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Discussion Starter #1
Hey there,

I've really been blown away by the members here with all their assistance and guidance towards my questions, and I felt it was time to plant down and show you my build. Of course this will be ongoing and hopefully a long, long time as I really like this vehicle!

Maybe we'll get into a little about me later (so you know my strengths and weaknesses in the vehicle-modding game, so we can converse on those subjects to share knowledge), but for now, let's go over some pics of my FJ, especially in the first few days of ownership.

So, this was the day I test drove and purchased it, with ~81k miles.


She's also got a bit of the rust. Came from Minnesota as a one-owner, and it was a hard pill to swallow. All this because A: FJ's are friggin' rare, and B: Cavalry Blue is gorgeous. So, oh well:



Weird rub




I took care of the rust where I could by using Naval Jelly, Ospho, and some Rust Stop paint. I'll try to get some pics of that later, I sorta forgot about it as I was in a rush to get some more fun things done. I also didn't take pics of me wrangling the roof rack off, but I did have one helluva time with that. Thanks to some of your help, i was able to overcome. I was doing a few projects at once recently so I'll first go over the lift kit, and then the vinyl wrap work. So, after making a thread to go over suspension questions, I ordered the Toytec BOSS 2.0 kit with 650 lb springs up front, and Superflex coils in rear. What sealed it for me was the knowledge I picked up that Eibach builds these shocks for Toytec, and i really like Eibach's valving (in cars.) I also ordered JBA control arms, because as someone smart recently reminded me, "Buy once, cry once."

Unboxing pics are fun sometimes




Slapped in:


 

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Discussion Starter #3
Here's some pics of the next project, after getting the roof bare. Wrapped in Avery SW9000 Satin Black. If you're following along and want to wrap your roof, be sure to order plenty of material. I'd say 8-9 yards would do it. I ordered 5 yards at first (no flipping clue why so little), and managed to get the roof middle, rear door (PITA), rear panel, and front windshield molding. I had to order 4 more yards to complete the roof sides.


Not an easy vehicle to wrap, but then again I'm an amateur at wrapping and have only done a couple cars before. Wrapping around the glass was fun:






Here's the rest of it, not perfectly clean here up top but it looks good when clean:







Next up, will be the tires and wheels I ordered from Discount Tire Direct. Fuel Anza 17x8.5 -6 and 285/70-17 Milestar Patagonia M/Ts, set of 5. Should take some days to get it delivered as the tires were on order.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
This little guy has been a real peeve of mine since it was a year old. Bad metal? Electric current? Aliens?
View attachment 1093928
I know, right? I can't stand it. I ran mine through the rust-clearing process of Naval Jelly, and then Evap-O-Rust, painted gloss black, and slapped back in the parts and called it good for now. My truck also needs tons more of this love, but the whole thing isn't too rusted overall.
 

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I know, right? I can't stand it. I ran mine through the rust-clearing process of Naval Jelly, and then Evap-O-Rust, painted gloss black, and slapped back in the parts and called it good for now. My truck also needs tons more of this love, but the whole thing isn't too rusted overall.
I'd take a close look at the rear crossmember of the frame behind the rear plastic bumper. Thst seems to be a rust-magnet for lots of FJs.
 

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Car looks great. Wouldn't a gloss black roof look better, with the gloss black cavalry blue, instead of the matte finish?
 

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Car looks great. Wouldn't a gloss black roof look better, with the gloss black cavalry blue, instead of the matte finish?
Is this a question ? or your Opinion :nerd
 

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My door latches were the same and I just ordered some new ones from Toyota. They were only a few dollars and are nice and shiny now.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'd take a close look at the rear crossmember of the frame behind the rear plastic bumper. Thst seems to be a rust-magnet for lots of FJs.
Yeah, exactly right. I did get under there in the first week of ownership, and I took advantage of the fact that the dealer must have steam-washed the whole thing as it was very clean. I sprayed Ace Rust Stop in flat black in those areas, and they looked acceptable. I also hit with satin and gloss black in various areas all over the truck, especially as I was doing the suspension and other things under there. Time will tell if I did a good job or not, but it looks good now so I'll keep an eye on it.

Car looks great. Wouldn't a gloss black roof look better, with the gloss black cavalry blue, instead of the matte finish?
Thanks! I've wrapped using gloss black before, and two things held me back from using gloss again, at least in the Avery SW9000 material (which is all I really know how to wrap.) The gloss type shows the air release channels, even if you lay it down perfectly. So gloss wraps almost always have a little texture. My second reason is that the rest of the truck's black features like the trim, and the Fuel wheels to come, are satin/flat black. So I'm hoping satin flows better than gloss when it all gets complete. I wrapped a Ford Flex roof in Avery gloss black (which also began life as a white-topped vehicle) and it went "OK", but not perfect either. Learned a lot from that one and didn't charge the customer any labor for doing it, just materials.

Looking good. You’ve done a reslly tidy job on the wrap
Thanks! I respectfully disagree but I've also been up close with the wrap and I know all the imperfections I caused by various reasons. The first stage of the wrap (the main top center section), I wrapped on a hot, muggy day and it really got me. My sweat is trapped under the wrap in places, and some sections didn't lay down very well because of the extra stretch caused by the heat at the time. Always try to wrap in controlled conditions! I pushed anyway and it ended up a little "meh". Of course, its the top of the roof so I'm not judging it too harshly. I decided to separately wrap the roof rack delete clips, and time will tell if that was a good decision or if I should have wrapped the roof as one complete unit with the clips in place. For now, I give myself a 6/10 for wrapping this roof. I did a much better job on the sides though, and I'm very happy with those. Good thing, too, as those are highly visible.

One note: My white to blue paint line was wavy from the factory, and I had a crisis of confidence whether I should match that line with my vinyl, or snap a clean line of my own. I went with my own line which is actually more straight than the factory one. It is necessary to extend the line by at least 1/16" to clear the white from showing, too. That was a hard call as really close, it doesn't look great. About 5-10 feet away, it looks good though.

This rig should look really good once the wheels and tires arrive though!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
On the Audio topic

At some point, I'll need to dig into the audio, which is where my strengths are in the modification world. I want to first measure the response rate of the factory system, which honestly sounds pretty great to my ears (hence why it wasn't on the chopping block before suspension, the roof rack/wrap and wheels/tires). The FJ's sound system is the first factory system I've been satisfied with enough to not dig into and try to replace right away. We (my wife and kids) just moved across the country from Las Vegas, NV to Overland Park, KS to start the kiddos at a better school and build a better family-oriented life than Vegas can offer; I'm with my family for now, which is fine as they have a large, empty house and they wanted us to stay there while we shopped around for our own house. That means that pretty much all my primary tools, woodworking tools, and all that equipment is in storage though, and that means real fabrication work is on hold until I can move my stuff to my own place. I can do some basic work without all that, like dropping in drivers and doing deadening work.

My plan for the primary speaker side is to install Audiofrog GS690's in the door, and Kravchenko Audio "KAXBLTWT-M" tweeters in the factory location in the dash. For those tweeters, check 'em out online and you'll see why I am stoked to have another pair in my hands! I've used the Audiofrogs before as well, and there's nothing better for 6x9 sizing, IMO. I noticed that the factory locations are pretty much ideal for an acoustic image placed very nicely on the dash, especially for a factory system lacking any time alignment. I figure by improving on the factory speakers but by keeping those locations, I'll be ahead. I will be installing a Helix V-Eight processor/amp, I'm thinking under one of the seats, in a way that will protect it from weather/elements. I haven't yet figured out HOW, but I'm thinking of using cellular PVC instead of vulnerable MDF. I'll have to think it through, as this is the first vehicle I've run without some semblance of a protected trunk or hidden cargo area. The V-Eight is a 10 channel DSP, with 8 channels of 75W power, and I've run this processor in previous builds and it has never let me down in any way. I'll pair that with one of my Massive Audio N series sub amps, and I think I'll try pushing the factory sub a bit just to see how hard it can run with real power behind it.

For deadening, I plan on using Resonix and Knu Kolossus materials, and plenty of it. I also need to try and drop the headliner a second time (had to partially do it to get the roof rack off, another nightmare story for another day), and get some reflective insulation in there to combat the heat I'm adding by wrapping the roof black. Every mod has its price, but I bet that one will get to me by next summer, if I don't handle it. Also, for a well-built truck, it tends to rattle in bad places like the door panels, so deadening will be really important to get the right final result. Audio is usually good to tackle in the fall or summer, so I'll plan on working on this end of it here in a month or so.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So I got the last of the wrap done, and got a chance to bring it out in the daylight for final inspection. The top satellite radio bump was extremely difficult for me, and it isn't anywhere near perfect. In fact I'm certain I'll be redoing that part again sometime soon. Hell, it might get painted satin black or something, at this point. Just a huge PITA.

Anyway, this is it:







Will be installing these wheels once delivered, to finish it off, with Patagonia M/T's
 

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Today was a pretty great day. My order from Discount Tire Direct came in. A complete set of wheels and tires already mounted and balanced, with hardware. It is a shame they don't send extra lug nuts (even if you ask nicely) for the rear door spare, so I had to steal two lugs from the rear wheels to mount it, for now.

As they arrived. Very nicely packaged and protected.


I just love this look. Note also the fresh TPMS sensors w/ stems. I felt at this point, it was important to put new ones on, plus it meant they could deliver me complete assemblies to bolt and go.


This tire has a menacing tread!


Now the idea of a satin black roof looks more in-place, IMO.



Despite being "only" 285/70-17's on a 17x8.5 -6 wheel, the tires do rub on the rubber back there in front of the body mount area. So, I'll have to take those off and see how that goes. It was expected, given the tire tread is aggressive and Milestar tires appear to be true-to-size. Small price to pay, I think. My next thing is to work on the camera mount. Either paint it to reduce the ugly, or find a cover for it. Not a big deal but it would be nice to not show that in the back.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Here's the latest on my ride.

Youtube vids

this one goes over the issue discovered with harnesses on this year truck, also posted this in the audio technical section JIC.

this one hits an overview of the plan.

The weather took a turn on me, so now its a waiting game to get back out there and work on it. There's plenty to do, since the wiring has slowed me down dramatically. The plan of equipment is the same:

Head unit - Pioneer AVH-X2700BS
DSP/ Main Amp - Helix V-Eight (75W x 8, 10 channels of DSP)
Sub Amp - Massive Audio N3
Subwoofer - Factory FJ 8" ported sub (for now)
Front woofers - Audiofrog GS690
Front tweeters - Kravchenko Audio KAXBLWTWT-M tweeters
Rear speakers - OEM
Deadening - KnuKonceptz Kolossus

But the process will be more difficult because I need to wire pretty much everything directly now. Also my efforts to get the DSP/amp and sub amp under the seats will be hampered by the fact I need to get them LOW to clear the seats themselves. Scratching a $1000+ piece of equipment is not part of the plan.
 

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Nice rig. I am always chasing rust up here in the Northeast. I like to call it quality time under the rig. Good luck with it.
 

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Small update, I felt compelled to get at least something done so I trudged out in a wintery drizzle right after work, to try and at least accomplish a small task. I managed to solder up my iDatalink Maestro SW box, which is used for steering wheel control. This unit taps into connector E43, which is the 20 pin (2 row) smaller connector. The iDatalink website allows you to log in, and download specific instructions for your model year and your integration box. In this case, the website instructed me to connect pins 6, 7, and 8 to the SW box for proper connection. Those pins proved correct, but the color was wrong on one of the wires. So, that was just another one of those "oh crap" instances where you just have to take a chance. But, I test-powered the head unit and things work.

On that note, I was about to tap into the rearview camera to get a signal to the Pioneer DD, but at least for now, I think I'm going to skip it. I never really have had a problem with the rearview mirror display, despite it being a bit tiny. I think I would prefer to install a modern camera (or set of them) to use with this bigger screen, so that will be a "later" thing if any.

That's all I could get done before I started to turn into a frozen-cicle outside.
 

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Minor update, just dealing with mid-30 degree temps so things are going slow the last couple days. I've removed the jute from under the floor vinyl, since it was damaged by the previous owner in what I assume is salty snow melt.


I've replaced the flooring jute with 1/4" Neoprene, glued down with Sprayaway Fast Tack 92 spray contact adhesive. FYI this is about the only adhesive spray that consistently will glue down a material like this. Anyway, I got that down, and then I cut 1/2" cellular PVC board into shapes to match the equipment on each side, marked the boards with screw hole points, drilled, and hammered in T-nuts in 8-32 sizing, which is the right size for the equipment holes. As I fit the boards under the floor, I noticed that the underseat vents were shaped in a way that prevented the board from getting exactly in the place I wanted, so I cut the boards with a notch so the vent could slip in and nestle right in that notch on each side. These cellular PVC boards will become the base plate for the equipment. I glued these boards down with some extreme weather construction adhesive, and left it to cure:


Its too cold for tons of pics, sorry for the minimal visual here.

Here's my wiring to the gear, Monoprice CL2 Sheathed wire for all my speakers:

16 gauge 2 conductor for the tweeters
14 gauge 2 conductor for the woofers in the door
12 gauge 2 conductor for the subwoofer
16 gauge 4 conductor cable back to the subwoofer area to splice the rear D-pillar speakers

As soon as the early cold weather subsides, hopefully this weekend, I can trudge on in 40's and 50's to lay deadening and finish this version of the build.
 
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