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Discussion Starter #1
I'm starting to shop and thought "who better to tell me than serious owners?" ...

What is the best model year to buy and why?

What should I be looking for in a used truck?

What should I look out for in a used truck?

What options should I make sure that it has?

Are there options that could drive up the price that I don't really need?

I'm leaning toward an automatic transmission just because I've never owned one before and I spend a lot of time in Philly traffic. But will go for a standard if the truck and price are right. It has to be a 4X4 and any color except black (just don't want the paint swirlies).

How much truck should I expect to get for $25,000?

How many miles are too many miles?

Any and all opinions are valuable and I appreciate you taking the time to advise me on this. I'm looking forward to joining the club and sitting above traffic again (used to own a tricked out '88 Dodge Raider with a turbo starion engine and 32" BFG's). I've been driving a MINI Cooper S for the last 9 years primarily to race SCCA Solo in the summer. I'm still debating whether to sell it, or keep it around just to race. It's got around $12k in performance parts and 225hp at the wheels, I would have to find the right person to sell it to or just settle for $5k trade in.

I'm an engineer for the railroad and really should be driving a vehicle suited for bad roads and poor conditions, I've bent 2 sets of wheels just driving to work on I-95. I could settle on your typical Kia or Jeep but I like unique looking vehicles that aren't a dime-a-dozen, I'm no sheep.

Again, thanks for taking time to aid a newbie and I'm looking forward to reading your opinions and benefit from your experience.

Kelly:cool::smoker:
 

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OK I'll take a stab at this one.

The best year to buy is whichever year you finally obtain enough money to pay cash for one.

I would take a shot at answering your other list of questions, but there are far too many variables for each question asked.

If you like it, and you can afford it, buy it. It's gonna be your ride.

I try to simplify things. Good Luck! Let us know how it works out.

Jerry:cheers:
 

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Yep, the best year is the current year as there have been no design changes, only incemental improvements. Used prices are so high that if you can make it work I think buying new and getting exactly what you want is better. A leftover 2010 may be the best value at this time as the 2011's have arrived.

6 speed manuals are full time 4 wheel drive and automatics are 5 speed part time 4 wheel drive. Both have their ups and downs, but if you are running the Schuylkill an automatic may be your best bet. There are times I still wish I had the 6MT, but those time are far fewer than the times I sit in traffic being glad I do not.

As for miles, if you go used some have exceeded 150,000 already (FJ's only came out in 06 as an 07 model year) with no signs of major common problems. 07's had some fender bulge/tear issues. Some older 6MT's have had throw-out bearing issues.

Some late 08's were sold really cheap as there were $5000 incentives at the time and dealers were going below invoice in addition - if you can find a private sale on one of those you may be able to get a slightly better deal as they may still be making money by selling their FJ.

The engine was updated for 2010 - nothing earth shattering, but if you want the latest tech.......
 

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I'm starting to shop and thought "who better to tell me than serious owners?" ...

What is the best model year to buy and why?

What should I be looking for in a used truck?

What should I look out for in a used truck?

What options should I make sure that it has?

Are there options that could drive up the price that I don't really need?

I'm leaning toward an automatic transmission just because I've never owned one before and I spend a lot of time in Philly traffic. But will go for a standard if the truck and price are right. It has to be a 4X4 and any color except black (just don't want the paint swirlies).

How much truck should I expect to get for $25,000?

How many miles are too many miles?

Any and all opinions are valuable and I appreciate you taking the time to advise me on this. I'm looking forward to joining the club and sitting above traffic again (used to own a tricked out '88 Dodge Raider with a turbo starion engine and 32" BFG's). I've been driving a MINI Cooper S for the last 9 years primarily to race SCCA Solo in the summer. I'm still debating whether to sell it, or keep it around just to race. It's got around $12k in performance parts and 225hp at the wheels, I would have to find the right person to sell it to or just settle for $5k trade in.

I'm an engineer for the railroad and really should be driving a vehicle suited for bad roads and poor conditions, I've bent 2 sets of wheels just driving to work on I-95. I could settle on your typical Kia or Jeep but I like unique looking vehicles that aren't a dime-a-dozen, I'm no sheep.

Again, thanks for taking time to aid a newbie and I'm looking forward to reading your opinions and benefit from your experience.

Kelly:cool::smoker:

Hey Welcome aboard. So to your questions.

1. No year is really better than another. It just depends on color, options, price, and number of owners. As example, the '10 & '11 models engines are slightly different making more HP and supposedly better MPG but less torque plus it hits these numbers at higher RPM.

2. If you looking for a used FJ, really the only options you want to make sure it has to have is A-Trac and RR Diff Lock. The most important being the RR Diff Lock, if you have this option, you can buy the A-Trac button for like $50 and plug it in and now you have A-Trac.

3. As far as a used FJ goes, there are really only two things two look for check the underside of the rig to make sure it wasn't beat up on the trails. Also check the inner fenders for bulges and tears. You can search here for info on it. Here's a pic;


4. I don't see how #2 and #4 are any different?

5. If you ask around you'll see that most of the folks on here if they could do it again, would get a base model with 4wd RR Diff Lock. Like most vehicles, stock options cost almost as much as the better aftermarket options.

6. Keep in mind since you want a 4wd the 5spd auto can be either 2wd or 4wd, where as the 6spd manual is full time 4wd, which is better off road, but comes at the expense of slightly worse MPG.

7. For $25,000 you should be able to find basically a fully loaded '07 maybe '08.

8. Personally when I was looking for my used FJ at the beginning of '10 I decided I didn't want to buy anything with over 50k on it.

The bottom line is the FJ Cruiser is the best vehicle I've ever owned. I love it. Makes me feel like a bada$$ driving around. Every time I jump in I feel like I'm going to be going on an expedition even if I'm just running out for cigarettes. I hope this all helps. And again welcome aboard. :wave:
 

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If you are a do-it-yourselfer the oilfilter is much easier to deal with on the 07, 08, and 09 models. But the 10 model was designed to go 10K miles between changes using synthetic oil. I would surely check for inner fender bulges on any used fj. Check out the whole fender bulge thread on the forum. Take it to a lift and get under the rig to inspect the undercarriage. You should be able to tell if a used one has been wheeled (and seen more air time than Michael Jordan) by what you find underneath. I wouldn't mind purchasing a high mileage fj as most components are probably rebuildable and the high mileage would go in your favor price wise. Take your time as there are probably many used fj's on the market. Good luck and let us know what you picked.
 

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Over all I would focus on a non modified truck (never thrashed), in good condition, low miles and the color you like. Let the year be what you find.

One thing to think about is your planed use of your truck. If its mostly off road and you plan on modifying the truck, a basic 07' w/o side air bags. These were an expensive option and less tech to go wrong and get in the way of modifications.

The rear e-locker is a must to get for sure.

If you do get an 07' get a build date of Feb. 07 or newer. These have better rear ring and pinions in them. The build date is on the data plate on the drivers door.

$25k should get you everything you want. In our area I have seen a few 40-60K trucks selling just under $20k.

Good luck with your search!

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the response, good info helps alot.

I should look into that "fender bulge" tip, the picture looked like the rail was cracked. What causes that? WOW. I assume it's from smacking the front suspension really hard. MINI's bulge the tops of the strut towers when abused like that and need extra strong plates bolted to the tops to prevent it.

I didn't know that standard trans was full time 4WD, good to know. That's got to hurt gas mileage and makes an automatic sound even better since I'll probably never do serious off road driving around this area anyway. Crawling over medians and drainage ditches to escape a traffic jam is about as crazy as it gets here. :freak5:

I'll head over to the fender bulge thread and read up on it.

Speak up if someone has more tips for me, thanks again.
 

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As for miles, if you go used some have exceeded 150,000 already (FJ's only came out in 06 as an 07 model year) with no signs of major common problems. 07's had some fender bulge/tear issues. Some older 6MT's have had throw-out bearing issues.
I'm pretty sure the year doesn't matter on the TO bearing issue. It's been happening to all years.

Some late 08's were sold really cheap as there were $5000 incentives at the time and dealers were going below invoice in addition - if you can find a private sale on one of those you may be able to get a slightly better deal as they may still be making money by selling their FJ.
It depended on region though, not everyone got that rebate it was less for some and more for others. If I remember correctly it was for 08 models remaining in the beginning of 09. I had to get my wife on board asap because it was about to end. I almost bought one out of state in OR to get another $500 more in rebate when I got mine. I did basically what you said though (got the rebate and got it below invoice plus got a better interest rate for buying an 08 in 09)
The engine was updated for 2010 - nothing earth shattering, but if you want the latest tech.......
True, not even a big improvement really. In fact I'd rather have the original engine for it's ease of maintenance and parts avail.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Checked out the fender bulge/crack thread ... OMG 336 pages !?! That's alot a dimp.
I made it through 100 and got a good idea what to look for and avoid, that topic seems like a serious problem. Glad you warned me.

Going to the dealer to drive one today (looks like snow is coming too), I have to start practicing my "NO's" and "Not Today's" along with "Just Looking".:notsigned:
 

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Checked out the fender bulge/crack thread ... OMG 336 pages !?! That's alot a dimp.
I made it through 100 and got a good idea what to look for and avoid, that topic seems like a serious problem. Glad you warned me.

Going to the dealer to drive one today (looks like snow is coming too), I have to start practicing my "NO's" and "Not Today's" along with "Just Looking".:notsigned:
thats the best thing that can come out of your mouth. also before you go out there, rape something :bananahump-slvrathl, stab somebody :couto:, idunno, set a village on fire :flamed:, just make sure you feel like a complete and total badass, so there is no way they can even begin to intimidate you!
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Is the FJ the only vehicle that has no 2010 leftovers? I can't seem to find any on the internet. Maybe this is just a bad time of the year to be looking for a 4X4. With snow in the forecast dealers think they have you by the short and curly's anyway, but no leftovers?

I'd also like to find out what the differences in the engines are. You mentioned the older ones were easier to maintain and the new ones had variable valve timing w/a bit more HP and gas mileage. The HP means little to me, I'm a torque fan ... love the grunt at low rpm. My Triumph has 155 ft lbs at 2000 rpm and stomps all over those 200 hp crotch rockets, so I'm wondering if maybe the previous engine has advantages over the "new and improved".

I'll be using Mobil 1 and extending oil services to between 8,000 and 10,000 miles, but I'll be doing it myself along with most other repairs/maintenance. Is the new engine more trouble to service at home? Is it just an access issue?

My biggest concern for upkeep is the drive-line ... primarily the front axles and hubs. I never had any trouble with my Raider, but that was a different animal.

I guess I'll learn as I go ... Toyota is just about the only make I've never owned before.
 

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Is the FJ the only vehicle that has no 2010 leftovers? I can't seem to find any on the internet. Maybe this is just a bad time of the year to be looking for a 4X4. With snow in the forecast dealers think they have you by the short and curly's anyway, but no leftovers?

I'd also like to find out what the differences in the engines are. You mentioned the older ones were easier to maintain and the new ones had variable valve timing w/a bit more HP and gas mileage. The HP means little to me, I'm a torque fan ... love the grunt at low rpm. My Triumph has 155 ft lbs at 2000 rpm and stomps all over those 200 hp crotch rockets, so I'm wondering if maybe the previous engine has advantages over the "new and improved".

I'll be using Mobil 1 and extending oil services to between 8,000 and 10,000 miles, but I'll be doing it myself along with most other repairs/maintenance. Is the new engine more trouble to service at home? Is it just an access issue?

My biggest concern for upkeep is the drive-line ... primarily the front axles and hubs. I never had any trouble with my Raider, but that was a different animal.

I guess I'll learn as I go ... Toyota is just about the only make I've never owned before.
The new ones have dual VVT, the old ones only had it on the intake valves.

You also must remove the skid plates anytime you change the oil, not at all needed on the older. Doing an oil change in general is a heck of a lot easier on the older model. No filter style cartridge thingy they are now using.
 

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If I was looking for a used FJ, I would look for a 2009. By 2009 model year they had the newest fender apron (late 2008 models do also), and has the old engine so oil changes are alot easier to do. The downside to the '09 is that they didn't build very many. Any year is good though, just look for one that isn't thrashed and low mileage is a good thing IMO. :cheers:
 

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get a 2007, because the rest are just reproductions of the original. hehehe

best to see if you can get a fj from a non toyota dealership

you would probably save 3-5k just because of that

drive both at and manual

drive as many of them you can thats the best way to make up your mind

good luck
 

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Hellfire, LIke most said keep an eye out for the fender tears/bulge on an older FJ. Don't fret it though, if you run across an older one and it's clear of the defect, most likely that fj will never get it.
 

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Hellfire, LIke most said keep an eye out for the fender tears/bulge on an older FJ. Don't fret it though, if you run across an older one and it's clear of the defect, most likely that fj will never get it.
Kinda like an inherited, genetic, built on Friday, birth defect. :silly:
 

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They changed the Rear Diff in the 2010 to a larger 8.25 unit to beef it up over the previous model years. You also get a Back up Camera built in to the mirror, map lights up front. Also updated is the 4.0 to a dual variable over head valve that feels faster than the earlier models and also returns better gas mileage.

Down sides to the 2010.
The new motor has the oil filter down below like other cars, makes changing with skids harder.
The Rear diff, although larger and beefier, does not have aftermarket gears or Lockers available for it yet... Im sure this will change soon... I hope.
The Back up camera, although cool, if you mount larger wheel on the back with bigger tire, some of your downward view is obstructed.

Some people ***** about the new motor that the torque comes on later. I have driven both back to back and there is a difference, the 2010 felt faster in the upper revs, had better throttle response and although it has 8 less FTLB's of torque it has a flatter curve so there is more power under the curve on the new motor.

If toyota follows suite like they have in past with the VVTI engine, there will not be a supercharger with this motor which kinda sucks. but Im sure URD will have fun with it soon enough. Better Breathing motor with a blower is awesome! Can't wait to see what they come up with!

Also, the new motor responds very very favorable to 93 octane. I stopped into a station and all they had was 93 on a working pump. So I filled up on 93 and wow. There was a huge Butt Dyno Power improvement from the 87 I was using the previous tank. Im kinda wondering now what the MPG difference would be with 93 and if it is worth it.

So yes.. the 2010 is improved and is the best FJC yet!
 

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If I was looking for a used FJ, I would look for a 2009. By 2009 model year they had the newest fender apron (late 2008 models do also), and has the old engine so oil changes are alot easier to do. The downside to the '09 is that they didn't build very many.
All of these are reasons I started out looking for an '09 with a 6 speed manual. Wow, rude awakening. I don't even see any '09's for sale, let alone a 6 speed. How come Toyota didn't build many ? Was it the economy, or was something wrong that they were trying to correct ?
 
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