Some of the articles in this issue include:
As always, we have two downloads available - absolutely free:
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.
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.
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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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.
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!