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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I thought I would wait to do a build thread until I actually built something for my 2010 FJ Cruiser.

To see my FJ in its natural habitat please go here. BTW, the habitat should get a little bumpier after I install my new RCI skids.

http://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/en-route-completed-expeditions/423098-moab-junkys-adventures.html

I found our FJ on Craig's List 11 months ago. It had 24,000 very easy miles on it. In fact, it had never been off road and was in immaculate condition. The Gentleman was a gem to deal with and graciously met me in Vail Colorado, 2 hours from our homes, to do the sale.

This picture was taken the day we brought it home.

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LET THE DEPRECIATION BEGIN!!!

He had the Icon 3" lift installed, Draw Tight hitch and OEM rock rails, the short shift with the TRD knob and a good set of 285/70/17 BFG AT's.
It also has the convenience and off road pkg, rear locking diff and A trac.

Last month it looked like this:

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And today, it looks like this:

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When my Wife and I purchased our FJ we also had a 2007 2 door Jeep. It was lifted, locked, and turning 35" tires with 5.13 gears.

Off road, our Jeep was the Bomb!!:rocker:

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My Wife and I decided to keep both the FJ and the Jeep. I swore many times I would NEVER sell the Jeep.

In spite of all the negative press about them, this little 1/4 ton Chrysler was 100% reliable, and it would climb almost everything we pointed it at.

After a full summer with the two 4x4's, I noticed a considerable amount of garage dust building up on the Jeep. It seemed like every time we had a weekend trip planned, the FJ keys were the ones we reached for. The FJ was always more comfortable, had more room for our dog and all our gear, had the bed in the back, the full sized rear cargo door, the roof rack. It handled better, was safer and quieter on the freeway. Of course it had those two very useful and appreciated suicide doors and most importantly of all, it was built by TOYOTA. Needless to say, our beloved Jeep was sold. (pause for a moment of silence)

This is my third Toyota. If I were to rate auto makers based on personal experience, I would have to put Honda and Toyota at or near the very top. Chrysler would no doubt be bringing up the rear, and I use the term rear, loosely!! (As in two bags of chips, three Mountain Dew's and a half pound of Raisinets loose) We got lucky with our Jeep but that corporation is a total mess. I won't elaborate on some of the things that outfit would not stand behind for us.

My FJ build is probably quite a bit different than most. It will be very tame compared to many of the builds I've seen on here. I will walk you through my thoughts, mods, mistakes, dislikes and future dreams. When I design something that works, I'll sing it from the roof tops. If it fails, I'll post that too, just in smaller text.

I also am open to any input from the members here, for it was you my Friends who gave me the knowledge, courage and desire to purchase this Toyota in the first place. I lurked here for weeks and weeks before pulling the trigger. Thank you Forum Members!!! We love our 6 speed manual FJ Cruiser!!!

My goal isn't to build the most capable rock crawler or to spend countless hours clawing and spinning my way up a nasty boulder ridden hill side. We've been there and done that. I will drive around every mud hole I possibly can. Forget about fording deep water. The only snorkel I will own will be in my mouth and be used at the reef. If I do choose to get it good and muddy, you can bet your bottom dollar it will be washed before the end of the day or trip. I will use my winch to get me out of a pickle, not up a waterfall.

My Wife and I want to go places and see things that the average Joe cannot in his BMW or even stock SUV. If we are in the middle of a wonderful trip, we do not want to be forced to turn back because things got a little dicey. We will lock the rear diff, choose a good line, stack a rock or two if we have to, let the clutch out and let the FJ work its magic.

If we get tired, we will pull over and sleep in the back!!!

On with the build!!

BED/STORAGE SYSTEM:

The first item of business was to make a comfortable bed in the back. I wasted no time doing this. I must say, if I were to build a new sleeping/storage system for my FJ, I wouldn't change a thing.

The two skinny storage spaces on the sides will have a hinged "flip-up access door making access easy when the bed is occupied. I made certain canned goods would fit standing up in these.

The odd shape was designed so I can access the 110 volt outlet on the right and remove my OEM jack from the left side while the bed is in place.

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Key components of my system are;

The forward platforms do not rest on the seat backs. I feel if they did the foam in the seats would eventually be damaged.

The platforms fit nicely on top of the cabinet. I ratchet strap them down and fold the seats up for company. No bunk beds so they will have to throw in their own tent.

I can still access the storage compartment that holds the jack and tools. I can also get to the 110 volt outlet without removing the cabinet. I like that.

There are two hinged access compartments on the sides. We can get a can of peaches, bottle of water and a fork while we are in bed!

The cabinet is ratchet strapped down to the factory D-Rings. In the event of an accident it will not turn into a projectile. The sleeping planks are screwed down to the cabinet. The entire setup can be removed in minutes.

The platform legs between the seats have pins in the tops They simply slide inside holes in the planks. No bolts or screws to deal with there.

I installed 10 D-Rings to the top of the cabinet for securing our gear. I still have access to the factory D-rings.

The drawers simply slide in and out without tracks. I sanded and waxed the bottom of the drawers and the cabinet base. They slide effortlessly, make no noise while driving, are secured by a 1/4" pin and are easily removed for stocking purposes. I honestly believe that the trackless drawer system is actually better than one on tracks with bearings. In the garage, no, in the FJ, yes.

The handles are made out of 1" nylon webbing, cost.....FREE. I was able to make the cabinet longer by using this method and don't have to worry about hard handles scratching my rear door skin. I also drilled large holes in the rear of the drawers and cabinet to help air escape while sliding them in and out.

I made a long skinny table that slides out and has a hole in it that accepts a single burner propane stove. I drilled a large hole in it so I can slip it over my gas can carrier tube. Details of can carriers later on in thread.

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The platforms are hinged in the front making set up time less than one minute, if the planks are in place. Simply slide the seats forward, fold the extensions out, place a 1" dowel underneath and relax. I curved the planks around the storage compartment so we could utilize that space.

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I fold them up and tie them to keep my cargo from shifting forward.

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We installed a nice piece of carpeting back there. Holes were cut into it so we could still access the D-Rings. The dog enjoys the carpeting as much as we do.

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Last year we arrived in Ouray and it was raining buckets. We pulled over in the Ironton Park area, where Corkscrew pass comes out. Not wanting to get wet and muddy, we crawled between the seats into the back, reached up front and slid both front seats forward and then tilted the seat backs forward. We unfolded the platforms and stuck a dowel under each side.
We covered the windows, turned up the stereo and relaxed in our 6' 2" long bed. To me, that is what excites me most about this rig. Being able to see some rugged country and be fully self contained. Go wherever, sleep wherever, do whatever you want.

Waking up in Ironton Park.
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The next night we got prepared. It didn't rain a drop!
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For more details on the storage system, drawers, or how the bed was built, please go here: Again, any comments are welcome. Good, bad or ugly!!

http://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/camping-equipment/281625-pics-my-bed-back.html
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Great looking FJ! The FJ on the bumper is just icing on the cake. I believe that black rims would take it to a new level and some extra lights.:)
Cheers,Matt
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Thanks Matt. Black wheels have been discussed. I'll let my Wife read this, perhaps your comment will get her wheels turning!!

Sleeping in the back, we noticed it was difficult to get out of the rear door when nature called. I got on here and read several write ups about it. We opted to do something a little different but must thank you members for the inspiration.

I bent a small piece of aluminum pipe and clamped it to the door handle rod.

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I positioned it right behind a small access hole so I didn't have to cut or drill a hole in the door skin. It works like a charm. The entire process took less than 45 minutes to do.

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Edit: 4/19/15

Today we added another 2" of foam to our bed. This extra foam made it somewhat difficult to reach the piece of pipe to unlatch the rear door. I copied Sonof40. Here is a link to his brilliant thread.

http://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/interior-exterior-visual-tech/43648-open-rear-door-inside-pics-follow.html

This knob is much easier to reach, in fact, since we sleep with our head forward, I simply hold the para chord and tap the rod with my foot. This mod does however require drilling.

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Next I wanted to be able to open the rear window from inside. I read some clever ways to do this on the forum. Some used their key Fob. Brilliant. I went with this cheap, easy, yet effective route. Notice the hole drilled in the plastic just above the green para chord.

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I didn't get measurements, just looked at a pic on here and went out and drilled the hole. A bit more to the left would have been perfect, but it is still very easy to reach in there with one finger and pop the window open.

As you probably guessed, the para chord is used to close the door from the inside.

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Another short piece of para chord with a dog leash hook on it holds the rear window open while my little Dog checks out the car behind us.

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So now we can easily open the rear door and window from the inside and drive with the window partially open. Just remember not to use the key fob to lock the doors if you have the rear window open, it sets off the alarm. You must use the lock button on either door. Unlocking with the Fob works fine.

All of this crawling in and out got to be a real pain in the ars. I'm too old for that so I made this. My Wife and I love it. Of course it comes out if we are on a trail we think it will get hung up on.

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Speaking of sleeping with the windows open or down. We hated the mosquitos buzzing about inside so we made these for the two front windows and the rear. We ordered the screen material and the magnets from Amazon.com. A cheap but very worthwhile and necessary mod.

Also in the picture you can see the silver sheathing. This is insulated plastic foil that we also purchased from Amazon. It comes in a 25 foot roll ( a buck a foot) and is easy to cut with scissors. It does not fray or come apart when you cut it but it will eventually start to separate. I duct taped most of the edges and think it will hold up for a very long time. We have them for every window and can sleep in the dark even when the sun is out. Like I said, We are old, we need our naps.

If you are thinking about security, we rest inside our FJ with total peace of mind. The Glock is ALWAYS in the center console. When the goblins come a knocking, I let the magnums do the talking.

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For more screen pics, go here:

http://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/camping-equipment/335529-my-fj-screen-windows-pics.html

The next item of business was to tint the windows to give us some additional UV protection, keep it cooler inside, more private and help out with my upstairs black out theme.

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I went a bit darker than the sheriff likes. I just have to roll them down when I see him.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
For now you could even just plastidip the hubcaps... I think it looks cooler that way. ]
Those do look nice Matt. Thanks for the idea.

THE WRAP:

I love the white roof for keeping things cool inside during the summer months and while camping. However, I thought my particular FJ would look better black on top.

So I took it in and a buddy, Greg @ http://uvkills.com/ (great guy) and myself spent the better part of a day doing a vinyl wrap. We left the top of the roof alone, but wrapped the sides, the pillars, top half of the rear door and the trim piece above the windshield.

I even cut out an FJ and stuck it on the doors.

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The white roof is rarely even visible.

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Not diggen the silver mirrors now. I painted the top of them flat black. If you wheel with a guy named sweptwingnut your truck will look like this: (Super trip, Super Folks!!!)

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After spending all this time in the FJ, we longed for some more 12 volt power outlets. Especially some that were always HOT. I don't like sleeping in it with the keys in the ignition. I wired in two, hot always outlets. We love them.

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This is a bit out of order but..... We really needed some sliders that stuck out farther for more protection, to use as steps and were more durable than the OEM ones that came on the FJ. I ordered some TG sliders and bolted them up. These things are super strong and are made out of quality tubing. The welds are top notch.

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They really didn't ride as high as I wanted so I ended up wedging them for now to give me more break over clearance. I often will run over a large rock instead of straddling it. I really need sliders with more clearance. I will probably get around to replacing them or cutting them up and re-welding them. They are like new. Paid $150 to have them powder coated. First 300 bux takes them!!! Local p/u or meet in person somewhere only.

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
OIL CHANGES:

I went to change my oil and found out about cartridge style oil filters. Even though I own 5 different oil filter wrenches, none of them would spin this thing off. I had a large piece of pipe on the rack so I made this.

It looks like h3ll, but works like a charm. And by now, you must certainly know, that function is way more important to me than form!!!

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ROOF RACK IDEAS:

I love having a roof rack. We are still rocking the OEM roof rack. We store light, bulky items up there but I do not like having a lot of weight up that high. I consider the factory rack to be a governor, preventing me from placing too much weight up there.

As far as I can tell, the weakest links of the factory FJ roof rack are the plastic end pieces on the cross members. For this reason I purchased an extra rack from one of our members. I took the four X-members off of his rack, (thanks Snafu58 ) and added them to my rack for a total of 8. Even though I've increased the payload of my rack considerably, I only store light things up there. And if I'm going to be running an off camber trail, I put less or nothing at all up there.

If and when this rack takes a dump, I will invest in a stronger aftermarket one.

Here you can see the 8 X-members.

EDIT: Thanks to FJPDX I'm now rocking 10 cross members.
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EXTRA FUEL:

These FJ's are hurting for fuel storage. The small gas tank, coupled with the poor fuel economy, (which gets worse every time I bolt something onto this rig) makes it mandatory for us to carry extra fuel from time to time. I'm not a huge fan of fuel on the roof. That being said, I have done it and will prolly do it again.

An auxiliary tank would be the bomb, I'm just not ready to go that route yet. Swing out tire carriers are also a great option. Have you priced a rear bumper that comes with one??

I welded up a carrier that works fine. It does not swing out, so that is a bit of a pain to remove when the cans are both full. However, just 2 to 3 hours into any trip we stop and dump one can in. This makes removal of the carrier a snap for the Wife and myself. We just leave the cans attached to the rack and slide the whole thing out. And frankly, with the suicide doors we can usually go without removing the rack at all until it is bed time.

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TIRE CHAINS:

These snowy pictures remind me of the importance of having a heavy duty set of tire chains. The owners manual says you cannot run them on the front. I'm here to tell you that I have. Your FJ may be a little different, so do so at your own risk.

Every off road vehicle I own will have a full set of chains, one for each corner.

The first thing I did up front was the body mount chop. Why Toyota didn't weld this bracket 2 or 3 inches to the rear is beyond me.

After cutting the excessive mount off, I shaped and welded in a 2 inch strap cut out of 1/8" steel. I also gave the mud flaps a hair cut since they were simply in the way of the tire chains. Function over form.

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I also installed spacers on the front end only. These will come off when things warm up. I'm not a huge fan of spacers. Running spacers will never be as safe as running an adequate wheel with the proper back spacing. I will say this, the hub centric spacers available today are an engineering marvel compared to the spacers available a while back and when properly installed are very safe. I ran these chains for three days straight, logging over 60 off road miles. This pic was taken in a flat, usually sunny part of the trail. Much of the trail was in the timber and or on North facing slopes. The roads were very icy, snow packed, steep, rutted, cliff ridden, off camber and extremely dangerous.

This FJ, completely chained up was an absolute beast up there. While others were slipping, spinning, sliding, digging out and parking, mine was acting more like a sure footed mountain goat. It was impressive to say the least.

I need to shorten the cross members, these were for my 35's. It's on the list of things to do, it's a very long list!


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Sleeping in the back of the FJ in the high country 3 nights. The temps were 10, 20 and 25 degrees. I love this dam thing.

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
REAR SLIDER:

Today I built a rear slider to protect my spare and to ensure a smooth easy exit off ledges. My departure angle wasn't compromised at all with this slick design. The only thing I like more than sliding on a designed skid, is not sliding on the ground at all.
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The reason I talk a lot about approach and departure angles is because it is so important. Every single degree or inch counts.

If you don't get hung up on your bumpers, and you don't get high centered, you will rarely need to un-spool the winch. (sand, mud and snow is a different story). One thing I like more than using a winch and that is not having to use one at all.

Here it is installed. Came home in a downpour.
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And in action.
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In this picture you can see that there is a lot of weight off the springs. The hitch and slider are the only things touching besides the tires. What a great feeling to know that I'm not going to hit my spare tire.

Funny experience here. This was during Easter Jeep weekend, 2015. We looked at the schedule of trails that were being ran for the day. We noticed this trail, Porcupine Rim was not on the list. We said, perfect. Previous to this spot we had only seen two mountain bikers. I know we were having more fun than they were.

This ledge was one of the largest on the trail. I was praying that it was tall enough for us to rest our FJ fanny on, it was. We got out, let the dog play, took some pictures and ate our lunch. Wouldn't you know it, off in the distance I heard some vehicles coming our way. Two very built jeeps on 40 inch tires pulled up. Since there was just enough room for them to get by I just left the FJ sitting on the ledge. I'm sure they thought we were wrecked and were waiting for a rescue team.

They politely asked if we needed help and then went on their way, BARELY slowing down for the obstacle that we sized up carefully before going over. I know they were having fun, but I thought about the whole situation while we basked in the warm Moab sun. Not once on this 5 rated trail did they have to get out and "look" at an obstacle. They didn't stack a single rock or drag a single skid. For them, this trail was like a couple of pros playing ball with the neighborhood boys.

I was proud of my Wife for directing me through the more challenging parts of the trail. I was proud of our FJ for getting us up and down some pretty decent ledges without sustaining any damage. While we enjoyed the challenges and mini victories, the guys in the Jeeps probably had to work at staying awake at the wheel. At the end of the day, I'm sure we all had fun.


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It's very easy to come off a ledge and hit your spare. Hit it hard enough and you could ruin the tire and the mount, and even the entire rear door, hinges and all. The solid roof of the FJ gives the door a lot of strength, particularly the pillar your door hinges are mounted to, however, it is no match for half the weight of your FJ.

The white marks on the slick rock is evidence that many folks were dragging their fannies. I don't want to wince every time I drop off something and hear that screeching sound. If your fanny is properly protected, then scarring up the rocks is just part of the fun.
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Some of those drag marks are 5 feet long. Ours was only one. I really dig that.
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I'm not happy with this low hanging hitch. I'll be modifying or replacing it shortly. I'm after every degree of departure I can get.


These types of trails are murder on rear exiting tail pipes. I'll be modifying mine shortly.
This picture was taken before I came up with the adjustable gusset. Not a squeak one when that large bolt is tightened up.
The red paint on the hitch was sprayed on to locate the hitch pin hole location.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
REAR BUMPER:

My main objectives were to keep it light, yet strong. High and tight to maintain the best exit and departure angles possible.

I started with a 5' 2" length of 1/4" 5X3" angle. $22.

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I wanted to follow the contour of the frame, to maximize departure angles, so I cut V's into it and used the FJ to help out. After all, this was for Her.


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The hefty FJ made light work out of bending the 1/4" steel. Jacked it up with a floor jack, blocked up the bumper and let her down slowly until I liked what I saw.

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The angles follow the frame perfectly. Touching all the way across.
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Trimmed the bottom corners to help with exits. I may bend them inwards, we'll see how the corner sliders match up first.

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Cutting out the spare tire recess.

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And boxing in the ends.

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These shackle mounts are amazing. The tabs were cut out of 1" thick plate and were keyed into the 1/2" plates. Tig welded on both sides. I bought them from Shackle Mounts, Cutthroat 4x4 Contact Laura for quality products and custom work. Great, talented people who take pride in their work.
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And finished.

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Super simple, yet super strong.

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
FRONT BUMPER:

I really want this front bumper to improve the factory entry and approach angles, A LOT!!! Also provide some desperately needed strength, accept a slide in cradled winch, have some nice D-Rings for recovery and save me a ton of money.

After removing the factory bumper shell and bumper I was amazed at how weak the factory frame horns were. I understand that this is all crumple technology, however I want to put a winch on the front. A winch would taco the existing frame horn plates for sure.

I trimmed the inner fender skirts, removed windshield washer bottle, cut off factory tow hooks and tucked A/C line behind hood latch support.

The first task at hand was to reinforce the frame plates. I built these:

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Here I'm preparing them for paint. Burning off the oil from drilling holes and warming them up so the paint will stick and dry quickly.

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Next I needed to make some 1/4" plates to add to the stock ones. I also made some mounts out of 1/4 inch hitch tubing.

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Here they are welded up. All of this iron is a full 1/4" thick. Should be very strong.

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And installed, notice the massive 1/2" plates out front.

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Yes Matt, you can and I have used a shackle mount in the hitch but you have to limit the upward travel of the shackle so it will support the weight of the vehicle. Even so, it will stick out of the hitch much farther than my slider does, so you give up way too much departure. You also have to keep it from digging in when you back up.

I think every low clearance vehicle equipped with a rear mounted spare and a receiver hitch should have one of these in the hitch before venturing very far off road.
Thanks Matt!!

THE MASSIVE PIECE OF STEEL!!!

Here is the 6 foot piece of 6" channel I bought for the front bumper. This thing is AWESOME!!! About to give her a hair cut. Keep in mind, every time I weld a piece of steel across the back of this channel, it gets much stronger.

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I cut 11 inches off of it and then cut some V's into it so I could bend the ends. I prefer the softer look of the bends vs cutting and welding the angles in.

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I let the FJ do the heavy bending. "BF Goodrich tires.....Tougher than steel!!!"

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Piece of cake!!!

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Due to the nature of the steel I needed to persuade it a bit to lose the gaps and achieve my desired angles.

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After I sucked it together with the pipe clamp, I welded it in place. Welding both the inside and outside.

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Time to cut the hole for the receiver hitch.

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Hitch welded in, bottom corners removed for better entry!!:rocker:

I spent several hours deciding where to place the bumper. Not only how close to the radiator, but how far off the ground. For maximum strength I needed to stay low. For maximum clearance it had to be high. It looked really cool snugged up to the bottom of the grill, however, the strength would have been compromised too much.

After visualizing the kind of off road use my FJ was going to see, I came up with a plan, customized for me and my style of driving, I sure hope I nailed it.

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Whats nice about your build is you are making it to your specific user needs. Funny, we had a 2003 Jeep Rubicon and a 2007 FJ. Turns out to the same scenario, Jeep stayed home while FJ was used. We could not go back to the Jeep (not Jeep bashing here) after a stint in the FJ. So bye, bye Jeep.:grin
 

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Great write up MJ.

Been watching your build and admire the ingenuity of the parts you install because your not one of the "bolt on" folks like most of the rest of us. Something to be proud of.

See ya in Moab.....
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
dmatt , thanks for the kind words. For an all purpose vehicle, I, like you, am finding out that the FJ is pretty darn perfect. The things I do not like will be addressed one at a time. I have lots of cut off wheels and welding wire.


Great write up MJ. Been watching your build and admire the ingenuity of the parts you install because your not one of the "bolt on" folks like most of the rest of us. Something to be proud of.
See ya in Moab.....
Thanks a lot brother. :rocker: That means a lot to me for sure.

I love to design something in my head, put it on paper, build it, paint it and then scratch it up doing something fun. It does bring me great joy when I don't have to tear it apart or change it, and it does the job.

Funny story, I was building a rear bumper for my Jeep. I welded a receiver hitch tube underneath it. As the paint was drying, I just stood there and stared at it. The more I looked the more I hated the location of that hitch. I knew I should have inserted it into the middle of the bumper.

I waited a full day for the paint to dry so I wouldn't damage it any more than necessary. I then proceeded to cut and grind that thing off. The gussets and welds were impressive, at least for my skill set and my 175 Miller Matic.

After what seemed to be an eternity I was ready to knock this thing off. I placed the bumper on a blanket to keep from scratching the new Hammered Black Rustoleum paint job. I swung the 10lb sledge ever so gently. Hoping the tube would simply "pop off". It did not, I hit it a bit harder, the bumper slid a good three feet. The tube didn't budge, not even a crack. I then took a full swing at it. The bumper shot out from under my foot and slid half way across the garage. Still no visible crack.

At this point the paint was the least of my concern. I hit it with the cut off wheel for another ten minutes. I then threw the dam thing on the ground and proceeded to beat the living crap out of it, I beat it all the way down the driveway and back up several times. I was pissed, disappointed, and a sweaty mess. My Wife ran out of the house and said, "What the h3ll are you doing????"

I told her, she said let me give it a try. She hit it twice and the dam thing popped off. I thought I was going to have to leave her. I stayed. Not all of my ideas are good, staying however was.

To this day, every time I can't open a jar or lift something heavy, she gives me that look, ergggggg.

We would love to wheel with you in Moab Bar3K!
 

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The "Moab Junky" Build Thread

Great storey!! Hahaha. I know the feeling, after struggling to open a jar, one of my younger brothers would offer to try, and it would come right off. Hahaha. I quickly started using the line "I loosened the lid":)

Cheers!
I can't get over how much I like that front bumper...


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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Ha Ha, I hear you Matt. We all know that I weakened the hitch, well everyone but my Wife. She still thinks she could have knocked it off in two hits from the get go.

Thanks for the kind words on the bumper Sir.

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I really dislike the radiator on this thing. It was almost a deal breaker for me. Just look at that friggen thing.....

A person really needs to find a much shorter, deeper one that doesn't hang so darn low. I feel Toyota really dropped the ball here for sure. Raising the rad up 7 inches would allow one to cut the lower frame crossbar and move it up where it belongs, increasing approach angles immensely. I'm sure someone has done this, I just haven't found it yet. Please chime in if you have done this.



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Beefed up the receiver a bunch. Those plates are 1/4". The stiffeners hang over and double for the front bash plate mounts. These are very strong and will play a key role in providing strength to the bumper. Particularly when winching from an elevated position.

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This is turning out to be one stout, compact little bumper. Almost every piece of steel on this thing is 1/4" thick and right now it weighs in at a meager 62 pounds, sans mounting brackets.

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Cut up the ole massive Allen wrench.

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These were welded to the bottom of the bumper to keep the Hi-Lift from kicking out and hurting someone or damaging the FJ. I tried it out today. Five strokes and the front tire was off the ground. No flexing of the bumper ends at all, not a squeak, pop, noise one. This thing is a real BRUTE!! :rocker:

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I'm painting it tonight. Installed pics tomorrow.

Thanks for looking.

BTW, anyone know what these are? Yes they will go on the bumper when deemed necessary.

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I wanted to keep the bumper as small as I could while still offering the protection I needed. I filled the gap between the top of the bumper and the bottom of the grill with aluminum rain gutter screen. I re-enforced it by folding it and riveting some aluminum strips to it. It turned out quite rigid. (Like the lights I'll be installing soon!!!)

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The bumper ended up weighing 64 lbs. 33 pound more than the stock set up. It's 6" higher and 4" Closer to the radiator. Approach angle is greatly improved. If you look closely you can see the 4 pieces of pipe I welded to the top of the bumper. My chain hangers slip into these. A large 1" nut goes on the back and keeps them in place.

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The funny looking "F's" are tire chain hangers. It's really nice to have a place on the OUTSIDE of your vehicle to hang wet, muddy chains. I can install and remove the hooks w/o any tools, I like that. I'll store them with my chains.
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I Thought I would experiment with some Plasti Dip.
I dipped the grill and the spare tire cover. Also welded the OEM tow loop to the top of the deer catcher for a handy place to secure the winch hook. Welded on some tabs for Rigid lights. The jack and shovel will attach to the hoop.

I had many different thoughts about how to build the bash plate. At first I was going to go with thin aluminum. But just looking at that low hanging radiator I just had to make it stout.

I had a scrap piece of 3/16's steel plate. I had no way to bend it correctly, (too lazy to run it down town) so I cut it in two and welded it back together. Painted it red, I don't know why???

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Next I took an old aluminum sign I found on a dirt road. It had been run over a few times.

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I felt since 2014 was the last year of the FJ, I would pay homage. I cut an FJ out of the sign. I peeled the FJ's off the doors.

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I hammered all the dents out, hit it with the wire wheel and bent the ends 90 degrees. It's amazing how bending a 90 degree angle in a thin piece of aluminum makes it so much stronger. It polished up quite nice for an old beat up sign.

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Here she is. I'm not a huge fan of having my Hi-Lift jack out in the elements. A little dust or rust and they need a thorough cleaning to get to working again. I leave everything other than the rail in my off road bag in the garage until I need to throw it in the back. I don't need to take it to work, the movies or the mall.

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A comparison shot.

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After looking at the bash plate it just reminded me of an old beat up sign I found laying on the side of the road, so I re-painted it.
The bash plate increased the overall strength of the bumper a bunch. I like that. In all it's 5/16" thick. (Aluminum is 1/8", steel plate is 3/16")
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Me playing on some hills and checking out the FJ shadow while Mom tears up the hillside on her 450!! Boy do we enjoy our desert. Miles and miles of rolling hills. We always haul others trash home with us in an attempt to keep these public lands public.
It's amazing how ignorant and disrespectful people can be.

It's funny, I've got a nice Honda 450 leaning up against our trailer and I'm dinking around in the FJ. Pretty cool. This this is a real mountain goat. Some of these hills are pretty darn steep.
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Thanks for looking.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
EXHAUST RELOCATION:

As I mentioned above, I'm not a fan of a low hanging exhaust pipe, I've seen them smashed several times. Nor am I a fan of one cut off short under an SUV. A pickup w/o a shell, no problem. But a vehicle I'll be sleeping in, idling at a stop in or at the drive in movies with family and friends, not for me.

The only solution I could come up with was going over the top of the frame and out the passenger side rear quarter panel.

The first item of business was to re-locate the rear bumper sensor and 110 volt inverter wires. In order to get the inside panel off, I had to remove the flooring and sub woofer.

Here I'm drilling the new hole for the wires. Why Toyota ran the inverter wires underneath the truck is beyond me. I put a thick coat of paint on the raw edges of the hole.
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Here you can see the wires coming out the new hole. The plugged hole behind it and to the right is where they came out originally. I also re-located the wire connector to the back side of the wheel well to keep the wires away from the pipe. I wrapped it in aluminum foil, even though it doesn't get all that hot.
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I decided to route the tail pipe out through the cabin vent. There is another vent on the drivers side, so there is plenty of air escaping the vehicle. In fact, I think it's a bit odd that there would be a vent on the exhaust side in the first place.

I Drilled a whopping 3 and 5/8" hole in my THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLAR vehicle. I sure hope it doesn't void any of my remaining warrantee, lol.
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Because this cavity is part of the cabin. It was mandatory for me to seal it off completely, if you don't you could poison your occupants!!!. I accomplished this with a piece of 3 1/2" exhaust tubing.
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Next I took an old sign and cut out my seal and support piece.
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Here it is partially bolted up. The fit was as tight as can be. Hi temp sealer would be added later.
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Next I cut the proper angle on the 3.5" tube and welded mounting brackets to it. Wire wheeled it, cleaned it up and heated it for paint.
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Installed for the last time with the hi-temp RTV silicone gasket maker.
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Next I needed to make a bling ring to go on the outside. I chose aluminum diamond plate for this.
 

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