The FJ Cruiser Project

I decided I wanted to rebuild my FJ to get all of the add-ons installed with a proper plan rather than over 11 years of ownership. But it’s my daily driver. So I decided to purchase a scratch and dent FJ. Here is Project Zins after my favorite wine, 7 Deadly Zins.

She is a 2007 burgundy FJ with a complete title, not salvage. I purchased her for $5k from a guy in Maryland. The draw was the price and the fact it was almost drivable. I figured it would require a fender, door, and hood. There is a bit more damage, but It looks as if he hit a guard rail. He already replaced the UCA and LCA and steering knuckle. He said it needed a half axle.

I flew out to Maryland to pick it up. I should have added in the half axle right away but thought I’d make it to the hotel. Forgot the front wheel requires the axle to be attached so I had to do some road repairs to get it to the hotel.

Well after some investigation, it needed front brakes and a half axle. I brought the half axle with me as I had some spares (TSA was confused). It took a trip to Harbor Freight to get some additional tools and Autozone for calipers, rotors, and pads. Then I got to work. Getting the half axle out was tough, but I won. Then I tightened the suspension and steering up and began on the brakes. I had called the guy and asked about the brakes and he said he changed them for tundra brakes but couldn’t tell me the year. So I put them back to stock.

It turns out this guy is one of those that doesn’t do regular maintenance, but thinks upgrades improve the vehicle. He hadn’t changed the oil and hosed up the engine. It cost him $5k to have Toyota completely rebuild the engine about 80k prior.

Well, I got the brakes installed, and the first thing in the morning on Saturday, I bled the brakes and took it for a test drive. It ran great and now stopped perfectly. A few other checks and I was in my way back to AZ around noon.

The steering was a bit off, but it drove well. The first few tanks I averaged 19mpg, until I started in the mountains and then with the headwinds across the plains. Overall trip was 16mpg.

So now the work begins.