Dave's Jeep JT Gladiator: The 'Gator

Dave

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Bumpers. I’ve not been super interested in ANYTHING offered for the JL/JT. So I started talking to Trail Ready. And I gave them a LOT of input.

“What I see is “Overland” people looking to save weight these days. The JL payload is not good and I know people actively shedding gear to offset this. JT has better payload but same applies for me. Protection is important, but to me it’s secondary to these concerns:

1. Utility. It must carry at least a 10K winch. And it can’t be buried because it looks cool. Drum access is key.
Most of these bumpers LOOK good. But they fail to fully address proper winch use. Visibility of the DRUM is critical. OEM MOPAR, ARB, and AEV all give this lip service with a glimpse of the drum. I’d like to be able to see and get my hands in the drum area when needed.
2. Hilift compatible. Mandatory.
3. It must allow for use of good lights like Baja Designs etc.

Well, they listened.

- Inner winch plate – steel
- Outer shell aluminum and removable without considerable effort. Winch maintenance is easy.
- Open on top for full winch access
- OE light fitment or 4” round aftermarket
- Clevis shackle mounts (steel)/HiLift points
- Easily clears 37” tires with 2-1/2” lift

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Dave

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I’ve had a Baja Designs RTL 30 inch lightbar sitting in a box for some time. With the Leitner Designs ACS rack I finally had the perfect mounting location.

This provides extra running lights, brake lights, and the all important amber lighting up high. This results in increased visibility for anyone following us on the trail, and at night on the super slab. It also includes a nice set of bright white LED reverse lights.

Wired to the sPOD Bantam, each feature is a push of the button away. Or I can run stealth mode with all of it turned off in town.

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Dave

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Towing with a Gladiator. It does good for its size and it’s actually one of the reasons I bought it. That said, the mirrors are lacking when it comes to towing our modest 20 foot camper. I looked at a lot of different options and sadly, there’s not much out there and most of it looks like crap.

Then I found these by Rampage. They make a good looking, functional set of extensions, but I needed to find adapters. And I did :D

The adapters are by Thorn Engineering, got them on eBay. Now I can see the trailer!

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Yeah, gotta have good mirrors when towing. Doesn't really matter what they look like if you can remove them when not towing.
Those look like they will work fine as long as then don't come loose.
 

Dave

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Doesn't really matter what they look like if you can remove them when not towing.
Negative ghost rider, there’s lots of wacky looking temporary tow mirrors out there that just wouldn’t work for me based on the single fact that they look like shit. Glad I found something that doesn’t turn my stomach to look at ;)

Those look like they will work fine as long as then don't come loose.
Velcro straps all but ensure zero chance of coming loose.

:thumbsup
 

Doug

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Pictures do not do that Gator color justice. When I first saw you bought this one, it just looked like some vague khaki/green bland color the TAD would have an interesting name for but no one would understand it, like leviathan or desolation. WTF are those? Anyway, I saw a Gator JT at Costco today and literally did a double take, almost had to go to the chiropractor afterward. That is one sharp color. Very nice. :clap:mud
 

Dave

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Pictures do not do that Gator color justice. When I first saw you bought this one, it just looked like some vague khaki/green bland color the TAD would have an interesting name for but no one would understand it, like leviathan or desolation. WTF are those? Anyway, I saw a Gator JT at Costco today and literally did a double take, almost had to go to the chiropractor afterward. That is one sharp color. Very nice. :clap:mud
Yeah, this color wasn’t even on my radar and then I saw it on the lot side by side with StingGray and Gobi and bam! Suddenly it became a major want. I’m really glad I held out on my search for one in this color with these options.
 

BlkWgn

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Towing with a Gladiator. It does good for its size and it’s actually one of the reasons I bought it. That said, the mirrors are lacking when it comes to towing our modest 20 foot camper. I looked at a lot of different options and sadly, there’s not much out there and most of it looks like crap.

Then I found these by Rampage. They make a good looking, functional set of extensions, but I needed to find adapters. And I did :D

The adapters are by Thorn Engineering, got them on eBay. Now I can see the trailer!

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I like seeing more and more 3d printed products on the market like those adapters.
 

Dave

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Fiberglass tops. They tend to be noisy, and wind noise is directly related to increased driver fatigue on long trips. Not an ideal characteristic for what I intend to do.

And, since fiberglass tops are usually a single layer in most areas it provides zero insulation against cold, which also means they transmit a good amount radiant HEAT right onto your head.

Previously, I installed a set of HOTHEADS headliners on the JL. I was pretty happy with them so I just did the full treatment on the Gladiator along with their Sound Assassin strips (butyl-based sound deadening material). They say their kit reduces road & wind noise by 3 to 6 decibels (dB) and I believe it.

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NERD ALERT: What makes these really cool is the radiant barrier material sandwiched inside the panels you see. They use a tear-proof, heavy foil material commonly used on the construction of homes and buildings in areas such as walls, roofs, and attics.

Radiant barrier is extremely effective because of it's main two properties, Reflectivity and Emissivity. The reflectivity properties reflect or block radiant heat (heat transferred by radiation) by at least 90%. The emissivity properties of the radiant barrier are approximately 0.03 which is great (the lower, the better). This means that the amount of heat emitted to the surrounding air is 3%.

In a regular Jeep without this type of hard top headliner, the exterior heat and radiation from the sun will be absorbed and reflected directly into the interior and onto your body. This increases internal temperatures and makes your air conditioner work even harder to keep up. Alternatively, in cold weather, heat from your interior is easily radiated/emitted outside because of a higher emissivity rating.

In a Jeep with this headliner, the reflectivity properties of the radiant barrier will reflect away a lot of the heat and radiation from the sun, keeping you cooler inside and putting less stress on your air conditioner system. In colder weather, the emissivity properties won't allow as much heat to leave your interior, allowing your Jeep to warm up faster on those cold mornings and to also assist in regulating the temperature overall.

Hothead Headliners are also made right here in the USA

:independence

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Those will also help with your fridge efficiency. Keeping the cabin cooler is a must when parked as well. Look into Weather Tech sun shades for when your parked in camp, they wear immensity helpful on my trip last week when in camp @ 100+ degrees. https://www.weathertech.com/sunshade/

I bought the whole kit for the GX and couldn't be more pleased with the purchase!
 

Dave

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Now that I have the tow mirrors squared away, it’s time for the last refinement to my towing game - a trailer brake controller.

Curt now has a specific harness (PN 51527) for the JL/JT which makes this install a snap. More on that later.


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