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Discussion Starter #1
I’m a noob to FJs and off roading. Some things I know like keep momentum up when going through sand and mud and go slow over rocks. However there are other things I need to know like self recovery without a winch and how to pick a line to drive through. Where I live, there is BLM land right out side my house. Should I practice these skills alone?

Also, what are good mods to do these trucks? I know they are capable in bone stock form but what are good, bang for buck mods? I have read the First $2000 thread and enjoyed it.
 

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I am also new to FJ and new to offloading. I am a track rat (cars and bikes). My FJ is bone stock with 285/75/16 KO2. I have been going on trails myself, locally, started with "easy" then moved up to "moderate." Having lots of fun.
 

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Should I practice these skills alone?

Also, what are good mods to do these trucks?
Both of these questions are best answered in-person, with a local offroading club. Nothing against Jeeps, but their trucks don't have our technology, so you'll want to talk to mostly experienced newer Toyota owners who know how your truck works and can tell you what technology to use, and when to use it.

Here's a local (to you) Facebook club to connect with:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/901624000018385/about/

And here's our club in Colorado, one of the largest / most active in the country if you ever want to come up north and run with us:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ColoradoFJCruisers/

My advice: figure out a goal for your truck. What do you want to do in the outdoors, and then how do you build your truck to do it? Are you a camper? Fisherman? Technical offroader? And then talk to your club about doing these things, who else does them, what equipment they selected for doing those things and why.

Example: rooftop tents are great for camping, less so for super technical offroading (they scrape on trees and add a lot of weight up high). What armor you choose (if any) is a factor of how hard you want to offroad. Tires, same thing. Your goal is to define an end destination for your truck before doing a lot, that way you don't have to do anything twice.

Remember this saying: it's always cheaper to do it right than it is to do it twice.

You need a vision for what you want the truck to do, and the experience doing those things to make these ^^^ decisions. You'll get that from spending time with other FJ / 4Runner owners in your area, seeing what they do, how they do it etc.

Also FYI, your location -- Farmington NM -- is very close to the annual location of FJ Summit, in Ouray CO. You are a very short distance from one of the best FJ playgrounds in the country. So there's no shortage of great offroading near you.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Both of these questions are best answered in-person, with a local offroading club. Nothing against Jeeps, but their trucks don't have our technology, so you'll want to talk to mostly experienced newer Toyota owners who know how your truck works and can tell you what technology to use, and when to use it.

Here's a local (to you) Facebook club to connect with:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/901624000018385/about/

And here's our club in Colorado, one of the largest / most active in the country if you ever want to come up north and run with us:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ColoradoFJCruisers/

My advice: figure out a goal for your truck. What do you want to do in the outdoors, and then how do you build your truck to do it? Are you a camper? Fisherman? Technical offroader? And then talk to your club about doing these things, who else does them, what equipment they selected for doing those things and why.

Example: rooftop tents are great for camping, less so for super technical offroading (they scrape on trees and add a lot of weight up high). What armor you choose (if any) is a factor of how hard you want to offroad. Tires, same thing. Your goal is to define an end destination for your truck before doing a lot, that way you don't have to do anything twice.

Remember this saying: it's always cheaper to do it right than it is to do it twice.

You need a vision for what you want the truck to do, and the experience doing those things to make these ^^^ decisions. You'll get that from spending time with other FJ / 4Runner owners in your area, seeing what they do, how they do it etc.

Also FYI, your location -- Farmington NM -- is very close to the annual location of FJ Summit, in Ouray CO. You are a very short distance from one of the best FJ playgrounds in the country. So there's no shortage of great offroading near you.
Thanks to all of the great responses.

I like camping and hiking. Since my truck is also my daily driver, it has to be comfortable and easy to park and do all of the other stuff a daily driver has to do. I don’t want to make a rock crawler, swamp buggy, or Baja runner. I want to keep this truck for a long time. I want mods that will enhance the strengths of it without turning it into a bro-dozer. I will have to get FeJ out there and figure out what that is. The things I want to do now are add a roof rack, jerry cans, and better tires. And that’s just the truck. I haven’t touched on the camping stuff yet!

Unfortunately I can’t make the FJ Summit because of a business trip I must do during that time. I am a member of CO FJ Cruiser Facebook group. Y’all are very friendly and look forward to meeeting up with y’all.

Looks like I need to practice driving off road more.
 

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I'm sorry, I'm a wordy mfer.... I posted this and thought holy moly, dat's a lotta words.

I used to go out alone all the time to learn. It's my opinion that if you go out on moderate to easy trails and learn the basics (like where the corners are, breakover/approach/departure angles, where the tires are, how the vehicle reacts to things) then hit the more difficult trails with a group. If you go slow in your education you probably won't break things. I'm not saying go find the gnarliest rock garden and hope for the best. What I am saying is that it's a skill that has some logical progressions. Skills build on one another, so start with the basics and get those down cold before you start chasing mountain goats.

I'd go out and drive over the same rock over and over just to get a feel for where the tires were and the difference between having the front hubs locked (yes, i'm old) versus being in 2wd. I played in mud and got stuck. I learned how to get unstuck and avoid getting stuck again. I'd play in empty parking lots when it would ice over to learn how to drive. I liked going out alone so I could go slow and learn how all the stuff worked. Many hours were spent driving up to something, getting out, looking at it, getting back in, getting a wheel on, stopping and so on. I had manual locking hubs, open diff's and a 4 banger. But as basic as the set up was, it was amazing what could be covered in 2wd. Sometimes 4wd just gets you stuck further out. Ha!
Then, when I felt somewhat comfortable, I went out with friends to tackle the more difficult stuff. On my own I only got stuck once where I couldn't extricate myself. Truth be told, had I aired down or known about airing down I could have driven the 12 feet I had left. Youth and no internet. We didn't have big tires, winches and lockers. I don't even know if any of the other guys even had a chain or recovery strap. In fact, all I went out with was a come-along, a recovery strap and some rope that wouldn't have done anything productive.

That's my 2 cents...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I do have a recovery bag. A couple of shackles, 30’ tow strap, folding shovel, jumper cables, and a snatch block.
 

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You're already way ahead of the game by asking questions. Ego is probably the biggest danger in offroading.

This is a great resource, particularly the books. https://discoveroffroading.com. Bob knows his stuff--I watched him teach a group of not especially big men how to strip, patch and mount a truck tire in the field without any special tools. That day, I learned that I never want to strip, patch and mount a truck tire in the field. ;)

The FJ is the first vehicle I've owned whose capabilities vastly exceed my skills and it's both humbling and exciting. I can get myself in way over my head if I'm not thinking. I also do a lot of solo trips, but I am more cautious when I do those and I carry a lot of emergency equipment.

While it's true that you'll appreciate the gear more if you understand what it's for, sometimes it's fun just to add stuff for the sake of learning. Suspension was kind of like that for me--I knew I wanted the added clearance and improved handling, but until I did the upgrade I had no point of reference for what it would actually feel like. A bone stock FJ will take you sufficiently far enough to get really good and stuck, but don't hold back from tinkering. If nothing else, you'll learn something and probably have a hell of a lot of fun in the process.

Ultimately, the trips you take will guide you. I come home from every adventure with a list of stuff I need to buy and need to learn.
 

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I like camping and hiking. Since my truck is also my daily driver, it has to be comfortable and easy to park and do all of the other stuff a daily driver has to do. I don’t want to make a rock crawler, swamp buggy, or Baja runner. I want to keep this truck for a long time. I want mods that will enhance the strengths of it without turning it into a bro-dozer.
Fortunately you're on the side of the state where you don't have to be super built to get away from the Subaru crowd, over here on the Denver side of the state if you aren't properly built you're parking next to Subaru Outbacks and camping / hiking with a lot of other people.

My advice for your build: a little bit of lift (2-3 inches), a little bit of tires (33's / 285's, either Goodyear Duratracs or BFG AT KO2's), a little bit of armor (aluminum from RCI). It makes you a lot more capable over stock without pushing the various OEM components of the truck out of their comfort zones, and the armor will save you from any small mistakes you make offroad. Depending on how "comfortable" you want, the OME BP-51's are a very comfortable suspension, I've owned it on both an '11 FJ and now an '18 4Runner and it's fantastic, but pricey (~$2600). But any of the ~$1200+ height adjustable coilover setups -- Toytec Ultimate / Boss etc -- will also work, they'll just be a little less comfortable.

Skip a bumper / winch for now, unless you're worried about hitting deer. You'll need to be extra cautious about getting stuck when you go places by yourself, or go with friends.

Unfortunately I can’t make the FJ Summit because of a business trip I must do during that time.
It sold out in less than a minute back in March, so if you weren't already going it's full :) but you can always swing by and check out the vendors / trucks. Saturday afternoon about 4PM is a great time to swing by. They're currently at 350+ trucks.

I am a member of CO FJ Cruiser Facebook group. Y’all are very friendly and look forward to meeeting up with y’all.
Excellent! I'm one of the admins / founders of that page. If you're looking for another offroading event similar to Summit to bring your truck to, I'm the trail coordinator for our COFJ RoundUp event in September:

Colorado FJ Cruisers

We've got a good mix of trails easy to hard, so depending on how your truck is built we'd definitely be able to take you on trails that match your truck's build and your skill level.
 

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I'm hoping I'll get to meet you this weekend in the Farmington area, but rain is moving into the forecast and rain and desert roads don't mix so I may stay up around the Moab and Green River area. If I head down south I'll PM you beforehand so we can try to meet up.

Jimmy Buffet is good people, no matter what you hear about him. I'd echo his advice about tires, a 2-3" lift, and then some rock sliders and skid plates. Also for your area some offroad lighting would be a must. I got caught in the Utah desert one night with only my stock headlights and I could only drive about 10mph because it was so black out there I was driving past my headlights - coming up on things in the road before I could see them. That was no fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Enjoying the summer off and doing some reading in the forum, I’ve came to the following conclusions:

1) Gotta go out and practice. Start with with easy stuff and work your way up.
2) Get involved in a 4x4 club.
3) If you’re stuck, get an Aussie to help you. That’s what the vids I’ve seen recommended.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Fortunately you're on the side of the state where you don't have to be super built to get away from the Subaru crowd, over here on the Denver side of the state if you aren't properly built you're parking next to Subaru Outbacks and camping / hiking with a lot of other people.

My advice for your build: a little bit of lift (2-3 inches), a little bit of tires (33's / 285's, either Goodyear Duratracs or BFG AT KO2's), a little bit of armor (aluminum from RCI). It makes you a lot more capable over stock without pushing the various OEM components of the truck out of their comfort zones, and the armor will save you from any small mistakes you make offroad. Depending on how "comfortable" you want, the OME BP-51's are a very comfortable suspension, I've owned it on both an '11 FJ and now an '18 4Runner and it's fantastic, but pricey (~$2600). But any of the ~$1200+ height adjustable coilover setups -- Toytec Ultimate / Boss etc -- will also work, they'll just be a little less comfortable.

Skip a bumper / winch for now, unless you're worried about hitting deer. You'll need to be extra cautious about getting stuck when you go places by yourself, or go with friends.



It sold out in less than a minute back in March, so if you weren't already going it's full :) but you can always swing by and check out the vendors / trucks. Saturday afternoon about 4PM is a great time to swing by. They're currently at 350+ trucks.



Excellent! I'm one of the admins / founders of that page. If you're looking for another offroading event similar to Summit to bring your truck to, I'm the trail coordinator for our COFJ RoundUp event in September:

Colorado FJ Cruisers

We've got a good mix of trails easy to hard, so depending on how your truck is built we'd definitely be able to take you on trails that match your truck's build and your skill level.
Thank you jimmy-buffet! I am making plans to attend the Rocky Mtn Roundup.

The truck itself is stock. It does have factory skid plates and sliders with e-locker and A-Trac. From what I’ve read here so far, it’s a good start. I am a fan of modify as needed. The first major mod I will need to make is tires. After that, suspension. It’s mainly to replace stuff that’s worn. IMO, that’s the best time to upgrade. I also believe that when you upgrade, make sure the vehicle was working right before you start.

I love new experiences and looking forward to seeing y’all out on the trail.
 

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After doing some easy and moderate trails by myself, this weekend going to a "training session in vehicle strap recovery w/soft shackles." and "practice offload skill sets" hosted by local offroad guys.
 

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Thanks to all of the great responses.

I like camping and hiking. Since my truck is also my daily driver, it has to be comfortable and easy to park and do all of the other stuff a daily driver has to do. I don’t want to make a rock crawler, swamp buggy, or Baja runner. I want to keep this truck for a long time. I want mods that will enhance the strengths of it without turning it into a bro-dozer. I will have to get FeJ out there and figure out what that is. The things I want to do now are add a roof rack, jerry cans, and better tires. And that’s just the truck. I haven’t touched on the camping stuff yet!

Unfortunately I can’t make the FJ Summit because of a business trip I must do during that time. I am a member of CO FJ Cruiser Facebook group. Y’all are very friendly and look forward to meeeting up with y’all.

Looks like I need to practice driving off road more.
Try to keep in mind the idea of "does it make my vehicle more capable" when considering something that you're wanting to add to the truck. Lightbars, snorkels, and other items that are "look-centric" do nothing to help you when you're trekking the backcountry.
Bigger tires with more aggressive tread, the smallest lift possible to fit said tires, armor as necessary (avoid heavy plate style bumpers if not needed), a winch (believe me, you'll use it), and more fuel capacity would be where I would start.
 
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