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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've wanted an FJ ever since I saw the concept all those years ago. I've been in a 4x4 ever since I started driving and, despite living where there is none, I love wheeling. Shoe Creek and GWNF in VA and Carova Beach in NC are all regular destinations.

I'm trying to keep it under $20,000 so I'm stuck with the earlier years. I've been reading everything I can find but that's tended to just raise more questions. If any of you can link me to useful, informative buyer's guide, I'd appreciate it. Everything I've found so far just lists the engine displacement, transmission options, and the basics.

I'm looking for details, like this year had rear door hinge issues or that year was when they deleted a useful option. (Just examples of what I'm looking for - not that either applies to the FJ.) I have read that certain years required premium fuel and that there was a rear diff issue at some point. Specifics on things like that are the sort of info I'm looking for. I'd also like to know of any specific spots to check for rust or any other useful info you can throw my way.

I'm trying to get my education over the next few days to go shopping this weekend. Is there anything you can share with an FJ noob?
 

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I'm trying to keep it under $20,000 so I'm stuck with the earlier years. I've been reading everything I can find but that's tended to just raise more questions. If any of you can link me to useful, informative buyer's guide, I'd appreciate it. Everything I've found so far just lists the engine displacement, transmission options, and the basics.

I'm looking for details, like this year had rear door hinge issues or that year was when they deleted a useful option. (Just examples of what I'm looking for - not that either applies to the FJ.) I have read that certain years required premium fuel and that there was a rear diff issue at some point. Specifics on things like that are the sort of info I'm looking for.
The problem is that it's the early year trucks that had the most problems from the factory.

Early 2007 builds had weak rear differentials, 2007 through 2009 (I think? somebody correct me) had the fender bulge issue. 2007 through 2009 engine says that it requires premium fuel, but it really doesn't. You will lose some horsepower by using the regular gas.

My advice: forget the $20K budget. Buy the cheapest / best 2010+ truck you can get. Toyota added Crawl Control in 2013, you don't need it. Otherwise, the 2010+ trucks are essentially identical.

AutoTrader has 25 2010+ FJ's for under $24K.

If you have to fly somewhere to pick up the right truck, that's fine. Plane tickets are cheap compared to dropping $20K+ on a vehicle. I bought a car in February from a dealer in Georgia and drove it back to Denver, it's worth flying somewhere to get the right vehicle.

Good luck!
 

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The stock stereo system on ALL the years suck. Look for a truck with an aftermarket system or a bone stock system you can upgrade yourself. Avoid the JBL system because it will add cost to the sticker price but it's still destined for the garbage can.

I personally like the CRAWL system. You're not looking for a '13 model so it doesn't matter. Look for a truck that already has Bilstien 5100 shocks installed.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If budget wasn't a factor, I'd buy a new one, for sure. Sadly this need for a vehicle has arisen a few years before I was really ready. I am going to have to stick pretty close to my budget for this one. Buying something reliable that holds value seems like a responsible move.

Traveling to make the purchase sounds like a losing tactic to me. Being able to walk away, as far as I'm concerned, ensures the best price. I wouldn't mind a weekend away in driving range though. My wife and I could do something fun and just "happen" to buy an FJ while we were out.

I've looked up pics on the fender bulge so I know what to keep an eye out for on that. Let's stick with the assumption I'm shopping 06-09 models, so any other tips you guys might share would be much appreciated.

Thanks for the help so far and the warm welcome!
 

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Look for someone that has done regular maintenance & kept records. I have a 2007 & the only issue was the TO bearing. I have had none of the normal issues. I take mine out regularly into the woods. Everything that I have had to replace was due to using it in adverse conditions. If you want to play you have to pay as they say.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm very familiar with that rule!

I went to a stealership today to check out a trade in. They've sat on it for two months with no interest and it sold an hour before I got there.
 

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I'm just up the road from you in Richmond and I just posted my 2011. It is more then what you want to spend but the vehicle is in excellent shape, not abused, garage kept, low miles, lift kit, sliders, newer tires, trd wheels blah blah blah. Give it a look.
 

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I believe the fender buldge issues were only through early 08 builds. I'd go later 08 and up. Option you need is locking rear diff. Besides that, nothing you specific option wise you need. I agree to look for good maintenance records/history. That is usually the best way to know your getting a well loved/cared for vehicle.

A lot of folks on here offroad a good bit, but they also take very good care of there vehicle and know it top to bottom...and keep records. So a modded, used FJ doesn't necessarily equal abuse. (of course some people do beat them and then unload them...so buyer beware!)

Good luck w the search!
 

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I'm not sure what your requirements are for mileage but in my area it is not uncommon to find a '10 or '11 model year with 60-70k miles for around $20k give or take...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm just up the road from you in Richmond and I just posted my 2011. It is more then what you want to spend but the vehicle is in excellent shape, not abused, garage kept, low miles, lift kit, sliders, newer tires, trd wheels blah blah blah. Give it a look.
I'm considering a day trip up that way to shop just because I've explored all my options locally. That's not to say they're exhausted, with vehicles being bought and sold daily. The internet is not proving very useful of a tool in this case. Most of what I've found online has already been sold.

I checked out an 07 tonight. Minor paint issues, a scratched tail light, but quite a bit of surface rust on the frame and front end components. The interior was cleaned up well but the drivers seat bolts were really rusty, along with the rear door latch.

 

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Rust, Rust, Rust. Get out of Virginia, buy a truck out of the snow (or should I say salt?) belt. That means trucks on the coast too. salt air, like rust, never sleeps.

This topic has been bandied around on this forum, even more so in the Tundra and Tacoma forums, where rust perforation of the frames of Tundras and Tacos have been the subject of recalls/toyota frame replacements (at Toyota cost).

Rust is a years thing, and the recalls have recently gone out for 2006 Tundras, next year 2007? the following year 2008? etc etc. So, starting Jan 15, 2015 with the new six month window of inspection recall for 2006 Tundras for rust perforation issues, the start of the 2007 build date (2006) for the FJ's now becomes a contemporary item.

Although, one guy in Chi-town (or should it be called Salt-town?) on this Forum had a 2010 bought back by Toyota when his suspension collapsed due to rust (thread is on here someplace), another recently complained his dealer wanted to charge $24K to repair a later model FJ when he drove through brackish water in Baja. (thread is on this forum)

Rust ain't the end of the world, but twould be better to find one to start the yearly undercoatings of rust preventative on that does not already have the cancer. And if you dream of driving the dunes of the beach and splashing through the salty surf in your new FJ, don't. When you find a rust-free model and don't wish to do the rust preventative coatings yearly, plan on a seven year life expectancy before it's time to bail. the good news is the body panels hold up remarkably well, so rust won't show if you don't know where to look.

Use a lift when looking at prospective FJ cruiser candidates.

Slightly off-topic. On April 2 I picked up a new Tundra in Md. When I did the perp walk while buying the truck (basic salesman, accessories salesman, warranty salesman, extended maintenance salesman, finance guy) and then if you aren't already reduced to a blithering idiot ready to sign anything, you get the keys (new truck they win) or your old car keys (they lose) and leave.

At the accessories salesman office where they tried to sell me the undercoating and paint protectant and fabric (both cloth and leather) wall jobs, I was surprised at the extraordinarily well-prepared presentation. First, according to the Salesman, it is now a Toyota REQUIREMENT that the customer buy dealer-applied undercoating. This is BECAUSE of the RUST issues Toyota has noted in the Salt belt, which runs from the North all the way down to GA. The salesman then showed me the notebook PP presentation color map (it was near DC and those DC-area buyers LOVE to see PP presentations) of the area of most-prone-to-rust and Virginia and Md was smack dab in the rust belts shading. Boy was I scared. I told that salesman if I didn't live 15 hours from that dealership (11 hours distance, 4 hours i-95/395/495 traffic jams) I would have been on the floor groveling and begging to pay him $499 for undercoating (with yearly free resprays) but I hoped that Toyota would still sell me that truck without the coating. Toyota relented.

The takeaway from this is that Rust on Toyotas .....what did they used to say about microslop windows?.... Rust is not a defective bug, it's is NOW a FEATURE of Toyotas for which dealers are trying to take more money from the customer.

Good hunting. I've had six Toyotas, two 911's, and I still own two Toyotas including a Cruiser. So guess which maker's cars I will NEVER buy again? Toyota problems are like being stoned to death with popcorn, good to have around while being bored to death. Toyota issues are simply non-issues when compared with other manufacturers cars. So don't get wrapped around the axle reading about FJ cruiser "problems" on the forums.
 

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Yes watch for rust. I just walked out to the garage to prove that not all VA vehicles have rust. I did drive to the gym the other day in the rain so excuse the mess. It will get a proper wash and detail before a new owner takes it.



 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Rust, Rust, Rust. Get out of Virginia, buy a truck out of the snow (or should I say salt?) belt.
We don't get much here. I'm 15 mins or so from the NC line. This FJ spent some time up north though. The price/options are looking hard to beat. POR-15 is going to make a few bucks off me, I think. After a day of reading and research, I'm going back to look it over again.

 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
No deal. Still looking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Found another one about an hour away. Maybe checking it out tomorrow. It has a 3" RC lift but it also has new tires.
 

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Yes watch for rust. I just walked out to the garage to prove that not all VA vehicles have rust. I did drive to the gym the other day in the rain so excuse the mess. It will get a proper wash and detail before a new owner takes it.




Wish mine looked like that... Canadian winters are rough!lol

To the OP, look for a 2010, you may find one in your budget.. If not, look 2008/2009. Do your best to get the rear locker! Be careful getting one with a backup cam. Mine just broke on my 2010. Looks like an expensive fix. Make sure it works well if you look at one that has it.
Sounds like you are on the right track anyways...

Cheers,
Matt


Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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If budget wasn't a factor, I'd buy a new one, for sure. Sadly this need for a vehicle has arisen a few years before I was really ready. I am going to have to stick pretty close to my budget for this one. Buying something reliable that holds value seems like a responsible move.
Buying a 2010+ with ~50K miles for $24K versus a 2007 with ~80K+ miles for $20K makes no sense to me, but that's me. For a 0% 5-year loan, $20K vs $24K is an extra $67/month ($400 vs $333). Nevermind the lower miles, mechanically you're getting a better truck. No fender bulging, no chance of a weak diff etc. If the extra $67/month is going to break the bank, surely there's other areas in your life where you could adjust. Getting the better truck is worth it IMO.

Traveling to make the purchase sounds like a losing tactic to me. Being able to walk away, as far as I'm concerned, ensures the best price.
Sorry, I didn't explain the process I used. Obviously, before you put out money for a plane ticket you're going to take care of a lot of stuff over the phone. Work with a reputable dealer who will be honest to you about the condition of the car. Negotiate the price in advance. In fact, the nice thing about this deal is that you can show the salesperson cars in other markets that are cheaper than theirs. Like I told the sales guy on my most recent purchase, "I'm flying somewhere, I don't care where. You pick. I can fly to buy your car for $X, or I can fly to Houston to buy this other car for $Y." You'd be amazed at how well this works.

I've looked up pics on the fender bulge so I know what to keep an eye out for on that. Let's stick with the assumption I'm shopping 06-09 models, so any other tips you guys might share would be much appreciated.
To avoid the weak diff issue, shoot for '08+.

Good luck!
 
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