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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

I'm a newbie here, so I hope this is in the right place.

I have been a long time Toyota owner, and have a 98' T100 that I love dearly but its starting to show its age, so I'm looking for something new. I love the Toyota FJ's, and have been researching them in hopes of buying one. However, from what I've read the automatic transmissions have some major issues, so I would like to avoid them. So i figured a 6-speed was in order, but then I read the throw-out bearings have issues and need to be replaced, but its covered under a recall. I've seen these issues in the 07' to 10' models, but my question is do the newer (11' to 14') models have the same issues and need to be fixed?

Besides the transmission problems, are there any other known issues for these cars? Which model year seems to be the most reliable? I'm going to be looking for a later model FJ, probably in the years between 11' to 14'

That 14' trail teams model is calling my name, but my bank account is holding me back.

Thanks guys!
 

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However, from what I've read the automatic transmissions have some major issues, so I would like to avoid them. So i figured a 6-speed was in order, but then I read the throw-out bearings have issues and need to be replaced, but its covered under a recall. I've seen these issues in the 07' to 10' models, but my question is do the newer (11' to 14') models have the same issues and need to be fixed?
The throwout bearing issue is common knowledge here, but the automatic transmission issues you're asking about are not. Where did you read about issues? The only gripe (not an issue) is that the transmission is sealed and not intended to be serviced, but you should still be doing fluid flushes every ~100K or so.

Rule of thumb for FJ automatic vs manual, buy the auto if you're going to be offroading a lot (so much easier), buy the manual if you're going to be driving on snow/ice roads as it's full-time 4WD. About 10% of US FJ's came as manuals.

Besides the transmission problems, are there any other known issues for these cars? Which model year seems to be the most reliable? I'm going to be looking for a later model FJ, probably in the years between 11' to 14'
Weak rear diffs on the early '07's, and fender bulging until '09. Shoot for '10+ and you're good. As far as option package, you're looking for any FJ with the rear locking differential (RR DIFF LOCK button on either the lower control panel before '13 or upper control panel after '13).

Another bit of advice: plan on buying a plane ticket to get the best deal on exactly the truck you want. Most people are still in this mindset of just driving down to the local Toyota dealer and buying whatever is on their lot, but the FJ market isn't like that anymore. It's a national market. So get used to national AutoTrader / Cars.com type searches sorting on miles, asking price and color.

Your ideal seller is a Kia dealership (who doesn't know what they have) in Houston (where 4x4 is an unnecessary extra expense).

That 14' trail teams model is calling my name, but my bank account is holding me back.
What I posted above about buying a plane ticket, doubly so for any specific TT :rofl: at any one time you may find 5-10 of any TT for sale in the entire country. And since the manual's made up 10% of the run, that cuts the number to 0-2 for sale at any one time in the entire country.

Good luck!
 

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The throwout bearing issue is common knowledge here, but the automatic transmission issues you're asking about are not. Where did you read about issues? The only gripe (not an issue) is that the transmission is sealed and not intended to be serviced, but you should still be doing fluid flushes every ~100K or so.
I've read that the automatic transmissions "shudder, shake and slip" around 50 or 60k. The only fix for this seems to be total transmission replacement. I saw this on multiple forums including this one. I've also read it's not covered under a recall. I've done a lot of research because I need a reliable vehicle that capable of off-roading (i go camping a few times a year, and to get to our campsite its down a few miles of dirt trails) and I hate Jeeps. I plan to keep this vehicle for at least 5 years, I've always been a manual transmission guy, but that doesn't mean an automatic is out of the question as long as its capable and reliable.
 

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I can't speak with the experience of JB but would say that whilst you will have found posts on transmission shudder, throw out bearings and other issues they are by no means the majority but a small minority of vehicles. You will find at least an equal number of high mileage vehicles running without issue.

As such I'd find the best deal you can regardless of transmission if you have no personal preference to which you drive and go for it. Be prepared to be patient and to travel and you'll not be disappointed. I waited 8months for my FJ and had it shipped thousands of miles...not a moment of regret or even questioning my sanity.

Good luck!
 

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I've read that the automatic transmissions "shudder, shake and slip" around 50 or 60k. The only fix for this seems to be total transmission replacement. I saw this on multiple forums including this one. I've also read it's not covered under a recall. I've done a lot of research because I need a reliable vehicle that capable of off-roading (i go camping a few times a year, and to get to our campsite its down a few miles of dirt trails) and I hate Jeeps. I plan to keep this vehicle for at least 5 years, I've always been a manual transmission guy, but that doesn't mean an automatic is out of the question as long as its capable and reliable.
flush the trans fluid every 50K miles or drain/refill pan every year (abt 4 qts) and I doubt you will have any problems with auto trans. I read a lot of forums and shudder issues are infrequent, usually occur with high mileage trans (100K miles+) where the trans has never been serviced. I wouldnt even think twice about buying any Toyota with an auto trans that has been serviced regularly.

Same thing applies to just about every other manufacturer out there....want to keep an auto trans happy....regular trans fluid changes).
 

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I had an 07 and now a 13 and I really like the difference in the rear view cam.
I had ZERO issues with both and I put a LOT of kms on each one.
It'll be hard to find a great deal b/c everyone wants one.
If you are buying privately make the person take it to the Toyota dealership for a once over.
Make the guy a deal and say if its as good as he/she says you will pay for the once over (about $100) and if its not he's on the hook... the dealership will tell you every last problem with it b/c they want your business after for sales.... but it's a great starting point.

Enjoy your first FJ
 

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I've read that the automatic transmissions "shudder, shake and slip" around 50 or 60k. The only fix for this seems to be total transmission replacement. I saw this on multiple forums including this one. I've also read it's not covered under a recall. I've done a lot of research because I need a reliable vehicle that capable of off-roading (i go camping a few times a year, and to get to our campsite its down a few miles of dirt trails) and I hate Jeeps.
There's a TSB related to a drive shaft issue that some people have experienced, but that's a bumping feeling coming from the rear as you come to a stop. I think the shudder you're talking about is the same thing I mentioned about Toyota incorrectly believing that the transmission fluid never has to be changed. And that's not so much an issue at 50-60K (which is where I'm at) as it is at 100K and beyond. If there was an epidemic of "total transmission replacement" at 50-60K, we'd all be well aware of it. Re-read those threads or link them here and we'll see if this ^^^ is the case.

As for reliable and capable compared to Jeep, that's why many of us are here. I'm a former '99 TJ Wrangler owner who broke down on the mountain, and then resolved to (a) move to Colorado for offroading and (b) sell my Jeep. My FJ has been aired down rock crawling on a 6-7+ difficulty trail one hour and then had the cruise control set to 70-80 MPH the next, after so many runs it still amazes me that I can do both of those things with the same vehicle.

Quick question, why the FJ over a 4Runner? It's only slightly more capable -- 105 vs 109 inch wheelbase, better approach/departure but you can fix that on the 4R with bumpers. It shares a drivetrain, so neither one will be substantially more reliable than the other. But for light offroadind and camping use, many people prefer the 4R because of the larger cargo space and second row of doors. The FJ isn't a bad choice by any means, but you do see a lot of people who want it because it's more unique and then end with more dogs or kids :rofl: than originally planned, which prompts the move to a 4R.
 

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I've read that the automatic transmissions "shudder, shake and slip" around 50 or 60k. The only fix for this seems to be total transmission replacement. I saw this on multiple forums including this one. I've also read it's not covered under a recall. I've done a lot of research because I need a reliable vehicle that capable of off-roading (i go camping a few times a year, and to get to our campsite its down a few miles of dirt trails) and I hate Jeeps. I plan to keep this vehicle for at least 5 years, I've always been a manual transmission guy, but that doesn't mean an automatic is out of the question as long as its capable and reliable.
I don't believe that the Throw Out Bearing issue effects the '10+ models.
As for offroading in a manual, it all depends. Maybe true for crawling big rocks, but for everything else, the manual is perfect - the 4WD system is simpler and less prone to failure (no solenoids etc) and on dirt, there is no need to lock the center diff - just do the ABS disable on demand hack (that goes for autos as well).
Of course, with the MT, there is no issue with fluid changes, and no issues with overheating, or any need to add coolers etc. The Torsen center diff on the MT is great.
Like others have said, make sure it has RR diff lock and ATRAC - those are the magic getting unstuck buttons ;-)
 
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