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Briareos's Build 2

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Ok, my last build thread documented all the trial and error I went through to optimize around the Rough Country 6" lift kit. Briareos's Build
That build taught me many lessons, and overall I really liked my 2009 FJ - there is little substitute for effortlessly running 35" tires and the enjoyment of driving something far different from the norm. If it wasn't so hard to get into (for aging people like myself and other friends/family) I would have repeated that build on this new FJ in a heartbeat.

The intent for this new 2014 build is reliability, durability and trail capable. And easier to get into :)

I spent considerable time thinking about my mod plan, and had almost everything on hand before the new FJ came in. The initial stage of this build was very fast. Most mods below completed from 11 Jul thru 5 Sep 2014. Of course, this was only a starting point, with many changes to follow...


*full Fluid Film treatment of undercarriage
*transfer Aluminess bumper/Superwinch Rock95 to new FJ
*Shrockworks windshield reservoir in engine bay
*transfer all Springtail stuff to new FJ
*weathertech cabin floormats
*transfer toyota rear cargo rubber mat to new FJ
*Total Chaos link mount armor
*body mount chop with homemade front mudflaps
*Metal Tech step sliders with mini-bump
*Full Ricochet skids (minus gas tank) in gunmetal
*extend rear diff and locker breathers and front transmission and transfer case breathers Briareos's Build 2
*probably transfer rear LoD bumper/tire carrier to new FJ
*Baja rack, or maybe something else Frontrunner (also flat) in aluminum
*ADDED - Custom wind fairing for rack Briareos's Build 2
*ADDED - Tuffy Security Console with strut assist Briareos's Build 2
*ADDED - Toyota OEM receiver hitch and wiring harness
*ADDED - Expedition One rear bumper with swingout Briareos's Build 2
*ADDED - Toyota OEM formed aluminum rear belly pan
*ADDED - CalTrend neoprene seat covers
*ADDED - Modifed Rotopax mount/3-gal Rotopax can and Rugged Ridge stainless D-shackles added to bumper
*ADDED - 1/2" body lift
*REMOVED - Original vehicle frame (damaged in collision) Briareos's Build 2 and Briareos's Build 2
*ADDED - Entirely New Frame Briareos's Build 2
*REMOVED - Ricochet front HD skid and a-arm skids
*ADDED - Toyota TRD front aluminum skid
*ADDED - RCI Transition skid Briareos's Build 2
*ADDED - Front Runner roof rail kit (modified) Briareos's Build 2

Electrical Accessories:
*PIAA 540 ion crystal fog lights (transfer from old FJ)
*PIAA 520 driving lights (transfer from old FJ)
*Blue Sea fuze holder
*Daystar firewall boot
*ARB compressor in a toolbox (remounted to springtail side rack in back)
*Cobra all-in-one CB with Firestik antenna, fittings and cable mounted to Bandi mount
*Warn Power Interrupt solenoid for winch
*Various OTRATTW/Carling and Air-on-Board switches
*ADDED - Hella H71040801 Optilux 4" LED 12VDC Fog Lamp Kit in rear bumper
*ADDED - Toyota OEM roof light kit (minus airdam)
*ADDED - Hella Sharptone Horns Briareos's Build 2
*ADDED - Side (Hella H71020411 Optilux Mini Light Bar) and Rear (Front Runner 3" LED flood lamps) facing LED backup lights using Deutsch connectors and ODI through roof connector
*REMOVED - PIAA 520 driving lights
*ADDED - Hella Rallye 4000x driving lights
*REMOVED - Hella H71020411 Optilux Mini Light Bars (they kept filling up with water)
*ADDED - KAWELL® K6-6218 Off Road 18W CREE Ultra-thin 60 Degree LED Flood Light (although not a name brand, superior weather resistance and price vs. previous Hellas)

Front Suspension:
*Radflo 2.5" extended front coilovers (650 lb)
*Wheelers superbumps in front (with spacers)
*Total Chaos front upper arms (with bushings)

Rear Suspension:
*Metal Tech rear long travel springs (expedition weight - hoping to use LoD Bumper)
*Metal Tech long travel spec rear Radflo shocks
*Metal Tech bumpstop spacer
*Total Chaos rear lower arms (with modded bushings)
*Metal Tech rear upper links (with modded bushings)
*Crown stainless brake lines
*Icon rear panhard bar
*Skyjacker rear extended swaybar links
*Old Man Emu rear trim packer for driver side rear coil
*REMOVED - Metal Tech rear long travel springs (too much lift)
*REMOVED - Metal Tech long travel spec rear Radflo shocks (concern shocks would bottom out prematurely, even with bumpstop spacers)
*REMOVED - Metal Tech bumpstop spacer
*ADDED - Icon rear 2" lift rear Icon coils
*ADDED - *Icon VS 2" rear shocks and shinguards
*REMOVED - Icon VS 2" rear shocks and shinguards
*ADDED - Radflo rear 2.5" shocks (to help with new Exp 1 rear bumper)
*ADDED - Additional pair of OME trim packers and custom retainer on driver side coil bucket (to help with Exp 1 rear bumper) Briareos's Build 2
*REMOVED - Additional pair of OME trim packers and custom retainer on driver side coil bucket (not enough to fully compensate for Exp 1 rear bumper)
*ADDED - Custom rear coil spring spacers (to help with Exp 1 rear bumper) Briareos's Build 2

*285-70R17 Duratracs
*Method Mesh wheels (black of course)
*Modified ARP studs to go with wheels
*Mcgard lug nuts and locks (3/4 hex so better clearance between socket and wheel)


Out with the old, in with the new on 12 Jul 2014 (The FJ, not the wife...)


First mods were quick and easy: weathertech floormats, homemade paracord grab handles, and light-in-sight...

Then the work has to begin. Since this will likely be my last FJ, environmental protection is a higher priority...full fluid film treatment to exterior and INTERIOR of frame, and full Klasse paint sealant/glaze... PS - don't let the single can of fluid film fool you, I used half a case...

Then to re-install the Springtail system from my last FJ (got a little happy with orange gear ties/carabiners:) )...

Metal Tech sliders with mini-bump and marine grip tape (which is not like sandpaper, it is bare feet friendly)...


Firestick/Bandi mount install. I did completely sandblast, break all sharp edges, and repaint the bandi mount with rustoleum. The edges were so sharp I doubt the powdercoat would have made it through the winter without rust setting in...

Wired it through the door...

Where the antenna wire was bundled in with the compressor wiring. This is the ARB compressor that normally comes in a toolbox. It just so happens the mounting bracket for the toolbox is almost perfectly suited to this location.

Then while I was getting all the wiring out of the way, I installed the Warn Power Interrupt solenoid on the plastic radiator shroud. The plastic shroud is both close to the battery and offers extra insurance against an accidental chassis ground...

The the next question; how to get the rather large bundle of wires from the various switches and 8 gauge compressor power wire through the firewall?
Answer: a Daystar firewall boot. Wish I had found this for the previous build...

Then to fuze everything and hook it up in preparation for future bumper and lights...Blue Sea to the rescue to hold all the fuzes (30A for compressor, 1A for compressor switch, 2A for CB and 15A for fog lights). I also tapped the low beam trigger from the PIAA solenoid to the driver low beam fuze in the fuze box, rather than at the headlight wire, so much easier...

And finally, switches to control those future components...(again thanks to Ruebarb for his write up on how to install these in this panel...) I am actually running a double switch for the compressor, one up front, and the one that is part of the compressor mount. That way, I can prevent shifting cargo from accidently turning on the compressor by having a master kill switch up front. Important because I have the compressor wired to run on demand, not linked to ignition.

Update April 2015 - "air on board" winch power switch added, and I replaced the "old style" OTRATTW switches. The "new style" OTRATTW switches are easier to see at night without throwing a reflection in the driver side window, although I still think the "old style" ones were a better match to the FJ interior...

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From my last build, I learned that modding the bushings in the rear upper and lower links improves their ability to twist, while reducing strain on the mounting brackets (which are uncomfortably thin to begin with). Here are before and after pics of the Total Chaos bushings...

Before - notice the cylindrical shape of the bushing

After - notice the barrel shape of the bushing, allowing it some sideways twist room as well as the inherent ability to rotate.

And here are the Metal Tech bushings being introduced to my drill press and file...

Then the actual vehicle mods started. I did the front first... The Radflo coilovers with 650# coils went in easily, as did the Total Chaos upper control arms. Since the aluminum bumper and Rock 95 winch is a fairly light combination, the 650# coils should be fine.

You can also see the Wheeler's Superbump installed. These things really do soften the bumpstop interaction. NOTE: I have since added 3/8 spacers for these. See these posts for more info...

Installing The All New Super Bumps From Wheelers Offroad ....
Installing The All New Super Bumps From Wheelers Offroad ....
Installing The All New Super Bumps From Wheelers Offroad ....

I also installed ARP studs, custom cut to length. Going through this in previous builds made it are links if you want to read about it.

Stud Length: Advice Needed: Wheel Studs/Lug Nuts
Installation: Advice Needed: Wheel Studs/Lug Nuts

The only issue I had with the front suspension was the swaybar relocation mount. There is no way the stock bolts are going in those holes... Luckily I had some metric allen head bolts on hand that worked perfectly.

Then the rear suspension:

Icon rear shocks-

Replaced Icon shocks with 2.5 Radflo's when I added an Exp 1 rear bumper/tire carrier-

Icon rear shinguards and Total Chaos rear links (shinguards gone, afraid they would hit larger dia Radflos)-

Total Chaos rear link armor (recycled from last build, and repainted-

And custom stainless steel misalignment spacers for the Total Chaos links

And Skyjacker rear swaybar links, with stock upper OEM bushings reused-

Here you can see the yellow Old Man Emu trim packer peaking out on the drivers rear coil. This compensates for the weight of the gas tank, leveling the rear without having to rely on excessive front coil over cranking.

And Icon panhard bar (painted silver)

And finally, Metal Tech rear upper control arms (painted silver) and Crown extended rear brakelines (also from Metal Tech).

I can't say enough good things about Metal Tech, this is the first time I have made a big purchase through them, and they were great to deal with. Highly recommend them.
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For this one I decided to try the Frontrunner Slimline 2, and I am glad. The main rack platform is aluminum, and the legs are painted stainless steel. Rust should not be a big worry, and the lighter weight is a bonus. I need a flat rack, and this one suits my needs perfectly. I also ordered 4 stainless tie down rings, and the rubber beading that fits in the roof rack channels. I ordered two bead kits, which is enough to do the front and rear top edge, and the two small leftover peices went under the front between the edge of the rack and the air dam. covering the leading edge channel is supposed to help with wind noise, and I have to admit, mine is pretty quiet. For more info on the rack, see this post Briareos's Build 2

At some point in the future I may replace the mounting bolts for the legs with button head stainless bolts, but there is no hurry. EDIT - replaced them, and glad I did, as they had started to rust down underneath the mounting brackets. The new stainless ones wont.

stock mounting bolts:

stainless mounting bolts:

As a recent addition (16Nov14), I also added a homemade fairing to the rack for aesthetic purposes (more details on construction in the build thread Briareos's Build 2 ).

May 2015 - integrated the Toyota OEM roof light kit into my fairing

more details here Briareos's Build 2

Dec 2014 - Made some mounting brackets to carry and quickly detach maxtrax from the roof. See link for more details:
Briareos's Build 2


Then the exciting part came, installing the Method Mesh wheels, 285 70 R 17 Duratracs, and McGard lugs and locks...

The wheels and tires look great, but also promptly highlighted the need for a body mount chop...

A sawzaw made quick work of the body mounts, and I picked up some 1/8 mild steel plate from the local tractor supply to make new filler plates. I made a trip to the local welding shop (Brittain Welding) the next morning, and they meticulously zipped everything together for me.


I am not a fan of rubbing plastic, so made some new mud flaps using generic mud flaps from the local auto store and cutting them to fit.

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I had a Springtail straddle from my previous build, and wanted to re-use it. I also wanted to mount the Cobra CB connection in a different location, and this is how it all came together...I use a 1/2" thread protector (gray cap) from Home Depot to cover the connector when the CB handset is not attached. (It is in the cup holder splash zone)


Not much to say here. Sticking with aluminum, and Ricochet has a well deserved reputation. Went with the gunmetal color, and did everything but the gas tank. I did end up shortening some of the bolts for the lower control arm skids, but other than that the fit was absolutely perfect.

Update - removed Ricochet HD front skid and a-arm skids, added front and rear Toyota skids and RCI Transition skid, modified remaining ricochet transmission skid to nest inside RCI skid:


I am reinstalling my Aluminess front bumper, Superwinch Rock 95, PIAA 540 fog lights, and PIAA 520 driving lights from my last FJ. First step was to remove the stock bumper and replace the windshield washer reservior. The new reservoir is a little smaller than OEM, but the fit and finish were fantastic.

Then install the bumper/winch/lights as a single unit...

I have a factor 55 thimble that I modified so it can be quickly removed. That way I can keep the rope inside the bumper (out of the sun) and there is no monstrous thimble to dent the face of the bumper in a minor collision. (I have had someone back into me at a stoplight, and their rear bumper hit my shackle tabs - no damage to me, but double dents in their rear bumper. Had the thimble been there, I would have had a bad dent in my own bumper). By removing the metal eye in the rope, it also keeps the aluminum fairlead from getting gouged if I ever snug the thimble up to the fairlead. The purpose of the metal eye is to provide a larger radius surface for the rope to pull over. I achieved the same thing by adding spacers to the titanium pin.

In the process of installing the bumper, I replaced all the stock PIAA connectors with Weatherpack connections. The PIAA connectors were actually showing signs of corrosion.

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This was easy once you have the right parts to work with: A quart paint container from Home Depot, a recycled toyota emblem from an old wheel, double sided emblem tape, Krylon black fusion paint, some creative cutting and wa la!

The small ridge at the base of the cover catches the back of the wheel and holds it in place. I did have to replace the bolt in the end of the camera housing with a button headed bolt to slightly reduce the overall length so the new cover would be long enough.


I admit it. Not nearly as sexy as the LoD bumper I had on my previous FJ, but then again, I am not running 35" tires this time. No need for a tire carrier/bumper combo when your wheels and tires are only 13# heavier than stock. I do need the receiver to carry my mountain bike/carrier, and it is an easy way to display the factor 55 hitch link/D-ring...


I installed the ARB breather kit and adapted it to connect the rear elocker and front transmission and transfer case. More details in link below:
Briareos's Build 2


And here is how it looks as of Apr 2016

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Hope to get some better pics here, but for now, here is the tale of the tape(measure) as a placeholder (NOTE: this is prior to 1/2" body lift and additional pair of OME trim packers in rear, and is prior to install of rear Exp 1 bumper).

Before, Driver Front:

After, Driver Front:

Before, Driver Rear

After, Driver Rear

Before, Passenger Front

After, Passenger Front

Before, Passenger Rear

After, Passenger Rear

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Nice work on the second build! :bigthumb:
Lookin' good, brother! I am sadly, mostly done with my build. I used the Fluid Film last fall before I moved up here, and sadly, it was gone by spring. The salt use up here was overdone, but I heard you all down there only had about a foot less snow.I am thinking about spraying some twenty weight on the underside, this year. Not much wheeling here on the Cape,except a few milder than Greenridge trails. Keep up the good work, and take care! Gary of TTORA:wave::cheers:
Thanks guys!

Gary - I don't think I will have a lot more to do on mine either. It is a weird feeling...
Very clean and great build up, second time around. It's obvious you did a lot of planning while waiting for the second FJ to be delivered. :bigthumb:
Oh what a beautiful FJ! Great build and keep it up!
TCao and Carolina,

Thanks for the kind words - FJs are very inspirational vehicles!
Looks really phenomenal. Jealous you don't have the lean without cranking the coil overs! What's the part you're using in the rear to compensate for the drivers side weight? I'm not familiar with the piece you mentioned.
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you did such a nice build congrats. you deserve it
Great write up. Great vehicle. Super clean and functional.:cheers:
What's the part you're using in the rear to compensate for the drivers side weight? I'm not familiar with the piece you mentioned.
The part I am using is made by Old Man Emu, available from Toytec,

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Very nice. Magma FJs look great modded.

I think I will copy that post-BMC mud flap mod.

I assume you mount those in the pre existing holes for the OEM flaps?
Very nice. Magma FJs look great modded.

I think I will copy that post-BMC mud flap mod.

I assume you mount those in the pre existing holes for the OEM flaps?
Yep, the holes match what is already there. I had to use a 5/8" thick spacer behind the lower hole, and a longer screw. I am trying to attach a scan of the hardest part of the pattern, hopefully it will save you some will just need to figure out how to print it at 100% scale

Good Luck,


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