Ownership Verified: Jeep by the yard: 2021 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon Turbo Diesel

Blind_Io

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Just like my last car purchase, I ended up with a vehicle that wasn't on my radar as a contender early in the search. I had posted previously about trying to find a replacement for my aging high-miles Nissan Xterra "Alexis" - here is the result.

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2021 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon with the Fiat 3.0L V6 turbo diesel and a heavy duty version of the German ZF8 automatic 8-speed transmission. We bought it sight-unseen from a dealer in South Dakota, flew in (via Las Vegas), signed the paperwork, and drove it home. Initially I wanted a manual transmission and we had looked at new examples; unfortunately the manual was okay-ish, but not great - the clutches are also prone to, um, exploding. At the time of this post you still cannot buy a new Gladiator with a manual due to a national Stop-Sale order. I was worried that the issues with the manual transmission would continue to be a problem after a "fix" was released, so we scratched that idea. With the automatic being the only option left, we expanded the search to used diesel models - because why the hell not have a diesel if I'm going to have an automatic?

We found this example with all the features we wanted and very low miles - at two years old it only had about one year's worth of driving on the clock. The previous owner (who was apparently scared of the dark) added the off road lights and a Jeep Rubicon branded Warn 12,000 lb winch with synthetic line and a Factor 55 Ultrahook. Other than that, everything is out of the Jeep catalog.

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It sits a little nose-down and the suspension, which was already pretty soft, was not resprung to take the weight of the winch. That's something that will have to be addressed.

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The plan is to do a 2.5" lift at some point with uprated springs and shocks, new 8.5" wide rims (stock is 7.5") to open up more tire options, and 35" tires. With this being a diesel, I won't have to re-gear with this minor upgrade in tire size (OE is 33")

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The truck also replaced the Taurus as the road-trip car. We decided we didn't need a fleet of three cars anymore and the reason for getting the Taurus is no longer a consideration. Plus, the truck gets fuel economy equal to or better than the Taurus.

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So that's the new Support Truck for the Wrangler. It will take on mild to moderate-difficulty trails, handle hauling the camping gear and chauffer the dogs - but when the trails get really bad "Banner" the Wrangler will take over.

Essentially, this is how Kiki and Banner see the new truck:

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Nice! My coworker has a launch edition gladiator and he loves it. Look forward to checking it out in person one day.
 
Nice! My coworker has a launch edition gladiator and he loves it. Look forward to checking it out in person one day.
Hopefully it will have suspension and tires by then.
 
First mod went in a bit ago, that was a Tazer Mini - a little jailbreak unit that unlocks some options in the computer, but that doesn't make for an interesting photo

Second mod: a dead pedal. Why it didn't come with one is beyond me, but here it is in all the Go Fast Red glory. (Could have bought black, but that would be boring.)

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I will say it's much more comfortable now.

I also took out the factory plastic wrap over the carpet so the rubber mat integrated floor drain would work. Yes, the previous owner never unwrapped the car and drove it for two years like that.
 
I want one too and it's purely because it's bed is reachable from standing next to it for a midget like myself. I just don't know what it would be used for.
 
I want one too and it's purely because it's bed is reachable from standing next to it for a midget like myself. I just don't know what it would be used for.
There are plans to change that. It's softly sprung, especially with the winch - as long as you're doing new springs, might as well do taller springs...
 
Replaced the two-piece lug nuts with solid steel. This should prevent the swelling issue every one of this style lug seems to have (these are used by Stellantis, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, and probably a few others). Several lug nuts were already close to being a problem and were noticably barrel-shapped.

You can see in the image below that they are a steel core with a sheet metal cap folded over and crimped on. Corrosion starts between the layers and before long the outer later swells up until you can't fit a tool on it anymore.

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I'm not in a spot to buy a $1,200 high security tonneau cover right now, so a couple lengths of stainless braided cable, a new crimping tool, and a couple stainless clips solve the problem.

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You could flip up the end of the cover just by prying your fingers under the weather strip; once up, you could pull the red strap and release the cover the rest of the way.

Now you have to unlock and open the tail gate to release the cables before the end of the cover will flip up. It's still possible to cut the cover, but it should discourage casual theft.
 
You can see in the image below that they are a steel core with a sheet metal cap folded over and crimped on. Corrosion starts between the layers and before long the outer later swells up until you can't fit a tool on it anymore.
dear god the lengths they will go to in order to save a few cents? it honestly boggles the mind...

also, re break-ins: I remember the crap situation with the smart soft-top that went down to a tail-gate style little flap that you were supposed to open before reaching two plastic levers that unlocked the soft-top to flip up (in order to have a full-height opening). however, the rubber gasket was so damn large and soft and the levers so badly placed, that, if you were blessed with thin fingers and knew what you were doing, you could just stuff your fingers through the gasket and release the levers, thus gaining access to the entire car without leaving any marks anywhere. yes that happened to me once, why do you ask. funnily enough they only stole the engine cover / trunk floor piece of stamped sheet metal - a part that cost 57€ new to replace :|
 
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One of the things about potentially driving without doors and a roof is security; hopefully this upgraded the center console will slow a scumbag down enough that they move on to another target.
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For some reason, Jeep did not make 8-way seats an option, resulting in poor hip support for taller drivers. Fortunately someone smarter than me paid attention in geometry class and made some spacers to raise the front of the seats.

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I just realized I didn't get one with the last of the bolts in, I will do that tomorrow and update.

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dear god the lengths they will go to in order to save a few cents? it honestly boggles the mind...

You'd think it would be easier to manufacture a basic steel lug nut than a steel lug nut with a stupid sheet metal cap pressed on.

My customer calls this type of lugnut the "haista :censored: lug nut", roughly translated to English as the "smell the :censored: lug nut". We mainly get them on Fords here.
 
My customer calls this type of lugnut the " haista :censored: lug nut", roughly translated to English as the "smell the :censored: lug nut". We mainly get them on Fords here.

I’ve played My Summer Car before….. 😁
 
Love the colour! Those look absolutely killer with a small lift and 37s... but 35s are OK too. :D
Honestly, I wanted a bright and fun color - not another shade of gray. I'm hoping to do some paint and headlight protection as well as some red vinyl to bring out the red accents in the OE badges. 2.5" of lift and 35" is about as much as I want to do since it will still be my daily and tow rig. 37" tires would get to be a little much in terms of cost, wear on the ball joints, and expense as a daily - those are not cheap tires.

If I could get any color I want, I would either get Nacho
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or Hydro Blue with the tan leather interior.
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Honestly, I wanted a bright and fun color - not another shade of gray. I'm hoping to do some paint and headlight protection as well as some red vinyl to bring out the red accents in the OE badges. 2.5" of lift and 35" is about as much as I want to do since it will still be my daily and tow rig. 37" tires would get to be a little much in terms of cost, wear on the ball joints, and expense as a daily - those are not cheap tires.

If I could get any color I want, I would either get Nacho

or Hydro Blue with the tan leather interior.

I usually really hate boring greys but something about that Sting Grey/Destroyer Grey looks really good in person to me.

35s are an entirely sensible and practical choice, I just love how 37s look in the big JT wheelwells.
 
Nacho? Well, it does look like the nuclear yellow cheese we use on ours at the concession stand. :ROFLMAO:
Is it cheese or leftover school bus paint? 🧀
 
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