I need advice on possible FJ Cruiser puchase /How much rust is "normal" (2 Viewers)

Joined
Oct 23, 2006
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72
Location
Athens, Georgia
Ok, so I'm looking for some advice from the FJ community about this potential purchase. I've been looking off and on for a while, and ran across a 2008 FJ Cruiser for sale that has about 110k on it. It's the 6 speed, which I want. It has the locker, A-trac, inverter, subwoofer, and the button with the "P" on it, whatever that is. It has the factory roof rack and factory step rails. The body looks straight from the photos, with no visible rust or bad paint. He is asking $15,500. I'm not sure it's worth quite that much from others I've looked at, but the mileage is below average. I ran the CARFAX and it doesn't show any accidents or anything. However, it has spent most of it's life in Ohio, and I've always been told to avoid northern vehicles because of salt used on the roads in winter and how it destroys the undercarriage/frame.

I've read some about the whole throw out bearing/clutch bell housing problem that these are known for and that is a major concern for me. I spoke with the owner, who says the only reason he is selling is because of needing a bigger vehicle for his family. He said that he has had no problems with it in the year that he has owned it and he doesn't know anything about the clutch/throw out bearing problem, and has not heard any chirping or squeaking.

I asked for photos of the undercarriage and he sent me several, which I am adding here. I would like to hear from owners of FJ's and any advice you can give. I'm a little scared of the rust in these pictures but not sure if it's typical or if I should pass on this one. I have a 40yo, '78 FJ40 that, unfortunately, has a lot of rust, and I have a '97 40th Anniversary Edt. FZJ80 that doesn't look as rusty underneath as this 2008 FJ, so that is one of the reasons I'm asking the community about this. Also, any other tips or things I should be looking out for on this beast when/if I go to look at it. Thanks in advance for any input you may have.
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Joined
Oct 23, 2006
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72
Location
Athens, Georgia
That's more rust than mine has, and it's a 2007 with 200,000 miles on it.

Does the current or previous owner(s) live somewhere where they salted the roads in winter?

the current owner has only had it for a little over a year, and lives in Georgia, U.S. , but the vehicle lived the rest of it's life, previous 9 years in Ohio, so... northern/ midwestern U.S. I guess ?
 
Joined
Aug 25, 2015
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733
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Northern Virginia
Doesn't look terrible to me. I live in Northern Virginia and that is just something you have to deal with every few years with some good PM. Anything from this coast is gonna have rust on the welds and some other issues here and there. Just get under that sucker, brush off the rust you can and seal it up with your choice of product... When I was looking I saw way worse... but I was only looking at 10+ years. My 11 was a find. I found it in NY but it was mostly garaged. There is some rust, but nothing like that. It is also 3 years newer so take that into consideration. Most of the FJs I looked at on lots looked exactly like that underneath. Find one from a different area maybe? I got lucky. Keep looking if you're really worried about it. I waited until I was satisfied. You could aways offer a lower price and explain you will soon need a new exhaust and will need the underneath tidied up. There is definitely worse, but definitely better too.... Sorry I don't have a better pice of advice!
 
Joined
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733
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Northern Virginia
FYI ... that is a parking assist button... : ) It makes noise or something if you are going to back into an object. I don't have it so I couldn't tell you if its a beep or what....
 
Joined
Oct 23, 2006
Messages
72
Location
Athens, Georgia
Frame and body rust is one thing, but when hose clamps are rusted, your work is cut out for you.

that's what I was thinking. My 97 40th Anniversary Ed. 80 doesn't have rust like this 10yo FJC. I was thinking, if the hose clamps on the air intake hose are rusted, that high up in the engine bay, how much salt has this poor beast been subjected to?
 
Joined
Aug 25, 2015
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Northern Virginia
I think the key is to shop around. I flew to get my 80 years ago and took 2 trains to get my FJ in Long Island. Find some comps in your price range and see the difference.... traveling can be worth it.
 
Joined
Oct 23, 2006
Messages
72
Location
Athens, Georgia
Are you not able to find a local FJ for sale? You are in Athens, Georgia but looking at an Ohio vehicle? Just curious.

This one is about an hour or so away from me. The guy has only owned it a little over a year, and it spent the other 9 years in Ohio. I have been having trouble finding one I like in my price range. Unfortunately, this is not a "money is no object" situation. I'm trying to stay in the $15k price range.

Most of the FJC's I've looked at on Auto Trader and Craigslist, that are in Georgia, are automatics. I am pretty much dead set on wanting the 6 speed even though I'm kinda scared of the whole throw out bearing /clutch bell housing issue that I've read about. I'm not finding many 6 speeds in the area.

I looked at an ad for another one that is about an hour away, but it spent most of it's life in upstate NY, then a few years in Tampa FL, so it went from the NE salty winter roads, to the salty coast of FL. It's at a dealership now, and they have no photos of the undercarriage posted, so I'm not sure i even want to waste my time driving to look at it considering its history.

I saw an ad for one in South Carolina that looked pretty good in the photos... called him to talk about it. Turns out he is a part time dealer that bought it at a auction and it's spent it's whole life in Mass., the last few years in Ocean City, MA... so it's had the double whammy of living in the NE AND the coast at the same time. I keep wondering if I just just give up on the idea of the 6 speed. I'm just not having a lot of luck in my search.
 
Joined
Oct 23, 2006
Messages
72
Location
Athens, Georgia
I think the key is to shop around. I flew to get my 80 years ago and took 2 trains to get my FJ in Long Island. Find some comps in your price range and see the difference.... traveling can be worth it.

I hear ya, but you must have plenty of throw away money, because the idea of spending hundreds of dollars, to take a flight somewhere, just to look at one, that I'm not even sure I would buy, is not really a luxury I can afford.
 
Joined
Sep 8, 2016
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276
Location
Sacramento, Ca
Yep, shopping around is key. Good luck with your search. When I bought my 2012 TTSE, I pretty much wrote-off all the California dealers because the prices where thru the roof. I eventually bought mine thru Jay Wolfe Toyota in , was it St. Louis or Kansas City? in Missouri. Put a deposit on it while it was still on a ship, just left Japan ahead of that disruptive tsunami. Saved $7k but had to spend $900 for them to put it on a truck to my house. Had 3 miles on the odo when I got it >)
Good luck, post pics when you get what you want.
 
Joined
Aug 25, 2015
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733
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Northern Virginia
Nope, just like you I’m on a budget friend. I requested lots of pictures, of specific areas, got detailed histories and had good phone conversations. I shopped for 2 months. 2 months of hard searching online and driving local places. I got a gem. I paid more than you, but for a TT ‘11 with a fantastic set of records and care. My point is, at the end of the day it’s your call. I would search everything in your price range and compare using your best judgment. Then see if the risk is worth it. It’s a cost benefit analysis. Both times I won out. Just see. Look at something a few states away just to peak your interest. Maybe this is the one for the price? Maybe not...

I am in a perpetual state of doing just this for a 55 or 40 project. I’ll probably never strike gold but I look once a week.
 
Joined
Mar 28, 2006
Messages
294
Location
Upstate NY
the current owner has only had it for a little over a year, and lives in Georgia, U.S. , but the vehicle lived the rest of it's life, previous 9 years in Ohio, so... northern/ midwestern U.S. I guess ?

That is not bad for a 2008 from Ohio, but it will need some R&R to address. 6 speeds are relatively rare, and you will probably have to choose vehicles from the rust belt with such issues, or those from the Southwest that have been offroaded hard. Your decision will depend on what use you envisage and for how long. What does the interior look like and what is the service history? Any sign of flood damage? Any oil leaks from the front of the engine? Pay attention to the clutch for proper operation on a test drive for the bearing/bellhousing issue, and the gearbox synchros. Confirm that the rear differential at least has been serviced, preferably with synthetic oil.
 
Joined
Mar 28, 2006
Messages
294
Location
Upstate NY
FYI ... that is a parking assist button... : ) It makes noise or something if you are going to back into an object. I don't have it so I couldn't tell you if its a beep or what....

The Park Assist is two sensors in the rear bumper that beep intermittently when getting close to an obstacle, changing to a constant tone when really close. They catch a lot of crud and give up eventually. Chinese knockoffs are available but they often do not work or give up after a while OEM replacements are pricey but easy to replace DIY.
 
Joined
Sep 8, 2016
Messages
276
Location
Sacramento, Ca
The Park Assist is two sensors in the rear bumper that beep intermittently when getting close to an obstacle, changing to a constant tone when really close. They catch a lot of crud and give up eventually.

Thats why I love the back-up camera, never failed and gives good detail. Probably the best "accessory" on my FJ.
 

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