Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum banner

The Scorpion

379408 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.

See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 5
961 - 980 of 1337 Posts
PC at it's best. I guess I can now say I told you so:)
PC at it's best. I guess I can now say I told you so:)

It's not my fault that I was born 100 years too late.

If Jason DeMello had a blacksmith shop 100 years ago, this is
what the guys hanging out there would have looked like.

Come to think of it, we sort of look like that now.:bigthumb:
See less See more
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:
I have one and just used it for the first time in the backcountry in Yellowstone last week. I have the tracking feature and it worked great for people to see where we were (sends a location every 10 minutes). I'm like you, would rather hike out if at all possible. I'm fairly spontaneous and change plans often, so one of the benefits for me is I can send out an OK message as I start a backcountry trip and someone will know where I am if I deviated from my planned trip.
WOW! Larry!

I thought you were going to trade in that cheezy Breitling Areospace for a new Breitling Emergency Mission so as not to have to buy the "Life alert".:grinbiginvert:
WOW! Larry!

I thought you were going to trade in that cheezy Breitling Areospace for a new Breitling Emergency Mission so as not to have to buy the "Life alert".:grinbiginvert:
I SERIOUSLY thought of buying a Breitling Emergency Mission wristwatch (Wrigman and I share a passion for cool wristwatches) - but my daughter spent the money reserved for the watch on her wedding. Thus the $100.00 SPOT solution instead of the cool $5,000 watch.

You have to admit that this watch is way too cool for school!
See less See more
Is your daughter single?
oops, didn't see the last posting. Just messing with ya anyhow. Great rig. Nice job and thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience.
Is your daughter single?
Dont go there.

Do not go there!

Start running for your life.... NOw!
Is your daughter single?
you may want to make up a last will and testament, say good bye to your loved ones and take the FJ out one last time cause you gonna be buried some where and theyll never find you... nice meetin ya dude :wave:
Ouray, Colorado -- Monday, July 14, 2008

TINCUP installs red LED dash lights in the Scorpion finishing just before midnight.

Destroying the dashboard.

Evidence of the extent of destruction.

The new red LED's are wicked!
See less See more
Ouray, Colorado -- Monday, July 14, 2008

The new red LED's are wicked!
No pics? :(

Do you still run those red ozniums?
No pics? :(

Do you still run those red ozniums?
It's tough to see them at night because of the flash and my poor camera skills. Yes, I still run the red ozniums!
Ouray, Colorado
July 15, 2008


SHADOW WARRIOR led our motley band of FJ's from Ouray at about 8000 feet to the top of Yankee Boy Basin at about 11,500 feet.

The group consisted of Mr/Mrs SHADOW WARRIOR, DRAGON & FJSOHOT, the SWICAGO Family and MRSUPHILL riding shotgun with me in the Scorpion.

Our first stop was Hanging Rock. Somebody blasted out a road through here a long time ago and the rock is literally hanging over the road, waiting for an earthquake...

The Atlas Mine, long abandoned, sits beside the road as mute testament to a billion dollars of gold and silver removed from this one stretch of canyon.

There isn't anything left of the Town of Snuffles but this sign and a few abandoned mines.

If you think that Twin Falls looks as if it would sell beer, you're right! It was featured in a Coors Beer commerical.

And just about the time you think you're cool, you pass a Honda CRV parked on the trail...

SHADOW-WARRIOR spins the tires for a moment in the mud.

FJSOHOT behind the wheel of TAIRA, the DRAGON machine.

Scorpion at the Summit

A circle of FJ's

See less See more
Ouray, Colorado
July 17, 2008

Black Bear Pass

(Ouray/Silverton to Teluride)

Waterfall Canyon (approach to the Summit)

At the Summit of Black Bear Canyon

Scorpion at the Summit

FJC's in a row on the down-side

Steep grade from the Summit to Teluride.



Bridal Veil Falls
See less See more
Nice pics!!!:rocker::cheers:
Ouray, Colorado
July 16, 2008

Imogene Pass

(Ouray to Teluride)

I was toward the end of the trail run, led by MUDDYGRRL.

MOUNTAIN MAN (Taft) was immediately in front of me on the trail. He's a very good driver and showed that an almost completely stock FJC can kick serious butt on the trail.

On the road to Imogene Pass.

SHADOW-WARRIOR was right behind me in the tail gunner position. In this photo, the Raptor is following the Scorpion!

Well above timberline, there is still considerable snow.

Another shot of the snow fields at about 12500 feet on the climb up to Imogene Pass.

MRSUPHILL poses with me at the Summit of Imogene Pass.

The next group of FJC's climbs to the Summit behind us.

A pause for the cause on the downhill side of the trail. (group photo)
See less See more
Awesom pic's!! Thanks for sharing. No shortage of snow, that's for sure.

Looks like you guys (and gals) are having a great summit.
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:
See less See more
^^^ Larry has such a great reputation !... :rofl:...

At least the boundarys are known by almost all...
I'm going to post this on the maintenance tech section as well.


I suspect that for many who are running near-stock rigs this won't be an issue but those of us who are exceeding Toyota's design parameters need to at least pay attention.

I ran the Kokopelli Trail with TCAO, JESHUA, FROGEYE, etc. last week. At one point I hit a dip a bit "hard". Thereafter I had some "squirly" steering, as if I'd removed the front sway bar. I stopped and looked at the front end, checked for obvious problems and didn't see any. DRAGON and SHADOW-WARRIOR walked up and I ran it past them. We had dipped into some gooey mud a half mile previously and we counseled that it might have something to do with mud in the wheel.

The steering was still "wrong" and all the way home, there was wandering, erratic steering on the highway. It still felt loose. Not linkage loose, just loose. Somehow wrong.

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.

The explanation is straight forward. I have wazoo Icon suspension, Light Racing jounce shocks, and run the truck with heavier wheels and tires. The tie rods are the weak link in the system. They're stock. Modifying this part and that part without completely redesigning the vehicle cause these sorts of maintenance issues.

I suggest you check the tie rods every so often. Mine survived 32K miles and then gave up the ghost.
See less See more
961 - 980 of 1337 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.