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Old 11-13-2010, 03:46 PM   #1
CLK
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TV Questions for 16' Sport.

Hi Everyone!

New to the site & first post! Let me preface what follows with,... I have never towed anything in my life,... & know very little about towing requirements. So please, understand & forgive my ignorance.

Having said that - I just put down a deposit for the purchase of a custom vehicle. From what I've been told by the builder of the vehicle,... & a technician from Airstream is - The vehicle should have no problem safety towing a 16' Sport.

The vehicle is called an ICON FJ40. Essentially, it's a modern interpretation of the old Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser.

What I'd like to do,.. is give some info about the vehicle (including specs & pics) & get some feedback from the community here, re: it's potential as a tow vehicle.

Finally, the main purpose for the purchase of the ICON FJ40, wasn't to be primarily a tow vehicle. I understand that there are much better tow vehicles available. However, if it is safe & capable, I'd like to purchase a small A/S for occasional trips (so again, not alot of trips & not solely used as a tow vehicle).

Okay, here's some info:

Specifications:
Fuel injected 350HP/350TRQ 5.3L Alloy V8
GM 4L65E 4-Speed Electronic Transmission
Atlas II part time transfer case with a crawl ratio of 87:1
Dynatrac/Dana 60/44 based axles
Stop Tech Brakes, w/ 15-inch rotors with six-piston fronts and four-piston rears.
12" travel Coil suspension with front and rear sway bars
Dedicated .180" wall chassis with unmatched rigidity
Hand crafted 5/32" 5052 H32 aluminum body
Innovative powder coat finish in 8 colors
Polyurea coated under body and floor surfaces
Stainless steel body hardware, marine grade textiles
Mandrel bent stainless steel exhaust system.

Link to more specific specs:
FJ | Specs | Gen II Gas | ICON

Length is 158"
Wheelbase is 93"
Track width is 56"

The ICON FJ comes stock with a class II hitch - that's 3500 lbs tow capacity, maximum trailer tongue weight (TW) of 300 lbs. However, they can easily upgrade it to a class III. Although the Sport 16' GVWR is 3500, that's a bit close & I would upgrade to the class III hitch

Pics:








Some videos explaining the ICON FJ40 (I'm not that mechanically informed, & think the vids may give a better idea re: chasis & suspension)
YouTube - TLC Icon Overview

YouTube - ICON

I realize that the wheelbase on this vehicle is short for towing purposes - So any thoughts or feedback, re: this vehicles ability to tow a A/S 16' Sport,... suggestions for equalizer bars, weight distributors, sway bars, etc. (or thoughts & comments in general) would be greatly appreciated!

Finally - Apologies for all the info above. I've been lurking & reading other threads related to towing a 16' A/S,... & anticipated potential questions for more info - So I decided on a 'data-dump' for my first post. So again, apologies & forgive my ignorance, & if if I've left anything out, or can provide any other info - Please ask.

Thanks!


Cheers!
~CLK
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Old 11-13-2010, 03:56 PM   #2
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SAAAAAAWWEEEEEEEET! I had a '73 FJ40.

I'm afraid however, it's not going to be a very good tow vehicle. Power is there, but the wheelbase, ride height is not good. Small rear overhang is good.

If you got a 16' or 19' Bambi and PROMISED never to exceed 55MPH, maybe I could live with it. Keep in mind, I had an FJ40 and am very familiar with it's handling.

Nothing better off road....EVER! (Maybe Hummer).

PM me and let me know how much these Icons cost. I'm drooling all over the keyboard.
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Old 11-13-2010, 05:01 PM   #3
CLK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
SAAAAAAWWEEEEEEEET! I had a '73 FJ40.

I'm afraid however, it's not going to be a very good tow vehicle. Power is there, but the wheelbase, ride height is not good. Small rear overhang is good.

If you got a 16' or 19' Bambi and PROMISED never to exceed 55MPH, maybe I could live with it.
Thanks for the reply & info - I appreciate it!

It looks like the original, & has a similar build to the original, but the handling, ride are much better than the original. However, it still has a short wheelbase & sits high.

At first, I was hoping to go as large as 19', but after all the reading I've done here, now I'm just hoping to be able to do a 16' Sport (shorter length & weight). My last resort is a teardrop/basecamp.


Quote:
PM me and let me know how much these Icons cost. I'm drooling all over the keyboard.
They are expensive, but they are hand made, using the best technology & parts available. They are not intended to be like many modern luxury 4x4 SUVs (backseat entertainment centers, onboard computers, creature comforts, etc)... instead, they're much more industrial & utilitarian. By design, there's no 'bling' on them. The only complex computerized system on the vehicle, is the engine diagnostic computer. Everything else is analog. Finally, there's no paint on the exterior (all military spec powder coating) & very little plastic anywhere. They cost between $100-$130K.

For anyone interested, below are some videos which go into more detail about the ICON.

This video is about the ICON CJ3B Willys Jeep. However, it also talks about the company's mission,... & the production of their ICON vehicles.

YouTube - ICON CJ3B (The Making Of)

Although of an FJ45 Truck, this video gives voice-over to many of the details, which make an ICON unique:

YouTube - ICON New School FJ45

A couple more which I couldn't embed:
$100,000 ICON FJ 4x4 Thrash

Motorator Video - CarCast - Icon Motors / TLC


Thanks again dznf0g! Would love to hear anymore feedback from you & others from the community.


Cheers!
~CLK
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Old 11-13-2010, 05:52 PM   #4
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As long as you're going crazy, why not get that IH turbodiesel? It limits you to the 5-speed manual, but that seems a more fitting transmission for an FJ40 anyway, and would probably return tolerable fuel mileage. I guess the GM 5.3 is easier to get parts and service for, though... and with that rear axle ratio, the diesel probably has a similar top speed to the original, which is to say not much. A friend in college had an original FJ40, which was about 12 years old at the time. If memory serves, you needed a downhill grade and a tailwind to break 60. This Icon thing seems a little better setup for on-road work than the original!
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:16 PM   #5
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Hi DKB!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DKB_SATX View Post
As long as you're going crazy, why not get that IH turbodiesel? It limits you to the 5-speed manual, but that seems a more fitting transmission for an FJ40 anyway, and would probably return tolerable fuel mileage. I guess the GM 5.3 is easier to get parts and service for, though... and with that rear axle ratio, the diesel probably has a similar top speed to the original, which is to say not much.
I didn't go w/ the diesel,... mainly for some of the reasons you noted above. Talking with the ICON designer, he felt the 5.3L V8 350/350 was the best engine for the ICON FJ40.

However, after talking about the potential for me to do some occassional towing, they did offer a menu of other options, most notable the: Cast Iron LQ9 6.0L V8 390HP/420TRQ.

Reason: More torque for when I tow. The LQ9 (cast iron) weighs only additional 68lbs, runs fancier internals, & runs as refined (noise/vibration) as the 5.3L 350HP. However, fuel efficiency is not as good as the 5.3.

It seemed like a good choice, in between the 5.3L 350HP/350TRQ & their biggest option, the LS 6.0L 450HP/458TRQ (way more than what I'd want/need).

However, after realizing that for what I'd want to tow (A/S 16' Sport), I had enough HP & TRQ with the 5.3L,... So I stayed with that option.

For the ICON FJ40 - I don't think HP/TRQ is my towing concern, rather it's the short wheelbase & height. The folks at ICON are custom upgrading my hitch to class 3,... So I'm trying to figure what other mods I can do (drop-hitch, equalizers, sway bars, weight distributors, etc) that can/could make it capable to, occasionally safely tow, a A/S 16' Sport.

Quote:
A friend in college had an original FJ40, which was about 12 years old at the time. If memory serves, you needed a downhill grade and a tailwind to break 60. This Icon thing seems a little better setup for on-road work than the original!
Cool - Good times!

Yeah, the ICON is a much better performer all around. It easily cruises down the freeway at 70mph @ low rpms,... & up into 100s if you want.

Again - Any/all thoughts are greatly appreciated!


Cheers!
~CLK
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Old 11-14-2010, 08:56 AM   #6
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I had a FJ40 which was extensively rebuilt in Phoenix much like the Icon and towed a 3000# pop-up built for offroad use. Had no problem towing at highway speeds. Once a friend asked me to tow his 18' TT up to his property in the mountains and I can tell you that was no picnic.
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Old 11-14-2010, 12:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CLK View Post
Thanks for the reply & info - I appreciate it!

It looks like the original, & has a similar build to the original, but the handling, ride are much better than the original. However, it still has a short wheelbase & sits high.

At first, I was hoping to go as large as 19', but after all the reading I've done here, now I'm just hoping to be able to do a 16' Sport (shorter length & weight). My last resort is a teardrop/basecamp.


They are expensive, but they are hand made, using the best technology & parts available. They are not intended to be like many modern luxury 4x4 SUVs (backseat entertainment centers, onboard computers, creature comforts, etc)... instead, they're much more industrial & utilitarian. By design, there's no 'bling' on them. The only complex computerized system on the vehicle, is the engine diagnostic computer. Everything else is analog. Finally, there's no paint on the exterior (all military spec powder coating) & very little plastic anywhere. They cost between $100-$130K.

For anyone interested, below are some videos which go into more detail about the ICON.

This video is about the ICON CJ3B Willys Jeep. However, it also talks about the company's mission,... & the production of their ICON vehicles.

YouTube - ICON CJ3B (The Making Of)

Although of an FJ45 Truck, this video gives voice-over to many of the details, which make an ICON unique:

YouTube - ICON New School FJ45

A couple more which I couldn't embed:
$100,000 ICON FJ 4x4 Thrash

Motorator Video - CarCast - Icon Motors / TLC


Thanks again dznf0g! Would love to hear anymore feedback from you & others from the community.


Cheers!
~CLK
Yes, I understand all the upfitting and upgrading.

You have PLENTY of uummmmph to pull, but here are my concerns, (which none of the restoration/modernization address?

1) Wheelbase
2) Ride height (center of gravity)
3) "Relatively primitive" suspension (not slamming it...that's why it IS SO GOOD off road) with leaf springs all around and a straight axle up front
4) also "primitive" steering linkages (if they're not changed to rack and pinion....couldn't tell from videos) Also bullet proof off road, but exactly precise at highway speeds.

As I said before, a 16 footer at 55MPH, I would feel comfortable.
I always explained to folks why I loved my FJ40 was that it was "basically a TRACTOR with a body on it". Remember to drive it like a farm tractor, and you're fine. You can't break them. I'd still have it if the body wouldn't have rusted away before my eyes. They were BAAAADD rusters.

Aluminum on the Icon should cure that Achilles heel.
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Old 11-14-2010, 12:24 PM   #8
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That should read "not exactly precise..."
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Old 11-14-2010, 12:54 PM   #9
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Wow, what a cool FJ! Some thoughts.. those are some skinny / tall all mud tires.. they look like 245/80/16? I think if you where to increase the width, and go slightly lower profile... say 265/70's...? Also rims with slightly bigger offset or width? I'd also stick to an all terrain tread (say BFG AT KO's) you'd get less squirm than with the mud tread. Get some LT tires for added sidewall stiffness.

I think you'd be ok with a 16', but like posted prior.. a good WD with sway control is a must. Limit your speed to 60.
Cool! Have fun!
Marc
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Old 11-14-2010, 10:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahab View Post
I had a FJ40 which was extensively rebuilt in Phoenix much like the Icon and towed a 3000# pop-up built for offroad use. Had no problem towing at highway speeds. Once a friend asked me to tow his 18' TT up to his property in the mountains and I can tell you that was no picnic.
Thanks for the info!

Was the towing in the mountains a hp/trq problem?,... or windy road/handling problem?


Cheers!
~CLK
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Old 11-14-2010, 11:00 PM   #11
CLK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
Yes, I understand all the upfitting and upgrading.

You have PLENTY of uummmmph to pull, but here are my concerns, (which none of the restoration/modernization address?

1) Wheelbase
2) Ride height (center of gravity)
3) "Relatively primitive" suspension (not slamming it...that's why it IS SO GOOD off road) with leaf springs all around and a straight axle up front
4) also "primitive" steering linkages (if they're not changed to rack and pinion....couldn't tell from videos) Also bullet proof off road, but exactly precise at highway speeds.

As I said before, a 16 footer at 55MPH, I would feel comfortable.
I always explained to folks why I loved my FJ40 was that it was "basically a TRACTOR with a body on it". Remember to drive it like a farm tractor, and you're fine. You can't break them. I'd still have it if the body wouldn't have rusted away before my eyes. They were BAAAADD rusters.

Aluminum on the Icon should cure that Achilles heel.
Hey dznf0g,

I really appreciate your perspective, as both a former FJ40 owner,... combined w/ your towing experience. Again - Thanks!

FWIW: And not that it may matter in the context of our towing discussion,... When ICON switched to their new custom Art Morrsion chassis, they also switched to Eibach coil-over springs surrounding RaceRunner Sway-A-Way dampers at all four corners (no more leafs) with solid Dynatrac axles fore and aft. The front axle is a Pro 44, and the rear is a Pro Rock 60.

Again, not that it may make a difference in the point you were making.

Below in the video, at 6:02, they show great footage (w/ voice-over) of the chassis & suspension wo/ the body on it (although of the FJ45, the FJ40 is similarly setup).

YouTube - ICON New School FJ45


Cheers!
~CLK
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Old 11-14-2010, 11:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3Ms75Argosy View Post
Wow, what a cool FJ! Some thoughts.. those are some skinny / tall all mud tires.. they look like 245/80/16? I think if you where to increase the width, and go slightly lower profile... say 265/70's...? Also rims with slightly bigger offset or width? I'd also stick to an all terrain tread (say BFG AT KO's) you'd get less squirm than with the mud tread. Get some LT tires for added sidewall stiffness.
Thanks!

The wheels/tires are 33" BF Goodrich all terrain Radials. 285/70/R17.

Quote:
I think you'd be ok with a 16', but like posted prior.. a good WD with sway control is a must. Limit your speed to 60.
Cool! Have fun!
Marc
So far, that seems to be the consensus (OK w/ a 16',... but keep the speed below 60mph).

Any dessenting opinions?

Also, any opinions on specific; drop hitches,... WD,... sway bars,... equalizers,...etc? What's the best brand/models should I look at?

Thanks again everyone,... seems like this might work!


Cheers!
~CLK
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CLK View Post
Hey dznf0g,

I really appreciate your perspective, as both a former FJ40 owner,... combined w/ your towing experience. Again - Thanks!

FWIW: And not that it may matter in the context of our towing discussion,... When ICON switched to their new custom Art Morrsion chassis, they also switched to Eibach coil-over springs surrounding RaceRunner Sway-A-Way dampers at all four corners (no more leafs) with solid Dynatrac axles fore and aft. The front axle is a Pro 44, and the rear is a Pro Rock 60.

Again, not that it may make a difference in the point you were making.

Below in the video, at 6:02, they show great footage (w/ voice-over) of the chassis & suspension wo/ the body on it (although of the FJ45, the FJ40 is similarly setup).

YouTube - ICON New School FJ45


Cheers!
~CLK
OK, I'm confused. The FJ45 shows coil over link suspension at all four corners. The FJ40 in your original post shows leafs at all 4 corners. Which are you getting. Makes a BIG difference in our discussion. FJ45 is a longer wheelbase as well.
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:14 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CLK View Post
Thanks for the info!

Was the towing in the mountains a hp/trq problem?,... or windy road/handling problem?


Cheers!
~CLK
No HP problem. Handling around the 15mph hairpins and oscillations (not sway)
going down steep grades, probably caused by the balloon tires and the TT wanting to go it's own way. May have had a different suspension geometry than your machine.
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