Sandy Cane - Army Themed Service & Show Truck

ArmyVet

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James
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2020 Gladiator Sport
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HR Specialist - US Navy
This is my first Jeep and I will be documenting the journey here. The name 'Sandy Cane' comes from one of the greatest songs of all time; Google it if you have to!

I am a medically retired Army Sergeant currently working for the Navy, so I am going with an Army theme as a friendly jab at my Navy coworkers. Beyond that, the intent for this is to build a truck that has everything we need for Rotary service projects (from road cleanups, to storm recovery, to repairing code violations at the homes of Veterans and seniors who are unable to do them themselves). This will also be the tow vehicle for our mobile kitchen, a converted pop-up camper that allows us to do fundraisers and feed-the-hungry type events with just a few minutes of setup.

Our Rotary club also runs the best car show in Rhode Island every September at Fort Adams, so the truck will need to be functional AND show worthy. Luckily the things we need from a service truck overlap in many ways with overlanding, recovery and other tasks that have plenty of products already developed for the Jeep community.

I'll be going slowly as budget allows, will be doing 90% of the work myself (not any lift associated work if we get to that point) and will possibly get a YouTube up and running for the truck to show off the upgrade progress and document service projects and shows we participate in. Who knows, maybe in time we'll snag a donor or two to help with various parts of the build. Hey, we can all dream right?

The base vehicle is a 2020 Gladiator Sport I actually found on Carvana of all places. Finding one in the color I wanted without all the high end stuff we don't need for this type of work truck was hard to find elsewhere. It only had 6,000 miles and already had some extras like a basic Harbor Freight type winch that will work for now, with an upgrade in the future.

The one change I am not going to document here is the Rough Country floor liners, no point since they were so simple to put in. Future changes will have their own posts and I will try and keep a running log here of what has been done, and what I plan on doing.

Vehicle delivered: December 30, 2020

Completed:
  • Ripped out the previous owners rigged wiring job for the add-on lights they already had, installed a Rough Country MLC-6 and and reran the wiring to clean it up and make it safer. This one I will document soon because I ran into a few small issues I let Rough Country know about and I want to track and see if any changes are made in the future.
  • Rough Country Floor Liners - again, not posting a separate update. My only note would be that I had to remove the underseat storage to put the back mat in, and then put it back in order to get the mat to sit correctly.
Parts Here Pending Install:
  • Uniden Pro 520XL CB with a 15-watt Bearcat external speaker and a Pyle PSP8 PA speaker - Deciding how to mount. Either a @Quadratec quick disconnect mount or wait and budget in an overhead MOLLE panel from MPS.
Upcoming:
  • MOPAR Class IV Hitch so I can tow the kitchen without putting a hole in the bumper - when I can find one in stock somewhere at a decent price.
  • Rack for project tools and supplies - I am digging the Fab Fours Overland rack, but the @RebelOffRoad XPLOR in all black would look great, and with all the options it has can mount everything we need for our projects, lots of lighting to keep our volunteers safe along the roads, maybe a 270 awning for hot or rainy days, etc.; but that being said, no decision has been made yet. This is one of the most expensive parts of the project so I'll be basing the decision on a lot of factors. Personal side note: If I won the lotto I would put an AT Habitat topper on there and then figure out how to mount everything else to it. If you don't know what this is, google Black Rhino Gladiator SEMA 2019.
  • Wheels - Black Rhino Armory are the closest I've seen to my old basic hmmwv wheels and they look sharp as hell in all black. Can't tell from the pictures how close the desert sand is to Gobi color on the Gladiator but that might look nice as well.
  • Tires - Probably KO2s, we need safety in all road conditions including water, mud and snow while still getting decent mileage on the highway.
  • Exterior LIghting - more of it, on top, underneath, on the sides and back, anything to made it visible and keep people safe.
  • Tool storage for hand tools, power tools, yard tools, chain saws, etc.
  • Extra fuel - Prefer the jerry can look to stay military, haven't seen a great option for the Gladiator yet but maybe I can rig something from a Wrangler
  • Seat Covers - For the shows, and for protection; I like the PRP Customs looks, can keep it clean and tactical. Not stuck on anything yet though
That's it for now; mostly I know what I want it to do and the general look I want to stick with. Now I have to find what works and either source it or build it myself. I'll update the list as new things come up.

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ArmyVet

ArmyVet

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James
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Rhode Island
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2020 Gladiator Sport
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HR Specialist - US Navy
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Rough Country MLC-6 Install Notes

There are lots of videos and posts on the install process so I won't go into that, but I wanted to touch on some things I ran into that I didn't see discussed elsewhere.

First, Rough Country not using all of the factory bolts leaves gaps around the panel that are just annoying in a $200 product. They are not as noticeable once it is place; however, I know they are there, which means it isn't perfect. :) Seriously, just add some more tabs and make this a non-issue.

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Second, there was not enough exposed wire on the positive wire at the inline circuit breaker so the connections pulled out of both sides. I had to go and buy some more terminal connectors; again, not a huge issue and I enjoy electrical work, but something that should not happen in a $200 product.
IMG_0156.jpeg


Third item, not really an issue and no image to go with it...the panel is wired so that the #1 switch is on the right and the #6 is the one on the left...WTF is up with that? Again, not a huge issue since you just wire your accessories into the controller in reverse order, so the switches go from 1-6 instead of 6-1, but a curiosity none-the-less.

OK; those three relatively minor things aside - the instructions for the MLC-6 are garbage and the tools listed are all wrong, but this product is so intuitive that you can install it without them and you really don't need any electrical experience to do it. It just seems to all make sense and looks great in the end... nearly invisible gaps notwithstanding. :) Very happy with this being one of my first purchases for the project.

Item: Rough Country MLC-6 Multiple Light Controller (Lower Dash Kit)
Price: $200
Source: Rough Country store on smile.amazon.com so my charity of choice (Rotary's Camp Florida) got a few bucks.

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Shackleton

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Welcome aboard ! I’d be interested in seeing the car show. We took a tour of Fort Adams and the tunnels just about two years ago During the Newport Winter Carnival. Thanks for your service and your truck looks great!
 
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ArmyVet

ArmyVet

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James
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Welcome aboard ! I’d be interested in seeing the car show. We took a tour of Fort Adams and the tunnels just about two years ago During the Newport Winter Carnival. Thanks for your service and your truck looks great!
We had to cancel 2020 due to COVID; however, we are in the planning stages for this year's! We're looking forward to unveiling the new popup conversion kitchen and the tow vehicle. :) Both currently in pieces at my place :)

Here are some pics from the last show, follow the club page there and you'll get the update when I post the new schedule. I believe we are shooting for September 18th.:
 
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ArmyVet

ArmyVet

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HR Specialist - US Navy
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Not a really technical update; but I spent some time this morning playing with my wife's Cricut trying to come up with a format to use when I put the name on the windshield. I think I've got it; not too big but with the two colors it pops out and is more legible than just black. This is a paper mockup of what I will cut out of Oracal 651 vinyl tonight or tomorrow. The top layer is just sitting on the bottom, obviously in vinyl everything will be much straighter. :)

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IPB13

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As an Army Vet, Gladiator owner, and Rhode Islander I'll be watching this one!
 
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ArmyVet

ArmyVet

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James
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Rhode Island
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HR Specialist - US Navy
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As an Army Vet, Gladiator owner, and Rhode Islander I'll be watching this one!
Beautiful state for Jeeps; even had to the top back earlier this week when it somehow hit almost 50 degrees :)

top back.jpg
 

Fireman 848

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I'll be keeping an eye out for you. Thanks for your service.
 

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