FJ80 "Engineering" reference

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Jan 12, 2006
San Diego
I'm starting to get serious about working over my FZJ80.

I'm reading about springs, bumpers, sliders, etc, but am not yet confident that I've got enough info to decide on the appropriate combination of modifications.

What's the best reference that would help me get a full understanding of the right "balance" of mods in order to get a well engineered vehicle that does what I want it to do?

As a starting point, I'm thinking about a modest lift, probably 33's, lots of underside protection, and the slee bumpers look pretty nice.

I'd like a solid offroad rig that can still tow 5,000lbs, and would like to benefit from those who have already experimented.

Thanks for any head start,

start in the FAQ and look at modifications and accessories.

Then I would spend lots of time in the ROTW sticky looking at the mods everyone else has done. 6 people will give you 6 different answers on what the right modifications are for you.

You haven't talked about what kind of wheeling you want to do. If your not going to wheel you don't need sliders. If you plan on doing really aggressive wheeling (Rock Climbing) you will want a 6" lift and 35's along with a gear change.

If you want to to moderate and low aggressive trails, 33's, sliders and armor would be just fine.

Look at the other peoples rigs and think about what you want to do while your doing it.

You might also look at the Live from Cruise Moab thread in the TLCA Sanctioned section to see other rigs in action.
Everyone will have their opinons, but I think it's indisputable that you must clearly know what you want the vehicle to do before embarking on mods. That task list simply drives the mods.

One comment I have right off is that you want a solid offroad rig that can tow 5000lbs (your only comment regarding what you want it to do), and you HAVE that vehicle now. The 80 will go to Moab and handle any 3 rated trail easily. If you have lockers and 33s it will handle 4 rated trails.

Another comment is that you have stated you want a lift/33s and then you want to tow 5000lbs. I feel these are at odds with each other as I feel it is irresponsible to tow with a lift. That's my opinion, but it's based on years of vehicle development professionally and years of towing personally.

Here's a bit more info on what I want after I make the changes. Thanks for making me focus and be detailed.

1) I want the vehicle to be RIGHT and balanced. I want it to look and feel "engineered", not just slapped together. For example, any weight I add should be considered when I pick out my springs. Any electrical load I add should be factored into the alternator output. I'm an engineer by trade, and I couldn't be happy otherwise.

2) I'd like to be able to do some moderate to agressive trails. I've got friends who go out to Anza Borego regularly, and they've all got the types of rigs I see in the pictures here. I've gone out with them before, but typically have a grand or two in repairs after I get back.

3) I'm hoping to avoid defeating my ability to tow. I have a 5,000lb boat, but I only have to tow it a half mile or so. I figured this would limit my tire size choices, but am now wondering how much a 2.5" or similar lift would impact towing ability.

Thanks again,

T - coincidentally, I've been all over Anza Borrego. Pumpkin patch, The Dropoff, The Squeeze (a mile before the dropoff), 7 Palms Oasis, and plenty of places not on the maps. Don't know how long you've had the 80, but I've taken mine everywhere in there on stock Michelins without using the lockers. Love that place.

Personally, I'd put fresh factory shocks and slightly oversized 6 ply all terrains of your choice. I think if you wanted to go as big as 33s they'll fit. Good tire tread will improve your ability to remain mobile offroad as much more than a lift if you're starting with street tread Michelins or similar. The nice thing about tires is you'll need them anyhow so they're a 'free' mod if current are worn out. The other thing here is that if you're unhappy about your mobility the lift can be additive and the tires were not lost money. The factory shocks are cheap (about $100 for all four and they're carefully calibrated to your truck as well as high end units) and will dramatically improve your offroad ability if they're currently original shocks. They'll also improve safety while towing.

Towing depends on terrain. If your going a half mile on flat land, shouldn't be an issue. If your going over Mountains passes, maybe.

Relative to it FEELING engineered, most of the components you buy here are engineered and tested for this tig. The ARB, Slee, Hana and other products have all been engineered specifically for these rigs. So other than that, I don't know how to answer your question. I am an engineer myself. Again, look at what others have done.

Your kind of wheel is comparable to what most of us do and a lot of us do it with 33's, sliders and armor.

Spend some time reading those other threads and then come on back.
Hookup with a local club, go on some runs with them, observe how other's trucks work in the terrain that you plan on wheeling in with mods?
Now THAT's the best advice I've heard all evening on ANY thread - go wheeling!

We should all take that advice, myself included.


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