THE TALE OF FATHER JENKINS
So much more than a car.
Born in Japan, raised in the USA.
Born in Japan, raised in the USA.
And so finally, the story can be written for the masses. On Christmas 2007, I opened the last present from my parents in front of the camcorder that my dad turns on every Christmas. A little Bass Pro Shops gift card tin appeared from beneath the wrapping paper.
"Great!" I said. "Now I can go buy some cool stuff I've wanted."
But inside the tin wasn't a card, rather it was a picture. Black and white with the body panels highlighted in by my dad. It was a Xerox of an FJ Cruiser. Mine. Highlighted to represent the Sun Fusion paint.
I don't get to flustered by things. I can take a lot and not show how much it affects me. My mom said the only time I've looked like I did that moment was when I had the flu. I got light headed, and sort of had a "full body buzz" if you will. That buzz/high/feeling hasn't gone away... it was feeling that changed my life.
I can't express how thankful I am to my parents, grandparents, and the rest of my friends and family who worked on getting my FJ for me. It was a Christmas/graduation/birthday present from everyone. Thank you guys so much, I love you!
Another thing that I am very proud of is the fact that I'm only 20. I've been working at my best friend's dad's law firm for over four years now, while also going to school at Auburn University. Every single mod on the vehicle has been purchased by me or given as a gift from my money, and everything but the tires was put on the vehicle by me. I know a lot of people who just ask and ask for stuff for their big ole pickup truck, and that's fine. It's a much better experience when I work for and turn a wrench on everything. That's why I'm so fond of this car.
Meet Father Jenkins:
All of the pictures in my build up are only as early as October 2009, when I received a digital camera for my birthday. So no pictures of him all coming together. I want this build thread to be a reference, an entertainment, and a way for me to share what an awesome trip I've had with this vehicle.
Simply put, you won't find a person who loves his FJ more than me. I don't have the crazy love (i.e. "OMG there is a spec of dirt on my paint LORD HAVE MERCY!!!"), but I literally view Father Jenkins as a friend of mine. My dad used to tell me that he saw a face in every car (we're both car guys ) and I agree.
Whew! Sappiness over! On to the rig:
I took delivery the third week in January 2008. I think it was the 21st, but I'm not positive. He had everything I wanted, and nothing I didn't. If I would've special ordered one, it would be the exact same.
2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser 4x4
steelies, roofrack, rear diff lock, auto.
The first thing I did was get on the forum and research. That led me to the $44 A-trac switch:
I got to try it out about a week later (no pics) and I was stunned. Clearly, this vehicle was going to be a lot more incredible than I thought.
When my dad drove him home for me, he had already put this custom sticker on the back glass...
It's the Liverpool Football Club slogan, I'm a massive soccer fan and they're my favorite team. Also, I like the quote just to live by.
Now onto the more major mods:
Over the course of my build I've added small, cheap, personal mods that I will collaborate here. Usually consisting of just spray paint and/or cheeeeeep parts from Home Depot.
This is a dog collar hook that holds the rear glass open... I shrink-wrapped the end to prevent too much rattling:
Painted the hitch red. Why? I like the whole "Remove-before-flight" red stuff:
Around then, I painted the rear bumper black ala Dragon and Shadow-Warrior:
A short while later (Feburary 2009), I got a screaming deal on a set of 285/70-17 Firestone Destination M/T's. There was a post on the forum about 35% off a set of any tires from Firestone before March 1. I found it, called my dad to pull some money out for me and met him at our local Firestone shop. Five of 'em out the door for just over $159 a tire. I didn't want to mount them without a lift and with the Duncraps having a little life still, so I stored them until right before Summit. Ordered an OME medium setup with the N71E's in the rear. My dad, brother-in-law David, friend Charles and I put the lift on, the tires were mounted the next morning. Finished product:
In the below pic, you can see how I removed the center caps on the steelies and painted the hub to match...
With a group buy, I got a set of Jason Demello's round tube sliders and a 3-hoop front bumper. Long story short, my truck was one in a thousand that the bumper wouldn't fit to properly, but Jason and his excellent customer service trailered one to Summit and sold mine to another member. A big, big thanks to Jason and Kim for their help on this. They wouldn't have anything other than me being 100% happy. Pics:
As you can see in the bumper picture, I found a thread from Brock and Volhoo (Vince) that linked to a $7 eBay auction for some headlight protection. I slid them behind the bezel, and painted it white while I had some of the clips removed:
The forum badge made its way on as well. Rep the people!
A few months went by without major mods, just a few tinkering jobs on the interior. I'll cover those in the interior section a bit later.
When the break did end, Christmas of 2008. My parents got me four Hella 500's and a light bar for the stock roof rack. These lights aren't expensive and light up the night plenty for me. I drilled the hole on the wrong side of the bar like a dumbo, so we wired them down the passenger side A-pillar and directly to the battery so I can use them whenever I need, key or not:
I had a punk come by in the middle of the night one night and cut my roof lights and steal my antenna. I rewired the lights, and used the missing antenna as an excuse to purchase a shorty rubber one:
Rounding out the exterior mods are the Scuba mod, I have an All-Pro high clearance exhaust sitting in my living room, and my stickers.
Oh my stickers. I get a lot of comments on how many I have and I love every last one of them. The back glass are all my personal stickers, one's that mean something to my character. I'll go throught them pretty quickly:
Driver side from top to bottom:
HD- This sticker is in memory of my girlfriend's brother who was tragically killed in an auto accident. He was an incredible friend, and everyone that he touched misses him and loves him very much.
∑N- Sigma Nu Fraternity, Auburn University.
The Crest of the Rebellion- What can I say? I freakin' love Star Wars.
The Avett Brothers- Artwork from my favorite band. They're incredible.
Geocaching.com- In no way or shape am I advertising, but if you haven't heard of it, go to the site. It's one of the coolest things I've ever done.
PSIF- Public Safety Insurance Fund. It pays for insurance for firefighters/cops/paramedics in Montgomery County, AL.
GPS- Another Geocaching sticker.
Passenger side, top to bottom:
Goat- My boss always joked on how many stickers I have on my car, and he jokingly gave me the random goat. It now adorns Father Jenkins.
OSA Shield- Outrider Suspension Armor gave me some shock bash plates for having a raffle ticket at Summit that matched theirs. I figured I could rep them!
Tread Lightly- Keep the trails open, keep the sport respected.
Ouray, Co- I think there is some cool FJ show there or something...
Keystone- Keystone, CO. Quite possibly my favorite place on earth. Snowboarding in winter, mountain biking in summer. Beautiful!
Subaru Rally Team- I'm a supporter.
Porsche 250- A Cup race that is held in Birmingham every year. ALMS series race that is such a cool weekend.
American Flag- USA! USA! USA!
The two rear quarter windows are arranged the same, they are all companies that have given me great products and customer service. MetalTech is the only company I don't have a product from, but after hearing what Mark does for the sport I had to throw some on my rig:
---UPDATE: Dec. 5, 2009.---
All-Pro High Clearance Exhaust
All-Pro High Clearance Exhaust
Got it installed today, really happy how it turned out. Thanks to Aonarch for the sweet deal!
ARB Roof Rack
Had it for about two months, sorry I haven't updated sooner. Thanks fjcruiser2!
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