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fidelityflip's NEWMAN

8545 Views 18 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  fidelityflip

Bought Newman stock with high miles(about 200k) for cheap as I was looking for a rig that could get me into a tight spot or two in order to camp, fish and hunt rocks. I needed a short wheelbase and 4WD. I really wanted a Toyota. Tacomas and (sadly)Jeeps were on my radar, but Newman was the right price at the right time. I knew nothing about FJs when I bought her, but the real 4WD and locking rear were high on my list of wants. I found the entire dealership maintenance record history in the glove box during my test drive and thought it couldn't get any better for the money they were asking. Little did I know at the time that I would fall in love with her. I've dumped more money than a sane man should into a high mileage vehicle, but she has never let me down. If I get another 100k miles out of her I will be way more than satisfied with my investment. So this is the story of Newman..

A little backstory on the name: NEWMAN is a girl. I know.. Newman was the name of a Beta fish we had, who was named before we found out she was a girl. Yeah, I know. She died, and so the family named the new FJ in her honor. I KNOW... Its her name, and I am required to fight anyone who wants to make a big deal out of it.

Most Current:


This picture is from my first big trip in her: All stock with brand new mud terrain tires in early 2018.

As of August 2019:

Newman has had only 3 real failures so far in my ownership, 2 of which aren't even really failures on her part.

The problems I have had:
1. Failed battery-made it home from a multi-day trip in the boonies. Got up next day and the battery was dead. Stone dead. Opened my eyes to how screwed I could have been. This moved the Dual Battery way up my list and quick.
2. Leaking Power Steering line-return line had a little rust spot on it. Must have whacked it a little installing front bumper. It started a leak which I didn't see the source of for several days. replacement line was cheap and relatively easy to fix. Should have added power steering cooler and inline filter while I was at it but didn't. Someday.
3. Seized brake calipers-this one is a bit of a design problem with the FJs I have learned. Both front calipers were seized on one side each. Stopping was garbage the first year I owned her, and go figure. I found the seized calipers when installing the drilled and slotted rotors. Fortunately AutoZone had rebuilts in stock for something like $80 each. I painted them up and put them in. Brakes muuuch better now.

Also of note: maint records indicate Toyota Dealership put in a new transmission at 150k miles so that is like new.

Current Mods:

Wheels and Suspension:
<removed>265/70/17 Falken Wildpeak Mud Terrain Tires (Meant to order 285s, major screw up on my part! full story: I ordered the tires, and while out of town Wife picked Newman up and drove her the rest of the week.. I got home, saw the tires and realized my mistake. No Turning back at that point..:mecry:
For Off Road: BFG KM2s 255/80R17 Pizza Cutters on Steelies
Currently for daily driver: 16" TRD Wheels with BFG KO2s 265/75R16
Drilled and Slotted Rotors: Powerstop Z36 Truck and Tow front, Z32 Evolution Rear and pads
Spidertrax 1.25 wheel spacers
OME Suspension Lift w/ Heavy Springs
Total Chaos UCAs
Rokmen Rear Lower Links
ECGS Needle Bearing Replacement Bushing

Warrior Products front and rear Bumpers
Tyger Auto TG-AM2T20068 Rock Slider/Step Bars
OPOR link guards

Gobi Stealth Rack w/ Drivers Side Ladder, HiLift Mount and Shovel/Axe mount
Garvin Trail Rack Spare Tire Mount Utility Rack
SmittyBilt RTT
DIY Rear Storage Shelf and Bins, ala: A near perfect rear storage solution for under $150...

Scuba mod.

SmittyBilt X20 10,000 Winch w/ Synthetic Rope
Smittybilt Portable Air Compressor
Bag-O'-Tools (Misc)
2 Heavy Snatch Blocks
4 5/8" Shackles
Tree Strap
Recovery Straps
ARB Speedy Seal Series 2 Tire Repair Kit
Full Size First Aid kit in Pelican Box

Optima Yellowtop AGM Battery(x2 for Dual Setup)
Alt-S Fuse Diode for AGM Battery
Dirty Parts Dual Battery Kit
High Power LED reverse bulbs
High Power LED mirror lights

40" Rigid E Series Double Row LED Light Bar - Roof
17.5" Vision X Xmitter Prime Extreme - Front Bumper
Pair of 4" Nilight Led Pods ($12 ?) - Rear Roof - Will probably get ripped off in the woods, but I was sick of tripping over them in the didn't make it through one rain storm parked in my driveway.
Pair of 4WDKING 4 Cree LED pods on back of roof rack.

Kenwood Excelon DNX695S
Waterproof Seat Covers
3.5" seat cushion for better forward visibility on trails

Waiting to install:

Thinking about buying next:
BudBuilt Overland Skids

Preferred Maint Tech:
Amsoil Severe Gear Diff and Transfer Case Fluids 75w-90
Mobil 1 Synthetic High Mile 5w30 Oil
Genuine Toyota Oil filter (have used Amsoil EAo15 Extra Large Filter without issue)
ZEREX Pink Radiator Fluid pre-mix
DOT 4 Brake Fluid
MaxLife Trans Fluid for Power Steering

Things have gotten really interesting as I have just bought a second FJ.... I will start a build thread for him soon. Lets just say NEWMAN will be a little more of a daily driver, as THE PIG will be taking me deep into wherever I need to go very soon..

The PIG thread.
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beautiful truck

any pics of both FJ together?
Here they are. The new one I am calling 'The Pig' at the moment, because he's big, fat, and just doesn't care.

The new FJ was bought last weekend from forum member Hornsfan. He decided to move on to something else, so I jumped at the opportunity and flew down last weekend to Houston, looked it over, asked a thousand questions, and made the leap. I drove it back home from Houston the same day, over 14 hours. It has a lot of history and a lot of mods(basically every mod I thought I might ever want, and then some).. It needs some freshening up, as he hadn't used it much the last few years. I am super excited, though there is grumblings in the household that maybe we have too many vehicles in the driveway.. Its just a light grumble at the moment.. =D

One of the first things I am probably going to do is move the Gobi rack over to The Pig and put a Prinsu low profile rack on Newman.
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Seeing an FJ go from one forum member to another puts a smile on my face. You both made out well, good job and welcome to the new joy of feeding your twins. They can be be a handful at times.:smile
Haha yeah I can see that already.. Its the sibling rivalry that I am really worried about!
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Garvin Trail rack just fits with a Gobi Driver's Side Ladder.. Needed a little piece of Transmission Hose to keep it from rattling on bumps.

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Slipping and Sliding in my Backyard trying to move a trailer around after a snow melt.. E. Tenn clay-mud is no joke.. Its hard to see from pics but this is a bit of a slope here, my MTs clogged up so quick I ended up having to winch myself out of my own backyard..

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Did an oil change, lubed my slip yoke, and Total Chaos UCA bushings on NEWMAN. Everything went well, except I have the Lock and Lube coupler on the grease gun for my UCAs and for some reason every once in a while it doesn't fit on all the way, and in this case it was the last of 4 bushing zerks, so I wasn't really paying attention to the zerk, just watching the bushings waiting for that tell tale 'move' that they do to know I got the grease in there I want. Well I spaced out waiting and then realized I pumped half a cup of Superlube all over the frame, brake line etc.. Lovely.

Also I had a CV boot leaking at the small side, so I removed the band pumped it full of red synthetic, and put a Norma hose clamp on there. Hopefully its all good. Norma hose clamps are really high quality clamps, and these have a bevel around the edge to keep from cutting into the boot.

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Took a drive last Sunday to meet a fellow forum member to get NEWMAN a Rear Diff skid plate. A cool dude with a beautiful Red FJ. Thanks for the skid, and cool meeting you @gmurrell !
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Finally got to get out and raise some heck this weekend.. Went camping in Kentucky, expecting colder weather, but otherwise clear conditions after watching the weather all week. Got there and there was almost 4 inches of snow on the ground from the night before... Forecast said 'maybe' .5 inches! So that kinda killed our plan A, which was to crawl down into a gorge we liked. Crawling without being able to see or grip the boulders was a 'hell no', so we came up with a plan B and hit the same creek further down, and found some great trails and had a blast. some deep fords had me a little puckered, especially when one the gravel was not packed and we sunk down pretty good but I kept the skinny pedal down and we were able to blast out. Felt great to get out and live it after almost 3 months of being cooped up and/or busy.. Bonus they just remodeled the local 'wash it yerself' so clean up was a breeze..








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So the front end of NEWMAN strated shaking like a son of a gun the other day, so Saturday I pulled the front wheels and got to poking around and found my needle bearing has gone out on the front diff. I found someone who has a puller locally, so I assuming the bushing from ECGS gets here I will knock this out this weekend. Have to pay to play!!
So I replaced the needle bearing, and damn if that wasn't it. I think its something in the brakes, so I will pull the pads tonight and take a look, maybe its just a rock, or a pad that came loose from the plate I am hoping. Cursory inspections didn't really show me anything.

The needle bearing wasn't too bad though, and I lubed and rebanded my CV boot while I had the axle out. My machinist buddy let me borrow a sweet bushing driver which made installing the ESCG bushing a breeze.. an OTC 815 handle with a 0-5 sized head.

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Glad you found it though!
too bad I blew right past it first time around. I think I had it stuck in my head it was the needle bearing before I even started looking.. Now its obvious its the wheel bearing. Live and learn!
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