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I'm considering a used FJ Cruiser as a third vehicle. For a little background, my primary vehicle is a 2020 Tesla Model Y. That is my primary vehicle, and my wife drives a Mazda CX5. My daughter will be needing a car once she gets her driver's license, so I've started looking into some used cars for her. It will really only be driven for a 4 mile round trip school commute and then maybe 20 mile round trip max if she gets a part time job. I've always admired the FJ Cruisers for nothing other than their aesthetics. Although it may be sacrilegious to say on these forums, I have no plans for off-roading :). I live down south where I see snow one day a year at best, so road conditions are typically good. I've been reading upon the 2007s and also watched James Buff on the TFLoffroad video for the FJ cruiser Tommy and Roman purchased. For reference, the FJ I'm looking at is a 2007 RWD with ~187K miles.

I have a few questions:

Is there anything I should be aware of aside from the rear diff issue and possible fender bulge?

From everything I've been able to find, these seem to be very safe vehicles. Any safety issues I need to be aware of?

Aside from the lack of off-roading capability, is there any reason to avoid the 2007 RWD version?

This really will just be a short range commuter vehicle, with maybe the occasional mountain or beach trip.

Thanks!
 

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Welcome.

Yes the FJ does seem to live up to being a safe vehicle to be inside in a collision.
Some will tell you the visibility is poor so check that out carefully for a new driver.
For your use a RWD will do just fine. The only downside will be selling it on or if your daughter catches the off-road bug
 

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Hi and welcome to the rabbit hole!

The FJ is safe and as far as safety issues....non that I can think of.
The rear diff "issue" is a dead horse people love to beat and pass off as a Gospel issue. Reality is the issue ( bad casting) was limited to a small date range of early production FJ's ( '06) and limited to AT FJ's. Chances of any of those being left untouched in the wild after 14 years is beyond slim.

For your desired use....couldn't think of anything better.
 

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x2 what they said,
and regarding the fender bulge, it was only on the '06, '07 and very early '08 (countermeasure adopted from 4/'08) and was only cosmetic

Here is a list of changes each year (attached).
Also, check out Jimmy Buffet's guide:
 

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Welcome aboard!
 
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Discussion Starter #10
Appreciate the responses. So I had inquired about any issues with the FJ I'm looking at, including any rust. The guy sent over these pictures. Can anyone tell me if this would be considered bad rusting? Or is this something I could take into a body shop and have them take care of for a reasonable price?
 

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Although it may be sacrilegious to say on these forums, I have no plans for off-roading :). I live down south where I see snow one day a year at best, so road conditions are typically good. I've been reading upon the 2007s and also watched James Buff on the TFLoffroad video for the FJ cruiser Tommy and Roman purchased. For reference, the FJ I'm looking at is a 2007 RWD with ~187K miles.

I have a few questions:

Is there anything I should be aware of aside from the rear diff issue and possible fender bulge?

From everything I've been able to find, these seem to be very safe vehicles. Any safety issues I need to be aware of?

Aside from the lack of off-roading capability, is there any reason to avoid the 2007 RWD version?
Hey! That was me in the TFL video.

For your very well explained use case -- short commutes, no offroading, live in the south (I'm originally from Baton Rouge LA) -- you are probably one of the few people that I would recommend to actually buy a 2WD FJ :).

2WD and that many miles, I'm guessing the price has to be pretty cheap. $7-8K? For a truck with that many miles, just go through all the fluids -- rear diff, transmission -- and you should be set. For the rear diff just make sure she takes it easy on the truck. Try to minimize any towing to just small stuff. Fender bulges shouldn't be an issue if the truck has lived mostly on the highway. It's worth checking, but mainly a rust issue under the hood.

For safety concerns: just make sure to work with her on the blind spots. Blind spots are pretty bad on these trucks, so for a new driver she will need very precise mirror adjustment and some kind of "blind spot mirror" from Amazon. They have several: Amazon.com : blind spot mirror

If this truck fits your budget, there's no reason to pass on it if it doesn't have any inspection problems that you are OK with fixing or living with. With a higher budget there would be later trucks available with far fewer miles, but I'm a big fan of first-cars being something older with some miles. I imagine the FJ will be a good car for a new driver, as the back seats are not very comfortable (edit: actually they're fine for comfort, it's just not an enjoyable truck to ride in the back haha) and her friends will not enjoy riding with her. Which should reduce distractions :)

Best of luck with the FJ!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hey! That was me in the TFL video.

For your very well explained use case -- short commutes, no offroading, live in the south (I'm originally from Baton Rouge LA) -- you are probably one of the few people that I would recommend to actually buy a 2WD FJ :).

2WD and that many miles, I'm guessing the price has to be pretty cheap. $7-8K? For a truck with that many miles, just go through all the fluids -- rear diff, transmission -- and you should be set. For the rear diff just make sure she takes it easy on the truck. Try to minimize any towing to just small stuff. Fender bulges shouldn't be an issue if the truck has lived mostly on the highway. It's worth checking, but mainly a rust issue under the hood.

For safety concerns: just make sure to work with her on the blind spots. Blind spots are pretty bad on these trucks, so for a new driver she will need very precise mirror adjustment and some kind of "blind spot mirror" from Amazon. They have several: Amazon.com : blind spot mirror

If this truck fits your budget, there's no reason to pass on it if it doesn't have any inspection problems that you are OK with fixing or living with. With a higher budget there would be later trucks available with far fewer miles, but I'm a big fan of first-cars being something older with some miles. I imagine the FJ will be a good car for a new driver, as the back seats are not very comfortable (edit: actually they're fine for comfort, it's just not an enjoyable truck to ride in the back haha) and her friends will not enjoy riding with her. Which should reduce distractions :)

Best of luck with the FJ!
Hi, appreciate the response! I watched that TFL video a couple times as it was great and you were extremely knowledgeable in your answers. I recently sold an '10 2DR JK Sport so my whole family is familiar with some blind spot issues. Any idea if FJ blind spot visibility is similar?

Also, I just posted a few photos of some rusting underneath the FJ I'm considering. Based on those photos, is there anything too concerning with that level of rusting, or is that something that could be fairly easily taken care of a body shop and possible maintained on a yearly basis to avoid it getting worse. The price on it is 12K, but if I decide to go check it out and determine I'm happy with the condition, I'm going to see how much I can get that down because it seems high given the year/mileage/condition/2WD.

Thanks!
 

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Hi, appreciate the response! I watched that TFL video a couple times as it was great and you were extremely knowledgeable in your answers.
Thanks! It was fun to do the video, those guys are local and I've seen them at plenty of Cars & Coffee meets before covid hit. I'm hoping that they still have the truck for FJ Summit next year so we can do some more videos. I suspect they will, also I can't imagine them leaving it stock.

I recently sold an '10 2DR JK Sport so my whole family is familiar with some blind spot issues. Any idea if FJ blind spot visibility is similar?
The JK's mirror is wider than it is tall, the FJ's is taller than it is wide. I can't speak to how bad the JK's blind spots are, but just on the shape of the mirror they probably aren't as bad. The shame is that we had a fantastic solution to FJ blind spots and the vendor can't get the mirrors made by his original supplier anymore.

Also, I just posted a few photos of some rusting underneath the FJ I'm considering. Based on those photos, is there anything too concerning with that level of rusting, or is that something that could be fairly easily taken care of a body shop and possible maintained on a yearly basis to avoid it getting worse. The price on it is 12K, but if I decide to go check it out and determine I'm happy with the condition, I'm going to see how much I can get that down because it seems high given the year/mileage/condition/2WD.
That looks like pretty basic (and light) surface rust. My FJ lived most of its life in dry Colorado and still had a little rust on the welds, so that's to be expected. If you're really worried about those spots, I'd look into some way to clean the rust then spray over it. On my FJ I would clean out the scrapes from offroading and spray black rustoleum on the spots 1-2 times a year.

$12K for this truck seems high for the mileage, I'm pretty sure I could find you a '07 4x4 with the same miles for the same or less. One hard thing about looking for trucks in this price range is that they don't always list/advertise on the different car search engines. A lot of cars in this range sell on Craigslist (before it cost $$$ to list cars) or (now) Facebook Marketplace. Free places to list, primarily targeting local buyers.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks! It was fun to do the video, those guys are local and I've seen them at plenty of Cars & Coffee meets before covid hit. I'm hoping that they still have the truck for FJ Summit next year so we can do some more videos. I suspect they will, also I can't imagine them leaving it stock.



The JK's mirror is wider than it is tall, the FJ's is taller than it is wide. I can't speak to how bad the JK's blind spots are, but just on the shape of the mirror they probably aren't as bad. The shame is that we had a fantastic solution to FJ blind spots and the vendor can't get the mirrors made by his original supplier anymore.



That looks like pretty basic (and light) surface rust. My FJ lived most of its life in dry Colorado and still had a little rust on the welds, so that's to be expected. If you're really worried about those spots, I'd look into some way to clean the rust then spray over it. On my FJ I would clean out the scrapes from offroading and spray black rustoleum on the spots 1-2 times a year.

$12K for this truck seems high for the mileage, I'm pretty sure I could find you a '07 4x4 with the same miles for the same or less. One hard thing about looking for trucks in this price range is that they don't always list/advertise on the different car search engines. A lot of cars in this range sell on Craigslist (before it cost $$$ to list cars) or (now) Facebook Marketplace. Free places to list, primarily targeting local buyers.
That FJ Summit sounds like a pretty fun event!

I'll keep the mirror link you provided for Amazon in case I take the FJ plunge. Good to know about the rust. I may start looking a little more broadly for some more FJ's around my area and see if I can find a 4x4 or a RWD with a little better price-point. Appreciate the response, this was extremely helpful!
 

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Sorry but had 1 more picture of the rust I hadn't posted. This one I'm a little more concerned with. Anything overly concerning with that rust under the hood?
 

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Sorry but had 1 more picture of the rust I hadn't posted. This one I'm a little more concerned with. Anything overly concerning with that rust under the hood?
This photo tells me that the truck lived near the ocean. Those hose clamps / rings under the hood being rusted means there was salt in the air.

They're easy enough to change and not particularly worrisome, but if those parts are rusted like that then the frame should have more rust on it. So they either took better care of the frame, or you should ask for more photos.

Another spot I've seen rust before for trucks near the ocean are the bolts that hold the front seats in place. Check those as well.

$12K for this many miles, a 2WD and this rust...I'm a soft pass on this one unless the price drops dramatically. Check FB Marketplace for Texas/gulf states trucks and you should be able to find the same (if not better) deal on a truck with no rust.
 

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This photo tells me that the truck lived near the ocean. Those hose clamps / rings under the hood being rusted means there was salt in the air.

They're easy enough to change and not particularly worrisome, but if those parts are rusted like that then the frame should have more rust on it. So they either took better care of the frame, or you should ask for more photos.

Another spot I've seen rust before for trucks near the ocean are the bolts that hold the front seats in place. Check those as well.

$12K for this many miles, a 2WD and this rust...I'm a soft pass on this one unless the price drops dramatically. Check FB Marketplace for Texas/gulf states trucks and you should be able to find the same (if not better) deal on a truck with no rust.
Ok appreciate the response. So I realized that this last picture was from another FJ I had found that was available near me. I was doing quite a bit of searching and emailing various sellers that day so I must have mixed up which pics came from who. I actually went out to test drive the 2WD one I mentioned yesterday. I saw zero rust under the hood of that vehicle, and I took some of my own pics of the rust on the undercarriage. Nothing in these pictures seemed too concerning to me and seems to fall in line with your light/surface level rush observation. Is there anything I'm not seeing that would indicate worse?

As far as the ride, it drove really well. I was actually surprised as how light the steering felt. I took it on the highway during my test drive, and it was very smooth until I hit 65mph, at which point the steering wheel started to vibrate. When I got it up to around 75-80, it seemed to easy a bit, but was still there. As soon as I dropped below 65 it completely disappeared. I'm assuming this is either a tire balance or rotor issue. The salesperson said they would replace the rotors and do a tire rotation for me prior to sale if I decided to buy. Is there any known issue with the FJ's that might mean that shake is more than just a balance/rotor issue?

Aside from that, and a few cosmetic blemishes from being 13 years old, I really loved the vehicle. When I took it onto the freeway the blind spot wasn't as prohibitive as I was expecting, and the rear view mirror visibility was probably better than my soft top wrangler (that plastic window had some very poor visibility).

Regarding the windshield, is this something that Toyota dealerships can still do? Just wondering what my safest option is if (or more likely when) I get any crack to the windshield.

Also, regarding that other picture I posted. I reached out to that guy to see if he could provide me with undercarriage pictures given the rust in that picture. I haven't heard back yet. That one is a 4x4 with slightly over 200K miles. That one has a few more modes like running boards/fog lights. Based on what you said after seeing the rust under the hood, I'm not expecting a very clean undercarriage, but in the off chance that it is clean, I may check it out.
 

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The underbody photos looks pretty good. Compared with other FJ's for sale out there, the 2WD you are considering is more dry than some others. $12K is a bit high for vehicle with 187k miles.

But don't shy away from a 2WD. They're practical and dependable with less parts, requiring less maintenance. They're not driven as hard as the 4x4 models and perhaps a bit better in fuel mileage. Think of the 2WD as a ranch wagon.

Nonetheless, $12K is high. Offer the seller $10K.
 

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Hey! That was me in the TFL video.

For your very well explained use case -- short commutes, no offroading, live in the south (I'm originally from Baton Rouge LA) -- you are probably one of the few people that I would recommend to actually buy a 2WD FJ :).

2WD and that many miles, I'm guessing the price has to be pretty cheap. $7-8K? For a truck with that many miles, just go through all the fluids -- rear diff, transmission -- and you should be set. For the rear diff just make sure she takes it easy on the truck. Try to minimize any towing to just small stuff. Fender bulges shouldn't be an issue if the truck has lived mostly on the highway. It's worth checking, but mainly a rust issue under the hood.

For safety concerns: just make sure to work with her on the blind spots. Blind spots are pretty bad on these trucks, so for a new driver she will need very precise mirror adjustment and some kind of "blind spot mirror" from Amazon. They have several: Amazon.com : blind spot mirror

If this truck fits your budget, there's no reason to pass on it if it doesn't have any inspection problems that you are OK with fixing or living with. With a higher budget there would be later trucks available with far fewer miles, but I'm a big fan of first-cars being something older with some miles. I imagine the FJ will be a good car for a new driver, as the back seats are not very comfortable (edit: actually they're fine for comfort, it's just not an enjoyable truck to ride in the back haha) and her friends will not enjoy riding with her. Which should reduce distractions :)

Best of luck with the FJ!
Excellent
 
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