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525 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Purchased in Nov. 2010....

The perfect vehicle for my lifestyle.....photographer, union camera operator, Car racer, district 37 moto racer.

In 1 year of ownership......No mods but lots of fun.

First trip (1 week after I bought it) was to vegas (for work) so I visited Red Rock for some inagural photo ops....

still had paper plates!!

Great for towing my "small/light" racecar....I race with VARA (vintage auto race assoc.) 1969 1602 BMW. I built the car myself.....cage, paint, rust resto, name it.

On the way to my friends shop for some work....

Got a hitch mount for my Dirt Bike!!

(taken at Cahullia creek MX track)

After a day of muddy fun at Gorman

After my 1st place finish at the Glen Helen Grand Prix!!

Packing the "mule" with alot of movie making gear....(shooting a movie in NM) I'm always amazed at the amount of gear I can carry in the FJ!!

It did all fit! I had to polish up my Tetris skills!!!

Also got a special hitch mount for my "Handfree" segway that I use for work.

In case you were wondering what I use the segway for........I'm a "Steadicam" owner operator. I can ride it or mount my steadicam arm to it and do many kind of amazing shots for movies (up to 12mph) with the segway. Offroad and onroad.

Here is me riding the segway with my steadicam and a ARRI alexa camera. Check out my offroad can see my FJ in the background....

you can see the steadicam arm actually mounted to the segway. In this configuration the segway carries the weight instead of me. Pretty cool huh?

Speaking of my job......I got a rental for the FJ the other day! I used it as a "camera car". It's one way to make the payment!!

In this scenario I have a specially made hitch mount that I attach my steadicam arm. I lock the door open, which makes for a great windblocker! This is how sometimes we do car shots in movies....

This is me testing it out during the day (night shoot).....there is no camera on my steadicam since I was just testing....

Crazy fun stuff!! Yes I'm blessed to have such a cool job. I'm living my dream. it's not easy going and it's a tough business but I'm making my way....

So after a great fun year of ownership and paying off some bills.....I finally did my first MOD!!!

The desperately needed upgrade in the audio dept.!!!! So that first up!

My intentions are to own this car for a loooong time. I just can't imagine a more perfect car for my life.

So I have big plans for it in the future!

I've decided to keep the suspension stock for awhile a forgo the 3" lift or the suspension lift ladder......and just save up all my pennies for a ultimate LT setup.

-Possible flat black wrap job
-Total Chaos LT front and rear
-Baja tube bumper
-allpro rear bumper
-New wheels/tires
-Custom roof rack.

Like I needed another "Hobby" in my life.

Good thing I'm not married and have no kids or this would all be a pipe dream.

I Hope to have some time off and do a trail run with some of you guys soon!!

I have tons of tarmac racing experience (intructor with NASA) and race dirtbikes.........but absolutly NO wheelin' experience at all!!

but that will change soon!

525 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
1st MOD........Audio

1st MOD........Audio

After a year without any mods ( a record in my life) the first project is I'm not a audiophile by any means but the stock sound is just weak. I needed a upgrade but didn't want to break my pocketbook.

believe it or not this is the first "system" i have ever purchased! I'm more of a performance parts guy.....

Plus I need Bluetooth hands free for my iphone and there is no way I'm wearing a stupid headset earpiece thingie.

My friend told me to make the drive out to his buddies shop in thousand oaks and I would be happy........boy was he right.

BIG 2 thumbs up to the price and service given by Steve at Al&Ed's in thousand oaks! he was competitive with online prices and gave great service and installation.

Here's what I got...

-Dynamat on the doors
-Kenwood Bluetooth/iphone/pandora/HD radio head unit KIV-BT901
-Rockford Fosgate Punch 300w AMP (4ga wire from battery mounted under passenger seat) Lots of power in a small package.
-Focal Access 165A1 component speakers 6.5" in the doors and tweeters to replace the 4" in the dash. Also the kit comes with crossovers.

and finally...

JL Audio 8" sub box that fit PERFECTLY in the rear area and is $500 cheaper than the custom JL stealthbox. I mounted it in the same area in the right rear corner. It is 5" thick and only 18" long so it fits perfect. I can stack my equipment cases and it doesn't stick out and reduce my cargo carrying capacity....the sub is amazingly powerful for it's size due to the ports I belive.....I love it!!!
Al & Ed's Autosound - JL Audio Microsub™ Enclosed Subwoofer System With Single 8w3v3-4 Subwoofer Driver

I can say the the system sounds amazing for the money I spent. The iphone interface in the Kenwood is great and easy to navigate and use. I love how the music turns off when a call comes in etc.....I can go to "private mode" if I want during the call....also I have the option to control the iphone from the phone if I want to.

so far there is little to complain about the setup....I think I will be happy for years to come.....

Now mounting the sub.....

I fabricated some bracket's from some junk steel in the garage in a few mins in the garage and sprayed them....

Here they are in the car.

Fits PERFECTLY over the rear wheel well you can see it does not protrude past the wheel well plastic so I can still slide in my cases. Plus if I want to I can remove the sub for additional cargo room in a few mins.

Here It is....the mighty JL boom it's new home.


525 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
KNOB mod....

Always completely hated the stock knob.....saw a picture of aftermarket knob on another forum member's build thread....bam! Thanks ebay....

Once it showed up...I threaded the stock shift rod down to where I wanted.

Hacked it off with my angle grinder (cutoff wheel)....and threaded the new knob on.....

I love the new knob height and it looks 1 million times better IMHO.


525 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Bumper mod....errrr


Nice solid airbag deployment. Everyone was okay.

I have my insurance with AAA and they have handled it with flying colors.

The driver I hit has got an attorney (she was fine and refused an ambulance) so I'm not going to go into details on the incident.

Got my car fixed and instead of the stock bumper......naturally I went with a Damello 3 hoop!!!

so at least something positive came out of it.

Got it today after 4 weeks (as they promised)

It arrived extremely well wrapped. Thanks!

My car was ready before the bumper was so I was driving without a bumper for a week or as many have said the hardest part about installing the bumper was already done......removing the stock one...

first up is removing the center support beam.....but leave the ones on the sides....they seam to need to be there to mount the headlights.

The rest of the install was super easy.....with a buddy helping me we just lifted the bumper into place and I opted to use the stock studs (they did send me new hardware.)

left them loose and lined everything up as best I could. and tightened them.

Here it is...

next up was triming the fender liner and spray painting the resevoir black (until I can offord the relocation bottle kit)

You can see how ugly the washer fluid bottle is now...

grabbed some tin snips and went to work...

Trimmed....and secured

Then used some flat black spray paint to paint everything down there black including the new shiney bolt heads.

Looking good!!!

My only complaint would be a better tube notch fit on the extra hoop tubes....not a really good notch so the tubes kinds sit too much on top on the main hoop. Maybe the fabricator in me is the only one that cares...also the welding on the inside of the bumper was great.....on the tubes was not so the end it's not a big deal....It's just as a welder I care about the small details...

Here we are all finished!!!

Glad to have my buddy back.....looking better than ever!

525 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Finally added sliders!

Finally added sliders!

Sold some take off parts from the racecar project and figure I just transfer the money over to the FJ.

Good timing too, since ALLPRO was having a sale!

As they arrived,

all done and installed.....

Little by little.......if I land a job on a big movie this year then will be the big upgrade!

I'm keeping the suspension all stock.....instead of upgrading as time goes by, then selling and upgrading.....a process many of us know all too well.......this time I'm trying to hold and wait........then buy the ultimate setup.

Planing on the long travel 3.5 kit in the front....not sure about the rear yet.

525 Posts
Discussion Starter #6

I had a job shooting a beer commercial up in Mammoth last week and took a detour and went exploring in Lone Pine on the way back in the "Alabama Flats" movie rd. area.

here some pics..

My office for the day....

The second day we shot in lone pine after we wrapped I went exploring and looking for trails......

reached the end of the trail.....

a look back from the top of the trail....

hahahah....look what I found.....Om nom nom nom!

yeah I know I'm a lucky bastard to have such a cool job takes me places like this.....

525 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
another detour....

Went to vegas for a trade show and took a little detour on Zyzxx rd. and played around in the salt flats....

Had fun ripping around the flats.....

then almost got stuck in the the not so "dry" lakebed.....

It took all I had to get out of there........that mud was very tacky and very slick....alot more than I thought....almost...thought I was going get stuck.

525 Posts
Discussion Starter #8

No upgrades lately.....but went out to Mojave with some friends of mine to try to catch a shot of the Leonid metor shower and ride our dirt bikes....

here some shots from our awesome weekend...

What a morning!!

The night sky was incredible....

Managed to catch one metor !!!!!!!

My Deluxe sleeping accomodations inside the FJ....

DOUBLE rainbow with the morning showers.....

Time to ride!!

then got rewarded with a massive nail in my tire.....

Incredibly beautiful weekend in the wet and cold desert......


525 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
finally the big day...

Ok......I just finally did it.

Dropped some serious cash over at Dirty Parts today.....

Gave myself a massive early Christmas/Birthday gift today.

Almost cried when Larry ran my card but I hope to soon forget all that when I take the FJ out to a trail with the new upgrades.

After 2 years of driving around a totally stock FJ (minus the DO bumper) I can't wait for my FJ to look and perform like I always wanted it to.

Also just hit 30,000 doing some maintanance and some upgrading....going be a busy few days in the garage once all the parts come in.

Lots of installation and new and improved pictures coming soon.....

Oh yeah.... also got 6th place this sunday at the Big 6 Pala GP


525 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
all Pro Rear bumper

Took advantage of the recent All Pro Sale and got myself a Rear "Apex" Bumper.

Showed up amazingly well packaged (compared to my Damelo front bumper) in this box....great first impression.

I looked up some directions online.....bumper came off easy....looked at a bunch of pictures on how to cut up the stock bumper.....

The long cut across the top.....I left a bit more than the instructions said...

As hindsight is 20/20 I would of left more of the stock bumper in place....still I went against AP instructions and left a strip that runs along the bottom to a bolt to secure the small remaining piece....

I read that a lot of people don't even bother with the smaller bolts on the side of the frame rail.... I figure since im towing with the bumper these extra "shear" points might help a bit....and why not? Marked it while the bumper was on for a trial fit...drilled the frame with the specified drill bit size and the "self tapping" bolts just went right in like butter....

Then spray painted the area black because on the trial fit I saw that the gap was bigger than I thought and that you might see some of the silver through the gap.

Here is the finished result....and the final gaps.....

The final result.......very nice..... While the gaps might look bad in the pictures....not that bad in person.....I managed to "massage" the bumper in and
did my best to keep the gaps EQUAL as possible...

I look at the gaps with a grain of's an offroad vehicle (not and sports car)....and you do need room for body movement on the frame...

The the best my bike sits much higher now that I'm using the built in high clearance hitch....

another shot of the finshed "seam" from old bumper to all pro.


525 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Early Christmas & Birthday presents to myself!

Early Christmas & Birthday presents to myself!

I've been waiting 2 years to do this....was seriously considering LT but after much research....decided the gain wasn't worth the hassle and cost.

I have a feeling this will serve me just perfectly....

Lots of hard work paying off.....nice to drive home with a full trunk of winning!

Here is the Payload.....

Nitto Terra Grapplers 285/75/16
Method Wheels 16"
Icon Stage 6 suspension kit

30k miles service so....
Redline Diff oil (replaced)
Redline Trans case (replaced)
Engine oil&Filter (replaced)

Surprised all the tires fit in there....

......and the motherload......

Not sure which sidewall design to go with....

Install we go....

Install we go....

Read the poor Icon instructions a few a few posts on the forums and went to work.....

I really wasn't prepared for how massive the lower arms are.....damn....really nice stuff.......really nice.

pre-greasing the bushings.....with some Mobil1

Did i mentions this **** is really nice????? damn...serious gear head eye candy.

OMG..........the stock parts look PATHETIC next to the Icons.....

I installed all the rear arms with the car on the ground.

When it came time to put the shiny parts in I just used a ratchet strap to line the holes up....worked like a charm. He I am using a ratchet strap and the jack to get the panhard bar in just the right position for the bolt to just slide in.


Springs...go in...

Taking old shocks out....use a vice grip to lock the's the upper portion where there is no shock travel so a bit of scarring on the shaft is case I ever need these again...

Stock vs. awesome sauce.

Rear all done!!!!!

Assembling the upper control arms....this really should come assembled...nag, nag, nag.

I used the nut from the other arm to jam the shaft so I could tighten the 1/2 12point nut on top and torque it....

Boring vs. exciting.

Voila! The driver side was easier than I expected....the battery didn't really get in the way too much getting the bolt out...

Thing of beauty...

One thing NO install post mentioned......

on the passenger side front the windshield washer bottle is TOTALLY in the way right where the off came the whole thing......I guess now I HAVE to get the expedition one relocation kit.......bummer....kinda., many, hours later....busted bleeding knuckles.....

525 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
The final Result......

The final Result......

By the way.....I went 4 full turns in on the front coils preload....

Man these tires are'em so far..... Not that much noiser than my All-terrains....really....I'm surprised! Even on the freeway....the handle the corners well....and I'm sure they will kick ass in the dirt.

.....and the wheels.........well.....I'm in love.

ALignment ALL done and wheels installed......before and after wheels/tires

It's amazing how much it changes the look and feel of the car.....

Here is my crowing picture for the moment.....

Saturday It's getting dirty!!!! (or muddy with all the rain we getting)

Nite and day....yes.....

A bit stiffer overall but not harsh.

The lift really changes the way the car feels and handles.....that said the stiffer suspension and tires....not to mention the wider stance did make the car actually better in the tarmac twisty stuff. It outweighed the raising of the CG.

Hopfully will be able to do a better review once I get more dirt miles under me but I have a huge DIP close to my house and I know it very well.....I know how my stock FJ took pretty much bottom out at 30mph.....Now I can take it at 40mph and it is bearly noticable....not even close to bottomming does that with out being stiff...which is was I was afraid of. Ruining the street ride quality.

Because some jeeps I have been in suck on the street. I didn't want that.

I'm very happy so far.

The only problem now is I just want to go ahead and get all the stuff on my list all at once....have the car just be "done". I hate waiting and driving around with important things the skids....and the hi-lift....and lights...

One my biggest complaints about the stock FJ is that the stock headlights are some of the worst stock headlight of any car I have ever owned. Can't wait to get some real lights on the car.

Whats left?

Bud Build Skids
R. Rack
Lights xenon
Lights LED
HI-lift and some trail "gear/tools"
5th matching spare.

and maybe a roof tent...

525 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
First black diamond trail....

I wanted to go on the Dishpan run with the forum guys but decided it was out of my experience level and was worried about not having skids yet.

I have never done a real trail I have been racing cars and bikes since I was a teenager and recently started racing in district 37 offroad events. I even used to ride trials.....which taught me to look at a pile of rocks or obstacles and find a line before I I have confidence in my skills on the trail....still having never done a real trail before...I thought it best to do something a bit less extreme....

So I remembered seeing 4x4's when I would ride at Rowher OHV.....perfect....woke up early and headed off.

When I got there I realized both trails Rowher and Lookout....were black diamond rate......ow well....I had ridden up them a couple years ago and remember them being hard but not out my comfort zone....I do remember a few sections being kinda difficult.

I aired the tires down to 20psi...I figured if I get stuck I can always air down to 15psi see if it helps.....good starting point anyway. I was surprised on how well the truck handled with 20 psi in the tires.....these nitto's are stiff!!!!

clean truck and the trailhead for Lookout.

When your a beginner....everything looks intimidating...I wouldn't even blink at this hill if I was on my dirtbike!!!

the new Nittos.....perfectly suited to the wet conditions

Why do pictures make all these hillclimbs look so easy.....???

made it!!!!!! a few sketchy a bit stuck on a steep rock climb even.....went into 4 low and locked the rear diff....boom went right up.

Now having made it to the top.......I am full of overconfidence.

Did I mention how much I love my new tires and rims????

Everything was frozen from windchill at the top.

Even the mud puddles were frozen....I took care of that.

THese tires FLING off mud at an alarming rate!

Thin coat of snow at the top....

Such a beautiful day......

Time to go up and down the Rowher trail...

Getting ready to go down the Rowher trail

first time on 3 wheels!!!

going down was interesting ...but then coming back up was easier than Lookout. There was only one section I had to stop and get out and re-evaluate my back in and went right up....

Found a Magical spot to eat some lunch at the top....

Took the ridge line fireroad (still rowher I think) all the way to the bottom of the valley again....and on one of the fireroad off shoots...I came across the hill....realize people drive up the thing......decided to park my car up on the hill for a poser photo-op.

At this point I thought to myself.....I can't just pose for the picture.....I have to try it...

It was my first time doing something like this and the feeling of seeing just your hood and sky is very un-nerving....quite scary. Especially without a spotter.

So I decided to try it........First I set up my camera on a tripod and video the attempt. If anything went wrong at least I have a video for youtube infamy.

Much to my drove right up like I was pulling into my carport in my apartment........hahahahaha!

The FJ especially now with the new suspension and tires just blows me away.....I will have so much fun continuing to push my limits and explore the trails in CA.

I stopped by the "4x4 practice area" found everything to be totally I just decided to take the famous Flex picture.

here's me at full tuck.

Full droop.....

I drove alot of terrain.......In the rock crawling type stuff the new ICONIZED FJ was incredible.... Driving fast on the fireroads and hitting some big whoops and bumps I was amazed at how well everything got handled by the suspension.

all in all it was the perfect first day with what feels like a whole new car.

As the sun set early.....I headed home dirty and with a big grin. Feeling ready for a more challenging trail.....

Here the little video I shot of me going up the ledge.....

looks boring even....hahaha.....well it got my heart going...but still it was the first time I tried something like I know the limit is much higher.....It's one thing trashing a $2000's another in a car I spent years to afford! Makes you think twice when you attempt questionable acts with your toy.

Testing out my new ICON stage 6 suspension on my FJ Cruiser - YouTube

525 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Re: M3pedro's build.....

Couple of stocking stuffers presents for the FJ...

PIAA Silcone wipers recommended by Larry of Dirty parts....and with all the rain in the last couple of days... they have been working overtime and are really amazing.....Totally recommend them.

Due to my ICON reservoirs making me remove my windshield resi.....I finally broke down and got a Expedition one relocation kit.


525 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Mojave shooting trip....

Went out to Mojave with my girl and some friends to shoot his new Ruger 10/22.

Had fun driving fast on some of the roads out there as well....

My girlfriend shooting my friends modified Ruger 10/22

After some quick pointers I had her shoot my Springfield 1911

We had fun shooting Christmas tree balls....

After asking nicely.......I think I have a new possible 2013 FJ calendar entry. Thanks babe for being a sport in 40 degree weather....

It was a awesome day in the desert!!

525 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Happy birthday!!!!

Went up to Big Bear for a day of free snowboarding for my birthday....

The cabin I got was and my girlfriend loved it....... was great.

everything worked great.....

Drove right past the checkpoint. They took one look at my FJ and waved me by.

It had snowed the night my surprise, the trail grapplers performed amazing. I was surprised the amount of traction.

and as you can see in some of the pictures the wide lugs also cleaned out in deep snow....

Here some pics...

here some cabin pictures.... so cool 100+ year old cabin.....

Once again my beautiful girlfriend was nice enough to model for me and make my FJ look even better....


2007 FJC 4x4.
9,925 Posts
Re: M3pedro's build.....

Fantastic build and very nice pictures! Congrats on the outcome!

2,595 Posts
Re: M3pedro's build.....

Cool pictures. Your FJ looks great!! :bigthumb:
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