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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)




AZSANDSTORMER: A slow build
Well, I've been wanting to do a "build" thread for awhile, so I decided to stop procrastinating and "just do it". This is not one of the "epic" builds that is seen here often in the forums build threads, but perhaps it has a few morsels that might be of interest.
A "Brief" History and Rationale
I purchased my Sandstorm 2008 MT6 as a replacement cum "backup " for my 1986 FJ60 Landcruiser. It turns out the FJ60 truly epitomizes the phrase "long term project" as I've had it for ten years and I'm still working on getting the "bugs" out of its GM Vortec Conversion. Turns out it has a fairly specific fuel supply issue that it only experiences once or twice a year so it's difficult and time-consuming to replicate and test any given fix (see Curing Vapor Lock in a 5.7 Vortec FJ60 on IH8 Mud if you're so inclined). So IT happened in July 2008 in Las Vegas (>100 degrees). We were stuck. We couldn't get home, and obviously couldn't get to the Sierra Nevadas where we were trying to go (we only go to Vegas passing through; it's never a destination). The LC had messed up quite a number of vacations so it had to stop. I had my eye on those [relatively] new FJCruisers for awhile and thought they were pretty cool. I liked the Sandstorm color the most; seemed to fit most with the Land Cruiser heritage. Desert Toyota was nice enough to put my Land Cruiser on a Toyota transport to home, helping with that headache. So I purchased the FJC to replace the LC and voila, that's that. Not so easy. The only problem being that it's excruciatingly difficult to part with the original LC, the "project" vehicle that I've obsessed over for the last ten years. So, having faith that the LandCruiser will eventually be up to snuff, I've tried to make the FJC and FJ60 complementary, with their builds focusing on slightly different goals that reflect their underlying strengths. The FJC: smaller, more "modern", more comfortable at highway speeds, and believe it or not, more fuel efficient (to some degree). This is more suited to trips requiring more highway miles and for traveling "light", not camping as much, and probably less likely to take the dog. The FJ60, conversely, is bigger and not quite as highway oriented (though not shabby with the Vortec Conversion). It already had pretty much all the mods it needs to make it an ideal "Expedition"-type vehicle. The FJC, therefore, should stay relatively road-worthy and as efficient as possible, yet still have enhanced off road capabilities relative to stock. I've maintained stock size tires to minimize unsprung weight and rolling resistance, although I might step up to 285s at some point. I've added a Demello Aluminum front bumper (glad I waited so long now that Aluminum Demellos are available) with a Warn M8000S (with synthetic line). LRA Aux tank, after much consideration and hand-wringing, is now installed (12/2013). The rear Demello bumper is on the docket now, as is blackout, wheels/tires (after they finally wear out), and, what the heck, Katzkin leather (maybe a little later).

So here we go:
Here is how it looks currently, starting with the exterior (after new front end):

(Before new front end):



A look under the hood. With the TRD Supercharger (obtained 2012) and the Wrangler/Optima battery (2008) setup with the ARB Compressor (one of my favorite mods). The original ARB Compressor was mounted on the left fender but had to be moved after the TRD S/C was added. It fit, but it was way too crowded. The first compressor , by the way, was replaced, kindly (after the warranty had technically expired), by ARB because there was a problem with the motor that caused overload and blowing of the fuse. It's been fine ever since.

The TRD Supercharger. I found the FJ Cruiser to perform quite nicely even pre-S/C but living and traveling in the mountainous Southwest, often under load, you can never have too much power. I'm planning on keeping the FJC (essentially) forever, so I thought it would be a reasonable investment. I'm liking it.

Wrangler/Optima Battery and ARB Compressor. They fit nicely in these spaces.

Ricochet Skids. I have the bash plate, engine, transmission, and transfercase skids (as well as the rear bumper skids).

Garvin Roofrack . These definitely aren't the most popular roofracks on the forums, but I have one on each of my Cruisers. The most compelling reason for me using this system is that Garvin makes Thule/Yakima bar mounts, other nice accessories, and the 3/4" square bars make a convenient mount point for just about anything else. My Maxtrax fits nicely up there as well (not on current photo).

More Roofrack Items. The Alubox, mounted on the rack with rubberized u-bolts, holds my recovery gear, keeping it accessible and not buried in and cluttering the rear cargo compartment. The Hi-Lift mounted nicely on Fourtreks. The Diamond antenna on the Diamond motorized mount mounted on the Gobi rack is for my Yaesu 7900r


Off the back. We've got the Gobi Ladder and the Trasharoo. I find the Gobi ladder is a handy adjunct to frequent visits to the roof to adjust the load or to hang out and access the view. The Trasharoo is also an awesome inexpensive mod.

Firestik on Boztec mount. I decided to omit the quick release because the antenna just fits in the garage without it.

Ricochet Skid on stock bumper with Ricochet bumper skid, OEM Receiver, and Viking Recovery Hitch.

Allpro High Clearance Tailpipe. This is a straightforward install and it eliminates the stock pipe hanging down problem. Trimming of the ricochet skid was necessary, however.

Exotic Stock wheels with BFG 265/70/17s. They're working fine for now but I may upgrade to new wheels with 285 tires at some point. They do scratch fairly easily offroad with the exposed spokes.

Icon Coilovers. These are standard travel.

Icon VS 2.0 Shocks. These are working great. The first set was squeaking out of the box. Icon sent me a new set and they've been fine.

Icon Springs with Airlift airbags inside. The Airlift airbags have been the perfect answer, for me, to how to deal with variable loads without having to purchase springs that are too stiff for routine travel.


See next post for the Interior


Current Mod List:

Garvin Roofrack
Gobi Ladder
Cooper ST MAXX 285/75/16
SCS F5s
OEM Sliders -> Demello Hybrid Sliders
Wrangler/Optima Dual Battery Setup
Engel MT 45
ARB Underhood Compressor
TRD QuickShifter
Iron Mountain Performance Shift Knobs
TRD Supercharger
ICON 2.5 Front Coilover with OEM UCA
ICON 2.5 Rear Coilover with Remote Reservoir
ICON Rear Upper Link
Metal Tech Rear Lower Link
Demello Aluminum Single Hoop Front Bumper
Demello Aluminum Rear Bumper
Warn M8000S (Synthetic Line)
Factor 55 Prolink
Airlift Airbags in rear coils -> Busted/removed
ICON "Expedition" Coils
Ricochet bash/engine/transmission/transfer case skids
Hi-Lift mounted on Fourtreks
Maxtrax in Desert Sand mounted on roofrack
Alubox mounted on rack for recovery equipment
Tuffy Concealed Carry Box under driver seat
Tuffy Console
Yaesu 7900R with Diamond Antenna with Diamond motorized mount on Gobi Rack
Cobra 75WXST with Firestik mounted on Boztec Mount
Adventure Trailers custom Fridge Enclosure with slide for Engel
Raingler Barrier Net
MPAC Rear Center Console Rack
MPAC Straddle Bag
LRA 30 gallon Aux Fuel Tank
Safari Snorkel


Future Mods:
Escape Gear Seat Covers
? ICON Extended Travel Coilovers? with UCAs (It rides pretty nicely now and I don't notice a particular lack of travel on the trail)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Not sure I'm happy with the picture size but I'm committed so here we go again (I can always fix it later):
On to the Interior:
IMP Knobs on a TRD Quickshifter

Aux Battery Switch. In the usual location.

Yaesu 7900r plus Diamond Antenna Controller

Yaesu 7900r plus Cobra location under passenger seat

Centrally-located mikes for Yaesu and Cobra

Aux Speaker for Yaesu. It was difficult to find a really nice place for this speaker but this place works and I still have some usable storage space in the console.

Aux Speaker for Cobra. This was an afterthought (I originally didn't plan for a aux speaker for the CB). The Roadpro speaker is small and although this seems like a somewhat strange location, it's all black and allows easy distinction between the ham and CB outputs. This was helpful at Sedonafest where both radios were active.

MPAC Straddle. Works great, but be aware that the straddle bag does limit forward seat travel. This is relevant for particularly short people (not us) and to access the underside of the seat. It does make accessing the Tuffy box under the seat slightly more cumbersome.

MPAC Rear Center Console Rack

Tuffy Concealed Carry Tote under Drivers Seat

The Cargo Area. Adventure Trailers Custom Fridge Enclosure with slide for Engel 45, MPAC Side Rack, and Raingler Barrier. The custom enclosure is made from lightweight composite, minimizing weight. It allows easy access to the fridge with the slide, and the enclosure allows utilization of the space around and above the fridge; critical, since we are dealing with a limited amount of cargo space to start out with.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Environmental Portraits
I have found that my favorite "build" threads go beyond just the "build". They are more of a vehicular blog that give some sense of where and how the truck is used. Therefore, I'm going to make up for lost time and give a sampling of 5 years of travels of this truck. I've included some of my FJ60 as well, just for fun. I've been getting better at the "environmental portrait" over time, seeing that the photo reflects clearly where the vehicle is. I'll try to get more specific offroad images in the future, somewhat lacking so far.

Crested Butte, Colorado, August 2008. Just one month old, still with the stock/worthless tires and the OEM brushguard (thankfully also gone now).

Death Valley, California, April 2009. At the mouth of Titus Canyon.

Death Valley, California, April 2009. Badwater.

Lone Pine, California, August 2009. The road to Mt Whitney is in the background.

Mojave National Preserve, California, April 2010.

Grand Falls, Arizona, May 2010.

Navajo Bridge, Arizona, July 2010.

Salida, Colorado, August 2010.

Saguaro National Park, Arizona, December 2011.

Monument Valley, Arizona, March 2012.

Goosenecks SP, Utah, March 2012.

Valley of The Gods, Utah, March 2012.


Muley Pt Overlook, Utah, March 2012. This is at the top of the Moki Dugway.

On Slickrock South of "The Wave", Arizona, March 2012.

On The Road, Arizona, March 2012.

Abineau/Bearjaw Trailhead, Arizona, May 2012.

Pt Sublime, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, June 2012.

Sedonafest, Arizona, August 2012.

Freidlein Prairie Road, Arizona, September 2012.

Death Valley, March 2013

Colorado August 2013. Off Boreas Pass Road

East of Alamo Lake SP, Arizona, October 2013


Hope this litany was not too mundane or redundant
 

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Great start! Nice pics and looks like you have put some miles on the FJC. Enjoy! :cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Welcome
I thought I saw your truck at Sedonafest . I commented on your build post over at the azfj site

Great stuff . very nice build
Thanks Don. You might also recall that you are the one that recommended (via this site) Camelback Toyota for the S/C install. They did a great job, by the way.
 

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it wasn't mundane nor redundant i enjoyed the read and the pics :rocker:

i've always had a thing for those FJ60's too :cheers:
 

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Very nice! You have answered my question of running a dual battery with the ARB compressor and the TRD S/C. It can be done. Lots of other nice goodies tucked in there as well.
 

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Very enjoyable read! You have some stuff I haven't seen before like the fridge enclosure that looks really useful. Good idea with the split speakers as well - I've had problems juggling radios on trips in the past. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
like your build, keep us posted with ideas and mods (may copy some ideas from you) :D
Thanks. As a matter of fact, an update is in the works. I'm waiting for my Demello bumper to arrive. Of course, you have to throw a winch on while the bumper is off. And some lights too. We'll see about wheels. I'm trying to wait for the BFG T/As to wear out first.
 

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Discussion Starter #16

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nice looking trucks ... the FJ60 looks like its in good shape ... hopefully you find the Gremlin(s) soon ... interesting choice in a roof rack ... I'm going to research that rack ... thanks for sharing ... great pics ...
:cheers:
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2007 FJ Cruiser – Voodoo Blue - C Pckge – AT
Toytec Ultimate 3” Lift / Total Chaos UCA
285/70R/17 Michelin LTX A/T
Clazzio Seat Covers

In the Mail – DeMello Hybrid Sliders / ECGS 3rd member 4.56 gears /
ECGS Front Diff 4.56 gears / ARB Front Locker / ARB mini compressor
 

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truck looks great and I love your mod choices. very functional rig !! I like your trailer as well. how is the roof top tent mounted on the trailer? meaning how do you like it. Seems you have everything well thought out. Best of luck with it.
Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #19
nice looking trucks ... the FJ60 looks like its in good shape ... hopefully you find the Gremlin(s) soon ... interesting choice in a roof rack ... I'm going to research that rack ... thanks for sharing ... great pics ...
:cheers:
Thanks.

I'm taking the FJ60 on a run today to determine if the new in-tank fuel pump solved our fuel supply issue. We need 90-100 degree temps for this; we're there at this point.

I'm pretty happy with the roof racks although they're a pretty much unknown option for FJs. They're sturdy, wind noise is well-controlled with the fairing, and they make various mounting accessories for them (particularly the Thule/Yakima bar mount adapters, Hi-Lift adapter, and light mounting tabs) and it is easy to mount other accessories on the floor (such as the storage box). The main downside is the whole ensemble (roof rack plus bars plus bike racks) ends up being sort of high profile so you have to be careful with parking garages (i.e. forget about it; the only garage I park in is my own). Frontrunner and Bajarack, I think, are also good, more recently available options with lower profiles if height is important to you. Frontrunner, particularly, said at Overland Expo this year that they are putting out bar adapters for their racks.


truck looks great and I love your mod choices. very functional rig !! I like your trailer as well. how is the roof top tent mounted on the trailer? meaning how do you like it. Seems you have everything well thought out. Best of luck with it.
Bill
Thanks. I'm using the EEZI AWN tent. I originally used a Camping Lab tent but upgraded to EEZI AWN for the space. You pay a lot more for EEZI AWN because the material and construction is a lot more rugged than the others. The main advantage of the roof tents, particularly for us, is rapid setup and break down. On our trip to Death Valley this year, we stayed at a different site every night and breaking camp (usually the most painful part of camping for us) took less than an hour. Some other pros/cons of the roof tent: It is generally a more sturdy platform than any ground tent. There are multiple references to other peoples ground tents blowing over in storms when the roof tent is just fine. There is some wind noise though, and I realized that I should have removed the rain fly in Death Valley because the night time winds this Spring were wicked. Apparently, the tent without the fly is still water proof anyway, not that we had any rain. Being above the ground is also nice because it's a nice elevated vantage point and it keeps you off the wet/muddy ground. My daughter loves the elevation; it's like a tree house. My wife loves it a little less, mainly the nighttime climbing down the ladder for restroom breaks. Hope this helps.
 

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Nice FJ's and pics! I was going to suggest an in-tank pump. I hope it fixes your problem. Is your FJ60 fuel injected?

Which Demello bumper are you getting? I called last week and told they should ship this coming week!
 
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