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The Scorpion

379405 Views 1336 Replies 184 Participants Last post by  TCao

The sword is more important than the shield and skill is more important than either.

photo courtesy of VOLHOO (thanks Vince)​

All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.
--Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence, CB, DSO

The Scorpion FJ, though unworthy of the man, has been created in honor of T. E. Lawrence (1888-1935), may he rest in peace.

When I bought the FJ, I mapped out a philosophy on which direction a build-up should take. My philosophy was built around a vehicle that could operate, removed from populated areas, and support my interest in exploration and examination of unsettled regions (increasingly difficult to find). Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.

My philosophy in modifications is simple. I wanted to create a strong, capable, sustainable rig that would BRING ME HOME at the end of the day. Everything I've done to my FJ has that particular end in mind.

My favorite FJ Cruiser Moment: I'm driving my FJ on an expedition and I can't fall asleep at night under the stars because reality is finally better than my dreams.

This is the stock FJ.

I bought my FJ Cruiser on December 23, 2006 as a Christmas present to myself since it was highly unlikely that anyone else would buy an FJ for me no matter how hard I tried to get off the naughty list.

My daughter Emilie agreed to ride shotgun with me on trail runs.

concentrated mist,

a clear jewel on a leafpoint,


the river begins!​

(Photo Courtesy of THUBUB, Holcomb Creek ford - 07)​

And I began the process of modifying the FJ


Edited and Updated Mod List
I'm going to use this partcular posting to post added mods so it will change over time to reflect those additions. Some mods will replace others so occasionally there will be deletions as well.

(photo courtesy of CRAZYHERMIT and NETTI - Kokopelli Trail - Nov. 2007)

(photo courtesy of DOMINICG - Mojave Road - Feb. 2008)

(photo courtesy of DRAGON - Kokopelli Trail - July 2008)
2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser Model 4704C
Upgrade Package 1 <ATRAC/Rear Locker>
CQ and C7 Convenience Packages
Curtain Shield Airbags
Roof Rack

Build Date: November 2006

Engine bay bulges/rips: First noticed 1/21/08 - bulged on both fenders @22K miles

Significant Mechanical Problems: None so far

  • ARB Bull Bar - Front Bumper
  • DeMello Offroad rear bumper w/swing arm[/COLOR])
  • Bud Built Front Skidplate
  • Bud Built Middle Skidplate
  • Bud Built Transmission & Transfer Case Skidplate
  • Bud Built Rear Crossmember
  • Bud Built Fuel Tank (Beefy) Skidplate
  • Bud Built ARB Spacer Armor Plate
  • Inchworm E-Locker Motor Skid (sustained trail damage, cut down in size to repair)
  • Rear Lower Shock Skid
  • Rear Trailing Link Skid
  • Rear Differential Plate (welded)
  • DeMello Hybrid Sliders
  • Manic Tail Light Guards (Real Wheels guards took 5 trail hits -saves- then gave up the ghost)

  • Walker Evans Beadlock Rims
  • Nitto Terra Grapplers - 305/70R17
  • Demello Frame Chop
  • Donahoe Racing Shocks and Front Coil-Overs
  • Old Man Emu Heavy Duty Rear Coil-Overs (OME-886)
  • Donahoe Racing Upper Control Arms
  • Light Racing Jounce Shocks (Chubbies) replacing bump-stops
  • Icon Signature Lower Control Arms
  • Gorilla Lugs

  • Lowrance Baja 540C GPS & Freedom Maps Chip F103EX-S and F104EX-W & Shadow GPS R/V Mirror Adaptor Mount
  • Man-A-Fre Auxillery (22 gal.) fuel tank
    --Providing a total capacity of 40 gallons
  • Wet Okole Seat Covers
  • Scanguage 2
  • K & N Air Filter - Replaced by OEM Air Filter
  • Aux. Optima Yellow-Top Battery
  • Dirty Parts Auxiliary Battery Kit
  • Circuit Boss 7 Circuit Fuse Block
  • 6 x REL40 40 Amp custom amber switches
  • Stebel Nautilus Compact Air Horn
  • Passenger-side arm rest
  • Fuel Can Options: 2 x Wedco Jerry Cans (gas/water)
  • Relocated Rear Differential & E-Locker Breather - Scuba Driver Mod.
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • ARB Safari Snorkel
  • I-Pod
  • Death-Stalker Scorpion transfer case shift knob

  • SPOT Satellite Personal Tracker
  • Midland 75-822 Handheld CB Radio with Vehicle Adapter
  • Antenna – 5' and 3’ Firestick/CB
  • Yaesu FT-1802 M/E 2 meter transceiver (50 watts output)/HAM
  • Comet 3D5M mobile mounting hardware/HAM
  • Antenna - Diamond NR-770HA 2M/70CM 3/5.5dB Mobile Antenna/HAM

  • Airflow Headlight Covers
  • Hella Black Magic 6” Driving Lights (mounted to ARB Bumper)
  • N-Fab Front Light Bar/Bracket w/3 x Acro X1870M Driving Lights & 2 x 40 B/U PIAA Flood Lights
  • N-Fab Rear Light Bar/Bracket w/2 x 40 B/U PIAA Flood Lights & 1 x LEDQUAD LED Strobe Light Bar
  • 2 x Oznium Flexible Super Thin (red) LED Dome Lights
  • 2 x Puck (white) LED Dome Lights
  • LED Red dash lights replacing white instrument gauge lights

  • Fiskars Axe
  • Short Handle Shovel
  • Crowbar/Pry Bar
  • Eagle Talon (RJM Forge)
  • Husqvarna 350 18" Chain Saw
  • Jumper Cables
  • Tool Kit
  • JB Weld
  • Spool (1000 ft) OD Green Parachute (550) Cord
  • Roll(s) of 100 MPH Tape (milspec rigger's tape)
  • FJC Spare Parts Kit (on extended load-out): including 2xCV Boots, 2xCV Sway Bar Links, Serpentine Belt, rear lower control arm, front axel, spare fuses, tire valves, etc.

  • SCORPION MOUNT - An endoskeleton in the back to provide hard points and additional M-PAC storage.
  • Pelican Cases - Allow modular load out depending on the nature of the trip.
  • Fourtreks Shovel/Axe mount
  • Fourtreks HiLift Jack Mount
  • Fourtreks Dual Mount
  • Fourtreks Fuel Can Rack Mount
  • Fourtreks Modular Roll Bar Handle
  • Springtail M-PAC rack and MOLLE gear
  • Springtail M-PAC Side Rack
  • 2 x Expeditionware Jerry Can Holders (currently one mounted)
  • Power Tank Roof Rack Mount - (Custom Fab using Four Treks parts)

  • 20 lbs. CO2 Auxillery Tank (Internal Mount)
  • 10 lbs. CO2 Power Tank
  • Ingersol Rand #2135 Ti (composite titanium) pneumatic impact gun
  • Power Tank Super Coupler
  • Power Tank HD Tire Inflator Handle
  • Oasis Trailhead Deflator / Stebel Trailhead Deflator (both onboard)
  • ARB Tire Repair Kit
  • Spare valves and valve cores

  • Warn XD9000 Winch
  • Viking Kevlar Winch Line (100')
  • Winch Safety Thimble
  • Viking Delrin Fairlead Rollers
  • Warn Hitch Shackle
  • 30’ Rescue Strap
  • 100’ of braided steel cable
  • ARB Snatchblock
  • Pull Pal
  • 4 x 3/4 ton D-Rings
  • ARB Bushranger X-Jack
  • Hi-Lift Jack
  • WabFab Slider Attachment
  • Hi-Lift Jack Base
  • Hi-Lift Jack handle keeper

  • Basic Survival Kit (on standard load-out)
  • Large First Responder First-Aid Kit including an adult bag/valve mask
  • Smoke Grenades (pyro- red and green)
  • Chemlights (red and green)
  • Polish Model 78 Flare Gun (26.5 MM) with star flares
  • Lensatic Compass
  • Knive(s)
  • Firearm(s)

I have had consistently good service from these
vendors and encourage you to consider them in
your build-ups. I have not received a discount
from any of them and have no financial stake in
the outcome of your purchase.

DeMello Offroad
Springtail (MPAC)
Dirty Parts


(Courtesy of FJROD)

(Courtesy of POKER DAWG)


DeMello swing-out bumper.

Scorpion Mount

ICON lower rear control arms

(hyper-links to this thread)

















Note that NO products produced by All Pro Offroad are used on THE SCORPION.

Meet the Scorpion - Current phase of build up/build out for my FJ.


When selecting team members everyone looks for a combination of factors in their team mates. The most important is an absolute passion for the project, an ability to communicate, a diversity of proven expedition-specific skills in remote and hostile environments, physical stamina and mental toughness. FJ Cruiser expeditions are designed first and foremost to be fun. Secondly, they hone your skill sets by forcing you into new and unfamiliar situations that requires you to adapt and overcome. Thirdly, you get to make the run in a Toyota FJ Cruiser.


"Well George, we finally knocked the [email protected] off."
– Edmund Hillary's first words, to lifelong friend George Lowe, on returning from Everest's summit

(Ft. Mojave to Afton Canyon - California) October 07

MOJAVE TRAIL EXPEDITION (Afton Canyon to Ft. Mojave - California) February 08

MOJAVE TRAIL EXPEDITION (Ft. Mojave to Afton Canyon - California) April 08

Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.
(Grand Junction, CO to Moab, UT) November 07

DEATH VALLEY (Death Valley - California) March 08

Kokopelli Trail Expedition (Grand Junction to Moab) July 08

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who'll decide where to go.

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Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)


You're one of the trend setters who has a passion for this truck, adventure, and it seems life itself. You're an inspiration to us all :)
+1 on that and a wealth of information...
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

Great photos of the "adventure/expedition".
Some of us only get to visit these places vicariously through your description.
Unfortunate that another "treasure" of Mother nature will be closed....
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

That is precisely what I'm talking about. Treading lightly, finding a place where you can be at peace, the wind through the trees and the taste of nature. Good friends, a good fire, a meal seared by the flames, the occasional glimpse of a bobcat, an elk, a stone's sheep or whatever and maybe an eagle soaring on the afternoon thermals. That's what it's about. The modifications and the vehicle you pick is secondary to all that.
Absolutely agree with your sentiment..

Larry the bummper looks awesome buddy, I know your glad to be done with that tuppaware bumper. I too wish I could get rid of the rest of that damn plastic along the back end. The Scorpion is one Bad A$$ machine my friend, can't wait to hit the trails in Ouray with you. :)

I can’t agree more Larry with your sediments about why and how you feel about offroading. I myself feel the exact same way, as I know others here too feel. You sparked me in to thinking deeply about why I too am drawn to the outdoors so strongly.

The new and exciting places that are seen, the spectacular views, the friendships that are forged like a blacksmiths fire and anvil that are used when pounding out the glowing steel of a fine sword. These are the types of emotions and feelings that course through your veins while lying awake under the stars.

The challenges of the trail that push man & machine, sometimes the cost is a small amount of blood and sweat that is expired to gain access to these types of adventures, knowing it’s a small price to pay for admission to the great outdoors.

The feeling at the day’s end of an accomplishment that few are able to experience as they trudge through their bland existence in a concrete world that surrounds them, never knowing the true excitement of pushing not only yourself, but your machine in the wilderness in the open fresh air, taking in the majestic views that they only can be seen by being there.

The kindred spirits of the night, that lay awake under the stars daydreaming of the fulfillment of the days adventure and the next adventure to come at first light. The companies of individuals and friendships that are found while sitting around the nights camp fire, gazing into the glowing embers daydreaming of these types of adventures become bound and forged like a link of strong steel chain.

This is what motivates me everyday, the few kindred spirits that are found here on this forum everyday, It’s like sitting at King Arthur’s Round Table laughing and discussing the next adventure to be had, the next conquest to be undertaken. I’m sorry, I sometimes feel like an old warrior of a different age. I think this is what always draws me to the outdoors, these types of feelings and emotions. The camaraderie and scenery is what makes life worth living.

I sometimes get alittle carried away after reading my friends writing. :cowsmile:
Waxing philosophical - but then tends to be inspirational!

Nice looking bumper Larry! Congrats on the new mod.

Great looking bumper. Part of the issue with your impeccable build (that inspires others) is it is difficult to keep pace with the changes...
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

Ah cool, thanks Larry. I was looking for this on Cabelas, and couldn't remember who Collin said made it.
They had them on sale @ Cabelas in Lehi, UT or you could check out Ebay.

There is the basic BBQ, plus accessories: griddle, fry pan, wok - which are extra.

The great part about the design is that it does not require liquid fuel (which I don't like to transport). Very fuel efficient.

I have cooked all sorts of things, from fish to steaks, chicken, eggs, bacon, sausages.
Although I have not tried, some have even baked with it.

Sorry to hijack....
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Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)


I'm looking at ordering one of these, and am a little confused. The Cobb Premier BBQ Cooking System (CB041) unit says it includes
Cobb Premier BBQ Cooking System
Cobb Premier Cooking System and Portable stainless steel Grill. This Includes stainless steel stay-cool base, fire grid, dome top, non-stick grilling surface, lifting handle, carry bag & Cobb cookbook.

How is the non-stick grilling surface different from the griddle/skillet accessory?

Any recommendations on the following accessories:
Cobb Frying Pan / Skillet
Cobb Frying Dish / Wok
Cobb Roasting Rack
Cobb Griddle Accessory

It really depends what type of cooking you enjoy.
Although I have all the accessories.
I mainly use:
1) griddle for steaks, chicken , fish, sausages
2) frying pan for eggs (scrambled - for breakfast).

I have only used the wok in experimentation: boiling pasta - at home; not on the trail.
Roasting rack is fine is you have plenty of time.
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

The Cobb sounds really good. I am trying to figure out what accessories I need like everyone else. What is the difference between the roasting rack and the normal rack that comes with the premier? Do all the accessories fit in the bag? I take it you don't have to wash when on a trip until you get back like any other BBQ?
Cactus JK,
The normal rack does not lift the food of the cooking surface.
No all the accessories do not fit in the bag (especially the wok)
The "teflon" coating is relatively easy to wipe down when on the trail. The "moat" has to be cleaned once everything cools down otherwise there will be an accumulation of grease...
Best BBQ that I have ever used on the trails.

Uphill sorry for the hijack
The new Man-A-Fre 19 gallon auxiliary fuel tank will be installed on the SCORPION on Wednesday, April 9th.[/CENTER]
That has definite potential....would be curious to see pix of the install.
How much extra weight will it add?
I'm torn as to which type of tire to put on the Scorpion next.

Any ideas? I have 305 Nitto Terra Grappler A/T's I'm thinking about Nitto Mud Tires. Any experience with them? Too noisy on the road?
Been using Hankook Dynapro MT RT03 - very satisfied.
awesome thread .nice rig.
are you still happy with the Jounces?
how much were they?
According to their website about $1,500 for the full set (front/rear) + installation
What possible use would I have with an unloaded firearm?

It's always loaded. Every firearm I have is always loaded. And that's not the "hunter's safety - treat every firearm as if it was loaded." Mine actually are. And my knives, axes, arrows and other edged weapons are sharp.:info-smilie:
The Scorpion Rack looks great. Really like that shotgun mount.

Always be prepared!
If you don't mind a couple more COBB ?s.
Do you put anything in the moat? (beer / Wine)
Do you usually put the cover on?

Tonight is my 3rd test.
Chicken Breast. Boneless, Skin on. (Nothing in the Moat. Placed on the rack. Covered)

My attempts with Burgers we not so good. They came out "cooked" no grill flavor.
I put them on the griddle part. Covered. Once with Beer. Once with Wine in the moat.
Probably a mistake because I had "Steamed Burgers" Not grilled Burgers.


!. Always cook with the lid on.
2. Hamburgers can be cooked on the griddle or the circular roasting grill
3. The moat can be used to cook vegetables when you are cooking larger pieces/quantities of meat
4. The moat can also be filled with some liquid - for longer cooking sessions (roasts) to keep them moist.

Hope this helps
Looking good. We will have to compare swing outs!!!
So far -- so good. The new swingout bumper exceeded my expectations. For what I do and for where I go and what I carry, it's precisely the right piece of equipment.
That is one skookum bumper - should withstand just about anything!
Absolutely agree - takes me places where few can follow...
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