First $3,000 in FJ Cruiser Mods

First $3,000 in FJ Cruiser Mods

Stock TRD Special Edition FJ CruiserSo many new FJC owners spend hours contemplating where the first $3,000 in modification money will go, so inspired by this thread on, we put together a few different lists to help you decide where to start. FYI, we upped the amount from the $2,000 to $3,000 to accommodate new tires, since the OEM tires are basically useless off-road. (Editor note: We know many people use stock tires off road and they work just fine, so feel free to ignore these tire recommendations)

The reality is that there’s no simple answer to the “First $3k” question. How you start your mod journey greatly depends on what you plan to do with your FJ Cruiser. Like all things, your initial plan may change over time, but the first step is definitely to think about how your truck will live in the offroad world. In most cases the tires recommended are a ‘plus one’ size, 285/70R17, which is about 1” taller than OEM FJ Tires.

Recovery Gear
The first $300 or so should go to a standard set of recovery gear that is a ‘must have’ regardless of where your exploring. Since you should always travel with another vehicle these items will enable you to recover from many hang ups and ‘stuck’ situations. After your recovery gear, you’ll have about $2,700 to work with.

Hi-Lift Jack & Slider Adapter: A Hi-Lift can be used in dozens of ways and a suitable adapter will allow you to safely use it with virtually any FJC slider. $100-$150

Recovery Kit: From companies such as ARB or Ironman 4x4, include shackles, straps, gloves, and other basic recovery items. You can also build your own to save a little $$. $100-$150


The Hardcore Rock Crawler
If you’re the type that loves to go slow and take your time on moderate to difficult challenges, mostly on rocks, this list is for you. It focuses on protection that will be needed to keep your FJ looking new if you happen to ‘tap’ a rock.
Lift Kit: Toytec 3” Adjustable w/Bilstein 5100 $910
Tires: Great All Terrain or Mud Terrain tires will run at least $200 per tire for 32” or larger sizes. $1,000
Protection: Skid plates from Budbuilt $725 bare metal (Minus the gas-tank skid which is recommended but not essential)
TOTAL: $2635

The Mud Hound
For those more interested in blasting through puddles, water, and other viscous fluids (read thick mud), this list will help keep you high and dry so you can wheel another day.
Lift Kit: OME Full Suspension 2.5”– 3” Lift $770
Tires: Goodyear Wrangler MT/R Kevlar $273 X 5= $1385
Protection: Snorkel to keep mud & water out of your intake $440
TOTAL: $2595

The Desert Racer
Wheelers in the great southwest know all about what it takes to go fast & stay safe in the desert. This list is rather short because sand tires are expensive, as are suspension systems that work best in the sand. Baja, here we come!
Lift Kit: Icon Stage 1 Suspension (easily upgradeable for high-speed use): $1593
Tires: Nitto Dune Grappler DT $245 X 5 = $1225
Protection: Out of money, protection starts at $400 for a front skid plate
TOTAL: $2818

The Overland Adventurer
A tamer list for those looking to maximize time in the backcountry. Perhaps more than any other set of mods, this list can be tweaked and expanded upon almost to no end. You can easy put $10,000 into your truck for overland duty over the course of a couple of years. Here’s how to get started.
Lift Kit: OME Full Suspension 2.5”– 3” Lift $770
Tires: Nitto Terra Grappler AT $239 X 5 = $1195
Protection: Ricochet Standard Aluminum skid set $850
TOTAL: $2815

Ok, so we may be at $3,100 for some of these items. If you are friendly with many of these companies on forums, Facebook, or other social networks – you can find coupons that can save you some cash and keep you below the $3,000 mark.
Of course other mods such as rear lower control arms, sliders (if your FJ didn’t include OEM sliders), storage, and other items can add to your initial $3,000, but for the ‘big ticket’ items, this is what our readers have told us work the best.

What mods were first for your FJ? We’d love to hear back from you about how you spent the first $3,000 in FJC additions. E-mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or hit us up on Facebook!

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