SIDETRACKED - My Sarge Green Texas Trail Edition Build

Ted Striker

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Since I didn't do a build thread for my previous Gladiator, I thought it would be a good idea to do one for my new Gladiator. I usually take a bunch of photos and videos for Instagram and YouTube anyway, so it shouldn't be difficult to update this thread whenever I install or build something for this Gladiator.

So here is what I'm starting with:

2021 Texas Trail Edition in Sarge Green

For those of you not familiar with a Texas Trail Edition, it's basically a Sport S without Max Tow with some special badging on the hood, tailgate and seats. The wheels are just like the Willys wheels but are clad with BF Goodrich KM3 Mud-Terrain tires. All Texas Trail Gladiators have body colored fenders and black hardtops. Dana 44 front and rear axles with 3.73 gears are standard and all Texas Trail Gladiators have Mopar side steps.

Here is a listing of some of the options that came on my Texas Trail, some are less optioned than this, but very few have more options.

LED headlights/fog lights/tail lights
8.4" Radio
Grey leather interior seating with Texas Trail embossed in the front seats; rear seats have armrest
Jeep all-weather mats
Satin black front grille
Auxiliary switches
Trailer tow package
Gas engine, automatic transmission
Selec-Trac 4WD
Trac-Loc anti-spin rear diff

Ok, now that that's out of the way, here are some pictures of how it looks as of today.

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Ted Striker

Ted Striker

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Next, let's start with plans for modding/installing and building. I want this to be a multi-purpose rig that can be used in a variety of settings. It is a daily driver so that will be taken into account as well. It will be used for camping trips in the woods, trips to the beach with the family and later down the line, some of the easier trails in Colorado. I've never been much into rock-crawling, so I doubt it will ever see anything at Moab.

That being said, some of the items that I will be installing will be coming over from my 2020 Rubicon that I sold but removed before selling:

Smittybilt XRC Gen 3 9.5K winch
KC Hi-Lites G6 Pro Sport with Gravity LED driving lights
KC Hi-Lites 4" RZR LED spot lights
Warn Elite tube doors front and rear
Mopar grab handles
Pro-Clip cell phone dash mount
Fox 2.0 steering stablizer

Some of the items that I am looking at installing (I do most of my own installations, along with my brother):

Clayton Off-Road 2.5" Overland lift
Black Rhino Kelso wheels in matte black - 18" x 9.5", -18 offset
37x12.5x18 Nitto Ridge Grapplers

Probably will go full JCR on all body accessories including front mid-with bumper, rear bumper with tire carrier, side rails with body protection, front and rear fenders with fender liners.

I am torn between a JCR half rack for the bed or a ZROADZ full rack. I like the JCR so it matches everything else, but the ZROADZ has more functionality in the lift up side gates and LED cube light mounts on sides and rear.
 
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Ted Striker

Ted Striker

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Now, let's talk about one of the first things that I installed on my Texas Trail Gladiator (hence to forth known as TTG) and why I would go with that first. Yesterday, when I got home from work I decided to swap out the Fox 2.0 steering stabilizer from my Rubicon on to this one. I am selling the Rubicon Gladiator soon (waiting on them to pick it up) and I had just purchased the Fox steering stabilizer a few months ago so I thought it would be a good idea to transfer the stock stabilizer from the TTG to the Rubicon and the Fox stabilizer to the TTG.

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First thing I found out was the Rubicon uses a carriage bolt that has a small square at the top, whereas the TTG has a carriage bolt with a large section of the bolt being squared. This resulted in a lot of grunting and swearing since the carriage bolt with the squared head will not fit through the small opening on the Fox shock. I had to swap the bolts around in order to make this work.

After installation, I turned on the truck and turned the steering wheel left to right full lock around 7 or 8 times. I had read somewhere on these forums that this would help with priming the stabilizer and keeping it from pulling the Jeep from one side or the other. My Rubicon had a strong pull to the right and required me to constantly keep the steering wheel turned to a 10 o' clock position in order to keep it straight on the road and this bothered me to no end.

The next day, I took it out for a drive down the highway and whaddayaknow, the stupid thing is pulling to the right. Now keep in mind, that the TTG is only 3 days old and with the factory steering stabilizer, it tracked straight as an arrow for those three days.

So, I got home and tried the next fix-it method by removing the stabilizer from the vehicle and pushing it in and then letting it fully extend on it's own 5 times. This was an idea that I read on Quadratec so I figured why not give it a shot. I installed it back on the Jeep this afternoon and drove it to work tonight, all on the highway. Guess what? It still is pulling to the right.

Needless to say, when I get home in the morning, I will be swapping out the stabilizers again and putting the factory one back on the TTG. As I stated before, it's not really needed at this time anyway, I was just trying to avoid having to buy another one later down the road when I put the lift, wheels and tires on. I think I have decided that when it does come time to install another stabilizer, that I will be going with a through-shaft design as it seems that these regular ones seem to have this pushing/pulling to one side issue.
 
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Ted Striker

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Got a few more things done yesterday and yes I get the whole "lockers before lights" thing but keep in mind, that these were parts that I had previously installed on my Rubicon, so I had them sitting around just taking up space in my garage anyway.

First, I installed the 4" KC Hi-Lites RZR LED spot lights on KC Hi-Lites cowl mounts. Since I had this exact set-up on the white Gladiator, installation was a breeze. All the wires were cut to the right length and I already knew where to run them cleanly in the engine bay. I did end up hitting the brackets, washers, nuts and bolts with some black gloss enamel Rustoleum spray paint since there were a few chips and bare metal spots on them. Unfortunately, they are not wired in yet as I am still waiting on my AuxBoard to come in the mail. Once it gets here, all I have to do is make the end connections.

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Next, I installed the S&B cold air intake. Again, installation was much quicker due to having done it before in the other Gladiator. However, this time I had to install the acrylic cover over the filter since I can't use the hood scoops due to not having the Rubicon hood anymore. I've debated selling the scoops or just keeping them around the garage in case I get a Rubicon hood down the line.

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Ted Striker

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Got home from work today and a box from Badgeglow was on the counter; 4 days early! Immediately went out and installed it under the hood. I had one of these previously installed on the other Gladiator, so this installation was a breeze. I still need to get a heat gun from my brother and shrink the tubing, but other than that, it's good to go.

If you have the factory auxiliary switches, I highly recommend installing this if you plan on running lights and other accessories. I think the cost is around $25 and it makes hooking up things really easy and keeps all the wires nice and tidy. I currently have my KC Hi-Lites LZR LED spot lights that are mounted on my cowl wired up to Aux 3.

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Ted Striker

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Alright, I know it's not much but I've been so busy with work lately, I haven't had time to do anything to/with the Jeep. Still waiting on a few things to fall into place so I can order lift/tires/gears. But in the meantime, I did get these door sill guards for the front and rear. On the Rubicon, I had the Rugged Ridge ones and they were a hard plastic. These were ordered from Amazon and are more of a flexible hard rubber material. Same price though.

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Ted Striker

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A few updates to build. Still waiting on lift, wheels, tires, bumpers and fenders to come in. Lead times are crazy right now but I did manage to get a few things accomplished in the last few weeks.

First, I changed the Trail Rated badge to an all black one. I'm trying to get as much silver/gray off of the truck as possible and found this on Facebook Marketplace.

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Had the windows tinted. Ceramic 20% all the way around. In this picture, you can also see that I removed the plastic side steps that come with Texas Trail editions and replaced them with side rails from a 2021 Mojave.

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Installed the Bestop Sunrider today. Despite the ordering debacle of this one being backordered and the Jeep one also being backordered and ordering one or the other about 3 different times, I finally got this one in yesterday. I think I'll get a lot of use out of this, especially with how easy it is to use.

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Ted Striker

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Finally received most of the stuff I ordered. At least it's enough to get started! Jeep is going in the shop today to get Clayton 2.5" Ride Right lift, 17" HardRock Offroad wheels and 37" Ridge Grapplers installed. While the shop has it, I'm having them install a set of Yukon 5.13 gears and diff covers and some JKS Quicker Disconnects for the front.

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Just got an email that said my JCR Offroad front bumper is on the way as well, but wasn't here by the time I took the Jeep to the shop. I'll probably just install that myself when I get back from vacation.
 
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Ted Striker

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Finally, some major progress! Just got the JT back from the shop that did the suspension work. After that, my brother and I installed the bumper, winch and lights yesterday. Then I gave it a good wash today since it's going to be great weather for the next week.

So here it is:

Clayton 2.5" ride right suspension
.75" Fishbone Offroad spacer on front springs
JKS Quicker Disconnects
JCR Offroad Crusader bumper with lower skid plate
Smittybilt XRC Gen 3 9500k winch
KC HiLites LED G6 Pro driving lights
Factor 55 Flatlink
HardRock Offroad H105 wheels, 17x9 -12mm offset
37x12.50x17 Nitto Ridge Grappler tires

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I'm still waiting on all of the JCR inner and outer fenders to come in and then I'll get those on next. But at least for now, it's looking and feeling like I want it to.
 
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Ted Striker

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Definitely not the most glamorous mod I've done, but probably one of the most practical. Today, I installed a Rock Jock carrier bearing spacer drop plate. I discovered a slight vibration at low speeds after the new lift and tires were installed and bought this to help bring the angle down a little less steep.

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USMC-SSGT

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Damn that looks really nice. Well done and clean.
 
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Ted Striker

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Got the new Yukon differential covers installed on Friday. Had the shop put them on while they were draining the break-in gear oil and replacing it.

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Ted Striker

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Did one of those small mods today that make a big difference for every other day. Installed Rival 4x4 hood struts. No more stupid hood prop rod in the way when I'm working on something in the engine bay!

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