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Finally took the time to read though everything you said in the original post and this is so great!! Love what was said, amen to everything!

I was one of those super picky buyers out there looking for a 2nd FJ Cruiser and my criteria was:

1. Has to be newer than my previous 2007 (which had a weak rear diff)
2. Has to be a Special Edition (I am a Special Edition junkie)
3. Had to be in good shape with hopefully less than 75k miles
4. Would prefer to find a model with useful/offroading mods already installed
5. Had to be the right price from a reliable seller

Took me 3 months of searching till I found my current FJ Cruiser. I found my 2008 Trail Teams Special Edition with plenty of useful mods (bumpers, winch, Icon/OME/Total Chaos lift components, Baja Rack roof rack, etc.), the seller couldn’t have been a nicer guy (was actually here on the forum though I found the ad in Craigslist), it was a killer price, and the only thing I had to give up was the miles but it only had 83k so it was still great!

I was searching all across the country for the perfect FJ and though I am located in Colorado I was willing to fly out to California to get this FJ and drive it the 15 hours and exactly 1000 miles back to my driveway. Was a great experience and the wait was worth it! Patience is key and don’t settle for less! These rigs are worth a lot and some are especially rare so keep your spirits up! You’ll find what you’re looking for!

I envy the person simply looking for a 2010+ model FJ that is 4x4 and has the necessities and isn’t concerned with what color they get! But still be careful with making sure it is in good condition and doesn’t have junky mods all over it, some FJs are just covered with unnecessary garbage or cheaply done mods. Look for those quality mods!
 

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Jimmy,

I know I don't belong here (not really an offroader...) but I hope to be buying an FJ in the very soon future. I realize you say it doesn't really matter if youre getting an 08 (which i'll be getting), as long as it doesn't have the bulge. Since you're the expert here, would you mind taking a minute to check these two out in this post I made? I'm looking for any and all advice from people who know more about the FJs than myself. Thanks!!!

http://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/dealer-negotiations-test-driving/677858-help-me-choose.html
 

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I'll be using the info here as I move closer to actual ownership. Definitely in the "second" category of buyer, but would love to find the perfect FJ in my backyard, of course. Thanks for all of this useful info!
 

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@Jimmy-buffet

Great post bro, er, dude. I especially liked...

If you've got a 6-inch ProComp spacer lift, Bushwhacker fender flares, 20-inch wheels and have said "bro" more than once today then those mods can't be priced into your truck,
Having been in car-sales (during an admittedly depressing time in my life), I can attest to what you've said here—in particular, the parts about those flashy do-nothing "upgrades" dealers like to use to sell vehicles to the ignorant and the vain, and the typical $4K-$6K markup they build into the sticker price for most used vehicles. These are great reveals for buyers and sellers alike. As you've said, serious buyers should know this so they don't get duped, and sellers need to know this so they stop asking a ridiculous amount of money for their meh FJ (or any other vehicle) from buyers who (hopefully) know better.

While I'm not currently in the market to either buy or sell, I still appreciate this guide, as I'll probably benefit from it in some way in the future. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #25
I know I don't belong here (not really an offroader...) but I hope to be buying an FJ in the very soon future. I realize you say it doesn't really matter if youre getting an 08 (which i'll be getting), as long as it doesn't have the bulge. Since you're the expert here, would you mind taking a minute to check these two out in this post I made? I'm looking for any and all advice from people who know more about the FJs than myself.
Very sorry that I didn't see this (I should turn on notifications for this post), I followed up on your thread and it looks like you picked one? How's the new truck?

Having been in car-sales (during an admittedly depressing time in my life), I can attest to what you've said here—in particular, the parts about those flashy do-nothing "upgrades" dealers like to use to sell vehicles to the ignorant and the vain, and the typical $4K-$6K markup they build into the sticker price for most used vehicles. These are great reveals for buyers and sellers alike. As you've said, serious buyers should know this so they don't get duped, and sellers need to know this so they stop asking a ridiculous amount of money for their meh FJ (or any other vehicle) from buyers who (hopefully) know better.
Fortunately, there are no more new FJ's being sold so the only dealer-modified trucks we see are used now. It always made me sad to see a flashy, cheap truck in a dealership showroom (they're still doing this on Tacomas and Tundras), and even worse, when one of these buyers shows up here wanting to offroad with us just to be told that the mods that came on their trucks were in most cases more expensive than what a decent set of mods would have cost.

As for the crazy sellers, this post is me venting in one place rather than venting in each of their for-sale posts :rofl: I don't like to mess up anybody's threads, but I can't even count how many times I've wanted to reply with 10 cheaper options from AutoTrader so that someone from our forums here doesn't over-pay. I usually wait for the poster to say something like "is my price too high?", and when they do, the gloves come off :rocker:
 

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Discussion Starter #26
And in another edition of "stupid crap that car dealerships do", we have this 2013 Trail Teams for sale by Russell Westbrook Hyundai of Garden Grove, California. CarGurus notes that it's listed at ~$2900 over fair market value, and strangely, it has two spare tires in the rear cargo area:



Which got me wondering, what's up with the spare tire? Oh, there it is:



Hey, that's a BFG All Terrain. What are the rest of those tires?



"Blacklion Voracio AT", anybody ever heard of the Blacklion brand of Voracio All Terrain tires? Looks like they're $139 a pop. TireRack.com doesn't sell "Blacklion" as a brand, neither does Discount Tire. Where did they get these tires?

Who knows. At which point, whoever buys this truck is stuck with crap street tires until they sink another $900 into an already overpriced truck just to get the tires right. What do the right, matching tires to the spare cost? $188 on TireRack.com.

That's right folks, another $49 at retail per tire, less than $200 for a set of four, to put the right set of tires on. Except they didn't do this, because (a) they'd rather save $200 in replacement tires that will cost you $900 on day 1, than put the right tires on and raise the price a marginal amount, and (b) they're a Hyundai dealer who wouldn't know an All Terrain tire if it drove over the hood of a Veloster Turbo.

Hat tip to @Ner0 for sending me this listing, happy to post others when we see them.
 

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My guess is that they are purchasing those wonderful Chinese knockoffs for around $60 a tire if not less. It amazes when a dealership has absolutely no clue of what they are selling. It’s usually where a deal can be had. Kinda of how I found my FJ. Came across it sitting in the back of a BMW lot. Wasn’t listed and was actually going to just send it to the auction as they had no desire to deal with it or sell it. Made me happy because I was able to inspect the vehicle in a “raw” state. Had been traded, and just moved to the back of the lot. Could look in the glove box a old service receipts, get a good feel as to how it had been maintained. I made them an “as-is” offer on it, just detail it before pickup. Worked out well although that doesn’t happen too often.
 

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And in another edition of "stupid crap that car dealerships do", we have this 2013 Trail Teams for sale by Russell Westbrook Hyundai of Garden Grove, California. CarGurus notes that it's listed at ~$2900 over fair market value, and strangely, it has two spare tires in the rear cargo area:



Which got me wondering, what's up with the spare tire? Oh, there it is:



Hey, that's a BFG All Terrain. What are the rest of those tires?



"Blacklion Voracio AT", anybody ever heard of the Blacklion brand of Voracio All Terrain tires? Looks like they're $139 a pop. TireRack.com doesn't sell "Blacklion" as a brand, neither does Discount Tire. Where did they get these tires?

Who knows. At which point, whoever buys this truck is stuck with crap street tires until they sink another $900 into an already overpriced truck just to get the tires right. What do the right, matching tires to the spare cost? $188 on TireRack.com.

That's right folks, another $49 at retail per tire, less than $200 for a set of four, to put the right set of tires on. Except they didn't do this, because (a) they'd rather save $200 in replacement tires that will cost you $900 on day 1, than put the right tires on and raise the price a marginal amount, and (b) they're a Hyundai dealer who wouldn't know an All Terrain tire if it drove over the hood of a Veloster Turbo.

Hat tip to @Ner0 for sending me this listing, happy to post others when we see them.
Why actually yes, I had an SUV in here just the other day. Customer stated that he got them at Walmart a few months ago. They must be a program tire. We repaired 2 flats(actually low) Both had little contractor's staples in them. The carcasses are paper thin. I asked why he didn't take them back to Wally World under warranty. He stated that they only have a 3 month warranty on them. I asked why did he purchase them, and he said because they were cheap. $60 later, he added more to his investment, as opposed to getting a quality tire to begin with. He said he'd be back in about 3 years to buy tires from me. I said, "I'll see you around Christmas 2018 then" and we both chuckled. We'll see.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
He stated that they only have a 3 month warranty on them. I asked why did he purchase them, and he said because they were cheap. $60 later, he added more to his investment, as opposed to getting a quality tire to begin with.
That's why I tell people in the FJ world that "it's always cheaper to do it right than it is to do it twice". Especially tires, can you imagine doing 80 MPH on the interstate with these on your truck? I can't.
 

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That's why I tell people in the FJ world that "it's always cheaper to do it right than it is to do it twice". Especially tires, can you imagine doing 80 MPH on the interstate with these on your truck? I can't.
Me neither. I figure if they can't afford good tires, they probably can't afford the payments either. Go buy an Explorer and save the FJs for people who will appreciate them! :rolleyes:
 

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Besides Auto trader, or Auto Guru, what is your feeling on "Carmax.com"? And are they a reliable company in which to do business with.
 

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Hello and thanks for the info. It was very well thought out. I'm new to FJ's and am looking to purchase one as my first 4WD. My budget is tight so I'm looking for a salvage title, either a front, side, or rear hit. I don't want to deal with fire or water, rollover, or under carriage damage. After reading this it looks like the 2010-2012 are the years to consider. Any info on purchasing this type of vehicle is appreciated, I have a lot to learn about the FJ, so I'll be reading everything I can on here.

Mistabreeze
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Besides Auto trader, or Auto Guru, what is your feeling on "Carmax.com"? And are they a reliable company in which to do business with.
Carmax is like any other car dealership really, except they're not brand-loyal. So you may find that they undervalue an FJ more than a Toyota dealership.

The nice thing is that they are a national chain, so if you find an FJ you like in any of their other stores they'll ship it to you for cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
I'm new to FJ's and am looking to purchase one as my first 4WD. My budget is tight so I'm looking for a salvage title, either a front, side, or rear hit. I don't want to deal with fire or water, rollover, or under carriage damage. After reading this it looks like the 2010-2012 are the years to consider. Any info on purchasing this type of vehicle is appreciated
Honestly, for the money you'd save buying a '10-'12 salvage title -- you're ~$20-25K for a decent non-salvage, how much cheaper for a salvage repaired one? $15-18K? -- I'd much rather have a non-salvage truck. If you've had luck with salvage title vehicles before, that's great. I would be far less worried about a significantly damaged and repaired car that I simply drove to work and back, places where my cell phone always works. For a truck that I'm going to take to the back country, away from civilization, cell phone doesn't work etc? That's a big risk in my book.

My advice, if you plan on offroading it a lot: buy the best, cheapest, non-salvage FJ you can get. If that's an '07 with 100K miles then fine.

For 2007 years, is there a way to "check" the diff before buying to see if there is an issue?
I had an '11 so I'm not as familiar with the exact details of the issue, do some searching here on the forums and see if there's a build date after which the weaker diffs were fixed. Then check your truck against that build date.

Lots of people rolling around on the early diffs that are fine, I think it comes down to how often / hard you wheel them.
 

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Excellent read. Thank you for all the info. Im not an FJ owner yet . . . using this forum to ensure I pick the right one for my needs/wants.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
Addendum to Section 4D (value of mods), as I'm getting a lot of questions about high-miles heavily modified trucks. As each truck is different, these are difficult to price. The typical approach I take is to determine the value of the base truck and then total the new (uninstalled) value of the mods. Pick a % of their value (~50-60% is a good start) and add that to the base value of your truck.

More in the first post, but these can be difficult to price and are highly dependent on the buyer.

Good luck!
 
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