Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum banner

81 - 94 of 94 Posts

Registered
Joined
39 Posts
Discussion Starter #85
First, thank you for sticking around and advising me on different pitfalls of new FJ ownership. As you can tell, I am a semi-patient and analytical person when it comes to buying cars, so this has been a huge decision.

I finally have my first FJ 馃槉


Quick recap: historically, I liked FJs but I was (see: still am) poor and could not afford. I told my buddy that it would be great to own one a couple months ago and he said I should check out the prices. They came down to the 15k range! The more I learned about these the more excited I got, but all the doo dads of buying one was overwhelming.

Optimistically, I took a weekend trip to half a dozen dealerships and armed with the knowledge of the forum and the slightest amount of mechanical knowledge, I ruled out all 8.

Took the search nationwide, and found some GREAT ones in TX, AZ, and NV. Optimism restored until I had phone conversations with them and realized the death of the good salesman. Getting pictures was like pulling teeth with these people and their attitudes are more (attempts to) bullying than sales. Probably works on feebler men and women, but I do not mind telling them to get bent.

Had one dealership drive one to me, so I took it to the Toyota dealer, and they said I needed a new rear end and a few other expensive things, another wasted stressful night.

Given up, I told myself, I just wait passively until something comes along. A few of you have sent me PMs on private and dealership prospects and I reached out to each one. Some good, some bad, some slow to respond. But then /u/REEL EM N sent me a PM telling me to check the recent for sale.

Securing Sandy
I looked, and the pictures were great. It was a bit out of my price range, but I have already justified to myself that I would pay more for a better vehicle, and this looked better. PM鈥檇 him, and he called me that night.

I was in bed with a book, because I am an old man, but he spoke very confidently about his truck. Said there are no issues other than cosmetic and TPS light. Also, no rust. A unicorn?

A friendly guy and very trustworthy sounding, but I still ask for the pictures. He delivers them the next day. He is right no visible rust. He also offers to drive it up because his daughter lives about an hour away. So, he is so confident in the vehicle that he would actually come up here to sell it. Possibly wasting his time (other than seeing his daughter)
.
I tell him that will not be necessary that I鈥檒l come down to him.

It snows in Winchester, thus blowing the plan to drive down on Friday, check out the vehicle on Saturday, get it inspected, get a NC temp tag from the DMV, buy it, and then head back to Winchester Saturday afternoon.

But he suggests coming down on Saturday and using the Bill of Sale law for NC to drive it back Sunday. I agreed and rearranged my accommodations.
The drive down was good, snow melted, no traffic, but it was still a 7 hourish ride. He was waiting at the hotel for me.

I check in my exhausted girlfriend to the room and go check it out. It looks awesome! A little bit of a lift and on 35s. Check out the under carriage and it is rust free.

Some honest criticism here鈥. He brings up the 鈥渢he quirks鈥濃 Truthfully, I wished that this conversation happened when I was back in Winchester so I could decide then to come down. TPMS light that I knew, but the hood had some weird wear on the paint job, the sideview mirrors off track, a resin filled nick in the windshield, and he said there is a stutter at 55-65mph.

I thought this would be the trans shudder I hear about and expected something I have felt before, but this is steering wheel shake at 55mph. It is not violent, but more than I鈥檓 used to and something I wish I knew beforehand so I could research. This is probably due to the oversized tires and non-factory rims, but he printed out a Toyota service forum bulletin on it about needing a road force balance.

I am on a 10 min test drive that way I can think about it, and I weigh my options. The TPMS, the hood, the wheel shake, and the mirrors, and the nick in the windshield won鈥檛 be an issue for VA inspection, but how much is this going to cost me to attempt to fix (wheel shake) if I want to?

I am not the type to dwell much on a decision I make, or do the ole 鈥渓et me talk to my gf about it鈥 but I am uncomfortable because I don鈥檛 know what to expect when I actually take it on the road for 6 hours.

We get back, and look at the truck one more time and then we make the deal.

Just Hold on We鈥檙e Going Home
Wake up on Sunday, and have the continental breakfast (actually a good selection, tbh) and take it to go get coffee and some travel supplies at the Walmart.

So you may recall above where I am now transporting this on a Sunday under the 鈥淏ill of Sale鈥 law in NC and then I also purchased a $5 trip permit in VA for a one way trip. But this means I have ZERO tags on the front or back of this vehicle.

Mentally preparing myself and rehearsing my lines when the inevitable traffic stop happens, lol. We head off back to VA (450mi) and bless my gf鈥檚 heart but convoying is not her thing. We stay pretty much together, but there are moments where she is way behind. I鈥檓 not sure why I was more nervous when she was far behind because she is a 鈥淪afety Sally鈥 and stays 4 car lengths behind me, so a highway patrol could easily see I don鈥檛 have tags lol.

The wheel does shake constantly at 55 to 60 I learned to stay out of that zone. Long distance, the FJ was not really made for. The arm rest is hard plastic and the seat ,after 9 years of other people鈥檚 asses, is not the softest. But overall, it drove smoothly. Good pick up and handled pretty well for a toaster on wheels.

Between the slow downs, traffics, bathroom breaks and gas, it was more like an 8-hour trip back (plus we went to the grocery store and chipotle to go, personal trainer still needs to eat healthy!)

Here鈥檚 the kicker: I drove through 2 entire states (bottom of NC, top of Virginia) not a single traffic stop. WOW.

Making it Legal
Monday morning, I have an untagged vehicle parked out back, with the DMV backed up for 3 months. I鈥檓 sure as hell not waiting that long to drive this.

Surprise, it snowed again on Monday so my idea is to use my good looks (ha) and patience to see if I can charm my way into a missed appointment at the DMV.

Didn鈥檛 have to because I miraculously get an appointment on Thursday at 10AM. If you live in VA or MD you will know how rare that is, basically someone was considerate and canceled their appointment and I was on the website at the right time.

Tagged and headed to get the Inspection. Passed with no issues.

Etymology of Sandy the FJ
Every car must have a name, right? I see some names here and they are quite creative.

When I was introduced to Sandy, his wife said her name is 鈥淭he Beast鈥. Fitting as she is big and burly, but a little too masculine for me.

You have a long time to think on a road trip, and being a movie buff the only right thing to name her is Sandy.

First, she was born in Texas and spent time at the beach in South Carolina and I bought her on Oak Island NC. The first place we drove to was the beaches and sand dunes. Hence, Sandy.

Second, and this is the fun one, she鈥檚 black! No, it鈥檚 not a race thing, I was thinking more like hair. Like the hair of Debi Mazar as Sandy in Goodfellas.

Much like Sandy from Goodfellas, Sandy the FJ has an expensive coke gasoline issue and I really wish she could take it easy. With the amount of attention I鈥檒l be giving her, my girlfriend will also probably refer to her as my sidepiece.

If you have made it this far, wow, you have earned your Book-it reward for sure. Thank you for all the help so far and excited to be a real member of the community.

EDIT: Current Mods ;)
  • Feet Sticker Delete
  • Blind spot Mirror Delete
  • New Blind spot Mirror
 

Registered
Joined
257 Posts
Congrats!

For the steering wheel shake, it is very possible it is the tire balance, but if you have any worn suspension components, even if the tires are "almost perfect", the worn suspension components can amplify the vibration and cause issues.

I'd get the front end checked out for worn control arm bushings / tie rod ends / ball joints first. Then go for the balance if those are all ok (or if anything needs replaced, after replaced).

My rationale for that? If it was just the tire balance, I'm guessing the previous owner would have did that himself before selling. Of course, previous owner maybe only drove it in town, never getting over 50, and didn't know. So who knows... Heh

Congrats again!
 

Registered
Joined
39 Posts
Discussion Starter #87
Congrats!

For the steering wheel shake, it is very possible it is the tire balance, but if you have any worn suspension components, even if the tires are "almost perfect", the worn suspension components can amplify the vibration and cause issues.

I'd get the front end checked out for worn control arm bushings / tie rod ends / ball joints first. Then go for the balance if those are all ok (or if anything needs replaced, after replaced).

My rationale for that? If it was just the tire balance, I'm guessing the previous owner would have did that himself before selling. Of course, previous owner maybe only drove it in town, never getting over 50, and didn't know. So who knows... Heh

Congrats again!
Good idea. Previous owner drove it for 5 years and said it didn't bother him. I may be spoiled with my history of smoother rides. I coincidentally took Sandy the FJ to get inspected at one of the few shops that have a road force balance machine in town. He said they could do it, but it probably won't cause any damage.
 

Registered
Joined
257 Posts
Wouldn't think road force balance would cause damage at all... unless they are doing something interesting. I know Discount Tire around here (not sure if any in your area) offers the service and they seem to do a good job of it. May want to check if any locations are around there.
 

Registered
Joined
39 Posts
Discussion Starter #89
Wouldn't think road force balance would cause damage at all... unless they are doing something interesting. I know Discount Tire around here (not sure if any in your area) offers the service and they seem to do a good job of it. May want to check if any locations are around there.
Sorry I meant that driving it as is will probably not cause any damage to the axle or axle boot.
 

Registered
Joined
257 Posts
Sorry I meant that driving it as is will probably not cause any damage to the axle or axle boot.
Oh, hey, one other thing to try if you have a jack and jackstands available. Do a front to rear rotation and see if that causes the steering wheel shake to go away. If so, then it is most likely just the wheels / tires causing an issue.
 

Registered
2013 Iceberg (stock)/AT/loaded
Joined
28 Posts
Congrats!

For the steering wheel shake, it is very possible it is the tire balance, but if you have any worn suspension components, even if the tires are "almost perfect", the worn suspension components can amplify the vibration and cause issues.

I'd get the front end checked out for worn control arm bushings / tie rod ends / ball joints first. Then go for the balance if those are all ok (or if anything needs replaced, after replaced).

My rationale for that? If it was just the tire balance, I'm guessing the previous owner would have did that himself before selling. Of course, previous owner maybe only drove it in town, never getting over 50, and didn't know. So who knows... Heh

Congrats again!
CONGRATS on your FJ!! So happy you got one. I don't know anything about lifts or bigger tires, but I just read a great article on Outsideonline about how going with bigger tires really reduces your MPGs. Sandy's MPGs, I mean... since you had mentioned she has quite the... gasoline habit. In that article, the MPG info is in the "Fuel Economy, Performance, Gearing, and You" section.

Enjoy your FJ!
 

Premium Member
14'FJ, Bilstein 6112/5160, SPC UCA's, Spod BantamX, 285 70 Toyo AT3, DD SS3 Max fogs, BD LP6 pros.
Joined
249 Posts
Welcome! Enjoy your side piece....
 
81 - 94 of 94 Posts
Top