Stock FJ Cruiser. What Upgrades?

#1
Hi everyone.

First post here. I just got a used 2011 FJ Cruiser. Fully stock build, except for a custom locking gas cap! Currently, I have a budget for $3.5k. If I'm smart, that can go up a bit. So, I have a few questions.

1. What's a good fj lift? I'm looking for a 3 inch. Nothing crazy, but I want it to function. It's not for looks, this thing will be driven.
1a. Anyone know a good place in Idaho for a lift? I've thought about maybe tracking to mudrak to talk to gary, but if there is a good place in Idaho, would be easier.

2. What else is a good upgrade? I could do a lot obviously, but I want to keep it pretty simple now. Just practice. Budget of 3-5k

Thanks in advance!


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#4
I always suggest to build based on need. Just use the vehicle the way you want to use it and then figure out what, if anything, could stand to be changed. Modifications should relate exactly to how and where the vehicle is used, otherwise they're usually wasteful and sometimes counter-productive.

The FJ is very capable in stock trim. For general backwoods exploring, I would focus on recovery/communications/survival gear and skills/techniques. Learn and practice strategy for different obstacles and situations and carry and be familiar with the use of recovery tools, mechanical tools and spare parts. Include the vehicle's features (A-TRAC, rear locker, etc) in your strategy study and practice. Just become as familiar with the vehicle as you can. A great way is to perform maintenance, inspections and repairs yourself.

It can be tricky to figure out what and how much to carry with you. My guideline is to carry just enough to be prepared for the most-likely scenarios (flat tire, stuck, unintended overnight stay, etc.). Too much stuff and the extra weight reduces the capability.

Don't feel like you need to spend your modifications budget before you head out on the trail. In my opinion, the money is most effective in the bank. Then you can draw some out if needed for vehicle preparations and have the rest stored away for the unexpected.
 
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J

JWP58

Guest
#6
I'd use that 3500 and put it toward gas and some trips. If you have decent tires, you should be able to go tons of places.

I think most guys would probably admit that half of the mods they do to their vehicles they could live without.
 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
#7
I always suggest to build based on need. Just use the vehicle the way you want to use it and then figure out what, if anything, could stand to be changed. Modifications should relate exactly to how and where the vehicle is used, otherwise they're usually wasteful and sometimes counter-productive.
This x 100. Don't 'assume' you need to lift it or otherwise mod it. Figure out (a) What your vehicle can do, (b) what it can't do that you'd like it to do and then (c) how to make your vehicle capable of doing what you want it to do.

IOW, don't get a lift just because a bunch of random strangers on the Intertubes said you need one. ;)

I'd use that 3500 and put it toward gas and some trips. If you have decent tires, you should be able to go tons of places.
And this x 1000. Go somewhere. Take the camping gear you have and a notebook and pen.

While you're there, you'll run into situations where you'll say "Dang, I really wish I had __________!"

Write that down and now you know what you need to do to make your vehicle into what you want it to be.

As far as "mods" go, a decent lift kit costs roughly the same as a very nice refrigerator ($700 or so.)

Which one of those things do you think you'll use more often? ;)
 
#8
I know some suggest to wait on the lift, but you obviously want one and I don't blame you. I have a 2012 FJC and did a lot of research on lifts before I bought mine. The ICON is nice but for the cost its not worth it IMO. I ended up with the toytec ultimate 3" lift. People will tell you the ICON is better, but the stage 1 ICON will not allow your vehicle to perform any better that the toytec. Also a perceived advantage of ICON is that they are rebuildable shocks. My experience with rebuildable shocks is that they will need to be rebuilt before a non-rebuildable needs to be replaced. I know people will dis-agree with me, but money was not an issue with me and I still chose the toytec ultimate. I would also look at some BFG A/T's as these tires are proven to last and a good multipurpose tire. From there maybe an ARB bumper and whatever else is specific to your needs. Good luck with the FJC!
 
#9
I used to have an FJ. I put on 275/75R17 Goodyear MTRs and factory toyota rock rails and had a blast. Every now and again I wished for a bit more clearance underneath (small lift) but I really never needed it. If I had an FJ again, I would put on good tires, rock rails and go have a blast. :smiley_drive: Good skids would be next on my list.

Of course, don't forget this: Get all the self recovery stuff you know how to safely use (including communication). Or learn how to safely use some self recovery stuff then go buy it.
 

SWITAWI

Doesn't Get Out Enough
#10
:iagree:
Add another emphatic yes to what a few others said above about taking your time to decide.
Got my '08 FJC w/12k miles on it 3yrs ago and daily commuting + trips has recently pushed me past 90,000mi. The sum total of my modifications to date is new tires (about 5k miles ago) and a HAM radio. Granted, I live and play in mostly flat Central & South Texas and have no serious need for skidplates, rock sliders, etc., but my stock truck has taken me as far down the Padre Island National Seashore as I want to go and yet has remained a civil, lightweight daily driver with good fuel economy because of the lack of modifications. At some point I will get an OME or Toytec suspension with some air bag helpers in the rear coils to improve the basic handling and prevent the rear sag that happens when I'm loaded up or towing because that will be something that will benefit my daily usage of my truck, along with some EBC slotted rotors and brake pads for my weekday forays into stop-and-go traffic.
Everything else is wants, not needs. How do you really justify having 35in tires and a 6in lift when a stock AWD Cadillac SRX parks next to you 40mi down the beach?
A Bajarack Flat Utility Roof Rack and Metal Tech Step Sliders I could consider as real, functional replacements for the OE half-of-a-Roof Rack and the plastic-covered Running Boards, but I somehow made it this far without them, didn't I? The Safari Snorkel is little harder to justify, but I might be able to chalk that up to 'increased filter change intervals' in a couple of years, lol.
My truck is so UNmodified that I enjoy seeing my dirty, stock FJC parked next to some sparkling, shiny-tired, lifted rig. It works for my needs.
:safari-rig:
What are your needs?
 
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#11
Hey guys. Thanks for all the replies. Super helpful. I agree 1000x with the comments about just having fun. I have had lost of fun wheeling the thing, and have already run into some obstacles. I have bottomed the thing out a few times. And lost traction a fair amount due to the stock tires. Now obviously the tires aren't the only thing holding me back, I need to get better at driving it in general... Basically, I'm thinking some sliders and skids will help the most. Lift maybe down the road. I would love to dream though...

On the top of my list so far is a Spot, winch, new tires. Skids and sliders. I'm thinking a lift just to fit some bigger tires, either BFG a/t or some toyo open country m/t.

At $3.5, I could dream for days about this mod and that mod, but I just want to have fun. Maybe a fridge and a rooftop tent at some point, just day trips for now.

I'll check out fjc forums. Thanks.


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SWITAWI

Doesn't Get Out Enough
#12
Just something to consider as far as getting hung up on obstacles... Putting the extra weight of skids and other protective weighty items on the FJC's relatively soft coils may actually cause you to lose a little clearance in the rough stuff.
:safari-rig:
Have fun figuring out what you need most.
 
#13
Just something to consider as far as getting hung up on obstacles... Putting the extra weight of skids and other protective weighty items on the FJC's relatively soft coils may actually cause you to lose a little clearance in the rough stuff.
:safari-rig:
Have fun figuring out what you need most.
Never thought about that... How do you counteract that?


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#14
I would look at other tires than the Toyo's. I just replaced mine because they are so heavy. Replaced them with Firestone Destination MTs which are about 20lbs less per tire. I can really feel the power increase and better MPG. For a lift I always like OME up front and Toytecs long travel rear coils in the rear. This is the setup I will be switching to soon. And as others said sliders are a must. This is the first vehicle I've had with them and I really do enjoy the comfort of knowing my body is protected down there.
 
#15
X2 on the link to the "first $2000" thread. Its focus is getting you home!
I have an OME lift on my FJ and it works just fine. It is a set and forget lift that has proven reliability. Another thing you may soon want is fuel capacity. Range is not the best on an FJ. Everyone that touched on just getting out there is spot on. It is a extremely capable vehicle! :smiley_drive:
 
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