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Hydro Blue Build has Begun!

DanW

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I started my build, but not in the order of things that I had anticipated. I had a flat on one of the stock Wildpeaks and had to throw my 35's on before the lift. It actually looks better than 35's did on my JLUR before it was lifted. The Gladiator has better proportions for the 35's with no lift, in my opinion. Anyway, I initially had them on the JLUR's back-up rims. So I threw it on there, then put the 33's and JT wheels in the bed and took it to @Discount Tire where they swapped it all out and did a fast and good job.

So here it is with the JLUR rims....
Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240208_131103103.MP


And then those 35's were swapped over to the Gladiator rims.....

Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240208_161918904.MP


I also had them put black lug nuts on it. Finally, I installed the Tazer Mini and calibrated the speedo.

The Tazer is acting strangely, though. The front speakers sound muffled. It comes and goes. But only with the Tazer. So I may have to reach out to Zauto about that. It did clear up but then did it again when I had to adjust the tire size and rebooted.

Next up will be new Auxbeam spot lights on the cowling. I also then will install an Artec FAD skid plate and a hitch skid plate. And when my buddies are free, we will install the AEV Dualsport 2.5" lift that is sitting in my garage.
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Main Line Willys

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I started my build, but not in the order of things that I had anticipated. I had a flat on one of the stock Wildpeaks and had to throw my 35's on before the lift. It actually looks better than 35's did on my JLUR before it was lifted. The Gladiator has better proportions for the 35's with no lift, in my opinion. Anyway, I initially had them on the JLUR's back-up rims. So I threw it on there, then put the 33's and JT wheels in the bed and took it to @Discount Tire where they swapped it all out and did a fast and good job.

So here it is with the JLUR rims....
Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240208_161918904.MP


And then those 35's were swapped over to the Gladiator rims.....

Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240208_161918904.MP


I also had them put black lug nuts on it. Finally, I installed the Tazer Mini and calibrated the speedo.

The Tazer is acting strangely, though. The front speakers sound muffled. It comes and goes. But only with the Tazer. So I may have to reach out to Zauto about that. It did clear up but then did it again when I had to adjust the tire size and rebooted.

Next up will be new Auxbeam spot lights on the cowling. I also then will install an Artec FAD skid plate and a hitch skid plate. And when my buddies are free, we will install the AEV Dualsport 2.5" lift that is sitting in my garage.
Good looking Rig! Thanks you for the opportunity to earn your business. Much appreciated!
 
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DanW

DanW

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Good looking Rig! Thanks you for the opportunity to earn your business. Much appreciated!
I've been a Discount Tire customer for at least 25 years. DT has been great to me the whole time. Thank you so much!
 

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DanW

DanW

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Small thing....Added Auxbeam lights to the A-pillar area. I'm pointing the Auxbeams to the front and sending Rigid D-series cube flood lights back to Rigid to be refurbished. The previous owner installed them, but they both took rocks in the glass and have some water intrusion. Rigid will restore them for free!

So I have brackets that allow for two lights on each side. We'll see if this setup lives up to the hope I have for it.

I'll get a closeup of the mounts soon. They are off Amazon. I have to see it with all 4 lights mounted before I pass judgement. But it has potential for great lighting. Eventually, there will be two Baja Designs LP 6 lights on the front bumper for long-range work. (And turning night to day!) My JL has them and they are just incredible.
Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240219_195727139.MP
 
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DanW

DanW

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Installed the AEV Dualsport 2.5 inch lift yesterday, with the help of my best friend, my future son-in-law, and his Dad. Also thanks to 4Piston Racing and my nephew (president of the company) for letting me use his shop, lift, and tools.

Here are the before and after pics and some shots along the way. I will post up more of a road report later, but my initial impression is WOW! It tightened up the suspension beautifully but still rides very nicely! It handles MUCH better than before with less nose dive on braking and no mush. Yet potholes are not jarring, either. I love the stance and yes, the rake. I am also very glad it came with the lower control arm relocation brackets. I know those are controversial, but there is no shimmy, certainly no sign of death wobble, and the thing tracks and drives amazingly well. It just feels great. I think those brackets work very well with the lift (first impression) and they nailed the caster angle just right.

I have a Rough Country forged adjustable track bar on the way to center the axle. I will also straighten out the steering wheel today and then once the new front track bar is on, I will do an alignment.

Next after that will either be a snorkel or Rhino Liner in the bed. I also have a power outlet to install in the bed. For a winch, I am thinking about using a hitch-mount cradle with a Badlands winch from Harbor Freight, instead of one built into the front bumper. Then I don´t have to haul it around when commuting. I don´t know. Maybe I will do a bumper mount if someone wants to sell me the factory steel bumper for a low price. We shall see, but I am in no rush for that. I will probably finish up the cowl lighting, first.

Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240406_122120070.MP
Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240406_235709860.MP
Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240406_122200211.MP
Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240406_232818718.MP
Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240406_124144152.MP
Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240406_124131593.MP
Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240406_145806950.MP
Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240406_145819984.MP
Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240406_145837863.MP
Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240406_153047316.MP
Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240406_185854294.MP
Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240406_194548080.MP
Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240406_232634753.MP
 
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DanW

DanW

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Here is the Artec FAD skid plate and Bilstein 5100 steering stabilizer. Yep, it pulls a little to the right, but I may live with that. Others have said it loosens up with time and gets a little better. I can also compensate with a pound or two less psi in the left front tire. I had this left over from my Wrangler when I was trying to cure a shimmy under certain conditions. It did not help much. But it feels great so far on the JT. We shall see how it goes. There was nothing wrong with the stock unit. So if this one doesn´t loosen up and stop pulling, I´ll go back to stock. But it really didn´t feel that bad yesterday. Not as much pull as I felt on the Wrangler.

The @Artec FAD skid saved my JL´s bacon in Vermont a few years ago. I got stuck, big time, on some boulders and that skid plate had most of the weight of the entire front of the Jeep on it. It took a beating and shrugged it off. Such a small thing but I think it is a critical piece of protection on a vulnerable spot. The factory skid isn´t bad, but it just pales in comparison to the strength and design of this one.

Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240406_184113308.MP
 
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DanW

DanW

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Last night I installed a Rough Country adjustable track bar and centered the front axle. I then had to straighten out the steering wheel.

This weekend, I will do a front end alignment, using some brackets I bought off a web site a few years ago. I have to look up the recommended settings for toe-in, which is the only thing you can adjust. The axle was off center so little that 99.9% of people would never notice. But that's the kind of detail I do notice, so it had to be done. The RC adjustable track bar is forged and is MUCH heavier than the stock bar. It uses OEM style bushings. It went on perfectly and makes no noise.

I'll post a few pics later, when I get a chance. I'll then think about the next phase of the build. I'm still thinking about whether to do a traditional winch integrated into an aftermarket bumper or to go with a portable winch in a cradle. There are pros and cons of each.

Traditional bumper mount
Pros
  • SImple. No need to lift, mount, and plug-in the winch when needed.
  • 85% of pulls I've ever done were done from the front.
  • It is ready at all times.
  • Approach angle is unaffected. No 2" receiver needed.
  • Stronger mount (likely) might be better for off-center pulls.
  • Does not take up cargo space.
Cons
  • Cost. Gotta buy a bumper to go with it. That effectively doubles the cost.
  • Only pulls from the front.
  • 99.9% of the time it is not needed and so the truck is carrying around about 85 to 100 pounds of weight.
  • That 100lbs is in the front with a vehicle already light on the rear. Not really a thing. The AEV lift more than compensates, so there's no real squat in the front. It can handle it.
Portable (cradle) winch mount.

Pros
  • Less expensive. Only have to buy the winch, cable, and cradle. And, if I desire, a front receiver. Of course, the front receiver could wind up negating this advantage and costing more if I did a bumper with a built in receiver.
  • Can winch from the rear. (Or front, if I do the front receiver).
  • Only carrying the weight (70-80lbs with cradle) when wheeling or wanting it. When commuting and normally driving, no winch, no weight.
Cons
  • Front receiver options I've seen reduce approach angle.
  • Have to tie it down in the bed, then undo, lift, attach and plug it in to use it.
  • May not be with me if I stumble across a situation in normal driving where I might want to use it.
  • Might not be great for off-center pulls....side stress on the receiver mount.
  • Takes up cargo space when on wheeling trips.

There are probably more pros/cons for each, but I haven't thought of all of them. I do have experience with both. My 93 YJ had a receiver on the front and rear and a cradle mounted Warn M8000. The weight was more of a concern with that little Jeep, since it had a 4 banger and the whole thing weighed only 3k. It was nice, though, because I also could move the winch to the rear of the Silverado I had at the time for pulling stumps and such.

At this point I am leaning slightly toward the traditional bumper mount. But only slightly.
 
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DanW

DanW

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Ok, took care of some detail work on the build this week.

First, I moved my Sunrider for Hard top from my Wrangler to the JT. I purchased and added the retractable sunshade. What a nice feature! I don't need the intense sun. Pics will come soon.

Secondly, I added a Bedrug. LOVE this thing! I still have to make a cutout for when I rig a power outlet and I have to re-install the tie downs closest to the cab, but that's it. My kids are looking forward to sitting back there at a drive-in movie!

Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240524_030105601



Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240524_030110802
 

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DanW

DanW

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Next up, I will be installing a dash cam and maybe a CB radio soon, too. The next big item will either be an AEV snorkel or a front bumper/winch. That will likely come in the fall.
 

Billkowski

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Ok, took care of some detail work on the build this week.

First, I moved my Sunrider for Hard top from my Wrangler to the JT. I purchased and added the retractable sunshade. What a nice feature! I don't need the intense sun. Pics will come soon.

Secondly, I added a Bedrug. LOVE this thing! I still have to make a cutout for when I rig a power outlet and I have to re-install the tie downs closest to the cab, but that's it. My kids are looking forward to sitting back there at a drive-in movie!

Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240524_030110802



Jeep Gladiator Hydro Blue Build has Begun! PXL_20240524_030110802
I have to say I really like the bed rug too, unless you plan on hauling loose dirt or rebarb, it's quiet, safe for furniture, and really for what it is, very durable.
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