April 2008

April 2008 (11)

aprilcoversmSome of the topics in this issue include:

  • We installed a Toytec 3" Lift on our TRD - Check out the full writeup with step-by-step instructions & plenty of pictures
  • CO-Jeff is our featured rig this issue
  • We have some great Reader Rigs as well!
  • Expedition Planning : Lance is back to share his knowledge and advice when planning for an expedition
  • Off Road 101. . . Tires & Wheels . We discuss which tire may be best for your FJ
  • Scangauge II : Eric tells us about one of the best gadgets for your truck
  • Off Road Navigation, Part 1 : Learn about what types of paper maps you should take out wheeling
  • Checkout our preview of the Spring Mud Fling
  • We also have coverage from the NE FJ Meet , the Colorado FJ's group, a few Reader Rigs, and MUCH MORE!
  • We've again created two versions of the only magazine dedicated to the FJ Cruiser:
  • *Choose this link if you'll be viewing the Magazine on your computer
    *Choose this link if you plan on printing the Magazine, it has a white background to save on ink.
  • NEW! Online Flash Version, Click Here

    printed_copyw

Wednesday, 30 July 2008 08:31

April 2008 Reader Rigs

Written by

{tab=Vaughn's TRD ~Black Beauty~}

{gallery}/issues/2008/apr08/reader_rigs/vaughn{/gallery}

Nominate a GREAT FJ for our Reader Rigs section.

{tab=Ben's SuFU : FlyNDrive}

{gallery}/issues/2008/apr08/reader_rigs/ben{/gallery}

All of Ben's Mods:

  • Tires: Mickey Thompson MTZ  315/70-17
  • Wheels: American Racing Crater Teflon 17 X 9
  • Lift: OME Springs: 886 front, 896 rear
  • Shocks: OME 140 front, 142 rear shocks
  • Front Bumper: ARB Bull Bar W/ 2 IPF 900XS, IPF fog lights, recovery points
  • Rear Bumper: ARB Rear bumper modified to dual swing out carrier by CrozFab & Hawse fairlead.
  • Skids: All-Pro engine, Trans, & lower link skids
  • Rails: ARB
  • Winch: Warn M-8000 Front & Rear, dual in cab switchs
  • Air/Co2:  ViAir 450C W/ 2.5 gal tank
  • Rack:  Gobi Ranger W/ 4 IPF 968 on a custom Dirty Parts light bar on front, 2 868 side lights, 2 camp lights rear (all to “Taco” switches), Gobi Axe & shovel mount, Gobi Hi-Lift mount.
  • Other Suspension:  All Pro Upper control A-Arms. All-Pro upper and lower rear links.
  • Other Mods: A custom rear winch, Safari Snorkel, Dirty Parts dual battery system W/ 2 Optima Yellow Top Batteries W/ Ellis Precision battery clamps, Parana Prado 120 battery mount, Eclipse AVN navigation, CD, DVD, Sirius & backup cam., Scanguage II, Man-A-Fre brake line extensions, Valet 9104 Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Cobra 75 WX ST CB Radio, Toyota vent visors, Air2Air computer mount W/ Toshiba docking station for tablet PC, DeLorome Topo 6.0, Kiddie auto fire extinguisher. Wellcraft tail light protection.

Nominate a GREAT FJ for our Reader Rigs section.

{tab=Flynn's BD "MoabFJ"}

{gallery}/issues/2008/apr08/reader_rigs/flynn{/gallery}

Nominate a GREAT FJ for our Reader Rigs section. 

{/tabs}

Wednesday, 30 July 2008 08:32

FJ Bruisers Spring Mud Fling

Written by
As the beloved FJ Cruiser continues to gain popularity, the number of FJ Groups & Clubs have been steadily growing (See FJ Cruiser Groups & Clubs, Page 30). One of the first and certainly most active FJ clubs calls the east coast home: the FJ Bruisers. This great group of people asked us to help spread the word about their upcoming annual event: The Spring Mud Fling.

We asked Josh (the Treasurer for the Bruisers) if he could provide photos and stories from the first Spring MudFling.

First, the photo:
 {mosimage}

The story:
Vaughn Ripley (AKA: Rip), whose rig, Black Beauty, can be seen in this month's Reader's Rig section, was leading a line of a dozen FJ's through the Dry River Run section of the George Washington National Forest. After pausing momentarily before one of the deep mud holes that can be found scattered all around this section of trails, Rip decided to have a go at the bog.

He started out slowly, smoothly rolling through the nearly 3-foot deep section of swampy water. As he progressed through the morass, which was about 100 feet long, Rip started realizing that the end of the bog was getting deeper than the earlier sections. Applying more gas, Rip attempted to finish the bog off and found that his chassis was grounding in the muck that lay below the innocent surface. After only a few seconds, it was apparent that Rip's Black Beauty was stuck and unmovable. Because his rig is a manual transmission, Rip decided to stop fighting the back-and-forth motion for fear of stalling while his exhaust was submerged.


{gallery}issues/2008/apr08/NEFJCMeet{/gallery}
Wednesday, 30 July 2008 08:33

ScanGaugeII Review

Written by

So I finally decided I wanted some independence. I thought that I might start by freeing myself from dealer/mechanic scan tools.  It always drove me nuts when the check engine light came on and I’d get it checked immediately, only to find out it was a random sensor aberration and everything was fine.  The computers in our rigs are very complicated, and sometimes can be frustrating. The OBDII interface is a nice advantage since it allows us to take control of some of these issues.

After poking around and looking at scan tool options, I decided on the ScanGaugeII by Linear-Logic ( http://www.scangauge.com ).  Since I was planning on doing some intake modifications, I was looking forward to instant feedback on engine performance and fuel economy.  I also wanted immediate information about check engine light codes, so the ScanGuageII seemed to fit the bill.

For everyday driving, the ScanGaugeII offers trip computers that track data from the current trip, current day, previous day, or current tank. The information stored for each of these time periods includes maximum speed, average speed, maximum coolant temperature, maximum rpm, driving time, driving distance, fuel used, trip fuel economy, distance to empty, time to empty, and fuel (gallons) to empty.


{gallery}issues/2008/apr08/scangauge{/gallery}

Wednesday, 30 July 2008 08:36

Off Road 101: Tires & Wheels

Written by

While the FJ Cruiser is one of the most capable off road vehicles when stock, most come with a significant limiting factor: tires. The Dunlop tires that come with most FJ Cruisers are good for pavement driving and offer decent tread life, but they're not very well suited to most off road situations.

When the time comes to upgrade your tires, the choices are almost limitless. It's not within the scope of this article to cover EVERY tire on the market, but we can talk about the two basic options: All Terrain (A/T) vs. Mud Terrain (M/T). A quick disclaimer, the benefits and drawbacks that we'll talk about for each type of tire are general, and may not apply to EVERY A/T or M/T tire. Please research the specific tire you're interested in before making your decision.

All Terrain's

All Terrain Tire

The A/T will be the preferred tire for many people that use their FJ as a daily driver. Traditional A/T's provide a very good mix of on and off road capability. They come in various tread patterns, and most have a tread life of over 30,000 miles. While A/T's are very good off road tires, they're not rock crawling grapplers or mud boggers. All Terrain tires will tend to slick over in deep snow and mud, which will definitely limit their trail use in some climates.

Mud Terrain's

Mud Terrain Tire

Most M/T tires are easily identifiable by the large lugs in the tread. They're much more aggressive than most A/T's, and provide increased off road performance. Mud Terrains will tend to 'self clean' in deep mud and snow, and provide excellent contact area when aired down and crawling on rocks. If you use youre FJ as a daily driver like I do, there are some definite drawbacks to M/T's. First, many (but not all) M/T's tend to wear out quicker than other types of tire. Mud Terrains also tend to slide around more on ice, and can provide less traction in heavy rain.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008 08:37

Northeast FJ Meet

Written by

The story began last year when I went to buy parts from Johnnewyork and his SFA project.  We started to talk about meeting up for some wheeling, and after talking about how the folks on the Northeast part of the continent were really limited for trail runs, we decided to make this an open event for all FJ owners.

Easter weekend finally arrived and Friday, the first day at the park, we had about 20 trucks show up, including the Toyota Trail Team.  The day was sunny and 35F, but the wind was blowing hard on the mountain.  Having the Trail Team on site was great! They had provided great lessons in off roading to everyone. They then led groups out into the field to put into practice what they just learned.   What’s better than learning on the trails?  Returning home from your first day of off-roading and having a BBQ by the Trail Team and raffle prizes!  Our sponsors provided us with all types of gear: sliders, spacers, lifts, subscriptions, rims, bumper discounts, and the most sought after prize, the E-Tool!

{gallery}issues/2008/apr08/NEFJCMeet{/gallery}

Friday, 11 July 2008 13:15

April 2008 : Volume I : Issue 2

Written by

FJC Magazine April 2008

Thanks for checking out the latest issue of FJC Magazine. We've been working hard to bring you the most interesting and helpful content possible. Enjoy this issue!

Some of the topics in this issue include:

  • We installed a Toytec 3" Lift on our TRD - Check out the full writeup with step-by-step instructions & plenty of pictures
  • CO-Jeff is our featured rig this issue
  • We have some great Reader Rigs as well!
  • Expedition Planning : Lance is back to share his knowledge and advice when planning for an expedition
  • Off Road 101. . . Tires & Wheels . We discuss which tire may be best for your FJ
  • Scangauge II : Eric tells us about one of the best gadgets for your truck
  • Off Road Navigation, Part 1 : Learn about what types of paper maps you should take out wheeling
  • Checkout our preview of the Spring Mud Fling
  • We also have coverage from the NE FJ Meet , the Colorado FJ's group, a few Reader Rigs, and MUCH MORE!
  • We've again created two versions of the only magazine dedicated to the FJ Cruiser:
  • *Choose this link if you'll be viewing the Magazine on your computer
    *Choose this link if you plan on printing the Magazine, it has a white background to save on ink.
  • NEW! Online Flash Version, Click Here

printed_copyw

Wednesday, 30 July 2008 08:38

Off Road Nav Part 1: Paper Maps

Written by
When it comes to off roading and spending time in the woods, perhaps the most important pieces of equipmentare your navigational aids. Our FJ’s can go just about anywhere. But, if you don’t know how to get there and back your trip will not be nearly as enjoyable, and also dangerous.

In the next few issues, we’re going to cover several types of navigation options. We’ll start with paper maps, then discuss portable GPS systems and finally, we’ll cover in-dash options. Each of these options has pros and cons that will be cover in detail.

A Necessity
A good set of paper maps for the area you’ll be wheeling in, is an absolute necessity. Even if you use a GPS, the ability to navigate with a paper map will save you hours of frustration, and could save your life. Remember that electronics are not 100% reliable. You can run out of batteries, drop your GPS in a river, or suffer some type of failure eventually. It’s not a question of if, it’s just a matter of when. I tell everyone, “It’s not the 99 times you don’t need it, it’s the 1 time you do” when it comes to safety gear. So the question is, with hundreds of different map products, which is the best?

The one paper map that I ALWAYS bring is the Gazetteer , from DeLorme. I’ve carried a Gazetteer in my rig since I first moved to Colorado over 12 years ago. I never go into the woods without it, ever. If I plan on spending a fair amount of time in another state, I’ll pickup the Gazetteer for that state as well. DeLorme produces a Gazetteer for most states. The major advantages of this map book includes information on campgrounds, lakes, rivers, scenic drives, and various other places of interest. The very detailed maps include National Forest / BLM land, forest roads, hiking trails, campgrounds and campsites, mines, ghost towns, etc.
Wednesday, 30 July 2008 08:42

Expedition Planning

Written by


Racing legend Rod Millen has said “Preparation is key, the event is just a formality.” This holds true for a race, a job, or a long distance trip. Another great anonymous quote is “There are no big problems in life, just small ones that didn’t get dealt with”. I am quickly learning the difference between a week-long, free spirited, camping trip and an expedition that is time-line dependent, goal oriented, and multi-vehicle. Jump in the passenger seat and come along for the ride!

It's hard to know where you're going and what you should be doing along the way without a “why”. When it comes to a weekend trip you might just want to get out of town for a bit. However, when it comes to a longer expedition style trip there is usually a goal in mind. That goal is your “why”. It could be to transverse Death Valley, visit Copper Canyon in Mexico, or even retrace the Baja 1000 route. No matter what the goal, it influences time-line, fuel needs, food choices, water supply and more. The goal will direct your planning and without a clear goal there isn’t a clear plan.

{gallery}issues/2008/apr08/exp_planning{/gallery}

Wednesday, 30 July 2008 08:42

Featured Rig: CO-Jeff's VDB

Written by

When talking with other FJ Enthusiasts, one name comes up almost religiously, Jeff T. (CO-Jeff).  His rig is a head-turner, a built VooDoo Blue that has been featured in hundreds of threads, and was the February 2007 Cruiser of the month on FJCruiserforums.com. 

Jeff’s FJ is built to withstand everything he can throw at it. One of the most unique features of this rig is the sound insulation. Jeff used Dynamat to seal and quiet down his entire FJ. He then upgraded all the speakers & the subwoofer, added an amp, and a Pioneer AVIC Z1 to drive this great system.

For front & rear protection, Jeff chose Fab Fours bumpers. While these are not the least expensive options, they provide the function and toughness to handle anything. The front bumper has a very open top for easy access to the winch, 2 welded recovery points, and provides one of the best approach angles of any aftermarket bumper. Jeff added the Warn 9000 winch with synthetic line and a Roktek fairlead for getting out of sticky situations. The coolest feature of the rear bumper is the swing away tire carrier. It can accommodate up to a 40” tire, and swings well out of the way so you can still open the rear door when needed. 

Jeff lifted his truck 3” using a combination of components. He uses DR Coil Overs in the front and DR Rear shocks with custom rear springs in the rear. He added the Total Chaos Upper Control arms for additional strength, and his rear control arms were done by Sonoran Steel. Underneath, is a full set of custom armor from All Phase Off Road, including the All Phase Differential Skid. Up top, Jeff chose the very popular Gobi Ranger with PIAA lights and added Yakima mounts for skis. His tires are the beefy MTZ 33/17/12.5, mounted on the stock steel wheels.

There is no doubt that Jeff’s VooDoo FJ is a go anywhere, do anything truck. You’ll definitely know this FJ when you see it coming, so don’t forget to wave.

{gallery}/issues/2008/apr08/CO-Jeff{/gallery} 

Wednesday, 30 July 2008 08:43

Club Profile: Colorado FJ's

Written by

About Colorado FJ's:
Colorado FJ’s is a family oriented off road group open to anyone with any type of Toyota FJ (FJ Cruisers, FJ-40, etc). We run every type of trail, from easy trails passable with any stock 4x4, to more advanced rockcrawling.


Colorado is known for it’s beautiful mountains, amazing ski slopes, and of course, off road opportunities. Colorado FJ’s is a great group of FJ lovers that hang out & hit the trails together. There are no dues, fees, or regularly scheduled meetings. We get together when it seems like a good idea, and help each other out as much as we can. With over 300 named off road trails in Colorado, we’d rather spend our time in the dirt than attending meetings.

The few meetings we do have are productive and informative. Our latest get together was hosted by Stevinson Toyota East, in Aurora, Colorado. The main topics covered at this event were benefits of HAM (amateur radio) communication compared to CB radios. There was an introduction to the upcoming Dirty Toys School (off-road driving school)  hosted by Chris Nelson & Bill Burke, info about Georgetown Ice Racing, and ideas for future events and mod parties.

The Stevinson Service Manager Jeff Tossie, took great care of the group. In addition to offering a free oil change to each of the attendees, he asked three service techs (Kevin, Tanner, and Eric) to join our party and answer questions about our FJ’s. The hghlight of the event for everyone was the technical discussions. Several members were allowed to put their trucks up on lifts in the Stevinson shop so others could see examples of different mods and setups. Eric Ross, a contributor to FJC Magazine, showed off his highly modified VooDoo Blue. Everyone got a great close up look at his full set of Bud Build Skids, his ARB bumper, and other mods. We also got to see first hand what a small body bulge looks like. When asked about this issue, Jeff informed us that Toyota is aware of the body bulge issue, and is handling the problem on a case-by-case basis. If you’re truck is experiencing body bulges, we highly recommend that you take it to your favorite Toyota dealer as soon as possible.

If you're going to be wheeling Colorado, stop by coloradofjs.com, or find us on fjcruiserforums.com and let us know. We're always ready to hit the trails! Colorado FJ's will be sponsoring 2 convoys to the FJ Summit. One will start from Denver, and the other from Colorado Springs. Visit fjcruiserforums.com for more information or if you'd like to convoy with us, meeting times and locations will be decided soon!

{gallery}/issues/2008/apr08/COFJs{/gallery}

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