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Toyota FJ Cruiser vs Jeep Wrangler



  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169

    Yes the commander is like a Nike shoe box so it has the image of being rugged but when you look close you will see otherwise. Perhaps more men do drive it but beyond being sexist, there are a lot of factors that have brought me to the conclusion that it's a sham. Things like IFS, the fake plastic allen head screws in the headlight assembly and on the flares. The stupid split in the rear flare where the back doors open, the lack of a manual transmission option and the list goes on...

    Yes the new Wrangler will be far from a soccer mom's status symbol, and it will incorporate (some) features that will make it a better off-roader than even today's Wrangler but it has also taken a huge step backward with the deletion of the 4.0L and that crummy mini-van V6 they haplessly dropped in its place.

    And really; you like your kidneys??? Come on Lauyn, what are you 95 years old??? I have a 2005 Rubicon and that 1981 CJ-5 in the post above. The CJ-5's 83" wheel base and leaf spring stack make it bouncy, but not at all unbearable. The Rubicon's 93" wheel base, soft springs and multi link suspension make it ride like a dream in comparison. You have to remember these are off-road vehicles - they are meant for the real thing; work off-road. You've been in the army, so tell me how was the ride in the 2 1/2 ton 6x6's??? I know they don't feel like a Cadillac right? but they're meant for work, like a (real) Jeep. At least the new Wrangler mostly holds true to the original idea and image of the Jeep – those other things aren’t Jeeps.
  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103
    I like the pics... that's what a 4x4 should look like!

    b/t/w, went to the local LC club meeting last night, first one for me. Saw lots of very nice looking 40's, 60's, a couple of 80's, and 3 very nice FJC's. All the FJC's were lifted, new bumpers, real tires, 2 of them winched and all of them had been taken off-road. The owners, who I'm just getting to know so don't have a lot of info, seem to be experienced wheelers. The thing they were most impressed with was ATRAC. Said it would work it's way through some very difficult situations. One of them said the biggest difference is that in the older FJ's you relied a lot more on power/torque to push through obstacles. In the FJC's it's more like a slow glide through them. On the trail run they were discussing, the FJC's went everywhere the other LC's went.

    I'll get first hand pics and maybe a chance to drive one in the next few months.
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169
    Thanks Steenh,

    So you found an active club it sounds like. Personally I think you made the right choice in vehicles dude. Your FJ has a look about it that cannot be replaced in a 'modern way' - the Classic, defined by functionality look. I would have taken your '67 over a 2006 any day. While at first glance people often think the classic FJs look like Jeeps, they really have a look all to their own. I was looking at one the other day and the common points between a CJ and a FJ are born out of functionality. Aside from that, the FJ has a tapered body tub from the front fenders to before the back wheels – in some ways more like the Jeep MB or M-38. The FJ also has a cool integrated headlight/grill that is not as deep as the CJ. From the front they have are each quite unique features. But all of us who own Jeeps or classic FJs drive around on the hot sunny days on or off-road proud to know that we are the envy of all those poor saps that are sweltering under a steel roof while the wind blows through our hair.

    Your FJ is a much better platform to start building a hard core machine from than a FJC. Do you have a limited slip diff or locker in the back? If not, adding one is an investment that you will surely like. Moreover the Classic FJs have awesome visibility compared to an FJC. Trust me Steenh, if you throw a locker in the back and get some revolver shackles from Teraflex you will blow away those other guys in the FJCs. You won't even have to do a lift! In fact if you can run the tires you want without the lift I recommend not lifting. Lifting just raises your center of gravity and makes a 4x4 handle like a pig on the road and roll over sooner on side hills.

    Well any way dude, we're all waiting for your pictures!
  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103
    It looks like a very active club... a run once a month, always at the big gatherings, 60+ members. Think I'm going to like it. And yes, I also think I made the right choice. I am really enjoying the 40. Right now I still have the top on, been out of town quite a bit, need to rent some storage etc... But, it's hot here and I can't wait to pull it off.

    The truck has a 2" lift now, 33 x 10.5 x 15 mud terrains. Actually runs pretty well on the road... not like the 100 by any stretch, but pretty well. You are right on with the locker... already ordered and in transit. After that, the next mod will be power steering. Not too bad on the road, but wrestling with it on the trail might get to be a bit much, especially with a locker. Would also make putting a locker in front possible... at least LSDiff. Not sure I'm going to go that extreme, but maybe.

    I'm heading out on another trip Friday for 9 days so no pics for a couple weeks... I'm sure you're being kind to show the interest, but trust me... as soon as I get the opportunity, you'll see a muddy FJ40 with a smiling me behind the wheel.
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169

    Yeah a 2" lift is not that bad. It's nice to have the 33s. I have 32.0x11.50s on my CJ and when I really crank the steering sharp the tire just starts to contact the spring stack, so I might widen my track by about 1/2" per side and that should clear up that problem. Haven't done any lifting myself, but I would like to get that teraflex revolver shackle set up and I guess that will add some height weather I like it or not. Though the articulation of the stock leaf spring stack is ok, I was really impressed with how much difference the teraflex system seems to make.

    Since I have open diffs all around I too am looking for a locker of some kind. I really really like that OX Locker because of it's lack of air diaphragms, or electric solenoids. It doesn't get much simpler or more reliable than a cable with a small locking lever mounted up by the console, but the stupid thing costs about $700!

    I figure with the CJ-5's very short 83" wheel base, the V8 power and the addition of a few things like rocker guards, lockers front and back, my CJ will actually be better than my Rubi off-road.
  • drewmeisterdrewmeister Posts: 168
    I'd have to have a friendly disagreement with ya there... ;)

    The Rubicon's axles are much better, the 241 OR is a much better t-case with lower gears, 4-wheel disc brakes, much more articulation as you mentioned, and fuel injection. My 89 with the carbuerator would stall constantly, while the 04 would pretty much run upside down. The new 4.0 puts out much more power than an early 80's smog 304 (assuming the motor is stock), and the wheelbase could be argued either way (I prefer more, which is why I have an LJ, but I also realize it will high-center more easily).

    IMO, Toyota isn't planning on trying to take the Rubicon market. There are some street-only Rubicons out there, but the market is folks who want the toughest factory trail 4x4 on the market (notice I said trail 4x4, as I believe the Power Wagon is just as tough, with a different purpose).

    Toyota put up a vehicle to have specific advantages over the Wrangler for those who drive primarily on pavement. If I ran Toyota, and was driven by shareholders and not by my personal preferences, I'd make the same choices. I'd say more Wranglers get used off-road than other SUV's, but I bet it's still under 40% of the total. (After all, I still get some very perplexed looks when I use the Jeep wave. There are some folks that just are not enthusiasts, and are not interested.) That leaves 60% of sales that Toyota could potentially take. I bet if they do a TRD version, it will still be IFS, and may add electric lockers or something similar to the Tacoma package, but it still won't be aimed at unseating the Rubi.
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169

    Yeah I could not agree with you more about Toyota's plan for the FJC - it's not meant to unseat the Rubi as king of the off-road mountain. You and I would both do what Toy is doing to capture the most market. That being said, as an all purpose daily driver 4x4/weekend warrior the FJC looks not bad.

    About my CJ-5 vs. my Rubi. Well yes the Dana 44s are ultimately probably better. However the lack of locking hubs on the Rubi is a real minus.

    4 Wheels disks are nice for some things but not always the best. I have found several times that when disks are covered in copious amounts of wet snow they do absolutely nothing to stop you! I have seen several times where the rear drums are the only thing slowing the vehicle down while the front brakes don't keep up their end of the bargain.

    The 304 5.0L vs the 4.0L: well the off idle torque of those motors is probably fairly similar. I know that the numbers in the book will actually suggest that the 4.0L has more horse power. However I can tell you without any hesitation that the stock 304 CJ-5 with 4 on the floor, will absolutely kill my 4.0L Rubi with the 6 speed in a drag race every time! Not even close. The CJ has way more snap in every gear. That 304 CJ is actually pretty quick. I raced a Honda S2000 off the lights and gave him the surprise of his life when he couldn't beat me.

    The addition of Holley’s high performance off-road carb would probably cure any mixture problems one might encounter on steep inclines. They say it will maintain a smooth idle at 45 degrees.

    The CJ-5 is also about 4" narrower so it fits more places and because the wheel base is 10" shorter it even turns slightly sharper that Rubi. The CJ's T-case is a dana 300 which is direct gear drive - no chains unlike the Rubi’s, and its not only stronger but is able to be equipped with a twin stick. Only problem is that to have the really low crawl ratios of the Rubi I would have to drop in the Tera Low gear set.

    The thing that really blow most people away is the gas mileage. In Canadian gallons, Rubi gets 22-23 on the highway while the CJ gets 25 all day long! Yes the 5.0L AMC V8 will consistently get better mileage than the 4.0L!

    That all being said, I really like my Rubi, and yes it is likely the most capable FACTORY produced 4x4 ever.
  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103
    Can't you jeep people just get along! :)

    I can't speak to the new jeep vs. old jeep argument.

    I think on the FJC, directionally you are right... but the view that it's a soccer mom-mobile is way too far off. I'm only seeing guys... and one wheeling woman... driving them in Atlanta.

    I think they are designed to attract the wheeling crowd but not the hard core wheeling crowd. The hard core folks will modify whatever they buy, and it's easier and cheaper to modify a jeep, an old LC or 4-runner, or pickup than it is to modify a new FJC. And, who really wants to take a $30k+ vehicle and smash it up against a bunch of unforgiving rocks? I'm sure even new Rubicon owners are less likely to hit the hard trails than someone in an old CJ that is already "broken" in.

    Maybe the answer to all of this is... the hardcore wheelers won't buy anything "new", jeep or FJC. So, you can't really compare and FJC with a Wrangler because there are "old" beat up wranglers out there that people are willing to trash around more than anyone in a new vehicle would be, jeep or FJC.

    Just a thought...
  • keatskeats Posts: 412
    I would think that the Rubi's coil suspension alone would make it light years ahead of the CJ for a particular type of offroading, particularly where extreme articulation is invovled, but general trail use, the CJ can definitely hold its own.
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169
    "I'm sure even new Rubicon owners are less likely to hit the hard trails than someone in an old CJ that is already "broken" in."

    You wouldn't by any chance be talking about me would you Steenh???? LOL! Well to be truthful, yeah, it goes against something inside me to thrash a vehicle I factory ordered and paid $30K for. I have off-roaded the Rubi, but nothing like the stuff I'm willing to do with the CJ. My dad laughs at me; says “you bought the most capable 4x4 ever made and you’re afraid to drive it in the rain” – well he’s exaggerating a bit there. That being said most of the Rubicons I see around here, and there are a lot, are heavily modified to have snorkels, 35" rubber, and most of them have battle scars. As far as 2 year old Rubicons go, mine is in much nicer shape than most of the ones 1 year old.

    But you know it's funny, because I'm willing to put a lot of time and money into my CJ to replace rusted metal, give it a nice paint job, do mechanical mods etc and I'll still drive it the same way I did before I spent that money. I'll still do the same trails or even worse ones. So I don't know why it makes a difference if its $30K in mods combined with a lot of blood and sweat or if it's $30K for brand new iron, but for some reason in my subconscious there is a difference. Hmmmmm

    By the way Steenh, we started on this blog at complete opposite sides of the spectrum. What happened???? We seem to for the most part agree now. ;)
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169

    Well yes, the Wrangler/TJ suspension is light years ahead of the CJ's leaf spring system. The articulation is far better and the ride is noticeably better too. The 2007 Wrangler's long arm suspension is suppose to make the current TJ's suspension look as 'bad' as the CJ's. I think it gets something like 680 on the ramp travel index - not too shabby. However with a call to Teraflex, the application of a couple $100.00 bills and the time for installation, the 25 year old CJ suspension can apparently flex better than my stock Rubi or so I’m led to believe.
  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103
    You must be seeing things my way now ;)

    It does make a difference... no logical explanation other than emotion. You spend bucks to modify something, you want to use the modifications... means wheel harder. Buy anything new and you want to preserve the newness as much as possible.

    Humans ain't that smart... but we're the smartest!
  • I was an Engineer in the Army,we rode in the Cut V's and the Duece like sardines.I know Military vehicles are made to "transport" soldiers and Marines they are not made for "comfortable" riding experience.I'm the way ;) I think the older Wrangler's rode to roughly on pavement except if you were off-roading than you wouldn't know the difference.I like the new Wranglers,so they put in a "soccer mom's mini van v-6" in it.Let's test drive the thing first and let's see how it "rolls".Heck it might ride like a "Caddy"........... :P
  • keatskeats Posts: 412
    "Humans ain't that smart... but we're the smartest! "

    I'm definitely using that one...
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169

    Well I guessed you weren't 95 LOL! Anyway I think you are right that the new Wrangler will probably be the best riding solid axle Jeep ever made. Perhaps the best riding solid axle 4x4 every made for it's wheel base. So if Daimler Chrysler engineers can make it ride nice AND perform better off road I'm all for it too!

    I guess my view on this 'ride nice' thing is that I buy or build a vehicle for a specific purpose - I expect it to perform better in that area than any other vehicle that is intended for multi purpose use. That being the case I am willing to sacrifice performance or features in other areas to be the best in one or two specific areas. So if my CJ-5 rides like a buckboard, has very little room and doesn't have power windows or locks, so be it - I expect that and I don't mind because I knew that when I signed up.

    By the way, I'm starting to look for a Duce (diesel or multi fuel). Don't know weather I'll go with a US model or a Canadian army model though. A lot of the US models have dual bogies on each rear axle and I don't think I want the extra tire expense for that, but I guess it depends on some other factors too.
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169
    Yup Steenh you hit it right on, 'Humans ain't that smart, but we are the smartest' .... At least in this little corner of the galaxy ;)
  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103
    Hey "Smartest" folks I know.

    Just got back in town... and decided to head back out next weekend to Tellico TN... Never been there, but hear it's one of the best wheeling areas east of the big river. Going with 20 other Cruisers, and the FJC Trail Team will be there.

    I'll be driving one at some point during the trip... First hand experience should be a blast. Of course, I'll take a bunch of pics, and I'm no "Lucas" photographer :>

    One of the folks I'm heading up with has an FJC with new lift and a real bumper. They are planning to put it to the test on "Slick Rock".

    Going to be a good weekend.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,010
    Tellico is a beautiful area even if you are just cruising to the Smokies on the back roads in 2WD. Looking forward to the pics - maybe you'll get one of a wild boar. :shades:

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103
    I'm hearing that a pic of a bear is just as likely as a boar... just hoping I don't run into any bores ;)
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    wild boar Wanna kill it and grill it!

    There you go trying to make me hungry again. Been eating veggies out of the garden. Still hard to look at beef and processed foods. Way too much HFCS.

    steenh: have fun on the trip and post in Carspace for us all to enjoy the area.
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