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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All!

Newbie here! Just got my FJ (4WD Auto) recently and was planning a trip to Death Valley, especially checking out the Racetrack Playa since its winter and would be pleasantly cold (or maybe the total opposite - unpleasantly cold!). Any do's and don'ts that I should prepare for before I head out, was thinking sometime around last week of Feb. Have heard horror stories about flat tires, broken axle/suspension and really wouldn't be one of those folks stranded in the middle of nowhere with 0 cellphone reception! Any suggestions would be awesome!

Thanks!
 

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Welcome... These rigs are really capable and you should have a fun time. I would care a spare front half shaft since that is a weak link in the IFS. They are easy to swap out on a field repair if you have an extra and know how to.

You can find old half-shafts in the wrecking yards now that the FJC has a few years but they can be scarce. You can also give Metal Tech a call. They specialize in Land Cruisers and may have one since they rebuild them as spares for the long travel kits.

Good luck to you.
 

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A buddy and I just go one with this trip in October. If you are camping, you have to buy firewood at the general store, and gas, at that time was around $4.50/gal. Ok now for the fun stuff. Take a extra gas can!!!! There are two or three places to get gas and they all close and are FAR apart. The unpaved roads SUCK they are gravel but are large stones and will jar your guts out! So be prepared. Cell phones are useless at points. The most recent maps by the USGS are wrong or they have not made repairs to roads in a very long time. Some roads that they say are there are not, or at least are impassable by an FJ we almost got stuck in an area that the map said was there and has not been traveled for a very long time. If you use your good judgement things will be fine and fun. There are a few other cars in and around so your not alone, though it seems like it at times! Though it may be a good idea to have someone else where to know where you are going and which route you are taking give a time frame and get in contact in that time frame, if not have them give a specified time after time that if you do not make contact they can call the rangers to go get you if you are broke down. I know sounds like a lot but better safe then sorry.
All in all you will have a great time and don't worry about it the FJ is a capable rig and you will not have any truck problems it is a great trip and have loads of fun!!
 

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turkish,
I have driven into, around and thru DV many times, but then I live only 1 hour away and I have never have had a break down or anything break on the rig yet. Having said that, you absolutely need recovery and survival gear. You will be very far from anything and anything can happen. The most important thing besides those is to take common sense.

You will be going in during the "high" season and probably see a few other rigs.

As said above, at least 5 gal of extra fuel is a really good idea. You can get fuel 24/7 at the DV gas stations - Furnace Creek and Stovepipe Wells, but you will be a long way from them when you get to the Racetrack.

If you drive in a sane manner, you should have no problems. Have a great time.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks for all the info guys!

My main concern is around the tires, the FJ has Bridgestone Duelers H/Ts (265/70 R17) with about 1/3rd tread left on them (I had bought the FJ used). It is mostly all stock and I was thinking of upgrading the tires to Goodyear Duratracs stock size, any recommendations ?

As for the survival gear, I am putting together things that I can stuff in a backpack with a handheld Garmin on my wishlist, maybe a CB radio too. For recovery I got me an axe and a shovel for starters, a 4 gallon Rotopax fuel pack is on the list. This is my first time off roading, so I'm open to suggestions.

Thanks
 

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Thanks for all the info guys!

My main concern is around the tires, the FJ has Bridgestone Duelers H/Ts (265/70 R17) with about 1/3rd tread left on them (I had bought the FJ used). It is mostly all stock and I was thinking of upgrading the tires to Goodyear Duratracs stock size, any recommendations ?

As for the survival gear, I am putting together things that I can stuff in a backpack with a handheld Garmin on my wishlist, maybe a CB radio too. For recovery I got me an axe and a shovel for starters, a 4 gallon Rotopax fuel pack is on the list. This is my first time off roading, so I'm open to suggestions.

Thanks,
- Anish
You DO need good tires with lots of tread. The rocky roads out there will eat up those old tires.

Don't know if you've been to DV before but if you haven't there's plenty to see just off the pavement. Do the touristy things if you haven't been there. "Touristy" here doesn't mean bad cause there's just no bad in DV. It means it will keep you close to others that if anything goes wrong you will have help. Do a day trip from Furnace Creek, hit Scotty's Castle, Ubehebe Crater and then the Racetrack. 25 miles of washboard to the Racetrack - that's where the tires are a concern. Almost every time we've been to the Racetrack we've seen regular passenger cars with highway tires so the trip out there isn't that difficult.

Also if you do the toursity thing, survival gear can be kept at a minimum. And remember, if you have a flat far away from anyplace, change the tire, turn right around and head to Furnace Creek. There's nothing else close. I think the gas station there has minimum tire repair capabilities. I have never stopped for gas there so I don't know for sure. Maybe someone else here can chime in.

With this being your first off road trip, and if you are by yourself, please don't take the Lippencot mine road into Saline Valley from the Racetrack. You WOULD need extra fuel as it takes you out into the middle of nowhere. The Mine road is miles of big sharp rocks. If you're with someone and you have the fuel, it's a extremely beautiful road into the Valley. Go for it.
Another thing, a CB doesn't reach very far, so it probably won't do you much good out there. When we are out alone, we just keep it off.
As for tires, get something like the BFG's AT's, they are great tires.

Your stock FJ will have absolutely no problems, these things are amazing.

The end of February is a great time to head there. Enjoy, take pics and post up your trip.
 

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Lots of great advise there!!! I did have a new set of tires when I went, I have the Cooper S/T's in stock size, great tire, I have had them on for around 10,000 miles and can't really tell much ware on them.

There where a couple of passenger cars, I thought they were nuts, but it really is not a bad drive just to the racetrack. FYI most of the racetrack rocks are all the way down almost to the end of the road. Scottie castle is very cool if you like that kind of stuff, I enjoy the artistry and archatectchure so it was fun for me.

I will have to post a couple of my trips up on the forum! Like nevadaesh said take pics lots of pics I dont think I took enough!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone for advice and suggestions! I'll surely get the tires replaced in the next couple of days, was weighing my options between the BFG AT or Goodyear Duratrac. Photography is why I'm going, so will definitely post pics.

Thanks again!
 
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