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I went offroading after work today at Lefthand Canyon(http://4wheeldrive.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=4wheeldrive&zu=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.muddytires.com%2Ftrails%2Flefthandcanyon.htm), near Boulder Colorado. This was my first time offroading in the new FJ and ended up getting pretty intense. My friend Mark and his roommate Sam came in his Taco and another friend Matt (with a lot of experience) rode with me.

We ended up taking the main (easy) trail until we found a very steep rocky trail up. I climbed it first and the atrac worked flawlessly. It is key with this system to keep the vehicle moving. Once you stop and try to restart, the system has no clue even if a wheel is 6" in the air with no chance of traction. This results in unnerving backwards slipping on steep terrain until the atrac system gets it's bearings. To Toyota's credit, his recovery is incredibly fast. This probably wouldn't be an issue if the rear was locked, but then you'd be on you're own as far as the front goes.

When my friend Mark followed in his Taco, it became apparent why I like my automatic. Halfway up, he stalled. His truck has the same "start in gear" feature that the manual FJ has, but he had never used it and didn't feel comfortable trying it for the first time "under the gun". Let's say that starting it on that slope was challenging, but he pulled it off

Once at the top, the fun started. We apparently had climbed the back side of a climb called "Big Mother Hill". Also, since we went after work, it was starting to get pretty dark. I started down the hill and quickly found the descent much more challenging than the ascent. If you didn't pick the right line, tough - you're not backing up and there's some spots you don't want in. Here's where I discovered my top wish list FJ item. Quick disconnect front sway bar links! As we descended at an already steep angle, we came upon a steep off camber dropoff between trees. When my nose dropped in, the left rear wheel came off the ground. Due to an inadvertant tap of the brake just before the turn back left to level everything out, the rear wheel continued upwards:eek: . My friend Mark, watching from the back thought it was rolling over. I think that it the sway bar was disconnected, it would have increased articulation enough that the rear wheel would not have lifted so much.

It was a relief to get back to the bottom. The descent was quite challenging in the dark. My friends were quite impressed with my stock FJ. The only thing I did was get rid of the lame-o Dunlop tires and put on Bridgestone Dueler AT Revos.

Bottom line - so far the stock FJ is impressive offroad. The ATRAC works great (keep moving). If anyone wants to make some quick disconnect sway bar ends - I'm in!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I took a couple of pictures at the start (which I'll post later), but the camera never came out during the climb / descent. I was a little busy and it was quite dark as well. I'm going back tonight (if I can get there with plenty of light) or over the weekend. I'll make sure to get pics then.

One other important observation. On steep descents, if you get out to scout, you won't be able to get your seat belt back on. It'll be in "crash" mode and will not extend. That kinda sucks! Anyone know a work around for this (other than not getting out)?
 

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ALWAYS WEAR YOUR SEATBELT! Usually at least once or twice a year you hear somebody on pirate4x4 who died because they were doing a simple thing like turning around and ended up rolling down a hill. A lot of times this is right in front of the wife and children and they have to watch.

The fix is to get a strong clip and clip your seatbelt so it won't retract when you get out.
 

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nice, looking forward to pics. I used to go up there all the time in College, with an old CJ7, then with a Disco, and finally with an allroad....all did quite well, but looking forward to trying all the trails up there and up 4 mile and sugar loaf as well.
 

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Flasbacks and sweats !! LOL ! Did that on a grizzly and my buddy was on an 81 ATC 250R. Had to end up holding on to the back of the 250 to walk it down to prevent loss of life. Grizzly trans got so hot on the descend parts, I could not shift from low to high. That was my first off road trip in the Mountains.

BD6
 
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