Toyota Transformed: Lifting an FJ Cruiser

Has anybody else been battling with this consistent love-hate / why-am-I-wasting-my-time-on-this-trash guilty-pleasure of quizzes on buzzfeed?  Between finding out which Disney Prince you’re destined to marry and what kind of Vampire would drink your blood rather than your celebrity doppelgänger who makes fun of your street to first pet ratio-ed Rapper Name, there are the classics.  Like the personality test.  And go figure – according to the author, who I’m sure is a clinical psychologist with all sorts of legitimate certifications, degrees, doctorates, and a highly impressive Rapper Name street cred, I’m Type A Personality – the organized planner.  Who shows up on time, is reliable, a leader, generally accomplished, focused, ambitious, and has a pretty elaborate idea of what the perfect car is.

Photo by Heather Cortright. Milton Ruben Toyota. Augusta, GA. September 2014.

It might be true.  We may all be doomed to hours and hours of weathering the elements in search of the perfect vehicle – yes to those tires, no to that body style, etc.

Photo by Heather Cortright. Milton Ruben Toyota. Augusta, GA. September 2014.

We had customer that needed his FJ Cruiser decked out and ready for some off-road action. When we were done with it, it looked so nice, we decided to modify one of our own.  (Photo on left provided by Milton Ruben Photographer Kris Olsen.)

Or we might just shop at Milton Ruben.  And we just might take those tires and put them on this body style.

Ah, the miracles that can occur at the hands of a certified technician!

Photo by Heather Cortright. Milton Ruben Toyota. Augusta, GA. September 2014.

Meet Certified Toyota Technician Jimmy Berry, who took on the task of lifting and “shoeing” an FJ Cruiser for our lot.

With great pride in the capabilities of our highly trained team, we present a visual representation of a 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser, transforming to an off-roading beast of a butterfly.

Step One: After removing the manufacturer tires that came on the FJ Cruiser from Toyota, Jimmy disassembles steering components to gain access to the shocks.  Jimmy must remove the shocks, install a lift kit, and replace the shocks.

Photo by Heather Cortright. Milton Ruben Toyota. Augusta, GA. September 2014.

Service Director Kevin Woodard dropped in to check on Jimmy’s progress. He inspected the installation of the spacers on the lift to ensure that the complicated inner-workings of the FJ’s suspension were secure.

Photo by Heather Cortright. Milton Ruben Toyota. Augusta, GA. September 2014.

Lifting a vehicle is a multi-phased process, beginning with removing the tires and rims, and then taking off the shocks (it looks like a spring), and placing a spacer between the shocks and the suspension to literally “lift” the body of the vehicle up from the tires.

Photo by Heather Cortright. Milton Ruben Toyota. Augusta, GA. September 2014.

Here, Jerry disassembles the steering component to gain access to remove the shock.

Step Two: Put on the tires.

Photo by Heather Cortright. Milton Ruben Toyota. Augusta, GA. September 2014.

Each of these tires, built on a 18″ aluminum rim, weighs roughly 45 pounds. “I’m not going to the gym tonight,” Jimmy said while heaving the tire up onto the wheel.

Photo by Heather Cortright. Milton Ruben Toyota. Augusta, GA. September 2014.

Jerry places lugnuts that will secure the wheel onto the wheel hub.  If lugnuts are not properly tightened, the wheel could shake as they rotate, damaging the interior of the wheel well.

Photo by Heather Cortright. Milton Ruben Toyota. Augusta, GA. September 2014.

Using an impact wrench to tighten lugnuts onto wheel hub, Jimmy is careful to tighten to torque specifications.

Photo by Heather Cortright. Milton Ruben Toyota. Augusta, GA. September 2014. Photo by Heather Cortright. Milton Ruben Toyota. Augusta, GA. September 2014.

Step Three:  Re-calibrate microchips in each of the tires, as well as on the motherboard in the dashboard of the vehicle so they communicate properly.  If this step gets skipped, the computer on the car will always read that the vehicle has improperly inflated tires.

Photo by Heather Cortright. Milton Ruben Toyota. Augusta, GA. September 2014.

Jimmy uses an Electronic Calibration Tool, to re-calibrate the TPMS – Tire Pressure Monitoring System.  The ECT basically activates the sensors in the tire, which will then send a signal to the ECT with the necessary numbers for the tires.  Jimmy will take that information and transfer it to the TPMS on the vehicle.

Photo by Heather Cortright. Milton Ruben Toyota. Augusta, GA. September 2014.

Photo by Heather Cortright. Milton Ruben Toyota. Augusta, GA. September 2014.

Jimmy ensures that the TPMS has properly re-calibrated the motherboard in the dash of the vehicle. This way, the tire pressure monitoring system will only flash a notification on the dash when the tires are no longer properly inflated.

Photo by Heather Cortright. Milton Ruben Toyota. Augusta, GA. September 2014.

A dangerous mistake some people may make is to forget the spare.  Jimmy was sure to include the spare in his initial calibration, as well as his double check of each tire’s pressure.

Step Four: Step back and enjoy the view.

Photo by Heather Cortright. Milton Ruben Toyota. Augusta, GA. September 2014.

Photo by Heather Cortright. Milton Ruben Toyota. Augusta, GA. September 2014.

To keep meeting your mechanic, taking a peek behind the wrench, and stay in the loop on new cars to customize into your very own, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, and Pinterest!

Photos by Heather Cortright, Milton Ruben Social Media Specialist.

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