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Toyota FJ Cruiser vs Jeep Wrangler



  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103
    Sorry dude... that's one ugly truck!

    If you go the the Natural History museum they put dinosaurs on exhibit too...

    I did almost get run over by a jeep once... but it broke down before it got to me.

  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169
    Superman, nice that you brought this up -

    The Jeep Wagoneer is an important part of SUV history because it was the first SUV ever made. The first came out in 1964. The design stayed till 1992 and for a small company Kaiser, AMC then Chrysler sold piles of them. They are well respected, comfortable, and reconditioned and resold. Solid axles with optional posi track in most years. Most of them came with an AMC 5.9L V8, but in the 70's you could get them with a 401 cubic inch 4 barrel V8 that had some serious balls. The interiors were nice, with power leather seats, power mirrors, power door locks and windows, optional sunroof, and in later years a mileage computer, and good sound system. I believe there was even an pneumatic auto load leveling system that was optional in the latter years too.

    My father had a 1980 Wagoneer. They were quiet, and rode nice. Any way they were far more luxurious than anything Toyota made at that time… more like Range Rover.

    From that basic platform Kaiser Jeep (and later AMC) built a ½ and ¾ ton Jeep pick up truck that was revered as one of the best four wheel drive pickup trucks by most off-road magazines. With good ground clearance but low center of gravity it is still one of the most stable 4x4 trucks to this day on and off-road. Very good approach and departure angles and very tight turning circle made this Jeep the best for it’s size on the trails. It still maintained an 8 foot box with a minimum 4 feet between the wheel wells for a sheet of plywood.

    They also developed the Wide Track full size Cherokee from this platform. Similar in appearance to the Wagoneer, but a 2-door. It also had a tread width that was about 7 inches wider than that of the Wagoneer, which made it incredibly stable on and off road. Few SUVs, save the Porsche and Volkswagen ones, can corner like a wide track Cherokee. Behind the front seats was a quickly removable folding back seat that when popped out left an expanse long enough for a 6 foot 2 guy like me to sleep comfortably in. In case you cant tell already I own one of these, a 1982 to be exact. It is incredibly comfortable and quiet – I can drive highway trips all day long and never mind at all. And when I see an interesting trail off the highway when I’m on vacation I just let off the gas and pull that 4WD lever by the seat and I’m going where most of the other highway vehicle have to stop. I drove it all the way from Edmonton Alberta to Padre Island Texas a few years ago, for a total round trip of 12 000km (7000miles) and it was a complete pleasure. I think if I was forced to sell every vehicle I own except one, I would keep this Cherokee. Yes, I would even keep this over my Rubi.

    The FSJ was truly an amazing four wheel drive platform.

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Some Suburban owners would quibble with you about who introduced the first SUV. Then there was the IH Scout in '61.

    And some of us think that the Jeep CJ was the first real SUV (mini-ute if you prefer). :shades:

    Steve, Host
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169
    Well yes, but the Suburban in that era was more of work truck than a luxo 4x4. For the most part that went for the scouts too.

    I guess if you want to get picky you could include the '47 Willys Jeep Panel Wagon as the first SUV.

    P.S. this might seem like a stupid question but how do you attach a picture from your hard drive files? The 'Img' button does not seem to open a file menu
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    The Help file on the left explains it better than I can (you can't just upload them from your hard drive into the discussion).

    Even better, check out image - it's a good place to make albums and post your pics, and you can load the pics there from your hard drive. Just login with your Edmunds user name and password and you're off and running.

    I'm still looking for a photo of my '74 CJ-5 to post in my album.

    Steve, Host
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,180
    b/t/w, where in AK are you? I grew up in Anchorage

    RCA Alascom hired me and moved me to Anchorage in 1970. I lived there off and on till 1992. I left Alascom in 1981 and went to Prudhoe Bay. Worked a 3 on, 3 off schedule till April of this year and retired with 36 years in the Teamsters 959. What years were you there?

    I was not sure what year LC you had. I did not want you to think that Toyota built reliable engines back in the early days. They used substandard steel and their castings were poor. They also could not build a car that would not rust out till the late 1990s. In the late 1960s the CJ5 was superior mechanically to the FJ40. They were also more expensive. I bought my 1964 FJ40 with the small back windows for $2400 cash. I do wish I still had it. They are still cool looking. Toyota missed a chance to recapture that great look.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,180
    Introduced way back in 1936, the Chevrolet (and GMC) Suburban was based on a commercial panel truck, but instead of having a huge, windowless cargo area there was a large passenger compartment. Basically truck-based station wagons, the early Suburbans had two doors

    Get the real scoop on the first SUV right here on Edmunds. And still the most practical SUV on the planet. If you cannot do it with a Suburban why bother.
  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103
    We were there at the same time. I moved there in 70, and graduated high school in 80 and left for college after that. I miss it and would move back if I could... someday maybe. You spent some time where I wouldn't want to go though... Prudhoe Bay had to have been rough, at least in the winter!

    You are right, the early FJ's were Toyota's clone of jeep with a blueprint of a GM engine and the engines weren't that great from what I've read. That has certainly changed over the years though. The 4.5l I6 in the 80 series is pretty much indestructable and it looks like the V8 in the 100 series is going to have the same kind of successful run.

    Toyota did miss the opportunity to recapture the look, and in my opinion, a big piece of the market from jeep if they had gone fully "retro". I'll have to see if I can dig it up, but I saw an article in one of the 4x4 magazines about a group that was commissioned to help design the "new" FJ. They desinged exactly what Toyota should have built. Looks like the old FJ40's, but updated with the latest technology and engines. Toyota went the FJ Cruiser direction and this group is building their concept... but for $80k and pop.

    Maybe I'll pick up a used one in a couple of years... for $78k? Or I might have to bend and just buy 2 Rubicons (Need two so I can rotate them out of the shop) ;) Sorry, couldn't resist.
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169
    Here is a picture of my 1982 FSJ (full size Jeep) Cherokee Wide Track on the Padre Island beach.


    For me this fills the role that an FJ Cruiser would fill except it does a much better job than the Cruiser could ever do. And what's better is I didn't have to shell out $35K to get it! She's got 445 000kms (270 000miles) on the clock and still treats me well.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,180
    It looks great. I wonder what the FJ Cruiser will look like in 25 years. I don't think many cars today are built to last more than ten years. Planned obsolescence is the key to selling more cars. They get a lot of miles not longevity. The electronics are the biggest problem.
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169
    You hit the nail on the head about the electronics! Personally EFI and all that is fine on a road vehicle but when I'm deep in the middle of nowhere I don't want any of that garbage on my vehicle. My CJ-5 had an electronic ignition and I pulled it off and replaced it with points! Because then there is no module to fail and any minor problems I might have with points in the field can be fixed with a finger nail file and an allen wrench in 1 minute!

    I don't trust electronics crap at all - a static discharge spark on an open connector or too much heat for too long and the thing leaves you stranded.

    Of course my Rubicon is EFI and all that trash, and personally I would like it better with a carb and points. But I guess we have to put up with what's on the show room floor when we buy new these days. ;)
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Just wait until a stray neutron wipes your Rubicon out!

    Star Trek-like electrical attacks on your car? (Straightline)

    Steve, Host
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169
    LOL! No kidding Steve!

    It's kind of irronic that if there was a nuclear war that only the pre-1974 vehciles would probably still operate. That EMP wave would make a lot of really fancy oversize paper weights!
  • keatskeats Posts: 412
    You have hit the nail on the head when it comes to styling. What will the FJ look like in 25 years? Very few of the Japanese manufactures have figured out what classic style is all about. Nissan has done it with the Z line. Toyota did it with the FJ40, Mazda did it with the Miata, but can anyone think of another Japanese model that has classic looks?

    When I pointed to the Wagoneer, it was with this classic style in mind. A low-mileage-and-well-cared-for Wagoneer can go for more than $30k these days. What are people paying for classic muscle cars? American companies have long lagged behing in reliability, but they have certainly designed some iconic vehicles. The Jeep CJ and TJ certainly fall into this category. Everyone knows what a "Jeep" looks like.
  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103
    I agree with most of what you said. There are lot's of American designed cars that have that "classic" look and are being redesigned... Mustang, Camaro, Charger, Bronco (though I have no idea what that's going to be like) etc...

    Not sure comparing auto makers that have been around since the beginning of the industry in the US to Japanese models is really a fair comparison. Japanese models didn't always sell the volume they do now, and their entry autos to the US market were very generic. (OK, some still are) Think Kia or the other S Korean brands of a few years ago. No classics in that lot.

    With that caveat, I agree with your overall assessment, American makers are more interested in style than substance.

    With the FJ though, isn't being different and striking a required ingredient for becoming a future classic? A Camry that looks like an Accord that looks like a Malibu that looks like a Taurus will never be a classic. Classic's helped define a different direction in auto style and function in their initial releases, people liked the direction and the look/function stuck.

    Who's to say that won't happen with FJ? You can't say it doesn't create strong opinions one way or the other. Owners love em... you hate em. Not many in the middle. A classic in the making?
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169
    The reason the FJ-40 has become a 'classic' probably has a lot to do with capability and not so much the body lines are folded in the sheet metal.

    People remember these vehicles because they made an impression on them at the time. The WW II Jeep MB because so many GIs remember it as the go anywhere capable little vehicle - really like nothing else like it had existed up to that point. The '68 426 HEMI Charger, 454 Chevelle or Boss 429 Mustang with all their tire burning potential: all the high school kids drooled over them when they came out that year because there had been nothing else like them. The FJ-40 and the CJ(s) because they were remembered as a very good platform to build a capable 4x4 from. The Mazda Miata as a very very nimble roadster. In each case these vehicles made their mark by breaking new ground and leaving an impression on the generation of that time. They were extraordinary for their day. However I doubt the FJ cruiser will be able to pull this off. It tends to be the jack of all trades and the master of nothing, living off of the glory of it’s ancestor, the FJ-40. So I doubt it will become a ‘classic’ on it’s own any more than the Chrysler PT Cruiser will.

    The body style just triggers the psychological association of the vehicle with what it was capable of.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,180
    I don't think it is much styling as being able to afford it. Every stinking sensor in a vehicle these days cost $600 to replace. Computer modules everywhere that cost up to a couple grand. Many of those over priced electronic devices are built into the car in such a way that it will not run without them. Smog crappola mostly. The body on a 15 year old FJ Cruiser may still be perfect. It is in the bone yard because it will cost $15K-$30k to repair it. Or the parts are no longer available. We are a throwaway society even with our most expensive purchases.
  • 1finejeep1finejeep Posts: 29
    I sell Chrysler,Jeep,Dodge,Chevy,GMC,Pontiac,Hummer,and Toyota so she had her pick, I wanted something that looked different, and I couldn't fit the whole family in the Jeep. The FJ is cool, and 70% capable, but I love my TJ.

    As far as any problems go, I have not had any that I did not do myself from off-road or just plain acting like a fool.
  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103
    Yea, but don't people today spend $15k+ rebuilding the muscle cars, FJ40's etc...? They don't spend it on electronics, but do on rebuilding the rusted body and buying replacement parts, rebuilding engines etc...

    Agree, we are a throwaway society, but you can't say that cars today are designed to last fewer years/miles than they were 30 yrs ago. 100k miles used to be the outer limits for most models... that's not the case anymore. Sure, when things go wrong now, it's more expensive, but cars cost 10X what they cost 30 yrs ago too... that $15k repair in '75 would be $1500.

    Availability of parts... that's a more likely problem. On a metal '70's car, you can build a corner panel in a shop... not too many people have chip building capability in their garage. Does that mean we'll never see another "Classic" car built?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    We'll just be buying software chip emulators off the net just like you do with old Nintento games on your PC now.

    Replacing all the air bags is going to wreck your budget though.

    Steve, Host
  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103

    One problem down... and another pops up...

    Does that mean we've seen our last "Classic"?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,180
    One problem down... and another pops up

    Much of the cost depends on who is repairing your car. I agree that the newer cars will go 150k with little or no trouble, which was not the case in the 60s & 70s. My wife had the little airbag light on her LS400 for about 5 years. Each time she went to Bob Baker Lexus for service they would quote her $1200 to fix the airbag. When we finally found a competent independent Lexus shop, they fixed the airbag problem with a simple reset of some module. They did not charge her.

    I think the classic cars will be limited to the very expensive sports cars. If you have known anyone getting in a fender bender lately you will know how much it costs to fix very minor damage on todays cars. Another reason they total so many. It also keeps our insurance rates high.
  • keatskeats Posts: 412
    "The reason the FJ-40 has become a 'classic' probably has a lot to do with capability and not so much the body lines are folded in the sheet metal."

    Oh, I don't think so. Certainly capability plays a part same as muscle cars, but it's the simplicity of design, the box shape, the curved windows on the hard top, the shape of the fenders...the FJ-40 looks fantastic. I don't think the majority of people that can afford to buy/restore them today, are looking to bash them offroad. Like the Wagoneer, good speciments can go for well over $30K. I have certainly thought about buying one many times. But I already have a 20 year-old Japanese car, a Nissasn 300zx.

    I think it's this simplicity that makes Jeep Wranglers attractive to so many people who don't even venture offroad. Recently, my sister came to visit us and went out to look at my Rubicon, I told her to not expect any luxury items, and she said, "It's a Jeep; it's not about luxury." She knows nothing about cars, btw...
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169
    'Agree, we are a throwaway society, but you can't say that cars today are designed to last fewer years/miles than they were 30 yrs ago.'


    While new cars go longer between servicing, I have to say that they are not going to be easier to keep or rebuild as classics:

    New cars are manufactured so that they cannot be maintained properly.

    An insignificant example is the batteries that they now call maintenance free. You can't open them up to add water. Oh they still need it because the water portion of the electrolite still boils away, but there is nothing you can do about it. In the old days (and still some batteries today) you could pull the cap off and top it up with some water and the battery would last longer

    Grease Fittings
    A much more serious example is grease fittings. At one time you could grease all the U-joints, and moving steering components. If you did this every 2000 miles they never wore out. I know of several vehicles that are more 30 years old with 250 000+ miles on them that have original front end parts that are still tight. Fortunately the Rubicon still has greasable front end parts but virtually no other new vehicle has this – including the new FJ. Being able to grease this stuff after you have had the vehicle buried in watery bog for 4 hours is really important. Pumping new grease in those fittings drives the water out and prevents corrosion. And I don’t care how ‘good’ the seals are on the non greasable ball joints, water will still get in over time.

    Body panels
    Also today the sheet metal is much much thinner. It makes it more difficult to do body work etc. But the next wave of inovations that is starting to hit is to quit using carbon still in cars and to move to high strength low alloy steels like 4130 etc. This means that dents will be much harder to pull and welding on these panels will not be possible in a body shop.

    Engine bolts
    Head bolts in engines today are just about all made to be torque-to yield. This means that the first time the bolt is installed it is torqued to where the metal permanently stretches beyond the elastic point. This bolt cannot be reused, and any time head work is done, all new bolts must be purchased.

    Brake rotors and drums cannot be turned on many new cars because they are not designed with enough margin. So it means buying new rotors every time a brake job is done. Further more these new rotors are often made from an inferior alloy compared to the old ones – they groove and warp very rapidly. My ‘73 Jeep J-20 has literally gone 400 000 Miles on the factory front rotors! I don’t think there is a new car made that will go 1/8 that far on its rotors.

    So in addition to all the sensors, and other electronics garbage on new vehicle you have to consider these points also. And if we thought about it more we would probably find many more reasons why the newer vehicles will not be better as antiques. The cost to rebuild will be much higher respectively.
  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103
    Try as I might... I can't find one thing I disagree with 4x4!
    :surprise: ;)

    So, no new classics. Better buy that old Vette now!
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169
    Yup steenh, pic up that Vette and an early 80's FJ to build your killer off-road machine. Because it seems to be true: they don't build them like they used to.

    Brake rotors are what really just makes me shake my head. Japanes or American, they are just crap compared to the old ones. They warp, and to get grooves you don't have to run the pads down to the rivets either, the road dirt seems to scar them up! And then you just have to buy new rotors. It used to be that if you changed your brake pads in time, and just deglased the swept area with some emry cloth or scotch bright pads that rotors never seemed to wear out. Well I guess the good ol' days are gone.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Maybe cars didn't stop so good in the good ol' days?

    Old versus new cars stopping distance (SGIO)

    Steve, Host
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169
    Well that's fine I guess but...

    The flaw with their test is that it's data from the day that each car was manufactured as I understand it. ie. the test data on the 1984 Land Cruiser is from 1984 and the data on the 2004 LC is just 2 years old? The implications of this are that the test would neglect the huge difference in tire technology. Tires 20 years ago are nothing like the tires of today and the stopping distances for today’s tires are vastly less.

    On the other hand if the test was run today with old vehicles against new, the question begs what condition were the old test vehicles in? Were they exactly as they would have been 20 years ago? Or would little details like a old or contaminated pads cause one wheel to lock up prematurely on the older cars – something that would not have happened when it was new in 1984.

    To run such a test fairly, the old vehicles would have to have the brakes systems completely rebuilt and all vehicles shoed with exactly the same type of tires. I some how doubt they did this for that test. However if they did, I’m willing to bet that with experienced, drivers the gap between the old and new would be a lot less.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,180
    Were all those vehicles 4 wheel disc brakes? That makes a big difference. I think the quality of brakes has not kept up with the stopping ability. In the automakers striving for lighter weight to gain mileage, they have cut corners. Making the rotors thinner and lighter is a +++ for them. They get the weight & cost down, MPG up, and sell lots of replacement rotors. I spent $1200 on my ex-wifes 1990 Camry front brakes before getting them to work right. The Brake specialist that finally fixed the problem told me that Honda brakes were even lighter duty than Toyota. I went to ceramic pads on the 3rd set of rotors to keep the brakes from growling. Toyota dealer said it was normal after the first brake job they did. No wonder I got a bad attitude about Toyota. The only vehicle that cost me more to maintain than Toyotas was a real POC FIAT Spyder. After dumping about 8 grand into it trying to keep it running I traded it. Got $900 in trade on a new 1994 Toyota PU. For my son, wouldn't you know it. No wonder I don't like small light weight vehicles.
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