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Hi everybody,

First off let me introduce myself, my names Raed, I am a third year mechanical engineering student at Michigan State University and would consider myself quite mechanically inclined as I've worked on many many cars and have a couple different certifications to work on them. I love to build stuff and am an amatuer woodworker, sounds pretty boring but it's a whole lot of fun to me seeing a final product after so long of building something. I've rebuilt a 1990 Nissan 300zx and a 1965 Mustang, I sold both of them but it was one heck of a ride working on them.

Now, as for this post, I recently sold my truck which was a Ram 1500 and I'm glad I did because I didn't like it at all and have been in the market for an FJ for quite some time now. After months of searching, in my area I think I found the one but I'm not too familiar with toyota or its repair level of difficulty. So I do have a few questions lined up and could use a bit of guidance if anyone wouldn't mind helping me out.

First, I found a 2007 auto 4x4 FJ with 136k miles for $12500. The only aftermarket part he put on is just some off-roading lights up on the top in front of the roof rack. Also, he said there's a check engine light for O2 sensors. I've read many posts about replacing them and have gotten mixed reviews so my question is: is it that hard to replace? And do you think the overall vehicle is worth it? Also how does repairability on these level out? i.e. is typical maintenance, replacing shocks, brakes, is anything pretty typical unnecessarily hard to do?

Secondly, and I'll try to attach some pictures the owner sent me, but i've been reading a lot about what to look for when buying an FJ and noticed that fender bulges are a pretty common/big issue with earlier models. In the pictures I don't think I see anything wrong but maybe you guys can take a look at it and point out something I'm not seeing. Also, aside from the bulges what else should I look for? I'll be seeing it in person likely this weekend and it's pretty far from me so I don't want to waste any time and want to know what I should check out in particular.
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Lastly, I want to thank whoever has had the chance to read through this and toss me some advice. Really appreciate it and can't wait to be part of the FJ family!

Thanks again! I'll also add some pictures of it to see what you guys think.

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More info on the area the FJ has lived its life and undercarriage pictures would be helpful to get an idea of the rust situation. I had bought a 07 in Nova Scotia in 2015 and drove for 4 years and only had to replace an alternator and tank straps other then the normal upkeep such as brakes and oil & fluid changes. It was a fantastic ride and never let me down. The price is in line for the year and miles but you need to ensure all components of the 4X4 system are working and that the code does not incorporate the Cats as they can be expensive. Good luck and hope you can get more detailed answers to your questions from the unbelievable knowledge base available on this site.
 

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More info on the area the FJ has lived its life and undercarriage pictures would be helpful to get an idea of the rust situation. I had bought a 07 in Nova Scotia in 2015 and drove for 4 years and only had to replace an alternator and tank straps other then the normal upkeep such as brakes and oil & fluid changes. It was a fantastic ride and never let me down. The price is in line for the year and miles but you need to ensure all components of the 4X4 system are working and that the code does not incorporate the Cats as they can be expensive. Good luck and hope you can get more detailed answers to your questions from the unbelievable knowledge base available on this site.
I'll definitely try to get a picture of under as soon as I can and try to post it on here before I make my decision to buy it or not. Overall it looks pretty solid from the pictures, just hoping it looks the same way in person. And by all 4x4 components working properly, what do you mean by that? Just the H4 L4 and all that?
 

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Now, as for this post, I recently sold my truck which was a Ram 1500 and I'm glad I did because I didn't like it at all and have been in the market for an FJ for quite some time now. After months of searching, in my area I think I found the one but I'm not too familiar with toyota or its repair level of difficulty. So I do have a few questions lined up and could use a bit of guidance if anyone wouldn't mind helping me out.

First, I found a 2007 auto 4x4 FJ with 136k miles for $12500. The only aftermarket part he put on is just some off-roading lights up on the top in front of the roof rack. Also, he said there's a check engine light for O2 sensors. I've read many posts about replacing them and have gotten mixed reviews so my question is: is it that hard to replace? And do you think the overall vehicle is worth it? Also how does repairability on these level out? i.e. is typical maintenance, replacing shocks, brakes, is anything pretty typical unnecessarily hard to do?
First up, here's the buy/sell guide, it's worth reading even if you end up buying the truck you're looking at: jimmy-buffett's Complete Guide to Buying or Selling...

O2 sensors on these trucks are super easy to replace if you have basic tools. Depending on which sensor is bad, you might not even have to lift the truck, just crawl under it. I would pull the code yourself to confirm then search threads here with that code value, the internet is full of "just needs a $10 part and 30 seconds of labor, I don't have the time, my loss is your gain!" cars where you get the car home and you find out the real reason they're selling the vehicle.

Are you planning on staying in Michigan after you graduate? I can tell from the under-hood photo -- rusted bolt heads -- that there will be a lot of rust under this truck. If you have a destination in mind after college -- somewhere that doesn't salt the roads -- then I'd focus on rust first and probably skip this truck. When you graduate and get your first good job and can afford a proper national search for a non-rusted 2010+ FJ (as suggested in the guide, besides fender bulging the '07's had weak rear diffs), then reach out to me and I'll help you find one (free / no cost).
 

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First up, here's the buy/sell guide, it's worth reading even if you end up buying the truck you're looking at: jimmy-buffett's Complete Guide to Buying or Selling...

O2 sensors on these trucks are super easy to replace if you have basic tools. Depending on which sensor is bad, you might not even have to lift the truck, just crawl under it. I would pull the code yourself to confirm then search threads here with that code value, the internet is full of "just needs a $10 part and 30 seconds of labor, I don't have the time, my loss is your gain!" cars where you get the car home and you find out the real reason they're selling the vehicle.

Are you planning on staying in Michigan after you graduate? I can tell from the under-hood photo -- rusted bolt heads -- that there will be a lot of rust under this truck. If you have a destination in mind after college -- somewhere that doesn't salt the roads -- then I'd focus on rust first and probably skip this truck. When you graduate and get your first good job and can afford a proper national search for a non-rusted 2010+ FJ (as suggested in the guide, besides fender bulging the '07's had weak rear diffs), then reach out to me and I'll help you find one (free / no cost).
Okay good to know about the O2 sensors, I'm hoping it'll be small but I'll also be sure to scan it myself and find out–hopefully, it won't be anything too alarming.

I'm not totally sure where I'll be once I graduate, kind of in a "wherever the wind (job) takes me" mindset so it could potentially be an area with not as much snow or salt. I did notice a bit of the rust on the heads too, is there a specific location where rust accumulates the most that I should check extensively? I'm still waiting on the underbody pictures from him but if I see it in person it'll of course be something I look into deeply while I'm there. I would of course prefer a 2010+ FJ but right now I can't fit it in my budget and I could potentially sell this in a couple years and upgrade to a newer model if this one isn't as rough of a shape as I'm hoping now and until then.

If the car does have a bit of rust and with the O2 sensors needing some replacing, do you think 12,500 is a good deal? I was probably gonna end up offering 11k with the work that will need to be done.
 

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Okay good to know about the O2 sensors, I'm hoping it'll be small but I'll also be sure to scan it myself and find out–hopefully, it won't be anything too alarming.

I'm not totally sure where I'll be once I graduate, kind of in a "wherever the wind (job) takes me" mindset so it could potentially be an area with not as much snow or salt. I did notice a bit of the rust on the heads too, is there a specific location where rust accumulates the most that I should check extensively? I'm still waiting on the underbody pictures from him but if I see it in person it'll of course be something I look into deeply while I'm there. I would of course prefer a 2010+ FJ but right now I can't fit it in my budget and I could potentially sell this in a couple years and upgrade to a newer model if this one isn't as rough of a shape as I'm hoping now and until then.

If the car does have a bit of rust and with the O2 sensors needing some replacing, do you think 12,500 is a good deal? I was probably gonna end up offering 11k with the work that will need to be done.
I got some pictures of the underbody, it doesn't look too bad you can take a look at them and let me know what you think. It also has a couple dash lights on when its on I could text you the video of it or something I don't think I can put it on here but what's lit is: Check Engine, Traction control, "VSC OFF", and "VSC TRAC". What does that represent? He's telling me the O2 Sensor is the reason behind those coming up but I don't know if I believe that because they're pretty unrelated.

Let me know what you think.

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I got some pictures of the underbody, it doesn't look too bad you can take a look at them and let me know what you think. It also has a couple dash lights on when its on I could text you the video of it or something I don't think I can put it on here but what's lit is: Check Engine, Traction control, "VSC OFF", and "VSC TRAC". What does that represent? He's telling me the O2 Sensor is the reason behind those coming up but I don't know if I believe that because they're pretty unrelated.

Let me know what you think.

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okay I did a little more research and spoke prematurely, I do think those lights are from the O2 sensor. What do you think of it as far as the underbody/rust?
 

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I agree with @jimmy-buffett. That being said at first glance I was surprised by those frame pictures. Because I too expected more rust on the undercarriage looking at the engine bay photos. A lot of people easily overlook rusted bolts, freeze plugs, clips/clamps or hose ends. Seeing those heavily rusted on FJ’s is typically a sign of more rust underneath. So something seemed off, until I looked closer.
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The undercarriage has obviously been painted or treated at some point, as those bolts I circled aren’t normally black. They’re typically a galvanized steel color (basically silver). And almost all FJ’s have a little rust along the welds in the frame rails, so not seeing that is also a sign the undercarriage has been painted. So it’s really hard to tell just how much rust is there. But you can see rust in some spots, and that’s most likely an indicator of what’s hidden under any paint. It definitely looks to have been painted some time ago though. So I don’t feel the sellers trying to hide anything from you, or being dishonest. Either they painted it a few years ago themselves after cleaning up some rust, or a previous owner did. But either way you want to be mindful of it. And decide if it’s something you want to invest in. Being you live in the rust belt, and are a student you might find this FJ to be an okay choice for you. Although, an engine code is a real concern. Is it a bad O2 sensor or not? What caused the sensor to go bad? Age or something else? Best to have a mechanic check it. As for the rust, you mentioned you’ve rebuilt a few cars, so you’re no novice to working on them. Think of rusted bolts breaking off on you as you working on things, or possible structurally compromised components due to rust. Those are the concerns with rust, as there’s always more hidden than you can see. That said if it’s not bad under the paint a lot of people on here would wire brush things down, treat and paint it. For me personally I “wouldn’t” invest in a rusted FJ, I’d expand my search, and if possible my budget to find a rust free model. I also agree that a 2010 thru 2014 is the better choice. But not always cost effective for everyone. And I’ve seen some really clean 07‘s to 09’s for fare money. The decision will really comes down to you and what your plans are, what your budget is and what you’re willing to except. Either way the engine code and rust are strong negotiating tools if you decide you’re willing to except those issues. Hope that helps,
 

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I agree with @jimmy-buffett. That being said at first glance I was surprised by those frame pictures. Because I too expected more rust on the undercarriage looking at the engine bay photos. A lot of people easily overlook rusted bolts, freeze plugs, clips/clamps or hose ends. Seeing those heavily rusted on FJ’s is typically a sign of more rust underneath. So something seemed off, until I looked closer.
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The undercarriage has obviously been painted or treated at some point, as those bolts I circled aren’t normally black. They’re typically a galvanized steel color (basically silver). And almost all FJ’s have a little rust along the welds in the frame rails, so not seeing that is also a sign the undercarriage has been painted. So it’s really hard to tell just how much rust is there. But you can see rust in some spots, and that’s most likely an indicator of what’s hidden under any paint. It definitely looks to have been painted some time ago though. So I don’t feel the sellers trying to hide anything from you, or being dishonest. Either they painted it a few years ago themselves after cleaning up some rust, or a previous owner did. But either way you want to be mindful of it. And decide if it’s something you want to invest in. Being you live in the rust belt, and are a student you might find this FJ to be an okay choice for you. Although, an engine code is a real concern. Is it a bad O2 sensor or not? What caused the sensor to go bad? Age or something else? Best to have a mechanic check it. As for the rust, you mentioned you’ve rebuilt a few cars, so you’re no novice to working on them. Think of rusted bolts breaking off on you as you working on things, or possible structurally compromised components due to rust. Those are the concerns with rust, as there’s always more hidden than you can see. That said if it’s not bad under the paint a lot of people on here would wire brush things down, treat and paint it. For me personally I “wouldn’t” invest in a rusted FJ, I’d expand my search, and if possible my budget to find a rust free model. I also agree that a 2010 thru 2014 is the better choice. But not always cost effective for everyone. And I’ve seen some really clean 07‘s to 09’s for fare money. The decision will really comes down to you and what your plans are, what your budget is and what you’re willing to except. Either way the engine code and rust are strong negotiating tools if you decide you’re willing to except those issues. Hope that helps,
That helps a lot thanks so much, I decided to pass on this particular one–turns out the guy lied about the clean title saying its "accident free" and I found wrecked pictures of it from iaai on a different site of it absolutely wrecked! Can't trust a lot of these sellers anymore it's sad. I found another one out of state that I'll likely be taking a road trip for so I will keep an eye out for everything I learned about from this experience!

Thanks again everything helped so much.
 

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That’s unfortunate, people being dishonest. Sadly it’s buyer and seller beware at times. But yes checking the larger insurance auction sites history is a good way to catch things like flood damaged vehicles that don’t typically show on carfax. I know when I was looking I found a few vehicles that were flood recovered, but un reported as such. Typically even a good VIN checking service will only tell you the vehicle was registered in an area during a time of severe flooding. It’s up to the buyer to do the research and look the vehicle over to know if it was or wasn’t flooded. That and only damage related to either an insurance claim, or a traffic incident report are recorded by services like carfax. So for example, if someone hits a tree or stationary object somewhere without a report, and has the damage repaired out of their own pocket, there’s no record on a VIN check. So it’s always best to know what you’re looking for, or have a professional look it over. Along with your own proper research. But sounds like you’re on the right track, people here are very helpful. And Jimmy’s car buying guide is very informative to things to look for on FJ’s.
 

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Oh yeah absolutely thankfully I caught it before I made the drive to buy it today! I'll be heading out-of-state monday to go and pick up another one I found. I think it's a solid buy except it has a massive tear in the seat that I'll have to get reupholstered and maybe while I'm at it I'll toss on some heated seat pads. I haven't found any auction evidence and I'll be getting it from the original owner so I don't think there will be too much to worry about. As for them paying out of pocket to fix things from a previous accident, I always look closely in pictures to tell whether or not the paint is different colors and make sure the gaps between body panels are even and flush when they need to be. When I pick it up I'll likely make a new post on the forum getting opinions of my recent buy.

Finally I'm officially an FJ owner!

Thanks for all your help!
 
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