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Toyota FJ Cruiser vs Jeep Wrangler



  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169
    Yeah I have to agree with Keats on this one, the original FJ was largely copied from the CJ. The looks are so similar, much more so than other vehicles that came later and just copied the concept of the Jeep, Toyota had to even make it look almost the same. Think about it: out of the German KubleWager (the civilian version was called the Thing), the Russian TAZ and the Land Rover, the Land Cruiser is the one that really looks like a Jeep.

    On the mechanical side of things, the FJ-40's in line six engine was not a copy of anything Jeep made, but largely a copy of the GM in line six, so much so that many of the internal components are apparently interchangeable!

    But then maybe the reason the FJ-40 is pretty good is because it was a copy of things that actually worked.

    And to those who say the FJ's are 'sooooo' hard to find, well it's true. But then there were very few sold in North America when compared to the Jeep. Furthermore, the FJ-40s had such bad rust problems that they simply dissolved in areas that salted the roads in the winter. The Rust problems on FJs makes you think Jeeps must be made from stainless steel.
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169
    'thespyder', we can't really even get to reliability here because its been pretty well established that an FJ Cruiser is not going to be able to do what a Jeep Wranger does - especially not a Wrangler Rubicon. The FJ will never get there - its not equipped to. It's like saying my spoon is really reliable - it never gets dull, when what we really need is knife to get the job done.

    That being said Jeep reliability has especially when considering the Wranglers is not bad. The Wrangler is actually rated pretty high by most surveys for reliability and resale value. I have owned and still own several Jeeps and found them to be quite good. My 1973 J-20 has over 350 000 miles on the (V8) engine and it's never been opened up. My (V8) '82 Cherokee has over 260 000 miles on it. I have a 2 year old Rubicon that has never need anything but oil changes. Several friends have Cherokee sports with 4.0L in line sixes: One is over 450 000 miles, others are over 300 000 with no major repairs. Incidentally the 4.0L in line six is probably one of the best off-road gasoline engines ever built. For bottom end torque, long life, and reliability there is really nothing that comes close.
  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103
    "long life, and reliability there is really nothing that comes close."

    I'll give it to you for originality... don't think those particular words have ever been used to describe Jeeps before today.

    My jeep inline 6 had great torque... short life and no reliability...

    As for FJ, I think it will be strong off-road, seems to be well built under the body, but they will lose that plastic bumper on day one... They'll all have new metal bumpers quickly... or none at all?
  • keatskeats Posts: 412
    Man, I bet you wish you still had that vehicle. For those interested in seeing what good qaulity old FJ40's are going for, check They specialize in FJ40s, restoration, etc. They have some fine looking examples. The cost is a bit outrageous, but one could certainly find one cheaper.
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169
    "As for FJ, I think it will be strong off-road"

    Compared to what Steenh? A WRX? Like I said before FJ stands for FisherPrice Jeep. Not only are the bumpers plastic but the stupid gas tank is plastic with NO skid plate. This thing is not meant for off-road from the factory. It also does not have a real skid plate protecting the very exposed aluminum transfer case.

    Now I guess you can add skid plates, a solid front axle, a real low range transfercase, take a sawzall to the roof, put an inline 6 in it for real torque, lockers all around, and some real tires but then we could do all this to a Bently too! The FJ is just simply not equipped for hard core off-road from the factory.
  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103
    Did I hit a nerve? Not sure I understood the "put new old in", new oil? Let's not start telling fat momma jokes now.

    I had a very bad experience with the one jeep I owned, and won't own another. I've had nearly flawless experiences with 4 different Toyotas. Of course they aren't perfect, see, we do agree on something.

    The FJ's Plastic gas tank, I doubt it's stupid, it's plastic and plastic is inanimate... also wondering what's wrong with a plastic tank? Actually does have a skid plate too, also plastic. Plastic bends and then bends back... metal just bends, Plastic won't spark when you drag it over a rock... metal will. I actually think it's a pretty decent approach. Doubt it's cheaper than metal so that's probably not why they did it.

    We also agree on the bumpers... they are a joke. Other than that, the hardware is there to play off road. I'm sure owners will be joining you whereever you go.

    4x4 Bentley? Hmmmmmm.
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169
    Ok Steenh, no mama jokes – Deal?

    But regarding the FJ’s plastic gas tank I do have a problem with that – that is if plastic is where the story ends. Plastic is a good choice from a corrosion standpoint plastic tanks never rust out. My 1982 Cherokee has a plastic tank, and Jeep started doing this in the 70’s. And I have never seen one rust out. However, a good engineering team building an off-road vehicle would not stop there. Some plastics’ properties with respect to temperature change a lot. The type of plastics used to make fuel tanks are in the thermoplastics family like polyethylene, polypropylene etc. On a very hot day the puncture resistance is significantly reduced, on a very cold day the fracture toughness is reduced. As temperatures drop thermoplastics go through what is call the glass transition temperature where it they becomes extremely brittle.

    So imagine: wheeling on a really hot day (in Death Valley) over rocks and you happen to suddenly drop down and a jagged rock digs into your unprotected plastic tank. The forward momentum of the vehicle just serves to aid in ripping a larger hole in the tank and within seconds the entire contents of the tank is now on the ground. Now not only do you have no fuel to get home but a huge safety issue with copious gasoline fumes – just one more bang of a rim on a rock or maybe two rocks grinding together as your vehicle comes to a stop and WHOOOP! FJ no longer stands for FisherPrice Jeep, but FIRE Jeep.

    Now how about the other extreme. You’re winter wheeling in Northern Alberta Canada. It’s –45 outside and your plastic tank is pretty brittle. You come down hard on a snow covered log you didn’t see. BANG! Your exposed FJ’s tank lands on the log and splits along one of the contours in the plastic. All the fuel is on the ground. Its so cold out, and with all the snow its unlikely a fire will start, but lets hope you are wheeling with a buddy, cuz otherwise you’re gonna freeze to death with no heat in your FJ – now known as a FROZEN Jeep!

    So in materials Engineering they not only taught us about the corrosion properties of thermoplastics but of mechanical properties with respect to temperature. A GOOD engineering team WOULD use a plastic fuel tank, BUT they would put a substantial metal skid plate under it for protection. Which is exactly what Jeep has been doing for almost 30 years!
  • ron41ron41 Posts: 37
    People these bumpers aren't composed of simple plastic material. These bumpers are composed of specific compounds that have similar or better resistance as your regular vehicle bumpers. I discovered this in one of my engineering classes. It's really crazy technology. Moreover the FJ Cruiser has a huge skid plate covering or protecting the engine and fuel tank. So the information that was stated in this forum about the FJ's fuel tank having a huge hole in it from hitting the boulders is amazingly an incorrect assumption!!!!!
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,916
    This thread reminded me that I had a leaking (metal) gas tank in my old '74 Jeep CJ-5 (or was it a '73?) and it was a pain to get fixed. My first canoe was a Grumman, and as soon as I demo'd a plastic canoe, I never looked back. Plastic is good stuff.

    Time to rent The Graduate perhaps? :shades:

    Steve, Host
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    Plastic bends and then bends back... metal just bends

    Metal bends permanently only if you exceed its elastic limit. :)

    tidester, host
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    Man, I bet you wish you still had that vehicle.

    The neighbor in front of me has a clean CA FJ40 with no rust. I am always after him to sell it. He wants to trade for my little Kubota tractor. The prices are high when you consider I paid $2400 cash for mine brand new in 1964.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    People these bumpers aren't composed of simple plastic material.

    Is that good or bad? I see cars today being totalled with what looks like minimal damage. Is it these exotic plastics that cost an arm and a leg to replace? I want steel in my vehicles the thicker the better. I want to hammer out the dents not order a new bumper from Toyota at 10 times the cost.
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169
    Yup, I had the same problem with my old CJ-5. But fortunately Jeep was one of the first companies to get smart about that and start using a plastic tank protected by a contoured thick STEEL skid plate. If you do it right its really the best of both worlds.

    I suppose one could always build a skid plate for the FJ, but then I really hate to spend $35 000.00 on a vehicle and then have to go rebuild it just so I can use it for the hard core stuff that the Jeep would do from factory.
  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103
    Just curious, has jeep done anything wrong in 50 yrs?

    Your analogy holds if you puncture a metal gas tank too. Or if you run out of gas. You are stranded Right? And, I believe that there is substantial protection for the tank in the form of a plastic skid plate. Not sure you can make the case at this point that the FJ's tank is more susceptable to puncture than a jeep's. Certainly would be a case that at this point is not based on fact... just opinion.

    Regarding the plastic bumpers, the plastic side pieces on the FJ are for show only... like I said, I almost ripped one off just checking to see what it was made of. Kind of disappointing. If I were to buy one, that bumper would be the first thing to be replaced.
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169
    Everybody does a least something wrong in 50 years Steenh, however I believe that Jeep has been more dedicated to the true off-road segment than most companies over the past 50 years, including Toyota.

    About the fuel tank issue: You're right if you puncture any tank, no matter what it's made from, it will drain fuel on the ground. The key here is how likely is that to happen with different tank/skid plate configurations. A plastic skid plate is not a skid plate at all in my opinion. Nobody with a straight face can look me in the eye and call that thing they strapped to the under side of the FJ, a skid plate. It's a joke, it’s about 1/16 of an inch thick and made from the same soft plastic the tank is made from. It really offers no more protection for that tank than a paper bag over your head would from grenade shrapnel. I really had to laugh when I saw it. It's like Toyota is saying: 'its there just so we can say we put something there to protect the tank. It won't help you and it cost us next to nothing to do it, but you can feel good knowing we thought about it' :) Nice and Warm and Fuzzy oh Happy Happy Joy Joy! You know what they say; ignorance it bliss, and their betting you’re pretty ignorant.

    Steenh, the best way is still a plastic corrosion resistant tank, with a very hard shell (like steel) that will not puncture. If you hit the shell verry verry hard it might dent but it still won't puncture and the tank will be protected.

    But really, I crawled under the FJ cruiser and then under the Jeep Wrangler and the Jeep has skid plates everywhere and the Cruiser has very little to protect it from the rocks. Every Wrangler has a factory frame-rail-to-frame-rail skid plate protecting the transmission and transfercase. This means if you drop that area of the vehicle on a boulder the mechanical components don't see any impact or loading. Plus every Wrangler’s plastic fuel tank is protected with STEEL skid plate that's about 3/32 of an inch thick.
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169
    And Steenh, as I was saying about the plastic FJ bumpers, who wants them????? You're right they would have to be ripped off and then you would have to go to ARB and spend about $1200.00 to get some decent steel ones. So Toyota is making you pay for something that you're just going to throw in the garbage anyway! The Jeep comes factory with steel bumpers so you can put the $1200.00 in your jeans and start on the hard trails today.
  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103
    We are going in circles... and I agree with some of what you are saying.

    I'm not a huge fan of FJ. It is OK, but needs mods to be a real competitor to the hard core off-roaders. Probably more a competitor to XTerra. I think they missed the boat when they didn't retro back a bit more and build a jeep like vehicle (maybe with a plastic skidplate... don't know). They missed what I was hoping for but I expect that future versions will be built up, I can't be the only big Toyota fan with these concerns. Then I might be in the market.

    So, you have choices... buy FJ and do some mods, wait and hope Toy changes FJ, buy jeep and deal with the crappy reliability, or buy used LC/4runner etc... and mod for the hardcore off-road.

    I'll choose the wait or buy used over jeep.
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169
    I agree with you the FJ Cruiser is really not on the same 'trail' as the Jeep Wrangler. It's more like the XTerra and the Jeep Liberty. And I said from the beginning that I was really disappointed that Toyota didn't stay true to the original FJ when it came to off-road capability. Rather they bring out this re-skinned 4Runner and tell us how good it will be off-road and make out like it will be as good or better than the original FJ off-road. And it's nothing of the sort.

    Don't expect any big improvements on this FJ platform Steenh. The FJ's unibody is set up for independent front suspension (IFS) just as the 4Runner is. In fact, it uses the same parts. IFS is poor for articulation. Toyota isn't going to spend all the money to build one vehicle with a solid axle in front. And they aren't going to put a removable top on it either. They MIGHT (if they cared) put some decent steel skid plates on it, but I doubt they will do this either because most people that will buy the FJ will not get mud on the tires. However this potential market segment wants to own a vehicle that ‘looks’ like a real off-roader, one that looks like that original FJ, but in reality it’s mostly window dressing. Basically what you see is what you get. Some things that would make it a good Jeep off-road counterpart will just not be possible the way this platform is configured. It would cost way too much and for Toyota it makes poor business sense.

    On the other hand, Jeep’s basic platform had a convertible top and solid axles for over 60 years, through redesigns they continued with the basic physics that worked well off-road and added features to further enhance ability. Since this platform was always set up this way, for them to continue putting solid axles in the all-new 2007 wrangler is no big deal. It does not share a platform with any other Daimler Chrysler vehicle so there are no compromises. It's designed to be the best at one thing: off-road.

    As for your (bad) experience regarding the Jeep Wrangler's reliability, I can only point to the excellent reliability rating I told you about before which I found on MSN autos and other sites. I have owned many Jeeps and have several friends that have owned them and we have all had really good success with their performance and reliability. No complaints.

    If I really wanted an off-road machine I would dump the FJ and buy the 2007 Wrangler Rubicon in a heartbeat.
  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103
    Don't forget that Toyota has been selling LC's around the world for many years and still does today in versions that are not sold in the US. Those are much truer to the hardcore off-road segment... including solid axles and diesel engines. If they wanted to dominate Jeep, they'd be best served to just start importing what already is for sale outside the US. No design effort on Toyotas part at all.

    I don't know why they don't, but honestly have never tried to get the answer. I'm sure someone reading this board knows... and it would be nice to hear from someone else...

    I'm starting to bore myself :>
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169
    As I understand it, the last of the solid axle LCs were made around 1998 some time. The new 100 LC series has IFS. After reading an Australian review on the 2006 Land Cruiser 100 model I discovered it comes standard with IFS:

    However the FJ Cruiser is not even based on the full size LC, its based on the 4-runner which I believe has been IFS everywhere for a long, long time.

    Steenh, there are two really simple reasons why Toyota does not offer the real off-road basics like solid axles in the new FJ: 1) it would be way to expensive for them to do this on just one model. 2) The true off-road crowd is not the market they are focusing on. This vehicle is intended for the office guys and soccer moms that watch TV and see a select few people doing the extreme stuff in Jeeps and old FJ’s and then they think they would like to have a vehicle that kind of portrays that image. But at the same time they don’t want to give up the nice ride of the IFS, the very quiet ride and all that extra room. The new FJ is not really intended to do the real stuff, its just intended to portray that image by riding on the old FJ’s reputation. Kind of like a pellet gun modeled after a Colt 1911 compared to the real .45 caliber Colt government issued 1911. You can fool a lot of people with the air gun, but when push comes to shove it won’t do the same thing.

    Oh and Steenh, I can tell you really love these conversations :)
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