Charliedontsurf FJ Cruiser Build...

#16
I went with the FJ because I've wanted one for years. I could have purchased a new 4R but like you, I felt it was a little cramped. Just too narrow for me as I have broad shoulders. The FJ, while it technically has a little less cargo room in back, felt much more roomy and spacious. The biggest issue I have with it from the factory is the tiny gas tank. I wish they offered more of them in the US with the optional auxiliary gas tank. But nothing some Jerry cans or rotopax cant solve I suppose! And you're right about resale. I was looking to other day and I'm pretty sure I could sell mine right now for almost exactly what I bought it for. And it has about 20,000 more miles than when I first bought it. That's pretty good resale!
 
#17
I hear what your saying. Where would you recommend I start small at? I think the things I'll be crossing off the list for now are the Steel plate under armor, rear bumper, sliders, and Shadow awn. The rest I think I'd still very much like to move forward on. Tent, new roof rack, bumper, winch, and new suspension will take me far I think.
I have built several rigs as well and totally agree with many of the sentiments here. The FJ cruiser in stock form is hugely capable offroad. Moreso than you would guess... the rear locker, A-Trac, and decent articulation are probably more in stock form than 80% of the people need to get out and camp/overland. It all comes back to your uses... which is a hard thing to define because we often "want" to use our vehicle one way but time/money (or both) often end up moulding our interpretation into our reality.

Through my 4x4 experience and several full builds, I will say that my favourite period of offroading and vehicle modification was with my old 98' 4Runner. I drove it stock for a short time but ended up with a small lift, 33" tires, some sliders, and a good set of lights on the front of the truck. After taking care of all of the preventive maintenance I added a rear E-locker and a small sleeping/storage platform in the back. The truck was light (no heavy armor), extremely capable, had good storage space, and was very reliable. It took me on some of the hardest 4x4 trails I have done to date, but also to some of my favourite camping locations with ease. It allowed my skill as an offroader to develop along with the vehicle and my uses. I later built the truck fully (skids, bumpers, winch, etc. etc) and although it looked awesome, the truck wasn't as fun as the simple version it was before. FWIW my new 4th Gen 4Runner build (after building an 80-series and a 1st Gen Tundra in between) now employs the strategy of keeping it light and running a tire size that suits my uses. I find myself exploring and camping more than doing technical 4x4 trails, so keeping the truck light and eliminating un-neccessary items has been a huge part of my build plan.

Take it slow and think long and hard about how you will actually (time and money permitting) use the FJ. Build up from there.

Good Luck!
 
#18
I really appreciate al the feedback from everyone! Lots of great advice so far. I'm going to give this build a hard look while I still make one final decisions. I think perhaps some under armor isn't quite necessary yet. Perhaps a new front bumper, sliders, and the suspension will be the way to go for now. I can probably get by without the rear bumper and under armor for now. I read quite a bit about how most people who wheel quite a bit end up using their maxtrax more than any other tool. Perhaps I can skip the winch for now and get by with some maxtrax and a highlift jack?
 

ttfjc

weekend wheeler
#19
I really appreciate al the feedback from everyone! Lots of great advice so far. I’m going to give this build a hard look while I still make one final decisions. I think perhaps some under armor isn’t quite necessary yet. Perhaps a new front bumper, sliders, and the suspension will be the way to go for now. I can probably get by without the rear bumper and under armor for now. I read quite a bit about how most people who wheel quite a bit end up using their maxtrax more than any other tool. Perhaps I can skip the winch for now and get by with some maxtrax and a highlift jack?
In my opinion winch should be number one. Depends on where you go, since a winch does nothing for you on a beach for example but its going to help out in alot more senerios. At least in my head.

The highlift is a pretty important tool but its one of those things I would not carry it if I did know how to use it, and it demands the highest respect because that thing can break you. You can do alot with them, including make a bad situation worse.

I have mixed feelings about the maxtrax. I have had them with me and others have had them when we go out, nevver needed them, never seen them in action. But I barely go out alone and they seem more directed twords self recovery, we always just hook up a strap and a quick tug gets the job done. That being said, I think I would have liked to have a set when I was almost stuck in the snow last weekend. But I also would have opted for the winch if I would have had the choice.
 
#20
Great list and congrats on deciding to make the FJ an overlanding vehicle. I have owned mine since new in 2013 and its my daily driver and has taken me from the chicagoland area to Ouray and Moab 3 times and out to california also. So needless to say I am one of those guys that always wanted an FJ, bought one and instantly deciding how to upgrade. Mine has gone thru many stages so your smart in seeking advice. Your list looks good and afterall its your money and your rig. I would agree with what some have stated already, move the sliders up your list. I agree with sliders, roof rack, and your RTT. Front bumper of your choice winch and lighting (weather you use from your current lights on your rack or purchase new), minimal Icon 2.5 remote resie shocks on all 4 corners. Icon upper control arms. Metal tech rear lower control arms and skids, your shock armor. As far as skid plates, if your not going to be doing alot of rock crawling why not look at RCI aluminum skids. Then I would look up CHITOWN4x4 rear gas pax mount, and their rear power window kit. That would be a great start, then look into adding an ARB fridge and a foxwing awning or the one you stated., grab a skottle for cooking. And anything else as budget allows. Good luck with your build and cannot wait to see it finished.
 
#21
Well this happened today! We went to the local REI to check out some boots for the misses. We didn't leave with boots, but we did leave with this :sombrero:

FBDF9C5A-6583-4C52-8062-58D6675A5B75.jpg

They had this ARB 37 on sale for about $600. I asked them if I could apply their 20% off coupon to this purchase and they said I could so I figured for $500 it was a pretty okay deal! I hadn't planned on messing around with the interior outfitting just yet, but for that price I figured why not?

Now all I need to do is figure out how to install an electrical outlet in the back...
 
#22
$500 for an ARB fridge is a solid deal...nice find!

In my opinion winch should be number one. Depends on where you go, since a winch does nothing for you on a beach for example but its going to help out in alot more senerios. At least in my head.

The highlift is a pretty important tool but its one of those things I would not carry it if I did know how to use it, and it demands the highest respect because that thing can break you. You can do alot with them, including make a bad situation worse.

I have mixed feelings about the maxtrax. I have had them with me and others have had them when we go out, nevver needed them, never seen them in action. But I barely go out alone and they seem more directed twords self recovery, we always just hook up a strap and a quick tug gets the job done. That being said, I think I would have liked to have a set when I was almost stuck in the snow last weekend. But I also would have opted for the winch if I would have had the choice.
http://www.pullpal.com

;)
 
#23
To be perfectly frank, I would spend some time with it stock (or mostly stock) and see how much is actually necessary. I've done some trips in a built 80 on 35's and a stock-suspension GX470 and had a blast with both. :)

I've been going less complicated and lighter weight with each vehicle change, as I realize the conflict between what I actually do vs what I thought I wanted. Lightness is your friend - I would recommend aluminum skids and avoid heavy steel bumpers unless you need them.
I've had my 07 4Runner for three years now. I've built mine with basically the same use in mind as you have (some daily driver with expedition use). It had a mild lift (OME ~2-inch) on when I got it. The first thing I did was upgrade the tires, as the stock p-rated tires were punctured on my first trip. After that I did a dual battery system solely to have a charged second battery that I can jump start from (nothing fancy, homebrew following guidance from this forum). I also added a group 31 starting battery for extra capacity. I had a fridge so I did dedicated wiring to that, as well as added a fuse block for other circuits. I added a CB and an inverter. I recently added a front hidden hitch, and receiver mounted winch (with front and back wiring/disconnects). This way I can remove the winch most of the time. The next think I see I’ll need are sliders, since I've bashed the running boards pretty severely at this point. I’ll probably build some basic ones that fit under the running boards

Essentially, I've added functional mods based on how I use the truck (no bumpers, skid plates, heavy stuff). I've been really happy with it, and with A-TRAC it gets basically anywhere I need to go (you have a locker so that’s a bonus). I added lots of heavy armor my 80 series. This made an already slow vehicle even slower, and thirstier, so on this one I didn’t want to sacrifice drivability. The 4Runner still drives basically like stock, but is much more functional for me.
 
#24
I was originally sold on the Warn M8000-S (synthetic rope). Talking with my 4 x 4 shop yesterday they were recommending the Warn 9.5XP-S. Their reasoning was that I should try and fit the biggest winch that my bumper will handle (9,500lbs). They also said that the 9.5XP-S won't get as hot when being used over longer periods compared to the M8000-S. Any opinions from anyone on here? Do you think the 9.5XP-S is worth the extra chedda? Thanks!
 

ttfjc

weekend wheeler
#25
I am going with the m8000 since its been around for 100 years and its proven. and its a little bit cheaper. Im sure the 9.5 xp is better but just make sure it would work with your bumper you end up with
 
#26
I am going with the m8000 since its been around for 100 years and its proven. and its a little bit cheaper. Im sure the 9.5 xp is better but just make sure it would work with your bumper you end up with
I'm leaning that direction too. I really like the idea of squeezing the biggest winch I can fit (because everybody knows that bigger is better!), but for my intended uses I think the M8-S will suit my needs just fine.

Now I'm trying to figure out my rear bumper situation... MetalTech Red Eye 2 or Expedition 1? Decisions decisions. :coffeedrink:
 

ttfjc

weekend wheeler
#27
I’m leaning that direction too. I really like the idea of squeezing the biggest winch I can fit (because everybody knows that bigger is better!), but for my intended uses I think the M8-S will suit my needs just fine.

Now I’m trying to figure out my rear bumper situation... MetalTech Red Eye 2 or Expedition 1? Decisions decisions. :coffeedrink:
Exp1 has a 20% off +free shipping sale you might wanna check out. Not sure if its started yet, but i read on the blue room thats what they were doing, free shipping is like $200 off in itself