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

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Rubi_Rhod

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Undercoating done!

Fluid film applied. First time using a product like this but have heard solid things on it. Look forward to keeping it looking far better under there than previous rigs. Winter’s not too bad with the salt and corrosion, but in the name of trying things out, definitely worth a shot as it’s pretty easy to do.

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Rubi_Rhod

Rubi_Rhod

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Got my ladder rack up and ready for the tent.
Universal Aluminum rack. Modified the ladder holders to mount underside the wings.
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Also had some neoprene rubber seal that i had from other projects (Always buy more than you need!) that I went and rubberized all the mounting surfaces. I also cut up some rubber hose and put em over the bolts to clean them up some.

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Cut up one of those ladder supports to use as a mount for my waterport tank.

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All in all, this was a cheap spend on a rack that really exceeded my expectations.




However disaster struck and my tent was damaged in transport and was refused at delivery. A real bummer as I’ve been waiting a few weeks for it and was so excited to get it before the weekend.

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Also, seems like they don’t have more in inventory so may not be able to get another one like it. NGL it is the Knockoff of the Freespirit Recreation tent. And the 1/2 price on it was pretty irresistible, but might have to go with the real thing this time around. It’s a very slick tent, so there’s definitely worse outcomes.

There’s a couple other options I'm looking at on the value end like the Smittybilt Overland. But i just haven’t been won over yet on the whole fold in half thing. My rack is also a good 6” higher already with the ladder rack height, which is solid for me as I’m 6’2” so don’t need to be knocking my head anymore than I need.
 
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Okay, updates! Got these added back in the fall, but I couldn’t post without getting some adventure testing!


Tent mounted. Raptor Voyager RTT
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and the PRP seat covers
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And a few trips and trails
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Coms Update!

GMRS Radio Install. Midland MXT275 paired with their 3db gain ghost stealth antenna.

Went with a stealthy install. Mounted the remote box to under the steering column, and attached to the power inverter thats in the Rubicon.

Power is from the 12v inline socket tap. And the handheld mic/speaker/controlpad uses the extension cable to feed it over through the passenger side.

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Rubi_Rhod

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Bumper and winch update!

Went with the Rugged Ridge Venator full length. I’ll be keeping it to 35” tires, so the full width was appreciated. It hugs the body tightly and really sharpens it all up.

For the winch, I just went with a basic Smittybilt Gen 2 9500lb.
It’s my first real entry into having and using a winch, so this seemed like a good combo to start with. Synthetic line replacement can be done, along with the fairlead, so figured I’d learn the basics with steel, then swap out to a affordable synthetic line. I’ve gone this long without ever winching, so I didn’t quite want to put a $600+ Warn with all the trimmings when A) didn’t know what they were, and B) nothing worse than buy something that is made to go the distance, only to fail through misuse and neglect.

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Lighting and electrical stuff done as well

Mounted a Trigger 4 Plus on a crude but stout fabb’d tray.

The rugged ridge snorkel kit runs along inside the hood, and the Trigger mount goes right on the edge where the silicone boot is, so they are incompatible. But there’s plenty of space to play with.

Some KC Cyclone LEDs were mounted underhood and then ran off the Trigger. I felt a little guilty using up one of the 4 slots for this task, and will use another for another few cyclones, but i have it, it has easy access buttons on the controller unit itself to operate, and made install easy.
It might get the boot down the road and wired another way, but frankly as it occupies a slot, I don’t have as many switch blanks, which we all know is very troubling and requires remedy :)

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For off-road lights, selected the KC HiLites SlimLite LEDs

They pack a whalloping 9000 lumens each, and have a sharp looking to them. Focus and light pattern is exceptional.

I was a little leery of going with spots, even though thats much of what’s found in lights, but these do throw a good amount of light to the sides and up so I do like that as I didn’t want to add ditch lights and roof bars and such. So wanted a good all in one light.

Also added the clear covers as well as they come with the black and white rock guard grills.

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Below is the Output Patterns.
Fogs, low beam and Spots
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Fog beam only (KC Gravity)
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Fog and factory Low and High beams
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Fogs, Highs and Spots
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Bumper and winch update!

Went with the Rugged Ridge Venator full length. I’ll be keeping it to 35” tires, so the full width was appreciated. It hugs the body tightly and really sharpens it all up.

For the winch, I just went with a basic Smittybilt Gen 2 9500lb.
It’s my first real entry into having and using a winch, so this seemed like a good combo to start with. Synthetic line replacement can be done, along with the fairlead, so figured I’d learn the basics with steel, then swap out to a affordable synthetic line. I’ve gone this long without ever winching, so I didn’t quite want to put a $600+ Warn with all the trimmings when A) didn’t know what they were, and B) nothing worse than buy something that is made to go the distance, only to fail through misuse and neglect.

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What're your thoughts on the quality and durability of the bumper as you're installing it? I've heard several people say there were some tolerance issues and it felt flimsy in some parts. I keep balking at picking this one up, though I do like the look.
 
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What're your thoughts on the quality and durability of the bumper as you're installing it? I've heard several people say there were some tolerance issues and it felt flimsy in some parts. I keep balking at picking this one up, though I do like the look.

I think its durable enough. It’s not “rock solid” like you might expect with an aftermarket bumper. It’s more like a fancy factory metal bumper. You can knock a garbage can or swing a gate open but its not a bruiser like most. It only weighs about 30lbs without the winch cradle and horns.

Fit and finish was pretty good. The powder coat seems a little thin to the edges, but the rest is fine. And I took my time and read between the lines on the instructions to help get the pieces alight and tight. It was a fine and fun project.

I think of it really as a style piece that holds a winch. The winch cradle and horns are super heavy and stout. No concern there. It’s just that the rest is a sturdy enough wrapper vs a big deer catcher thing. It costs more than a basic one because those stamped parts aren’t cheap to make, so you do pay for style vs substance. But my other alternative was something from ARB or AEV, as I don’t much care for the look of the regular plate bumpers. And those are a good $500-1000 more than this so I figured this was worth the gamble as it has the functionality I need and the style I really wanted.

I too really dug the look of it. It’s pretty unique, haven’t seen a bumper like this on anything, so I’m sure plenty of critics expect many pounds of flat shaped thick steel or spendy aluminum. I just wanted something that looked cool and could hold a winch.

And I made the jump as there is a rebate for $100 off Rugged Ridge bumpers for this month, and on top of that, the online seller had it for $100 off as well. So for $600 I thought it was a nice deal.
 

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Thanks for the front-side comparison of the stock bumper with the Venator. That's the bumper I'm looking at getting and I'm already pretty tight in my garage as it is, with just six or seven inches to spare. It looks like the Venator only adds a few inches to the length so that should work.

Also, did you use the self-tapping screws that came with the Cyclone lights to attach them to your hood? I bought a pair to put under my hood like that, and used JB Weld to connect some magnets to them, only to realize that the hood isn't steel. That was a huge dumbass move on my part, so I'll probably put those two lights in the bed and wire them into the bedlights to increase light back there. But I still want to put in some hoodlights, so I'll just get another pair (and not JB Weld magnets to them this time).
 
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Thanks for the front-side comparison of the stock bumper with the Venator. That's the bumper I'm looking at getting and I'm already pretty tight in my garage as it is, with just six or seven inches to spare. It looks like the Venator only adds a few inches to the length so that should work.

Also, did you use the self-tapping screws that came with the Cyclone lights to attach them to your hood? I bought a pair to put under my hood like that, and used JB Weld to connect some magnets to them, only to realize that the hood isn't steel. That was a huge dumbass move on my part, so I'll probably put those two lights in the bed and wire them into the bedlights to increase light back there. But I still want to put in some hoodlights, so I'll just get another pair (and not JB Weld magnets to them this time).
Glad those pics helped! The bumper itself if definitely a good few inches back, especially along the wings, it is probably a good4-6” tucked back at the corners. The horns project out, but ultimately it’s no longer than the stock so should be a good fit in your garage.
I don’t blame ya on the magnets. They were my first idea to mount, but I did remember that it’s mostly aluminum skin save for the bed. I didn’t buy the KC underhood kit, i just bought the lights separately. And I didn’t use self tapping screws, I used 1/8” x 3/4 fender washers which fit in the recess, and then riveted it to the hood. Self tappers would have worked fine, but I had the rivets, and I think they’ll hold sturdy and look clean vs a tapper.
 

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Glad those pics helped! The bumper itself if definitely a good few inches back, especially along the wings, it is probably a good4-6” tucked back at the corners. The horns project out, but ultimately it’s no longer than the stock so should be a good fit in your garage.
I don’t blame ya on the magnets. They were my first idea to mount, but I did remember that it’s mostly aluminum skin save for the bed. I didn’t buy the KC underhood kit, i just bought the lights separately. And I didn’t use self tapping screws, I used 1/8” x 3/4 fender washers which fit in the recess, and then riveted it to the hood. Self tappers would have worked fine, but I had the rivets, and I think they’ll hold sturdy and look clean vs a tapper.
I also like how you mounted your Midland. I got one for Christmas and I haven't gotten around to mounting it yet. Does the antenna work well enough off the hood like that? And how is the remote box secured under the steering column - is it screwed to something or just sorta zip-tied in there?

And where did you get all the accessories to mount the radio, antenna, etc.? I see it is Cooltech stuff, but I put four things in my cart and the shipping was $40. There's no way I'm paying that much for shipping a few lightweight items (two cables, the mount, and the 3db antenna). Have they never heard of Priority Mail Flat Rate?
 

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