Build A Better Mouse Trap For An Off Road Adventure

What makes me think I can build a better Toyota FJ Cruiser than the engineers at Toyota? Well I’m not hampered by the need to please a large demographic and ensure the rig meets marketing, budget and focus group requirements set forth by the starched shirt corporate bean counters. No, I just need to ensure the mods register high on my cool meter… and they do!

As I mentioned we made a run down to Portland to see our friends at Metal Tech. The guys at Metal Tech are great and by guys I mean Mark and LT the owners of Metal Tech. They put on a new Sway-A-Way Coil-Over Shocks, ARB bull bar, IPF fog lights and a Warn winch. And for a guy like me it was great because Mark knows and enjoys chatting about everything FJ from 40s, 80s and Cruisers . He also let me hang around like I was a real motor-head.

Now those of you who remember, I started out looking to get an Old Man Emu coil-over shock set. Everyone I talked to said they are good for the type of terrain and driving we plan to do on this off-road adventure. Mark had even pre-staged the font shocks in perpetration for the install. Then when I got there I had to ask about the Sway-A-Ways (SAWs for those in the know). He explained how they are hand build and exclusively tuned for the FJ. The SAWs have 7/8” shafts, 2.5″ diameter shocks and they are completely re-buildable. Of course once I started asking Mark explained he did have one last set I check out and that was all it took. Ok let me be the first to admit it… I upgraded to the SAWs because they are high on the cool factor and I get instant off-road trail cred showing up with these bad boys. On the performance, as a result of adding the SAWs, the ride is great. Stiff enough to make handling a dream without jarring my teeth loose. The increased travel is very visible with the rig now sitting two and half inches taller. The cool SAW logo visible at the top of the shock is bonus.

The ARB bull bar Mark and LT added rides nice and straight with the SAWs in place and holds the Warn 9.5 XP winch. In order to reduce a little weight the guys swapped out the winch cable for a synthetic line. The synthetic line is the same stuff I run for the dogs tug lines when we go mushing in the winter.

The whole set of mods really work as a package. The grill and front will now be protected from any deer, moose, bear or big foot that jump out in front of us. This is a big plus over the five pounds of plastic that was replaced. The little IPF fog lights will hopefully allow us to see and be seen a little better and avoid hitting the critters all together.

With all the new travel and lift there is always the temptation to test out the next bolder path or sand trap. To make sure the rig doesn’t get stuck the Warn winch should be just the ticket to pull our way out. But as everyone knows the winch is probably your last resort. Often a few shovel fulls of dirt moved from here to there can do the trick and get you unstuck. But just in case the shoveling doesn’t work we now have the winch.

Ok the rig is moving up on the cool factor meter, but take a look at LT’s rig. He and Mark really know their stuff and put it to work on their Toyota trucks as well as everyone they help. Thanks Guys.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *