z0lt3c's Gobi Sport Build

z0lt3c

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The Origin Story. Purchased a 2020 Jeep Gladiator Sport from Rothrock Jeep in Allentown, PA on March 15. Actually found the vehicle using the Rodo leasing app and couldn't pass up the 76% RV on the base model Sport. Original MSRP was $38,.180 with only a few options including automatic transmission, spray-in bedliner, standard duty towing package and satellite radio.

I was the last sale out the door before the COVID shutdown. Had no idea that I would be doing no driving for the next 3 months but glad I got mine before inventory dried up and the RV dropped. I would be driving on temp plates for the better parts of 2 months and I still can't get a proper NJ inspection sticker!

Here are the original pics the dealer had online;

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Here is the money shot on my way out of the dealership:

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My plans are to perform some mild modifications and enjoy it for the next 36 months of ownership. This thread will provide further details and updates as I build it up.



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z0lt3c

z0lt3c

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The next day after driving it home to NJ I immediately replaced the stock wheels. I had already owned a set of 2018 Smokey Mountain Wheels, bought them from the original owners as a take-off from his JKU and then ran them for a few thousand miles on my old WK2;

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And a gratuitous pic of the 2017 Durango that I traded in to get into the WK2 and out of the rest of the Durango lease once I got bored.

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But here is the JT the next day with the JKU wheels installed and before Carvana came and picked up the WK2 (they offered more then I paid for it):

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Speaking of Carvana, said goodbye to the WK2 after returing it stock;

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I think it actually looks pretty good and it really drove great with those wheels. They wouldn't last for long but sometimes I think I just should have but some better rubber on these 18's and called it a day. Alas, I could go driving around without a bed cover, so, as one of my first discoveries on this forum, I learned that a cheap Amazon Tyger roll-up bed cover, made for a GMC Canyon, will fit well enough on the Gladiator:

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z0lt3c

z0lt3c

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Next mod.... Was lucky enough to find a local forum member selling a set of take-off Overland running boards. Not exactly my first choice for running boards, but I couldn't pass up a local deal and the Sport just looks unfinished without some running boards bounding in those vacant holes.

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It was at this point I become hooked on taking the build to the next level and started to contemplate a lift with larger tires and proper width wheels. I spent the next few weeks collecting parts where-ever I could find a reasonable deal and eventually had all the pieces needed to take the next step.

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So I loaded up the truck and set off to a recommended shop in East Greenville, PA -- Jeeperz4wd. I would make a few more trips back during the course of this project and recommend these guys highly. Here I am all loaded up.

2020-05-28.jpg
 
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z0lt3c

z0lt3c

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On my way too...

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Here I am at up on the lift as they were buttoning things up.

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Here is a pic of the front final geometry with all upgrades in place

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With the old JKU wheels loaded up in the back (they would later sell quickly), here was how it looked after the initial install of the lift, wheels and tires. You can read more about my lift and the parts I used in my custom lift thread.

gc-lifted.jpg


I am pretty happy with the way it turned out, realizing 4.5" of lift in the front and 3.25" inches of lift in the rear, including both suspension and tires upgrades. Ride quality at this point was no worse then stock but still felt very soft with too much rebound over bumps. I would address this later. The other problem is I had to trim the bumper to clear the tires and I wasn't happy with the way the bumper now exposed the fog lights.

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I even made the Jeeperz4wd facebook page

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Although I did need to take it for a proper alignment to get the toe right.

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Sunset shots always come out good. This was the last picture before the next rounds of modifications started. I was back on the hunt for more take-off parts from forum members.

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J.Noack

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Great write up man, great looking Gobi for sure.
 
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z0lt3c

z0lt3c

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I put a few thousand miles on my Stage 1 frankenlift and decided I needed to take it a bit further and add a few more parts missed during the first lift session.. My objective for stage 2 was to install an Overland bumper and retrofit LED fogs, plus take-off Rubicon Fox shocks. Picked up all these parts from fellow forum members at a great price.

The idea was to fix the issues where the fog lights were exposed with the Sport bumper and hopefully realize an improvement in ride quality over the Sport shocks. I wanted to get the Synergy sector shaft brace installed but it was out of stock, so that gets pushed back to Stage 3.

First the front view;

2020-06-29-6.jpg


Next the rear view;

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Finally a few shots with the new bumper and lights. I shared more details of the Overland bumper retrofit in this thread. I think the bumper is much nicer looking and much more functional.

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After taking these pics I now realized that the halogen bulbs in my headlights and turn signals looked bad compared to the new fogs, so this time I went to Amazon and ordered some $50 H13 LED retrofit kits to upgrade the headlights lights to LED.

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Next up, given i was pretty happy with the headlights, I went back to Amazon again and got a $37 Switchback LED turn signal retrofit kit. Still waiting on these to arrive , but the install looks simple enough.
 
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