6th Jeep Build, 1st Gladiator Build

JTjeeper

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Well this is fitting for my first post. Hello everyone! I guess I will start with throwing out a little background on myself. Bare with me as I get to the build details.

I am a longtime Jeep owner. I have personally built 5 Jeeps now with this Gladiator Being my 6th official Jeep build. My first Jeep was a 97 TJ that I built over the course of a few years to figure out what I wanted to do with it and played with many different options as I learned how to drive off road in many different situations. I instantly fell in love with Moab and Jeeping. Being from Idaho it made it easy to get out and explore many different areas in this region of the country. Moab always being at the top of my list. I spent every minute I could driving pretty hard and within a few short years I was spending every chance I got making trips to Ut, Mt, Co, and Wy to just get out exploring new rock gardens and trails where ever I could manage to go. Long story short I have been in love with Jeeps and going off road for more than 20 years at this point. This year will be my 23rd EJS.

From the fist Tj going forward I ended up building 2 additional Tj's, a 2004 LJ, I had 2 full blown tube rock buggies for several years competing in rock crawling comps, in between all the madness, and finally built a 2010 JK in 2011 as a very capable off-road/over-landing rig (a well rounded Jeep). The JK was my overall favorite jeep to date as I could drive it on the freeway at 80MPH and also crawl the slick rock in Moab on difficult trails without worry then proceed to drive it back to Idaho if I chose not to trailer it. I have decided that for me in my years of evolving that this type of Jeep is my favorite type to have and to build.

This last year as my JK was coming up on 100K mikes and I knew that it was time to see it off and move on to my next Jeep. I feel that the resale takes a large hit at 100K, some will agree. After a lot of back and forth my wife I settled on a JT over the JL for a few reasons, but the largest is for how I see myself using it going forward (more to the over-landing and exploring side). However I did want to have something that is extremely capable for the more mild to wild trails that it may see from time to time without compromising drivability and comfort.

This Gladiator build is going to be a fairly mild build, but a fun build and I am really looking forward to putting it to use. I ordered my JT on the 25th of January 2020 and it is not quite here as of today, but I am being told it should arrive in the next 10 days or so. That is going to leave me with about a week or so (prior obligations taking up my days) to get it built before I leave for the Moab EJS on the 6th of April. As with all my previous Jeeps I believe in doing the hands on work myself as it makes it easier to fix issues in the field if you understand your equipment, just my opinion.

So for this build I will be working with a 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon. It is pretty loaded up. I ordered it just the way I wanted it. The only options it is lacking (easier than a list of the options it has) that I did not really care about are: color matched top, dual tops, Color matched fenders, factory tonneau cover, and I did not upgrade the wheels. This Rubicon has every option, but those. So from that base I will be adding the below list of parts I have mostly received to this point that will be going on this GT. I am planning a 3 to 5 day build process. So here goes, the list:


3" Rock Krawler PRO-X NO LIMITS with RDS Shocks Lift
Warn 10K ZEON PLATINUM 10-SYN Winch
39x13.50 BFG KM3 MT TA's
5:13 Yukon Gears
Smitty built Gen 2 XRC Front bumper
Synergy HD Steering Kit
Synergy Front Track Bar & Sector Shaft Brace
Fox Steering stabilizer
Fuel 8.5x17 Wheels w/3.5 backspacing
ARB Twin Air
Trail Dash 2 Superchip
DV8 Rock sliders
Quake LED Marker lights
Artec Industries Solid Front Inner Fenders
Decked Bed unit
Rugged Ridge Bed Cover
Rigid Pro Lights (4)
And a few other small things...


I would love to hear your thoughts on this build and feel free to ask any questions! Here is a pic of my parts pile still missing the lift in this pic and a few other items. Also the winch in this pic is not the correct one. Also a couple pic's of my JK until I can post a pic of the GT.
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davetha

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That's a pretty solid part list. Your rear fender liners are going to rub a bit at full bump with the 39s. You might want to plan on removing the inner liners on those. I see you have the front fenders already lined up.

The only other recommendation you might want to consider is the Synergy Sector Shaft Brace. Unless it comes with the HD steering setup you purchased.

I'm running 4.75" backspacing on the 39inch KM3s. No rubbing on the frame or anything like that. You'll be more than safe with what you're getting spacing wise.
 
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JTjeeper

JTjeeper

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That's a pretty solid part list. Your rear fender liners are going to rub a bit at full bump with the 39s. You might want to plan on removing the inner liners on those. I see you have the front fenders already lined up.

The only other recommendation you might want to consider is the Synergy Sector Shaft Brace. Unless it comes with the HD steering setup you purchased.

I'm running 4.75" backspacing on the 39inch KM3s. No rubbing on the frame or anything like that. You'll be more than safe with what you're getting spacing wise.

Thanks for the heads up on the rear fenders! I was thinking about letting them "Self Clearance" themselves, I will see how bad it is after a shake down run. If it is horrible I will get inners for the rear as well. As for the Synergy brace, yes I have that as well, just forgot to add it to the list as I was thinking it was part of the synergy HD steering kit, but I did have to purchase it separately. You would think that the HD steering kit would include it, but it does not.

On the wheels they actually are a 4.5" backspacing and are not made in the 3.5" BS that I am thinking I am going to need, so as much as I hate to admit it i did get 1.75" Front and rear wheel spacers to correct it. What can I say, I had to have the wheels... haha

Running a 3" lift I was really concerned about the rub issue with 4.5"BS, but no one that I have been able to talk to is running a similar setup to my build plan. What size of lift are you running? My goal is to keep it as low as possible with 39's. Thanks again for the input!
 

davetha

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I'm running nearly the same lift height. 3.5inch MetalCloak lift. I know exactly where you're going to hit lol.

On the front at 4inches of bump stop, you're going to hit here with stock fenders at full bump ( https://photos.app.goo.gl/JpqEbcynDtJaUXDo6 ). When you trim the front fenders and remove the inner liner. You'll be able to back it down to 3 inches of bump stop and have a good amount of up travel.

On the rear with 4inches of bump stop you'll *barely* rub the inner fender. ( https://photos.app.goo.gl/g3sTHvVRDXkMHfwP9 )

My goal is to get down to at least 3inches of bump stops. At 4inches of bump on the rear, you can only put a few hundred lbs of weight in the bed before it contacts the bump stops. Its the reason I mentioned the rear.
 
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JTjeeper

JTjeeper

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I'm running nearly the same lift height. 3.5inch MetalCloak lift. I know exactly where you're going to hit lol.

On the front at 4inches of bump stop, you're going to hit here with stock fenders at full bump ( https://photos.app.goo.gl/JpqEbcynDtJaUXDo6 ). When you trim the front fenders and remove the inner liner. You'll be able to back it down to 3 inches of bump stop and have a good amount of up travel.

On the rear with 4inches of bump stop you'll *barely* rub the inner fender. ( https://photos.app.goo.gl/g3sTHvVRDXkMHfwP9 )

My goal is to get down to at least 3inches of bump stops. At 4inches of bump on the rear, you can only put a few hundred lbs of weight in the bed before it contacts the bump stops. Its the reason I mentioned the rear.

Gotcha. Thanks for the info. This RC lift has 3" bump stops as per their recommendation with the 39's. I will play with it and see what adjustments I am going to have to make to get it all working correctly as I will have constant weight in the rear (couple hundred lbs at all times).
 

davetha

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Gotcha. Thanks for the info. This RC lift has 3" bump stops as per their recommendation with the 39's. I will play with it and see what adjustments I am going to have to make to get it all working correctly as I will have constant weight in the rear (couple hundred lbs at all times).
3inch bump on road travel will probably be fine without any trimming. At full flex is where it will rub. It wont be that bad. Its really the front where you really need it.
 

davetha

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KENNEDY13TX

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@davetha any more pics or a link for that red JT. I just got the 3" RK pro-x lift delivered. Supposed to pick up my 39" km3s thursday.
 
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JTjeeper

JTjeeper

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Well, I have all my parts with 1 exception. Jeep due to all the world issues has been delayed and I am still waiting to take delivery. This has been rough! hopefully I will have it in a week or so. As soon as it hits the ground here the build begins! :)
 
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JTjeeper

JTjeeper

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Jeep finally came in! took delivery and got it in the shop to start the build. Last night I installed the Decked unit, tonneau cover, And ARB twin Air compressor. Today I am installing the Gears, and the Super chip.

I opened up all my boxes for the lift kit yesterday and discovered that I was shorted a box with 8 essential components bringing the lift kit install to a stop until I get the missing parts. Major bummer due to everything going on and not knowing if and when I can even get the parts due to this whole Covid-19 pandemic. Crazy. Hopefully they are still working and can send the parts out ASAP.

Over the next couple days depending on the lift situation I will be installing the front bumper, winch, maybe the HD steering setup, lights, rock sliders and a couple other small things.

Pics with some of yesterdays progress:

20200406_181515.jpg


20200408_181152.jpg


20200408_212557.jpg
 

JT-Jack

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Looks like you're off to a good start less the missing lift parts. Hope you receive them in time.
 
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JTjeeper

JTjeeper

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Ok! Gears are completed, also got the Rock sliders on along with the front bumper, lights, winch, superchip, and trax on top of the decked unit installed today. Making progress, just wish the rest of the lift parts would get here so I can get the lift on! Here are some progress pics.

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20200410_234453.jpg
 
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JTjeeper

JTjeeper

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Well I finally got the rest of my lift parts last Wednesday and was able to get them installed Thursday. Got the rest of the stuff installed as well and took "Maximus" out for a shakedown run over the weekend. Everything worked flawlessly, I could not be happier! Let me know what you guys think. I am still waiting for a couple backordered parts (rear inner fenders, & sector shaft/track bar brace), but other than that he is almost complete for the time being. I am very happy with the overall build so far! :)
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