Just ran the Rubicon Trail in the FJ. Some thoughts

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My name is Dustin. Are used to frequent the site often many years ago. I built a custom turbo for an 80 series many years ago and put some 1 ton axles under my 80.

Anyway. Second weekend in June me and my brothers And a crew of 10 ran the Rubicon. I have never done this trail. I let my brother drive my daughters almost stock 2008 FG. The truck did amazing. It is the trails addition and the sliders were great. The traction control was unstoppable. Nothing broke and we drove it home. I wish I could say the same for the five jeeps that came on our trail. One broke both rear axle shafts. My father-in-law cracked the housing on his brand new Rubicon for the front axle. We had some transmission linkage problems with a 2015 wrangler. My father also had a brand new Rubicon that did very well. Anyway the FJ can get it done for those of you who might think that It cannot

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I am running the 3 inch spacer lift. Cheap off Amazon. I am running the 34 inch to 95 tires. I am running the factory skid plates except for I lost the skid plate that goes under the transfer case so I just welded a piece of 2“ x 3 eights inch flat bar across that space to protect the driveshaft and transmission pan. The factory skid plates got scraped up but they work great.

I am running a Smitty built front bumper
I am running a cheap Amazon rear bumper also. $300 for each of those. The factory sliders are scraped but not dented. The Toyota never needed to pull a Tug or a winch for anything. My daughter even drove some of it. I did carry an extra front axle shaft and I carried an extra rear axle shaft
My doctor friend brought his 2014 FJ. He also has some nice wheels and a more legitimate lift. He has stock sliders that also did great. This was his first wheeling trip ever. He beat the piss out of his FJA but doesn’t have a dent on it and it drove home fine

Now I personally drive a mog. That’s another story…

My doctor friend brought his 2014 FJ. He also has some nice wheels and a more legitimate lift. He has stock sliders that also did great. This was his first wheeling trip ever. He beat the piss out of his FJ but doesn’t have a dent on it and it drove home fine
 
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Above I posted a picture of my other friends wrangler. He put these cheap sliders on it before the trip and this is what they looked like when he finish the trip. They were destroyed but luckily his rockers were saved
 
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we didnt have a rover on the trip
we did have 2 suzuki samarais. the stocker sami broke a front axle haft and the front driveshaft u joint. it limped out. the 2nd sami had dana 44s and twin cases and did great.

a pair of bone stock wranglers without lockers or sliders were in our group and they did great but destroyed both of their rocker panels after the factory steps failed.
 
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The Mogg was arguably a little wide for the trail. It’s spent some time leaned up against rocks in narrow areas and I think I took out a few trees. I almost lost the fuel tank. But using some soft springs I found at Expedition Imports made the mog very loose with regard to it suspension.That and I removed both sway bars.

On that note. I took the front sway bar off the FJ with this trip and it makes a huge difference. The front end was much easier to play with without the swaybar. It takes five minutes to remove the sway bar on the Toyota. There is no reason to leave it on for an off-road trip. Eating driving around without it isn’t very bad at all. Even without the sway bar the Toyota drives better than a jeep with one
 

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He might be commenting on your very Rover-esque front grille modifications :cool: dunno. I've been driving without the front sway bar for 10 years. Just removed the rear one last fall when I upgraded to the 8.2" axle housing (different sway bar config). Hardly notice the difference in my daily commute.
 
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ya i put that stupid front grill on it because it was cheap on ebay. i baught the truck for my 16yo daughter. it was salvaged on copart. I rebuilt the front. the rover grill was cheaper and easier install than oe grill parts. then 2 months after she had the FJ my daughter wrecked it again. so i rebuilt it again.
i had to change a unit bearing, axle shaft, radiator and yank the front frame strait with a chain. but the suspension points were never affected and the truck drives perfect.

thee fjs are so easy to rebuild. just get the frame rails in front strait and buy a radiator support. get rid of all the unneeded trim junk in the front and hang the fenders with 4 bolts on both sides. easy rebuild. the first rebuild i did by cutting the front frame rails/radiator supports off at the crossmember and rewelding them strait

if you cut the frame in fron of the suspension a-arm crossmember you will destroy the swaybar mount, easy fix-just make your own mount on the frame and reuse the facory sway bar bushings and mounting brackets

id recomend getting new hood hinges also as i had a hard time getting the bent ones to work
 
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abuck99

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Dustin-

Great thread. You should buy a lottery ticket- making out of Rubicon with no breakage on a basically stock and minimally armored truck is lucky. Kudos to choosing good lines and good skinny pedal work.👍👌👍

I got the privilege to run the Rubicon (as a passenger, spoter, rock stacker) last summer and the carnage amongst the group was notable even on well armored, locked, lifted & 37” tire trucks.

Smart that you carried spare axle and a CV- maybe a rear propshaft would be on my list as well. I could not imagine having a catastrophic failure on the trail- theres no bail out. Having to be towed out through the endless rock gardens and then up & out through Cadillac hill would be treacherous and very slow. Guess it helps to have a Mog on hand just in case.
 
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There were a few other FJ Cruisers when I ran the Rubithon. It would be nice to see more FJC's on this trail with all the other Land Cruisers.

It is recommended to bring a front half shaft.

You can make the trail on 1 tank of gas.

Put it on your bucket list, if you really want to know what you and your FJC can do.
 
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Well this thread boosts my hopes and dreams! The Rubicon sounds so awesome but so daunting at the same time. But if ya'll were able to do it and only scraped on the skid plates and rock sliders and got out without any dents, that is reassuring! I have a pretty built rig and I'm sure I could do it now! But it was a super smart idea to bring extra CV axles and stuff, you never know what could happen way out there.
 

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Depending on our camping situation (on the move or base camp) and difficulty of the trails, I will bring a spare propeller (drive) shaft in addition to a spare CV assembly, spare tie rods, front wheel hub assembly and a serp belt. Fluids on hand include 2 L of gear oil, 1 L power steering fluid and a mini grease gun. If I have a base camp, I'll tow my m416 and keep large spares in there. If on the go like the Rubicon, I'll pack bare minimum of tie rods, prop shaft slip joint and CV assembly and gear oil.
 
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I had for spares: (almost all were carried on the mog)
1 rear shaft-the rear shafts are symmetrical so u need only one. (make sure you have the rear bearing assembly on the shaft ready to go)
1 front cv shaft-also symmetrical (be sure you have a 32mm socket)
1 unit bearing for front
1 serpintine belt
1 complete set of radiator hoses
I NEED PROP SPARE SHAFTS

also had
5 quarts oil, 2 quart gear oil
clean up kit w 3 diapers
5 gal water (on the mog)

i took 5 gal extra gas can that we used to fill the jeeps (on the mog)
THE FJ WAS ON FUMES BY THE END but didnt need the gas in the spare can. i would carry gas

after the trip i was unloading the FJ and I noticed the spare tire on back was flat. so i ask my daughter if she had gotten a flat and didnt tell me about it. she says
" ya dad i got a flat a couple months ago and put the flat tire on the back of the FJ" the tire looks like she drove over a sharp object-it cant be repaired

So we did the entire rubicon with a useless spare on the back of the FJ
 

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Comment on rear axle spares. . .

If you have left & right bearing assemblies and the spare axle shaft free, then how would you press the bearing assembly on while out in the middle of nowhere? The bearing plates are not symmetrical and are side specific.

I've done the rear bearings on my axles and it was a major chore in a fully outfitted shop. You need special tools (long tube and drilled flange plates) in conjunction with a large hydraulic press to press the bearing assembly onto the shaft.

So, if you really want to carry rear axle spares, you need both left and right fully assembled onto the hub and brake dust shield.

LRearBearing (25).JPG
 
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Well dang it. When prepping for this trip i just did a quick google search and saw the shafts were the same and went on ebay and baught an extra shaft. i didnt know the bearing assembly flanges were side specific. in fact i dont even know which spare side i have. and then of course the dust shields would be side specific-didnt even think of that

if you are going solo in and fj and wanted to carry 2 rear assembled shafts and all the other parts you can see how heavy and space consuming the spares will become. another good reason to do the trail with several FJs and spread out the spare burden.

OR just bring a mog to carry averything
 

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Yeah, it's pretty much what distinguishes a semi-float (FJC) axle from a full-float (Land Cruiser) axle. On a LC you have flange bolts outside the wheel and can remove the axle shaft while the wheel is still attached.
 
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