FJ Cruiser Interior Modifications

FJ Cruiser Interior Modifications

Whether you bought your adventure rig brand new or used, there's a common theme we can all relate to when it comes to outfitting our new to us vehicle. We make it our own. That could mean many things to many people.

In In this series of articles we'll be looking at a variety of accessories available to customize your FJ's interior. There are novelty items that don't add any new functionality, but add a personal touch to your beloved rig (custom key fobs, climate control knobs, shift knobs, grab handles or patches and stickers). There are also those aftermarket products that do add functionality like storage accessories (rear side window racks, cargo drawers, center console storage and overhead cargo nets).

In this series opener, we'll delve into the world of custom key fobs, climate control knobs, shift knobs and grab handles. We'll be installing aftermarket climate control knobs and matching key fob provided by AJT Design ( We'll also talk about available options by other manufacturers. We'll mainly focus on products specific to the FJ Cruiser, but the companies we mention below also offer products for 4Runners, Tacomas, Tundras, Land Cruisers and more. Check their websites for vehicle specific product models.

Key Fobs and Climate Knobs

One company that stands out in the customizing space is AJT Designs. We remember when the first prototype key fob photo showed up on the FJ Cruiser facebook group. It was a crude, 3D printed version with a rough appearance. AJT has come along way since those days. They've perfected their designs and now offer almost every Toyota offroader a way to personalize their key fobs with a plethora of color combinations using contrasting allen screws that come in black, red, stainless steel and blue. We requested a red key fob withi contrasting black allen screws. The key fob comes in many different shapes and sizes depending on your vehicle model. Each design is different, but they all share angular design cues. They remind me of toy sci-fi ships. We can imagine all the different AJT fob models flying through space like a massive fleet. Taking apart your OEM key fob and installing the old electronic guts into the new AJT key fob is a breeze. Everything is provided in the package É allen screws, allen wrench, fob buttons, shims and even an AJT sticker to slap on your window (+10 horsepower). There are also YouTube instructional videos to help you. 

You simply unscrew a small screw in the OEM fob, pry it apart, take out the electronic gizmo thingy (official term), use a utility knife to weaken the plastic holding the metal key, then firmly grab the key and pull it up to break it free from the weakened plastic. Now it's time to install the new buttons into the new fob. Be aware of which button goes where (look at your OEM buttons). Place them into their corresponding hole then place the electronic gizmo thingy into the new fob (button-side down). It's now time to install the key. You may or may not need the tiny blue shims so the key doesn't wiggle in the new fob. We used one shim to keep it wiggle free. Place the shim into the slot followed by the key. Put the cover on and screw in the allen screws. Snug not tight, because you're screwing into plastic. Don't use any type of Locktite. It will eat the plastic.

Like the every day carry craze, you could literally change out your key fob and screws combo to match your new wallet, knife and pen combo. We bet you there are a few out there that do it.

Now, can we interest you in a set of climate control knobs for your FJ that matches your key fob? You read that right. AJT Design also carries climate control knobs that match the design style of the AJT key fob. As if it was meant to be. The knobs are made from impact resistant ABS plastic and feature a clear indicator light like the OEM knobs. We ordered a set that matched our red AJT key fob and just like the fob, the new climate knobs installation was just as easy. 

Jump into your FJ and pull off each of the climate control knobs. Inside the back of each knob is a slotted spring clip. Use a small screw driver to gently pry them out. They have a tiny slot on each side of the clip where you can place the tip of the screw driver to pull up. Work on each slot at a time until it slides out. Take your time. We used a 2.0 mm precision screw driver. Firmly push each spring clip into the new knobs. We used the back of the screw driver to push it into the knob. Get back into your FJ and push on your new knobs. Now take a photo of yourself holding your new key fob next to your new climate control knobs and post it to Instagram. Tag @ajt_design and @tctmagazine.

Just like AJT Design, Ellis Precision ( and GZila Designs ( both offer climate control knobs, but theirs are CNC machined from aluminum, come in a variety of anodized finishes and are damn sexy. They also feature a light indicator similar to the OEM knobs. The GZila knob ($100 per set with new OEM spring clips installed) is machined with a scalloped edge while the Ellis knobs ($169 per set) come in two styles; round with slotted edge or OEM-style knobs with a dimpled surface. Ellis Precision even went as far as to create a special tool for the milling process of their knobs to offer a high quality product.

Shift Knobs and Grab Handles

One of the first mods I installed on my FJ when I bought it used back in 2012 was a set of Ellis Precision machined aluminum shift knobs and e-brake handle set ($239). They are flat black with the shift knob featuring an engraved "FJ" on top. The transfer case shift knob has the OEM-style 4x4 shifting diagram engraved on top. Ellis Precision has been manufacturing shift knobs in various anodized colors almost since the first FJC debuted. Custom engraving is also available so, you can have your initials, TRD, etc on top if you choose.

AJT Designs and GZila Designs also offer their take on shift knobs. Machined from aluminum and each with their unique styles. Unlike the Ellis Precision and GZila Designs shift knobs, the AJT automatic shift and short manual knobs don't have an engraved top surface, but the short transfer case knob does have the proper 4x4 shifting diagram. They offer shift knob sets ($169) and single knobs (starting at $99) that come in three colors; black anodized, red anodized and clear coat. And like the key fob and climate control knobs, you can customize them with contrasting allen screws. The Gzila shift knob sets ($100) come in a variety of finishes and that top surface can be custom engraved.

The shift knob mod is a popular one among FJ enthusiasts. We've seen everything from a cue ball, skulls, light sabers, and hand grenades. One creative individual in the FJ Cruiser group on facebook customized a flight simulator gaming joystick as a shift knob. He even went as far as to remap all the joystick's function buttons to turn on various aftermarket accessories like offroad lights. It was impressive to say the least.

You know those 'oh shit' handles in your FJ? The one your copilot grabs when you pucker up and stagger down Black Bear Pass. Well, we've got some custom options for you. Both Ellis Precision (starting at $189 black only) and GZila Designs (starting at $80 for black, red or clear) sell custom engraved handles made from machined aluminum. We've seen everything from company names, 'hold on', 'pilot', 'copilot', 'TRD', and 'eject' engraved on them. Use your imagination. Ellis also sells a machined aluminum back plate if you want to install braided paracord handles instead of hard handles in your interior.

Rest assured, whichever company you choose to customize your interior, there is something for everyone and they all stand behind their products.

Look for part 2 in our FJ Interior Mods Series in a future issue. We'll check out popular rear storage accessories for the FJ, including a custom built rear cargo drawer.

[flickr set=72157710276020357]


To get your copy of the

Spring 2019 Issue:

Download Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine
Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Printed Magazine
Read Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine Online

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to get up-to-date industry news, events, and of course, amazing adventures, stories, and photos!

tct FBtct TWtct FB

tct social



SPC HalfPage