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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I feel like the FJ has so many shortcomings as an stock vehicle. Or I guess you could say potential to be positive. /forums/images/FJCruiser2/smilies/tango_face_grin.png

I came from a land rover that didn't really need much from factory to conquer most California trails. Realistically, I don't have time to upkeep an old vehicle . But after getting the FJ, I feel like so many parts need reinforcing. Weak spindles, control arms/links, skids, fender ripping, elocker that doesn't lock etc. Please don't think I'm bashing the FJ, I feel like there's so much from the factory that needs attention. Also coming from my rover which felt top heavy, I'll be trying to keep this vehicle near stock height. Low and wide, instead of lifting and realizing I need larger tires to fill the wells.

I'm not planning a major build but hopefully most all things I can do are bolt on or what I have time to DIY since much like you, we're shorter on time these days. Growing up but not growing out of having fun! Edit: Welp this didn't last very long. Major updates to come soon 9-14-17

I just wanted to use this thread to document things that were going to make my ride more enjoyable and reliable for me and my girlfriend. I enjoy desert running and the crawl and climb. If you're not in California, there's everything from beaches to mountains here, so it's best to be prepared.

Current Mileage: 150k

Future plans (am i getting ahead off myself?)
√ Replace all fluids with synthetic
√ Gas/water can carrier
Trans cooler
√ Long travel
Cam tab, shock tower, engine mount gussett.


Engine
√ Toyota oil and air filter
√ Supertech full synthetic 10w-30
√ Amazonbasics full synthetic high mileage 5w-30
OEM oil cooler mod
Derale 13249 power steering cooler with PSC reservoir

Suspension/Wheels/Brakes
√ Wheels: Method Roost 17x8.5 +0
√ Tires: Mastercraft Courser MXT 37x12.5R17
√ Wheelers bumpstops front and rear
√ King 2.5x8 LT coilovers with CSS rear springs +.5" 205 lb-in
√ ZerosFJ coilover covers
√ Dirt King Long Travel +3.5
√ Whiteline adjustable panhard
√ 2" Bulletproof Offroad hubcentric wheel spacers (rear)
√ RR Racing--Wilwood Aero6 DS 6 piston calipers with BP-20 pads
√ EBC slotted rotors (front)
√ Centric Stoptech pads (rear)
√ Centric Premium rotors 120.44128
Addco 2301 7/8" rear sway bar
Centric Brake shoes

Interior
√ Sparco Pro 2k/Sparco side brackets/Planted base mount
√ Sparco 350mm rally wheel/NRG slim mount hub/10mm spacer
√ RAM mount tab holder
√ Joying 8" android head unit
√ 2.5 lb Halon fire extinguisher (driverside mount)
√ 2.5 lb All purpose fire extinguisher (trunk mount)
√ OEM JL subwoofer
√ ARB twin air compressor to 3 gallon air tank
√ RTIC 45qt cooler


Exterior
√ Factory fender removal
√ Trailer Products front fenders/McNeil Racing rear fenders
√ Scuba Mod
√ Deezee ladder
√ Rotopax 4 gallon gas can mount
√ JTA metalworks prerunner bumper
√ Philips h4 ultinon led
√ 7" Lightforce HID driving lamps

Armor
√ BudBuilt skids to custom tuck
√ RCI gas tank skid
√ Iconic fab charcoal canister skid
Amp Research power steps

Removed
Bluetooth adapter
Coverking seat covers
Demello sliders
RCI skids
9" round led
Rocksteady aluminum skids
16x8 -25 wheels
315/75R16 Goodyear Duratrac
Toyman gussetted spindle
Allpro UCA
EBC Green Stuff 7000 pads (front)
EBC slotted rotors (front)

10/20/18



9/8/18


7/12/17
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
10/7/16
Here's a picture from the Autotrader ad. Yes, I'm sentimental.



I got some SCS F5 from fellow member Laobron. Stand up guy to deal with. These are 16x8 3.5BS. Mounted some 295/75 on there. Probably a little bigger than I should have gone with but out of aesthetics, the 295 looked more in proportion than 285. Also I like the ground clearance.
Hankook Dynapro 295/75


12/10/2016
Attempted to fit 295. Caster could be adjusted but a solid body karate chop will due for now. Removed and relocated fender flares to trash receptacle.




12/14/2016
I don't know how people removed their fender trim. Ended up hacking it up for the front and rear to keep the plastic door trim flowing and the same theme. I haven't had time to finish the driverside. Also, I know it's doing the lean in the front, but going to wait for proper suspension.






12/27/16
AFE exhaust install. Hi-Tuck model in 2.5" as I wasn't looking for a loud increase BUT I was looking for straighter piping unlike the stock which has lots of dents in the piping for clearance. Also hoping the straighter flow of piping might allow the engine to expel the exhaust gases more efficiently.



12/28/16
FJToymanoffroad.com gussetted spindles. Replaced the haggard gaskets National Oil Seal PN#710573 and Toyota o-ring PN#90301-92003
Kind of a jump in mods. I knew I wanted to upgrade the front end so I ordered these with rear shock skids from FJtoyman but there's a core charge so I had to get it on sooner than later.





1/6/17
Skids by RCI. I had these from their recent group buy and was lagging to put them on. Finally made time to mount up. Also lubed the driveshaft while i was down there. Bottom side stouter than a pint of Guinness!
Mileage:119k


1/13/17 Demello. Installing hybrid sliders



 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
1/28/17 The build continues. Finished a no name 10lb co2 tank. Used on 1/29/17 and super happy with it. In the future I plan to carry an impact wrench so for emergency situations.


2/2/17 Baja flat rack. Can't wait to have a future RTT. It's my dream to tour across with my girlfriend. Also, my rack mounts are questionable at the moment. I'm using basket rack mounts which are lower flat utility mounts. If you ever need more clearance, this is the go-to. My air dam touches my roof at the moment. Currently cutting up spacers. Will update.



2/7/17 Stant locking cap installed No more siphon pirates allowed!

2/9/17 Changed oil at 122k with Castrol full synthetic 5w30. Not sure what was last in it. Current avg mpg is 16.5mpg

2/10/17 Installed ram mounts with a 10" tablet for a map source. Gaia Maps works awesome! Also good for entertainment for the passenger.



Hitting the mule Canyon/Phillips loop trail in Calico 2-11-17

2/17/17 Rainy days here in so cal so I thought I would start planning out my gas/water situation. Looking at adding about 140 lbs of weight on the rear door. Bad idea? Probably, but I'm not planning on a rear swing out. And Rotopax carriers aren't my preference. I've had a bad experience with poly gas cans expanding in the sun and when going to deserts at 120* it's not something you want to worry about.


2/21/17 this just happened! I need to have tower, cam tabs and engine mounts gussetted. May just get that done before the shiny stuff.


2/22/17 Couldn't wait. +.5" CSS springs, 10% stiffer.


Sitting there wrenching my life a quarter turn at a time. Install tip Have an angled ratcheting wrench set. 19mm for these. Would have gone much faster and made life easier.


FJ Toyman Shock Skid. One of the best thought out designs for a shock skid (IMO) compared to what the others are putting out for the same price.


3/11/17 These orange boots ain't made for walking


3/12/17 Rear gas mount mod to a Olympic 4x4 rotopax mount



3/23/17 Whiteline Panhard. Thrust angle is barely off, but I'm a bit of a stickler for those things. If you're into cars and driving fast, you might know Whiteline. Many people use them for HPDE/solo/rally cross because they're solid and budget friendly. Weighed in at 12.6lbs. Stock is 12.2lbs.



3/29/17 Rotopax gas can mount fitted and base plate fabbed. Extra 10 gallons!



4/10/17 Replaced the front and rear diff fluids with Shaeffer Manufacturing parasynthetic 75w-90 @127kmiles. Finally finished rear scuba mod! So easy and I don't know why I waited lol.

4/25/17 Installed limit straps on the front. But I think it needs another .25" adjustment. For now it's fine, I just want something to aid the droop, not cut out the travel completely.
 

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Im sure most of those worries are forum based. I assure you once you get it out there you will be pleased. Dont feel the need to throw a bunch of parts at it until you try it out!
Interested to see the build! Welcome aboard.
 

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Agreed^^^ Don't worry the FJC is quite sufficient out of the box for what 98% of people do. What you see on the forum is what 2% of people do with their FJ. IMO spindle gussets aren't needed unless you are hitting curbs at 40 mph, OE rear lower links will get you by on moderate trails, and even skids IMO are optional with a lift and decent driving, even while rock crawling.

Don't be afraid to wheel it in its current condition to get a feel for what it can do.

Just trying to give you some advice before you spend your hard earned $$.

Can't wait to see what you do with it! :)
 

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I came from a land rover that didn't really need much from factory to conquer most California trails. Realistically, I don't have time to upkeep an old vehicle . But after getting the FJ, I feel like so many parts need reinforcing. Weak spindles, control arms/links, skids, fender ripping, elocker that doesn't lock etc. Please don't think I'm bashing the FJ, i feel like there's so much from the factory that needs attention.
My advice would be to try the FJ on some of the trails you want to run first. A stock FJ can do every trail but Poughkeepsie (which the main issue is ground clearance) at FJ Summit, and I've run Traildamage rated 4/5 difficulty trails here in Colorado with factory FJ's that still have the dealer plates on them.

There are two types of people who build their FJ's like you're talking about: the ones that want to use their skidplates to get over obstacles, and the ones that want to have the skidplates there in case they mess up and hit an obstacle. For the trails you're doing, which are they: equipment or insurance?

As for fenders ripping and your e-locker not working, (a) they fixed the fender bulging in the 2010+ trucks and (b) the e-lockers take a bit of back and forth sometimes to get locked. Not to say that yours can't be broken, but odds are it isn't unless the previous owner did something stupid to it. For the level of trails you say you're doing, you should never need the locker. Does your truck have an ATRAC button? If not, get that and enable ATRAC. I wheel some of the hardest trails here in Colorado and have used my rear locker 5 times: ATRAC is that good.
 

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I feel like the FJ has so many shortcomings as an stock vehicle. Or I guess you could say potential to be positive. :grin
I have a 1990 4runner setup as a pretty legit. Baja rig, which is my basis for comparison. Off the lot, even without proper tires my FJ is really impressive and can even do some things my "prerunner" can't do when it comes to crawling type activities.

Every vehicle has it's limitations, modified or not and the more you modify a rig, the narrower it's application becomes. As a novice, I find my stock FJ gets me over the gnarly washed out NorCal roads I can find an excuse to drive. . . but it wouldn't like the black diamond trails at Hollister Hills SVRA without more ground clearance. That ground clearance can be had without getting too crazy ;)

- Robot
 

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I have basically the same setup you, but I leveled the front with Bilstein 5100's and run 285/70/17 tires. I ran some pretty rocky trails this past weekend and never scraped once. On the rocky hill climbs, I used 4 low with atrac engaged and had no problems at all. I never used my locker. I understand what you are saying, but these FJ's are very good off road. Even my friends with Rubicon's agree.
 

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My advice would be to try the FJ on some of the trails you want to run first. A stock FJ can do every trail but Poughkeepsie (which the main issue is ground clearance) at FJ Summit, and I've run Traildamage rated 4/5 difficulty trails here in Colorado with factory FJ's that still have the dealer plates on them.
We even had one completely bone stock FJ make it up the wall this year. Didn't meet the driver but met someone in his group and I guess the guy was a really experienced driver and they were in an FJ they borrowed from their friends.:bigthumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Thank you for all the positive replies! That's exactly what I like to hear. It's not that I don't have confidence in the vehicle. I know it's very capable. Maybe I've been reading the forums too much and sound like I have something to prove :laugh

For the trails you're doing, which are they: equipment or insurance?
If not, get that and enable ATRAC. I wheel some of the hardest trails here in Colorado and have used my rear locker 5 times: ATRAC is that good.
A little bit of both. I've been driving trails for awhile and realize that you have to use your equipment to get around. But there are times I've probably been lucky that more damage hasn't been done to my vehicle, so the insurance is nice that I prepared ahead of time. Ie. I had a friend who's ICON coilover snapped (possibly due to a bumpstop/bottom out) and took out his CV. I overheard the towing was $1300 alone :surprise

I'll be in CO in June for a ragnar event. I'd love to drive some trails with you guys!

...What you see on the forum is what 2% of people do with their FJ. IMO spindle gussets aren't needed unless you are hitting curbs at 40 mph..... Don't be afraid to wheel it in its current condition to get a feel for what it can do.
Glad I'll be able to hit the malls at a good speed then, no crawling for me hah. You made a good point of getting out there as there's no replacement for experience. I need to stop reading these forums, they give me bad ideas!

I have a 1990 4runner setup as a pretty legit. Baja rig, which is my basis for comparison. Off the lot, even without proper tires my FJ is really impressive and can even do some things my "prerunner" can't do when it comes to crawling type activities.
I would love to see this 4runner baja rig. Have a few pictures or a build thread?

I have basically the same setup you...
Thanks man. That's inspiring. I guess I read too much of the forums and get inspired as well. I like your rock rails. I only have running boards right now and I don't think that would put up much of a fight next to that boulder on your driverside up there!
 

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We even had one completely bone stock FJ make it up the wall this year. Didn't meet the driver but met someone in his group and I guess the guy was a really experienced driver and they were in an FJ they borrowed from their friends.:bigthumb:
Is there a video somewhere? Love to see it!
 

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A lot of good advice piling up here but what needs to be said with this and threads like http://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/general-discussion/511034-terrible-ice-snow.html is that the FJ is a tool and is only as good as the driver who wields it.
Ive seen heavily modified FJ's get stuck where a stock FJ had just passed, just a few months ago I saw Tarver King fight his way out of a deep mud hole in a stock FJ with worn all season tires. (all the other FJ's present declined and did the work around).
The
The FJ is an amazing vehicle and can make up for many driver short comings but in the end its only as good as the person behind the wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I think my initial post was taken a bit too serious. The FJ is very capable. If I didn't have the experience or capability, I probably wouldn't go through all this just to see the vehicle transform into something ideal for myself. I've driven 4runners extensively but have plenty of drivetime with the 120 platform.

I very much agree with everyone's advice. I see others making so many changes to their vehicles and some of us go too far down that rabbit hole. I'm not planning to go down that path. If I can bolt it on between lunch breaks at work, maybe I can swing it but I don't have time or space for a trailer queen. :shinner:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
You owned a Land Rover and feel like the FJ has short comings?
Hah trying to poke at the LR? My Disco1 was the last of it's kind before all the electronics plagued it. It would still put up a great fight if the motor was still running :shinner:
 

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A little bit of both. I've been driving trails for awhile and realize that you have to use your equipment to get around. But there are times I've probably been lucky that more damage hasn't been done to my vehicle, so the insurance is nice that I prepared ahead of time. Ie. I had a friend who's ICON coilover snapped (possibly due to a bumpstop/bottom out) and took out his CV. I overheard the towing was $1300 alone :surprise
Snapping due to bottom-out is probably a case of the front suspension set up for long-travel without a corresponding suspension to handle it. One of our COFJ guys had this happen this year in Buena Vista with a different suspension, I don't think it's necessarily tied to the vendor (independent of other issues people have been having with ICON lately).

I'll be in CO in June for a ragnar event. I'd love to drive some trails with you guys!
If you have Facebook, join Colorado FJ Cruisers and we'd be happy to help plan a route, meet up for runs etc. We're over 1200 members, and many of them are out-of-state people who ask for destination suggestions or just go on runs with the locals.
 

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Is there a video somewhere? Love to see it!
I was working the winch wall with All-Pro that day so I didn't take a video of it. I'm sure there is one though, I saw people videoing it and I believe I've seen other videos posted from that group of the wall. They went up Friday or Saturday, can't remember which one. I'll look for the video and link it if I can find it.

EDIT: I actually think its in the Summit X photo and video thread. Someone with a dash cam posted a bunch of videos of their group going up.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
(independent of other issues people have been having with ICON lately).

If you have Facebook, join Colorado FJ Cruisers and we'd be happy to help plan a route, meet up for runs etc. We're over 1200 members, and many of them are out-of-state people who ask for destination suggestions or just go on runs with the locals.
You're right. I'm not trying to point any blame, rather point out that it was an expensive tow home. Although there may have been some manufacturing issues, this coil set up was on a LC200 body. ICON made amends to the issue and was truly professional about it from my friend's experience.

Appreciate the referral. Went ahead and joined up.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
As she sits right now. I'll be honest, this took a good couple mornings to do. At no point did I feel I couldn't drive my FJ, so I was relieved since I don't want a "project" vehicle sitting in the driveway. BMC done by cutting relief cuts in the mount and just need to weld her back up. Also I wanted to keep the door trim even all the way across. I chopped the front/rear fender flare to maintain the line. As for the front rake, I'm going to wait it out for proper suspension. In the past, I've always asked for advice and got different opinions. I realized it's best to research, wait it out and make the proper purchase. Otherwise, I end up leveling it, spending twice and getting the coilovers I originally wanted.

 

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Personally I like the rake, but a lot of people seem to want to level it for some reason. I like that I can load it up and still be near level, rather than shining my headlights in everybodies eyes.
 
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