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The Scorpion

379025 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)

Your Write up is off the charts. Wow I really like all the detail and of course your rig lives up totally to your write up.
Thanks for sharing this. I may have to add a few pages to my build page to give a sumation of all I have done.

This is really good stuff
your rig stings hard
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

A few more mods to report:

Lights mounted to the forward and rear N-Fab lightbars

3 x Acro X1870M Driving Lights & 2 x 40 B/U PIAA Flood Lights

2 x 40 B/U PIAA Flood Lights & 1 x LEDQUAD LED Strobe Light Bar

GPS - Lowrence 540C

Taking cues from some very sharp people, I have a new Lowrence 540c mounted on the FJ.

I collaborated with SHADOW-WARRIOR, who created a mount to place the GPS where the R/V mirror had been. For the sort of driving I like to do, the R/V mirror is much less important than the GPS. I run a larger spare that tends to obscure the view to the rear and on an expedition load-out the back is "full".

It is easy to view, easy to operate on-the-fly and it doesn't obstruct the forward view.

I took a shot through the windshield and you can see that the GPS is well out of the way. It's a little tougher to get the idea in the above photo looking out of the windshield.

CRUISERLARRY Home fabricated a mount for the GPS, and it attaches to the N-Fab light bar.

Here's a closer view of the mount for the GPS Antenna.

Tuffy Rooftop LockBox

I took the idea from CRAZYHERMIT who is a hermit (maybe) but he isn't as crazy as he claims to be. He was on the Kokopelli Expedition and had this rooftop lockbox. I liked the idea because there is a volume of recovery equipment including my Bushranger X-Jack, tow straps, ARB snatchblock, Fiskars axe, bolt cutters, etc. that I have with me all the time -- stored in the back of the FJ. This solution takes all of that "stuff" that I keep with me but don't use unless trail trouble happens and puts it on top, out of the way. The box comes with its own air dam and bolts securely to the top of the FJ.

I mounted my Hi-Lift jack transversely, across the OE roof rack behind the lock box. The photo below shows that mount. It's a temporary location until Jason DeMello gets my Fab Fours bumper in (DeMello sponsored group buy). Then it will mount to the spare tire on the swinging arm.

As with the lockbox, the Hi-Lift isn't something I use often and a transverse mount is just as good as a mount along the side of the FJ's OE rack.

You'll note with this series of modifications that I am trying to utilize the OE rack completely rather than going to an after market rack. By so doing I save weight (the OE rack is very light) and money, while getting similar storage and light mounting capability.
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Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

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

i swear, every time i see your rig it gets just a little more badass.

by next week ill be driving the power-wheels version of the FJ compared to your rig.
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

Very nice Larry. You can disregard my question in the other thread on the box & dam. Very functional and the rear light bar looks perfect back there.
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

Hey Larry, Are you looking for a new job? I hear that the border patrol is looking for rigs like yours to look for folks comming over the border. You could have another pention in five years!:grinbiginvert:

Rig looks awsome!
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

It's getting better all the time.

I've been looking here everyday and expecting to see the snorkel installed.

You're showing me (us) the "Way" Brother.

I'll stay tuned to this channel.

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

Hey Larry, Are you looking for a new job?
I find that working on my FJ and playing on the trail is becoming a full-time job. :bigthumb:

I'm headed to Arizona to play with SEANK and PUULBOY Friday in the Mesa (Martinez Canyon) area and then down to Tuscon for the Copper Creek Run with RELIC HUNTER and crew on Saturday-Sunday.

Is that too much time in the FJ?


Wait for the next string of mods coming this month (my Christmas to me since there's no way I'll get off the naughty list again this year): Fab Fours rear bumper with swinging arm, Safari Snorkel and MAF Aux Fuel Tank. Then I'll be content (for a while).
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

I really like the box youve been tell me about, it does keep everything that you "Need" to be with you at all times, but keeps it out of the usable space that you need on a daily bases, very nice buddy. :cheers:

The light look awesome, I can't wait for the nightime pics. :D

The Scorpion is VERY BAD AZZ!
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

This thread is going to cause me heartburn. Every time I open a build I see more mods to put on the list. This rig is bad ##s
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

The light look awesome, I can't wait for the nightime pics. :D
I had not planned on taking night picts of Scorpion, however, since my friend SHADOW-WARRIOR requested them...

I am not an inspired photographer like Dragon or some of the other competition winners. So please understand.

Scorpion from the front.

The lower driving lights operate as "fog lights" in that they project their beams down to provide brilliant coverage of the road directly in front of me. The ACRO HID lights (centered on the N-Fab bar) are medium range driving lights that take it out about 100 meters. The PIAA floods on the left and right are there for trail driving purposes since the road is rarely straight and I want to know what I'm turning into. They are toggled as follows:
HID Driving Lights
Left Flood
Right Flood
HELLA Flood (forward driving lights on bumper)

Scorpion from the rear.

The PIAA floods are directed in such a way as to flood down (right) and flood out (left) to provide coverage behind the rig for camping purposes and for backing purposes in the event that I need to turn around in darkness. They are switched together.

Scorpion Hazard Lights.

These operate independently of the ignition switch as does the GPS. There are 9 programable patterns and they are very bright. The photo doesn't do them justice. I have them on the wig-wag pattern at the moment.

Think about driving in dust behind somebody. Those lights should let you know I'm there -- please don't run into the back of the FJ. Or if I break down, hopefully they mark my position by the side of the road. Then again if there's a problem, strobes such as that are visible for a long way. (TCAO, remember the Kokopelli Trail by Hideout Canyon?)

Thanks to TCAO for giving up his discount on the ACRO lights so that I could buy them at a reduced price!
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Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

Light it up! That's looking mighty bright. I need to try to take some night shots of my lights. Thanks for the idea Larry. :wave:
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

Very Cool...The Scorpion looks like it can light the way and then some. And your right, I do like the LED's on the rear, very cool.....Hummm..Damn Larry...Something else to add to the list...:D It looks great buddy! :cheers:

Check your e-mail...
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

Light it up! That's looking mighty bright. I need to try to take some night shots of my lights. Thanks for the idea Larry. :wave:
Maybe it's time for me to consider a modified Avatar(?)... naaaah.
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

Maybe it's time for me to consider a modified Avatar(?)... naaaah.
oh good grief.... you HAD to do it, didn't you.... had to light up your vehicle like a frigging ******* Xmas tree. ;) :silly: :cowsmile:
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

Maybe it's time for me to consider a modified Avatar(?)... naaaah.
Ok that avatar is the chit! Love it.
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

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

Sweet lights!
I approached the whole off-road driving light issue with some trepidation. How often do we use them? For me, not all that often. And they're an expensive mod. I was content with the Hella Black Magic Lights on the ARB for a long time for that reason - then TCAO gave me a discount certificate and it moved me off dead center. Even they've only been on a short time, I like the ACRO lights and am looking forward to using them. The PIAA floods are much less expensive and do what it is that I wanted them to do (practically surround the FJ with light for camping as well as driving use). I also like the more aggressive forward mount that the N-Fab bar allows since I can still use ALL of the OEM rack behind it. The addition of the Tuffy Box filled that role as well as significantly reducing the wind/road noise from the lights/light bar.

Pencil beams were not for me since I don't drive fast on the trail at night (I'm not a Baja Racer) and I don't need over 100 meters of reaction time to a road hazard on the trail. The modified pattern that ACRO offers is very good, very functional and does what I need. (I think) Once I have a chance to give them a good shakedown, I'll post again and let you know if I've changed my mind.
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Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

I really like how you are using as much of the rack as you can instead of just ditching it. :bigthumb:
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

All I can say is . . . WOW!
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