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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
As of Apr 2019:


In the Beginning
My first 4x4 was a '93 Toyota pickup, standard cab, 5sp MT, no options (no power steering, no A/C, no stereo, nada), and a small canopy on the back with side doors. I absolutely loved that truck, but after gutting it out in 90º+ heat for nine hours on the way home from the great eclipse apocalypse with the windows rolled up and the vent set to recirc to avoid the trail dust, I started thinking about something newer, safer, and air conditioned.



Things are going to start happening to me now!
Not long after that trip, a friend mentioned that his mom had a nearly new FJ sitting in her garage that she might be willing to sell. And so began The Long Wait...

...Fast forward a year and some change and I finally took possession of a 2011 cavalry blue FJ Cruiser. It has never looked as spiff as that first day, dripping with armor all and nary a scratch in the paint. But now it looks like it should—well-used.



The Jerk
During the shopping process, I mentioned to a colleague that I was looking for a new vehicle and considering the FJ. “You’d sell your truck to get The Jerk?!” she said, incredulously. “The Jerk?” I asked. “Yeah, everyone who got one for a while seemed to be a total jerk...” I thought it was hilarious—the name stuck.



Stock Specs
2011 FJC, off-road package (I think this included the roof rack and Bilstein shocks), 6sp MT, 60k mi. Purchased new in Juneau, AK and then shipped to Oregon. I’m the 3rd owner.

The Build
My primary intent with this vehicle is car camping and exploration. I guess we call it “overlanding” now because car camping is not cool. I have relied heavily on various posts and build threads here as I continue to mod my FJ, so hopefully someone finds this thread useful as I learn more along the way.

Protection
FJ toyman rear lower shock skids
White Knuckle Off-Road rock sliders
Cheapo clear door trim from Amazon
TRD front skid plate
RCI integration skid
Ricochet transmission & transfer case skids

Recovery
Iconic's rear recovery points, powder coated orange
Cheapo traction boards from Amazon (still waiting for a Maxtrax sponsorship. Any day now, I’m sure of it...)

Exterior
Rhino Rack Pioneer Platform Roof Rack (84”x56”)
Blackout grill and all silver bumper pieces
Black door handles (I figured paint would wear through here, so splurged for black plastic)
Custom painted matte black roof
Auto Ventshade 894041 wind deflectors

Interior
Wet Okole seat covers with inflatable lumbar supports (“What are these...pumps for?” I have all kinds of creative answers)
DIY trunk cargo hooks & 3d printed covers
DIY cargo/sleep platform (extends 6’4” on the passenger side and 6’2” on the driver side)
Rugged Ridge floor mats front/rear
Rugged Ridge trunk mat
RAM phone mount on the windshield
Garmin Inreach mount on the windshield
TRD cue-ball shift knob

Under the hood
AFE Pro Dry S air filter
Northstar AGM battery type 27F

Electrical
Diode Dynamics LED interior lights—red in the domes and white in the maps. (Red preserves your night vision and white lets you read maps without losing the red details which are usually important...)

Comms
All-pro CB antenna Bandi mount
4’ Firestick CB antenna
Uniden handheld CB radio (cheapo Amazon special)
Baofeng 3GT-GTP HT radio (ham)
Garmin Inreach Mini (Seriously, if you ever go out alone off-grid, this thing will save your ass if things go wrong. And your relationship. Being able to text your partner in the middle of nowhere is a huge stress reliever on long trips.)

Suspension
Front:
King OEM kit with external reservoirs and adjusters, extended travel, 550lb springs
SPC UCAs, caster set to +4
Body mount chop with Metal Tech end caps
Rear: King OEM kit with external reservoirs and adjusters
ICON 2” lift springs, standard weight (approx 15% increase in spring rate over stock)
mstudt sway bar links with front disconnects
Durobumps front and rear

Tires & Wheels
BF Goodrich KO2 34 x 10.5 R17
Spidertrax 1.25” spacers

Accessories
Rhino Rack Sunseeker awning
Valpro (Wavian) 5gal fuel can
DMOS shovel
Harbor Freight limbing shears
Noco Genius Boost GB70
Cheapo electric air compressor from Amazon (will do all four tires without overheating. Good enough—I can buy 8 of these before I hit the price of an ARB twin compressor)
Cheapo hydraulic jack/stand from Santa
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Cheaply done by a previous owner. Makes the roof hot enough in the summer time to cook a steak. I like the look better than white, but it’s functionally worse. Might get the roof painted to match the body eventually. I love the monochromatic look.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sleep/Cargo platform

Taking an idea started by @minhster, I initially thought the FJ wasn’t long enough to accommodate my 6’2” height. It’s possible I have an unusual front passenger seat, but it tilts forward just enough to allow a full 6’4” to the tailgate. Perfect—sleeps better than my truck ever did. I was really bummed out to give up being able to sleep in my vehicle.







1/2” plywood on IKEA Sultan legs. These things are threaded internally, so the length can be adjusted. Turnbuckles to anchor the platform to the bed. The platform is silent on bumpy roads (at least until the turnbuckles loosen up and it starts squeaking). Holds two adult bodies easily, and whatever cargo I can throw at it. Vehicle weight is a major concern for me, so going light is key. These pics are from the initial build—it’s not as warped as you see here.



The middle section is hinged for easy removal and attaches to the rear section with Simpson Strong-ties and some window latches to snug things together. Strong-ties are fairly low profile, though they do bend easily. I’ll probably replace this with something a little higher quality eventually.



There is a set of removable Sultan legs underneath for support. Two panels then fold out to create the forward section.

More pics to come, stay tuned!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It’s the pickup mentioned in the first post. Sold it when I got the FJ to a good home. I still miss how small and light it was.

Agree the black roof looks good but yes works as a good heat sink. Nice start to your build and looks great in the top picture. Is the Series II yours too?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Here are some shots of the bed as it currently exists. I added L-track to the rear section for cargo—provides endlessly variable anchor points. The anchors rattle if they’re not attached to a tie down, so fortunately they come off easily.



Shown here are the middle section Sultan leg supports. I didn’t like the pressure points from the bare feet, so mounted them to some plywood to distribute the weight on the seat backs. The two pieces simply rest under the bed and the turnbuckles hold everything under compression.



Here’s the two sections connected from the underside. The window latches pull the two panels together and snug up any slop. It pains me to see how poorly aligned things are, but I’m considering this a prototype design. ;) There was definitely some trial and error in getting things to fit the first time around.



Finally, here’s the front section folded open on the passenger side. Two PVC pipes with end caps thread into t-nuts under the bed and rest on the seat rails. I can put my full weight on any section without issue. I have a bit of crap on the front seat, so couldn't push it all the way forward for this pic, but the bed does not bite into the seat back as badly as you see here. It's snug, but repeated use has shown no wear or damage to the seats.



Just got back from a 3500mi road trip, so my interior is filthy with desert dust. There are worse ways to wake up...

 

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I know this is obscure but you can also call your truck as follows.

Third order non-zero derivative of position


Okay back to your regular programming. 🙃
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You must be either an engineer or a physicist.


I know this is obscure but you can also call your truck as follows.

Third order non-zero derivative of position


Okay back to your regular programming. ��
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I discovered AVS now makes low profile wind deflectors. After camping in the rain recently and not being able to crack my windows sufficiently to get airflow and still keep out the drips, I picked up a set of these. You want to look for Auto Ventshade p/n 894041. These things are super low profile—should keep noise to a minimum while driving.

 

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Discussion Starter #15
OEM roof rack removal
First day of ownership, I had to pull this thing off so it would fit in my parking garage. Also, the OEM roof rack isn’t very useful for its bulk. In my haste, I removed the bolts with an impact driver and managed to vibrate the internal mounting brackets loose in the process. Thought I was going to have to drop the headliner, but managed to fish them out with some ingenuity and patience. The solution was a couple of wire hooks with magnets on the ends to catch the brackets. Only took about two hours to get get them sorted out...




I drove like this for a few weeks before getting the Rhino Rack Pioneer Platform mounted.



Now that the internal brackets are loose, adding/removing hardware is a delicate process—I really should have been more careful in the first place. The stock butyl rubber patches that Rhino ships with the Backbone system are woefully inadequate to seal around the mounting holes, so after one visit to the car wash I sat and watched the water soak through. When I called RR, they seemed mystified that I would have problems.



Ended up using butyl rubber window tape and some pieces of bicycle inner tube to seal the holes (pro tip: bicycle tube is WAY too soft and wraps itself around the bolt threads creating a huge mess. Avoid). Only took me two more attempts to get everything sealed up. Only.



The rack setup with the Sunseeker awning is flat-out awesome in both sun and rain, though bashing the awning through brush takes its toll on the vinyl storage cover. Working on some kind of protector for the leading end.

 

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Discussion Starter #18
BMC
I lack both welding skills and a sufficient garage, so had these done by Auburn Off Road. Can’t recommend these guys enough. Friendly and professional. John even took photos of the process for me. End caps by Metal Tech.





Extra nice touch on tidying up the fender bump out.

 

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Discussion Starter #19
None More Black
Blacked out all the things. This proved to be far more of a pain in the ass than I expected. Paint remover peeled a few parts clean in seconds, others fought it to the death and needed extensive sanding. If I did it again I would skip the paint stripper and just sand everything. Opted for black plastic door handles, figuring paint would wear off. I’m fairly impressed with how durable the bumper paint is, however—multiple car washes and miles of rocks and bug impacts and it’s still holding. I have plans to do the mirror lowers to match the body and black out the uppers as soon as the weather improves.



This was the moment I decided I need to get a metal front bumper.


Sweet grill, bruh.


Pull the rear bumper until you think you’re going to break it. Comes off with a bang. Very exciting!


It’s like, how much more black could this be?


https://youtu.be/wx6fwfBKCIQ
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Door ding protectors
Some people call them rock sliders, I guess. The Jerk seems to be a magnet for people with fancy cars...





Got mine from White Knuckle Off Road—great price, and I like the shape of the flares. They went on pretty easy with a jack and some help, but the mounting points don’t give you much room to wrench. Knuckle-buster.

 
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