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Eric's 2014 Green "Greta" build

6221 Views 16 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  estatic707
Well I figured better late than never to start a build page.

I bought my Army Green 2014 FJ with 8 miles on her from the Toyota of Orlando dealership on Friday, March 28th 2014 and drove her home in the dark that night in awe of owning my own car (after driving a '98 sienna for three years) I was happy to get her with steel wheels the off-road pkg and CRAWL control as well as the convenience pkg.

My first project was to get some plasti-dip and rear light tint on her to make her look better (I really hated all the shiny handles and all) and protect some of the paint. I have been using plasti-dip for a long time and have been charging people to do custom work on their cars for a long time, so I was really excited to get to work on my own :) I did all of the handles, mirrors, front bottom valence, the grille, and front side pieces, rear valence over the hitch, rear wings, gas cover, rear lettering and Toyota symbol and the sides of the roof as well as front and back roof sections black. And I did the "FJ" symbol on the back, white. (see pictures) And for anyone in Florida, I can hook you up with some plasti-dip work if you want, I have experience with FJ's and other cars, just PM me or go to the FB page: TDDCFL.

My second project was to get some rock sliders on her. So after looking around I eventually decided on the Demello Hybrid Sliders powdercoated black and installed these as soon as I could. during the install I noticed the brake line running to the back would rub against the attached slider support so I fixed it by taking out the stock bracket, sliding it down the tubing some, putting a cut piece of strap in between the clamping bracket and the hose, and then reinstalling the bracket on top of the sliders to give them clearance over the sliders. (see attached pictures of before and after) And I also ended up getting a skidmark4x4 rear hitch skid plate to protect the hitch and give other people something to run into hehe.

My third project was to buy a hi-lift, so I bought the Hi-Lift X-TREME Jack 60" as well as a rubber handle-keeper and neoprene cover. This I kept in my trunk for a long time, barely fitting across the back and wrapped in towels to protect it and my FJ. (I am currently waiting for my mounting solution to come in)

Around this time I bought a tree saver strap, a 30ft 30,000lb strap, and a 20ft 30,000lb strap as well 4 D-Shackles, a twisted D-shackle, and a hitch adapter for the D-shackles. I also put together a survival kit and a couple off-road necessities (there are plenty of other threads dedicated to these kits so I won't go into detail) I also got an electric AC adapter for the convenience to plug in the cigarette lighter.

After I got home from two semesters of college near Chattanooga I realized that some of my off-roading in Prentice-Cooper state forest, had seriously beat up the stock skid plates so i'm looking into skid plates. I also bought a Warrior products rear lower gate cover, body armor rear light protectors, and will be posting about custom installing a Tantrum-X rock light kit with my own switch and wiring.


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Love the build! keep it coming!
1 part at a time from a long never ending list, can't wait to see how the rest of the build goes. You're off to a great start.
Body Armor 4x4 Tail Light Guards

Well, today I did the dreaded install of Tail Light Guards...
I bought Body Armor 4x4 Tail Light Guards. It came with all the correct mounting hardware and such, but I would say the installation is a little odd and pretty much left up to you, even though the do provide installation instructions with pictures.

On the passenger side, to get the supporting bracket in, I took out all the plastic panels and painstakingly loosed all of the nuts so that I could budge the taillight out of the way and slip the support bracket behind. This was very frustrating and after reading some forum posts during my break, I just took a screwdriver and carefully pried forward the taillight on the drivers side. I would definitely recommend this for all future installers. I then mounted the two guards using the self-tapping screws and catch screws and tried to line the two sides up to be as symmetrical as possible. This was difficult and I'll just say, its not going to be perfect folks, but also trust me, unless you really screw-up, no-one will notice.

I guess my one question is: Are the support brackets supposed to hold the front of the guards a good inch from the body of the car? I found this quite peculiar...(see photos)

The guards are more sturdy than I expected, but I'm skeptical of if they'll just transfer any shock into the body or paneling. But ah well. here are some pictures of the final product.

One more mod down, an infinite number more to go!


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One more mod down, an infinite number more to go!
No truer statement! ;)

Good luck with the build! :cheers:
Ultimate SCUBA mod Additional connections

Alright, so I have to confess that I have slacked off as far as keeping this updated (I have a day-job after all)... But better late then never.

So in the beginning of the summer I bought the SCUBA mod kit from our friend on the forum, installed it, and connected the two additional breathers up next to the engine block drivers side which his kit did not include the pieces (This is NOT the three behind the engine near the firewall for the transmission below in post #10, these are different) for-This turned out to be a PITA because I had no idea where to get the additional parts and no-one responded to my PM's or e-mails... ah well, I figured it out.

SO, if anyone wants to know where to find additional parts or replacement parts I have some information on that. What you need to do to get more of those push-to-connect fittings is go here: Mettle Air
Mettle Air has all the pieces you need. In addition, the tubing sent to you with the kit is 4mm tubing so that is your target connection size.
To connect to the two additional tubes in 2010+ models you will need 2 more 4mm y-unions connectors (to join the two pipes and then join into the original tubing going back to the breather) found here: 4mm y-union connector you will then also need a Connect Straight Reducer 8-6mm to connect over the tubing closer to the body of the car and then you'll need a Touch Fitting Plug In Reducer 6-4mm to reduce that from 6 to 4 mm. Then, for the other optional tube towards the front of the car, all you need is a Plug In Reducer 8-4mm you will shove the long end into the tube and then plug the 4mm into the other end. So now that you have the 4mm push to connect fittings attached you can shove the tubing into them, then use a y-union to connect them, then cut the original line back to the breather and re-connect it using the other y-union and then also joining in the tubing from the two additional lines. I then sealed all of the connections with adhesive silicon, specifically this: Liquid Nails LN-207 Clear Small Projects Silicone Adhesive It works really well!!!: it adheres very strong, is clear, and definitely waterproof.

Here's some pictures of the finished product: the first is really zoomed in on the connections at the additional connections, the second is out a little farther, and the third shows how I connected the two additional to the three tubes coming from on top of the transmission.

In the third picture what you see is on the right the line coming from the three tubes above the transmission already all joined together that goes into one of the two two "v" spots coming from the mess on the left toward the v in the middle is the line form the additional breathers I did that the mod kit did not include pieces for-that connects to the other of the two middle "v" spots on the other side of that "v" facing down towards the ground, is the line going all the way back to the jack compartment.


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Regular SCUBA kit mod install Part 1: Rear Portion

Now that I've shown everyone who's interested how I did the additional tubing and given all the parts you'll need for that, I'll show you how I did my SCUBA mod using the pieces and tubing I bought in the kit.
I'm gonna go picture by picture:
1. this is what the breather valve looks stock on the rear diff
2. it takes a 14mm wrench to get it off
3. the screw in T-valve takes an 11mm wrench to put on. This is the part where lots of people had trouble because the thread patterns don't line up perfectly, but when I did it, it took a couple tries to get it going right, but then just keep turning it and it'll thread down to plenty deep. also notice that you CAN turn the valve and the connectors to pointing where you want independent of tightening it into the rear diff.
4. This is what the stock E-locker breather looks like, notice that it is actually completely behind part of the frame and closer to the front of the car.
5. This is the view of the E-locker breather from above the frame piece it sits behind
6. pull out (or cut the tubing off) the stock breather and then plug in the included 4mm connector piece with the barbed insert.
7, 8, and 9. connect the tubing from the E-locker breather to the T at the rear diff and then run the tubing from the rear diff towards the jack compartment MAKE SURE YOU LEAVE A LOT OF SLACK IN THESE TWO LINES BECAUSE THE REAR DIFF MOVES UP AND DOWN WITH YOUR SUSPENSION AND THE TUBING NEEDS TO BE LONG ENOUGH TO REACH AT FULL EXTENSION OF YOUR SUSPENSION. I also labeled where each of the tubes was going using red duct-tape folded over the tubing and onto itself.
10 and 11. run the tubing from the rear diff (leave the slack I mentioned!) through one of the rubber inserts (I poked a small hole using scissors and then put adhesive silicone around the tubing where it went in) and up into the jack compartment. Also make sure that you secure all of your tubing like I did in various places with zip-ties so that it will never move around so that it hangs down or gets pinched or damaged. but when you tighten the zip-ties leave them just a little loose so as not to pinch the tubing and allow for a small amount of movement (remember your whole car is flexing and moving during off-roading)

This completes the rear part of the installation see the next post for the rest


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Regular SCUBA kit mod install Part 2: Front Portion

This post is the follow-up of the previous one discussing the installation of the SCUBA kit that you can buy from our friend here on the forum. I divided it into two sections because you have the option to only by the back portion (what I discussed in the previous post) or you can by the kit that includes the pieces in this post which do the either 2 or 3 (depending on vehicle year and manual or auto) breathers behind the engine from the transmission. The only parts you cannot get from him are the ones which I talked about in my first post titled "Ultimate SCUBA mod Additional connections."

For the front, I don't have pictures of me actually attaching the pieces to the three pieces of tubing found on top of the transmission but I can give you some advice.
1. When you begin, first get a stool, set it on the passengers side of the engine compartment, and then reach down behind you engine some and pull the three tubes (2010+) out of the plastic holding piece, then go under the passenger side of the engine compartment on your back and grab the tubes and pull them down to you under the FJ then put all the attachments and y's on. Then push the tubes back up behind the engine and re-attach them to the clips on the back of the engine and then you should see something like the picture.
Next you might want to connect in the additional two breathers from the side of the engine as laid out in my earlier post #7. Then I ran the tubing down next the fender along with a lot of other really stiff metal tubes which are for the brakes all the way back over the gas tank and eventually into the same rubber insert where the tube from the rear diff goes in. remember to use zip-ties appropriately and not too tight and to seal-up the connections with some silicone adhesive. Then I use a zip-tie to hold the breather manifold up and towards the back of the jack compartment hanging by the zip-tie which was passed through a hole in the internal metal body of the car. All you have to do then is plug the two pieces of tubing into the manifold and you're done!


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Budbuilt Skid Plates

So as I mentioned in the first post, I was looking into skid plates. Its been a while since I got them, but better late than never to post up. Last summer (summer of 2015) I decided to pull the trigger on a full set of non-stainless steel Budbuilt skid plates as my first large mod with the regular, not heavy duty, gas tank skid and a rear diff skid. I spent a long time researching the different options and posted a thread or two asking for other's opinions and after a lot of considerations went with Budbuilt. My logic as to why I got the Budbuilts is this: Bud has been designing these for many years now and has worked all the kinks out in his design. They are heavy, but so durable and thick. In addition, they cover the most amount of area underneath, all of the bolts either sit in reccesed small holes or have round ends and attach by nuts tighted on the vehicle side of the skids to prevent rocks from ever damaging your ability to remove or put on the bolts. Another reason is that all of the plates line up in straight lines going backwards, the plates have good edges on them, and in the one spot where one plate sits on top of another, the one further back sits on top of the one in front of it: this means that it will be easy for rocks to slide on the skid plates backwards, rocks won't ever catch on the plates. In addition, their is a detachable cover to get to the oil drain plug, so you don't have to take the skid plates off to change your oil. The difference between the heavy duty gas tank skid plate and the regular one is that the heavy duty one has sides and the regular is just a downward facing plate with no edges. The edges aren't really needed on the gas tank skid plate because the tank is high enough up under the car that the sides couldn't be hit cause there is other stuff in the way. I also heard someone had the heavy-duty skid interfere with a special suspension set-up, so I decided not to go with that one.

The rear diff skid is good, solid quality, but attaches kinda oddly using holes and odd mounting brackets on the sides of the diff. I had to actually bend some of the solid piping that goes across the rear-top portion of the diff, and I put some stuff between the pipining and the diff at potential rub points. the front of the diff attaches nicely, but is a pain to put on. Also, the diff fits so tightly that I guess I didn't quite get it correctly on, and so my panhard bar actually rubs against the very back of the skid when flexing and has rubbed off some of the paint. I got the skids unpainted and so I painted them (over a 6-week span working almost every day) with three coats of rustoleum metal adhesive white primer (after scrubbing with acetone) and then three coats of rustoleum performance grade red paint. The install of the skid plates was plenty straightforward and Budbuilt has pretty good instructions. The hardest part was trying to attach the plates while also lifting and holding them.

The 4-hour install was totally worth it though, and these skid plates have taken a beating on rocks and all kinds of stuff, and they havn't bent yet and are keeping my undercarriage safe from costly repair. I would definetly reccomend these plates to anyone else. A couple more pros: the may not give the maximum amount of clearance at every point, but because they stay flat to the lowest point, you will slide off rocks more easily and won't get stuck. In addition, after I put these on I could barely tell a difference in acceleration and handling on the stock suspension, so not a bad impact there. Also, adding a set of smooth sliders like this to the bottom of your car actually increases your highway mpg by .5 to 1 mpg because it makes it smooth and lets air slow better under your car. it only takes off about .1-.3 mpg in town (depending on your lead foot).

Hope this helps someone else decide what to do; if you have any questions at all feel free to pm me, I'd love to talk or answer any questions. Enjoy building!!! :rocker:


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FJtoyman rear shock skids

So I kinda went skid-plate crazy after getting the Buds so I'll be posting up my installs/reviews of some other components over the summer. But to get to what I've already done...

I installed the FJtoymanoffroad rear shock skids a while ago, and boy am I impressed. He's updated the design to really cover everything and now you can buy stainless mounting bolt protectors which are awesome! the price seemed a little steep for how small they are, but they are outstanding quality and i understand that they're all made by hand.

I remember when I was searching for the best shock mount skids a lot of people skimped on pictures from multiple angles so I got lots here. I especially tried to include a couple pics from below the skid to show the full coverage.

The install was really easy, and self-explanatory. take off the shock bolt (17mm) and then slip the skid on and get the piece sticking out to go up the shock mount. Then put the shock mounting bolt back on and then put the bolt (16mm) through the holes to hold the mounting part up inside the shock mount. Hard to explain but its pretty obvious when you see it. The most annoying part was the area in the stainless steel bolt head protectors where the head of the bolt sits was kinda small so I had to use a different 16mm slim socket to get over the head and still fit.

They look great and work great; no real complaints!

Enjoy the pics!


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Those FJ Toyman shock skids are sweet! Need to get myself some since I'm unprotected underneath!
They are great! here's a link to the product page if you didn't already have it: Shock Skids (non-King Shock) |
Make sure you get the bolt bumpers too, they weren't included if I remember correctly, but they're important down there.

As you can see I wanted to get some pictures showing the protection they offer and they cover both the mount and the shock itself, and I believe they are the only ones currently on the market that do. I wish I had bought them sooner to protect the stock shocks (see picture of the bottom of the beat-up bilsteins) but now they protect my custom long-travel ICONS :grin


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Skids look great! Looks like Budbuilt changed their design since my earlier versions. I wasn't happy with the clearance I was getting underneath, so I made my own that gave me at least another inch under the T-Case area. Looks like they fixed that though!
Skids look great! Looks like Budbuilt changed their design since my earlier versions. I wasn't happy with the clearance I was getting underneath, so I made my own that gave me at least another inch under the T-Case area. Looks like they fixed that though!
I actually followed your write-up of making your own skids and it was a really interesting project, props to you!

Yea, I really like how they decided to go with a flat surface all the way to the rear instead of trying to follow the contour of the undercarriage as closely as possible. And the little gaps in the edge of the T-case skid for the body supports to mount just on top of the skid was a great design in my opinion.

The ultimate set-up is still the tummy-tuck Bud-Builts with the Inchworm lefty case (I believe that gets you 3"+ of clearance over the regular set-up), but as my DD combined with the cost, that may never happen for me so I'm happy with where it's at now.
RCI Front Lower Control Arm (A-arm) Skids

The recent posts on this build thread reminded me that I need to update it! In my last post I promised I'd show you all the skids and talk about those. I've finished installing all of them and honestly can't find any more skid plates that exists to put on her! Alright, so this post will be about the RCI front lower control arm (A-arm) skids. I decided to buy these because they came in steel, covered the most surface area, and had the front lip protecting the forward edge of the A-arms and the caster or camber adjustment points. After painting them bright red like I do with all of my skids, I went to put them on.

They mount using 2 carriage bolts (great design for any skid so you don't have to worry about destroying a bolt head) and one regular bolt through holes in the stock A-arms. I was surprised they didn't use carriage bolts for all three points, but I guess since the one they left out is so close to the tire, they assume it won't get hit. They skids are not precision made to conform perfectly to the contour of the bottom of the A-arms, but when you snug down the mounting bolts, they bend to conform to the surface.

1. My biggest complaint is that the washers they provide to go on top of the A-arms for the carriage bolts to go through and the nuts to tighten down on were too thin and not big enough. They bent in very easily since the holes on the top are even larger than the provided nuts. I grabbed some washers I had that were thicker and used those instead. They haven't bent and hold the nut nicely above the hole.

2. My other note is that if you tighten the bolts while the skid is sitting a certain way it sits too far forward and rubbed on my Budbuild front Engine Skid when the front suspension was near full droop. I fixed this by loosening the bolts and pushing the skid back towards the rear and then tightening them in a different pattern to make it stay back. I believe the pattern was first the most forward bolt, then the bolt nearest the tire, then the most rearward bolt. This kept the skid back far enough from the front skid that they didn't rub any more.

3. Another important note: If you are going to get an alignment the shop will need for you to take these off first so that they can get to some of the adjustment bolts!!!

Well that's all I have to say about these, I've had them on for a couple months now and they've been great! I hope you enjoy the pictures and if you have any other questions about them feel free to ask! I'll try to post about the skids I out on the rest of the rear later, Cheers!

PS: I still have no idea how to stop the pictures from rotating, its quite irritating


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