ("D" caster setting)
Stock swaybar/end links
Insain Fabrication BMC
Total Chaos Cam Gusset tabs
Total Chaos Spindle Gussets (swaybar version)
Bandiworld 1/2" body lift

Metal Tech Stage 6 Long Travel Kit
Metal Tech Medium 4000 Rear Springs; SKU:MT-GSJ-4050 1
OME 10mm rear trim spacers; 1x on each side
Metal Tech 3" Bump Stops
ICON 2.5 w/ CDCV Metal Tech Shocks
Metal Tech Extended Rear Brake Lines
RESZ Fab Offset Lower Links w/ DuraFlex Joints
Stock Upper Links
eimkeith PCK (panhard correct kit) weld-on lift bracket

FN Wheels fX pro 17x8 Bronze wheels with Import Equipment "TRD" decals
Nitto Ridge Grappler 285/75/17 Load C rubber

Warn VR10-S winch
Factor 55 Flat Link E
Factor 55 Flat Link Rope Guard
Gzila Designs Fairlead
Southeast Overland 3/8" Soft Shackles
ARB 3/4" D-Ring Shackle
30’ Rescue Strap
ARB Snatchblock
Various ratchet straps
Powerbuilt 640912 All-In-One 3-Ton Bottle Jack
Maxtrax Recovery Boards
RotoPax 2gal gas/water

Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe
Fiskars D-Handle Digging Shovel
Fiskars X17 Hatchet
Silky Katanaboy Saw(500mm)

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Pics in somewhat chronological order...


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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Pics starting in 2017 to 2018...


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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Winch took some fab work to fit the controller box but turned out clean... link to bumper/winch HERE


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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Big shout out to the guys at Juniper Overland in Arvada,CO as well as Toytec in Denver, CO for getting this rig to it's current state :)


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6,858 Posts
Great build. Thanks for sharing. You've got what I hoped to achieve with mine ... maybe one day.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Few updated pics of current status and some great camping in Buena Vista CO


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91 Posts
How is that Off Grid Engineering Dual Battery Kit? I already have the dual battery tray from them, but haven't been able to get a response from them on whether they will sell just the prefabbed FJ wiring or not. Been debating on just buying the kit and selling the extra tray, or just make my own in its image.

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
How is that Off Grid Engineering Dual Battery Kit? I already have the dual battery tray from them, but haven't been able to get a response from them on whether they will sell just the prefabbed FJ wiring or not. Been debating on just buying the kit and selling the extra tray, or just make my own in its image.
Love the OGE Dual Battery kit! It's by far the best on the market IMO. I'm not sure how much you'd save by eliminating just the tray, so it might be easier to just get the entire kit. I know they have been super busy lately but shoot them another call... I think it's extension 3?

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Bunce School Road weekend wheeling pics...


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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Nice thread! I've been wanting to see your rig close up for some time now. Are you going to do Metberry with the COFJ's this year?
Going to try. I'll be at the Toytec Open House in 2 weeks though. 4/22.

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Great build and documentation. The wheels changed the look a million percent to the positive, looks fantastic. I just moved to the same size tire in the Falken Wildpeak AT/3, it's perfect and doesn't feel like I need to re-gear.

So I just ordered the Powertrays setup w/ ARB compressor thanks to seeing how clean of an underhood setup this is.

Where did the metal tab come from where you mounted your ARB compressor switch? I really like the location.

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8,172 Posts
Welcome to Colorado. As a part-timer in the state (almost half the year in Crested Butte) I know fully well how many opportunities there are to utilize a 4-wheel vehicle here. Should you actually decide at some point to go the SAS route you've got an outfit right there in Denver that can do it for you. RSG Offroad is the outfit I'm referring to. I had my FJ SAS'd 4-5 years ago and at the time the only outfits I was aware of that had any real experience doing it properly were in California; and I had little interest in relocating my FJ there to have it done. Short story is I went through 2 outfits trying to get it done right (the first in Colorado Springs and the second in Dallas, TX). It still had some major issues after all was said and done. I settled on RSG to try to resolve the remaining problems and they came through with flying roughly half the cost I was expecting; so my experience with them has been extremely good.

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Great build and documentation. The wheels changed the look a million percent to the positive, looks fantastic. I just moved to the same size tire in the Falken Wildpeak AT/3, it's perfect and doesn't feel like I need to re-gear.

So I just ordered the Powertrays setup w/ ARB compressor thanks to seeing how clean of an underhood setup this is.

Where did the metal tab come from where you mounted your ARB compressor switch? I really like the location.
The tab for the switch was kind of a favor from Powertrays since I am local to him. Not sure how many of these were made as people choose to keep the switch in the cab of the vehicle and not exposed to the elements. I fully expect the switch to fail prematurely from being in the engine bay... but I am taking my chances for now :)
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