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FJ Cruiser

A brief history of what had to be done to the FJ to get it ready.

Selecting the Vehicle
The choice of vehicle was controversial. The pro contingent was of the opinion that a new car will have fewer problems by the very fact that it is new. The con contingent was concerned about using a new and untested platform on such a long trip. By January 2009 we will know who was right!

Brand Spankin’ New!

Headlight Protection
The first modification we made was a very simple and inexpensive one: Plastic lens covers by Aeroflow Inc. to protect the lenses from rock impact. I am sure these will be tested.

Aeroflow Lens Covers

Hacked A-Trac
Since we knew we would be making many modifications to the car we purchased a model as close to stock at possible. We had to drive all the way to Davis to get a MT-6 with CQ, RB, and floor mats. Close enough – we bought it. We had wanted A-Trac but were unwilling to pay thousands for all the other options that came with it – luckily some smarties on the internet figured out how hack it. A $52.87 switch from TRDSource and we had A-Trac.

Switch Panel with Hacked A-Trac

Roof Rack
A huge box from Gobi Racks arrived at the Akimbo loading dock. Six Akimbonauts took a brief respite from their desk jobs and helped me to maneuver the Gobi Ranger roof rack into place. Although the rack looks nice I am a little concerned about its hefty weight and wind noise. In hindsight I might have made another choice but it was the only after-market rack at that time and I wanted to be prepared for ski season.

Gobi Rack and ladder (not pictured but present)

Off-Road Suspension
All right, time to get to the good stuff. To fit a larger tire upgrade we decided to lift the car by a couple of inches and went with the tried and tested OME suspension – medium weight in the front and heavy in the back. We were to have practiced by installing a race suspension on the Miata, but Man-A-Fre were really quick with the ship and the OME arrived first. We outsourced the spring compression and the shop installed the spring seat backward, so we ended up doing the front suspension TWICE!

The FJ gets an upgrade at the Bay Area Motor Club


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