Build Progress Of My Gladiator Rubicon.

vernnz

New member
Here is day one:

Gladiator.jpg
I had a '09 JK that I built and I was happy with it but it had no cargo space even with the back seat removed.

It's a Rubicon. A Jeep. A truck. What's not to love? And did I mention IT'S A FREAKING RUBICON?!?

Completed mods.
- Dog hammock across back seat.
- Late addition. Steel bumper and skid swap. Post #7.


My pending build list in no particular order.
- No lift. Not changing rims. No bigger tires until these need to be replaced and even then going up a size is a hard MAYBE. No turbo, no supercharger and no Hemi.
- AUX Switch Kit. On order. Only "permanent" installations will connect to this. Or put another way, only items I do not want out of the Jeep if I were to trade it in. Amateur Radio equipment will not connect here.
- Overhead (MoLLE?) console or CB Bar. I need a place to mount Amateur Radio(s) or at least control heads for them. The center console is packed from the factory. Top of the dash is not an option. Any space that may ever possibly be occupied by a deployed/deploying airbag is also out. I saw a handheld "mount" that clips onto the passenger grab handle above the glove box. Not on a dare and not even only when off road.
- (MAYBE) Replace spare rim with matching factory rim. This would allow 5 tire rotations. My concern is that 4 tire rotations leave the spare to dry rot forever under the truck. During a tire change, do you replace 4 tires or 5, throwing away a never used or barely used spare? I am open to suggestion on this one. What is your plan for tire rotation or replacement?
- DIY bed rails cargo management. I already ordered the hardware from McMaster and got the Unistrut from a local metal shop. Rails are painted Granite Crystal Metallic and are curing in the back yard for another day or two.
- Amateur Radio gear. FT-857D transceiver, VHF/UHF antenna, Scorpion HF antenna, APRS module and separate 2m APRS antenna. This will be ongoing and ever evolving. I see mention of putting a transceiver under the front seat but I don't have that kind of room under my seats. I had a stereo amp and FT-857 stacked under my JK passenger seat. Not putting a radio amp in the JT so that is not a consideration but I still don't see room for a transceiver under there. I am open to suggestion. Scorpion antenna will be mounted in the bed on the passenger side.
- LED module rock lights.
- Switch Pros panel. If it were today I would choose the 9100. I don't know if it will still be a current product when I am ready. Whatever product replaces it when the time comes that has 6 - 8 outputs. I do not need 12 outputs!
- Spray in bedliner.
- Rear work lights. These will either be behind (in front of) the rear bumper or mounted in such a way that they can swing up when on a trail. (I might replace the reflectors but that will require more research of reliability and light output patterns.) I could use them daily if needed in the driveway or parking lot. When going off road they could be rotated up while airing down and verifying cargo is secure.
- PDC wiring. Connect Switch Pros to Wireless Speaker splice UNDER the PDC rather than Add-A-Fuse. Invisible for dealer visits. Since I do not have the Wireless Speaker that fuse location on top would be for the Switch Pros module.

That is current status. Gypsy Grace has a hammock in the back seat. Mod #1 Complete!

Vern
 
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WJCO

Meme King
Nice list. As far as the tires, I run a set of 5 full-size spare on mine and do a 5 tire (35s) rotation every 3k. It's not a big deal in regards to time. About 15 minutes or so. I'd rather have a full size spare and be on the safe side.
 

vernnz

New member
WJCO, Thanks.

Spare is full sized. Same brand, size tread and even date codes. Being 4x4 it's about mandatory. (OMG! Can you imagine a donut on the rear with limited slip? Would it grind itself bald? Would the donut be strong enough to snap a shaft? Would the LSD spin the donut out of its' bead on the rim?)

The spare is on a mismatched rim. On my '09 JK I did 5 tire rotations. The spare hanging on the tailgate was identical to the others. It even still had the original TPMS in it from the factory. Now I do not know if my spare has a TPMS in it. Since it is on a steel rim, Jeep might intend it to be temporary use only.

Spare.jpg

So my options are:
1. Five tire rotation. Keep eye open for one matching aluminum rim, switch the rubber to aluminum rim, toss steel rim and figure out TPMS. TPMS = move sensor from steel to aluminum or buy another and get it programmed into JT.
2. Four tire rotation. Spare is for temporary use only. Put it on when needed, get off the trail, go home and head to the tire shop, replace blown tire on aluminum rim and stuff the mismatch steel under the truck until needed again.

<sigh> Just noticed valve stem is on top. I would have to lower the tire to check pressure. Can't flip the spare over because a rock or tree branch would snap off the valve stem.

Vern
 

WJCO

Meme King
WJCO, Thanks.

Spare is full sized. Same brand, size tread and even date codes. Being 4x4 it's about mandatory. (OMG! Can you imagine a donut on the rear with limited slip? Would it grind itself bald? Would the donut be strong enough to snap a shaft? Would the LSD spin the donut out of its' bead on the rim?)

The spare is on a mismatched rim. On my '09 JK I did 5 tire rotations. The spare hanging on the tailgate was identical to the others. It even still had the original TPMS in it from the factory. Now I do not know if my spare has a TPMS in it. Since it is on a steel rim, Jeep might intend it to be temporary use only.

View attachment 368181

So my options are:
1. Five tire rotation. Keep eye open for one matching aluminum rim, switch the rubber to aluminum rim, toss steel rim and figure out TPMS. TPMS = move sensor from steel to aluminum or buy another and get it programmed into JT.
2. Four tire rotation. Spare is for temporary use only. Put it on when needed, get off the trail, go home and head to the tire shop, replace blown tire on aluminum rim and stuff the mismatch steel under the truck until needed again.

<sigh> Just noticed valve stem is on top. I would have to lower the tire to check pressure. Can't flip the spare over because a rock or tree branch would snap off the valve stem.

Vern
I meant that I bought a set of 5 matching tires and rims and still do a 5 tire rotation. I removed the TPMS and used a Tazer to make sure the dash warning didn't come on. If you're keeping stock tires, I would ignore the spare and just do 4 tire rotations. Plenty of SUV drivers do that anyways.
 

vernnz

New member
I meant that I bought a set of 5 matching tires and rims and still do a 5 tire rotation. I removed the TPMS and used a Tazer to make sure the dash warning didn't come on. If you're keeping stock tires, I would ignore the spare and just do 4 tire rotations. Plenty of SUV drivers do that anyways.
Thanks. Will plan for 4 tire rotation until matching rim falls from the sky gently landing with out a scratch at my front door.

Thanks,

Vern
 

vernnz

New member
Ok, forgot to add this to the original list. Swapped plastic bumper for the Mopar Steel Bumper. Ready to hit things now and maybe install and low profile (NMO) antenna base for the occasional APRS operations.

20211030_135826.jpg 20211030_135803.jpg

A few observations.
- If you have a Rubicon with plastic bumper and steel skid you do have to change the skid. You also have to remove the two outer brackets. There are write ups all over the place explaining this in varying detail.
- The steel bumper skid has two different part numbers. One part number is one single piece of steel, the skid plate. The other part number is a kit; Skid plate, bolts, rivnuts and some mounting brackets. This "kit" costs $120 more than the skid plate alone. Again, IF YOU HAVE A RUBICON with the plastic bumper you already have four of the bolts, the brackets for the bottom of the frame rails and the rivnuts are already installed too. You will need to purchase 3 hex bolts in order to finish bolting the skid to the bumper. I ordered 8 from my local dealer for a little over a dollar each. Right now my skid plate is being held on with 2 bolts into the brackets and 2 bolts into the bumper. It's secure enough for street driving. I would not trust missing bolts on the trail.
- I had halogen fogs and the steel bumper came with LED. They do work but later I will have the dealer flash the LVN code. For now I will watch for bulbs flickering during a self test. If I do observe them flickering I will just unplug them until going to the dealer.


And just because IT IS AWESOME!!! I had to replace the radiator in my '09 JK and '97 ZJ. Neither of them had the radiator petcock this accessible. Only one of them had a down spout that you could slip a hose over and neither of them were very "funnel friendly" we'll say. I saw this little work of art and had to take a picture of it.

Thank You Jeep engineers for making a coolant flush that much easier and cleaner.

20211030_110033.jpg
 

vernnz

New member
Where did you find the steel bumper? I can’t find one anywhere gently used
Mopar online. Took a week for them to ship it from Los Angeles to dealer in San Diego. No shipping cost since I chose to pick it up.

If you google the bumper part number you will appear to get hits from various warehouses. I have found these to usually be the parts department of a dealer. Coincidentally the dealer where I bought the JT lists parts "on sale" for 20% - 27% off.

I gave up on scoring a take off. Price. Condition. Missing hardware. Meet to pick up or shipping. I quickly realized I have better chances of winning lottery. 1 in 260 million. Paid full (sale) price and will recoup the premium I paid by selling steel skid, halogens and plastic bumper.

Vern
 
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