Although some of you are already aware, I thought I’d share some recent news with the more extended Expeditionr readers out there. In case anyone is confused as to the status of our immediate family here at Expeditionr, there are actually two families to speak of: 1) those of the human variety and 2) those of the mechanical or automotive variety. While we had an addition to the human team just over two years ago, the more recent news involves a new addition joining the automotive side of the house. This newest member, who shall remain nameless for the moment, has been drafted to the automotive team in order to provide two much needed services – towing and hauling. So as fate would have it, even though this recent turn of events was more coincidental than planned, the timing worked out quite well and our new member is settling in quite comfortably so far, quickly building a foundation of loyalty through steady and reliable contribution. Continue Reading →
When it comes to modifying the FJ my goal has always been to achieve increased capability without negatively impacting vehicle performance. There’s no doubt that a vehicle designed for hardcore off-roading is going to witness its share of bruises. And the greater the number of modifications, the greater the chances that the stock integrity will be affected. My FJ Cruiser began its life as a daily commuter that saw occasional off-road use. Over the last four years of ownership, the scales have definitely tipped in favor of off-roading. It’s still my daily commuter, but my upgrade priorities now lean towards off-road conditions, rather than worrying so much about what kind of mileage I can achieve. To that end, it’s time to roll back the clock once again, to retroactively discuss one of the best possible modifications available for FJ Cruiser owners.
October of 2009 was a great month for my FJ Cruiser, and probably one of the most significant in terms of upgrades. I had spent the previous month or so analyzing my FJ’s performance characteristics in great detail in an effort to determine my next upgrade path. One of the immediate drawbacks to note was performance on inclines. Although the FJ comes stock with a 2.56:1 transfer case gear ratio, the gearing even in LOW/LOW leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to steep hills. Extremely rocky terrain can also prove frustrating since drivers can find themselves in constant “brake” mode, where their foot never leaves the pedal. On flat terrain, riding the brakes can indeed be an effective method for controlling forward momentum. But on inclines where the surface is loose or slippery, hitting the brakes can lead to disastrous results. The question is, what can FJ owners do to improve this situation? Continue Reading →
As a follow-up to yesterday’s article detailing the FJ Cruiser’s core structural components, I’d like to add a few more details, specifically addressing the drivetrain systems. The FJ Cruiser can be ordered with either a 5-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission. Both of these transmissions are extremely capable. It really comes down to personal preference as to which model you choose. I personally prefer an automatic since I’d rather focus my attention on the trail. But for many, a manual transmission is the only way to drive. Arguments as to which is better and why are similar to the IFS versus solid axle argument. There will always be pros and cons to either side. Even though I tend to lean towards the automatic model, I’ve included videos that provide more details for both transmission models below. Continue Reading →