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The Scorpion

378984 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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Very Nice Uphill, (Were you holding them hostage until they got them installed):lol: Nice Additon to your rig..
Very nice, I look forward to seeing how well these hold up! They are too pretty to be on a truck!
Very nice, I look forward to seeing how well these hold up! They are too pretty to be on a truck!
They're absolutely works of art so I know what you mean. They're also VERY well designed to provide maximum strength and articulation.
Great addition to the Scorpion. I'm glad I got to see you and Todd today.
Poor Dom. :)
I swear I need a girdle or something. It is just getting out of control.
The Scorpion's master has good taste with the SIG.
Please tell me thats not a real weapon. Who is the person pointing that to your head?
Sarcasm, it wasn't real.

Yeah Uphill doesn't need a gun. He charms them to death.
A member of the Forum felt that one of the photos I posted which depicted a firearm was inappropriate. While I did not agree, I discussed the matter with other moderators and as a result of that discussion, deleted the photo and accompanying text. Sometimes it bites being a moderator.

HowStuffWorks "How Hostage Negotiation Works"
CAUTION: Please keep in mind that these people are
role players and that the incident depicted in the photo
is not an actual hostage negotiation situation.​

Here is a link for any of you who may wish to engage in the exciting world of hostage negotiating. You'll note that neither DominicG nor I appear in the photo here or in another photos on the "howstuffworks" website.

This is the study guide: Howstuffworks

The exciting, fast-paced world of hostage negotiation is often portrayed in art and film as in this film featuring Bruce Willis.

Review: You get two hostage crises for the price of one in Hostage, an overwrought but otherwise involving thriller grounded by Bruce Willis's solid lead performance.

Willis plays a traumatized former Los Angeles hostage negotiator, now working as a nearly-divorced police chief in sleepy Ventura County, California. Willis suddenly finds himself amidst two potentially deadly stand-offs when a trio of hapless teenagers seize hostages in the fortress-like home of an accountant (Kevin Pollack) whose connections to organized crime result in Willis struggling to rescue his estranged wife and daughter, who are being held hostage by faceless thugs at an undisclosed location.
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I bought the SPOT Satellite Personal Tracker for the sake of my family, who worry about me when I am out in the wilderness in the FJ.

It was recommended by a few people on the Forum who own it, but I don't know anyone who actually used it. With a working first-hand knowledge about how long it takes for 911 services to find somebody out in the wild, I have no illusions, but it's better than nothing from the way I look at it. And my kids can use Google Earth to track my journey.
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I was just reading about those today and it really looks like the ticket.

I want to get one for my libido to find where it has gone.

Hmmm... it appears that they are recommending using a larger, wider hostage, perhaps as a more useful shield from the SWAT snipers. Oh wait a minute - maybe that is on the "How Hostage Taking Works" section of the web site. :bandit:​
Does the SPOT come with a mount? or is it just like a "sit in the cupholder" type of deal?
Does the SPOT come with a mount? or is it just like a "sit in the cupholder" type of deal?
It has a little clip on the back so I guess that I could attach it to something. Right now it's in my go-bag in one of the velcro pouches. I don't plan to turn it on unless the world is coming to an end. It has an "OK" button. I can activate the contraption, hit the OK button and it will text message my kids and let them where on the planet I am and that I'm "ok". But that's only if I'm not in cell phone range. (if the phone works, I'll call and say Hi)

Actually it's a clever little device and if you're in deep trouble, not a bad thing to have. My nature is such that I'd be VERY reluctant to activate it. Better to sling the ruck, canteens, firearm(s) and walk out IMO. I've done it before and I don't feel like a panzy. Frankly, setting off a satellite beacon (in my mind) is not unlike the little old lady on the TV commercial screaming "I've fallen - and I can't get up."

Still there could be a time, particularly if I came on somebody who'd been in a car wreck or something when I'd want to push the 911 button.:bigthumb:
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Hmmm... it appears that they are recommending using a larger, wider hostage, perhaps as a more useful shield from the SWAT snipers. Oh wait a minute - maybe that is on the "How Hostage Taking Works" section of the web site. :bandit:
You'd have to be stupid to take a skinny hostage... unless you were substantially skinnier.

I was trained as a hostage negotiator by Harvey Schlossberg, NYPD, back in the early 80's. Harvey more or less wrote the book and I learned a great deal from him. He was (maybe still is) a very unassuming guy, dry wit, very perceptive. Harvey was an NYPD detective who earned his PhD in Psychology and if memory holds, it was Harvey who first identified the 'Stockholm Syndrome' (transference between hostage and hostage taker). The FBI school of hostage negotiation is rigid (naturally). The NYPD model of negotiation is far more unstructured and allows for much greater flexibility in dealing with the problem.

Harvey followed the Freudian model and I had some difficulty accepting the validity of some of the Freudian concepts in light of practical experience, but there was never any denying that Harvey knew his stuff.
Interesting stuff Larry. Of course, I was just being a smart-ass as usual.

When people ask me why I moved out into the country, I always tell them "so that my neighbors can't see me making bombs and snitch on me". Tends to keep the casual drop-in kind of visitors away. :)
When people ask me why I moved out into the country, I always tell them "so that my neighbors can't see me making bombs and snitch on me". Tends to keep the casual drop-in kind of visitors away. :)
City people sometimes ask me why I tricked out the FJ the way I did. I tell them that in order to get to "the compound", you need a vehicle that will take you there.

They laugh.

I look serious as a heart-attack (I know how to do that)

The laugh fades on the city person's face. "Oh".


The same is true of the stickers on the side of my FJ. People ask why I have them there. I explain briefly that it sends a message that only other FJ owners can understand. I suggest that if THEY had an FJ they wouldn't need to ask such a silly question.:rocker:
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