January 2009

January 2009 (14)

coverwebSome of the articles in this issue include:

  • Off Road Lights Compared! We tested four of the most popular brands of off road lights on the trail. Which one is right for you?
  • Kenwood 7120 Installation & initial review. We finally got our hands on a Kenwood in-dash nav unit. Checkout the install & review in this issue!
  • We welcome Paul Thompson from the Last Great Road Trip as our newest contributor, he's written a great article on his recent trip to Browns Camp with the NWFJCC.
  • Lance is back! This time he discusses how Overlanding Habits differ from normal camping trips. You don't want to miss it!
  • Follow along as we install a set of Lightforce Striker 170's on the WAAG XS Basket, it's not the easiest mod but WOW what a difference!
  • Our first in a two part Off Road 101 series covers Emergency Gear - a basic survival kit.
  • So much more, don't wait - download your copy now!

As always, we have two downloads available - absolutely free:

  • For reading on your computer, you'll want the standard edition of FJC Magazine - Download Here
  • For printing, the print-ready version with a white background - Download Here
  • NOTE: Internet Explorer users should right click and select "Save Target As"
  • The online Flash version of FJC Magazine is also now available!


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Off Road Lights Compared

Written by Shane Williams

Off road lights are on virtually every FJ owners wish list. Some form of additional lighting is vital if you plan to hit the trails after dark. There are literally dozens of different light combinations available for our trucks, how do you know which one is best? Ultimately the light setup that’s right for you depends upon how you intend to use them and your environment. FJ’s in the northeast will no doubt have a very different setup than those that spend most of their time in the desert. Combinations of large driving lights, amber lights for greater visibility in dusty areas, and smaller fog lights that are closer to the ground all have their place.

We gathered several FJ’s for a night run and light comparison late in December in an attempt to capture how some of the different setups perform. We were not able to test some of the popular brands of off road lights such as IPF and KC, but we did have enough combinations to illustrate some of the options available.

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Lightforce Striker 170 Install

Written by Shane Williams

When you’re ready to install off road lights, make sure you have lots of time and patience, a proper installation will take plenty of both. Dealing with wiring, soldering, electrical connections, switches, and the disassembly off the FJ's interior can be pretty demanding. We only recommend installing lights to those with quite a bit of experience in modifying vehicles. This is about as difficult as it gets.

With that warning out of the way, let’s get to it! Please keep in mind that the following is an account of how we chose to install our lights. Every offroad light install will be different, please evaluate your situation and do what’s right for your aftermarket lighting needs.

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Kenwood DNX-7120 Nav Install

Written by TCT Magazine

In the last issue, we discussed several options for in-dash navigation suitable for on-trail use. In that article we chose the Kenwood 8120 as our favorite pick for FJ owners, mainly due to the Garmin navigation and integrated media features. We also briefly touched on the Kenwood 7120, which is virtually identical to the 8120, but with a few less features. When it came time to install a system in our FJ, we ended up going with the 7120. Why? Well, the 7120 can be found for well under $1000, even after adding the Bluetooth module. For our purposes, the additional upgrades on the 8120 (more input/output options, higher end pre-amp outputs) did not justify the additional $300-$400. As it turns out, the 7120 meets our needs perfectly.

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January 2009 Welcome

Written by TCT Magazine

Thanks for reading the January 2009 issue of FJC Magazine!

Visiting this web page allows us to determine how many people are reading the magazine, thanks for your cooperation. While you're here, why don't you forward this issue to a few of your friends? Click the 'E-mail envelope' on the upper right side of this article.

Enjoy the January issue!

--The FJC Magazine Team

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Readers Rig: Jason's Ti: "Hermes"

Written by TCT Magazine
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Readers Rig: Matt's Ti "The Tank"

Written by TCT Magazine
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New Product: LoD Swing Out Bumper

Written by TCT Magazine

LoD has been a Jeep accessories specialist for years, and they’ve just entered the FJ Cruiser Market. Their first product for FJ’s is a rear bumper with a swing out tire carrier, and it looks solid!
FJ Owners have looked for a cost effective rear bumper with a tire carrier for while, this could be just the ticket. What we like best is that the tire carrier opens with the back door.
Matte Black powder coat finish
3/16"  steel bumper
1-1/2" massive greaseable hinge pin
55 watt halogen reverse lights
Reverse sensor compatible
Opens with door and is absolutely rattle free
Excellent fit and finish
Bolts to frame rails and crossmember with 17 bolts !!!!
Optional bolt on hitch
Optional bolt on Gas / Jerry can mounts
Optional bolt on trail rack.

FJ rear bumper and tire carrier $ 1399
55 watt halogen reverse lights $49
Bolt on Jerry can mounts (pair) $169
Bolt on Trail Rack $189
After ordering, expect about a two week lead time before it ships.

Chris Leuck
LoD Offroad

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New Products: LCA Upgrades

Written by
One of the most vulnerable components of the FJ Cruiser suspension are the rear lower control arms (LCA’s). They’re fairly long and are exposed to nearly every obstacle you come across. The OEM LCA’s are not very stout and can be easily bent or broken.

Within the last couple of months quite a few new products have been announced to help protect and upgrade your Lower Control Arms. We found three new LCA products that range in price from $ to $$$, and each provide a different level of protection.
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Featured Rig: Mikes Black Cherry

Written by Shane Williams

For this month’s featured rig we have a very unique FJ. To our knowledge, this is one of the only FJ’s in our small community to have a complete frame replacement through the dealer. For details on that situation, visit the FJ Cruiser Forums.

Mike’s ’07 Black Cherry FJ is built for expedition travels. In fact, he was part of the 2007 Disabled Explorers Continental Divide Expedition, so his truck has seen a few miles on the trail. This Black Cherry (Beauty) is easily recognizable, just look for the well used BC sporting a Baja Rack and a few Arizona pin stripes. If it’s missing the rear bumper, that’s probably Tibaal89’s truck.

Mikes mod list breaks down like this:
For under armor, Mike went all All Pro. The Transfercase/exhast skid, front skid, transfer skid, and rock sliders all came from All Pro Off Road. His front tube winch bumper was custom built, as was his ‘Ultimate’ rear bumper mod. His front end is lifted 2.5” using a FOX system from All Pro with the sway bar removed, and his rear uses All Pro springs, a 2” spacer, and FOX 2.0 shocks. Mike was one of the first to install & review the Baja Racks FJ Cruiser Roof Rack, and it’s usually loaded for an extended stay in the backcountry. The FJ rides on 275/70/17 Goodyear MT/R tires mounted to stock alloy wheels.

In the electronics department Mikes Black Cherry is ready for anything. He’s using a Radio Shack TRC-447 CB with a 3’ Firestik on a Bandi Mount, along with a Kenwood TR-7720 2m Amateur radio for communication. He mounted his laptop on a Jenico mount and runs Topo USA, USAPhotomaps, iGuidance, and Google Earth for navigation. There should be no getting lost when Mike’s in the group! He keeps all these electronics, his ARB MT45 Fridge/Freezer, and 2x 7” Kragen/Checker HID lights running smooth with a National Luna Dual Battery System.

There is no doubt that Mike’s Black Cherry is built for the long haul. If you’re ever looking for an expedition partner, give Tiball89 a shout, he’s ready to go!



2008 was a great year for Off Road 101. We covered all the basics that a new FJ Owner should know:
January: Know your FJ
April: Tires & Wheels
July: Trail Armor
October: Suspension

Now that your FJ can handle most trails, we want to talk about being safe on the trail. We've divided emergency gear into Survival and Recovery (Part 2 April 2009).   Contents of emergency gear is always debatable. Some of the items included in your emergency kit will ultimately come down to personal preference, however, there are a few basics that virtually everyone agrees on. Please keep in mind that the items included in this article are what we feel are a good place to start. Some of them may not apply to everyone, and most people will certainly include additional items. Our objective is to give the new off road enthusiast a jumping off point for emergency preparedness.

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