BuiltRight's 2020 Gladiator Build Thread

BuiltRight

Rock Sponsor (Level 1)
First Name
Matt
Joined
May 27, 2019
Messages
123
Reaction score
304
Location
CT
Vehicle(s)
2020 Gladiator
Introduction
f7FLG13.jpg

I picked up this 2020 Gladiator Sport S w/ max tow last weekend from a dealership about an hour away (shoutout Chris at Rockland Jeep in NY). Every fiber of my being was telling me to get a Rubicon, but with a Raptor already in the garage, the purpose of this truck is to be my 'more reasonable' vehicle. That's what I'm telling my wife, anyway.

I hesitate a bit to call this a 'build' but for the sake of tradition, we'll call it that. My day job is to design and manufacture Ford truck accessories, so when feasible, I'll probably try to find time nights/weekends to make some of the parts that I want. If at any point, any of the stuff I build is of interest to others, I'll see about becoming a vendor here and making some extras. Until then, no talk of work - I'm here as Matt the enthusiast!

I mentioned the Raptor and it's relevant here because it's f******* massive and although it's a blast, it's a huge (literally) pain in the ass around town. I'm looking forward to having something that's a more manageable size but still a ton of fun. In the week that I've had the Gladiator, I'm already enjoying all of the other friendly Wrangler owners in the area waving. That Jeep wave is a real thing.

The Plan

Enough with the niceties. The plan is to modify this truck by making small, incremental improvements, as I identify things or features that I want. Anything that I can design, manufacture myself, I will. Here's a list of what I'm interested in at the moment:
  • Stubby Antenna - Seems lame, but I hate that I can see the longer antenna out the windshield and that it's floppy enough that it moves a lot. I stopped on my way home from the dealership thinking it was loose
  • Wheels/Tires - On the stock non-rubi wheels, I'll be honest, the thing looks a little lame. For weekend trips and such, I also want at least the same performance that I get out of the tires on my current truck
  • Bed Protection - My other truck has an aluminum bed, so I wasn't concerned with corrosion. That's a factor here, although with my use, a thick rubber bed mat might do the trick.
  • Interior Protection - Floor mats, seat material protection of some sort? Center console cover?
  • Bed storage - this is something that seems more important given how much less space there is to stash tools, etc in the cab that a full size truck. A bed rack for my roof top tent would be nice, too.
  • Additional lighting - Nothing crazy, but something to light up a campsite or the road in bad weather
  • Bike Rack - How can we accomplish this without losing bed functionality?
  • Cell Phone Mount - Clean and factory looking? Hidden wiring?
  • Performance - I'd love a way to find more power and response from the 3.6, given what I'm used to driving. I'm more concerned with reliability though, so I probably shouldn't mess with it.
  • Bumpers - Tasteful alternative to the bloated-looking front bumper? Rubicon maybe?

Recent Photos:

First up

For me, step one is wheels and tires. I wavered back and forth between 35s and 37s and although I think the 37s look best, I think 35s are functionally what's best for me. I don't want to loose much drivability and I fear the weight and size of 37s might cross that threshold. I ended up ordering some BFG KO2s in a 315/70r17 C-rated which actually match my (dying) Raptor tires, so if I decide to go bigger, I can just swap them over. They should arrive along with wheels this week.

That's all, time to enjoy a Saturday, just wanted to get this started!

Photos
Stopped to get the mail on the way home from the dealership and couldn't resist snapping this
TYorpHz.jpg

Looking forward to see how it pulls this trailer
sOHYScA.jpg

First fill up - much less painful than a 36gal tank
fU08AGl.jpg

Can't stop sneaking a peek at it. Love how unique they look!
ELzdX34.jpg



Advertisement



 
Last edited:

Fcmalie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2018
Messages
117
Reaction score
87
Location
California
Vehicle(s)
2018 JLU, 2016 Civic
One thing that really helps the bumper without actually replacing it is removing those little end pieces that go up to the fenders. You can just dremel them off so you can keep the cover on for the rear of the light.
 

chcg12

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2017
Messages
76
Reaction score
28
Location
Chicago
Vehicle(s)
2014 JKU
Plan to lift with the 35's? If so which lift/leveling kit?
 
OP
BuiltRight

BuiltRight

Rock Sponsor (Level 1)
First Name
Matt
Joined
May 27, 2019
Messages
123
Reaction score
304
Location
CT
Vehicle(s)
2020 Gladiator
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Plan to lift with the 35's? If so which lift/leveling kit?
Yes! I’m going to do a quick leveling kit for the time being, until there are more options available for suspension setups. I’m planning to wait for an Icon kit, but we’ll see what’s available when the time comes. For now, just a 2.5” RC level.
 
OP
BuiltRight

BuiltRight

Rock Sponsor (Level 1)
First Name
Matt
Joined
May 27, 2019
Messages
123
Reaction score
304
Location
CT
Vehicle(s)
2020 Gladiator
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
One thing that really helps the bumper without actually replacing it is removing those little end pieces that go up to the fenders. You can just dremel them off so you can keep the cover on for the rear of the light.
Thanks! Will see about doing that when I’ve got the wheels off to swap. Does anybody make a cover that fits, to avoid modify the stock pieces?
 

megamucho

Well-Known Member
First Name
mega
Joined
Nov 3, 2018
Messages
157
Reaction score
202
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
Vehicle(s)
'19 Durango R/T, '18 BMW R1200GS

Fcmalie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2018
Messages
117
Reaction score
87
Location
California
Vehicle(s)
2018 JLU, 2016 Civic
I hadn't seen anything yet, some people are just leaving the covers off. I'm going to look at doing that on the wife's JLU until she finds a replacement she likes.
 

5JeepsAz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2018
Messages
2,444
Reaction score
2,318
Location
Arizona
Vehicle(s)
1964 Kaiser-Willys Jeep Gladiator (SJ) 2dr long bed pickup truck
Build Thread
Link
Love your thread. Looking forward to reading. Really want to hear about performance of Max Tow. Thing is, the of your mods is to pep up the engine. As configured, you've got the peppiest stock setup already. So if it still needs more pep, well...
 
OP
BuiltRight

BuiltRight

Rock Sponsor (Level 1)
First Name
Matt
Joined
May 27, 2019
Messages
123
Reaction score
304
Location
CT
Vehicle(s)
2020 Gladiator
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Thanks for posting - I like your planned mod path.

Here's what I'm leaning towards for bumper on my Rubicon. Stubby, functional, sexy, and reasonably priced... also appreciate that it's already set with winch tray. https://ruggedridge.com/arcus-front-bumper-w-winch-tray-tow-hooks-18-19-jeep-jl-jt.html
Thank you! Thanks for the bumper recommendation also - I love that it has an OEM look to it, but is still aggressive looking. I will definitely consider this one. Wonder if they'll do a similarly styled rear bumper. I'm really interested to see what aftermarket companies do regarding the rear of the truck and improving departure angle (although the tow hitch seems to be the limiting factor).
I hadn't seen anything yet, some people are just leaving the covers off. I'm going to look at doing that on the wife's JLU until she finds a replacement she likes.
Yea, I imagine leaving them off isn't a moisture issue, since they aren't sealed to begin with. Probably just more for protection from debris and mud. Maybe I'll come up with something simple for this if I have time.
Love your thread. Looking forward to reading. Really want to hear about performance of Max Tow. Thing is, the of your mods is to pep up the engine. As configured, you've got the peppiest stock setup already. So if it still needs more pep, well...
Thank you! Well, I can't really compare to a non max tow since I haven't driven one much, but I definitely like the pep. Like I said, it's not like my Raptor, but it definitely gets out of it's own way and I haven't even been going WOT yet.

Wheels and Tires

As mentioned, I decided to go with 35s vs. 37s to maintain better drivability (for my use, which is very diverse vs. just trail riding). The tires that I ended up ordering were '315/70R17 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Ford' which is a C load range tire. They happen to be the same as the tires on my Ford and that only factored into my decision because if I don't like the size, I can swap them over. These weigh around 65lb a piece and measure around 34.5" in height. The same tire in a 35x1250R17 is taller by .1", slightly narrower in tread width and is an E load range tire. I have a tr wholesale acct, which made these $222ea and I'll pick them up on Monday or Tuesday of this week.

ykqoWBR.jpg

Regrading wheels, I wanted something simple and a bit 'classic' for this dad-truck, so I'm eliminating all beadlock (duh) and simulated beadlock wheels from consideration. Unlike many, I've got no issue with simulated beadlock wheels. They look great and are a much more practical wheel for a daily driver than a real beadlock. My stock Raptor wheels are able to be converted to beadlock and I never did so because I didn't need to, didn't want the safety headache and ended up swapping them for something different (and much lighter).

Enough of that rant. Method has some newish wheels in their 'trail' series called the 701. They have an integrated featured called 'Bead Grip', which is a series of ridges in the wheel lip that help keep the bead seated at low temperatures and in extreme use. A great compromise where beadlock/standard mounting is concerned and word on the street is that it's more than a marketing gimmick.

yyawAfh.jpg


The final decision was finish. The options given by Method are Bronze and Matte Black. The fifteen52 wheels on my Ford are bronze and the truck is a dark gray color. Again, with a bit more understated look in mind, I went with the matte black. A dark charcoal would have probably been my preference, but I think these will satisfy that desire and I can always have them powdercoated if I change my mind, although I'd hate to eat the cost of unmounting/mounting for no reason.

4QmAbo3.png

YgnWNNX.jpg


That's all. Wheels and leveling kit are due to arrive on Wednesday and I've got a 5hr trip each way this weekend. If I can find some time in the evenings to install, I'll drive the Gladiator and give my impressions re: drivability, noise, handling, fuel economy etc.

Matt
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Ole Cowboy

Well-Known Member
First Name
Don
Joined
May 10, 2019
Messages
451
Reaction score
552
Location
Texas
Vehicle(s)
'19 F 350 King Ranch, 2 John Deeres
BuiltRight said: "
  • Bed Protection - My other truck has an aluminum bed, so I wasn't concerned with corrosion. That's a factor here, although with my use, a thick rubber bed mat might do the trick."
Tractor Supply, made from recycled rubber tires, tough with enough five to absorb some serious punishment. I have used them for years.

Your best bet is to go to Tractor Supply Company and our have the stuff on rolls. it comes 4 ft wide and as long as you want, so get them to cut a 5 ft piece for y our rig. IIRC its also available in 1/2" thickness. I have used it for years in the bed of my truck...


https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/4-ft-x-6-ft-x-3-4-in-thick-rubber-stall-mat
 

Fcmalie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2018
Messages
117
Reaction score
87
Location
California
Vehicle(s)
2018 JLU, 2016 Civic
Those wheels do look nice, I am considering trying to get the steelies from the Wayout concept when I get mine. I actually work pretty close to the wheel shop in Stockton that made them. Would have to see what their pricing is though as it would be considered a custom wheel to get it in a 17.
 
OP
BuiltRight

BuiltRight

Rock Sponsor (Level 1)
First Name
Matt
Joined
May 27, 2019
Messages
123
Reaction score
304
Location
CT
Vehicle(s)
2020 Gladiator
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Those wheels do look nice, I am considering trying to get the steelies from the Wayout concept when I get mine. I actually work pretty close to the wheel shop in Stockton that made them. Would have to see what their pricing is though as it would be considered a custom wheel to get it in a 17.
Those would be great - I really like them. Another wheel that I considered but ultimately decided was a bit too retro for me was the new fifteen52 Analog HD. A nice option if you want the benefits of a cast aluminum wheel. They've got it in matte black and slate grey. Would like to see them on a Jeep.

fifteen52-785-wheel-6lug-asphalt-black-16x7-5-1000_1200x1500_crop_center.jpg


EDIT: Found some pics of them mounted on a Taco

BuiltRight said: "
  • Bed Protection - My other truck has an aluminum bed, so I wasn't concerned with corrosion. That's a factor here, although with my use, a thick rubber bed mat might do the trick."
Tractor Supply, made from recycled rubber tires, tough with enough five to absorb some serious punishment. I have used them for years.

Your best bet is to go to Tractor Supply Company and our have the stuff on rolls. it comes 4 ft wide and as long as you want, so get them to cut a 5 ft piece for y our rig. IIRC its also available in 1/2" thickness. I have used it for years in the bed of my truck...


https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/4-ft-x-6-ft-x-3-4-in-thick-rubber-stall-mat
That's good to know! I'd used a custom fit mat from deezee in my Ford, but I don't think anything is available yet for the JT. Would be a good way to have exactly the size I want, too.
 
OP
BuiltRight

BuiltRight

Rock Sponsor (Level 1)
First Name
Matt
Joined
May 27, 2019
Messages
123
Reaction score
304
Location
CT
Vehicle(s)
2020 Gladiator
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
Oh, I thought of something else I want. I'd like to replace the 'SPORT' decal on the back with a nicer looking badge, similar to the overland or LE badges. I may just debadge it until then. The sticker seems so...cheap.
 
OP
BuiltRight

BuiltRight

Rock Sponsor (Level 1)
First Name
Matt
Joined
May 27, 2019
Messages
123
Reaction score
304
Location
CT
Vehicle(s)
2020 Gladiator
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Picked up the tires today at the Tire Rack distribution center outside of Hartford, CT. Always love a peek inside places like that. Anyway, they look huge on their own. Wheels and lift are still due tomorrow and I made some more progress on the bed rack. I think I'll save the bed rack progress for a big reveal, but I also managed to dig out my poor CVT RTT, which has been neglected since the fall.

5iNS8On.jpg


O6zOGB5.jpg


vB9Yj8h.jpg
 

eternus

Well-Known Member
First Name
Jody
Joined
Mar 23, 2018
Messages
893
Reaction score
786
Location
Longmont, CO
Vehicle(s)
2021 Sting-Gray Sport S Max Tow
Build Thread
Link
Occupation
Product Manager
Love your thread. Looking forward to reading. Really want to hear about performance of Max Tow. Thing is, the of your mods is to pep up the engine. As configured, you've got the peppiest stock setup already. So if it still needs more pep, well...
Well if he's coming from a Raptor... so he probably has a different version of pep than many/most new Gladiator owners.
 

Advertisement












Advertisement


Top