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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)



First I want to thank those that persisted in prompting me to make this thread (the little trouble makers).. Frankly reading the excellent writeups of Mir207, Uphill, TCAO, ShadowWarrior, and of course Air2air, has removed any desire to try and follow their steps and create a thread such as this. They have set the bar extremely high. Threads where people have shown incredible self proficiency and creativity had me question why I should create a thread or why would anyone want to read what I have done? BellyDoc, MissFJ, Cowboy4x4, Dragon, Johnnewyork, LancCruiserSteve, sbectold, KD7NAC_07FJ, and of course FJ_Ollie, have done things that I can only dream of doing. They have designed, crafted, and modified with their own hands.


The FJ is my daily driver as well as trail rig. As such there are compromises. This is a budget build up so parts and gears have been carefully selected to keep money in check.

Enter the Genie.

I call it Genie because it's magical :). It takes me where I wish to go sometimes miraculously. It takes me to places of my dreams. And it's...VooDoo Blue!

I hope to cover the following:
Genie was purchased end of September 2006. Elsa and I were looking for another car for me. While I've enjoyed my commuter 85 BMW 535i, it was time for a change. We walked into Longo and bought Genie the same day we looked at it. It was a spurt of the moment purchase. It was a purchase that changed my life.



As it stands now



No long after the purchase I found the forum and and was infected with the mod bug. It's a MADNESS! To somewhat contain this disease, I had to have a plan with regards to what I want Genie to be. It was clear that throwing money at it will not make it go away.

The design philosophy was to create a vehicle that will be:
  • Reliable
  • Capable
  • Economical
  • Original
  • Fun
I've found early that the FJ is not quite big enough to be a true expedition vehicle-at least not without some major modifications. The FJ is very capable stock, but the IFS presents a unique challenge to the more difficult obstacle. At this point, I'm still not sure if I will go down the path where MissFJ and sbectold has taken.

With the design philosophy in place, the upgrade/mod path became a little more clear. To keep the vehicle reliable means I need to select mods that will not punish the OE parts. That means no huge tires, extreme lifts, and most importantly too much weight-all tempting mods... Genie came with locker and Atrac. It's very capable even in stock form, but to keep it reliable while traversing the terrain that I wish to engage in I knew that the suspension and tires had to be changed. So here come the challenge of keeping it economical. It was very difficult to decide on which suspension to get and even more difficult to actually afford it! So I chose to upgrade armor first. I went with the popular and well built TrailGear sliders. I kept the aluminum tin foil front skids for a while. It worked fairly well as long as I don't get in too deep over my head. It was a good time to figure out what interested me. It was clear that rocks were calling my name :worried:

It wasn't for 8 months until my next upgrade.




Late June, I came upon this thread: http://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/parts-sale/30682-parts-fj-sale.html

Clayy was selling various parts off his SEMA show FJ. It was a vehicle that never been offroad. I purchased the following:

  • All Pro adjustable front and rear suspension with reservoir (Walker Evans).
  • All Pro Pro Links
  • All Pro front bumper
  • AP rear bumper
The front bumper came with a Mile Marker SE9500C winch. I got additional discount when we traded my factory rear bumper for his AP rear bumpers. Clay also gave me a bag full of recovery gear which included tree protector, d-shackles, snatch block, and gloves. After some negotiations my total came out to be $2750. Brand new these items cost about $4096. A cool 30%!








It wouldn't have happend if it weren't for the help of MudlovingFJ and Thugasaur! Thanks guys. :)

Terrific Day of Modding.



Not much happened between June and January 2008. Got sidelined in late September and was out of commission for 2 months while I rehab from a freak accident that included a rock through the windshield. FJs didn't get mods, but I got a few titanium plates in my face. I ordered a set of beadlocks in September, but it turn out to be a nightmare. It wasn't until mid November did I get it resolved. As it says in my signature, do not buy from Beadlock Specialties.

Cont...
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)






In keeping with the design philosphy of reliable, economical, and capable mods, I've selected the following equipment. I wanted to keep the weight to a minimum both for wear and tear and mileage issues.


I picked up a set of steel Tacoma rims on Craigslist in early Spring of 2007. As it turned out the backspacing is wrong. They are 5.5 so it sits too close to the UCA. The plan was to get some MT type tires and put them on this set of rim. I spent a lot of time on the Craigslist looking for deals. Specifically I was looking for slightly used set of tires. I didn't feel I need brand new tires for experimenting. They were going to be a off road only set of tires so I was flexible. Early on I wanted 16s. It's has more sidewall, cheaper, and lighter. I got the set of rims, lugs, and centercap for $100 locally. Since the offset is wrong, I tried to resell these but I couldn't find any takers. They sat in my storage for a long time while I start to look into a set of beadlocks. So I drove around on stockers for a long time... It wasn't until January 2008 did Genie get new shoes. Looked like a buff body builder who's never worked out the legs!



The theme of my build up seem to be "Cheap" :D I bought a lot of stuff used and I also was the beneficiary of the generosity of the forum members (Tony's (FJamming) get well soon thread and Tony's (FJamming) get well soon thread2). It was truly touching what you guys have done. :cheers:

I've listed the mods below and indicated how they were obtained. As you can see, I really didn't buy too many things new. Now that I've done it and listed what I spent...uh saved. :thinkerg: I did save quite a bit of money used but it took some careful examining of the products. The Hi-lift and Pull-Pal were great. They were practically brand new.



  1. AP (Walker Evans) 2.5" diameter fronts and adjustable rear reservoir shocks.
  2. Pro Links. (see post 1)
  3. All Pro 1.25" UCA.
  4. AP front bumper. (see post 1)
  5. AP rear bumper. (see post 1)
  6. Demello skid. ($75 Todd’s used skid)
  7. T-Max EW-9000 competition winch with Superwinch Rock Crawling winch hawse fairlead. ($375 at 4wheelparts)
  8. Viking Trail Line with safety thimble (120ft. Craiglist $100 with local pickup. Could have picked up the delrine rollers for $50, but was thinking Hawse).
  9. Goodyear MT/R 305/70/16 on Wheeler Off Road wheels. (straight up trade for my stock tires and wheels)
  10. Super Swamper LTB 34s. ($135 each at 4wheel parts)
  11. Tacoma rims. ($100 for the 4 Tacoma rims).
  12. Trail Gear Sliders. ($299 plus $100 for powdercoating).
  13. Aeroflow. (Gift from Wrigman)
  14. Lightforce Blitz 240 with 50W HID conversion. (Gift from forum)
  15. Custom Bajarack low profile roof rack.
  16. Powertank 10lb (Gift from forum)
  17. Ricochet front LCA armor.
  18. FJoel Battery Clamp (Gift from FJoel)
  19. All Pro swing out.
  20. Radio Shack Mag mount CB (gift from bro-in law)
  21. Hi-Lift (Protector bag, bumper lift, Jack Mate, chains, Hi-Lift Base, 4XRAC). Craiglist $100
  22. Pull-Pal R.W. 11,000 lb. limit. (Craiglist $110)
  23. Rear tray (DIY)
  24. Cobra 75 (Speaker not working-gift from SocalOCFJ)
  25. Wilson Little Wil ($40)
  26. Costco puck lights ($15)
  27. Tools
  28. Recovery gears (Tree saver, tow strap, chains, 8T D-shackle, 2 4.5T D-shackle, ) These came with the Mile Marker winch or the Hi-Lift jack.
  29. Master Pull 30" 30,000lb Super Yanker.
  30. First aid
  31. Spare parts
  32. Taskforce Cree LED flashlight (150 Lumens. $30 @ Lowes)
  33. Flag mount ($9)
  34. Ollie Collars (thank you Ollie!)






 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)

Suspension selection was the most difficult choice that I had to make. Everyone seem to be happy about what they have. I tried to get a suspension roundup where different suspensions will get tested in a A/B/C type of test, but it never took off. Ultimately the All Pro Walker Evans were chosen because it's a name with a lot of history and I really like the adjustability of the shocks. There were a few hiccups (How many clicks on the AP shocks?) and Thursday Wheeling), but All Pro had really stepped up and helped-even though I didn't buy the shocks directly from them. I really like the fact that I can tailor the stiffness of the suspension base on load, type of terrain, or driving style.

The Super Swamper LTBs were selected because I wanted a no holds barred type of off road tire. It would be a second set of tire/wheel so comfort and noise wasn't a consideration, but performance is. It's a 8 ply bias tire with 4 ply sidewall. It'll serve me well in the rock terrain. The compound is also very sticky. If you ever get the chance, try and pinch the different type of tires. Some have rock hard threads, while others might be too soft. I like how these feel. I went with 34X10.5X16 for increased ground clearance without sacrificing too much mileage or putting strain on the suspension. These are considered "pizza cutter" tires in that they are tall and skinny. I didn't need chop the mounts with these tires :). It's about 33.6 OD and lifted Genie another inch. See more detailed review below.

The plan was to make a set of custom beadlocks. I would have chosen the Walker Evan beadlocks, but they only come in at 17. After looking at several companies (OMF, Champion, Allied, Trail Ready, Staz, etc.), I decided to give a small company called Beadlock Specialties a try. It was a bad mistake. I lost 4 months while trying to resolve issues. In the end, I did get my money back, but it was painful. Stay away from them. You can see my signature for the link to the ordeal. I'm still looking for beadlocks, but I'm testing the LTBs to see just how important or much will I need them. After a few outings, the LTBs were doing great even with 18lbs of air so the need for beadlocks gets pushed back a little.


All Pro front and rear bumpers hugs the line of the FJ really well and provided great ground clearance. It's one of the lightest bumpers yet has all the functionality that I need. I couldn't pass up on the deal either. :) As it turned out the large light hoop was a perfect fit for my huge Lightforce lights! Who wouldn't love a Genie with big headlights? :D

The unfortunate event in which I took a rock through the windshield has made me realize how special the forum has been to me. I received numerous phone calls and get will wishes. I was presented Lightforce Blitz 240 lights with all the wiring harness and 2 filters. In addition, I received a 10lb Powertank with some great accessories. FJoel also made a custom battery clamp for Genie! All of those presents were things that I've really wanted but would not have purchased at the time due to cost and other priorities. I had no idea that the SoCal group was so in touch with what I wanted. The presents were a total surprise and all I can say is that "I'm not worthy"!



There are currently no plans for additional armor until more info is available for Marlin Crawler's new crawl goodies. Eventually I'll be getting more armor, but just not sure how the current offering will fit in with the MC stuff. Frankly I rarely hit anything besides the sliders and the front skid. Maybe I'm not wheeling hard enough...

Since this is my build up thread, it's fitting that I debut something original. So often have I gone out and find that I don't have a space to "work". The back is loaded with stuff and the ground is dirty. What to do? So here what I came up with...





Here it is in action at the Mojave Trail

It will withstand 15-20lbs without issue. It's nice to have out on the trail or camping. Folds down compact and locks into place.



Here are the reviews of the some of the gears that I've selected.




to be cont...
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)

One of the best things that came with the FJ purchase is the FJ community. There was a deep desire to get to know others with the same interest. So in April 2007 I organized a "Meet and Greet" and was surprised by the turn out. There were 38 FJs and almost 60 people. We hit the mud pits after :). There was another "Meet and Greet" in September 2007.



Pics of group events.


















Here are the obligatory action shots.


























Video: Crossing Soda Lake on Mojave Trail-shot by CADavebert's friend.






Toyota Trail Team Big Bear Invitation.



Here are some of my favorite hangouts:


Hungry Valley

CleghornLytle Creek
Black Canyon
Azusa
Big Bear
Arrowhead
Mojave
Wild Flower Photo/Run
TTORA Johnson Valley




cont...
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)

Some mods will occur in the near future, others will have to wait until funds become available.
Amongst the most desired mod in the future is the Marlin box. What rock crawler will be complete without a nice case? :) It's also a good safety item to have on steep descents.


  • Atrac/locker hack
  • VSC disable mod
  • Custom Rack
  • Dynabeads
  • 2 meter ham radio
  • Shovel
  • Axe
  • Marlin gears
  • Breather mods
  • AP rear swingout
  • Beadlock wheels
  • Powertank Monster valves
  • More armor
  • Spotting cameras
  • Rear hitch
  • Lightforce 240 HID Picked up 50W HID conversion from Lightforceguy.
  • 1500W power inverter
  • TC UCA Picked up All Pro UCA with 1.25" uniball instead.
  • Limiting Strap
  • Train horns
  • PA
  • Jounce shocks
  • 3/4 ton military trailer
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)

This spot is reserved for troubles and breakdowns.
 

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Wow very nice build up thread T! I like the table mod!

We are very fortunate here in So Cal because we have so many build up rigs in one area & get to see em in person!
 

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It's about time Tony! :D

Can't wait to see your build thread buddy :cheers:
 

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[This area reserved for future comments.]

Do you have any idea how hard it is to reserve a spot this good on Valentine's Day? :silly:

-Jade
 

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tony you jacked the halo font for your "genie" graphic lol your such a gamer!
 

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Looking forward to seeing your Genie out of the bottle. :)



thong on v-day you are getting liberal with the innuendos lol :silly:
 
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