EgulAye's mild hunting build (is it an overland build?)

EgulAye

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Maine, US
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1980 CJ5, 1987 YJ, 2020 JT
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I picked up my Gator Rubicon on July 8th, 2020. At this moment is still has less than 1,000 miles on the odometer. I'll be taking the Jeep on a hunting trip in northern Maine this fall. I'll start this build thread detailing what I'm doing to prepare for that trip.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, Gator green
Trailer Tow Package
Cold Weather Group
LED Lighting Group
8.4 Inch Radio / Uconnect
Hardtop Headliner
All Weather Slush Mats
8 Speed Automatic
Black Freedom Top
Winch Capable Steel Front Bumper
Spray In Bedliner
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EgulAye

EgulAye

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1980 CJ5, 1987 YJ, 2020 JT
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I built a wooden platform for hunting trips, which hopefully gets used often. In reality it would only be for a few weeks in the fall. When we do hunting trips in northern Maine it helps to be higher up so you can see over slash piles along the sides of the roads etc. The platform is made to lift out easily (I hope, haven't actually tried yet). The saw horse is cargo, not part of the platform.
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EgulAye

EgulAye

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1980 CJ5, 1987 YJ, 2020 JT
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This is the first vehicle that I've put a winch on. I have a Warn 8274 for my CJ5 but it needs to be rebuilt (both the winch and the CJ), so it's never been mounted. For the Gladiator I decided to go with the Warn VR Evo 12. I know it's the cheaper family of Warn winches, but I am not rock crawling this rig and don't expect to use the winch a lot. This was also my reasoning for the steel rope versus synthetic (I used the difference in cost to buy the snatch block, shackles, and tree saver).

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I've been thinking to keep the Jeep close to stock. The idea of using the Mopar winch plate seemed good, but they're back ordered several months. That would be into the fall and possibly miss my hunting trip. I found the Warn winch plate for JT's was available to ship immediately and at half the cost of the Mopar plate, so that's what I have.

Some of the bolts in the factory steel bumper are a bit chintzy, a few of the spring nuts broke during the re-installation process. I also encountered interference with two welded nuts on the skid plate mounting brackets. There are two nuts welded onto the brackets for some other option that my Jeep doesn't have (perhaps one of the safety group options like automatic braking). Since my Jeep will never have those options I removed the lower nut from each bracket.

It was probably a miss with my plate kit, but the required alignment zip ties were not included. You'll notice in my photos that all the cable is on the ground. The socket head allen screws that hold the two sides if the winch onto the center part were loose and came out while I was turning it about. The sections separated enough for the spool to run free and the stiff wire un-spooled itself. I could do little to stop it so I ended up with all the cable out on the ground.

Other than those minor glitches the installation went without issue. I'm looking forward to using the winch soon.

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EgulAye

EgulAye

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1980 CJ5, 1987 YJ, 2020 JT
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Next up are some Baja lights for the front. I wanted a pair of their LP6 lights but those are out of my price range. Their Squadron Pro kit seemed like a better fit for my budget. I went with the Driving/Combo lights in amber.

The wiring harness that comes with the kit includes connectors at each light, a connector that would allow the bumper to be removed with the lights still attached, an inline fuse holder near the battery connection, and a booted toggle switch to control the lights. The entire harness is jacketed and the length is more than enough for this mid-sized truck.

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EgulAye

EgulAye

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For my hunting platform I want bed power available. I decided to mount a single connector near the blank cover for the factory option.

With the hunting platform installed I've build a power box that can be plugged in. The box has a cigar lighter type port, two USB charging ports, a voltage display, and toggle switch. Everything in the box is fused with a single fuse. The voltmeter and USB ports are controlled by the switch. Each have backlighting when on. I also included a non-fused pass thru of the 12 gauge connection for a work light in the bed.

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EgulAye

EgulAye

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Last week I discovered a bent cooling line for the transmission. The jeep has around 1,000 miles now, I haven't done anything to rough the truck up yet, so I'm wondering if it was like this from the factory or transit.

I have an appointment with my local dealership this week to look at it.

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EgulAye

EgulAye

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Wiring through the firewall and connecting to the battery:

There is a larger grommet near the brake booster on the driver's side. I drilled a 3/4" hole in this and used a watertight cord grip.

On the battery terminals I added some extenders from Quadratec. I have connected the winch and Baja lights to these. I will also be adding bed power and a battery supplied feed for two-way radios here.

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EgulAye

EgulAye

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Here's a few photos of the power cable from the battery to the bed. I used a nice spool of black and red 12 guage wire, a waterproof connector, and a waterproof fuse holder; all should be good for 30 amps. I got 22 feet of 3/8" wiring cover from my local hardware store pretty cheaply and had about 2 feet left over. That means I used about 22 feet of wire.

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EgulAye

EgulAye

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Electrical updates under the hood are done. The last feed I wanted to add was a dedicated battery feed for two way radios. Here are a few last photos.

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EgulAye

EgulAye

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In the cab I have two items to add. The first is a small bracket to hold the Baja light switch. The second is a bracket to hold two way radios that I use on some long trips. The radio bracket will be a part time item, only being in the truck a few months at a time.

I started with the radio bracket. I've opted to use aluminum with stainless hardware. The bars and channel are 1/8" thickness. I had most of it on hand already, leftovers from previous projects. I'll add a bit of felt underneath to avoid scuffing the dash.

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EgulAye

EgulAye

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Here are a few more photos, the switch box and radio brackets installed.

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EgulAye

EgulAye

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Dave
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1980 CJ5, 1987 YJ, 2020 JT
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Test drive in logging country this past weekend was awesome.

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EgulAye

EgulAye

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Dave
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1980 CJ5, 1987 YJ, 2020 JT
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I got a couple full size spares set up today. I previously picked up four take-off rims, bought a Mickey Thompson TPMS for the second wheel, and ordered a matching Falken AT3W tire.

One surprise is that the spare on the truck didn't have a TPMS installed. So one of the wheels doesn't have a sensor right now. I'll order a second one soon.

The second surprise is that the spare tire from the Jeep has noticeable rubbing in two places. The truck has less than 1,500 miles on it and I've had it for only three weeks. What would the tire have looked like in a year?

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EgulAye

EgulAye

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Dave
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  • #14
Easy fix for auto park

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EgulAye

EgulAye

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Dave
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Maine, US
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1980 CJ5, 1987 YJ, 2020 JT
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  • #15
Possible solution for a giant key fob that opens too easily in the pocket. Beautifully made.

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