DiyMobileAudio.com Car Stereo Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,202 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,



Its been an interesting year or so. I picked up and moved out of Las Vegas back closer to family in Overland Park, KS. It seemed a good time to get out of a city that will probably become another L.A. in a couple years, and quite frankly, when the water runs out... I don't want to be around. The mass shootings and the general civil, political, and moral unrest out there just doesn't spell out "family values" so time will tell if I was right or not. Regardless, I picked up a neat vehicle I hope will be mine a long time, a 2012 FJ Cruiser in Cavalry Blue!



This is in fact the first Cavalry Blue FJ I've seen for sale with my own eyes, though I bet there was plenty of them made. Its an amazing color that actually shifts with the light quite dramatically, and in person it looks gorgeous (IMO.) The brand new Tacomas and Tundras run this color for their TRD Pro models, so it definitely fits well with the offroad Toyota theme. The other option was a silver one, which just didn't get my goat since I was trading a silver WRX...and it was time for a splash of color.



So here's the pic of it as I was signing the papers. She isn't perfect, but its hard to find good FJ's for a reasonable price...debatable if my price was reasonable or not at $25k and 81k miles on the clock; and she looks pretty good for coming from Minnesota (yeah... its got some surface rust for sure) but overall, not bad IMO.



Before I even got my green slip, I set off to clear fix some of the rust. I really didn't get into taking "after" pics nor too many "before", as I figured in the end its going to get handled. But here's some gems:






Not so much rust as an odd rubbing point. The door is hung right though.







So anyway, I took a lot of the truck apart (pretty easy for an FJ, and the build quality of the plastic and parts and such is really good), and cleaned it up best I could with Naval Jelly, Evap-O-Rust, and many cans of Ace Rust Stop in varying sheens of black. I'll make another pass through the truck to tear out the ruined matting underneath the vinyl floor, as it appears ice melt, salt, and dirt got under there. It isn't heavily rusted underneath, just really gross compared with a nice clean floor. Clearly, this was someone's winter ride. I can't blame them, these things are amazing in the snow.



Next, I'll show you the lift I installed!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,296 Posts
Very nice, man! Congrats!

The other good news, is that they have huge a pillars! ;)

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,202 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
One thing I noticed right away after driving the truck a couple hundred miles is that the suspension really needed a refresh. I first planned on just replacing the shocks with Eibach Pro-Lift types, but I started to notice it wasn't really the shocks that were the problem. In fact, those seemed to be performing fine. The springs in front seemed to be sagging more than normal and I guess that's just what these trucks do after a while. I looked into the issue more on the FJ Forums and found most people just did coilovers up front and had the "Buy once, Cry once" attitude. I adopted that myself, and broke out my credit card to order these beauties:







These are Toytec BOSS 2.0 units, with 650 lb front springs. The rears look less stunning but are matching BOSS shocks with Superflex rear springs. I also invested in new high-caster upper control arms by JBA, which are really works of art themselves. I did the entire job myself in the garage with hand tools, one corner at a time!






Well at least now the darn thing sits level, plus as you can see, there's ample room for bigger tires. I'm sure we all know how that will turn out.


Next up was getting rid of the roof rack and making the roof black. The rack made a lot of noise and is basically non-functional because it is so lightweight and easy to damage. Mine was already damaged with broken plastic bits and stuff, so it had to go. I disliked the white roof immediately but I understand why FJ's are typically seen with them. It is a throwback to the original Land Cruiser and it also cools the cabin. My issue is that it stains the roof every time it rains, and it makes the truck too multi-colored for my style. It was a mega-bitch to remove the roof rack as bolts were frozen in their easily-damaged brackets located in the roof, underneath (above?) the headliner. Yeah, I had to drop most of the headliner to fix this, and ordered some of the last brackets in the US via the local Toyota parts dept. The previous pics hinted at the fact that it was gone, but I'll show you some details of the wrap job I did:









I'm not going to sugar-coat it...while I'm not a wrap expert I will tell you that some parts of this vinyl wrap project were enough to make me question my sanity. I used Avery SW900 Satin Black vinyl and lots of it. The difficulty in wrapping some sections really tested my limited skill set. There are imperfections abound, but most of them are in invisible places like under the never-used back window latch area, or up on the top of the roof. So I'm OK with the work I did, overall. I give myself a B-.


And it looks good in the daylight!



One side point: If you're ever doing this vehicle or one like it, you may find the factory paint line to be uneven, as I did. The white to blue line I had to cover sufficiently with vinyl (which means I have to go over the line by about 1/16" or so) was a bit wavy, and not exactly parallel to the body lines...and this was especially true on the C-pillar area. So you'll notice in my work if you get really close that this is the case. However, the vinyl line is actually straight. I cut it with knifeless tape because nobody has time for cut paint.


OK so vinyl wrap job done, roof doesn't leak, now I can focus on the last big upgrade to the exterior for now. Wheels/tires next!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,202 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Very nice, man! Congrats!

The other good news, is that they have huge a pillars! ;)


They sure do! I've been listening to the factory system a lot though, and I'm not sure they NEED big speakers in the pillars. Maybe sometime in the future if the basic plans I have don't impress me enough.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,296 Posts
Wow, beautiful work so far! That wrap completely transformed the look! Nostalgia aside, I never cared for the white roof look...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
DROOOL!

Those UCAs look sick, and the stance of the FJ is perfect. What are you feeling for wheels/tires? I'm trying to convince my better half that I need a set of Bilstein 5100's for Christmas - so that I can then get myself some Method 702s and some new rubber to wrap them in ...

I think your vinyl job looks great from here! Agreed on the white top, it looks cool on some rigs but I think I'd prefer the black.

:rockon:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,202 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
On to one of my favorite upgrades, the wheels and tires! I had to wait a couple weeks for these because of backorders, but they came in just a few days ago. Man, I'm really geeked about these:




Sweet tread!



I bolted them on myself, in the driveway. Easy-peasy.











I freaking love the look. Its a set of 285/70-17 Milestar Patagonia M/T tires (x5) with Fuel Anza 17x8.5 -6 wheels. I could have gone with a bigger tire but I didn't want to overdo it, and kill the lively, peppy nature the 4.0L engine gives this truck. I did have to remove the front mud flaps to clear the tire lock to lock, but otherwise no issues.



Next up, time to talk about this audio. Note: she's stock for now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
Yea dude, those look great! It's amazing what a some new shoes and a little suspension will do to the look and feel of a ride.

Looking forward to the rest.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,202 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
DROOOL!

Those UCAs look sick, and the stance of the FJ is perfect. What are you feeling for wheels/tires? I'm trying to convince my better half that I need a set of Bilstein 5100's for Christmas - so that I can then get myself some Method 702s and some new rubber to wrap them in ...

I think your vinyl job looks great from here! Agreed on the white top, it looks cool on some rigs but I think I'd prefer the black.

:rockon:

Thanks! Yeah I've run Bilstein 5100's before, on an Avalanche, many years back. They are really jittery on the road. On my more recent vehicle, the Colorado you might see there in the background (that's my father's now), I installed Eibach Pro-Lift units in there and those are superior IMO. The biggest difference is the street ride. On dirt or crap pavement, both shocks feel similar, but the Eibach are just magic carpet rides compared to Billy.


In fact, it was the discovery that Toytec shocks/coilovers are in fact manufactured by Eibach that led me to purchase these! I was dead-set on doing the Eibach Lift setup with the original springs, but when i found out that the factory springs are prone to lose their original height relatively quick (like 60-90k miles), I started shopping for a complete solution. That's what drove me to spend more on the Toytec setup. They use Eibach for both the shock and the spring, and that's a good thing, IMO. I probably won't adjust the coilovers from their original 2.5" height, but if I install a heavy bumper or something then I could compensate with a turn of a screw.



The valving of the BOSS 2.0 setup here is phenomenal. I haven't been offroad heavily yet, but I have put on about a thousand miles so far including a day trip to Nebraska to see the SAC Museum, and through some rough-ass roads. It is a firm, controlled ride, with a sporty feel and I just love it. Coilovers for this ride vs. say, coilovers for a WRX or another sport car is completely different. These properly soak the bumps without jarring or transmitting unnecessary vibrations or noise. I originally thought "coilovers" meant "goodbye comfort", and now I know that at least for the FJ and these units, that's not the case. Time will tell if they hold up, for so far I'm extremely happy I spent the money.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
Not to derail, but it's interesting your comments on the Bilstein vs Eibach. I was really interested in the Eibach Pro kit, I liked that it had matched springs (Eibach's primary wheelhouse no?) to go with the shocks, plus they just look beefy. After some reading on some of the K2 forums it seems that perhaps the Eibach kit was not for everyone, and the general consensus was the the 5100s had better street manners. I kind of felt like the 5100s might be better just based on my type of driving and the fact that I could save some coin and reuse the stock springs.

It's such a crapshoot, it's just like all this audio stuff, how can you tell if it suits your needs by just reading a bunch of random strangers opinions on the interwebz...

Anyhow, what's the plan for the tunes? You said keeping it mild initially?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,202 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
So onward to the audio plan. I'm operating on a tight budget mostly because I'm saving to purchase a house very soon. The wheels, tires, and lift were a splurge event to get the truck 100% road-ready for a trip or even to bug out, if the situation requires it. As most of you know, we're living in very interesting times. Anyway, I have a simple plan to start out the build. I own a Helix V-Eight and I plan on using that as my DSP/amp. For the sub channel, I think I'll use one of my Massive Audio Nano series monoblocks, which have always been great. I was looking at a cool way to mount these guys, perhaps by using an "Orange Boxx" plate like this: https://www.orangeboxxfabrication.com/online-store/FJ-Cruiser-MAX-p148941033 and by mounting the DSP/amp, mono amp, an aluminum plate for the distribution block, and whatever else is needed in a sorta semi-open design inside this crate. I don't know if it is even feasible, but it would certainly protect the equipment and if I did it right, look cool as hell. The problem I'm currently facing is a lack of tools and space to fabricate. This isn't my house (its my parent's), and until I move into my own house somewhere nearby, almost all my fabrication tools are in storage and will remain unusable. So, I may just have to put a temp plan together and mount the gear under the seats or something. I haven't yet really put much thought into other than just dreaming how cool it would be to have a semi-exposed setup back there and use that space that generally does nothing, on the driver's side there in the back.



The passenger side houses the factory subwoofer and my thoughts on that were to just amplify it and see how it sounds. Its a JBL sub, appears to be a ported 8" unit, and it actually sounds fantastic at low to moderate volumes. I figure if I give it REAL power, we can see where its limits are but for now, it might do nicely. It fits like a glove and looks the part, so it might suffice until I can get a real enclosure done. And just like the driver's side, my goal here is to make it look industrial and rugged, while being functional. I have several subs at my disposal, but the space is limited so I was thinking a pair of Sundown 10" SD3's might be the ticket. Hell, maybe just one with a passive radiator, I'd have to play with the modeling to see. I also have my beloved Acoustic Elegance AV10H-D2 sitting around, which would be a monster but it likes bigger boxes, so it might not be ideal here.


The front stage, I've thought Audiofrog GS690's in the original location, and my set of KAXBLTWTs in the original dash mounts. The factory location has excellent imaging even with the stock tweeters. If you've never seen what these look like up close, check this out:





So the "easy" way to go here is just to install the KAXBLTWTs in the factory position,

play around 1.8-2.25k or so around there, and the GS690's could take over. Keep the rear speakers factory since they are simple 3.5" drivers in the D-pillar (no rear door speakers because of the suicide doors.)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,749 Posts
I'm digging the new ride. I have a cousin who has had one for years and loves it. I'm in to follow along for another build.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,202 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
We have 2 FJ Cruisers. 2010 Trail Team and 2014 Trail Team in Cavalry Blue. Welcome to the club!

Any audio done? I'm trying to pin down exactly the connectors and harnesses I need to install a double-din properly. I have a Maestro SW1 for steering wheel control.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,749 Posts
Also, we all know you secretly want to go full Accuton like Billy's FJ. :D
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top