Rummie

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Took delivery last month. I wanted a Gator Gladiator so I figured it was time to buy before I couldn't get a new one anymore. Found a loaded one on the lot in Texas and had it shipped to Florida.

EDIT - List of Completed/in process Mods

Metalcloak 3.5" Gamechanger w/Rocksports
Metalcloak hinge steps
Metalcloak rockers and flip steps
Icon 1 3/8" rear coil spacers
Artec truss/gusset/lca skids
Artec full aluminum skid plates
Artec Differential covers
Dana 5.13 gears
RCV axles
Chromoly rear axles
Wheel Vintiques smoothies - 17x9 with 4.25" backspace
Nitto Trail Grappler 37x12.5
Warn 10k winch
ARB dual air compressor fire wall install
Rebel Offroad XPLOR full height rack - getting modifications currently
Custom aluminum bed cover being built
Custom locking brackets for holding accessories on rack







Our goal is to have an off roader that can tow our camper easily. We have a JKU currently that we have taken all around the states a few times. We recently bought a [email protected] 400 Boondock camper and it's at the limits for the JKU. It actually tows it surprisingly well, but we can't take anything extra along or we will be a good bit over the legal limits. The Gladiator is going to be the perfect fit for us. The JKU will go to our soon to be 16 year old.

We intend to take the camper to destinations and explore from there. It's not an off road camper, but it has a kitchen, a/c, shower, etc. All the comforts of home.

The current JT options as delivered:

Screen Shot 2020-12-07 at 7.39.04 PM.png



First things planned:
Remove bumper wings
Install mirrors for doors-off driving

Ordered and on the way:
Metalcloak 3 1/2" Gamechanger with Rocksports
Artec full aluminum skids
Rebel Off Road full height XPLOR rack and aftermarket trail rails
Wheel Vintiques smoothies - ordered with 4" of backspace but may change to 4.25" - January delivery at best
Maxtrax

Will order:
37" NItto Trail Grapplers
Some sort of bed management - maybe Decked, maybe just Molle. Not sure yet.
Assorted gas & water cans, etc.
ARB Dual on board air
Winch (of course!)

Gonna do some mods to the camper as well. We ordered it without the graphics so my wife can design some custom art that ties in the gator color.

This is as it arrived.

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Here is our JKU with our little camper. We are putting flat fenders on the JK at the moment. Also re-gearing.

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Looking forward to taking the Gladiator on it's first trip!

We will be in Moab in the spring if this covid crap doesn't shut it all down again!





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Juforrest

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That green looks so good. I’ll be interested in how the trailer goes for you behind the gladiator. I’m looking at a trailer of similar size and weight I got a rental trailer last year and towed it with my current Truck(Tacoma on 35’s) and was not happy with it. Now I’m think Gladiator with ecodiesel. But I’m curious to see how the 3.6 does.
 

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How much does the trailer weigh? With 37” tires the JT will struggle towing on the highway with any grade.
 
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That green looks so good. I’ll be interested in how the trailer goes for you behind the gladiator. I’m looking at a trailer of similar size and weight I got a rental trailer last year and towed it with my current Truck(Tacoma on 35’s) and was not happy with it. Now I’m think Gladiator with ecodiesel. But I’m curious to see how the 3.6 does.
The diesel will probably be better in towing but has less payload. We rented an Airstream Basecamp to test out towing behind the Wrangler. About the same weight as our Tab. We pulled it from Florida to Ouray, Colorado. Then pulled it up and over Millionaire's Highway. It definitely put a strain on the 3.6. A big part of that is a 5 speed transmission, 3.21 gears, and big heavy 35s. The fact that it could make it over at all is impressive.

I am gonna guess that the Gladiator with the 3.6, 4.10 (for now) and 8 speed is going to do a pretty good job towing this camper. The camper is about 3000 lbs empty with 3500 max. We have an E2 weight distribution hitch with sway control as well.

I will let you know for certain once we have taken it through the mountains out west.

It's all subjective of course. I don't mind not driving that fast with the camper. It's gonna struggle in the mountains. But it's really the only option for what we like to do. We don't want a big motorhome with a Jeep behind it. Just not our style.

Btw, the JKU tracked a lot better on the freeway with the camper behind it! [edit] Just to be clear, I mean it tracks better than it does without the camper behind it. Not that it tracks better than the JT. [/edit]
 
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How much does the trailer weigh? With 37” tires the JT will struggle towing on the highway with any grade.
3500 max. We will re-gear. Most likely to 4.88.
 
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Juforrest

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the JKU tracked a lot better on the freeway with the camper behind it!
Interesting. I’ve been considering a JLU with the diesel but I don’t think we would fit. 2 kids and 2 big dogs take up a lot of space. The trailer will make up for some of the space but it probably mean it goes on every trip.
 
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Interesting. I’ve been considering a JLU with the diesel but I don’t think we would fit. 2 kids and 2 big dogs take up a lot of space. The trailer will make up for some of the space but it probably mean it goes on every trip.
And weigh a lot! :CWL: We found that even if we ran the camper dry we were hitting GCVWR limits. And difficult to keep the hitch weight at a reasonable level.

The defining point for us was when I put the Wrangler on a rum scale at work and found it weighed more than I thought. All of the accessories start to add up and you can be over payload pretty quickly. I have 105 lbs in recovery gear alone not even counting the winch! Crazy! And steel skids are damn heavy (that's why I ordered aluminum this time). We couldn't bring bicycles along, etc, etc, etc.

We ultimately decided that the Gladiator gave us a lot more flexibility.

What trailer are you looking at?
 

Juforrest

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Intech Flyer Discover. Intech calls it a toy hauler. Dry weight is around 2800 pounds. I will mostly use it for hauling gear and bicycles with the occasional hauling of a motorcycle or two. I really like the tip out bunks and it’s full aluminum construction. The only downside is it’s very boxy.
 
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Intech Flyer Discover. Intech calls it a toy hauler. Dry weight is around 2800 pounds. I will mostly use it for hauling gear and bicycles with the occasional hauling of a motorcycle or two. I really like the tip out bunks and it’s full aluminum construction. The only downside is it’s very boxy.
Intech makes nice trailers and campers. If you want to haul gear and still camp in it you are probably looking at the best option out there in the weight range.
 

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That’s what I was thinking. I’ve looked at so many different styles of trailers in the last year or so. Anything the was real off road worthy was just to small or way to expensive. Plus with the interior dimensions big enough to fit a UTV........maybe my wife could get me a turbocharged RZR for Christmas. :giggle: Doubtful.
 
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Front bumper wings removed. Very easy job. Just be sure to look at the bolts when you take them out. Two are longer on each side than the others. Want to be sure to put them back in the correct place (the front).

IMG_0077.JPG
 
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Installed the Rebel Off Road bed rails and full height XPLOR rack.

They were both easy installs. I had to clean out the bed liner that had been sprayed in at the factory from the rail install holes. I chose to use a tap as the instructions called for and was careful to keep it aligned straight. It cleaned out the holes perfectly with no damage to the threads.

The XPLOR rack is an easy install as well. It is a very high quality build and came packaged well. Strangely there were three pieces that needed to be straightened before installing them. They were not damaged during shipping and were packaged well, but somehow must have slipped past QC. It was an easy fix by putting a towel around them and using a vice to hold them for bending back into place. See the pics below.

The instructions are very well written with illustrations to match. The hardware is all packaged and labeled in separate bags. Makes for an easy install. I haven't seen if they put instructions for the install of the standoff mounts for inside brackets in there somewhere. They were not in the main installation instructions. Could be in one of the boxes still. I will check later.

There are only two things I would change about this rack. First, I prefer not to have company logos on my Jeep. In this case I will have the machine shop next door cut/powder coat a plate to fit over the logo cutout. Second, I would prefer the upper corners to angle more like I have seen on some other racks. I will probably just live with that since I love the rack anyway. But maybe at some point I'll have my buddies with the machine shop modify that for a less tall appearance.

Overall an excellent rack. I am happy with my purchase and can recommend it to others.

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In the picture above you see how the rack attaches to the bed rail. I found it easiest to get the threads started if you get something to put behind the receiver piece to hold it forward. Otherwise it pushes to the back of the rail and it's harder to get started. I just used a small wrench but many things will do.

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Tires arrived! The wheels are not here yet. Damn these are gonna look good! And get me over bigger rocks!

Nitro Trail Grappler 37 x 12.5 x 17. I have the same but 35s on my JKU and love them.

FEB348CB-5193-4204-9C51-A06EF9B7B45F.jpeg


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Just a little catch up here. Wheels finally arrived and have been powder coated. I went with Wheel Vintiques Smoothies reversed. 17 x 9 with a 4.25" backspace. They are matte black.

IMG_0418.JPG


Installed Metalcloak hinge steps to make it easier for strapping stuff on the roof.

IMG_0380.JPG


Wheels, tires, and Metalcloak 3.5" Gamechanger lift are going on at the moment.
 
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Going to try Icon coil spacers in the rear to compensate for extra weight that will be back there and to keep a little factory rake. If it sits too high we'll take them out when the gears get installed in a week or two.
 
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