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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
April 2018 Member of the Month: Inglorious

We'd like to congratulate Inglorious – Will for being selected as the April 2018 Member of the Month!

Hayden: Tell us a bit about yourself (Family/pets, work/school, hobbies/interests, location, etc.)

Will: I’m honored to be selected as this month’s member of the month, although it somehow seems fitting for this to be posted on April’s fools day.

I’m 36 years old living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with my fiancée and our menagerie of pets. No two-legged kids yet but our five rescued four-legged ones keep us plenty busy. Even though I was born in this area, I moved around a bit growing up before we settled right outside of Madison, Wisconsin where I spent my formative years… leading to my love of cheese and beer.

After high school I earned my degree in electrical engineering which eventually led me to Iowa working in the avionics industry where I’m currently a project manager for one of the leaders in our industry. Aside from the FJ world my hobbies include cooking, traveling, homebrewing and fishkeeping, all of which do a good job of occupying my time.

Hayden: How did you come to own an FJ Cruiser? Is the FJ Cruiser your first off-road vehicle? If not, what was the first vehicle you took wheeling?

Will: The first time I ever laid eyes on a FJ Cruiser was at a car show many years ago where it was making the circuit still as a concept vehicle. I immediately fell in love with the styling, the combination of form and function while having a look that was completely unique. I knew right then and there that I needed one if it ever went into production. Fast forward many years to when I heard the announcement that the FJ was going to be discontinued in the U.S. and I finally took the leap and purchased one and haven’t looked back since. I’ve owned trucks my entire life, but none of them were ever built up for wheeling, this is the first vehicle I’ve ever taken off-road on purpose but it won’t be the last.

Hayden: How/when were you first introduced to the forum and what made you decide to join?

Will: I was a lurker for quite sometime before making the decision to buy my own FJ. Once I knew one would be mine in the near future I joined up so I could ask questions about what to look for, what to avoid, etc. The helpfulness of everyone here along with the inspiration from all of the other builds has kept me coming back.

Hayden: What modification is your favorite or is the most worth the money/time/effort that you’d recommend it to someone else?

Will: While I’ll always be a big fan of the mods that are the most visually striking, including the Demello Evil-eye bumper, lift, and Bushwacker flares, my favorite mods are actually the smaller ones that are the most useful. I’ve swapped out every stock bulb for LED except for the headlights which were retrofit with a HID kit from TRS which gives better visibility overall. In addition, I added LED pods to the rear bumper to allow me to see while in reverse. I’m a big believer that there is no such thing as too much light.

Hayden: What upgrade is your least favorite, or what modification would you do differently if you had to do it over again?

Will: There aren’t any mods that I completely regret per-se, but there are a few that I would change if I had the chance. It only took a few weeks of ownership in the winter to realize that the stock tires had to go so I got a set of the forum favorite Duratracs. While I love them, at the time I had no intention of adding a lift and was horrified at the thought of performing a BMC and cutting up my new ride, so I stuck with the stock sized 265s. Now I’m looking at a new set of 285s although there is still a lot of life left in my current set.

The other upgrade that I would skip is the set if Spyder front bumper corners with fog/driving lights. Once again, I liked them quite a bit for adding that unique touch but they are now long gone since I’ve replaced the entire bumper with a heavier duty one. The only regret with these is not having a better long-term vision when I added them.

Hayden: What has been your favorite thing about owning an FJ Cruiser?

Will: Too many things to pick just one. I love the community and comradery, this is the best group of car owners that I’ve ever met. I also love the fact that I know I own something completely unique and not very often seen around here. Even after four years I still constantly get looks, comments, and catch people taking pictures.

Hayden: Has anyone on the forum inspired your build or been a go-to resource for you?

Will: There’s not one single person that’s been an inspiration, more of the community as a whole. I’ve taken different ideas from many different builds and made them work for me.

Hayden: Where all have you been with your FJC? What trail/park/location is your favorite?

Will: Our favorite place will always be Ouray, we’ve been to Summit the last three years and are looking forward to our fourth journey. In fact, we got engaged there last year although the mudslides on Imogene ruined my plans of it happening on our favorite trail. Other than that, we haven’t been off-roading outside of Iowa, and unfortunately there are no public areas to go to. This has limited me to a few private parks, one is called “Make It or Break It” where I go with the local chapter of the TLCA and the second is known only as “The Farm” that is frequented by the local club.

Hayden: Is there a trail/park/location you haven’t visited yet that you would like to take your FJ to someday?

Will: Moab is definitely on the top of the list. One year we’d like to work it into our Summit vacation. Also, on the list are trips to the Appalachian Toyota Roundup as well as the Texas Jamboree. On a more local level I’d also like to finally be able to join one of the club visits to The Cliffs which is only a few hours away.

Hayden: How is Iowa’s local FJ community? Ever have any wheeling trips, get-togethers, or wrenching days with fellow forum members or other off-roaders?[/ COLOR]

Will: Iowa doesn’t have much of a FJ specific community, but the jeep and other off-road clubs have been very welcoming even if there is a lot of good natured trash talking. There is one other forum member that is also part of the local community but we’ve never been able to make the same trips here. Ironically the first time we wheeled together was last year in Ouray.

Hayden: What has been the most memorable experience with your FJ Cruiser?

Will: The one that will forever stand out was on Imogene pass a few years ago. While doing one of the water crossings everyone else took the right path but for some reason I decided to try the middle route. This led to one of my front wheels finding a low spot which resulted in me doing a nose stand on the bumper with both rear wheels off the ground. Luckily after the oh **** moment passed and I collected myself I was able to easily back out with the only damage being some missing powdercoating on the tow points. Unfortunately no one was able to snag a picture of that moment.

Hayden: What do you enjoy the most about the FJCrusierForums?

Will: All the ideas and inspiration. Whenever I think I’ve seen it all along comes someone with a new idea to take on things. This usually results in me wanting to spend more money.

Hayden: What has the FJCruiserForums done for you and what do you feel you contribute to the forum the most?

Will: The forums have been the single biggest inspiration in wanting to get out and explore, to push my FJ further than I otherwise would have been comfortable, and to constantly be working on making it a better ride.

Hayden: In a world without new FJ Cruisers being built, do you plan on keeping yours forever or upgrading eventually to a newer model year or other vehicle model/brand in general?

Will: Since I can’t ever get a new FJ Cruiser I don’t plan on ever letting this one go. We’ve already talked about it and if we ever need more room then we’ll add a 4Runner to the family but we can’t let something this unique and irreplaceable go. Eventually I’d like to add a classic FJ40 to the collection as well.

Hayden: What do you expect to be in your FJs future build-wise/travel-wise/etc?

Will: I currently have a Demello aluminum 3-piece rear bumper as well as a full set of Ricochet aluminum skids sitting in the garage waiting for the weather to improve enough for me to install them. I’d like to eventually add heated seats as well for those -20° mornings. I want to mount and hardwire my air compressor as well for the added convenience.

Hayden: What final advice do you have for someone new to the FJ Cruiser or the Forum?

Will: Use the forums to your advantage, there is a wealth of knowledge here and anything you’re thinking about trying has probably already been done and has a write-up. Also make sure to plan your build out in advance so you don’t end up redoing mods because your vision changed. Finally, it’s always better to be patient and save up for what you really want then to get into a hurry and buy something cheaper just so you can have it now. You’ll just end up replacing it anyways. Like the saying goes “Buy once, cry once”


I Have a V-8!! Moderator
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Congratulations!! Great story and rig. You should come down to Tuttle Creek in KS sometime, although it's a bit further of a drive for you.

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Congratulations Will. You’re so right when you speak about this forum and the community here..I would have never started wrenching on my own FJ without the help of the members and all the information posted here. It’s hard to find a nicer, more helpful crowd than what we have here. I had to chuckle when reading your “April Fools” comment.

I remember reading a few of your posts where you reference your you weren’t kidding..we are polar opposites in that department my friend my dwarfish 5’4” limited height🤣. Congrats again!!

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