L.A. to Washington DC! 3000+ miles in a Gladiator Overland

tikijimmy

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Just took the first big trip with my 4-ish month old Gladiator Overland. I was surprised at how well it went!

Because of the pandemic, we didn't want to get on a plane. So we packed up the dog and the 2-year old and headed to Grandma and Grandpa's house on the east coast. We drove 3,064 miles over 6 days. We drove a bit less than we'd normally drive in a day, but we didn't want the boy to start melting down. (He did great, by the way!)

Some thoughts:
  • The Gladiator is pretty comfortable on the highway. I have the stock 255/70R18 Overland tires on aluminum wheels. I think the longer wheelbase really helps the ride over a Wrangler.
  • It was pretty quiet. I added some DIY headliners (reflective foam insulation covered with a couple layers of fabric) to the hardtop, and it really helped cut down on wind noise. It's still not as quiet as a luxury sedan, but certainly in the "comfortable" zone.
  • Gas mileage was better than expected. I logged my mileage and gas consumption each time we filled up, and the reported mileage was always very close to the actual mileage. I averaged about 21 mpg over the course of the trip. I got about 17 mpg over the mountains of eastern California and through Colorado, then easily cruised at 23-24 mpg on the flats across Texas and Oklahoma. For comparison, I get about 16-19 mpg around town in my dailiy driving.
  • The UConnect system (I have the 8.4 inch) is SO MUCH BETTER than the system that was in my Honda Ridgeline. I love that CarPlay is just a part of the overall interface, and I can still get to the Jeep controls. In the Honda, once I plugged in my phone, CarPlay took over the whole dash and I had to exit to the main menu to do anything related to the vehicle. Carplay also connected way faster (within a couple seconds of turning the truck on)

In addition to the headliners, I've also added a bed cover (also DIY), and a luggage rack on top of the bed cover. I've built two shallow bed drawers also. The distance between the new "floor" of the bed and the bed cover is spaced exactly to hold a plastic bin, and that's how we packed everything. No luggage, just a bunch of plastic bins. They are easier to see into, are mostly waterproof, and are easier to stack on a hotel luggage cart. I highly recommend traveling with bins instead of luggage!

I also installed a front and rear dashcam for the trip. Luckily, nothing happened that required any of the footage, but it's still nice to have. I ran all the wires through the trim at the top of the windshield and mounted it behind the rearview mirror, so it's basically invisible to me. It'll live there quietly recording in case I ever need it. I wired it to one of the AUX switches, so I can turn it on and off when I want it.

You may also see from my profile pic that I added some pinstripes and a vintage-inspired "Overland" hood logo to the Gladiator. I LOVE the Metallic Punkin color, but it needed a little something to break up the sea of orange.

Overall it was a great trip. Can't wait to take the Overland camping with the family this fall!

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Mr. Manners

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looks Like an awesome trip with quality time!
 

dano

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I like the stripe.
curious about the drawers in the bed. Do you have a bed liner?
 

dano

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I see now. Thanks for posting the pics. Looks like a very efficient system. I'm taking a long trip soon and looking for ideas.
 

5JeepsAz

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Thanks for trip notes ... Great news all around. And an old-school Plywood Rated rig to boot. :like::rock::like::rock:
 

msfitone

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No bedliner. I started to take some pics as I was building it. I’ll probably get around to making a post about the drawers at some point. Here’s a couple of shots of the drawers in progress.

C131279F-8A75-44D2-8698-0FB2EF448E18.jpeg


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Did you make your our bedrails from superstrut? if so they look good and are you going to be able to post it? I love teh Punkin color now! Its starting to grow on me. I have yet to find my JT since selling my JKUR. I will make teh same trek in the future so following.
Thnaks for your post!
 
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tikijimmy

tikijimmy

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Did you make your our bedrails from superstrut?
yep. Just unistrut painted with hammered black spray paint. I’m using unistrut nuts with a plastic retaining washer (keeps them from falling out when not attached) with D-rings held in by star-knobs so they can be moved without tools. I’ll post some pics and parts tomorrow if I can get around to it.
 

WhatExit?

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I like your DIY drawers!

Just did a Phoenix to Central NJ and back trip but left the garage queens at home. Instead I rented a Ford Expedition Max Ltd with unlimited miles. For $60/day it was well worth it. Drove 5200 miles there and back (2 ½ long days each way) and averaged 18MPG in extreme comfort. Great trip for the three of us (including the dog) - got to see the country and the leaves changing color. Stopped off at Gettysburg - highlight of the trip other than seeing family. Great distraction from all this pandemic sh!t.
 

DiabolicalDianoga

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Ha, former Ridgeline owner as well. Although mine was built before android auto/apple carplay was a thing. We did a trip from CO to NC back at the end of June, except I was towing a uhaul trailer. I have a stock Overland too and I was nice and comfy with my dogs riding along in the back seat. I averaged overall 15mpg the for the trip, got up to 17 and down around 13 at times. The two trips I've made from NC to PA I averaged 24 roundtrip on the first and 22 on the second. I like your custom work and the color. I looked at an orange Rubicon, but the deals on the Overlands were too good to pass up and I didn't need all the Rubicon goodies. I'm kind of wishing I had been able to find an orange Overland. I love my gator though, both were my top two colors and of course they are gone now.
 

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