A tale of two Gladiators to get one 80th Anniversary model

YayMud!

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Long story, short- End of Feb. I bought my first Jeep; a black '20 Gladiator Sport S. A month later I traded it in for a black '21 Gladiator 80th anniversary with a ton more equipment because my Sport was worth more than I paid for it. :like:

Shockingly, my wife did not notice the change even though the 80th anniversary was missing the big factory step rails, the wheels and tires she picked out, and all the different badging and trim.:LOL: I started modding the truck the day I got it and you can follow along below if you like.


Still mostly stock on day 1- I really like the wheels and tires on this one.

80th Anniversary passenger side.jpg



I like the seat pattern and white stitching better on my 80th Anniversary than my Sport S.

80th white stitching.jpg





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YayMud!

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4/1- First official minor mod was transferring over the Oedro soft roll up tonneau cover from my '20 Gladiator. Good quality part that is easy to install. (More info. below on this page.)

Tonneau cover outside.jpg



I also transferred over my Quadratec short antenna to save roughly 37 feet in antenna length. Why is the factory antenna soooo long? So yes, my first few mods were done before I even drove the truck. :like:

Quadratec short antenna close-up.jpg



4/15 to June?- Join me at the bottom and on the next page for adventures in Jeep speaker replacement with Crutchfield. Currently on my 2nd set of speakers for the soundbar.

Rockford.jpeg
 
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YayMud!

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This should be enough room for next year mods to the Jeep.
 
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Room for all of the 2023 Mods
 
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I need your opinion on step rails or rock sliders. I can get into this Jeep just fine without step rails, but they might be nice for my wife or 2 1/2 year old daughter. I had the factory step rails on my Sport and while they looked nice, they were too high up and useless for me. I know it is a minor detail, but the bottom seams of the cab just look unfinished to me so I would prefer to have something there to cover up the seams/holes.

I was checking out some options at Extreme Terrain and Quadratec. The 1st set I like are the Mopar rock sliders which look clean, but not much different than the stock appearance and they are a little more expensive than some of the other rock slider options.

Mopar rock sliders.jpg



I also really like the N-Fab Rock Rail Step System with detachable steps that I could easily leave off if I discover that they are also too high.

f8b8ea13b63e2ab88ea50339f0fe5901.jpg



Finally, I dig the look of the Rugged Ridge RRC Rocker Guards or the similarly styled Fab Fours Tube Rock Sliders.

rugged-ridge-rrc-rocker-guards-jt-11504.38-main.jpg


Can anyone offer up any experiences with any of these products or give me suggestions? Thanks!
 
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brianinca

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Those look nice, but they seem to stick out quite a bit. No extra effort getting in and out to avoid them when they are covered in mud? (Maybe it is just the angle of the picture)
I have gotten muddy getting out (6'1") but not in, and it's easily avoidable if I think about it.

The sticking out part is worth it, even my parents can get in and out with four fake knees between them.
 
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I have gotten muddy getting out (6'1") but not in, and it's easily avoidable if I think about it.

The sticking out part is worth it, even my parents can get in and out with four fake knees between them.
Good to know. Thanks!
 
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I just got off the phone with Quadratec about the 4 different versions of rock rails. The Fab Fours are obviously the best deal right now with $150 rebate, but the N-Fabs are the most versatile with the removable steps. I just worry that they might be not much lower than the stock running boards which are too high and useless for me. Anyone have, try, or know more about the N-Fab Rock Rail Step system?

N-Fab Rock Rail Step system
f8b8ea13b63e2ab88ea50339f0fe5901.jpg


Fab Fours Tube Rock Sliders
JT20-G1850-1-v1-web.jpg
 
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Okay time to start modding this beast. The first minor mod I did the day I picked it up was to transfer over the roll up soft tonneau cover from my '20 Gladiator. I have been waiting to post this until I used it for over a month so I could recommend it. It is an Oedro cover off of Amazon that I picked up for about $220: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08628Z3XV/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I looked at lots of tonneau covers before buying this one. I wanted some protection, but also to be able to remove it almost entirely so I could easily toss in my mountain bike or load anything big. Of all the big name brand tonneau covers I narrowed it down to two, but one did not latch well and the other did not release well. I am pleased to report that the Oedro tonneau cover does everything well and is a good quality part. No complaints. Slightly better mpg too.

Good fit all around on the box.
Tonneau cover outside.jpg


tonneau cover.jpg


Here is the release that works every time.
Tonneau cover release.jpg


Easy to roll up or roll back.
Tonneau cover rolled up.jpg


Two aluminum cleats on each side attach the cover firmly to the box. No tools needed for the install either.
Tonneau cover brackets.jpg
 
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My current truck has the black plastic "Gladiator" kick plates. My wife got me the shiny aluminum ones for my 2020 that had none. I kind of like how the black plastic ones blend into the black truck. What do you guys think- should I swap the black plastic ones out for aluminum or keep the ones I have?

gladiator kick plates.jpg


plastic kick plates.jpg
 
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Until I get a chance to document my current project, here is my last little/easy project: A Quadratec short antenna. This should really be the first upgrade anyone does to these vehicles since the stock antenna is roughly 67 feet tall. I easily shaved off well over a foot of the stock antenna that looked like it was constantly going to smack the windshield frame, especially in the car wash. Fortunately, it also improved my radio reception a touch.

I had this part on my 2020 Gladiator, but I actually had to re-tap the threads on the Sport S in order to install it. Fortunately, my 2021 80th Anniversary seems like it was not made on a Friday and the antenna screwed right in the day I bought it. So yes, I started modding my Jeep before I even drove it. 😎

Quadratec short antenna close-up.jpg


new vs. old antenna.jpg
 
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YayMud!

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Time to start doing some more involved projects. Step one is replacing the factory speakers. I have the upgraded Alpine stereo and it sounds more powerful with the amp and sub, but it still lacks clarity.

So I took apart the sound bar like I did on my 2020 with the stock stereo and the 4 inch "woofer" looks like the exact same generic paper cone of the base system, but the 3.5 inch midrange/tweeter is definitely upgraded to a quality driver. So it looks like the Alpine system replaces 1/2 of the speakers and adds an amp and subwoofer.

factory sound bar.jpg



I ordered a set of these Polk 2 ways for the sound bar and a mounting plate that will require me to cut up the sound bar. I ordered the Polk component speakers for the front with the mounting pods. The front speakers look like a real treat to get to. I love the sound of Polk speakers and these are all marine grade speakers according to Crutchfield. Anyone else replace these speakers yet?

Polk.jpg
 
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YayMud!

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I finally got a chance to get the Jeep off road and get some mud on it. It worked flawlessly and I was amazed by the capability.

jeep.jpg
 

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