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トヨタ Master
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Nice write up, nice build! Gotta love those Army Greens. I also enjoy the comic relief you provide to keep the reader engaged. Thread sub'd!

I wanted to touch on your plywood woes a little. I went through about 2 sheets when building my tonneau cover for my Tundra before I realized that 3/4 birch is so much harder, more rigid, and easier to have precision with than typical plywood. It costed me about $104 at Menard's but in the end it was worth it to have something that simply doesn't budge. I also sanded, primered, and Hurculined it to keep moisture at bay. It came out so strong that I could carry a 650# Yamaha Grizzly 450 on top of it from to Montana and back without issues.

Keep up the good work! :cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Birch, huh? Next time I build some boxes I'll use that instead. Thanks!
 

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トヨタ Master
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Yeah, I don't know if mine was Baltic per se, but it was a very fine quality. The best plywood I've ever seen, not that I'm a manufactured wood connoisseur. :grin
 

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Discussion Starter #26
In about two weeks I'll be in a position to order the suspension I want. I just have to nail down what that suspension is. I don't see going rock crawling or climbing walls like some members here. My interest lies in going all Ansel Adams in the countryside. I want to get remote, shoot some of my trademark brilliant shots and get back. Because of all the camera gear, Baja running isn't in the cards either. I really believe that for what I'm going to be doing, a suspension kit in the $2k range will be perfect. But which one? I keep coming back to the OME Nitrocharger kit or the Boss Performance kit. My plan was to buy everything I want all at once and put it to use. Bumper, suspension, tires, winch, cb and ham. We have a bit of heavy lifting/pulling coming up in the next year so bumper and winch will come in handy. Technically, I could blow off the suspension, go with the front end stuff and tires then just live with the sagging front end for a while until I get the scratch together for suspension. But I really want to do the suspension because then I ......um.....well, just because. All the cool kids have them.
Another option would be to do the suspension then do a hidden winch mount with the stock bumper. I think that would be a perfectly acceptable compromise for a while. What that says to me is that if I do the OME, I'll probably want to go with stiffer front springs and live with a stiff ride until I get the weight of the bumper. But with the Boss suspension, I'm led to believe that the adjustablility of the system will work in the long run. It's more money but the ability to adjust it to compensate for different accessories is very attractive. I'm a fan of the "spend the money once and enjoy" instead of buying upgrade after upgrade. I bought cheap derailleurs once. That was money wasted.
So I have to decide between OME and Toytec. It's come down to those two because OME has been around for ev er and has a good reputation for durability. Their logo is an ostrich and that is pretty cool. Toytec is relatively new to me but members here run them hard and have few complaints. I talk myself into one system and am happy with my decision. For about three days, then I talk myself into the other. I have a feeling that I'd be happy with which ever one I do end up ordering. I even posed the question to Toytec and they said something similar. They brought up the adjustable aspect but aside from that, either one will be great for me. Since no one is going to tell me which one I'll like more, I have to come up with a decision. The bad thing is I'll always wonder if the other one would have been better. I do that with everything though. Got the 5D mark IV but should I have gotten the 5DS R? I mean, the file size....wowuh! I went to Puerto Rico and had a great time but should I have gone to Costa Rica instead? I made a great fountain pen but should it have been a ball point? I bought the blue milk but should I have gotten the red milk? I woke up and scratched but should I have rubbed instead? Well, you get the idea.
My givens will be a full set of Ricochet skids, my drawers and tools, a winch and ARB bumper. Possibly I'll trade out the rear for something like an Expedition 1. OR I get none of it and just spend the money on good scotch. Right now, I'm leaning toward the Boss suspension because of it's adjustable. That gives me some wiggle room in installation of heavy things up front. Plus, the springs are red and red springs are cool. On the other hand, I've wanted OME since the Montero. Ugh, adulting is hard!
 

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トヨタ Master
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I doubt you really need any of that stuff to go do what you do. A-Trac and a set of really good tires can make a huge difference on an otherwise stock FJ.
 

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Why dont you pack the pig up and make the trek to Moab this summer there is plenty for you to do taking pics or what ever and you then could see and maybe even drive some FJs that have different suspension set ups . I know Thorn Runs the BP-51 , i run Radflo , Iconic runs Kings , and so on . One thing for you to think about though is getting a set of Whatever Brand but a set that is rebuildable .
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Why dont you pack the pig up and make the trek to Moab this summer there is plenty for you to do taking pics or what ever and you then could see and maybe even drive some FJs that have different suspension set ups . I know Thorn Runs the BP-51 , i run Radflo , Iconic runs Kings , and so on . One thing for you to think about though is getting a set of Whatever Brand but a set that is rebuildable .
Now that is a really good idea! I hadn't considered something so simple.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
I doubt you really need any of that stuff to go do what you do. A-Trac and a set of really good tires can make a huge difference on an otherwise stock FJ.
I have BFG's now but they are getting a little short in the tooth so I've been looking at some Treadwright MT's. It seems pretty hit or miss as to balancing but I'm really curious. I agree that I don't need anything but tires to do most of the things I do. Want is a whole other conversation though. The winch is an exception. A winch would have made a few things at the ranch much easier to do. Then it starts to snowball....:) Over the next few years there will be some moving, raising and just plain dragging that will be easier if one of us has a winch.

Part of my "wants" stems from liking the look of a lifted FJ with 285's and stock rims. Well, that's a pretty big part of my problem. The other part consists of, well, I've been trying to come up with a legitimate additional reason and I can't. The ground clearance comes from the tires so the suspension lift only comes into play with tires larger than 285's. Unsprung weight control? That's a possible legitimate reason to change out suspension.

le sigh.... I do appreciate the input! Seriously, I do.
 

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Discussion Starter #31 (Edited)

Here is the last photo of my 2011 in stock form.
I ordered the new toys and much to my delight they showed up within 10 days or so. Which was great but also kind of really inconvenient because of the holidays and work. Finally I carved out some time before the new year and went to work.
First thing I did was to watch all the videos and read everything here I could find. I knew about the bushings and to unbolt the brake lines. In all honesty, the install was pretty easy and straight forward. Of course I had a few hiccups.
First hiccup: the spring compressors I have were too thick and got stuck between the coils when I got the spring mounted to the shock.
I sat there trying to figure out how to solve this problem without denting the shock body or taking a grinder to the jaws. Then I started laughing. What the entire.....????? It worked great on the Hyundai struts. I sat and pondered and sat some more. I couldn't come up with any other solution so I took the hat off and let things expand. I ended up using the press to cram everything together. OSHA approved.
I was careful, went slow and was lucky. Nothing slipped and nothing went flying. It worked like a charm. I got both done in no time, then took them apart because I forgot a washer or spring packer. By the third time I put them together, it was really easy to do. Cramming them up into their home was fairly easy too. My advice is to grab a leverage tool. But it's not any harder than replacing a strut.
Here's a problem I ran into that I hadn't considered. You can't replace the springs if you are lifting with the axle tube.... So once again, i cobbled together an OSHA approved solution. That jack stand is on 2 retaining wall bricks already. Close enough, I'll be careful. I got the brake lines freed up and dropped the old springs. Then new springs needed a little encouragement to get seated.
I'm an OSHA after school special just waiting to happen. I used the little jack to give me a pivot. That way I could get the room for the spring. If I'd had a lift, this would have been soooo easy. I'm thinking I need to scrape the house and build myself a garage with 400 sqft house attached.
Long story short, all of the bushings are installed, nothing goes clunk, all of the bolts are tight and I'm a happy camper!
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Now there's more room in the fender wells. Even with the bumper installed the front end is still up off of the ground.

I've gotten the winch installed and the bumper bolted tight. I'm very pleased with the stance of the FJ now as well as the added utility the bumper and winch provide.

I'm enjoying the ARB overhead console with one caveat: I bonk my head into it every now and again when getting my butt settled into the seat. Good news is that while it makes my head hurt, the console doesn't budge. It's nice and tight against the ceiling. The lights are bright, the console doesn't rattle. Happy happy happy!
 

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Man the ARB and winch is gorgeous. THAT is the bumper I would get, if I got one.

Now take care of those headlights, my friend!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #33
Yeah, I was looking at those during the install. They are pretty bad!
 

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Discussion Starter #35
HA! Yes daaaaaaaaduh.
 

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Discussion Starter #37




Got 5 new 285’s jammed into the FJ. Still have room for the voodoo rope and the first aid kit. Hopefully by this time tomorrow I’ll have new shoes on the FJ. So excited!!!


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Discussion Starter #39
Got the new tires put on and new TPMS sensors put in after my work after my other work. Then I promptly almost ran a red light because I was so giddy and paying no attention to what I was supposed to be paying attention.
I have heard stories of movie stars driving around with starlets on their laps and I don’t know how they do it. I get new tires and almost get into a wreck. I can say that in an emergency stop the tires preform very well. Plus, they make a loud howl when sliding across pavement which is almost as loud as my hollering.




I’m pleased as punch with these tires so far. They didn’t take much weight to balance, they are round and at speed they really aren’t noisy. My gf’s Ridge Grapplers are loud but these aren’t like that. They are louder than the BFG KO2’s but nowhere close to something like Super Swampers.
However, again the vehicle is further away from the ground and I sort of had a graceless dismount in the driveway. Luckily the piggos didn’t see that display of human dexterity so I won’t have to hear about that for the rest of the week.

I’ll update with more info about these tires but so far I’d give them a thumbs up.


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