Brian: Tell us a bit about yourself...
Nestor: I’m currently living in Vallejo, CA. where Mare Island Naval Shipyard is located and about 23-mile Northeast of San Francisco. I have been a member of AARP for 10-years, so I’m sure members have no problem guessing my age. I only have a son and he is a successful computer graphics/games animator. My wife is very supportive when it comes to modding. Her only complain on the FJ is the height, too difficult for her to get in and out.
Born and raised in the Philippines, in the northern part of the biggest island called Luzon. My family migrated to USA in 1983 for better opportunity to move ahead in life. I have an engineering background but was lured to the Computer Industry/Information Technology. For the last 12-year, I was a contractor/technical consultant for the DoD- Army/Navy/National Guard.
Brian: Is the FJ Cruiser your first offroad vehicle? If not what was the first vehicle you took wheeling?
Nestor: Our town is very close or at the footstep of the Sierra Madre Mountains, the longest mountain range in the Philippines, highest peak at 6,069 feet. When I was growing up, logging is the main industry in our region because of the abundant growth of the Narra tree, a hardwood, which is purplish, is termite resistant and rose-scented. Our offroad (or make your own roads) vehicles are the WWII surplus Weapons and Personnel (6-wheeler) carriers.
The logging concessions have a fleet of FJ40 and FJ45 that they are used to supervised the roads and the whereabouts of the logging trucks. I was amazed of their offroad capabilities and most of the times are being used to pull out stuck logging trucks.
So when the FJ Cruiser came out, I bought one in March 2007 without even doing a test drive.
Brian: What modifications have you done to your FJ Cruiser to date?
Nestor: As I put in my signature… Mods too long to list. I don’t even a build thread since I don’t have the time to sit down for hours to put words and pictures together, so my son helped me put together a website for NestahEdition.
Brian: You’ve made a number of innovative and unique modifications to your FJ Cruiser when it comes to electronics (FireStik setup, HID retrofits, etc). Tell us a bit about how you got into these electrical projects and which of them was your favorite?
Nestor: The abundance of WWII surplus military vehicles like the Army (Willys) Jeep, conversion and improvisation is very common practices in our family or in our town. We rebuild engines, transmission, differentials and make custom wiring harness to sustain and prolong the vehicles usability till they die due to rust.
I think the flimsy antenna does not belong on a truck and the need to enhance the rugged look of my FJ came about. The Firestik antenna got my attention but to adapt it to the FJ antenna base is the challenge. I did about a month of research, trial and error to create an adapter to reduce the stud size from 3/8” to M5 (5mm).
I was always fascinated by the halos on the BMW headlights, so I began to play around with projector lens kits from overseas which are cheaper to mesh around with. I created various shrouds/light accent configurations to make every custom retrofitted headlights more interesting.
The Toyota OEM navigation unit is the center of my electronics upgrade.
The integration of the backup camera is my favorite and I think a must have on the FJ. As mod funds became available, I was able to add Parrot Bluetooth, Lexus external DVD player, iPod/iPad modules from Vaistech, XM-Sat devices, Eclipse dual/split image front facing camera.
Brian: One of the cool things is that your FJC, along with two other forum members rides, was in a recent Toyota commercial. Tell us about how the opportunity came up and the experience you had.
Nestor: The owner of Nancy Hayes Casting Agency in San Francisco posted an event in the NorCalFJs forums. She is looking for modded FJ’s for a commercial shoot and ask members who wants to go for an audition send her a PM and attached a picture of their FJ. Wife and I went to the audition just to see how the casting process goes. An initial interview by the agency personnel, profile pictures/pretending that you are the driver and a passenger on the FJ were taken.
After three day, I was surprised to get a call back and that the casting director wants to have chat with me and I made the final selection list. Two days before the shooting date, got the call to drive my FJ to Redding, CA – Chappie Shasta DAM OHV for the Toyota Commercial shoot. There are lots of preparation and activities by the production (30+) crew just to a do a few takes.
It was an awesome experience and lucky to be a part it, though my FJ’s actual airtime almost doesn’t count but I can count the $ that they paid me. My FJ was later exposed to the internet/social media networking when Toyota posted a pic of my FJ on their FaceBook and Twitter pages.
Brian: What upgrade is your least favorite? Or what modification would you do differently if you had to do it over again?
Nestor: The least favorites are the ones that I can’t afford.
Brian: What future modifications do you have planned for your FJC?
Nestor: My FJ continues to evolve, so I can’t identify the “want” to do next. Others call their FJ “the money pit” but I call mine “money generating rig”.
Brian: Where all have you been with your FJC? What trail/park/location is your favorite?
Nestor: I usually go to the trails closer to home like Hollister Hills, Cow Mountains. The annual trip to the Oceano Sand Dunes is always fun and rewarding. Rubicon is on the top of my list to run when I retire.
Brian: What park/location that you have not been to yet would you like take your FJ too?
Nestor: Wife and I always wanted to cruiser MOAB. She wants to see Oprah’s vacation house in Telluride and spent more time/days in Colorado Springs.
Brian:What has the FJCruiserForums done for you and what can the forum learn from you?
Nestor: I have more friends now since I joined the forums than the 35+ year of my adult life.
Brian: Has anyone on the forum inspired your build or been a go to resource for you?
Nestor: No one in particular but collectively inspired to visit the forums to see new ideas.
Brian: What has been the most memorable experience with your FJ Cruiser?
Nestor: When I took the FJ home and fulfilled the dream to have one (any FJ series) in my garage someday.
Brian: What advice do you have for someone new to the FJC or forum?
Nestor: Contribute your ideas no matter how small, original or borrowed/copied.
Be patient while waiting for a reply about a question or when seeking assistance.
The word “anyone?” or “anybody?” after posting in a few hours is usually ignored but a “thank you” in your post will always get my attention.