Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum banner
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part of September's Ride of the Month Challenge!
1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, my husband and I have a cabin in West Texas in the great Davis Mountains. Our road to the cabin (never that great to begin with) is now labelled "4x4 access only" on a little sign at the foot of the steep hill we have to get up. We've gone slipping and sliding down the hill several times and now slip and slide trying to get up it! So yesterday we bought an '07 FJ cruiser with automatic transmission and 4wd. It's quite a change from my MINI Cooper that we traded in!! I have lots of questions since I know nothing about 4wd and your forum looked very informative! Most of the time I will be driving it under normal road conditions in the 2wd mode here at home. I'd like to find out how to practice my four-wheeling here on the flat so I'll know a little more before I tackle our mountain. I'm excited about getting to alot of the places in the mountains that have been unaccessible to us since we didn't have 4wd, but since I'm a "lady of a certain age" (well, not THAT old, but still...) I hope I can figure all this out! The technical stuff goes right past me, but I don't want to break the fj or send us over the side of the mountain:mecry:. Advice from more experienced drivers will be appreciated! Thanks - Theresa :wave:

P.S. My fj has a roof rack, cowcatcher (probably a deercatcher in West Texas), and rock rails. My husband has plans to put the steps on the rails that he saw in this forum! Since he has a bad leg and I'm short, that's our first priority. I also love the rubber mat in the back since we have 2 pitbulls that go with us on our trips and it'll be easy to clean!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,591 Posts
Welcome and Hello.....

The truck you just bought will get you to all those places you've never been able to get...

First go find a dirt road....any dirt road....

Drive along at 25 mph'ish and pull the 4wd shifter towards you....you are now in 4wd-high.....drive up und down the road a few times to get used to the little differance you may notice....You can drive at any speed you feel safe....a bunch of lights will come on the dash....that's normal.... this is for snowy roads/slippery stuff/ or any thing that makes you "Think" you need 4wd.

Now come to a complete stop.....put the main shifter in "N" and then push the 4wd shifter forward towards the passenger......place the main shifter into "D" and drive down the road again.....You will notice a few more lights on the dash and that top speed at this point is about 25mph.....you are now in 4wd-lo....this will get you thru 99% of the stuff you will ever go thru.....including the hill climb to your cabin. :bigthumb:

If the hill you're climbing has you scared before you even start your way up.....again in 4wd-lo....push all the other stuff...i.e. rear diff lock/atrack....

The truck will take care of everything and you should be able to drive right up that hill....

As soon as you are to the top of the hill or feel you don't need all that extra traction....turn the locker off!!! It's for short scary spots that normal people don't drive thru :lol:

After you do this stuff (go now!!! it's Sunday) come back and ask all the rest of the questions this leson has caused:bigthumb:

Have fun...and remember....slow as possible/fast as nessesary!!!!

there's a million other things....but this should be a great start....and the trucks computer won't let you mess anything up....so try different stuff :bigthumb:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,797 Posts
What he said!

Welcome to the forum:wave:

I found the best way to learn this stuff was to do some off road driving with a group of experienced people in the area. Do some poking around on this site and you will bump into some people who live reasonably close to you. Set a day aside and meet them (maybe three or four FJs) and do a little wheelin under the guise of "Meet and Greet". One thing I've learned about the people on this site is they are a sociable lot.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
17,097 Posts
Welcome aboard!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,165 Posts
Welcome to the forum!!!:wave:

Well my suggestion is to try and join some local FJ clubs near by, I'm sure they can get you started off on the right foot on how to wheel and also be able to hang out with some people who also have the FJ.:cheers:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,661 Posts
Welcome to the Forum!

I believe that you have all the advice you need from the above posts. FYI us Houston people try to get together once a month or every other month for a happy hour or to go wheeling. You will be amazed about how capable the FJ Cruiser is when going off road. I believe one of the earlier posts said it, the FJ will basically take care of itself once your in 4 HI or 4 LO. Just hang on and enjoy the ride!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,064 Posts
Welcome aboard! Enjoy your 4WD shakedown drive also. :bigthumb:

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
251 Posts
Welcome! I've been out in part of the Davis Mountains mule deer hunting a couple times. Sad to say that was 10 - 15 years ago. We used the Bronco my dad had at the time. I haven't had time to try the FJ out to its fullest but it seems to be more capable and handle better than the Bronco did. Hope to have the chance to see that beautiful country again.

Get with the Houston group and hit some of the trails in their area. Watch out for the swampy areas if you have dunlop tires - they will not clean and grab fresh mud.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
622 Posts
Welcome. Be brave. The cruiser will take good care of you.
Chuck:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,943 Posts
:thinkerg:

Post up here you want to have and event at your cabin, like a BBQ, and then tell everyone that they need to drive PAST the "4x4 Only" sign to get back to your cabin in the mountains.

That should spark some interest and bring some FJC people to hit your trail with you!


lol

:lol:
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,051 Posts
reluctant4x4er said:
I'd like to find out how to practice my four-wheeling here on the flat so I'll know a little more before I tackle our mountain. I'm excited about getting to alot of the places in the mountains that have been unaccessible to us since we didn't have 4wd, but since I'm a "lady of a certain age" (well, not THAT old, but still...) I hope I can figure all this out! The technical stuff goes right past me, but I don't want to break the fj or send us over the side of the mountain. Advice from more experienced drivers will be appreciated! Thanks - Theresa
Practice is what I saw as your main question. And it is good to know how to operate ANY vehicle before you try the hard stuff. Even that Mini had that pesky DSC that drove me crazy!!

Anyways... for 4wd in the auto.. as the reply above mentioned.. it is a simply pull back motion while going around 25MPH to engage 4wd. This is called 4HI.

It is safe to drive around in the parking lot with this mode engaged, and yes you can drive at highway speeds if need be in this mode.

Now.. what you need to find is an unpaved road, some empty property, and see how the truck behaves in this mode. Most likely you will simply notice a change in the steering behavior and not much else.

Now.. progressing from there.. perhaps a steep unpaved road, and some empty property with ruts and bumps. Here you will learn how the truck leans, and such. The more time off pavement -- the better to learn your truck.

Im guessing the "4x4 accessible only" sign is merely there to advise people in small sedans and low clearance vehicle.. this path isn't for them. It is easier to say "4x4 accessible only" than to list out ground clearance numbers.

I would highly doubt your cabin road will require anything more than 4hi and maybe that magic button A-trac if your truck is so equipped.

You ~could~ also practice the 4LO mode as described above; neutral and up towards the passenger windshield -- but please note you should NOT use this mode on hard paved roads.

I might also suggest Toyota Territory Off-Roaders Association (TTORA) for clubs in your area.

Us Houston folks as mentioned, would be more than happy to show you the ropes at the next meet and great. Heck beach driving might be a good practice for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
It is all about learning your rig before you take it out.....my husband (CaliChaos) and I are really into wheeling now. But i am the first to tell anyone, that i didn't like it at first. The sliding in the mud....going down the hills and you can't see whats in front of you. But i learned that the FJ is very capable. I started by driving in 4x4 on the street. Then i hit some of the less aggressive trails at Spring Creek. Fast forward a year later....and i am wheeling 3 diamond trails at Barnwell Mountain.

The key is to learn what your rig can do....and the rest will fall into place.

Spring Creek Off Road

General Sams!

Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for all the good advice! I actually followed Homedad's instructions and took it out today on a gravel road near our house. I put it in 4high and drove all the way down the road, turned around, stopped and put it in 4low. That was very strange and I didn't go over about 2 mph! Then I drove back down it in 4high again, so I think it got it's "10 miles a month" for this month. Now I want to go up some hills! Thanks to ms. isom for the links to off road places in the Houston area! We won't be able to get out to west Texas for a while so I'm going to check them out. Meanwhile, my friend has some big dirtpiles she said I can drive on! :lol:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Practice is what I saw as your main question. And it is good to know how to operate ANY vehicle before you try the hard stuff. Even that Mini had that pesky DSC that drove me crazy!!

Anyways... for 4wd in the auto.. as the reply above mentioned.. it is a simply pull back motion while going around 25MPH to engage 4wd. This is called 4HI.

It is safe to drive around in the parking lot with this mode engaged, and yes you can drive at highway speeds if need be in this mode.

Now.. what you need to find is an unpaved road, some empty property, and see how the truck behaves in this mode. Most likely you will simply notice a change in the steering behavior and not much else.

Now.. progressing from there.. perhaps a steep unpaved road, and some empty property with ruts and bumps. Here you will learn how the truck leans, and such. The more time off pavement -- the better to learn your truck.

Im guessing the "4x4 accessible only" sign is merely there to advise people in small sedans and low clearance vehicle.. this path isn't for them. It is easier to say "4x4 accessible only" than to list out ground clearance numbers.

I would highly doubt your cabin road will require anything more than 4hi and maybe that magic button A-trac if your truck is so equipped.

You ~could~ also practice the 4LO mode as described above; neutral and up towards the passenger windshield -- but please note you should NOT use this mode on hard paved roads.

I might also suggest Toyota Territory Off-Roaders Association (TTORA) for clubs in your area.

Us Houston folks as mentioned, would be more than happy to show you the ropes at the next meet and great. Heck beach driving might be a good practice for you.
Well, the last time we went up there, we were in a Nissan Exterra 2wd. We didn't rip out anything underneath it, but we could hear scraping when we went over the rocks. Going downhill the first time, we slid into a tree and a pile of rocks since it's very steep with a wicked curve. The truck just skidded along and didn't turn, but the tree stopped us from going over. My husband had to use the parking brake from then on as we crawled down. Thank God it was a rental and we'd taken out the loss and damage waiver (LOL)! The electrician couldn't make it up there in his 2wd pickup and neither could the dirt man who was making us a driveway, he had to turn around and get his Jeep. All the road surface was washed away last year and just left bare rocks in some places. We also have several water crossings we have to make to get there - if the water's just standing it's not to bad, but we've been advised to "just wait an hour" when it's really rushing fast. It's sure not MINI country!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
201 Posts
Well, the last time we went up there, we were in a Nissan Exterra 2wd. We didn't rip out anything underneath it, but we could hear scraping when we went over the rocks. Going downhill the first time, we slid into a tree and a pile of rocks since it's very steep with a wicked curve. The truck just skidded along and didn't turn, but the tree stopped us from going over. My husband had to use the parking brake from then on as we crawled down. Thank God it was a rental and we'd taken out the loss and damage waiver (LOL)! The electrician couldn't make it up there in his 2wd pickup and neither could the dirt man who was making us a driveway, he had to turn around and get his Jeep. All the road surface was washed away last year and just left bare rocks in some places. We also have several water crossings we have to make to get there - if the water's just standing it's not to bad, but we've been advised to "just wait an hour" when it's really rushing fast. It's sure not MINI country!
With the transfer case in 4lo you will have much more control on that decent. I'm not 100% certain with the automatic transmission, but there should be enough engine braking present to eliminate, or at least minimize, the need to use your brakes. This will keep your tires rolling instead of skidding, and maintain steering control. Your next trip should be less of a white-knuckle experience. :)
 

·
FJ Expeditions R Us
Joined
·
4,084 Posts
Welcome aboard! I love the Davis Mountains!!! We have property in Del Rio and Buffalo Gap south of Abilene.

As soon as we sell this house in MO we're moving back home!!!

Enjoy your FJ! It it part mountain goat and 100% off-road capable!

cheers,

dale
 

·
Emeritus Moderator
Joined
·
6,484 Posts
Welcome to the forum :wave:
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top