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The Scorpion

378961 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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If Batman has the Bat Cave for his Batmobile, is that the Scorpion Cave???
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It's one of those things - when offered the choice between yard work and taking the FJ out for the weekend, the result is a forgone conclusion!

And in all seriousness, 50% of the joy in this sport/passtime is the people you run with. The SoCal group is made up of people from all walks of life who revel in getting out of the city and accumulating trail dust and mud on their FJ's. THEY make it fun!
Agree very much, but...... these things require a "ringleader" who wants to make it happen, someone who others willingly gather around. Ringleaders are not challenged by yard work anyhow...:lol: They truly enjoy getting folks together to share an adventure.
What i haven't done anything.

I'm just the innocent bystander that is being blackmailed.
Dom :ladysman:

Uphill :twak:

Dom: :crbaby:

Uphill :ninja:

Dom :mecry:

Uphill :bangin:

Dom :ugh:

Uphill :flamed:

Dom :cry:

Uphill :fight:

Dom :shinner:

Uphill :armed:

Dom :killtard:
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Sensational Teotwaki! Most entertaining and enjoyable to visualize in real life
All kidding aside, I think if Miss Uphill trusts Dom I would trust Dom

It can be hard for a Dad to see his "little" girl grow up
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Me likey very much. Clever and clean.
A few years back, an officer was asked by an incredulous lawyer to explain why he put 13 rounds into the suspect.

"Because there are 12 rounds in the magazine, and one in the chamber," he responded.
In another case the guy on the stand was asked if he "Shot to kill" when he took out a scum-sucking perp.

The guy on the stand said "Sir, I shot to LIVE".
Is your daughter single?
Oh man, first Uphill is gonna' tear your FJ into pieces right in front of you just like this...

... just to make you cry.

Then he'll spend a few minutes deciding how painful your actual death may be. :flame:
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I'm going to post this on the maintenance tech section as well.


I'll make a longer story short. The tie rods weren't bent but the inner ends of the tie rods were shot. Therefore the erratic wandering track on the highway. ...snip....

made it shorter..... :lol:

Anyhow, same experience with my full-sized Bronco after some hard trails out near Nellis AFB. Hard use, stiff suspension and large tires accelerate the wear. Tie rods are a good item to place on the yearly maintenance checklist!
Combine the two (tie rods and skull) and you have a members-only sticker for your next off-road epic adventure!!


Wild Bill a relative of yours? :ninja:

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Looks like a nice area to spend time on a ranch......

What time of year would you go?
For the most part, the roads aren't difficult. They don't get much weathering or much use. I know there are mine roads down in Capitol Reef that can be fun. There are some interesting slot canyons, fossils and the like that make exploring worth the effort.

Slot canyons.... :grinbiginvert:

Me likey!
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Curse you Uphill... you've started me daydreaming about about the San Raphael Swell

and the great accomodations out there

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I was over at WRIGMAN's house, screwing with the FJ because the check engine light came on.

Trouble shooting determined that the MAF sensor gasket/o-ring was torn. When I cleaned the MAF sensor last, I didn't grease the o-ring properly and it allowed air to leak down through the aperture.

Check your O-ring each time you clean the MAF sensor.:bigthumb:
Absolutely agree!

I usually remove the O-ring so that the MAF cleaner doesn't dry the rubber out. Then I'll use some hi-temp silicon grease to clean and renew the O-ring's rubber and re-install it.

My problem is that I always manage to drop one of the small screws! Drives me crazy.... :lol:
I think that you need to plan another trip man....... you need to get outta da' house!!
The Scorpion has gone through a period of modification rest while I consider what else there is to bolt on that needs to be bolted on. At present I'm running at about 5,900 lbs loaded (includes an additional 30 gallons of fuel) and while I think I'm fine since the suspension and everything connected with the running gear has been beefed up, I'm reluctant to add much more weight.
Out of the 5900 pounds, how many pounds are for beer? :cheers:
MY WINDSHIELD is no longer pristine. I took a rock, thrown by a truck (36K Miles). It left a pit, not a crack, but at the cost of new FJ windshields, I rushed it to the local automobile glass shop for immediate repair.

The owner asked if I minded if he took photos of the Scorpion. It turns out that he bought an H-3 and is kicking himself for not buying an FJ.

What H-3 owner wouldn't covet an FJ? I couldn't blame him for his recriminations, but I could commend him on being smart enough to know that his rig didn't sit at the top of the food chain.

I guess everybody can't be a rock star. :lol::rocker::rocker::rocker:
If you break more than one windshield you'll become a Crack Addict.... :rofl:
I will be going through Canyonlands for a few days on a mini-expedition in September and will put the boot covers through their paces.
Oh boy, Canyonlands! GREAT area!
The Scorpion just rolled past the 40,000 mile mark and you know what that means? Maintenance!

  • The serpentine belt didn't look too bad. There is a spot where a rock may have bounced up and hit it, but all in all it wasn't in horrible shape. I replaced it anyway and kept the original as a trail spare.
  • Changed the Spark Plugs, which were in sore need of replacement
  • Changed the oil as a matter of routine
  • Lubed the fittings
  • Flushed the radiator coolant and inspected for new hoses -- but the existing hoses looked nearly new. I had to pull the lower hose to get the serpentine belt onto the tensioner and it looked great inside and out.
  • I had a guy pull the wheel and we looked at the rear axel seal. It was leaking from the trip to Ouray last week, but the bearings and hub were intact ($450.00 part to replace). So I dodged that bullet. The new rear seal is like $10.00.
  • As a matter of course, I replaced the differential fluid and transmission fluid. I don't know that the trans fluid really needed to be replaced, BUT better safe than sorry.

Always good to treat your rig to proper maintenance! My 4Runner is at 119K and is still running tight. Small incremental investments help to avoid big problems later on.
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