BabblingBafoon's '20 Gladiator Sport S Sting Gray Build Thread

BabblingBafoon

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Brand new to the forum and literally just bought my Gladiator on Friday, July 31st, 2020. My wife has owned a 2019 Wrangler Unlimited Moab for about 1.5 years that both she and I love. She really wants to modify her Jeep, but hasn't pulled the trigger yet. Now that I have my OWN Jeep, and love to mod, she is feeling the pressure to mod hers before me! LOL She wants to lift hers and put bigger wheels/tires on it, and I wouldn't mind getting her stock wheels/tires... so could be a win/win!
My 2020 Jeep Gladiator Sport S in Sting Gray the day I bought it.jpg

I don't even know where to start with this thread, because there is so much I already want to do with it, but my first purchase will most likely be a tonneau cover for the bed to enhance storage options. I would have bought one Saturday morning (August 1st, 2020), but Quadtratec in West Chester, PA is closed on Saturday's and Sunday's right now due to COVID. :(

I have been dealing with neuromuscular issues for a few years now, and recently (FINALLY) was diagnosed with PLS (Primary Lateral Sclerosis). I mention this because I had an awesomely fun 2019 VW Golf R that I modded to make my dream car... but with my neuromuscular issues, I was losing the ability to drive quickly and trust myself to do so safely (reaction times, reflexes, and all that). So, I decided it would be better for me to have something that didn't make me want to drive fast, and the Jeep is like a complete 180 from my Golf R. In fact, I often find myself driving below the speed limit in the Jeep just because it's so relaxing and fun to me. If you are interested in my Golf R build thread, you can find it here: https://www.golfmk7.com/forums/index.php?threads/babblingbafoon’s-2019-us-golf-r-mk7-5-build.363727/

Not sure if a hot-hatch build would interest many people on a Jeep forum, but thought I would share. It was a fun build-out and awesome car. I'm sad to no longer have it, but it's for the best. My wife says she feels much more at peace now that I have the Gladiator.

I have to say, Jeep's models and available options between those models are SUPER strange. In reality, there isn't a way to order the exact Gladiator with the exact options I would want. That just seems silly. The max towing models don't have access, from the factory, to some of the higher-end features (good thing there is a great after-market). Also, I'm extremely impatient and don't want to place an order and then have to wait for weeks to get what I ordered. So, the fact that I got the vehicle I got makes me happy but would have been better if I could have bought it the way I wanted from the start.

A few things that I am happy about:
  • Buying the max-towing capacity model, Sport S - I didn't realize until I got home and compared the models online for available options (because the available options seem crazy to me) how big of a difference it was between the models. In some cases, it is a difference of over 3,700 lbs (4,000 versus 7,650)!!
  • The BEST color (IMO) for this vehicle - The dealer had it in Sting-Gray, which I absolutely LOVE (they only had this one unit in this color, so thank goodness it matched my major needs)
  • Having cloth seats! - My wife's Moab has black leather seats and they are burning hot with the top open when it's sunny. She wishes she had cloth.
  • Getting a model with adaptive cruise as a priority over the upgraded stereo with Apple CarPlay... both together would have been nice, but the stereo is easy to upgrade later... adaptive cruise, not so much. They didn't have any Sport S models with both... one or the other.
A few things I am unhappy about:
  • Factory LED headlights not even an option on Sport S -- I love the new Jeep LED headlights, DRLs, and fog lights. The last 3 vehicles I have owned had LED headlights and going back is difficult. I know there are aftermarket options, but this is silly to me. I'm honestly not even sure if I can add the Mopar LED headlights to my vehicle after the fact, but I will look into that option. I know my next beef has been a struggle to add for many.
  • Passive Proximity Keyless Entry - My last 4 vehicles have had this, where you never have to remove the key-fob from your pocket, and it matters more than you would think. I knew this would bug me, but figured I should be able to add it after purchase. Well, there are several LONG threads of what a pain this has been for many, and it seems to all come down to whether or not (today anyway) you can find a dealer that will get the coding done for you. This thread seems to be the latest where people are getting it done successfully, so there is hope at least. I am hoping my dealer will do it because I don't want to live without this.
  • No Automatic Temp Control or Dual-Zone - The lack of dual-zone is livable... the completely manual controls is BS! Maybe it seems petty, but I haven't had to mess with climate controls, other than temp, for like 8 years! It was kind of funny because I couldn't even figure out how to make it work for a few seconds... it's all coming back to me now.
  • No Apple CarPlay - I already mentioned above that this was a lower priority and there are many options available aftermarket, but it would have been great if this exact vehicle also had the premium sound system with the subwoofer. My wife's Moab has the 8.4" premium system with the subwoofer and it sounds great. I will probably go with the Alpine system designed for Jeeps that integrates with the factory systems. I may simply go with just the head unit or a less expensive model because I hardly listen to music while driving in the past year, but CarPlay is nice to have for calls and GPS. Also looking at possible wireless charging phone holders and play the audio through Bluetooth. There are lots of options.
Much more to come, including a running wishlist. Like with my Golf R thread, I will probably pin a post with the most recent pics and running build list at the top.



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BabblingBafoon

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Received my 67 Designs Gladiator Rail System pack today, and my Paracable USB-C to USB-C 3 ft cable in Carbon (gray) that I will be using for my iPad Pro 11" once the 67 Designs 3D Printed iPad holder arrives. For the 67D Rail System, I got the matte finish carbon fiber arm and the universal phone holder.

I am still waiting on my Paracable order with 6 ft Lightning cables in Carbon (gray), so I will run one of those from the center console once that gets here and route it up through the HVAC control panel (like @-miko- did in his #8 post) where my phone sits.

To mount the rail in the dash cut-out, it was easiest to fold down the windshield so I could get my drill properly angled for the additional pilot holes for the mounting screws. Since I had it down for that, I decided there was no time like the present to pull apart the HVAC and radio to route the USB-C cable into the dash cut-out. The Paracables are really well made, but that also means the connectors are a little bulkier than lesser quality cables. Since I don't want to have to mess with these cables once in, I wanted to use something high-quality. These Paracables can take a ton of punishment compared to other cables, including the official Apple ones.

Here are some photos I grabbed during the process.

HVAC Controls pulled. I was able to use my fingernail to pull it far enough away to get my finger behind it... then it was just a matter of working my way around and popping the clips out. It was surprisingly easy and clean. I also removed the faceplate around the radio by unscrewing the two screws at the bottom and then just pulling it off... it's a little shocking when it breaks free. I thought I actually broke something, but it was perfectly fine.
IMG_1302.jpg

Next, 4 screws and the radio comes free. The radio is shallow and should be an easy swap in the future.
IMG_1303.jpg

The next two photos are just to show the dash cut-out with the rubber removed, and then after I drilled the hole for the USB-C cable connector to get through and then properly mounted the 67D Rail System. Because of the lip, rail, and angle of the windshield, you cannot see the hole for the cable. I had to hold my phone against the windshield to get the second shot.
IMG_1305.jpg

IMG_1307.jpg

The next two photos are just to show how I routed the cable behind the dash. There is a place to the right where you can push the cable behind so it doesn't interfere with the radio at all. The first picture shows the cable near where that bracket is, but I left the cable show so you could see it. I should be able to feed the cable in and out of the dash if I wanted to hide the slack.
IMG_1308.jpg

I dropped the cable down from the radio hole and then grabbed it and made the bend to have it come out the bottom of the HVAC panel with just enough slack to make the turn and plug-in to the USB-C jack under the "Media" flap.
IMG_1309.jpg

Here are a few with it all put back together. The cable can completely tuck under the rail so you don't see it at all. I pulled it up just so it was visible for the shot.
IMG_1310.jpg

I thought I would need to notch the HVAC panel to get a nice tight fit, but the gap with it fully engaged was enough for the cable to fit through (sweet!).
IMG_1311.jpg

If I wanted to close the "Media" flap, I could unplug the USB-C cable to do so.
IMG_1312.jpg

Here is the full shot with the phone holder mounted
IMG_1313.jpg

IMG_1314.jpg

The arm in matte finish carbon fiber
IMG_1315.jpg

How it will probably look once I get the iPad Pro 11" holder delivered and installed. Since my iPad has cellular, I am considering not upgrading my stereo at all. I could use the iPad for GPS navigation, music... anything. The screen is bigger than any stereo I would be able to get too. We shall see how this plays out, but it's a thought. This picture is about chest level, so it doesn't block my view out the windshield like this makes it look... I just couldn't hold it out far enough and sit back with the camera high enough to show what it would look like. The phone kept slipping out of my hand.
IMG_1317.jpg

Here is a shot with the USB-C unplugged and the "Media" flap down.
IMG_1318.jpg

I also had a very shallow dual-USB cigarette lighter charger I can use if my kids are in the vehicle with me and need to charge. You can almost close the flap with it in. Eventually, I'd like to add the USB ports with the 110V plug in the back row... but this will work until then.
IMG_1320.jpg
 
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BabblingBafoon

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The fact that there are no rear charging ports of any kind is a bummer. I was looking around at possible options for this and there are some mentioned in a JL Forum, but they use the rear 12V socket in the back cargo area, which doesn't exist in the JT. Someone in the thread mentioned just buying a cigarette charging port that has a length of cable and almost like a USB charging hub that he runs to the back seats. What he had referenced wasn't in stock any longer, but I found something similar that I like even better! It has 2 USB ports at the plug, and then two more on a hub that can simply clip to the back of the front seat. I could run the cable under the center console to keep it hidden and leave it there all the time.

https://www.amazon.com/LECMARK-Char.../B07K5R6H6X/ref=psdc_2407761011_t3_B01LXJAR7I

It's not as clean as I would like, but it's cheap and seems like it would be easy and serve its purpose.
1596992293348.png

The cable is 1.7 meters long, so about 5.5 feet. That should be enough to route under the center console and hang on the back of the seat.
 

JTzntz

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Nice R! I’m maybe the only other VW hot hatch person on this forum.

Interested to see how that iPad mount works out for you when you get it. Looking for a mount the sits lower to not block much of the windshield. I have been toying with the idea of using an iPad instead of installing a factory 7” or 8.4” head unit. The price on those even used just is touch to justify. The iPad would also be running an off road GPS app.
 
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BabblingBafoon

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Nice R! I’m maybe the only other VW hot hatch person on this forum.

Interested to see how that iPad mount works out for you when you get it. Looking for a mount the sits lower to not block much of the windshield. I have been toying with the idea of using an iPad instead of installing a factory 7” or 8.4” head unit. The price on those even used just is touch to justify. The iPad would also be running an off road GPS app.
Thanks!

Yeah, the iPad could substitute as a head unit and so much more. The 67D iPad holder takes close to a month to get because it is 3D printed. I am contemplating a different mount as well, but it seems too bulky to me compared to the 3D printed one.

This is it:
https://ocmounts.com/products/ram-x...e-adapter-for-10-large-tablets-ram-b-202-un9u
 

-miko-

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Received my 67 Designs Gladiator Rail System pack today, and my Paracable USB-C to USB-C 3 ft cable in Carbon (gray) that I will be using for my iPad Pro 11" once the 67 Designs 3D Printed iPad holder arrives. For the 67D Rail System, I got the matte finish carbon fiber arm and the universal phone holder.

I am still waiting on my Paracable order with 6 ft Lightning cables in Carbon (gray), so I will run one of those from the center console once that gets here and route it up through the HVAC control panel (like @-miko- did in his #8 post) where my phone sits.

To mount the rail in the dash cut-out, it was easiest to fold down the windshield so I could get my drill properly angled for the additional pilot holes for the mounting screws. Since I had it down for that, I decided there was no time like the present to pull apart the HVAC and radio to route the USB-C cable into the dash cut-out. The Paracables are really well made, but that also means the connectors are a little bulkier than lesser quality cables. Since I don't want to have to mess with these cables once in, I wanted to use something high-quality. These Paracables can take a ton of punishment compared to other cables, including the official Apple ones.

Here are some photos I grabbed during the process.

HVAC Controls pulled. I was able to use my fingernail to pull it far enough away to get my finger behind it... then it was just a matter of working my way around and popping the clips out. It was surprisingly easy and clean. I also removed the faceplate around the radio by unscrewing the two screws at the bottom and then just pulling it off... it's a little shocking when it breaks free. I thought I actually broke something, but it was perfectly fine.
IMG_1302.jpg

Next, 4 screws and the radio comes free. The radio is shallow and should be an easy swap in the future.
IMG_1303.jpg

The next two photos are just to show the dash cut-out with the rubber removed, and then after I drilled the hole for the USB-C cable connector to get through and then properly mounted the 67D Rail System. Because of the lip, rail, and angle of the windshield, you cannot see the hole for the cable. I had to hold my phone against the windshield to get the second shot.
IMG_1305.jpg

IMG_1307.jpg

The next two photos are just to show how I routed the cable behind the dash. There is a place to the right where you can push the cable behind so it doesn't interfere with the radio at all. The first picture shows the cable near where that bracket is, but I left the cable show so you could see it. I should be able to feed the cable in and out of the dash if I wanted to hide the slack.
IMG_1308.jpg

I dropped the cable down from the radio hole and then grabbed it and made the bend to have it come out the bottom of the HVAC panel with just enough slack to make the turn and plug-in to the USB-C jack under the "Media" flap.
IMG_1309.jpg

Here are a few with it all put back together. The cable can completely tuck under the rail so you don't see it at all. I pulled it up just so it was visible for the shot.
IMG_1310.jpg

I thought I would need to notch the HVAC panel to get a nice tight fit, but the gap with it fully engaged was enough for the cable to fit through (sweet!).
IMG_1311.jpg

If I wanted to close the "Media" flap, I could unplug the USB-C cable to do so.
IMG_1312.jpg

Here is the full shot with the phone holder mounted
IMG_1313.jpg

IMG_1314.jpg

The arm in matte finish carbon fiber
IMG_1315.jpg

How it will probably look once I get the iPad Pro 11" holder delivered and installed. Since my iPad has cellular, I am considering not upgrading my stereo at all. I could use the iPad for GPS navigation, music... anything. The screen is bigger than any stereo I would be able to get too. We shall see how this plays out, but it's a thought. This picture is about chest level, so it doesn't block my view out the windshield like this makes it look... I just couldn't hold it out far enough and sit back with the camera high enough to show what it would look like. The phone kept slipping out of my hand.
IMG_1317.jpg

Here is a shot with the USB-C unplugged and the "Media" flap down.
IMG_1318.jpg

I also had a very shallow dual-USB cigarette lighter charger I can use if my kids are in the vehicle with me and need to charge. You can almost close the flap with it in. Eventually, I'd like to add the USB ports with the 110V plug in the back row... but this will work until then.
IMG_1320.jpg
Looks good - even more adventurous then I was :like:. I'm thinking of adding an iPad for navigation as well and will think about going all the way up to the67 design mount like you did.
 

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Thanks!

Yeah, the iPad could substitute as a head unit and so much more. The 67D iPad holder takes close to a month to get because it is 3D printed. I am contemplating a different mount as well, but it seems too bulky to me compared to the 3D printed one.

This is it:
https://ocmounts.com/products/ram-x...e-adapter-for-10-large-tablets-ram-b-202-un9u
Agreed, the 67D one is so much nicer and cleaner than the other option, and probably more bulletproof. I'm sure waiting is hard, but it would be worth it to me since I'd have to look at it much longer than the wait and the multi-arm one just isn't as aesthetically appealing to me.

Following! :like:
 
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BabblingBafoon

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Agreed, the 67D one is so much nicer and cleaner than the other option, and probably more bulletproof. I'm sure waiting is hard, but it would be worth it to me since I'd have to look at it much longer than the wait and the multi-arm one just isn't as aesthetically appealing to me.

Following! :like:
You are so right about having to deal with it longer than the wait is. LOL

cleaner is always better, so yeah, will be going the 67D 3D printed route.
 
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BabblingBafoon

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Looks good - even more adventurous then I was :like:. I'm thinking of adding an iPad for navigation as well and will think about going all the way up to the67 design mount like you did.
Because it was easy to get the cable up through the top dash cut-out, I am toying with possibly doing the same with the lightning cable for the phone. That way I can tuck it under the rail when not using it like the USB-C cable.

Will have to see if that would work out the way I want or not. I should get the Paracables today.
 
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BabblingBafoon

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Finally received my 6 ft Lightning Paracable today, so I installed the one in the console and ran it under the center console and up through the dash cut-out. I was able to use the same exact hole I drilled out for the USB-C cable without having to make it larger! Because the lightning connector is smaller in size that the USB-C, it fit even with the thick Paracable cord, so that was awesome. I sort of tested the length before drilling in the console storage area, and I knew it was going to be close, but after I got it installed, it is literally inch-perfect. Meaning, if I had to make even one more bend it wouldn't have worked. I could have moved my phone holder across the rail, but I am glad it worked exactly where I had placed it because it feels like the perfect placement for it without blocking the vent and leaving room for my iPad.

I didn't grab any photos of how I ran the cable, but I drilled the hole on the same side the USB port is on, right below the slant towards the front. So you can't see the hole when you look in, and it is also the straightest shot to get the most length from the cable. I simply shoved the cable through the hole and kept feeding it in and was able to grab it by sticking my fingers up under the bottom of the console in front of the passenger seat. I popped off the circular cover on the side of the console near the footwell and removed the bolt there to loosen the panel and allow me to get the cable up behind it... again, to give as much length as possible.

I used a "fish", the kind you use to pull wires through walls and such, by putting it in behind where the HVAC controls are and pointed it down at an angle towards the footwell. Once that popped out I was able to temporarily attach the cable to the end and pull it up to behind the HVAC controls. I then fed it up the same path I used for the USB-C cable and pushed the Lightning connector through the hole I already made for that cable.

I then used the velcro strap that Paracables comes with to tie it to the carbon fiber arm of the phone holder and was done. This allows it to be plugged into the phone while in the holder, but I can also pull it back when not in use so I don't have a cable dangling all the time. I can even put the excess cable down into the dash.

Here are some pictures. I used my phone to take the pictures, so I don't have one with a phone in the holder.
IMG_1324.jpg

IMG_1325.jpg

IMG_1327.jpg

Cable pulled back for when not using it to plug into a phone and kept out of the way.
IMG_1328.jpg

IMG_1329.jpg
 

Artsifrtsi

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Curious, are you using the cable to interface with the radio, or just charging? If just charging, why didn't you get a hard-wired USB port to wire in behind the dash, and then not have the wire route back through the front like that?
 
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BabblingBafoon

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Curious, are you using the cable to interface with the radio, or just charging? If just charging, why didn't you get a hard-wired USB port to wire in behind the dash, and then not have the wire route back through the front like that?
It is to interface with the radio specifically. This way, the audio plays through the sound-system. I am not concerned with charging so much. My devices easily get me through the day without a charge.

In fact, I don’t plug in unless I want to play something through my speakers.
 

Artsifrtsi

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It is to interface with the radio specifically. This way, the audio plays through the sound-system. I am not concerned with charging so much. My devices easily get me through the day without a charge.

In fact, I don’t plug in unless I want to play something through my speakers.
You might still be able to wire it up to where the connection is made behind the dash, then you wont see the wire out front...
 

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