Toyota FJ is for posers?

My opinion is that the Toyota FJ Cruiser is limited in what it can do off road for a couple of reasons.


FJ Cruiser takes on the Supercross

Mark Richardson, Dec. 9

I’ve been a member of the off-roading community for three years and am the owner of two Jeeps, a YJ and a TJ, that have been extensively modified by myself for off-road use.

My opinion is that the Toyota FJ Cruiser is limited in what it can do off road for a couple of reasons.

First off — and it’s a big first — instead of a solid front axle, they used independent front suspension, necessitating the use of CV joints for the small, weak front axleshafts.

The number one principle of any off-road vehicle is the use of solid front and rear axles.

Solid steel works, period.

CV joints are weak and come apart in high torque situations required for climbing obstacles like rocks, not to mention the potential for damage to the thin, exposed axleshafts.

The rubber CV boots are really vulnerable; get `em ripped with a little mud in there and you’d better have a buddy to help drag you back to the trail head.

The use of full-time 4WD in the FJ is a bad thing as well.

Part-time 4WD, as in the Jeep Wrangler, is gear-driven, with no slip in the transfer case. Adding a user-selectable locker to the front and rear diff in a part-time 4WD like a Jeep Wrangler yields a very powerful 4WD system, where all wheels turn with the same torque, all the time.

The Torsen limited slip in the FJ uses a torque-biasing ratio that varies with the revs, input driveshaft, torque, etc. Adding lockers to this, as in the FJ, creates a complex set-up where the T-case is likely still slipping and the torque distribution isn’t all going where you need it.

Complex set-ups are usually also delicate, which isn’t a desired attribute on the trail. Why would Toyota forgo the simplicity of driver-selectable, part-time 4WD, when it’s essentially the best design for off-road use?

Steve Miller, Mississauga

Many advantages to projector lights

Projector headlights a horrible evolution

Yourview, Dec. 9

The writer states that his Mazda3 has projector beam headlamps with a halogen bulb, but thinks Mazda only did this to save money by using the same projector lens in every country and with HID (xenon) and halogen.

Actually, this is not true.

The “optical perscription” (those checkered patterns in either the lens or reflector of a reflector-style lamp), or the curve of the projector lens (much like your set of eyeglasses), must be changed according to HID or Halogen because of the different ways the light reflects.

It’s more the exact location of the focal point of light emission: the light sources are usually in different places between the two bulbs even when their electrical socket is the same.

If you use an HID bulb with a halogen reflector, the light will become scattered and the cut-off will be wrong (illegal, which is why aftermarket HID kits are a bad idea).

Also, the optical perscription and cut-off, as well as watt output for high/low beams, can be changed per region. There is a different style lamp made for North America (DOT), Europe (E-Code is the common name for them here), England (same laws as Europe but oriented for right-hand-drive cars) and Japan (oriented for RHD, with their own laws for cut-off).

I should know — I work at a headlamp design and fabrication facility for Magna, where world cars like the Dodge Caliber have three or four different versions of the same lamp. There would be six or eight revisions if they fitted optional HID.

Rob Guenther, Belleville

I have to agree that projector head lights do not illuminate overhead signs that well.

The only thing I ask is, what are you trying to iluminate?

The overhead road sign or the road in front of you?

North American reflector assemblies throw light upwards to a certain degree to illuminate overhead signs because of people like the reader complaining about this.

This is basically why we have other omplaints about the halogen lights of oncoming drivers that blind everyone because some of the light is scattered upward toward the sign and inevitably to oncoming drivers.

Projector lighting coming to North America is the first step in having controlled lighting and focusing the light on the road where you need it.

Richard Ship, Mississauga

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