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55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Blackout swaps are pretty common and I'm sure they are well documented on this forum, so there's probably not going to be anything new here ... just really wanted to share my process and how it came out!

I did it in 3 phases over the course of a year. I know that sounds long, but I bought all new parts (instead of just spray painting or plasti-dipping) the OEM silver parts. And, I paid a professional body shop to have all the parts painted in High Gloss Triple Black. So, needless to say, I have a little bit of money wrapped up in this which is why I did it in phases, but I'm happy with the results.

PHASE 1: Front grille, Front valance and Rear corners

This is everything after I got it back from the body shop.
Luggage and bags Bag Rectangle Musical instrument accessory Musical instrument

I started by removing the front bumper. Once it's off, it's pretty easy to swap the front valance piece.

Tire Wheel Car Vehicle Automotive tire

Then I simply reinstalled the front bumper with the new valance in place.

Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Motor vehicle

Before putting the grille back on, I had to reassemble it. The mesh and TOYOTA logo are removable, so I took them out when I sent it off to paint. Now that the grill is black, I really like the way the outline around the letters pops which I never really noticed before.

Brown Glasses Rectangle Beige Wood

Then I simply reinstalled my front grill. I had to remove and reinstall my Hella Off-roads lights too, so it was a little bit more involved, but I like it so much better now.

Wheel Tire Automotive parking light Vehicle Land vehicle

Tire Wheel Automotive parking light Vehicle Car

55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
PHASE 2: Rear bumper, Rear bumper valance

I had the rear corners and center valence painted in the Triple Black as well. But, before I had a chance to install them my rear bumper got damaged. I thought long and hard about using it as an opportunity to upgrade to an aftermarket rear bumper, but in the end I decided to stay with a stock one since I already had money wrapped up in painting these parts. I bought a non-Toyota rear bumper (I think I got it from A1 Auto) to defray cost and I was pleasantly surprised at the fitment and make. It was pretty spot on.

This is the new rear bumper and the painted rear valance (the rear corners in the post above)
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Close up of the rear valance.

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The old rear bumper before I pulled it off.

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Both rear valances side by side.

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A little while later after everything was swapped over to the new bumper.

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And of course I forgot to take a picture of the rear of the FJ after I reinstalled the bumper, I'll have to fix that.

55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Phase 3-A: Fog Light Corners

Instead of just replacing the front bumper corners I wanted to install corners with integrated fogs since FJ's never came with fog lights.

Here's the remaining parts I had painted this past summer.
Automotive tire Sunglasses Goggles Eyewear Grey

First thing I did was remove the silver corners. I just snaked my arm in there and removed the white clip/tabs that hold them on. It's not easy to do, but you get the feel for it after you remove a couple.

Automotive lighting Material property Automotive design Automotive exhaust Automotive exterior

Here's the FJ with them off.

Vehicle Land vehicle Car Wheel Tire

I added a relay just behind the battery right next to the one I installed for the Hella lights.

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I snaked the wiring harness into the cab through the grommet that was already in the firewall. I just removed the grommet and drilled out the center of it.

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Next, I started phishing the wire loom for the fogs to the front of the vehicle. I tried to follow existing wiring and just zip tied it every so often for a factory look.

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You'll need to drill a hole in the plastic of the front bumper to pass your wiring through to the fogs. I believe this was a 1-1/8" hole saw.

Pneumatic tool Drill Hammer drill Handheld power drill Tool

And here's the hole. I did not measure or anything, just randomly drilled hole about center.

Automotive parking light Vehicle Hood Automotive lighting Automotive tire

The next thing I discovered was the drivers side was not long enough. I don't know if that's just how it is, or if it was because of how I routed my wiring, but I ended up cutting the harness and soldering in about 6 more inches to make life eassier.

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Here it is fed through.

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55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Continued .... (there's a 10 image limit per post)

The passenger side had plenty of length.
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After that, it was just a matter of clipping the fogs to the harness and reinstalling the corners.

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True confessions ... I ended up having to take these back off after I got them install b/c they wouldn't light up. I first assumed I wired my switch wrong at the dash, but after some test-light procedures and multimeter tests I concluded that was not the problem. I determined I had power all way down the wire loom, but yet the lights wouldn't come on. I actually called a friend about it for ideas and he suggested checking the actual connectors. Sure enough, even those we were brand now the factory supplied connectors were not making connection with the LED lights. I had to de-pin the connector, make some adjustments to the spade connectors and reinstall them in the harness clip. Lesson learned #1 - I should have checked the lights before completely installing them b/c I would caught the issue and it would have been much easier to fix on the bench. Lesson Learned #2 - Things aren't made the way they used to be.

55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
PHASE 3-B - Mirrors and Door Handles

They day after installed the fogs I went back out to finish this thing up. Nothing was gonna stop me from completing the blackout swap ... not even some rain.

Here's our last look at the OEM setup.

Car Vehicle Window Automotive side-view mirror Motor vehicle

I started with the mirrors, and for that you need to remove the door cards. There are 2 screws and 1 plastic push pin that hold them on. They are very easy to remove. I've had these before when I upgraded my door speakers.

Hood Automotive tire Automotive lighting Motor vehicle Trunk

Next you have to remove this black cover. 10mm, just remove the 4 screws.

Hood Motor vehicle Bumper Automotive exterior Trunk

Once the cover is off you have access to the wiring harness (unclip that) and 3 more 10mm screws that actually hold the mirrors in place.

Automotive exterior Bumper Auto part Motor vehicle Gas

Old and New side by side.

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Passenger side done, driver to go....

Automotive parking light Vehicle registration plate Tire Car Vehicle

Part of the reason I wanted to swap these is the top of my mirrors are missing almost all their clear coat. It's hard to see in the picture, but they are pretty bad in person. Both side, I guess it's just sun exposure over the years.

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Drivers side down now too. What a difference in the way it looks from the front now. So much tougher.

Automotive parking light Vehicle registration plate Land vehicle Vehicle Car

55 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Continued .... last step is the easiest, the door handles. Literally, if you've watched a YouTube video on how to do this it will take you longer to open the box your new handles came in than it will to install them.

Open the door and remove the plastic cap below:
Wheel Tire Hood Automotive tire Automotive lighting

There's a torx head bolt inside there.

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It's a T27

Sleeve Textile Grey Audio equipment Office supplies

Remove that bolt and the lock mech will pop out in your hand. Give the handle itself a slight whack forward with your palm and that will pop off too.

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Get a small pocket screw driver and pop the mechanism out of the plastic tab.

Finger Wood Lock Auto part Nail

Once you do that the mechanism slides right out and you can pop into your new handle.

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Reverse the process to install.

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And here she is with the mirrors and handles installed.

Wheel Car Automotive parking light Tire Vehicle

Last thing I'm gonna do to complete the look is get some black rims and install some bigger tires. Actually, I already have the rims piled in the garage, just need to have them powdercoated black. This set of rubber is almost toast, so I'm hoping to have that piece done before winter sets in.


2014 FJ Cruiser
21 Posts
Very cool, bro.

I am, literally, going through an almost identical "blackout mod" process as you right now ... (door handles, side mirrors, grille finished yesterday).

This is my garage ... the boxes are coming in:

Automotive parking light Tire Automotive side marker light Wheel Vehicle
Automotive parking light Tire Automotive side marker light Wheel Vehicle
Tire Automotive parking light Wheel Land vehicle Car

My 5 blackout wheels go on Monday: Method Race Wheels 305 NV
Plus 5 new tires: BFGoodrich Trail Terrain T/A (stock tires, but black-walled).
My townhome garage is too small for a lift :sneaky::LOL:

RockRails and Steps go on Monday also.

Custom front corner lights, and rear corner lights, being installed this weekend, as I write :)

SmittyBilt Front Winch Bumper and SmittyBilt Rear Bumper will be installed on Thursday :cool:

My final order ... for now ... an Expedition One Mule Ultra Roof Rack (w/ 40" LED Light Bar, and Tent Level) ... will get here in about 6 weeks.

I know this is only the beginning ... it never ends 😅

Good luck and cheers,

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