Dave's Jeep JT Gladiator: The 'Gator

Dave

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#43
sPOD HD panel mount

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Ready to start adding lights to the sPOD Bantam. Here you can also see the custom wire harness I built for the ARB dual compressor that lives in the cab under the passenger seat.

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Dave

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#55
As stated, one of my goals for this build is to keep it "lightly" modified in the hopes of maintaining fuel economy as well as ease of maintenance and spare parts availability.

37's are super tempting but then that necessitates a re-gear from OEM 4.10 to aftermarket 4.56 (voiding my warranty and adding cost). Where most go wrong is the suspension, and adding more tire than what is really needed. So I'm thinking a mild 2.5 inch lift and a set of 35's which is ONE size larger than OEM (same as I did on my JL build) is the smart play here.

Looking across the spectrum of suspension manufacturers, and especially those in the Gladiator market, I looked at Icon, Metal Tech, Evo, Rock Krawler, and Clayton Offroad.

Right now I gotta say I'm super impressed with Clayton Offroad (who I had never heard of) and their 2.5 inch "Overland Plus" suspension. This kit checks all the boxes for me regarding strength, durability and simplicity.

So many decisions to make :coffee
 

Dean

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#56
Right now I gotta say I'm super impressed with Clayton Offroad (who I had never heard of) and their 2.5 inch "Overland Plus" suspension. This kit checks all the boxes for me regarding strength, durability and simplicity.

So many decisions to make :coffee
If it helps, I know Clayton and his team personally. Used to cover their rock crawl team back in the day and cross paths with them at shows on a regular basis. While I lack personal experience with their stuff, I do know they are a stand up shop and everyone I know with their suspension systems has been happy. Kyle Buchter runs one of his kits on his LJ.

My only critique, and word of caution, is they come from that hard-core rock crawling background. The overland scene is something relatively new to them. That said, the new bushing they are using in their JL/JLU/JT kits are legit. I got to see some pre-production components of their JLU kit at a show last year. Judging by the photos it looks like this kit is based off those components. I only wish they would do a modest overland-style kit for the older Jeeps like my LJ.

My only other fear is the ride not being as good as a more comprehensive kit like Icon which has both shocks and springs as part of the package. I'm sure you can get a set of Bilstien 5160's to work with the Clayton kit, but I'm always wary of suspension kits that don't include shocks tuned for the springs. However, as far as fit-and-finish go, their stuff is top quality.
 
#57
I had several clayton products on my TJ Rubicon. I have not followed them much since 2010 or so. But back then in the mid to late 2000's their products were highly favored for being overbuilt, with great welding and the company for superb customer service.
And FWIW I think you are making the right choice oin 35's over 37's (and all the associated other enhancements to get there). Once again, going back to my 03 TJ Rubi, I scrimped and saved to get all I needed to go from 33's to 35's. This is a comparable jump as you are describing due to wheelbase and what the relatively stock platform can handle. After all the time, energy and $ spent, I saw negligible improvement off road... so little in fact, that I returned to 33's with my next tire purchase. I swear the Jeep was a better offroader (at least with me driving it) on 33's.
 
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