Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum banner

1 - 20 of 49 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
714 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
In my intro I put my history of lusting for the FJ Cruiser from the very first press release pic. In truth, it actually goes back to the FJ40 a friend had in college. The lumbering straight 6 and the no nonsense construction had me hooked on LC's. Another friend had mid 80's LC that he restored and drove all over Mexico with it. It was a beast and mostly stock. Good times! Then Toyota released their concept and I was so smitten. Between then and now, life happened. It took a long time to get one but I finally got mine.




I've been reading through peoples posts on their builds. What a dangerous activity! I've got a major case of the wants. I want that bumper! No, I want that one! Oooooooo! No, THAT one! Look at that tread, I gotta have those! I want those switches! And so on. I'm pretty sure everyone on here is familiar with this problem.
So, when the FJ wandered across my path I lept at it like a lab leaps at water. By the time I got through crawling around the car in the dealers parking lot I knew it was all over. Highway miles. No leaks, no cracked rubber, no rust of any interest, nothing mechanical that worried me. I'm that weirdo that brings a voltmeter, flashlight and battery tester to look at a vehicle. I poked and prodded and finally drove it. I was done. I found a fantastic starting point.

I had a Mitsubishi Montero 2-door back in the day. The FJ "feels" very similar in terms of where the corners are. In terms of the build, I know I don't want a 12" lift, custom 4 link, 40" tires and an LS swap. My intention is to go mild in the lift, 3", mild in the tires, 285's, and round things out with sensible equipment. My typical weekends/holidays involve being around very curious longhorns, under/between trees and clay soils. During the week I'll still need to get into the garage at the office. In the few months I've had the FJ it's already turned into a rolling tool box.

On to the build!



Here it is the day I got delivery. All clean and shiny. That didn't last long. I promptly did my first mod. I took off the dealer sticker.



Then I promptly put on a different sticker. It's a little risque but makes me smile.



I hopped on the forums and searched for a way to get the reverse camera working again. That was a quick fix once I read the instructions. I mean, once I read all of the words in the instructions...


The first thing I bought was a set of seat covers. I bought them before I bough the FJ. I went to look at the FJ, drove home and ordered the seat covers. Then I went back a day later and bought the Cruiser. It took about 8 weeks for the seat covers to be made and sent out but they are worth it. Great quality and fit. People don't realize they are covers, they think that's how the FJ came from the factory.




Living in Dallas means that stupid people are allowed to drive weapons around. I've had two cars totaled in 4 years living here. In Austin, I went 30 something years and NEVER had a car totaled. But here, stupid is a way of life apparently. So for the next mod I installed a dash cam.



As I read other peoples builds and off roading adventures, I began to see a trend. Gear Drawers. I just haaad to have these. I mean, how else would I carry around a chain and a strap or two?? Lay them on the rubber mat? How gouache! So I embarked on a two month struggle to make my own box. I made lots of sawdust, lots of splinters, learned quite a bit about plywood but finally got it finished and installed.



Gotta say, these are so handy to have. Why didn't the FJ ship with these in the first place????

After just a few months of ownership, I have really gotten attached to this vehicle. It's my rolling tool box, photo gear carrier, posh ride and weekend work truck. As I live with it, I re-assess my build direction. Especially when I do something stupid. Something stupid that takes many, many hours to remedy.







After the above incident, I still think that a modest lift and modest tire size would have really helped. But I also think that a full set of Bud Builts would have helped also. My birthday is in April, you know, if you've got $$ burning a hole in your pocket....An ARB with a winch would probably have helped too.
My future purchases are going to be a 3" lift, probably Treadwright tires because I'm curious, an ARB bumper with a winch. I'm thinking about making some lower link skids myself. I considered different nerf bars but after lifting the FJ using the stock nerf bars, that has kind of dropped off of the radar. Those things are strong, in my opinion.
On the subject of electronics, I'm planning on a Cobra C75WXST Handheld CB Radio, a HAM radio, ARB compressor, a new stereo head with multiple camera capability, maybe a fridge and possibly a Canon 5DS R body to record the places I go.

I'll be adding to this as I go along on this build. Compared to some others, this should be a quick and easy build.




"quick and easy"


Famous last words....
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
714 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
After quite a bit of thinking, mulling and deep pondering I've decided on my next purchase for the FJ. I looked around the internets and watched videos on awnings. I really love that I can do all of my research from the comfort of wherever I am.
I decided on an awning as the next mod because I'll get so much use out of it over the next few months. There's a lot of fence post digging and gate welding to get done. And there's noooooo shade where all of this needs to get done. I decided I'm going to be cheap and get the 120 dollar Amazon special: Yescom 6.6'x8.2' Car Side Awning Rooftop. It's gotten good reviews, looks sturdy for what it is and whatever I break I should be able to fix it. I've got a pop rivet gun and some Gorilla tape. An added plus is that if I do something to it, as I'm want to do with everything, I won't be devastated if it's beyond repair.
Now, for the bad news. It arrived today. It's sitting here in my office taunting me. Actually, it's leaning against the wall taunting me. I can hear it saying "Skip out of work and play with me. If you don't install me now I may not fit later."


Maybe I should just take my meds.... More later when I get it installed. I'll have pictures and hints.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
714 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I must note that I haven't had a chance to unfurl the awning yet. Tenants breaking things, tenants moving out, throwing a kitchen in and building closets for the A/C guy have taken up my free time during daylight hours.

The awning showed up 5 days earlier than they said it would so I was wildly excited! I had it delivered to the office because of package thieves in the 'hood. As I was carrying the 7' long box through the office people asked what was in the box; I told them it was a blow gun. Is it bad that they just said 'Oh, ok.' like that's a normal thing for me to do? Keep 'em guessing! Anyway.....on the way home I stopped off at a 'You Can Do It - We Can Hide' store to look a clamp. I wanted a saddle clamp so I can attach the awning mounts to the roof rack. The clamps they had were really weak. Weak like Andy Dick. I ended up going with a clamp for a fence panel. The clamp was a little too big but I figured I would come up with a solution.




Like I said, 7' long box. I guess it could be a blow gun....
It was wrapped well. I have to admit I was impressed with how well it was packaged.



As I am want to do when I get to work alone, I took everything out and ordered it by type. I like to think that James May and I could work in harmony with Anniston, Geoffrey and LLoyd the spanners. The brackets are stainless, the nuts are nylocks and the cover zipper is on the bottom. Many of the reviews said the zipper was on top, so while things were laid out I checked on this potential problem.



For anyone curious this is the bracket and solution. I used some 3/4" ply left over from the drawer build as a spacer and added friction pad to attach to the roof rack.




Here's how it all stacks up. The awning mounting bracket also acts as a washer for the fence bracket nut. If you also use this solution, you'll see why adding a washer to the fence bracket is a good thing. Everything gets all cinched down and nothing moves. Focus would have been good but there's only so much I can control.






There it is all installed.




And you can't even see it when driving! And might I say, that's a good lookin Square Body sittin next to the FJ!

 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
714 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks! I may not come up with the obvious solution but I'll find something that works.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
714 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I drove around a few days and decided I didn't like how the awning laid against the roof. I tried a few solutions but decided I needed to flip the bracket. As it turned out, flipping the bracket was the perfect solution.


Here it is before. I tried using a hook/loop strap but it'd eventually just lay against the roof. Actually "eventually" indicates a bit too much time, "almost immediately" more accurately conveys the time it took to lay against the roof.


Here's the shot of the flipped bracket. I was worried the awning would be too tall for the parking garage at work but it doesn't really stick up any higher than the roof rack.


And here's the shot of the after. No roof resting, no added straps, just an annoying rattle of the zipper pull against the light bar bracket.... But it fits in the parking garage, doesn't rub against the roof and I still don't know about the shade. I haven't had a chance to get out to the ranch, there's been too much work to do in town.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
714 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
it rained pretty hard yesterday so I just had to air out the awning. Don’t want mold growing.....



It was pretty easy to set up. It took me 6 minutes to do and I’ve never had one of these before. I get the impression they all are fairly similar in how they work. Now that I’ve seen it unfurled, I have to say I’m very happy with this add on.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
714 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I take the road less travelled. Quite often. Not because I’m a beatnik but because I don’t read instructions. It was my intention to get the Rad Rubber splash guards installed last night but life....
So this morning I grabbed all the parts and decided I’d take lunch today and throw them on. How long could that possibly take? It’s just a few clips after all.



Here they are in all their glory. The lighting is crap because I’m in the parking garage.



I’m replacing this one first because....why not? The shape pretty simple to spot. I went after the clips with a flat blade stubby. I’ve got a tool specifically designed to remove these clips. It’s shiny and ergonomic and at home in the garage. All safe from my hands. Here’s something I learned: it takes quite a bit of force to drive the long edge of a flat blade through the skin of your thumb. How much I don’t know but more than it takes for me to exclaim “*#%~~£!!!”



The old and the new.



This is what I was always curious about. Thickness. I know the website says it’s so and so mm’s thick. But I killed off those metric brain cells in college. The Rad Rubber ones are significantly thicker and very bendy. However, the old ones are old and may have lost their flexibleness....flexityousity....rubbery quality.



Here’s a tip - put the new clips in the holes of the splash guards first then push the bottom part into the holes of the FJ. Use your fingers to push on the base until it clicks into the hole then push the center cap down.



The only other tip is on the longer pieces.



They come with two holes to accommodate the different eras of FJ. Had I remembered, well, had it even crossed my mind to bring the instructions I’d have known which hole to use. In my defense, I did read the instructions. Actually I more or less skimmed them looking for any interesting words and accidentally picked up the tidbit about the two holes.



I left those two holes empty until the end so I could see which one I was to use.

All in all it’s kind of a no brainer but with my intelligence added it turned into a chance to get my hands dirty, chase little plastic bits down the parking garage ramp, stab myself with a screwdriver and play with the FJ. Plus, the Normals walking past got to have a story about a guy in the parking lot taking pictures of bits of rubber.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
714 Posts
Discussion Starter #9



See? A whole friggin kit of tools for plastic clips. All shiny and not marred or dirty....
The teal handled pliers are the ones designed for the clips on the splash guards. The jaws have little indents so you don’t just cut the plastic. But side clippers work as well.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
714 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I wanted to share my experience of making a drawer. People have been making drawers since about May of 2006 (probably. I didn't do any research) and have been sharing their designs and experiences. But I make so many unique mistakes and stumble on the basics I thought someone could benefit from my blunders.

I started with a design from the internet. I apologize for not remembering where/who I got the design from (From here: https://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/interior-exterior-visual-tech/151265-rear-cargo-drawer-build.html). If anyone recognizes the drawing and know's who drew it then holler at me and I'll give credit where credit is due.



Using the dimensions I bought a full sheet of 4x8 ply and laid everything out. Here's a tip: measure the kerf (the width of the cut or the width of the material the saw takes out) of your saw blade and add that to the measurements. Otherwise the first cut is the correct size then the next piece is too small. For example, the sides of the drawer. I laid everything out, didn't add the kerf and cut some pretty uneven sides to the box. The second time around I added the bit the saw takes out and the sides weren't exactly the same size but close enough. I can't measure apparently.

After I got all the parts cut, I started on the most difficult part of the build. I decided to do dovetails on the drawers. Everything I read said that a good dovetail really adds strength (does anyone else say "strungth" in their head then giggle like someone on In Living Color?) to the drawer. Since I plan on keeping chains, tools and other things in the drawers I thought that was a good idea.



I got a dovetail jig from Dad a few years ago but haven't really played with it. Until now. Here's something to know: trying to dovetail plywood is a task that takes major patience. Any woodworkers out there are saying "Duh". I learned the wood splinters even if you are careful. I learned that said splinters can embed in the knuckles. I learned that getting your face closer to the router doesn't help. I learned the router needs the EXACT correct size of collar otherwise the joint is crap.



I also learned it takes practice to even get close to a good joint. The pieces shown below are the ones I didn't throw across the shop.



Eventually I got accep....usable joints. Using a dead blow hammer and glue I got the fingers all settled into place. Not having a whole lot of confidence in my woodworking skills I glued/brad nailed some little triangles in the corners. It was a pain to get the corners square all at the same time but I did it.



It was at this point I went off plan. I made one drawer narrower because I didn't want to cover up the power outlet. For the record, I've used the power outlet twice so far. Once to see if it'd power the 3 gallon Bostich air compressor; which it doesn't. Then once to see if it'd power the Ryobi battery charger; which it does. Once I went off plan and started making things up, things got harder.



One of the difficult things was the decision to put in a couple of hidden hinges for a hidden cubby. At first glance, it seems easy. Make a hole, put in the hinge and boom you're done. In reality, I spent about an hour putting the hinges in. Marking, measuring, marking again, getting a beer, eyeballing and finally using the Rotozip to make the plunge cuts.



When I got them in and the lid worked, I was very proud of myself. I'd done some really fiddly work and had success. Then I put the lid on the drawers. One mistake, otherwise it was a perfect installation.



*Le Sigh*



I took the lid off and started again. Second time around it went much better. I got everything painted then put the edging and velcro on the top. All in all I'm pleased with it. Next set I make I'll know better than to do the drawers out of plywood. Over the few months I've been using the drawers I'm really happy with them. I can throw tools like saws and drills in them. I've got a snatch strap, trucker chain, zip ties and gorilla tape in the drawers and on top i've got a good selection of tools.


The pig approves
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
714 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I wanted to take a moment and do some thinking. It's all fun and games until it comes to the bill. Right after I bought the FJ I had a mental picture of how I wanted it to look. A 3" lift, ARB bumper, winch, a couple of antenna's and a healthy amount of dirt. In my head it's a Tonka toy, big and bumpy and ready for whatever.
My FJ had been a mall crawler up until I got my grubby little paws on it. Since getting it I've been in deep water, gotten stuck, hauled tools, carried building materials, been dirty and sweaty, driven it daily to work and made some improvements. It's all part of the process of living with your dream car; learning it's strengths and weaknesses. I suppose that's a process similar to any new car. You have to learn where the corners are and how it reacts to input. So now I'm feeling comfortable with where the wheels are and I'm really looking seriously at the mental image of the rough and tumbly Tonka truck I've pictured for more than a decade. I'm evaluating all of the shiny new parts, what they offer and how I actually use the FJ. mmmmmmm, shiny.
Here's how I use the FJ and what I want to do in my off time. Right now, I use it as a rolling tool box. That's not going to last much longer and I won't need to carry around 200 pounds of tools. It's my daily, driving to and from my day job. After work I go and do my apartment maintenance work for a few hours then go home. On the weekends I'm out at the ranch dragging downed trees, getting cow crack and fixing things. So maybe i'm not dumping the tools...? The awning has been nice and I'm glad to have spent the money. The light bar was nice to have when dragging the classic car into the garage at night. It would have been nicer to have a winch but the little gremlins haven't installed one yet.
What do I anticipate doing on my vacations? I would like to hit national parks with the cameras. While I appreciate the hardcore trails, I don't have that urge. I rode trials for many, many years but doing it in the FJ just doesn't pique my interest. I want to take a trail, get to a good stopping point then amble about with the camera. Then drive home. I want to camp and explore and photograph. Ever since seeing the promotional video series of the FJ running the Rubi I've dreamed of doing the same thing. I want to wander about Moab and go to the Summit. I'd like to travel through Idaho and take a peek at Maine. There's a lot of road miles getting to places so I'd it to be good on teh road. Keeping road manners seems to be a given with the suspension systems these days. Already I have a little voice in my head calling me names for not going on some mythical hardcore trail that only custom built buggies go on. I'm my own worst bully. I don't think the day to day use of the FJ will change. Most days will be boring, weekends will be ranch work and every now and again I'll do something stupid.
So what does this mean for the FJ I have in my head? I've been looking at suspension and drool over the reservoir shocks. The red springs call to me. The infinitely adjustable parts appeal to the perpetual tinkerer in me. I've compared one bumper to another. Big bars or no bars or a stinger set up? How does "X" fit in with a full exo cage? Do I need a full long travel set up or just new UCA's? I get lost in these quandaries and spen....waste hours making spreadsheets. This is what this exercise is for; to keep my happy butt grounded. So, future me who's gotten completely out of control again - read the following:
I'm going to go with the OME simple 3" suspension, the ARB bull bar, a badlands 12,000 winch with wire not synthetic, BMC and 285 Treatwright MT's, stock wheels, stock sliders, I really want full coverage underneath, Chitown rear window up and downer, a CB and Ham radios and that cool ARB overhead bin to put the Ham radio in.
There are other parts that I don't know if I want to make or buy. Things like the rear link skids and shock skids I think are in my wheelhouse. I'd like to have a fold down table for the back door and I may make one. I want the dual ARB compressor but I can't really come up with a reason to get one. We've got 160 gallons of compressed air at the ranch, I've got 36 gallons at home and I don't really have a reason to air down often. Over the years I have collected a few of those little compressors so if I get a flat on the road, it'll take a bit longer but I can handle it. I'm kind of a retrogrouch anyway. I like hand tools over air/electric anyway so being slower isn't a big concern for me. As for a snorkel, I'm on the fence about that. I've read all the literature but I'm not entirely convinced the air is appreciably cooler at the roof than it is in the fender during August in Texas. Finally, I'm going to keep the wire rope on the winch and not go synthetic. Reason being that I'll be using the winch in (potentially) very abrasive conditions. It would be a shame for me to tear up a good synthetic rope dragging the pond or pulling dead trees.
I want to get these mods done before March because that will be 1 year I've had the FJ. I've never done some of these mods but I've done similar things on other cars so it shouldn't be too hard. I have rebuilt an engine and a manual transmission, I've replaced steering racks and struts so how much trouble can these cause me?

Famous last words....

First on the list: I'll get the Chitown rear window opener/closer ordered in the next day or two.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
714 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I was pondering continuing my build thread. I mean, I'm relatively late to the game and all of the mods I'm doing have been done before. Many descriptive write ups explaining what goes where that I felt like I was just adding noise. Then I started and realized my screw ups tend to shed light on potential hazards no one would even consider. Think "King of the Stupids" attacking something idiot-proof and showing just how ingenious stupid can be. Plus, when I'm 55 or older and my memory goes I can read these notes and maybe remember when I was young and unstoppable. So, here's my take on the Chitown4x4 actuator install.

After 2 months of saving every extra dollar, I ordered the actuator for the rear window. I read some threads about cobbling together the parts and doing it myself. I've wired a whole gauge cluster in the C20, so how hard could this be? It goes up for a bit then retracts back to where it was. It's not rocket surgery. Then I looked at parts, controllers, switches and electric diagrams. That was the moment I decided that I'll just buy the kit that has already been engineered. Sometimes taking the path well traveled pays off.
The first thing I did was print the instructions and read them a few times. Here's a pro tip: read the instructions and look at the parts at the same time. Match the description to the part so that if you have any questions in the middle of the night they will happen earlier in the day. Maybe even when the supplier is open and taking calls. So, gather your resources and start with the first thing on the list.

For this project I chose a silly little IPA with a good strong hoppy finish. It was chilled to near 55 degrees which I now believe to be too cold; would recommend 58 or 60 degrees. The body got increasingly cheerful as it warmed up to a decent temperature. Normally I'd have gone with a nice stout for something that would take hours. But, I read the instructions and anticipated I should be done with this after an hour, maybe an hour and a half if I hit a snag. So with that timeline in mind I went with this nice IPA.

Here's a pro tip: you are going to break a fastener or two even if you use the fancy trim panel removal kit. If you have the fancy kit and you tend to pull panels off like a gorilla with a Samsonite suitcase then you are going to need a lot of fasteners.

If you've made your own drawer system and have loaded it up with chains and tools and a first aid kit, don't forget to empty the drawers or even just take them out before you try to move the system out of the way. A full sheet of 3/4" plywood is heavy and then add all of the miscellaneous stuff that goes in the drawers. Ugh, heavy. I ended up using some prybars and swear words to get the box shoved up on top of the rear seats. This got them mostly out of the way. I say "mostly" but there was only once that the stuff was in the way. More on that later. If your box is sized such that you can get it up on the back seats and out of the way enough to remove the piece of trim at the back of the cargo area, that should be out of the way enough to get this project done.

I wanted to show this little clip in some detail. At the top is a simple little push tab to release it. I worked for about 20 minutes trying to get it out without breaking it. The instructions said something about be careful and don't break this clip! as if it were difficult to source or it was fragile. Just reach in, push down on the tab and the whole clip will pop out. It was much harder to disconnect the wiring harness to the door that it was to get this little thing out after I found the tab.

Then I made a mistake. I spilled some of my beer. I can't believe I did that. Grrrr.

After taking things apart in the back, it was time for the front. I was amazed at how much of this vehicle comes apart with a grunt and 10mm socket. You've got to pull panels off of the side, middle, top of middle and then you can get to the one panel that really matters. Because I'm sma.....a complete idiot, I pulled all of the wires off of the back of the switch before I put it in the open spot on the switch panel. You know, because one end was attached to the switch and the other end was connected to absolutely NOTHING and could have been fed through the hole. Took about 10 minutes to figure out where the wires went and get back to the point where I was able to install the switch. One note though, and maybe I did it wrong, but when I put the add a fuse into the fuse block socket a piece of the fuse block broke. The add a fuse was too big but I jammed it in there anyway and saw a little piece snap off. On the positive side - it now fits perfectly.

Obviously this is before I wiped everything down but look how pretty! It was at this point I decided that while I've got everything apart I might as well hardwire in the dash camera. I happily clipped and crimped away. When I turned the key to "accessory" the camera made an abbreviated start noise and I smelled burning electricity. My first thought was that I fried the crappy connections. After some troubleshooting and touching things with the multimeter probes I came to the conclusion that the camera fitzed out. It was at that point I looked at the power adapter/cig plug thing. On the side it said 12v input - 7v output, so there's the problem. Frick. Le, sigh. Got a new one coming in today.

Another pro tip: try very hard to not get the mastic used on the back door on your dirty little paws. It's similar to tar and gets everywhere. I have to figure out how to get it off my seat cover without using scissors.


At this point I thought I was just about finished. Just run the wires under the kick panel plate, up into the rear fender and PooF, Bob's yer Uncle. Done.
No, well, yes, getting the wire to the rear fender panel is easy. Getting it past the rear seat are was a problem. I found if you get a little frustrated and start pressing right where the exclamation point is, the panel will pop open. "Press" isn't really what I did. "Let's Break Some Ribs Doing CPR" is closer to what I did. It was late and I was in a panic because I had to get to work in the morning. By this point it was starting to get late. I'd blown the "hour and a half" timeline an hour before and I was on my second beer. But if you do things the hard way like I do, push on this panel to pop it off so you can jam the wires behind it to the point where you can grab them from the back.
Now, here's another pro tip: I need to back up a little bit. I'd unhooked the power to the rear door; piled the drawers and panels on top of the folded down seats and gotten to the part of the instructions where it says something about either using the add a fuse or going directly to the battery. Well, looking at the inline fuse and the fuse that was in the add a fuse piece I got confused. The inline fuse was a 30 amp and the add a fuse was 15 amps. I decided to take a break and hit the internets, so I closed up the FJ and hit the lock button. The car made a "meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" sound and I realized the rear door was non-functional. Went to the back and the door handle didn't work; neither did the key in the lock. So here's the tip - don't close the door when there's no power to the lock and handle. I had to crawl over everything on the back seats, pinching my favourite testicle in the process, to get to the handle actuator so i could open the door.
After a little bit of research that got me nowhere and an episode of Cats Does Countdown I decided that if the add a fuse comes with a 15 amp fuse, I can cut down the power wires (removing the inline 30 amp fuse) and move on.

I used a 16g wire, some lube and some painters tape to fish the wires through the rubber boot and get them into the back door. This only took 30 minutes to complete. I tried a few different methods and tools. Eventually, I cut off the split loom and got the wires through. Being a Taurus, I'm magnificently hardheaded and tried mightily to get the loom through the rubber boot. Let me tell you, it's much more trouble than it'd would be worth plus it would probably tear the boot eventually. Now that I had the wires into the back door, the boot replaced and the front of the car wired up I decided to go to bed.

Bright and shiny the next morning I thought I'd just get along enough to be able to drive around without parts falling off. I soldered wires together and used heat shrink. Notice in the picture how I messed that simple operation up. All of the wires were supposed to be in the green wrapper. Le sigh, maybe next time.
It was at this part of the process that I elected to stray from the instructions. I'll tell you why. I assume the stamp for the inside part of the back door changed from 2007 to 2011. In the picture from the instructions the panel looks pretty flat where the bottom mount goes. On mine, not so much. Take a look below.

The panel where the bottom mound attaches kind of bends in and to the side. In the instructions they say that the actuator will rub against the door and the mounting point will be in the mastic line. I ended up using washers and making a wedge shaped spacer out of pipe to realign the bracket mount.

Fully closed the actuator doesn't touch

And fully open it doesn't touch. I experimented (while crossing my fingers and holding my breath) with washers so the actuator was solid and inline with the plane of movement. I was really worried about stressing the tempered glass but it all worked out.

Because the actuator is now further from the door it does/did interfere with the interior door panel. I cut out a bit more plastic, too much actually, and now the door panel is solidly attached again. From beginning to end I think It took me 4 hours to get this installed. Not too bad. Next time I think I could do it in 30 minutes.

Why.....why wasn't this an OEM option???

My impressions so far: I found that when I'm driving around 8 mph and crack the back window open it will suck in exhaust. Opening the window more fixes that. I had to get some pig food and on the road I played with various positions of open. All of them reduce the buffeting from the front windows. I'm quite pleased. Too bad it's getting cold and rainy again. Oh, and mine isn't as loud as the one in the Chitown video. Well, it might be but it doesn't seem to be nearly as loud; maybe it's because I'm in the city or the actuators have changed. Either way, pleased.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,065 Posts
I found that when I'm driving around 8 mph and crack the back window open it will suck in exhaust. .
Very well done, and I love your thread. Quick question, any idea at "what size of the crack" you are getting exhaust fume smell?

I don't have the fancy chitown stuff, but I have the vent lock 4 inch. At t4 inches of open, I am not getting any exhaust smoke at all.

Additionally, is your exhaust straight exit out to the back under license plate, or does it exit to the side, behind the passenger rear tire? I wonder if that makes a difference.

Keep up the great work!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
714 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Very well done, and I love your thread. Quick question, any idea at "what size of the crack" you are getting exhaust fume smell?

I don't have the fancy chitown stuff, but I have the vent lock 4 inch. At t4 inches of open, I am not getting any exhaust smoke at all.

Additionally, is your exhaust straight exit out to the back under license plate, or does it exit to the side, behind the passenger rear tire? I wonder if that makes a difference.

Keep up the great work!
Interesting, I have no idea how far open it was. I was excited, driving in an alley and trying not to run over neighbors fences. They get really grouchy about that kind of thing.
My exhaust goes...out the back. I think. Had to look at a picture, yes it exhausts out the back under the door handle.

Thanks! My next project is an extra stoplamp that goes behind the spare tire.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,065 Posts
Interesting, I have no idea how far open it was. I was excited, driving in an alley and trying not to run over neighbors fences. They get really grouchy about that kind of thing.
My exhaust goes...out the back. I think. Had to look at a picture, yes it exhausts out the back under the door handle.

Thanks! My next project is an extra stoplamp that goes behind the spare tire.
Cool. So you will have 4 brake lights?

I am looking to add the bumper lights, that other FJ around the world come with. That is more eye level with sedans behind me, so I am working on acquiring that now.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
714 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Cool. So you will have 4 brake lights?

I am looking to add the bumper lights, that other FJ around the world come with. That is more eye level with sedans behind me, so I am working on acquiring that now.
it's going to be similar to this that I ended up putting on the gf's jeep.



I bought it for the FJ but it just didn't work well. I would have had to enlarge a hole, essentially moving it over. I put it on her jeep and I really like the look/usefulness. So instead of moving a hole, I am building one from scratch....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,065 Posts
it's going to be similar to this that I ended up putting on the gf's jeep.



I bought it for the FJ but it just didn't work well. I would have had to enlarge a hole, essentially moving it over. I put it on her jeep and I really like the look/usefulness. So instead of moving a hole, I am building one from scratch....
Ah very very nice! I have seen a Jeep locally on the highway few months ago, that had the light up in the wheels. I have a cover on my wheel these days, but otherwise, I think its a great idea, and great visibility.

Love your creativity :smile:smile
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
714 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
After successfully releasing the blue smoke out of my dash camera, I went to the internets and ordered a new one. It came all the way from China in two days!


The printing was upside down but I think that's just because of the exchange rate or GMT difference.

I pondered how to get the controller board out of the lighter socket. I could use an engineers hammer but that might be a little detrimental to the board. I thought about a sawsall but I tend to get a little out of control with one of those in my hands. I thought about using the torch to melt the cover off. Then it hit me. I could attach wires directly to the metal parts of the socket thing. Using some tape and ingenuity I rigged up the welder.


Oh, don't be silly. I used a soldering iron. I know you can't use a ground clamp on plastic. I used some emery cloth to take the shine off of the metal parts. I tried to use normal colors for live and ground but I think I got them backwards. I think live is the button and ground are the side. That would make sense to make the live connection buried down deep in the socket. With everything wired up, I used a few layers of electrical tape to cover it all up.


There's a right way and a wrong way to check for current and connection points. I genuinely stuck my finger into the socket to feel around for connection points. Luckily I didn't read the instructions for the rear window actuator and had inadvertently cut power to the lighter socket. Seriously, I'm XX amount of years old and my first instinct is to put my finger in a potentially live socket!


So this is the stumbling block I had with the socket. When you add the Chitown4x4 rear window actuator and decide to use the stock fuse block, they tell you to use the "add a fuse" included in the kit. That's about as far as I got in reading the directions. I'm a near genius so instructions are more like suggestions and therefore superfluous. Because of this, I never looked at the "add a fuse" closely. I just jammed it into the directed fuse location. I put the old fuse in a blank space for use at a later date. But you must use the included fuse AND the accessory fuse in the "add a fuse" block. Otherwise the cig lighter won't get power. To figure this out, I spent about an hour troubleshooting and swapping fuses and cogitating. By pure accident I noticed there were two places for fuses.


Let me take a moment to give this word of caution. When you are making these kinds of alterations, it's a good idea to balance your box of connectors on one leg so that it's super simple to drop it on the floor. Make sure the lid is open so the connectors not only get under the seat but also on the driveway and in the flowerbed.


This is how I wired the camera in.


Wiring up the C20 taught me a trick to keep the live and grounds from being connected wrong. I'll use a male connector on one and a female on the other. That way if I try to connect the live wire up, it won't be able to connect to the ground. And vice versa.


When everything was all said an done, there were no adapters sticking out of the cig lighter, the cig lighter worked, no wires to get caught and it keeps the stock look of the console.
 
1 - 20 of 49 Posts
Top