Where have you been all my life, Gladys?

  1. steffen707

    steffen707 Well-Known Member

    Vehicle(s):
    2001 Jetta TDI RIP, 89' Civic SI, 2019 Pacifica Hybrid, 2020 GLADIATOR SPORT S "GLADYS"
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    #1 Aug 6, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
    We'll see who makes it through to the eye candy, also a small “sorry” for teasing folks without photos until tonight, been a hell of a weekend! I’ll document my mods/upgrades to Gladys on this thread too.

    Story:
    I’m a normal midwestern guy. Life has been pretty good to me. No major medical issues, pretty smart, never got tangled up with the law, but I always was annoyed watching the news, 20/20 or 60 minutes with my father growing up. “You think you’ve got it bad!?”, he would say when we watched a story about starving kids in China, inner-city youth huffing paint or random civilians getting limbs blown off overseas. Yeah, comparatively my life isn’t 1/100th of a percent as hard as some folks, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have struggles. The toughest thing for somebody might be finding a safe place to sleep at night. My toughest thing last week was cutting up 15 trees that fell on my house, fence, other fence, playset and shed. Luckily the house had very minor damage, but damn that was stressful and a lot of work. I’m still not done.

    I’m the bread winner of our family. Sure, my wife has stress raising our boys, but making sure we’ve got enough money coming in has its stress too. Our stupid health insurance is $1337 a month, plus a $13,000 max out of pocket family deductible. UGH……..

    I’m fat, not obese, but at 5’7” and 183 lbs, the doctor says (and I agree) I should start thinking about eating better and exercising again. I’ve got 2 wonderful young boys and a terrific wife that would all love for me to be around for a very long time. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are plenty of folks farther along battling weight issues, but it’s a slippery slope that can run in the family.


    “UMMM, WHAT ABOUT GLADYS? This is a story about your Gladiator, right?”


    Today was the first day in a long while that I never thought about paragraphs 1-3. I wake up all excited to get my JT at 7:30. My wife is still sleeping at the Super 8 Motel in Spirit Lake Iowa. I post a few times on the forum as I’m anxious to go see it. Finally, it dawns on me, I can just walk there and let my wife sleep! I take a stroll 0.4 Miles away and I see Gladys for the first time.

    first time.jpg

    She looks like every other JT people have posted photos of, but its different. I know today I get to take this one home! That’s my beauty and finally all the waiting is paying off.

    I’m from out of state, and Wisconsin has weird leasing policies. I spend 90 minutes chatting with the finance woman Cathy. She’s so pleasant. Two guys load up my empty Jeep crate into the back of the JT while another sales guy asks if I want a soda or coffee. I can just imagine their office getting together for a Christmas office party. Each asking about their families and what they’re going to do the next weekend. Reminds me of family.

    Before I know it, its been 90 minutes, but I didn’t mind at all, I know paperwork is a bitch. My wife calls and I tell her to pack up and bring the checkbook, we’re almost ready to roll.

    Before we leave, I shake 2 people’s hands and we hop into the jeep to experience Gladys and all her glory. I push the start button and turn the radio on, but nothing comes on the display, but the music is playing………I start pressing a few buttons, things work, but no display. I chuckle to myself, “This drive home is going to be a long one!”. Then I realize I didn’t put my foot on the brake when I pressed start. Do it again, Gladys’ display lights up and I see the Wrangler roll across the instrument cluster. I fiddle with Uconnect and Android Auto, doesn’t work………no sweat, I’ve still got XM radio. We take Cathy’s advice and head to a local breakfast/coffee place.

    This is the first time I’ve driven a Gladiator. We eat breakfast swing by Walmart to get a ratchet strap for the empty Jeep Crate I called dibs on. While strapping it down, first Wrangler owner experience. She was all impressed by the Gladiator, and we had a nice time chit chatting about how she wants her husband to get one so she can drive it, lol

    I aired down to 36psi at Walmart and we head for home. Hit the open road and I’m grinning from ear to ear. Gladys is all mine. This is my truck! It hauls ass and passing is effortless. The stereo is incredible. I turn the bass down because somebody set it to +8. I spend the next 90 minutes fumbling around with all the settings and get to know Gladys.

    We stop off at McDonalds for a quick break and so I can air down to 33psi and take the freedom panels off. CO2 delivery guy compliments me on the Bright White JT and asks when I got it. Big smile on my face.

    We jump back on I90 and I floor it on the on-ramp. All 5 windows down (beer window slid open I guess) top off, 85 degrees and sunny. We’re doing about 80 with my wife following behind in Dory. I turn on the Warthog mix some people created on the site. Flip to an Avenge Sevenfold song and blast the tunes. I get goosebumps with the wind, the loud music, flying by others on the highway. Singing along at the top of my lungs, bobbing my head a bit and pumping my first with that “F*ck Yeah” voice in the back of my head.

    Its just Gladys and me devouring the open road. Regular car/truck after regular car/truck. I see those poor souls just going through the motions of their commute when Gladys and I are living it up. Freedom……that’s what I think I’m feeling. I’ve got a couple of modded up scooters (yes scooters) that’ll haul ass up to about 55mph and then run out of RPM. I don’t ride them much anymore for fear of getting run over. Gladys is giving me that similar feeling back. Open air freedom but on 4 wheels, faster, more convenient to haul plywood and this feeling will hopefully be DAILY!

    Yeah the wind was loud sometimes, the JT wandered a bit here and there and my lower back was sweaty, but I never once thought about starving kids in China, how I need to start working out again when I get home, or how I wish those trees never got blown over.

    Not a care in the world. I imagine all of you guys/gals that have known this feeling for years. This secret…….maybe this is what the “It’s a Jeep thing” is all about. Whatever it is (I like it a lot).


    white rainbow pic.jpg
    We drove 30 minutes through a torrential rain storm and I get to put her into 4HI, pull off at a gas tation to avoid some hail and Gladys brought me home safely. Then I got this photo of her with a rainbow in the background. She's my girl!
     
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  2. OP
    OP
    steffen707

    steffen707 Well-Known Member

    Vehicle(s):
    2001 Jetta TDI RIP, 89' Civic SI, 2019 Pacifica Hybrid, 2020 GLADIATOR SPORT S "GLADYS"
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2018
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    Middle Wisconsin
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    #2 Aug 6, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
    Review:
    Back story:

    I’ve been following the JT since January 2018. I had no idea there ever was a jeep truck before. I have never owned a truck, a Jeep, or a new vehicle (my wife has, psh). When the JT started becoming a real thing with real photos of test mules and then all the pricing speculation began, I never thought I would be able to afford a JT before 2021-2022.

    After learning much about leases from fellow Gladiators, I discovered I could get into a JT this year to discover if 1. I really like Jeeps, 2. If I want a sport S or Rubicon and then buy one when my lease is up. I really want a Gator one, but I’ve been waiting so long and @spenchey had a Sport S that had mostly what I wanted coming in through Pre-Spec. A $500 REFUNDABLE deposit later and I was waiting like the many other folks have been.

    I first made contact with @spenchey on May 2nd, August 5th I drove my baby home!


    The Sales Process:

    RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH! Then buy from @spenchey (lol) or another one of the several dealers willing to give you a deal and others have vouched for. The Motor Inn experience was awesome!


    My Ride:

    “Gladys” 2020 Gladiator Sport S, tan interior, tow package (non-max), black hard top, 7” screen, Alpine stereo.


    First Thoughts (non-driving):

    Dang these things are tall STOCK! I’m going to need steps or a rope ladder. I’m only 5’7” and can’t wait to put the 33”LE wheels/tires I got from @JP1 on, but woah, lol

    I LOVE the cockpit! This thing was designed for small guys like me. I know its partially based on the JL, but I’ve never owned/driven a Wrangler before (clarification, I test drove a JL Rubison for 4 miles once). I love how small the steering wheel is, how every port, plug, button, dial is right within reach for little old me. It feels cozy, but not cramped to me.

    The tan seats are sweet.

    After spending 6 hours with Gladys I think the white roof is acceptable because you see the white bars, white parts of the doors ect. It works, but if I had a Gator jt, then you would see Gator, Black and White in the interior, it would be weird I think.

    The seat needs a tilt function (not the back). Also the seat is a little short, but I can live with that.

    Android Auto wouldn’t work, tried uninstalling, reinstalling, ect, couldn’t get it to work. I was shocked that the 7” radio doesn’t have navigation. Maybe its somewhere in Uconnect, but I didn’t find it today, I’ll look again tomorrow.

    I really like the analog speedometer and tach. There’s a ton of info on the gauge cluster that’s nice.

    I got about 21.5mpg with the hardtop on going 75 on I90 for a few hours. I got about 18.5-19mpg with the freedom panels off and windows down, same speed, both with AC blowing full tilt, lol.

    The stupid beer window should have been electric. Going to the back to open it is kinda a PITA.

    The faux leather is nice. I thought the center console would be cloth covered, but its actually nice faux leather. I know many people have complained that the interior materials are generic/cheap/whatever. I think its pretty nice step from my 2001 Jetta and 2008 Grand Caravan I’ve recently been driving. Lol

    People who say the interior is loud…….please! It’s a convertible truck. You can’t compare it to a Denali GMC or even an F150. Some things you just have to concede. When you turn the HVAC and radio off, yes you can hear some wind, turn the radio up.

    The alpine stereo is AWESOME! I’ve read several saying it was so so. I was super surprised at the bass and the highs sounded nice as well. With freedom panels off and cranking the tunes it was a great experience.

    NO BUFFETING BABY! When I test drove a JL rubicon a few months ago with hardtop, just driving down the road you got that loud “helicoptering” buffeting noise, like somebody cracked a rear window open. It was SO ANNOYING, I was scared that every JT would have the same problem. I was ecstatically surprised that my JT has ZERO buffeting whatsoever! I took the freedom panels off and put em back on, no buffeting…….yay!

    This has quite the blind spots. When I get my Gator Rubicon I’ll be getting the blind spot monitoring for sure. We’ve got that on our Pacifica and I love it.

    No rain came in when it poured outside, whew.

    PEOPLE LOVE THIS TRUCK! I was asked by a couple at a coffee shop what it was. Stopped by a JL owner at Walmart who was trying to convince her husband to get rid of his huge (full size) truck and get one. I was complimented by the CO2 delivery man at McDonalds that “That’s one sweet Jeep brother!”. At a gas station the clerk asked, “Is that a Jeep, or a truck?”. I said, its both, a Jeep truck called the Gladiator. She said, “Oh my god that thing is cool!”. Then there were 3-4 other drivers that did double takes. This was within a 7 hour period of leaving the dealer and driving back to Wisconsin. LMAO!

    Driving Impressions:

    Holy cow, 40psi is WAY TOO MUCH. It wandered terribly. I dropped the psi to 36, it still wandered a bit. I dropped it to 33psi and was much better. I might try 32, but gotta test the contact patch before I decide on the final setting for me.

    I’ve never owned a truck or solid front/rear axle vehicle, so I don’t know how much of the 33psi wander was from the axles, the slop in the steering, or the wind blowing around my brick of cheese on wheels. I kind of feel that the axles/steering/aerodynamics is just a “feature” of the Willys/Wrangler/Gladiator vehicle. (somebody else deserves credit for that thought, but I agree)

    Holy cow this vehicle quickly tells you how inattentive of a driver you really are. If you don’t pay attention, you’ll ping pong all over the lane. If you stop texting, looking through uconnect menus and checking out all the interior features at 75mph and pay attention to DRIVING, its not that hard to keep it straight. As another stated on this site, overcorrecting is probably the culprit. I’m sure within a month I’ll know when to steer, counter-steer, ect to anticipate the wind/curves to keep the car going in the right direction. Its odd, the steering has slop in it where I can turn the wheel left and right a bit with NOTHING happening to the front wheels, but when the slop is taken up, its actually quite sensitive. You need to finesse the steering wheel and pay attention. I would love to test drive one of these with lane departure control. Wonder how well it works.

    This thing hauls ass! I know others have said its underpowered, but I think it accelerates quite well. Highway passing was super fun today. Of course its not sports car fast, of course there are other trucks that would spank it, but compare it to so many vehicles of 10-15-20 years ago. Holy cow! Can’t wait for more power of course, but for now this has plenty to haul a few sheets of plywood with style, lol.

    The windshielf is a bug juggernaut. Christ, I killed 3,000 bugs driving home. Getting that ceramic coated for sure. Also, I love how much washer fluid it sprays out and the wipers appear to do a good job scraping stuff off the windshield.


    Well that’s it for now. I’m truly a happy camper now, can’t wait to go to work………..to drive Gladys.
     
    Shawn2, Arop, MPETE and 23 others like this.
  3. Trauma PA

    Trauma PA Well-Known Member

    First Name:
    Robert
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    Loved reading about your personal thoughts and your day 1 Gladiator owner's experience. Congratulations! Enjoy your new baby.
     
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  4. Matstock4

    Matstock4 Well-Known Member

    First Name:
    Matt
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    Now that's a write up! :rock:

    Congrats my man!!! :beer::jk::beer:
     
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  5. smlobx

    smlobx Well-Known Member

    First Name:
    Eddie
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    Congratulations !!!

    I was seriously wondering if you were ever going to get a Gladiator but am happy for you.
    I think that now that you have a truck you’ll find all sorts of use for it. I can’t imagine not having a truck in the family.

    Regarding your health, I know it’s not for me to tell you anything but let me relate a story about me. My Dad died when I was 12 and that literally destroyed me for years during the time of my life when I needed him most....Fast forward to when I had my first son. As I held him for the first time in the delivery room I promised him that I would do everything I could to be there for him through all of his major life events. He’s 31 now, married and has his own house but we’re still waiting for babies...so i’m doing what I can to stay in good shape...hopefully you can do the same...

    Congratulations on your beautiful truck.
     
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  6. Rex3rd

    Rex3rd Well-Known Member

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    Congrats on finally getting your baby! Can't wait to post a write-up like this next year when I get mine. :clap:
     
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  7. Jake

    Jake Well-Known Member

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    Jake
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    Congratulations, nice ride.
     
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  8. Ole Cowboy

    Ole Cowboy Well-Known Member

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    Don
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    GREAT write up Steff, really enjoyed it, clean, refreshing, honest, good on you...
     
  9. ralphjjr

    ralphjjr Well-Known Member

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    Ralph
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    Congrats!! :champagne:
    Great write up...
     
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  10. OP
    OP
    steffen707

    steffen707 Well-Known Member

    Vehicle(s):
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    Ooh, forgot a few more details. The steering wheel tilts and telescopes. I can lower it enough so I can drive with my knee when I need two hands, like putting more sunscreen on my arms cuz it's a CONVERTABLE PICKUP!

    my first time parking it was a left side parallel park right in front of a coffee shop. I didn't hit anything and was pretty close to where I needed to be, lol.
     
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  11. JP1

    JP1 Well-Known Member

    First Name:
    John
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    CONGRATS SIR!!!
    :clap:
     
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  12. the-dude-abides

    the-dude-abides Well-Known Member

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    Loved reading this. Connected to it in many ways even the "i'm fat" stuff :turkey::LOL:

    Very happy for you, man. I have 3 boys and all of them love the jeep so far. It's a memory maker and I'm sure your boys will love it too.
     
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  13. SleepyJeep

    SleepyJeep Well-Known Member

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    Congratulations on your truck @steffen707. I'm happy for you dude, Loved reading your post. Goodluck with fixing/cleaning up your house from all them trees :).

    I am sure you will enjoy Gladys a lot. I drove from MD to OH and have to agree with you on the "steering slop" as you call it and it freaked me out the first 30 minutes because I had the bed loaded up LOL. My friend who used to own a TrailBlazer for like 20 years until it got stolen (long story) said that it was normal on older SUVs - he called it a "loose steering". For me, after driving sports cars and the last true Jeep was a TJ so I need to get that steering stabilizer installed just to feel comfortable.

    Definitely agree about the bugs and yes it does have a YUGE blind spot - and the blind spot monitoring saved my a$$ a few times more so cuz I had the bed filled to the brim and the backseats as well so I had to rely on the side view mirrors while driving LOL. I didn't push it past 85mph with all that load tho. Blind spot monitoring is a def must in this truck.

    For the parallel parking, the rear view camera is pretty spot on so you can use that to help park it. If anything the camera is a bit more conservative and you can go further back LOL

    Welcome to the club and keep us posted on all your exploits, I am sure we will meet up in the midwest/great lakes rally meetup soon :rock::):fist bump:
     
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  14. OP
    OP
    steffen707

    steffen707 Well-Known Member

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    I love how the truck soaks up the bumps, but once in a construction zone I hit a series of bumps while going 70 (yes, this Iowa construction zone on i90 didn't have any slow down signs) kinda like a washboard while the barrels had us change lanes. So turning going 70 washboard, it was a bit unnerving and I can only best describe it as "a tank slapper feeling". It was kinda scary for a brief second. Almost like with the bumps and slop and me probably overcorrecting with input culminated in the perfect storm of "loss of control". Luckily it was over as fast as it happened, I changed my shorts started the song on the radio over again and moved on. I can only assume a better steering stabilizer could tune that type of event out. :surprised:
     
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  15. furrymurray

    furrymurray Well-Known Member

    First Name:
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    CONGRATS MY FRIEND! I am so happy for you! I cant wait to follow your build and your expeditions in Gladys. I love reading your post and look forward to reading more. Your Jeep looks amazing!
     
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