Entries tagged with: FZJ80

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NOTFZJ80: Test Trip, Big Bear II

map0.jpg The NOTFZJ80 Project is being sponsored by our friends at AutoNation: America’s largest auto retailer with 270 stores selling 33 brands nationwide backed by industry-leading policies like SmartChoice pricing and no-hassle money back guarantee. They are helping us turn our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser into an overland adventure rig to go discover inspiration off-grid! Follow the progress here as we build up to our first trip.

So for Part I of the NOTFZJ80 Test Trip, we focused on Camping… in Part II, it’s time for off roading! And in this case, we decided to explore the Forest Service Roads around Big Bear further and really put the NOTFZJ80 through its paces. So from paved roads and highways… we headed down Forest Service Roads to find our campsite. They varied from paved to dirt to rocky… as we used the yellow post sites as an excuse to weave our way through the mountains as we checked out a few more spots, we arbitrarily picked service roads to explore! The result? everything from easy scenic routes to steeper routes… super steep rocky routes… weaving from peeks of lake views… through once burned forests starting to get lush with new growth… coming across a surprised family of deer… and more! Most importantly? It was fun, relaxing, and the NOTFZJ80 handled like a tank! you can see our route on the map above - the X is where we camped, and the rest is where we wiggled before popping out in Fawnskin. Take a peek on the next page…

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NOTFZJ80: Test Trip, Big Bear I

maincamp0.jpg The NOTFZJ80 Project is being sponsored by our friends at AutoNation: America’s largest auto retailer with 270 stores selling 33 brands nationwide backed by industry-leading policies like SmartChoice pricing and no-hassle money back guarantee. They are helping us turn our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser into an overland adventure rig to go discover inspiration off-grid! Follow the progress here as we build up to our first trip.

I can’t believe we’re finally at this stage… TEST TRIP! For our first quick test trip there are two big things that need testing: #1 Camping! #2 Offroading! It still blows my mind how quickly we’ve gotten here, and how much we’ve done. It looks like such a different car from when we first brought it home. Looking back for a moment - we’ve been asked “Why THIS project car?” quite a bit, and without a doubt, it’s all about the experience for me. This isn’t exactly the type of setup you can just rent - and there’s something different when you do it all yourself bit by bit to make your ultimate setup! And as NOTCOT closes in on 10, I can’t even count how many incredible experiences i’ve been exposed to as i’ve run around covering events, exploring brands, testing (new) cars all over the world, but what has been lacking are the random vacations and goal free explorations I used to have. So the NOTFZJ80 is our way to do something that none of our other vehicles can do, and a reason to simply venture out, get lost, and get inspired by the unplannable unknown. Will it work? I can’t wait to find out!

So back to first test trip… having just gotten back from Atlanta, and heading to Iron Mountain, Michigan tomorrow… we didn’t have much time to squeeze in a little test trip. So it had to be close to home! A bit of research landed us on Big Bear! Only 2.5 hours away, gorgeous lake, and an easy spot to camp for a night and off road a bit… so take a look at part one (Camping!) on the next page!

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*notcot in tech - 2 Notes

NOTFZJ80: PART IV

fzjupdate.jpg The NOTFZJ80 Project is being sponsored by our friends at AutoNation: America’s largest auto retailer with 270 stores selling 33 brands nationwide backed by industry-leading policies like SmartChoice pricing and no-hassle money back guarantee. They are helping us turn our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser into an overland adventure rig to go discover inspiration off-grid! Follow the progress here as we build up to our first trip.

Wow. We’ve so much has changed since the last update on our NOTFZJ80 Project. When you last saw it, we installed the front bumper + winch and were in a holding pattern as it got some work done at TLC. Well - it’s back! It’s had front axel, transfer case, bushings, and differential rebuilt and new Old Man Emu suspension, DBA brakes, radiator and rear bumper installed. Since it’s been back we’ve also installed a 40” LED light bar and snorkel on the front - awning off the passenger side and annex under the rooftop tent - and filled the rear bumper with jerry cans, spare tire, MaxTrax, and grill! Needless to say - we’ve been busy, and we’re just about ready to go test out camp with the NOTFZJ80. Check out our progress on the next page.

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NOTFZJ80: PART III

update0.jpg The NOTFZJ80 Project is being sponsored by our friends at AutoNation: America’s largest auto retailer with 270 stores selling 33 brands nationwide backed by industry-leading policies like SmartChoice pricing and no-hassle money back guarantee. They are helping us turn our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser into an overland adventure rig to go discover inspiration off-grid! Follow the progress here as we build up to our first trip.

Seems about time for a NOTFZJ80 Project update! This update is a combo of accessorizing and… waiting. So much patient waiting… as the Land Cruiser heads in to TLC to get some work done. But just because the car isn’t here doesn’t mean there aren’t NOTFZJ80 Project related tasks to be done. In this update we’ve got the front bumper + winch installed, dropped it off to the shop, started the scavenger hunt for parts (which even brings us over to AutoNation Toyota in Irvine), amusement with jigger siphons, jerry cans, MaxTrax, D-ring shackle bracelets, marine grade battery and more… check out the latest progress on the next page! We are nearly adventure ready!

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*notcot in travel - 0 Notes

NOTFZJ80: ARB Simpson III Roof Top Tent

arbtent0b.jpg So excited to announce that The NOTFZJ80 Project is being sponsored by our friends at AutoNation: America’s largest auto retailer with 270 stores selling 33 brands nationwide backed by industry-leading policies like SmartChoice pricing and no-hassle money back guarantee. They are helping us turn our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser into an overland adventure rig to go discover inspiration off-grid! Follow the progress here as we build up to our first trip.

On NOTFZJ80 updates - the truck is currently in the shop at TLC and we have put in an order for some OEM parts over at AutoNation Toyota Irvine - so big updates to come in the following weeks! Currently the biggest update is the addition of our ARB Simpson III Roof Top Tent we received, installed, and climbed around in… (No, i haven’t spent the night in it yet!) I’m still in awe of it - so fun, so BIG, and i love the way it opens and closes. While rooftop tents have long been the norm in places like Australia and Africa (keeps you up above the creepy crawlies and such) - they are starting to pop up more and more in the US lately. It took Shawn a bit to convince me it was the way to go - until our adventures at Overland Expo where i got to climb in and around a few models to fully understand how this was so different from camping in a regular tent… and picked this one!

So what’s so different? Firstly, THE VIEW! Everything looks so different peeking out from the windows up above the car. And they say a shift in perspective can do wonders - i’ve even heard that taller beds often changing the way you dream! There’s also something treehouse like about being perched up there. Secondly, the nearly queen sized foam mattress! Yup, this isn’t just sleeping on a sleeping pad in a sleeping bag. You can even close it up with your bedding in there. And thirdly, the way it opens and closes with ease - just pull off the cover, slide out the ladder, and pull it open! With a little practice, we’re getting faster and faster with it!

Oh, and yes the cantilever is super secure - and no the ladder is not structural. (First thing everyone asks as they climb up in there!) Ready to see all the details of it up close? To the next page!

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*notcot in tech - 0 Notes

NOTFZJ80: Part II

arb2-0.jpg We are long overdue for an update on The NOTFZJ80 Project - though, i also can’t believe that we’ve had it a mere 2 months! We have mostly been in a holding pattern waiting for parts to arrive at this point… and a big palette just showed up from Australia thanks to ARB! Since the last update, we have debadged the Full Tine 4WD, blacked spray painted the T, fully detailed the car (the paint pops again!), powder coated the 5th wheel, removed the running boards, took it on a little roadtrip to Oakley, received Rotopax, picked up the snorkel, front bumper, winch, rooftop tent, and awning, installed the tent… and even got gifted quite the US Army Survival Manual! Phew. We’ve been busy - but there’s still a bit to go. Check out the progress on the next page…

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*notcot in tech - 1 Notes

NOTFZJ80: Front Runner Slimline II Roof Rack

frontrunners0.jpg The NOTFZJ80 Project continues… one of the most important parts of roof top camping is having a roof rack that can handle the weight of the tent, the people inside the tent, and any other gear that’s going up there - and reading forums we quickly learned that quite a few people learned that the hard way using normal roof racks! Well when we visited Front Runner Outfitters (the one with those AMAZING ads!), I got caught up on all things off-road/overlanding, and learned that over the last 15 years, if you’re cruising around Africa (and South Africa especially) the majority of roof racks you see will be theirs! Their latest is the Slimline II Roof Rack. I love that their system is incredibly modular (versus those monstrous welded pieces that will come as freight.) Upsides to the modularity? Well it packs down to an impressively efficient fedex-drop-tested-box, you can customize and adjust as desired, in case of any accidents (low hanging overpasses, etc) you can replace just the parts that get damaged versus the whole thing… and best of all, tons of accessories you can add on or create! Downside to modularity? Too many options… and then we keep trying and shifting and reconfiguring to see what feels best. Definitely a luxury problem.

The nice folks at Front Runner Outfitters were kind enough to help our rig out with a roof rack… and then we couldn’t resist starting off with some accessories to try it all out! As you can see there’s the camp table (with mirror like underside) that slides right under the roof rack, the shower arm, tie down rings, and a ratcheting shovel mount (with snowboard boot binding-eque clasps), and more… There are so many options, this is what we’re starting with as i get to know the system, our NOTFZJ80 and figure out how we’ll be using it all. Take a peek at the unboxing, assembly, and details on the next page!

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*notcot in tech - 3 Notes

NOTFZJ80: Part I

fzjupdate0.jpg Wow - we’ve been busy on The NOTFZJ80 Project - while it has been a blast getting my hands dirty, and learning a ton on my first project car, it has also meant days flying by and far less internet time… The 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser is coming along nicely. The last time we showed you the NOTFZJ80, we had just picked it up, explored the options, and started cleaning it out! Well a lot has happened since then, so it seemed like a good time for an update! Since then we have… stripped out all of the interior, run off to the eastern sierras, dynamatted, dynalined, pressure washed, put it all back together, installed a CB radio in the ash tray, camo’d the seats, installed big tires, started undoing the gold package, NOTCOT stickered it and more… check out what we’ve been up on on the next page!

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*notcot in travel - 0 Notes

The Design of Overlanding

overlandmain.jpg Life is all about balance ~ and it should be no surprise that the more time we all spend glued to screens (yes, phones count), the more we need the great outdoors! As you may have heard, between our endless 3D printing/soldering/etc. recently, we impulse started the NOTFZJ80 Project. While Shawn has been sharing endless Overlanding videos, forum discussions, and most excitingly — the gear, i’ve been fascinated by creative design solutions we keep finding!

The world of Overlanding is all new to me. Wikipedia defines it as: Overlanding is self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal. Typically, but not exclusively, it is accomplished with mechanized off-road capable transport (from bicycles to trucks) where the principal form of lodging is camping, often lasting for extended lengths of time (months to years) and spanning international boundaries. I grew up with my first few cars being SUVs. When living in LA, SD, and SF, throwing everything in my car and spontaneously moving or roadtripping was never out of the question. I love the idea of your car being ready to handle anything and take you anywhere and back.

Overlanding fits nicely on the spectrum between luxury hotel jetsetting and backpacking around the world… in that spot that is more luxurious than camping, more self sufficient than glamping, as equipped as an RV, but everything is more efficiently packed, multifunctional, and far more capable to get you through just about anything… it’s the perfect combo of man/machine teaming up to explore the outdoors to reach amazing remote spots. What i didn’t expect was how many fascinating design solutions pop up around the basics of what you can fit in/on/around your 4x4 vehicle, and how much of a fun designer project the process can be! Take a peek on the next page at some of the fun gear/setup possibilities i’ve been learning about while we research it all…

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*notcot in tech - 2 Notes

NOTFZJ80: 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser

fzj00.jpg Those following us on the NOTlabs Instagram, have seen that between other craziness we have taken on a project car: a 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser FZJ80! Between regular visits to ICON and seeing more of the TLC side of things… we caught the Land Cruiser bug. It’s no surprise that they just don’t build things like they used to… priorities have changed, and accessibility to grab a toolkit and access/fix just about anything on the go just isn’t quite the same. But while we wanted something fun to play with, we also wanted something safe, comfortable, and functional as well, that made sense for longer roadtrips before offroading/overlanding! So we settled on the ‘95-97 FZJ80, which has a/c, airbags, and other amenities but are some of the last years of solid axles, factory front/rear locking differentials and such. Also, when you see the modifications you can make and even build yourself… it’s like a designer’s dream! (but more on that to come…)

So between the soldering, electronics assembly, 3d prints and more on the _____ project… we scoured craigslist and local listings and watched hours upon hours of overlanding youtube videos… and ended up popping down to Costa Mesa to see about a 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser FZJ80. With 160k miles on it, a single owner, clean title, locking diffs, and having never left southern california… we couldn’t resist! So the adventure begins… check out how it looks and where we’re at so far on the next page!

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