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The Scorpion

378965 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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601 - 620 of 1337 Posts
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

Does anyone know if something in the range of a 4.11 front and rear are available?
I'm currently in the break-in phase on a set of 4:10's on my FJ. They're Yukon gears. Graham (gsgmac) also just installed a set of Yukon 4:88's on his FJ. We used the same differential guy for the installs. After it's broken in I'll have a much better feel for what the differences are vs. stock.

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

I like the sticker....I'm hoping to get one...If I get to go
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

Larry... new member here and anxiously awaiting my FJ (at the port) at the moment. I have finally read through these post (every one of them) as your build up is very inspiring to me. Though I will not be able to perform major mods on mine for a bit, this thread has had me coming back for more. Much like my passion for classic brit bikes and the outdoors, I have a feeling the FJ will "fill the bill" with my time as docent, trail working, mountain biking and getting my boy into the outdoors with me.

Thanks friend for the leadership you show on this forum and the "mentoring" that I have received quietly from you. Hope to see you on the trails soon...
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

hmm.. where are the details on this run?? I cant seem to find anything.
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

Did the mount pull from the bumper plate, can't
tell from the little image, maybe it's needs more
surface area for the mount...

So Jason turned got off the internet to fix your
bumper, or did he stop working on the future
demello rear bumpers ? :rofl:... ;)...
Neither the rear bumper is out of my hands. I'm going to start finishing up the Transfer case skid this week and some other stuff i have been working on for a while.
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

Neither the rear bumper is out of my hands. I'm going to start finishing up the Transfer case skid this week and some other stuff i have been working on for a while.
Just Bustin' Jason... Don't forget the picts in the
DO section... SKIDS ?... Have not seen them yet...
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

You may have answered this, but I'm overwhelmed by the shear size of the thread :)

Larry, have you had any problems with horizontally mounting the CO2 canister on the roof? Either issues with then using the tank or with bounce / shake off while driving off road? I'm starting to think I really want to get my tank out of the rear of the truck.
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

I'm currently in the break-in phase on a set of 4:10's on my FJ. They're Yukon gears. Graham (gsgmac) also just installed a set of Yukon 4:88's on his FJ. We used the same differential guy for the installs. After it's broken in I'll have a much better feel for what the differences are vs. stock.

Jim keep me in the loop on how you like the new gears..I'll be upgrading mine also in the near future too. Thanks :)
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

Larry, have you had any problems with horizontally mounting the CO2 canister on the roof?
No problems at all!

Either issues with then using the tank or with bounce / shake off while driving off road?
No, but the Fourtreks mounts work GREAT to keep the mount in place. I have a lot of confidence in Luke and the products he puts out. I have tested them in some demanding situations and they work.
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

Scorpion Near Hell's Gate, Arizona

Arizona is one of my favorite places to take the FJ because there are so many difficult-to-get-to places. I started out running and gunning in Sedona but soon found myself in search of the road less traveled and drifted to the Payson area and from there to the Hell's Gate Wilderness area S/E of Payson in the Tonto National Forrest.

A water crossing photo - yes I know that they all look more or less alike. However, note the absence of snow.

Gratuitous photo of the SCORPION.

I explored Native American ruins I was told date reliably back 1200 years that aren't on any map, worked my way to within a few miles of the actual "Hell's Gate" rock formation treading lightly, but not on any trail one would recognize. One appears on the small scale Forest Service map, but it's essentially a game trail that an FJ can negotiate. I didn't get photos for you because I was busy driving and there was a storm sweeping in.

I spent the night with friends at the Ellinwood Ranch, one of the very few pieces of patent land that rubs up against Hell's Gate. You can't drive through the wilderness area, but there are some trails that skirt it. They're unimproved and are not maintained.

A Javalina wanders by in the morning.

It started to snow HEAVILY and since I was precisely "in the back of beyond" without another 4x4 to back me up, I headed out. It was very rough going to get out. Again no photos, but the weather turned it from a "barely good enough for one rig" to "it would be nice to have had a couple of FJC's with me for comfort's sake. This place is remote enough that if there's a problem, it's a long hike out -- One I wouldn't want to make in the snow.

When there's heavy snow it difficult to see the road and you can't see any "lines" to take over rocks and ruts. It's slow going with slick, steep, slopes.

This is the area where Zane Grey (Western Author) lived and wrote about, it is also the site of the Pleasant Valley War in Arizona circa 1880. And minor skirmishes between the US Army (Cavalry) and the Apache Nation.

During the bad weather, I went to a used book store in Payson and found an old book first published in 1886 that touched on the subject. Books on the history of this area are also available at the Forest Service Office in Young, AZ.

On the road from Young, AZ to Payson, AZ.
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Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

Nice shots and report Larry. Thanks for sharing.
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

It looks like it was a good trip. The pictures are awesome of the Scorpion in the snow buddy. Very cool area, I love remote area's myself, water crossings, etc. A lot of History in that area of AZ it sounds like, thats what makes traveling in these remote area's so much more interesting. Thanks for posting. :)
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)


It looks like you had another great trip travelling through the Tonto National Forest. I hope the evenings were warmer than the 17F we endured in CO last November. Looking forward to future expeditions with you and the Scorpion.

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

Amazing pics and report Larry. Thats the kind of stuff that some of us (me) wish we could do more often.
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

Nice updates! If the snow was much deeper the snorkel would be handy... :pimp:

I've been in the Tonto NF 50 miles south of Payson and love the area.

There is this very scenic bridge...

near the Roosevelt Dam

as well as offroad areas branching out from the Apache Trail
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Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

The Tonto National Monument is right there, too. While it's fairly touristy (i.e. paved "hike") it's cool to see the cliff dwellings... view from up there is nice as well.

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

re: Pleasant Valley War

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

Any word yet on your lost Chubby?
Still hoping you get a free one. :)

Just had Jason order me the new cup mount with set screw for the passenger side, a little more then I expected but it worth it knowing I wont be losing any more chubby's.
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

the Scorpion is one of my favorite builds period! ..all tastefully done with a great mix of style and function. ...very nice!!
Re: Meet the Scorpion (Uphill's Build-Up)

the Scorpion is one of my favorite builds period! ..all tastefully done with a great mix of style and function. ...very nice!!
That's exceptionally kind of you to say - moreover because of the rig you built from the ground up. I'm afraid that in a who's got the coolest rig contest, I'd go down in flames next to yours. And I mean that sincerely. Your fabrication skills just floor me.

Death Valley in two weeks!
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