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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Most Recent Photos:
Not so special driveway pic...

And where we are much happier

Some photo credits go to @debFJVT





I've decided it was time to get my build logged. Hopefully I can share some experiences, trips, adventures, mistakes and some good times. I've been reflecting and realized that I've recently reappeared from a FJC wormhole. Having passed through, I've inadvertently built a rig. I've come to the conclusion that all owners build their rig in different directions, different themes, different purposes, different price points and they all are good. Having stepped into the FJC after so many years (15) of owning an '86 1st generation 4Runner, there were a lot of adjustments. Most for the good and some I'm still getting used after 2+ years of ownership.
My build has been mostly driven buy necessity. Some wants, some needs, some cosmetics, but mainly through experiences on the trail and the great advice of so many here on this forum. Take it out, wheel it, break something and adjust and replace as needed. Am I done? My wife would like me to say yes... but I'm only getting started.

So I've decided to itemize my mods for others so that they may enjoy, not like, not make the same mistakes or follow some of my steps as you create your own rig.

The down and dirty. Bought it in September, 2014
•2007 Black Cherry FJC 84K, 2 owners, all records and services up to date and STOCK. (Build date 01/06)
•Convenience Package & Upgrade Package 2
•A-TRAC
•DIFF LOCK
This is a working document and I'll update and add commentary and photos as I remember. My first objective was to get it to a basic level of "trail worthiness" and then go from there.

Suspension:
1.Started with the OME medium full 3" kit witch included 885s in the front and 895s in the rear with nitro-charger sport shocks
2.Now have a hybrid of sorts. Still have 885s in the front with swaybar relocation kit, discos and paired with MT LT Rear coils and OME-60071L (extended length). Thank you superflexy on the cheap!!
•MT Offset RLLs

•No rear swaybar
Armor improvements:
•FJ Toyman rear shock skids

•Budbuilt DIFF skid

•OPOR RLL Skids

•ARB Bull Bar
•Pure FJ Sliders
Wheels and Tires:
• Vision Manx 17X8.5 0 Offset
•Spidertrax 1.25 spaces on front and back
•285-70-17 Cooper ST MAXX
•and of course the beloved BMC.
Exhaust:
•Dirty Deeds Industries custom Hi-tuck with BAMuffler

Exterior:
•Blacked out all silver bits
•Blackout hood decal
•BAJA rack drop-in basket

•DIY shovel mounts

•DIY Kayak rack

•Plenty of stickers for aerodynamics, increased HP and fuel economy
Interior/communications:
•Panavise Mount
•Uniden CB

•Brandi mount w/ 3' Firestick and quick disconnects
•USB (switched) in front console
•USB and 12V (un-switched) behind shifter

•DIY rear door storage rack (most of my recovery gear is stored here for easy access)

•Rugged ridge floor mats
Lights:
•IPF Spots and floods. Came w/ ARB and will upgrade when $$ and needs present themselves
•LEDs interior and amber LED mirror lights
Auxbeam S1-H4 LED headlight conversion
Diode Dynamics LED rear backup lights
Miscellaneous:
A-TRAC hack.
Recovery:
•Warn M8000
•SE Overland synthetic recovery line (haven't used yet, my steel is still good). And waiting to purchase the Factor 55 prolink before swapping out.
•Tree-saver
•Snatch strap
•Snatch block
•Shackles
•Hitch shackle
•Fire extinguisher
•Shovel and AX
VIAIR 400P
**First aid supplies on rear door



On Deck
⁃Upgrade factory headlights (LEDS or something. Haven't decided yet) -DONE!
⁃New UCAs when mine are finally done
⁃Finish a storage box that I've been procrastinating on for 2 years now
⁃Stereo upgrades
⁃And possibly an Overland trailer project this year in preparation for some adventures on the left coast!
 

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Re: Joabmc's Accidental Black Cherry Build

Awesome rig! Your wallet must be crying sometimes :grin Where did you mount the compressor? Near the jack compartment like most others?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Re: Joabmc's Accidental Black Cherry Build

Awesome rig! Your wallet must be crying sometimes :grin Where did you mount the compressor? Near the jack compartment like most others?

Thanks! I've been building in bits and pieces so feeding the addiction slowly. There are times when I can't hide my wallet and it gets the best of me! Ha!
The compressor is currently loose in the back. I've been mocking up a rack to attach to that side and secure it to a permanent location.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Re: Joabmc's Accidental Black Cherry Build

Great intro!

I like what you've done, all functional and with sensible investment...look forward to the evolution


Thanks! Functional but not always sensible LOL. If I'd stay out of the woods, I wouldn't need half of this crap.

Down the road, I'd like to regear and add a lefty transfer. And work on some more travel out of the front end.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Joabmc's Accidental Black Cherry Build

A few pics from the first trips after lift/ tires/ sliders. I figured that was the bare minimum to take it out and stretch its legs


Ended up working the winch pretty hard that day and learned that you can put the A-TRAC in timeout if you work it too hard. Point being, the truck was new to me, I wanted to get familiar w/ A-TRAC and was just playing with buttons in snow to see how they'd react. Lesson learned, A-TRAC wasn't much help there. Locked the Diff and went heavy on the skinny pedal.

Next trip with the Keystone Cruisers. Great group of guys with awesome rigs. Only FJC so of course they put me through the gauntlet!





Really fun group of folks that get together monthly. Sometimes with two trucks other times with 10

Got home, did some undercarriage inspection and realized I needed some protection.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Re: Joabmc's Accidental Black Cherry Build

Next up was the spring FJNortheaster run. First time with a bunch of other FJCs. Puts a completely different perspective on things. You get used to following 40s, 60s and 80s so it was nice to follow some rigs with the same wheelbase etc etc

And once again thanks to the endless amount of information here. I was able to do the A-TRAC hack just in time for the run. I'd had enough runs into to know that I needed both in certain situations to get the add boost to get over an obstacle


A rare FJC mating ritual!


The world famous dapurak build. It is bigger in person!

I'm starting to realize here that I need more travel in the rear.



A really fun event where you can talk about mods and see what other rigs are doing.
 

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Re: Joabmc's Accidental Black Cherry Build

Great build!
I love the DIY mods!
:cheers:
 
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Discussion Starter #13
Re: Joabmc's Accidental Black Cherry Build

Next trip for the FJ was OBX. I needed to increase storage but couldn't break the bank as spending a week midsummer isn't the cheapest trip. Of course I wanted a full rack but after searching, decided a drop-in basket would suite our needs.

Packed and ready for the 11 hour trek.


And some much needed relaxing and fishing




The BAJA rack did its job and for the few times a year that I use it, it does the job perfectly.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Re: Joabmc's Accidental Black Cherry Build

First trip with the Keystone folks to AOAA and some camping


Too many IPAs that night and lots of bad decisions, bad lines and headaches the next day.


A pretty fun place to explore. Tight in several areas but a challenge nonetheless.


The crossmember was not my friend that day.






 

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Discussion Starter #18
Re: Joabmc's Accidental Black Cherry Build

Stopping by to log some random thoughts and at this point gibberish. The build is going to go sideways for the next year as we've decided to take an extended trip (20 days) out west. We should log about 7K throughout the trip and I'm in the beginning phases of sorting data, looking at destinations, calculating miles and working on a to-do list.
The date hasn't been locked down but I'm looking at a window in late April to early May as a departure time.

My initial plan is as follows:
-Travel from PA to AZ with a stop in New Mexico.
-spend a few days in the Sedona area
-spend 2 days at the Grand Canyon
-then travel into Utah to spend a few days (3 minimum) in Canyonlands. (Currently studying this are very closely in the attempt to map a route that I'll get the most bang for the buck)
-then on to Moab for a day or two
-then off to CO
-will hit the Silverton/ Ouray/ Telluride area and more than likely spend a few days there.
-from there we'll look for some routes to take in more sites as we work our way into the central part of CO. Haven't decided on the final stop yet...
-and finally start the trek back home.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Re: Joabmc's Accidental Black Cherry Build

Based on this decision, I'm working on a to-do list as to outfit the rig for next year. Here are my current thoughts and areas I'll be focusing on.

Thanks to @Corey and @zerosFJ, I have the pieces needed to mount my tablet to the passengers side for a dedicated NAV setup and I'm currently working out which APPS I'll use. This will be paired with a Bad-Elf external GPS antenna. Along with gathering paper maps for a lot of the more remote areas.


I need to maximize storage and weight distribution so the trailer build is moving forward to ensure we can take some Camp comfort items

Decide on provisions for fuel and water (potable & non-potable)
-roof rack mount or new rear bumper w/ swingout

I have the design for my box finished and will post up pics soon as soon as I get it wrapped up.

Finish reviewing and get my HAM license and radio

Preliminary vehicle checklist:
-start gathering some spare parts of items that I can do a trail repair if needed
-complete fluid swap w/ in 90 days
-UCA upgrade
-second battery and better power management strategy

At this point the vehicle is the least of my concerns as I've addressed most of the FJ's weak spots and upgraded and replaced.

All of my recovery and first aid equipment will be inspected and more than likely beefed up a little.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Re: Joabmc's Accidental Black Cherry Build

Here are some pics from the 17 spring run

Can't stand the staging part so we always park in the back and look for an escape route

Wandered into what felt like a never ending rock garden




Gotta love the Coopers

A nice option for a place to park

And the long walk back after guiding through this section

Finally caught up and taking a break... sigh of relief as the carnage was minimal other than a taco'd RLL.
 
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