Whats best year for early FJ's

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Was gently pushing daughter who turns 15 in a month towards cruisers since we have a couple. She was initially resistant when I mentioned them cause we have a couple!! My son has a Tacoma and the wife and I would like to consider an FJ next year. That being said I sent a pic of one without saying what it was and she ''liked it''. So now she is on board. We are several months away but if there a specific year we want to look for? Also what are important things to consider when looking at these? I tried my hardest to get her to consider a 100 series but it was a no go.
 
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Was gently pushing daughter who turns 15 in a month towards cruisers since we have a couple. She was initially resistant when I mentioned them cause we have a couple!! My son has a Tacoma and the wife and I would like to consider an FJ next year. That being said I sent a pic of one without saying what it was and she ''liked it''. So now she is on board. We are several months away but if there a specific year we want to look for? Also what are important things to consider when looking at these? I tried my hardest to get her to consider a 100 series but it was a no go.
I would look for a 2012 and newer. The older models have some issues with the fenders ripping. The newer ones have a little more hp. Overall just look it over and make sure the interior isn't trashed. Crawl under it and see if it is scraped up from being wheeled hard. Lastly if you look at one in person you can write down the vin and go to Toyota owners.com and see all service history done at Toyota. I bought my 13 with 87000 miles. But it was clean. And had the oil changed every 3000 at the same dealership so I felt comfortable with the service history. Now I have 120000 on it and it drives great. The only work I have done to it is a toytec 3 inch lift because the coils get a little droopy over time.

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In 2010 they did an update on the FJC and it got most of the improvements. I bought an 07. Look at the inner fenders. I looked at a few that were cracked and not repaired. Take a mechanic if you do not have skills. No rust and a maintenance history are important. I wanted a 6 speed and love it. drove it today.
 
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2010 and later models switched to synthetic oil and cartridge filters and only require oil/ filter changes every 10k miles. Changing at 3k is wasteful. Defo have a mechanic look a vehicle over because that is cheap insurance. Good idea already posted is get the VIN and look it up on the Toyota sight, that will also verify the build in case someone glued a TT tag on it claiming its a TT, people do stupid stuff, arm yourself with info. There was only one color of TTSE each year, look at the blue room to find which ones came out when, the TTSE has higher value, better suspension, ATRAC and electric rear locker and different tires. If someones selling a TTSE, verify.
 
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2010 and later models switched to synthetic oil and cartridge filters and only require oil/ filter changes every 10k miles. Changing at 3k is wasteful. Defo have a mechanic look a vehicle over because that is cheap insurance. Good idea already posted is get the VIN and look it up on the Toyota sight, that will also verify the build in case someone glued a TT tag on it claiming its a TT, people do stupid stuff, arm yourself with info. There was only one color of TTSE each year, look at the blue room to find which ones came out when, the TTSE has higher value, better suspension, ATRAC and electric rear locker and different tires. If someones selling a TTSE, verify.


I looked at some TTSE's before I bought mine . Left stock they are worth a little extra but once mods start the difference is minimal. Also most of the TTSE options are available without the TTSE. TTSE does get some different trim and seats. The big giveaway is solid paint. There is also a TRD version. Crawl control is available on the tail end of production. He is correct about people adding decals I have seen TRD on a lot of things that were never TRD. Like Land Cruisers.
 
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I only purchased a 2013 TTSE for the solid cement color. I agree with everyone else because I have already changed bumpers and lifted it and the only real difference is badging, solid color and suspension. As far as the best year goes I owned an early model 07 when they first came out and absolutely loved it. I never had issues with it and I wheeled it pretty hard being young and dumb. The extra Power in the later models honestly isn't noticeable to me. I think the later models 2010 and up also have a larger ring gear in the rear end. But again I never had issues with my 07 on 35s and I pulled a boat with it all the time too.
 
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Whats your budget?
Budget probably 15-20k although prefer closer to 15K. I seriously doubt my daughter is going to need any lockers or lifted cruiser. A good stock cruiser would be nice. Since we live here in Steamboat, good 4 wheel capabilities with snow is extremely important.
 
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All the "issues" are very very uncommon in the grand scheme of things. Could you get an early 2007 with the over-hardened rear diff, yeah...though it is unlikely as the PO would have probably encountered the issue. Fender tears....unlikely unless offroading.

Just get the lowest mileage, (or serviced well) cleanest truck you can afford, year-be-damned.

Manual trans will certainly fetch a premium, and moreso in the future if she can drive one. Locker will add value later on as well.
 

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I only purchased a 2013 TTSE for the solid cement color. I agree with everyone else because I have already changed bumpers and lifted it and the only real difference is badging, solid color and suspension. As far as the best year goes I owned an early model 07 when they first came out and absolutely loved it. I never had issues with it and I wheeled it pretty hard being young and dumb. The extra Power in the later models honestly isn't noticeable to me. I think the later models 2010 and up also have a larger ring gear in the rear end. But again I never had issues with my 07 on 35s and I pulled a boat with it all the time too.
Technically, the "larger ring gear" is a misnomer. Often called a 8.2" ring/pinion setup, it's actually the same size gears but the carrier is beefier. The added beef keeps the rear axle from eating gears as it flexes. That being said, I own a early model 2007 and have plans to upgrade to the 8.2" axle, if I can find one in a junkyard. Either that, or I truss my axle housing.

As @graham5david mentioned, the added HP isn't worth the paper it's documented on, to me. I'd much rather have the convenient oil filter on the 2007-2009 models.
 
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Fender tears seem to be random from reading and what I saw when looking at used trucks. I looked at a lot of FJ's all manual transmissions. The worse I saw had solid 2 inch tears in each fender and looked like it had never been in the woods. It was stock in almost every way. This was one of the best driving trucks I looked at. It had an annoying rattle in the front. They are common enough they are worth watching for. I would say I saw them in about 10% of my sample of trucks. I looked as far as Arizona. I was willing to travel for a rust free example with what I wanted for options. It can be used as a tool to argue for a lower price. A-trac can be added for less than $50. It just requires buying the switch. The more loaded versions of the truck have the little cluster on top on the dash with the inclinometer. More base ones do not. I would not pay a premium for the upgraded radio. It is kind of weak.
 

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..Manual trans will certainly fetch a premium, and moreso in the future if she can drive one. Locker will add value later on as well.
Maybe so but I drove a colleague's FJ with manual and didn't like it. Hard to put my finger on what exactly it was. Yes, I drive an auto FJ62 but in general I like manual transmission 4x4's and have owned four over the years, including an '85 4Runner and a '90 Hilux.

Another issue for OP to consider is of course to have daughter test drive one before diving in. I really wanted to like driving an FJ but it just didn't do it for me. Visibility was an issue, coming from 60 series. 100 series, on other hand, I really liked. Quite a lot of overkill in the size department for a single driver though. FJ a bit more practical, though just a bit LOL, and better MPG.
 
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She will drive several before we pull trigger. We have owned a few 60 series and a couple 100's series and she has zero interest in anything outside of a FJ at this point. However the visibility ( blind spot) when I drive one may stop our search. !
 
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My opinion on the visibility issue...just pause , wait, look, look some more and make your move when you are 100% sure. With mirrors property adjusted and proper technique there is no visibility issue.

I drive like I ride a motorcycle. It's my a$$ getting smeared if I screw up.

Seems like everyone is in too much of a hurry. I'd have my 15 yo daughter in my FJ Cruiser before I'd have her in a Jeep safety wise.
 
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Technically, the "larger ring gear" is a misnomer. Often called a 8.2" ring/pinion setup, it's actually the same size gears but the carrier is beefier. The added beef keeps the rear axle from eating gears as it flexes. That being said, I own a early model 2007 and have plans to upgrade to the 8.2" axle, if I can find one in a junkyard. Either that, or I truss my axle housing.

As @graham5david mentioned, the added HP isn't worth the paper it's documented on, to me. I'd much rather have the convenient oil filter on the 2007-2009 models.

Do you need to swap the whole axle ? or can you swap the carrier ?
 
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She will drive several before we pull trigger. We have owned a few 60 series and a couple 100's series and she has zero interest in anything outside of a FJ at this point. However the visibility ( blind spot) when I drive one may stop our search. !


Just gotta take an extra second and look harder when you are pulling out and around corners. The vent shields add a little to the blind spot on the left front. Might want to consider adding a back up camera.
 
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My opinion on the visibility issue...just pause , wait, look, look some more and make your move when you are 100% sure. With mirrors property adjusted and proper technique there is no visibility issue.

I drive like I ride a motorcycle. It's my a$$ getting smeared if I screw up.

Seems like everyone is in too much of a hurry. I'd have my 15 yo daughter in my FJ Cruiser before I'd have her in a Jeep safety wise.
jeep isn't even close to being on table
 

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Do you need to swap the whole axle ? or can you swap the carrier ?
The whole axle from wheel to wheel. Wheel speed sensors, brakes/lines, locker sensor harness should all swap over. IIRC the axle shafts are identical, so that would give me a set of spares to have on hand.
 

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Just bored and wandered over here from the 100 forum... I'm surprised I don't see people talking at all about full-time 4WD vs. part-time 4WD in this thread. I knew I could let my girlfriend (at the time) hop in and drive my 2007 FJ 6MT in the winter and not have to worry about teaching her how/when to put in in 4WD - just get in and go. Inexperienced drivers spinning 4WD's off the road because they didn't know the roads had turned slippery and hadn't thrown it in 4Hi yet is a real thing. I sure did it when I was 16.
 

GA Architect

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Was gently pushing daughter who turns 15 in a month towards cruisers since we have a couple. She was initially resistant when I mentioned them cause we have a couple!! My son has a Tacoma and the wife and I would like to consider an FJ next year. That being said I sent a pic of one without saying what it was and she ''liked it''. So now she is on board. We are several months away but if there a specific year we want to look for? Also what are important things to consider when looking at these? I tried my hardest to get her to consider a 100 series but it was a no go.
She'll be happy with the FJ.....mine sure is. Heck, I liked it so much, got the wife one.
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