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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So...after years of daydreaming over the possibilities from owning a 4WD whilst shoving my 110lb dog and mountain bike into a 95hp sedan, the FJ arrives! I was lucky enough to have this gifted to me, (senior, well-super senior, who wants to drop into the job market these days!) college student and getting a new vehicle was the furthest thing from my mind! But, here it is, and as unexpected as it was it left me with a brilliant opportunity. I don't HAVE to save more money, I've got a (slim) but decent enough budget buffer as it is now. So, I sold my old corolla three days ago, and have decided to put every damn cent into my new FJ. Hell, with the dollar rate I'd rather put it into my 4WD than a savings account these days anyways.

Off the bat, I am essentially a newb at automotive modding/mechanics. I know motorcycle mechanics well but that's the breadth of my knowledge.

So here's the completely stock FJ, manual trans.




And yes, it is silver. I had fun splashing through some relatively shallow mud puddles out in canyon country during the recent socal rains.

I drove down south a few days ago to check out Demello and then All-Pro, and see what the guys there were like and how their products looked firsthand. Very impressed with both - met Jason and he was an extremely nice guy. The reason I went with All-Pro is mainly the style of bumper, their lack of 6wk backorder, as well as the lack of a huge DO on the front of my bumper. Spoke with them, and the guys down at All-Pro seemed especially willing to throw together deals for me, so I feel like they'll become my primary source of money-spending. Although I definitely felt that DO was more tailored to the FJ and the fact that they were a smaller, custom shop appealed to me too.

So, here we go:


Already purchased:

All-pro Offroad Front 3-hoop bumper with light bar and HID lights
IFS Skid plate
All-pro Rock Sliders

The all-pro will be done with the powder-coating in a day or two - I'll post up some pics of the whip after I drive down to pick them up.


The Dilemma

Suspension Lift - Now here's where the questions begin.

All-Pro is having an awesome deal on their Total Chaos LT system (2"). I am thinking of going with this, with the Fox coil-overs (front, piggy's on the rear), new chromaly axles and the whole deal. That would put me clean out of money though; I might have enough for new rims/tires but that'd be stretching it. I will be making a little money over the summer though, so I was thinking this would be the best route (vs buying regular fox's, realizing I wanted LT and having to sell them used just to buy the new longer-spec ones for the LT system). Also, is it worth getting LCA skids with the LT system?

Or I could go for a rear bumper and a few other goodies and just get a regular suspension lift. Any input on this would be greatly appreciated.

Now for my other major question:

I will need to upgrade rims and tires, especially with the heavy offroading I will be doing (I have been offroading for a while now at the good graces of friends with F150s, and am psyched to get a 4WD of my own) as well as the amount of expedition-style traveling I will be doing. I was thinking 33's for tires - definitely 35s would be too big for me since this is also my every-other-day driver (I have a motorcycle too). Rims I was thinking 17s or 18s, but to be completely honest, I'm lost here. I'm looking for utilitarian, strong and durable rims/wheels. With a TC LT system and the 0-3" lift the fox provides, what would you educated folks recommend for sizing and brand choice?
Also, will running 33s necessitate a regearing? I do love the responsiveness of the stock setup.

Last major question for now -
For all you mountain bikers out there, what is the best system to strap a mountain bike to the FJ and still retain offroad capability (so I am thinking a hitch-based system wouldn't really work here?). I've been shoving it into my FJ, but my dog hates sharing the back with my bike and it takes up a whole lot of room so I was thinking about a roof mount or something. I have the OEM roof rack installed.



Future Mods:

(beadlock) Wheels and Rims - looking for advice here!
Rear bumper
Swing-out for rear bumper with aux fuel cans (or an aux fuel tank)
Snorkel and heightening the rear diff breather
High clearance tail pipe
Tube doors
Dual battery setup with 3kw power inverter and independent fuse boxes
Hi-Lift Jack
Winch (9k, thinking about the Warn 9.5 but does anyone know of a winch that's comparable, yet not $1300?)
CB Radio w/ firestik antenna & bandi mount
Air - CO2 or a comp. unit
Front diff locker
Power rear/side windows (I don't know if the sides are even possible, but my dog does miss being able to stick his head out of the window!)


That's it for now....any input would be awesome! Waiting in anticipation for my bumper and IFS - I'll post a few pics up as soon as I get it installed :cheers:
 

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Congratulations on the new ride! :bigthumb: I can't wait to see those pics, it sounds like your FJ is going to be a beast!!

As far as your questions go, I'm afraid I won't be much help. Suspension depends a lot on what kind of offroading you plan to do. The LT kit sounds like a good choice to me as it could handle just about whatever you throw at it whereas a cheaper kit such as OME would not do well with any high speed situations like desert running and is designed for more specific circumstances.

As for wheels and tires, stock steelies are cheap, can be hammered back in place on the trail, and will handle 33's just fine. There are better looking options though if IMO if that's important... And stock gearing will handle 33's just fine. Most don't regear until 35's.

I think that's about all I can help you with. I also mountain bike but mine is just thrown in the trunk so no new ideas there. Good luck with your build and have fun, it's a great truck! :rocker:
 

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Congrats on the new ride and Welcome to the forums!
Looking forward to what you have in store for it.

:cheers:
 

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Bike rack for FJ

I find fork mounted bike racks (I have Thule) to be very sturdy. Of course Thule (and probably Yakima) gives a disclaimer about offroad use but I haven't had a problem. I mount my Thule crossbars on my Wilderness Rack but I know you can mount crossbars on the OEM rack as well.

Cheers and enjoy.
 

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2007 Black FJC
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Just wanted to mention that the AllPro 2" LT isn't the Total Chaos 2" LT - different kits. Check 'em out:

Total Chaos setup

All Pro setup

If you're even thinking LT, then I'd hold off on getting any new suspension till you're ready to go LT and in the mean time work on tires, bumpers, etc.

Regards to the perennial "how big of a tire" issues - there's some threads going over this, but the Cliff Notes version is that you can get full value (full stuff, full turn) out of tires up to just about 34" outside diameter with the body mount chop. Anything 34" or bigger will rub at some combination of turn and stuff. But that's not a limiter in terms of use - just get ready to hear some contact.

Have fun with it!
 

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I'd suggest comparing the All Pro kit to others in more detail. While the group buy may look like a good deal, seriously compare the parts between the AllPro and Total Chaos setups. Total Chaos has several features which put it a a few notches above AllPro's.

Camburg LT > Total Chaos LT > All Pro LT
 

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Discussion Starter #7
FJNewb and Mir,

thanks for the info on the LT, I would have still had the wool over my eyes on this one. I had initially thought there was a difference between the two, but when I went down to All-Pro they had said the Total Chaos system so I guess I just figured they were the same. I was aware that the Camburg was better, but had read all over that it was only marginally so than the TC. Looking at the TC site I can see they're definitely not the same!
FJNewb, I remember reading that you were installing the Camburg system on your FJ - would you mind PMing me how much it cost you for the system, and the upgraded axles etc? Some serious budgeting is going down and that would be a big help to me. I'm thinking LT first just because I mountain bike a whole lot in the desert around here, and do love playing around at high speeds on the sand. Which I realize would be tough to do without a long travel.

And thanks t-town for the sizing info. If I can stick with stock steels for now with 33s and upgrade rims later this summer, I think that's the way I'll go.

Got a call from All-Pro today, and I ordered in a rear bumper and the can-carrier. Installing it later this week just in time to try out the mojave trail memorial weekend :bandit:
 
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