We've put about 30,000 miles on the FJ in the time we've had it, so I decided to replace the spark plugs. Previous owners have appeared to have taken excellent care of it, so I didn't think they were too old, but I ordered some anyway. I went with the OEM-spec Densos. What I removed were OEM-spec NGKs from both sides, but the gap had opened to .053 on all of them. I cleaned the MAF sensor while I had the plastic cover off. Not a hard job at all, which just one bracket in the way on the driver side. I was tempted to remove it completely and leave it off, but decided against it once I realized I just needed to loosen the bottom bolt enough to flop the bracket out of the way.
I still plan on fixing the pics, but it'll probably be sometime later this year. I've got some time off around Thanksgiving that may provide enough lousy weather for me to find the time indoors. Until then, I'm enjoying every minute of this year.
It was a cold, rainy night, so I made a bunch of progress on restoring pictures. There's only a handful left to dig up as they were originally linked from an album other than my FJ pics. There's some new stuff to add as well...
I've always had a bottle opener mounted somewhere on my rigs. So much of the exterior on the FJ is plastic that the usual options weren't available. After some extra thought and finding a new style of opener, today the FJ received the one basic mod it has been missing.
It's been a quiet winter for us. I've taken advantage of nice days here and there to apply some waterproofing to the rain fly on RTT and both awnings. I'm pretty impressed with the stuff I used from Starbrite. You can find it at Bass Pro and Amazon. I used a $10 pump sprayer from Amazon to apply it and it went on quickly and easily.
A couple weeks ago I heard a strange wine when backing into my parking spot at work. I noticed the dummy volt gauge looked low and switched the ScanGauge over. I was only getting in the low 11s. We replaced the alternator and upgraded to the Taco 130 amp model.
Last weekend I replaced the rear shocks' upper bushings. The previous owner installed the Rough Country spacer lift and didn't quite get things right with the bushings and washers. Only one of the bushings wasn't split and falling out. The most cost-effective replacement I found was some eBay poly bushings. I dug through my parts bin and came up with the missing washers, so that's all good now.
Last year I had bought a set of gently used adjustable Bilsteins for the front to replace the spacer lift. I finally got around to throwing those in today. It was fun getting into the suspension on the FJ. The only other IFS rig I've had was an S-10 with torsion bars. There was a lot to loosen up, but overall the job was pleasant. I ran into one stripped upper strut stud on each side, but didn't have too hard of a time. The passenger side came loose with some needlenose Vise grips and the driver side freed up after some persuasion from an air chisel. We're keeping the driving to a minimum thius weekend and we'll get it aligned next week.
Getting those spacers out has increased my confidence in the front suspension, so I'll be looking to try some trails with it soon!
I charged up the inReach and started synching some maps for an upcoming trip next month. I usually just throw it in the cup holder, but I thought mounting out of the way might be nice. On past rigs, I've fabricated far more stuff on my own than I have on the FJ. Now it's like everything you could want for your rig is just a click away. It felt great to take this (albeit insignificant) piece from concept to paper to reality. I love using math and tools, and I'm proud of this little personal touch I was able add to our FJ.
The long-term goal is a 12v refrigerator and some solar to keep things topped off, but I'm still shopping on that. I definitely needed some additional cold capacity to extend my trips a bit though. In the mean time, I snagged this 55 quart Lifetime for less than $100.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly... Bigger coolers take up more space and things have to be reconfigured a bit. I like to limit cargo to being behind the seats so the passenger can recline and sleep on long trips. I found a loading configuration I liked, but I couldn't shut the back door easily. I needed just a bit more room, so I unlatched the rear seat back and took a look. I thought of the Ventlock stuff the guys use for the back glass and poked around the garage to see what I could find. How about a carabiner and a quick link?
It sits straight up now, but it's still usable and gave me plenty of extra room.
My full Beverly Hillbillies load out. It rode 450 miles of highway and 100 miles of trail without issue.
Back to GWNF for another 4 days!
Pulled in to the usual spot after looking around at some of the other sites in the area.
The sun dips behind the hills fast in that spot, so I setup to stay for the night.
While waiting on some friends to come in, I checked out some trails, camp sites, and other points of interest.
Once my friends showed up, we re-ran everything again and I got to show them what I'd seen. We went up to Reddish Knob for lunch and tried to go on to Flagpole, but got turned back by the Forest Service doing a controlled burn. Somewhere in the weekend, I sliced a sidewall. It was the first time I've ever gotten trail damage to any tire on any vehicle.
20-year-old Hi Lift to the rescue! The rock rails made it so easy.
On 4 good tires again, time to relax and play it safe for the trip out and home.
It isn't a build thread without new parts! The AT hikers say you pack your fears. Running out of fuel in the middle of nowhere is mine. It's not the prettiest addition, but it would get me out of a jam. This is the JM1 from Refined Cycle.