Rubi Rhod - A 2020 Gladiator with flair for the overland-dramatic

Rubi_Rhod

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Firstly, an introduction

Names Aaron, and just picked up a 2020 Gladiator Rubicon 6MT in Sting Grey. Options are sparse and include the no cost M/T tires, Hard Top, Tow package and the proximity entry.

It’s been named Rubi Rhod by a friend and It kinda stuck. I had a few different nicknames in my notes for the Jeeps I had shortlisted to buy. In this case, I said to a friend “the Rubi” and he came back with a gif of Ruby Rhod, the sassy fictional host in the Fifth Element.

I’m also known as A-rod for I am his doppelgänger. Since 18, if I shave, I get stopped in public frequently. Really, it’s only been the wearing of masks that has stopped it. So, the goofy and charismatic Rubi Rhod just seems to stick.

E9458466-A73C-4EB4-8BDC-D72CA2161249.jpeg

E26CDE87-5536-4F81-80CE-29355981D872.jpeg



Never owned a Jeep before. But always liked em. As a gearhead and 4x4 enthusiast a Jeep was always a big toy that I wish I had a space in my garage for. But as I don’t really “wheel” or have many trail friends, I wasn’t quite incentivized to hop into a Jeep. But when they added in a pickup bed I was very interested, as what I really use often is a truck.

While I was really excited for em, having been a big fan of the Brute and even the early 2005 JK gladiator concept, my 130 mile commute didn’t allow me the luxury of 15mpg. Well, as our company and my field has basically just gone working remote and not going back, a 4x4 Jeep Truck finally made sense to replace my 85k mile 25mpg all terrain commute truck, without too many penalties.

Was originally scouting for a base sport manual with hard top, LSD and Tow package. But just an hour after I had sold my daily, a 17 Colorado Diesel CCLB, I called to place the deposit on my perfectly optioned Gator Sport 6MT, it was sold from under me!

244FA6C3-D4DF-4151-B083-E66FE515A9AD.jpeg


E9B368A3-EBE8-4C3D-B784-6438473E9EC9.jpeg


But not to worry, they had a backup that was exactly the same specs I wanted, just a grand cheaper as it was in a more common white paint. NOPE! That one got damaged in transit and was returned to the factory.

At that point I had only been searching for Sport trims and was going to go DIY over a few years and put in big tires, gears, lockers, as well as upgrades to the infotainment (that 5”base is a little lackluster), and other such things.

Tallying it all up, it was a good whallop. So with the two Sport’s gone, and the other three sport deals I had on the line stalled out, I thought I would look at a base Rubicon that would give me all those upgrades, and a few creature comforts.

I found a dealer in Boise that had not one, but two identical and sequentially vin’d Rubi’s with just the hard top, and tow package, and the bonus keyless unlock. So hoped in with some friends and drove 500 miles to pick one of the twins up. (Its twin I was told was taken up to Alaska by its new owner)

My Build Plan is an overland machine that works great off road, but not too big and ponderous on-road. I enjoy rowing through the gears and having a pleasant drive. I also still have to do truck stuff with it. Home Depot, light duty towing, weekend projects and the like.

Need to do what I can to keep it lean. I I live far out from town, and like to roam out of state, so don’t want too much excess weight and drag killing my performance.

Overall my build plans were really the same had I gotten the Sport. The Rubicon was just a quick way to entry for the chassis and suspension vs for DIY or shops. While I am capable and have done many things to modify my vehicles, axle work is not my forte. I also was coming from my Colorado that I had done sliders, skids, Fox 2.0 coilovers and such to. So making it easy to have like for like, and not have to do it all over again, this Rubi was a good deal for me.

While my Colorado did have ALL the luxury and premium options, I was actually excited to go to something a little more casual and simple. All the luxury in the world won’t get me unstuck, so was a happy trade to feel more confident on the trails.

I will say, proximity entry is really slick. And as it already had Push Start, just kinda completes the whole fob thing. Everything I could possibly want to equip it with (Aux switches, LEDs, leather, stereo) is all just an easy-ish accessory after the fact. And that’s all fun stuff to get as money and time become available.

So to that extent the mods will be focused to make it more practical and fit my lifestyle more than building a Jeep. At least for the near term. I think the best part of a Jeep is that they never get stale. They are a great canvas to build and have fun with, with a healthy mod community across all the generations.





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Rubi_Rhod

Rubi_Rhod

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'20 JTR 6MT, '55 Manx Clone Bug
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Chassis and Suspension

Leave it alone!!! I picked the Rubicon because it had all the bits I needed vs going at it myself. Yeah, I could have built it to 37” or something, but I’ve done just fine with 31” all my life so I think what I got is plenty. But if i were to touch it a little and be more than capable for my off-road needs, it would involve:
  • 35” tires, but in a 11.5” width
  • That’s totally it. Not at all scouting 37’s and 4.88. Nope. Not at all. :)
 
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Rubi_Rhod

Rubi_Rhod

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Interior

Optimizing storage and bringing along the dog

Mods to date:
  • Smartliner floor mats
  • Rugged ridge door sill protectors
  • Knockoff Mopar Backseat storage bins
  • Removed under-seat storage wall
  • Dash mount phone holder
Mods I’d like to do:
  • Alpine Amp and sub kit
  • Wet Okole Seat covers
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Rubi_Rhod

Rubi_Rhod

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'20 JTR 6MT, '55 Manx Clone Bug
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Exterior

Ummm not much plans here. It’s already a looker
  • Lamin-X clear protection film for lights
  • Upgraded halogen bulbs
  • KC G4 LED fogs - these have a great beam pattern that a friend showed me and got me hooked.
  • 13” rubber all-terrain antenna
  • Besttop sunrider black twill top - Its a convertible! And to cope with the beautiful, but sometimes erratic PNW weather, a quick open/close roof that didn’t take up space was a must.
  • One of those spare tire trash bags, just strapped to the tailgate.
Mods I’d like to do
  • While LEDs would be very nice, I see a lot of wet snow and sub zero temps. So a hot halogen will keep lenses clear for now. Will investigate replacement headlamps like the KC Gravity Pro headlights once more money becomes available.
  • Find the steel multi-piece bumper on CL or something used.
  • Same for the LED lights. Buy used OEM parts vs new where possible for exterior and interior mods.
 
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Rubi_Rhod

Rubi_Rhod

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'20 JTR 6MT, '55 Manx Clone Bug
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Engine and Drive
Adequate power. Awesome gearbox.

But made better with:
  • Borla “climber” Touring Cat Back exhaust system
Mods I’d like to do:
  • Tazer
  • Obviously forced induction *wallet laughs hysterically*
  • Possibly a snorkel kit. I don’t plan on “needing” it, but it’s badass.
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Rubi_Rhod

Rubi_Rhod

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Camping

This is the fun part. I have for years wanted a Go-Fast camper, and once I decided on the Gladiator I knew it would be the right platform to finally place an order for.

This is a super light, super strong and preserves easy access to the pickup bed. A solid marriage of a heavy duty metal camper shell, and a pop-up hard shell RTT.

Its a year build queue so in the meantime, I got a folding cot tent and a Tonneau to store my gear.


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Not mine, but an example of whats to come:
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Rubi_Rhod

Rubi_Rhod

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Trips

First trek was testing out everything. Had 80miles on the Odo and we hit the dirt and stretched it’s legs.

Big trip plan tho is happening November for a return to Moab. Did a scouting trip earlier this summer so this time, coming back prepared to hit a few trails, and get in one last breath of fresh air before having to lock in over the winter.

Until my Gofast camper arrives, definitely gonna be a more pleasant-day camper. This Jeep seems like it is more than up to anything Mother Nature could have in store, so I am looking forward to a camper that is up to the same task as well.

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BrightWhiteGladiator

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Exterior

  • While LEDs would be very nice, I see a lot of wet snow and sub zero temps. So a hot halogen will keep lenses clear for now. Will investigate replacement headlamps like the KC Gravity Pro headlights once more money becomes available.
There are some heated LED headlights available (JW Speaker, for example) but they are only 7” meaning you have an ugly 2” spacer/ adapter. Same for fogs except they are the correct size.
 
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Rubi_Rhod

Rubi_Rhod

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There are some heated LED headlights available (JW Speaker, for example) but they are only 7” meaning you have an ugly 2” spacer/ adapter. Same for fogs except they are the correct size.
Yeah, I did come across that option. And also the general lack of 9” options right now. So figured waiting it out some for more options to come to market will eventually get me what I need. Especially as the headlights are recessed, it seems like ice and snow could build up in them without some heat.
 

eternus

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Exterior

Ummm not much plans here. It’s already a looker
  • Lamin-X clear protection film for lights
  • Upgraded halogen bulbs
  • KC G4 LED fogs - these have a great beam pattern that a friend showed me and got me hooked.
  • 13” rubber all-terrain antenna
  • Besttop sunrider black twill top - Its a convertible! And to cope with the beautiful, but sometimes erratic PNW weather, a quick open/close roof that didn’t take up space was a must.
  • One of those spare tire trash bags, just strapped to the tailgate.
Mods I’d like to do
  • While LEDs would be very nice, I see a lot of wet snow and sub zero temps. So a hot halogen will keep lenses clear for now. Will investigate replacement headlamps like the KC Gravity Pro headlights once more money becomes available.
  • Find the steel multi-piece bumper on CL or something used.
  • Same for the LED lights. Buy used OEM parts vs new where possible for exterior and interior mods.
If you're actually in favor of frugality for your build, be sure to check out Bam Wholesale, you can get Mopar parts at much lower prices. (I just ordered the Mopar Trail Rails for $272 vs the $350 everyone else asks.)
 
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Rubi_Rhod

Rubi_Rhod

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If you're actually in favor of frugality for your build, be sure to check out Bam Wholesale, you can get Mopar parts at much lower prices. (I just ordered the Mopar Trail Rails for $272 vs the $350 everyone else asks.)
Thanks for the tip! Definitely for being frugal. I did buy a Rubi, but it was covered in dirt, coffee, dog fur and vegetation within 24 hrs of getting it. So saving a few bucks be it used or wholesalers to get more in is totally fine by me :)
 

narcoteca

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Trips

First trek was testing out everything. Had 80miles on the Odo and we hit the dirt and stretched it’s legs.

Big trip plan tho is happening November for a return to Moab. Did a scouting trip earlier this summer so this time, coming back prepared to hit a few trails, and get in one last breath of fresh air before having to lock in over the winter.

Until my Gofast camper arrives, definitely gonna be a more pleasant-day camper. This Jeep seems like it is more than up to anything Mother Nature could have in store, so I am looking forward to a camper that is up to the same task as well.

8331A249-DD1E-478D-BF1C-DBCD1D532080.jpeg

F63727BB-8A5C-468F-9F2A-86F65307F9D8.jpeg

9CB90A16-A3B8-407B-8B8C-036EF6D56E23.jpeg
are those the stock tires or the 35in you were planing?
 

cgflyer

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Firstly, an introduction

Names Aaron, and just picked up a 2020 Gladiator Rubicon 6MT in Sting Grey. Options are sparse and include the no cost M/T tires, Hard Top, Tow package and the proximity entry.

It’s been named Rubi Rhod by a friend and It kinda stuck. I had a few different nicknames in my notes for the Jeeps I had shortlisted to buy. In this case, I said to a friend “the Rubi” and he came back with a gif of Ruby Rhod, the sassy fictional host in the Fifth Element.

I’m also known as A-rod for I am his doppelgänger. Since 18, if I shave, I get stopped in public frequently. Really, it’s only been the wearing of masks that has stopped it. So, the goofy and charismatic Rubi Rhod just seems to stick.

E9458466-A73C-4EB4-8BDC-D72CA2161249.jpeg

E26CDE87-5536-4F81-80CE-29355981D872.jpeg



Never owned a Jeep before. But always liked em. As a gearhead and 4x4 enthusiast a Jeep was always a big toy that I wish I had a space in my garage for. But as I don’t really “wheel” or have many trail friends, I wasn’t quite incentivized to hop into a Jeep. But when they added in a pickup bed I was very interested, as what I really use often is a truck.

While I was really excited for em, having been a big fan of the Brute and even the early 2005 JK gladiator concept, my 130 mile commute didn’t allow me the luxury of 15mpg. Well, as our company and my field has basically just gone working remote and not going back, a 4x4 Jeep Truck finally made sense to replace my 85k mile 25mpg all terrain commute truck, without too many penalties.

Was originally scouting for a base sport manual with hard top, LSD and Tow package. But just an hour after I had sold my daily, a 17 Colorado Diesel CCLB, I called to place the deposit on my perfectly optioned Gator Sport 6MT, it was sold from under me!

244FA6C3-D4DF-4151-B083-E66FE515A9AD.jpeg


E9B368A3-EBE8-4C3D-B784-6438473E9EC9.jpeg


But not to worry, they had a backup that was exactly the same specs I wanted, just a grand cheaper as it was in a more common white paint. NOPE! That one got damaged in transit and was returned to the factory.

At that point I had only been searching for Sport trims and was going to go DIY over a few years and put in big tires, gears, lockers, as well as upgrades to the infotainment (that 5”base is a little lackluster), and other such things.

Tallying it all up, it was a good whallop. So with the two Sport’s gone, and the other three sport deals I had on the line stalled out, I thought I would look at a base Rubicon that would give me all those upgrades, and a few creature comforts.

I found a dealer in Boise that had not one, but two identical and sequentially vin’d Rubi’s with just the hard top, and tow package, and the bonus keyless unlock. So hoped in with some friends and drove 500 miles to pick one of the twins up. (Its twin I was told was taken up to Alaska by its new owner)

My Build Plan is an overland machine that works great off road, but not too big and ponderous on-road. I enjoy rowing through the gears and having a pleasant drive. I also still have to do truck stuff with it. Home Depot, light duty towing, weekend projects and the like.

Need to do what I can to keep it lean. I I live far out from town, and like to roam out of state, so don’t want too much excess weight and drag killing my performance.

Overall my build plans were really the same had I gotten the Sport. The Rubicon was just a quick way to entry for the chassis and suspension vs for DIY or shops. While I am capable and have done many things to modify my vehicles, axle work is not my forte. I also was coming from my Colorado that I had done sliders, skids, Fox 2.0 coilovers and such to. So making it easy to have like for like, and not have to do it all over again, this Rubi was a good deal for me.

While my Colorado did have ALL the luxury and premium options, I was actually excited to go to something a little more casual and simple. All the luxury in the world won’t get me unstuck, so was a happy trade to feel more confident on the trails.

I will say, proximity entry is really slick. And as it already had Push Start, just kinda completes the whole fob thing. Everything I could possibly want to equip it with (Aux switches, LEDs, leather, stereo) is all just an easy-ish accessory after the fact. And that’s all fun stuff to get as money and time become available.

So to that extent the mods will be focused to make it more practical and fit my lifestyle more than building a Jeep. At least for the near term. I think the best part of a Jeep is that they never get stale. They are a great canvas to build and have fun with, with a healthy mod community across all the generations.
Your buggy is sweet!
 
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Rubi_Rhod

Rubi_Rhod

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'20 JTR 6MT, '55 Manx Clone Bug
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are those the stock tires or the 35in you were planing?
those are the stock 33” M/T tires. They do come off as looking a little burlier than the A/Ts but are the same size.
 
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Rubi_Rhod

Rubi_Rhod

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'20 JTR 6MT, '55 Manx Clone Bug
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  • #15
Your buggy is sweet!
Thanks!! I just finished it up this spring.
55 shortened chassis
67 bus transaxle with gear reduction boxes
72 1600 DP “pancake” engine from a Square back

All the metal and body was kept original and it is mint and rust free. All new custom wiring with marine grade components. Completely modernized with relays, blade fuses, all LED, digital dash, but kept original switches. Front Disk brake conversion, rebuilt rear drums.
Interior has a 400w MB Quart Marine amp and polk speaker’s. Summit racing buckets, and retired aircraft belts. Interior and exterior accent RGB lights and a grant Gt wheel.

I think this gave me the Jeep bug. Open top, mudders and a manual. And of course its got some Jeep bits on it. Aftermarket 7” jeep headlights and used OEM YJ Tails. As its pre-reverse lights on the beetle, the reverse has been modified with an amber bulb for turn signal duties. Its also wired to be a tow behind, so the brake lights also work as brake and blinkers when connected to the trailer plug

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