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Wikid FJ

Written by  Don Lamb
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Wikid FJOctober 2006: “That is the ugliest car I’ve ever seen.”

This is a quote from my wife and her first encounter with the FJ Cruiser in Sedona, AZ where we saw convoy of them driving down a hill from a resort area. We were in Sedona with her all wheel drive Highlander, driving a popular dirt road called, Schnebly Hills Road, “unknowingly, looking for a different type of adventure.

Fast forward to December 2006 and after the grind of a busy year and our annual week off from business during Christmas. “Out of the blue”, I suggested we go look at Toyota FJ's.  Of course out of the blue is more for the wife’s sake because I had been researching them since our trip to Sedona.  On December 27th I drove one home.

Then it began.

Within a week we had found more dirt on the Four Peaks Trail. The following week, we joined a trail with another new FJ owner and christened our FJ with brush scratches. We don’t have to worry about that any longer.

At the beginning the mod bug was furious and frenzied. Without a total plan on how I would be using my vehicle, I made less then perfect choices on equipment. After months of wheeling, the plan began to form and further mod decisions, were based on experience and function.

For anyone new to the FJ or are considering it for adventure, I urge you to step away from the credit card.   There are a few things you need to ask yourself before unleashing the plastic until it melts all over the machine.

(1) How do I plan on using my truck?
(2) Is this also going to be my daily driver?
(3) How will my mods affect my gas mileage?

Ultimately, if you choose your mods wisely, they will save you from having to do them, over and over.


Just recently, through an opportunity, Wikid got a new look.  I always wanted an FJ in white but in 2007 it wasn’t an option.
It’s now Toyota Super White and I am in the process of changing the entire interior over to the new color. There are still remnants of yellow that will eventually be completely gone.

This is not just a vehicle for me to modify, it’s my escape and stress reliever from the daily grind. It’s my sanity!!  I think of my build, with the journey of it, in mind.  I enjoy sharing my experience, methods and plan to attend many events and trails yearly. We enjoy helping educate those who may be considering, or new to off-roading. We have met many nice people and I share my knowledge, with mod installations.  Promoting responsible wheeling is essential .We attend trail cleanups, supporting; Tread Lightly, Blue Ribbon Coalition, to mention a few. To keep our trails safe, clean and accessible.

Wikid FJ new tiresSince that infamous day in Sedona…
The wife now owns a 2008  Trail Teams FJ that we purchased brand new. 


I would like to thank all of these companies for being involved with Wikid:

Total Vision Products
With some visibility issues and the idea of doing something totally different, I began thinking about rock spotting cameras. A year had passed when I wandered Costco’s auto section and picked up a simple wireless camera to play with. Immediately after arriving at home, I double-face-taped the camera to my bumper and temporarily wired it.  I drove with my tires following cracks in the road and that was it!  After exhaustive research, I located a company in Tucson called Total Vision Products. Rod and I spoke at length, about a simple four-camera rock spotting system. Three months later, the idea evolved into a Baja Camera System, which includes eight cameras, overhead console, four screens, digital switchers and a quad channel DVR with GPS Tracking. Rod designed the equipment for this system. I gutted the interior of the FJ, created the overhead console, and did the majority of the install and final tweaking was done at Rod’s shop in Tucson. One week later we showed its potential at the Overland Expo in Prescott Valley by driving with all windows covered and only navigating with cameras, on the off road course.

Camera Views Include:
•    Front approach & Rear Departure (wide view)
•    Front rock spotters, left and right tires
•    Rear axle camera
•    Roof forward facing (wide and normal view)
•    Rear Roof (normal view.

Driver side views will be the front approach, rear departure, rock spotters, and axle cameras. Passenger side will be all roof view cameras. The thought behind this is using the driver side screens for utility and the passenger side for trail video. Cameras selected on screens, are all recorded to a quad channel DVR.  I’ve prewired in capabilities for up to eight additional cameras, with two channels of audio.

Overland Warehouse

Working with Mark and Andres at Overland Warehouse (OW) is a delight. I feel they understand the requirements of the FJ platform and have a custom tuned suspension to work well with it. We are using the complete 2.5 Radflo System that they have developed and is designed with the weight of my build in mind. After having three different systems on that didn’t perform well I finally have the right one. It handles flawlessly and smoothly on the road and handles everything I throw at it off-road. This system comes complete with 2.5 coilover's, 2.5 shocks, springs for rear, sway-bar relocate bracket, extended bump stop for rear, and they added extended sway-bar links for testing. This year we traveled to Moab, for Cruise Moab with an off-road trailer that was barely noticeable behind the rig. We threw everything at the OW/Radflo and it worked perfectly.

Ricochet Skids

Ricochet skid products are protecting the belly of Wikid. Brad is excellent to work with and his skid plates are designed well. I have been abusing his skids since early 2010 with Cruise Moab, Sedona Fest, the FJ Summit and many local trails. They have been sliding over rocks and still staying true to form.  His instructions are thorough and always have a last step: “Have a beer”  
•    Full under body skids customized with laser cut “Wikid”
•    Lower control arm skids
•    Brad is also working on a badge mount

BajaRack

I started with the exp rack, but have since decided to get the utility rack so the FJ will still slide in the garage (even lifted with 35’s). Anyone that has dealt with BajaRack will know the level of customer service and build quality are second to none. They are really just like regular guys that want to succeed in business while forming friendships.           
Enough said there


Doug Thorley Headers
Doug Thorley has outfitted Wikid, with a complete exhaust:
•    Long tube 304 Stainless Steel  headers that are ceramic coated (this is brand new from Thorley)
•    Y-Pipe and muffler
In addition to this, I had a local exhaust shop, Apache Muffler, run custom three inch tail section through the rear bumper with a three inch oval tip.   I acquired the oval tip from a  place called “Dr Gas” online. 

Toytec
•    HD rear lower links that have jonnie joints on one end.  They are beefy and I have slid them over many obstacles. 
•    Front diff drop keeps CV angles good
•    One inch body lift gave me just the clearance need to stuff 35s

Viking Offroad
Viking provided synthetic winch line that “work horsed” eight rigs over the Poughkeepsie Gulch waterfall in Ouray, Co. Not to mention various other occasions it’s been asked for service.  I really like that fact that is doesn’t become a weapon if it fails.   I have really enjoyed the ease of working with this line.

East Coast Gear Supply
Chase from ECGS helped outfit Wikid, with some new teeth. They sent out rear diff third member and front, outfitted with 4.56 nitro gears, in turn I sent them the cores. I would highly recommend these guys for regearing. If you have the mechanical ability to do the switch you can save some serious money by regearing this way.  These guys really know there stuff when it comes to gears.

Method Race Wheels
Trying to get the correct look for Wikid, I found Method Race Wheels with the correct look and size I wanted my build to have. The wheels are lightweight and strong, and their customer service is excellent.  I ordered them from out of state Wednesday morning and received them Thursday afternoon.  

Go Pro
Having a need for HD trail video, Go Pro has the answer. It’s portable, lightweight, waterproof and features a wide assortment of mounting options. The SD card memory is only limited by the number of cards you have. The largest card available is 32gigs so you could record, a ridiculous amount of HD video and transfers it to your computer for video editing.

Second Skin Audio
Thinking of quieting the beast some and making the sound system work better, I decided to add a few barrier products 
Inside the roof is a product called “Damplifier Pro”, with a layer of “Heatwave” below it to keep vibration noises to a minimum, along with keeping some of the heat out of the truck.
Since the inside was gutted, I used a spray in sound deadener called “Spectrum” for the floor and inside the door panels. I had some papering and taping to do, but it was worth it.  Then I added “Heatwave” to some areas on the floor.  I lined all the insides of the doors and quarters with “limo liner”.  Then used “Damplifier Pro” to seal all of the holes in the door panels and quarters I found.   It really quieted my ride down.  My stock stereo sound much better now. The FJ stays cooler in the summer too.



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