recently tested our newly installed lift kit, offroad tires and lights in the
mountains of Colorado and in Moab Utah where we tackled the Poison Spider trail.
Buying a Toyota
FJ Cruiser? be sure to read our experiences and do's and don'ts of dealing with
your dealership and what add on packages are best.
a Toyota FJ Cruiser do your research:
just a running list of things related to the new FJ Cruiser. We've been doing
the research about the FJ and took one for a test drive on the 7th of April. A
salesman at Vandergriff Toyota left us standing out in 35 degree weather while
he went to find keys. Then couldn't find them and had to go get keys to another.
We had done the test course at the Dallas Auto Show and the Toyota FJ
really left an impression on us. That was a great way to really show off the Tundra,
Tacoma and FJ Cruiser. The test drive really confirmed that we wanted to get one
of these vehicles. We were needing something with more internal room and towing
ability.... not to mention the 4x4 features just seem like too much fun!
Some of the research we've been doing so far is not so much about the vehicle,
as pricing and options we were going to get it with. Example: If you want the
locking rear differential, but not the option one or two packages, but still want
to have the Active Traction Control, then you can add the switch on later for
about $70.00 by getting one from your local dealer and wiring it in yourself.
We wanted a FJ 4x4 with an Automatic transmission and optioned the convenience
package as well the upgrade package #2. We wanted #2, because it has a great factory
audio system from the beginning without us spending time and money upgrading it.
That and the AC Power inverter is plus when camping or going offroading. This
also optioned the rear lock differential and the ATC along with the fun gauges.
Still working some
magic to find one with the options we want at the right price for these high demand
4x4 FJ Cruisers.
out the with the Toyota FJ Cruiser upgrade #2 package added to the FJ most people
opt for the side impact air bags, so we are going have to add this option to ours
as well which ups the safety rating to 5.
Talk about learning the hard way. Basically we've been talking with two dealerships.
Vandergriff Toyota and Fred Haas in Houston. When we started thinking seriously
about getting one we went to the FJ
Cruiser Forums to see what other new owners and potential owners impressions
were and found a really good pricing guide to work with there. We worked up a
whole Excel file running numbers with options and everything down to the payments.
Do not wait until you are at the dealership to work out your payments or you could
end up with a very long loan term. Dealerships just love fudging the numbers around
to meet that monthly payment.
Vandergriff Toyota wanted me to bring the trade in to their location
today. The guy John (last name removed so I don't get sued for
expressing my 1st amendment right see entry 9/20/2011)
was real weird squirrel nut. He's trying to explain to one of
our female techs about why Toyota engines are so good compared
to most because they have two inlet valves and two exit valves.
"Uh... Dude most engines are built like that today from all
manufacturers". She's just smiling and humoring the guy.
She's done a lot of installation work, including a supercharger
install and is currently rebuilding her classic 260Z. We walked
out of there feeling like we had been slimed. Just another reason
to do your research first as well as dealing with their fleet
salesmen or internet salesman versus the first guy to pounce on
you when you pull up.
We've been emailing around with other dealerships for several days. Toyota of
Dallas blew us off with a simple reply of, "Thank you for your offer."
Natasha at Toyota of Grapevine has been helpful. Jamie at Metroplex Toyota, Gerald
at Toyota Irving and Keith at Toyota of Killeen responded quick with a quote,
although a little high and quoting extra options to get rid of ones sitting on
the lot, although they were willing to get the exact model we wanted but it would
take time. Toyota of Lewisville and us can't quite seem communicate through email.
Russell at Freeman Toyota has really worked it for us. Quick with a
quote and great pricing. Not pushy and waited for us to decide. Now we just have
to wait for one to appear, which is going to be the 30th or 1st of May. We've
also got a friend a Troy Aikman Ford working on something for us. Kerry could
have gotten us a new FJ for us to, but the pricing wasn't quite there, but if
you need a Ford locally he's a good guy.
Made the final decision today. Freeman Toyota was able to give us the best deal
and deliver the vehicle in the next few business days. Russell Hossain is definitely
the guy to talk with there. We haven't even met him yet, but he's been the only
one able to bounce back and forth with emails and phone calls, except for Bill
Case at Fred Haas. Bill is a great guy to work with on a new Toyota if your in
the Houston area. The only thing that put a damper on Bill's deal was the 300
mile drive we would of had to make to pickup the FJ.
fun of finding parts for our Toyota FJ Cruiser
Here just a few of the parts available for the Toyota FJ, if you want to see more
just click on FJ
Cruiser Parts. Here is some Stainless
Steel Taillight Guards from Polar Bear and a serious Push
Bar for the FJ. Probably one of the first things performance wise would be
Exhaust builds a nice mid price ranged one and so does Gibson.
is a bit pricey, but worth it. Next up is an air intake. Most likely a K&N
Engineering, but there is also Injen
Intake for dust and mud conditions or Airaid
for simple inexpensive. One of things that we didn't opt for as a dealer option
was the lugnuts. Here is a set of five (includes one for the spare) that we carry
by Gorilla GOR71631NB5
wheel locks for aftermarket wheels. If you need ones for the OE wheels then
use this GOR73631TB5
wheel locks for stock FJ Cruiser wheels. Beats the $68.00 from the dealer.
Maybe when we change the wheels and tires to something larger we'll need to add
either a nice Trailmaster
3 inch lift kit or with the Explorer
Pro Comp 6 inch lift kit We definitely need to add a Custom
FJ Cruiser programmer by Unichip. It and the other modifications should max
the power up quite nicely.
We went over and signed all the paperwork for the FJ. Oscar is the finance man
that helped us out. Nice guy and he owns an FJ too. Now we are just waiting for
the passengers seat arm rest to come in at Gulf States, so they can put it on
and ship it up here to our dealership. Ah... The impatience giddy waiting we are
and picked it up today. Got it with 4 miles on the odometer. So much fun to drive
and already had an H2 do an envy glance as he passed us going the opposite way.
Been reading through the manual and found the replacement bulb guide. 310 if you
need to know page. Headlights are a HB2 halogen bulb. My six year old thinks it's
pretty too, but we are going to have to put on some kind of step rail so she can
get in easier. (Shown with FJ
Cruiser step bars installed 05/19)
One of things that
we didn't opt for as a dealer option was the lugnuts. We found out today that
the five pack we thought would fit would not. The stock wheels require a Mag Shank
flat bottom style of lug nut. Here is a set of five (includes one for the spare)
that will work for aftermarket wheels locks
for aftermarket wheels GOR71631NB5. If you need ones for the OE wheels then
use this Locks
for stock wheels GOR73631TB5. We found the correct part from Gorilla on Monday
and have some ordered in for stock.
Cruiser Gas Mileage
We've gone through our first
tank of gas. Average miles per gallon was only 14.15 on 93 octane, but we've been
varying speed and driven through a couple of fields with 4WD. So I wouldn't say
we've been trying for good mileage. Also, that's all in town with only a few freeway
miles. We went by a local dealership to duck the hail on the way home. Picked
up a set of the OE FJ All weather FJ
Cruiser floor mats and cargo
mat. We can provide them if you don't have a dealer local.
Just filled up again. Only needed 5/8 of a tank and thought to try 89 octane this
time. Calculated the mileage and had got 17.80 mpg on the 91 octane we put in.
We're up to about 344 in mileage. I ordered in a set of these Go
Rhino Nerf Bars today to see what they look like and how they might fit. These
bars look just like the ones from the dealership but at half the cost.
Just filled up again (3rd tank) with 12.62 gallons. 89 octane only got us 14.59
mpg with no change in driving habits, so this Toy likes Premium gas.
of the ways to get better gas mileage for your FJ Cruiser is with an air intake
and the added benefit is more horsepower.
FJ Cruiser Nerf Bars
Well, I just got done installing
Rhino Nerf Bars for the FJ Cruiser. The factory bolts come off with a 12mm
socket and the new ones are put on with a 1/2 socket. Do not over tighten and
snap a bolt. The new bolts are about an 1/8 of an inch longer for the thickness
of the bracket. Clean the area around where these mount before installing so you
don't trap dirt.
It took me 40 minutes by myself and I recommend two people
for the install, as I had to hold it up on one end and start a few threads then
get another bolt and lift the rest into place. It's easier with two people, less
chance of scraping paint or yourself. I used card board to lay the nerf bars on
before installing, as I was doing this in the driveway and didn't want to scrape
the black powder coating The cardboard gave little chance of scratching them and
it was easy for me to slide around on my back once I had them in place. I bagged
all the left over bolts so if I need them in the future. This is a very easy install
and helps if you have small children getting in or out of the FJ.
PS, the left
over bubble wrap is great for kids to walk, run and jump on in the driveway.
Well, we're on the 4th tank of gas and the 93 octane got us 16.46
mpg, which is better than the 14.59 mpg on the 89 octane. No real
change in driving habits. I filled this one with 93 octane again
and we'll try the gentle approach. See if we can stretch it more.
Mainly want to get a good idea before adding an air intake like
Cruiser air intake AFE, K&N
FJ Cruiser intake or Injen.
Also, the billet grilles will be in the middle of next week. See
the T-rex parts TRX21933B
hood grille and TRX25932
Lower bumper grille as well as TRX21932H
FJ Cruiser grille set. Have a safe Memorial Day weekend!
Cruiser billet grilles
We just got in the black powder coated billet grill for the FJ.
We wanted something different than just a billet
grill, so we have special black powder coated ones made and
these are available but generally take about 1 week to ship. It's
FJ Cruiser lower bumper, black
FJ Cruiser main grill, and a black
hood vent grill. The bumper and main grills went on very easy.
10 minutes each while sipping your beer or coffee in our case.
The brackets are shown and you just put them behind the plastic
grill and use a screw. The hood vent grill has a little more perplexed,
as you have to remove the front portion of the hood to fit it.
Haven't quite figured that portion out yet. Sorry for the logos
all over the images, but to my knowledge we are the only one with
pictures of them. Image theft is a pain. As you can tell we've
also been playing in the mud.
We also got in the tail light guards. If you don't
know Main is close for the next month or two and no stock is available of theirs,
so we found another manufacturer named Aries.
These look great and we are going to try and get them install this coming weekend.
Finished the install of the FJ
Cruiser hood grill. Only took about 15 minutes. We didn't
have to remove the front portion of the hood after all. Get some
blue painters tape and cover the paint in front of the black plastic
piece. This is to prevent accidentally scratches to the paint.
Set the hood piece up to it and mark where the screws go in. Tap
two 1/8 holes shallow and stick the screws in. Carefully use the
grill piece to pull out the black plastic. It's just held by a
few weak clips.
don't want to do that you can just skip to the next step. Take a 9/16 drill bit
and mark your holes again if needed. Tap the holes either through the black plastic
if you didn't remove it, then through the painted plastic and through the hood.
Make sure the that you done this without bind points. Install the billet piece
and secure it from behind with the nut and washer. Then remove the painters tape.
Now, you could have also cut the screws off and use automotive
double sided tape. Up to you. We like that the cut out of the word Cruiser shows
the blue paint from underneath. Definitely made the front more unique than stock.
Wheel Locks - protect your wheels
It took a little
bit to get in our first order of the the wheel locks. They just arrived and all
but one was shipped out. I took the last set and put them on the project FJ. We'll
be getting more in within the next week, so don't worry. These are always in stock
FJ Cruiser Wheel Locks these locks compliment the stock lug nuts quite nicely.
They are also about$30.00 cheaper than the dealer ones. With five of the locks
that means the spare is secured too and all the locks match.
put the sticker in your glove box. You might need it in the future. We get a lot
of calls from people who have lost the key. Without the serial number you cannot
get another. Replacement keys have to be ordered from the manufacturer. I also
recommend that you should make a couple of copies of the warranty card with the
number filled in. Go ahead and order an extra key, as some place you take the
vehicle to might lose your key. This way you have an extra one handy. With extra
copies of the warranty card you can always order a replacement. I took the key
and put it in the hardware bag with the tire changing tools.
Cruiser wheel locks for aftermarket wheels .Wheel
Locks for stock FJ Cruiser wheels GOR73631TB5
Tires - Where
the rubber meets the road or offroad tires.
We are planning our trip to the FJ Summit in Ouray, CO. We definitely
want to be able to go on all the different trails and we know
the stock tires from the factory are just not going to cut it.
So, we are planning on replacing them with a 285/70/17 size, instead
of factory 265/70/17. We'll leave the stock wheels, as the new
tires fit down to the 7.5 width wheel. The tires would also fit
up to a 9" wheel and fit best on a 8.5" wheel. We though
about trying the new LT285/70R17E1
Nitto Dune Grappler's or maybe the Terra
Grapplers, but we could also go with BF
Goodrich T/A KO's or Toyo
Open Country AT. Also, there is a the BF
Goodrich T/A KM's, which are really awesome for off-roading.
It's one of the best tires on the market for over the last 20
years and has helped set a high standard for off road tires.
That increase in tire size requires us to lift the vehicle to
retain clearances. The LT285/70R17E1
is bigger than stock by almost an inch in diameter and 2 centimeters
wider. Comes out to a 33x11.50/17 tire. Factory is 265/70/17 roughly
31.61x10.4/17, of which there is two versions of the Terra
Grapplers available in the 265/70/17, with different load
ratings. The size increase to 285/70/17
will only be a difference of roughly 22 less revolutions of the
tire from the 265/70/17, but we will need a small lift to make
sure nothing rubs. That has opened a Pandora's box of choices
for a lift kit.
Cruiser Lift Kits
I've read through the forums till my eyes bled, trying
to figure out, which lift kit would be best. You really have 3 ways to do it.
Spacers, Coils/Shocks, or a full Coilover system. Spacers are good for the extra
bit of height needed for larger tires. Coils and shocks are for if your getting
into a bit of offroading and want more out of the suspension. Coilovers are if
your a dirt junkie and spend most of your time in mud compared to a parking lot.
Well, that and a fully adjustable coilover system allows to you adjust the height
depending on weight added to the vehicle. Such as, replacement bumper, winch,
or sizable weight addition. Since we are just getting our feet wet with this and
the vehicle is still going to be used for family the spacer lift by Trailmaster
FJ Cruiser lift kit is all we really need.
You can also use Revtek,
which several dealers use for FJ's they sell. For a Coil/Shock system try Skyjacker
and they also make a Full
Coilover option. Your tall 6 inch lift kits are more extreme and replace certain
vital components of the vehicle to get the lift. You can check out Explorer
Pro Comp and Fabtech
for the 6 inch lifts, which allow for 35 inch tires.
a full selection of FJ Cruiser lift kits click here.
Cruiser light kits - let there be light and lots of it!
We've been working with KC
Highlights this week on getting lights for the FJ. What we worked out was
a Front Light Bar # KCH7453
Black, 8" Black SS HID Driving Light System # KCH863
with blue HID covers. On the underneath of the bar we are going to mount the 5"
Black Clear Fog System # KCH489
or 6" Black Slimlite Fog System # KCH127.
On the rear we'll mount the 2x6 Back Up / Flood Lights System # KCH517.
This should give us all the lighting we need for being up in the mountains. If
we were in the open desert a set of Daylighters or Long
Range lights would be a good addition too.
a full selection of FJ Cruiser light bars and offroad lighting click here
All the KC
Lights arrived today and we have our Trailmaster
lift and Aries
tail light guards. So, we worked out one day to get this all done at once. Thanks
to some new friends at Rock
& Roll Offroad in Wichita Falls, TX. Jared and Ryan are expecting us on
the 28th for a full day of installs. Great group of guys to work with and if your
in that are and need some installation work done, be sure to give them a call.
We're back from Wichita Falls. The rain and flooding up that way was getting
bad. Glad to be back, but it's not much better here of late. The FJ now has almost
all the KC
Lites installed. The Trailmaster
lift is done and the Aries
tail light protective guards are installed. We haven't gotten the tires done yet.
kit was the first of our projects that morning. This kit does not pre-load
the springs, so it retains all the factory ride and travel. We started with the
left front wheel. Put jack stands under the frame and then use a floor jack to
compress and release suspension as needed. You remove the strut and go ahead and
loosen the sway bar. Take the pressure off the strut cap and install the spacer.
There are bolts that go through the spacer and the top cap. The top plate goes
back on and the top portion of the spacer. It just bolts back into place. Then
install two of the sway bar brackets and tighten everything back up. The passengers
side was just the same. On the rear you have to disconnect the shock to get the
rear to fully distend. Be sure to loose in the brake line just so you have the
extra play while the suspension is disassembled. The rubber spacer goes on top
of the existing one and seats in perfectly. Just re-bolt everything back into
position. Install time was about three hours.
FJ Cruiser tail light guards
light guards were next. Not so much hard, as just kind of a pain thanks mainly
to the way the light is secured to the vehicle. First if you don't have the subwoofer
this goes easier. To remove the subwoofer you have to remove the four allen head
bolts from the face plate. Pop off the face plate. It's scary, as too much force
will crack the plastic. It's held on with several clips. Once that's off you can
open the small plastic cover below the sub. There are two screws there and two
screws that are in the deep holes uncovered with the face plate removal. That
gets the subwoofer out of the way. Next are the small nuts on the posts holding
the tail lights in. Two aren't bad and easy to get to. The difficult one is up
inside and a small ratchet and 10mm long socket work best. Driver's side is the
same but no subwoofer. You have to remove some of the jack tools and stick your
hand up the hold to find the hidden nut. The self tap on the driver is a little
hard in getting them level. Have one person hold it with the door closed so they
and gauge it and then open the door and mark the hole locations while the other
person holds it. Remember the guards look identical, but they aren't one flange
has a nick in it. That's the driver side. For
a full selection of FJ Cruiser tail light guards and brake lights click here
The lights were longest in time to install. Not difficult
just time consuming. First was the front
light bar. We had to remove the 3 nuts on each side. They aren't easy to remove
as they have lock tight on them. The bar is then mounted to over the existing
studs and the nuts are reapplied. There is a cross bolt and nut that attach sideways
on each side. Then came the 8"
HID's. These were to mount on the bar, but we had the fog
lights that we wanted to install hanging down. We took the brackets from the
floods that weren't going to be used to mount them and opened up the holes. Then
mounted the HID's to that and secured them with light locks. Then the fogs were
mounted. We found that they set to close to the bar, so ½ thick rubber bushings
were used to space them downwards. Next was the fact that the fogs are designed
to mount right side up, as they have shields built into them so the light is directly
downward to reduce glare. So we disassembled the lights and took out the clips.
Rotated the lens to face up and put it all back together. We then took off the
billet grill and pulled apart the bars enough sot to feed the wring straight into
the bumper. This help hide all the wiring feeds.
Wiring was the next step. We put the HID power blocks
on top of the fuse box. It just seemed the best place to locate them. We had to
shorten two of the screws so they didn't hit fuses on the inside. All the wiring
was connected then fed through the rubber grommet in the firewall. On the inside
the center console was removed along with kick plates and the panel under the
steering wheel. The switch console was pulled out and the switches rearranged
to leave three blanks in a row. The first dummy button was modified to hold the
HID switch. The 2nd was modified to hold the fog lamp switch. All of this was
wired into place. Next was the flood lights, since we weren't going to put the
switch kit (6303) in and wire it to the third dummy switch, which we are saving
for the top roof lights in the future, we just had to reassemble the console.
The floods were wired from the battery to the rear with the green power wire being
tucked well out of the way and zip tied in place. All the wires for the fogs were
zipped and clipped up out of the way to prevent damage. They were routed up through
a rear rubber grommet into the jack area. We put the relay in the jack storage
area and wired it from there to the rear tail light for the load. The floods come
on as extra light for reversing the vehicle. It was also done this way so we can
install a switch just inside the door on the left in the future. The relay has
a center position for when using the 6303 kit to install a switch. Instead of
it being up front it was decide to put in the rear area, so if you need extra
light while loading you can just flip it on. After double checking everything
it was dark so we could pull it out and play with the new lights. Eerie Spider
Eyes. Speaking of bugs now we need to do the long range lights on the top.
more rain today. On the way back from picking the wife up at the mall we did the
right lane where all the water collects. That was fun. Installed a 6
LED dome light by PIAA into the dome lights. Less yellow, maybe not as bright
but a cleaner light, so it's really still the same brightness. Also, waiting on
Bulbs for the FJ Cruiser to arrive, that will make the headlights match in
color more to the HID's. The new bulbs should also make the light generated by
the head lights cleaner.
This past week we got in the Advernture
Rack from Garvin
Industries. It also came with Light Brackets, Axe
& Shovel Mounts, and a Jack
mount. The Hi-Lift
Jack came in too, along with the Energy
Suspension bushing ENE99466G
to keep the handle from rattling. The Light brackets won't work on the Advernture
Rack, but we came up with a way to use three of them to mount secondary bar for
the roof KC
Dayliters. We also got in a TRD cat back exhaust system.
We first pulled
all the brackets for the Axe/Shovel mount and the Jack mount. Using Plasticoat
we sprayed the bracket portion that will attach to the factory roof rack. This
will reduce any rattling and chaffing. Using a piece of 1" wide 1/4 inch
angle iron we cut it to match the width of the rack and secured it to the light
brackets using the back holes. Two of the outside brackets are drilled out to
1/2 inch and dividing the distance into thirds we drilled two holes in the iron
bar. We painted the angle iron black to protect it. We attached the brackets that
support the rack to the factory one. Be sure to put the smaller ones on the rear
portion and the longer ones up front. While letting all the rubber coat and paint
dry we started on the exhaust.
Helpful tip to you about getting any exhaust
off of it's rubber hangers. Use WD40 to loosen and lube it. This makes it easier
to slid off. Also, on the stock exhaust it is a two piece system. We didn't notice
the flange or we were to happy to cut it with the grinder. It would have helped
to read the instructions. The flange is in a difficult position and bolts are
on top. The nut is welded in place. So it would be difficult to remove them, but
less so than cutting the exhaust pipe off.. After getting it out of the way we
did have some fun and start the FJ. Hmm... maybe we can just run it the way it
is. Race truck sound. I talking aggressive and mean, but I bet the resonation
inside would be a nightmare. I already have one vehicle that requires earmuffs.
I don't need another. The TRD bolts up the same way. Easy install and it does
make the FJ sound a bit more aggressive without be annoying.
We took the
Plasticoated brackets and attached them, then the axe, and finally the shovel.
Looks really nice. Be sure to leave the brackets loose at first to adjust for
the length of the axe/shovel, then tighten up. The jack went on basically the
same way. We held it up first to gauge where we wanted the brackets, then attached
the back one all the way. Left the front loose so to adjust one we get the jack
up in position. Tighten it all down. Last was the new Adventure rack with our
modified light bracket setup. Fold the mirrors in and bring it from the front.
Best to put a blanket or something soft up top in case you have to set it down.
The rack is tappered to fit and the rear won't set on the front portion of the
bars. We loosen the brackets attached to the rack and tighten the main ones to
the factory rack, then snugged up the ones connected to the Adventure rack. This
helped to to set more level on the factory rack bars.
Goodrich T/A KM Tires came in today and went on. Oh Boy! What
a difference. The FJ sits up a inch higher and really looks like
it's ready for dirt, sand and mud. The tire hum a little, but
not much compared to most mud terrain tires. We've already had
several compliments on them. Now just the chance to get them dirty.
came in yesterday afternoon. We got them mounted partially last night. Found that
our bracket setup wouldn't clear the shock mounts, so we had to re-drill our holes
for mounting them. We didn't have time to do the wiring, so we were calling around
trying to find someone to help us out. No luck till we got a referral to Main
Street Installation, which does light bar installs for several of the local Police
Departments. These guys could do the job, which they did in half the time of what
everyone else was telling us. If you need lights roof mounted these guys rock!
The wiring was carried to the factory roof rack where a hole was tapped and the
wiring ran down through the foot. We got to adjust them later on this evening
and they are awesome. We'll get pictures of them all lit up in Ouray and Moab.
also got in a Fujita
Air intake that fits a 05-06 Tacoma 4.0L. It will fit the FJ, but you will
have to bend the shock mount bracket to different angle so to get things to line
up a little better. We were on the highway coming home and romped it. You couldn't
wipe the grin off my face easily. It roared like a V8 at full throttle and the
exhaust hits a deeper note now. We'll make recommendation to Fujita on how to
make the system fit better.
We leave for Ouray, CO this morning for the FJ Summit. We'll be taking lots of
pictures and we'll post them when we return.
We drove to Aztec, New Mexico in 16 hours.
A bit of a long drive with many stops. Gas mileage on the way wasn't quite what
we were hoping for. Might have been due to the elevation change and crosswinds,
but we only averaged about 15 mpg. We also had stuff in the racks up top, so that
could have caused extra resistance. We got our 2nd rock chip in the windshield
kicked up by a passing car.
This morning we went to the local Aztec
Ruins and then on up into the mountains. Scenery was beautiful. We arrived
in Ouray, Colorado about 3pm. We signed in and choose our trail runs for the next
we went on the Imogene/Ophir trails. If you have a fear of heights it's a great
way to confront those fears. The trail isn't techincally difficult, but dangerous
with the drop offs. Imogene Pass (el. 13,114 ft.) is the 2nd highest pass in the
US. Ophir Pass (11,790) also still had snow up in the high attitudes.
Most of our group for the Alpine Loop run didn't show up, so it
was only three Voodoo Blue FJ's including us running this trail.
We only had one bad spot on the first of the trail up to Engineer
Pass (12,800). We took an outside line up a rock in the trail
with water coming down off it. Our right rear tire slipped off
and came within a foot of the ledge. Backed off and came up closer
to the cliff side. Got up without problem. We caught up to another
group of FJ's on the later part of the loop. We guess that one
had been bouncing to much over parts of the trail and a CV joint
broke. They were making repairs so to get the vehicle back down.
Later on we came to Cinnamon Pass (12,640) and then down.
We all met for the group photo. Over a 102 were there for the
picture. We could have stuck around and ran a couple of the different
trails, buy had plans on going through Grand Junction, CO, so
to visit the Colorado
National Monument and on to Moab, Utah. Once we got to Moab,
we found one of the others from the FJ Summit, while we stopped
to eat at Denny's. We arranged to met with them the next morning.
After dark we went out on Hurrah
Pass for some night photos with all the KC lites. We were
lighting up the mesa that was across the river.
spot was at the local City Market parking lot. Nine FJ's showed up and we all
agree to go on the Poison
Spider Mesa Trail. We were lucky, either that or it was the heat, we didn't
see any one else on the trail. All to ourselves which we were told was odd due
to the popularity of the trail.
Our leaders Scott and Sara are from Salt
Lake, Utah and have been into four wheeling for several years. They had been up
this trail several times before. Sara was an awesome spotter and got us and the
others through with no problem, except when we didn't listen to her. Our only
loss was the rear flood light, which we should have removed and zip tied out of
This trail was so much fun. Intense and exciting for newbie's
like ourselves. It's not a trail that I would recommend doing alone. Always best
to have others with you incase of problems.
National Park is worth the trip to Moab too. It's best in the morning or late
afternoon with all the shadows cast about. We left out of Moab for the trip home
about 3pm. We went down to four corners and did the drive through four states
in less than a minute at about 8pm. From there it was an all night drive home.
We got to Albuquerque about 1am and continued on. Amarillo by 6am and home to
Arlington by Noon on the 18th. After that it was shower and sleep. We came back
with new friends and an experience we won't soon forget.
- Total Mileage: 2,624 miles at
an average of 16.68 miles per gallon.
- The BF
Goodrich T/A tires KM's were absolutely awesome on highway,
sand, rock, dirt and everywhere we took them.
- 3 National Park Locations
feet of elevation difference from start to highest point of trip
- No scuffs
on the wheels
- One busted flood light
- Saw elk, deer, beaver,
rabbits, chimunks, lizards, and a raccoon.
I've been a little slow to add to this page in the last couple of weeks. Mainly
been catching up with work and home since the trip. In the last couple of days
been thinking about our next trip, which leads to the discussion of a trailer
for all the stuff we drag along. First we did some research on whether or not
to use a stock one or aftermarket hitch setup. Truthfully, I really like the aftermarket
ones. It just seems designed to take more abuse. We used a Draw
Tite hitch, but opt'd for the OE
wire harness. Since the truck is prewired it was just a matter of adding a
relay, 2 fuses, and a pig tail for the trailer lights. Took maybe 20 minutes.
Now were searching for the trailer.
Just a general update on gas mileage. We've been averaging 14 mpg in the city,
but I tend to get my foot into it from time to time.
Recently, I was at the SEMA show, and found that Bushwacker
has made a fender flare replacement for the factory ones. As you know mud cakes
up in the OE's like the devil. I don't know why they did that, but Bushwacker
has solved the problem. These new flares are great and I really cannot wait to
get a set in for my FJ Cruiser. The part has released and we should be seeing
them in the next week. Take a look at part # BUS3192202
We are starting to take pre-orders now. Dibbs on the first set.
Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!
A fun thing to do with a built in
getting ready for the Toyota
Jamboree I decided, that it would be a good thing to install an extra 12v
plug in the rear. This way we can run our refrigerator without a cord all the
way to the front. I went to Radio Shack and bought part # 270-1556.
Removed the subwoofer and plate for the 110v. On the plate I cut a 1 1/8 hole
to one side, so if I want another then I can add one later. Then I popped it in
place. Ran the wires up through and put the plate back. Used the power tap that
comes with the kit and connected it to the white wire with the blue strips. From
the forums I found this to be the constant power wire. Drilled a hole for the
ground screw and tested it. Worked fine, then just buttoned it all back up. Now
we have a 12v in the rear for the fridge or whatever accessory we need. You can
also run one in the bucket area of the console, which I plan to do when I install
a Cobra 75WXST
CB Radio the night before leaving for the Jamboree. It's a recommended item with
four wheeling, so you can stay in contact with others in your group. Information
is relayed from everyone and if you get into trouble you can radio for help. We
chose this Cobra, as it's all in the mic and not a large unit to install, plus
it can be removed when not in use. I used it with only a magnetic antenna for
now, but plan on installing a perment one later with a quick disconnect for when
not in use. You do have to take apart the center console. I drilled a 1/2 hole
in the dash and clamped on a terminator for the ground point. The 3.5 to 3.5 cable
was use to connect it to the Aux port, so I could use the speakers. The antenna
wire was just tucked out of the way till I permantly install one.
that we never mentioned the billet antenne that was put on. Mainly so not to catch
the factory one on things. It's an Alsales shorty part # ALS6206P.
Recently before I took the FJ to Barnwell I had found reference to differential
problems on the forum boards. Apparently the gears are so tight from the factory,
that when they break in there is a lot of metal shavings in the fluid. Normally
in the maintenance guide it's a 50K item to change the fluid, but I do recommend
getting both changed around the 15K mark. I had the front done at 12K and the
front today at 16K. Both were black at the time of change with several shavings
on the magnetic plug.
Finished up the CB install finally. In that, I ran the Fire ring cable from the
top roof rack mount position to the installed location of the CB. Installed the
homemade CB bracket. Works great now without the messy clutter of the magnetic
mount antenna. Also, I installed the Tuffy
Light bar to get more clearance. I was 7.4 ft tall and the bar lowered it
to less than 7 ft, so now I can get into parking garages. It's tight though, just
need to slide it down about an inch more. Had to rewire the KC's to take advantage
of the wiring tray on the back of the bar. (See above images)
I am SOOO... impressed with these LED Dome light replacements from Putco. Part
this thing is sick. Bright as the sun on the inside. I had some PIAA LED's (The
before picture shot with low light setting) before they quit making them and the
(After shot low light and then changed to normal setting) puts them to shame.
Do these come with Sunscreen? They should.
We just got back from
the Razorback Ramble at the Superlift
ORV park in Arkansas. That was a blast. We ran several of the level 3 trails
and a portion of a couple of 4's. I had one problem on one course with the spot.
He was on the driver's side, but didn't check my right and I clipped a rock. The
step bar was bent back and up, so it's toast till I get the brackets straighten.
Also, while on the same trail missed the route that the first two vehicles took
through an area and ended up bending a lower control arm on a level 4 obstacle.
Those LCA's are notoriously weak on the FJ. I got help once back to the main area
to straighten it for the drive home, but it's going to great replaced by stronger
version made by Sonoran Steel and skid from TLC.
I had also pinche the
skid plate. Wasn't worried about replacing the factory skid plate at the moment,
till the wife comes and tells me today to take the phone and talk with Bud from
Bud Built. When the wife tells you to go ahead and buy some his skid plates, then
it's a done deal. Plus, I ordered a set of his new sliders. Whoo Hoo!
The stock horn sucks. It's just not a get out of my way horn, so introduce one
Orient Express DD horn. Now it says move it! I put in in the area vacated
by the stock air box. The Fujita intake sits over it. Used one of the air conditioner
brackets and drilled one hole in the fender. No on board air is required it comes
with a small direct drive compressor. Later on I can upgrade the system to an
onboard air system using Wolo part WOL804EV.
Benefits of on board air are you can air up tires, inflatable bed or run air tools
while out on the trail with something like the WOL840.
Ok, like I mentioned before
we bent the passengers side Lower
Control Arm (LCA) at the Superlift park. I ordered replacements from Sonoran
Steel along with the skids for the front of the LCA's from TLC.
I got them in on Thursday last week, but only crawled under that evening to replace
the bent one. before it gave way. There is a trick to all this that I learned
from changing the first one. Chock the wheels. Jack up the rear, so that the tire
on the side you are working on doesn't sit on the ground. It allows the axle to
move easily, so you can line up the new LCA without killing yourself. Do NOT take
both of them off at the same time. I knew better before hand, but wanted to mention
it. There is a left and right to these. It's noted on the bracket for the brake
line. I used a tow strap to help me pull the axle forward into position while
my son feed the bolt through. After that it was just tighten up. You can lube
the bolts, but I don't think you have to. Also, leave the bolt loose while getting
the 2nd one though, then tighten it all up. The factory LCA is four pounds lighter
than the Sonoran one, that makes for a better bar.
the sliders and skid plates in about 3 weeks ago and have just been to busy to
install them. Well, no longer that is. The sliders went on last weekend. We just
unbolted the GoRhino stepbars and the Bud Built sliders went right up. Just be
sure to leave all the bolts loose till you get them all in. Tonight it was the
skid plates. I got the front, middle and transmission ones in along with the crossmember,
but ran out of time and light to get the gas tank one bolted up. That will go
on tomorrow night and I'll upload all the pictures. These are fabulous looking
plates. Be sure to have an extra person to help you out.
Also, we added new American Racing Chamber wheels in a 17x9 along
with the new BF
Goodrich Mud-Terrain™ T/A® KM2's in a LT305/65R17
been remiss in adding anything lately. The new wheels and tires were the last
thing I've done and just haven't had the time to do anything else. I did dress
it up for Christmas with lights. Definitely looking forward to the Texas Jamboree
coming up later this month.
I never was a fan of the Stant cap option for a locking fuel door.
Now I don't have to worry as Allsales has come out with a replacement
fuel door that locks. See part number ALS6071KL.
I've got mine so now I just need some time to install it.
Installed a Street and Performance throttlebody spacer SPE97405.
Now considering I drive like grandpa most of the time I did see
a gain of about 1 mpg in my fuel use. Also, it does seem to help
in the overall power when you do get on it.
Installed locking fuel door ALS6071KL.
Just took about 30 minutes and small fingers. Works great. Just
don't forget and leave your cap at the gas station. I've also
cut myself a couple of times on the license plate on the back
door. Added a simple frame for it part # ALS84002P
Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!
Thinking of adding a Klein
air tank and pump so to have air tools on the trail. Can also
split it and run a line to the train horn making it louder.
Had a headlight bulb go out. The moisture cover is missing and
so it shorted something out and the bulb is only half working.
Replacing them with Putco part PUT230004NB.
I can say, that I don't have any problem with Vandergriff Toyota.
I think they are a good dealership and there are good people there
that are serious off roaders and know their stuff. I've bought
a vehicle there before without issue. I've had friends and family
that have had a good experience as well.
Now, if I give an opinion on someone that works there and they
threaten to sue me over my first amendment right of free speech.
Well.... suck it! This is America and I have a right to express
my opinion. I did take their last name off after a threatening
email about being sued. In this day and age any nut case with
a grudge can sue you. However I can say this, if I wrote a letter
like that to one of my customers then they would think I was a
first class jerk!
Ah, the front brakes were starting to squeal a little so replaced
them with EBCDP61657.
It's a fairly easy process if you haven't done it yourself before.
Just take off the front wheels. Remove two bolts on the back side
of the caliper. This removes the caliper from the drum. Take out
the pins and remove the clip releasing the brake pads. Press the
pistons back flush and reinstall the new shoes. Put everything
back the same and reinstall the wheel. I went ahead and rotated
the tires while I was at it. She stops quick now. Had to do a
quick stop the other day and also banged my head into the steering
For all of you that
might not know about the Transmission issue yet. Please read up
on it at the FJ Cruiser Forums. Very important. It is not a lifetime
fluid do a change every 50K miles.
- Shuddering transmission problems