Sunnyside's Gladiator build begins...

sunnysideup

Caught the Bug
Well... I found another bargain for 150 dollars! I got a scratch and dent ARB brawer system - at 1 tenth the asking price and free shipping... I figured I could salvage something from it! There is a reason for this purchase (as long as world war three doesn't start) -I will have 30 days off in May and June that my wife and I have used to plot a long overland trip, camping three or four days at a time between hotel stops. So... we are looking at the back of the truck as our kitchen. We will use out black tent for privacy space/ dry area for eating and cooking if needed, and we have a small RTT coming! I wanted it all removable -so currently it seems to work with the proto-type design. The drawer or fridge can both be removed easily and the other piece can stay. I'm looking at building a drawer for between the units as well? Anyway... this is now part of the build for the big trip. PXL_20220212_002403127.jpg
 

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sunnysideup

Caught the Bug
Solar panel? Where'd you find that?
They are made by a company called Cascadia...out of Canada. They have been around a couple of years now and I've found lots of good reviews. We will put it to work on our 30 day long trip...see how it does!
 

sunnysideup

Caught the Bug
Another Item that I'm trying out. Seems solid, and really helped on road manners in high winds and gravel roads on whoops. Not sure on rock yet if it will make much difference. One side needed help to fit right, had to bend it about 1/8th of an inch for it to fit in place.
 

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sunnysideup

Caught the Bug
Added some air vents and built what will become a mount for an RTT ladder on the passenger side...have to have the ladder show up to finish that project. also made a flag mount on the driver side for dunes... right in the center left of the window.
 

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sunnysideup

Caught the Bug
The side steps that I used for the past 2.5 years were cheap... 230 bucks on a scratch and dent deal... they lasted ok, they have a few dents...but one day I was going to upgrade them.

I went with Rock Hard sliders...tilted up version. Happy with the choice! My pinch seam re-enforcement worked with them too... so some added strength as well! Very happy with them! pain in the rear to install. PXL_20220327_014327066.jpg
 

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sunnysideup

Caught the Bug
No exciting picture... but I did put in a set of Synergy HD Ball joints. At 30,000 there were signs of the passenger side ball joint starting to fail, loose... plastic cup giving out- I think. So... I think they are good for a while now! Feels great and they can be greased!
 

sunnysideup

Caught the Bug
Two weeks to my month long trip in the gladiator! Tent just came in... so I worked on the ladder mount, set up the sides of the topper to give it all a shakedown while I drive around with it on all week. I will be putting my Falcon 2 roofnest on tomorrow. It has been pouring rain...so we will see, it might be Sunday. Who knows if all of this stuff will work, I'll find out over the next month. I might need to change where I put it long term? But I have to start somewhere... I also replaced the plexiglass from the 1970's that was on the back window for a window I can see through!
 

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sunnysideup

Caught the Bug
Well... I get to go try everything out for an extended trip in just 3 days. About 1 month on the road!
Just added two more upgrades...

I've had the truss for a long time, I am not a welder and so I waited until my freind who is one was open for a Jeep project.
I was going to keep the factory Tie rod for a long time, see if it would hold out... but it really went bad quickly. It almost fell off when the nuts were taken off... Teh ends just didn't hold up. Rather then replace it with another stock one... I added a Yeti.
 

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sunnysideup

Caught the Bug
Well... 30 days of travel. 6217 miles... average gas mileage was 16.6mpg. Hauling a lot of extra weight because I was deliveing some very heavy items to realitives along the way... it all still went jeeping with us and survived the journey.

...about 1200 miles of the trip was gravel,sand or dirt, off pavement.

THE GOOD
1.) My topper did great, no sand in the back. No leaks. No water.
2.) The tent was amazing we used it for about 22 of the nights! Great for our camping -sets up in under 1 min.
3.) The cooking set up was simple, but worked amazingly well. We only ate "out" about 8 meals in 30 days, the rest were cooked on the tailgate.
We had wind, rain, and dust storms...tent held up well.
4.)Tires did great- we had sand, rain, snow, mud, rock, lava, dirt, washboard, and highways and freeways. But you can see the wear on them...they have been on there for about 24,000 miles now.
5.) Skids and rock rails took some hits and did well!
6.) The ARB air compressor mount that Eddie sells that goes under the brake booster- I know some say it will overheat- my did not! The compressor never overheated... I use it to fill all of my tires and even others on the trip, I used the lockers often... never seemed to bother it... in temps over 100 outside filling 37 inch tires.
7.) We only had cell service for about 8 days... we had a great time in the silence!

THE THINGS THAT SUFFERED
1.) My axle sway bar disconnect- well it needs all new bushings, you can spin them like tops in the sway bar links, and they creak and make a lot of noise. (the good news is that a set of bushings for them is 8 bucks). I'll try fixing them this week... I would like to do like Eddie did with an old factory sway bar disconnect... I'll look for a cheap one and make it work without power.
2.) When I put my lockers in, I used the sealant supplied by ARB... its been in there for 2 years, but in the heat (100 plus in AZ) both front and rear failed and started leaking, causing me to take a day to pull off the covers, dry the new gasket, refill fluid and check for leaks. Not a drop leaked after using the oil resistant black rtv. The grey stuff that came with my lockers... worked in cold but AZ took em out... I mean like the bolts were tight and they were just dripping 5 of 6 drops at every stop.
3.) The Evo plush ride springs were a little overloaded with the weight of the RTT and all of the weight I was taking for others, I had 800lbs in the bed and 320 with the topper and gear and RTT. So it was too much for the spring rate. On the more difficult trails (metal masher) the rear springs really gave you a "cork in the bathtub" type feel... you had to use a lot of brake to keep it from starting. When I have wheeled it with the truck lighter I never had that issue. They could not keep up in the ledges and holes on several trails. (So I ordered the EVO HD version of the rear springs and will install them this week.)
4.) I had a front Fox 2.0 blow out... leaking like crazy... so a new shock is needed. I think the rear swaying might have helped its early death.
5.) My old GPS went nuts on me and was worthless.
6.) My GMRS worked fine, but the CB stopped working. I'll have to investigate that some.
7.) My american adventure lab high clearence front lights blew out the harnesses... but I pulled the harness and the blinkers started working fine... I just have the bulb out warning now.

Overall very pleased with the build. I will be taking some measurments and see how the new rear springs do...
 

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Andy5160

Hooked
Well... 30 days of travel. 6217 miles... average gas mileage was 16.6mpg. Hauling a lot of extra weight because I was deliveing some very heavy items to realitives along the way... it all still went jeeping with us and survived the journey.

...about 1200 miles of the trip was gravel,sand or dirt, off pavement.

THE GOOD
1.) My topper did great, no sand in the back. No leaks. No water.
2.) The tent was amazing we used it for about 22 of the nights! Great for our camping -sets up in under 1 min.
3.) The cooking set up was simple, but worked amazingly well. We only ate "out" about 8 meals in 30 days, the rest were cooked on the tailgate.
We had wind, rain, and dust storms...tent held up well.
4.)Tires did great- we had sand, rain, snow, mud, rock, lava, dirt, washboard, and highways and freeways. But you can see the wear on them...they have been on there for about 24,000 miles now.
5.) Skids and rock rails took some hits and did well!
6.) The ARB air compressor mount that Eddie sells that goes under the brake booster- I know some say it will overheat- my did not! The compressor never overheated... I use it to fill all of my tires and even others on the trip, I used the lockers often... never seemed to bother it... in temps over 100 outside filling 37 inch tires.
7.) We only had cell service for about 8 days... we had a great time in the silence!

THE THINGS THAT SUFFERED
1.) My axle sway bar disconnect- well it needs all new bushings, you can spin them like tops in the sway bar links, and they creak and make a lot of noise. (the good news is that a set of bushings for them is 8 bucks). I'll try fixing them this week... I would like to do like Eddie did with an old factory sway bar disconnect... I'll look for a cheap one and make it work without power.
2.) When I put my lockers in, I used the sealant supplied by ARB... its been in there for 2 years, but in the heat (100 plus in AZ) both front and rear failed and started leaking, causing me to take a day to pull off the covers, dry the new gasket, refill fluid and check for leaks. Not a drop leaked after using the oil resistant black rtv. The grey stuff that came with my lockers... worked in cold but AZ took em out... I mean like the bolts were tight and they were just dripping 5 of 6 drops at every stop.
3.) The Evo plush ride springs were a little overloaded with the weight of the RTT and all of the weight I was taking for others, I had 800lbs in the bed and 320 with the topper and gear and RTT. So it was too much for the spring rate. On the more difficult trails (metal masher) the rear springs really gave you a "cork in the bathtub" type feel... you had to use a lot of brake to keep it from starting. When I have wheeled it with the truck lighter I never had that issue. They could not keep up in the ledges and holes on several trails. (So I ordered the EVO HD version of the rear springs and will install them this week.)
4.) I had a front Fox 2.0 blow out... leaking like crazy... so a new shock is needed. I think the rear swaying might have helped its early death.
5.) My old GPS went nuts on me and was worthless.
6.) My GMRS worked fine, but the CB stopped working. I'll have to investigate that some.
7.) My american adventure lab high clearence front lights blew out the harnesses... but I pulled the harness and the blinkers started working fine... I just have the bulb out warning now.

Overall very pleased with the build. I will be taking some measurments and see how the new rear springs do...
Looks like after all you had a great trip!!!!
 

sunnysideup

Caught the Bug
I should mention the solar panel worked great keeping the stock batteries full even when the fridge was working all night. Never a hint of a difficult start. The cheap fridge... ran constant for almost 6 weeks... I started running it day and night 2 weeks before the trip to be sure that it caused no problems. In AZ the jeep was down for a whole night and the next day in over 100 degree heat... the solar kept the battery at full while it sat. Still stock battery...

Some people have noticed the eclipse in the ghost town picture... Our first night of the trip started off camped in a ghost town (it has rumors of being haunted) while we watched a luner eclipse! Cool time for sure!
DSC_0061.jpg
 

sunnysideup

Caught the Bug
So I did change out the springs to the 4.5 inch HD plushrides from evo.

I formerly had the 2.5 inch with a 3/4 inch spacer...

The height of the springs on the ground next to one another... were 2 1/2 inches apart. So with the spacer factored in... 1 3/4 inch gain.
With them being the HD plushrides... that translasted to about 1.5 inches higher with the weight in the truck. On the road... the springs feel like they are not struggleing with the weight.

Front drivers shock is still toast... but a new one is coming... only 1 year warrenty on the shock and I'm past that... all the others are doing fine, So I'm just going to try a new 2.0 fox. It really rides nice and eats up even large dips and washboard... when it was working. So now that the springs are doing their job, I think it will be fine!

Front sway bar bushings are in... noise is gone! I suppose two years I'll need to replace again.

Pics Comparing the truck with the new and old springs set up.

P.S. I have a set of evo 2.5 springs and a daystar 3/4 inch spacer now... lol .
 

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sunnysideup

Caught the Bug
Tried these out...goign wheeling this weekend, I'll see if they help keep rocks and mud off the sides a little better... these are the Mopar Wrangler recon fender extentions. I had to trim the rears to fit... drill new holes in plastic. They seem soild and we will try them out!
 

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