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

Planting some trees, digging a French drain, and 30' of buried electrical service - and my soil sucks.

Plus I'm now middle age and have more money and less back.

I like the way one of my then teenage nephews put it a few years ago, olderish. Yes, I also resemble this.
"Why do you need a truck when you could have a van?"

"1:Trucks are cooler.
B: No one wrote a song about their van.
• You can't load a van with an excavator or backhoe."

A+ for effort, but somehow they just managed to make minivans even sadder than they already are.
Van owners in shambles right now 🤣
When they are done, they can show me a stock van that's fully locked with a disconnectable sway bar.
There are songs in Finnish about the Toyota Hiace and Ford Transit.

But if you park them so they can see your white bed sheets that’s hanging out to dry, both will assume it’s winter which means they won’t go up the little hill out of your yard. Never mind fully locked diffs or disconnectable sway bars.
  • Haha
Reactions: lip
When they are done, they can show me a stock van that's fully locked with a disconnectable sway bar.
Yeeeeeah, there's plenty of people who over-buy vehicles and don't need a truck to like, drop their kid off at school.

You aren't one of them. You use your damn truck!
We recently took the truck on a road trip to camp with friends in the Eastern Sierras, unfortunately, the OE Fox shocks completely failed during the trip. This resulted in some interesting challenges trying to off-road into the camp sites. The truck is already a Dachshund off road, very long, very low, and with poor breakover angle. The challenge of navigating trails without shocks to keep the body from bouncing down into rocks was exhausting and slow, resulting in long detours from planned routes to accommodate the limitations. We ended up leaving a half-day early and getting as far as we could before finding a room for the night and still managed to get home around 7 PM on the second day due to the slower pace.

On the long, bouncy ride home, we talked about options for the suspension.

Option 1: Buy some Bilstein 5100s to put on even knowing we plan to upgrade the suspension later in the year when the best deal is available (17% off if last year is any indication).
Option 2: Move up the lift kit purchase which would include new shocks set for the increased ride height and travel but miss out on the best deal of the year.

Kiki crunched the numbers from the passenger seat for both options; getting OE sized shocks would pretty much eat up all the savings from the better sale later in the year, meaning we would only save about $200 and be stuck with used OE size shocks that aren't worth anything. She found the sweet spot - Metalcloak did a Father's Day sale last year with 10% off; not as good as 17%, but we think we will see a sale announcement this Friday. That means we can proceed with the full kit more quickly, not worry about temporary OT size shocks eating into the sale savings, and have a more capable truck sooner.

So hopefully that sale happens and we can jump right to the full suspension.

Since we had to take the slow route home, here's a supposedly haunted creepy clown motel we found in the middle of the Nevada desert next to an overflowing town cemetery (we decided to stay in another hotel down the road).


I always suspected Ronald McDonald had murderous intentions.
So, first camping trip in the Gladiator was interesting! As expected, my worldview shifted since we've been using a previous setup with the X for like 14-15 years. I got to find lots of hidey holes for various things, and the Gladiator had a bunch to offer.

Offroad wise, I was happy to note that the width of the Gladiator still felt compact to fit down mild trails to avoid pinstriping, which was great!

The length ... was something I had to get used to. *snicker*

Let's just say, the truck earned a new title: The HMS Gladiator.

It was fun - I've only been used to spotting for wheelbases around 103"(LJ)/106"(X), but the difference of the extra 30 inches (Gladiator is at 137"... apparently) was noticeable for sure!

I'm not an expert by any means, but it was took some recalibration and patience to get the rear wheels to where I wanted 'em. Previously, I would only have to wait like 2 rotations before I knew when the rear wheel would hit the same rock.
In the HMS, it was like "4 ... 5 ... *drinks some coffee* ... 6", and the rear wheel would finally hit the same rock in a completely different line of course.
The headlights are on time, but the tailgate is 20 minutes late.
Its too bad you didnt meet another gladiator on the trip, or you could say….

Have you ever seen two gladiators fight?
New wheels are here. Normally I don't buy aftermarket wheels, taking the attitude "OE wheels are round, they work fine". In this case, the aftermarket wheels were needed for greater offset and wider rim size to allow for larger tires to be fitted and to clear the planned suspension upgrades.


Method 701 in 17x8.5 | 5x5 | 0/4.75"


Even after the car wash, the truck is still dirty. I'm going to have to spend some time scrubbing it this week after 5 days in the desert and about a billion bugs murdered by any forward facing surface. I really like the deeper dish on this compared to the flatter profile of the OE rim.


Just a little more poke, which I'm happy with. It should help protect the body from scrubbing. (Please disregard the post-carwash dirty bumper.) If I need to, there is a small flare extension I can get to cover the tire better. I'm really happy with the mud flap, it lines up perfectly with the tire right now. The wider tire will stick out a tiny bit more, but that's okay.

HMS needs bigger tires. Just sayin' 👀
It already looks like it skipped leg day with the stock 33"s, after the lift it's going to looky silly until new rubber happens.
Update time. To bring you up to speed, we took the truck out to the Eastern Sierras for a camping trip with friends, on the way there, the OE Fox shocks let go. These shocks are notorious at failing early, some owners reported their shocks being junk at 12,000 miles and these had 30,000 miles. The problem is so bad that Jeep fired Fox and terminated their contract, all the new Jeeps ship with Bilstein and dealers no longer carry the Fox OE shocks.

So, that happened. We'd planned to get a lift in the fall when they are at the biggest discount (17% off last year), but the bad shocks were wrecking the tires and making the truck impossible to drive. Kiki crunched the numbers on our options and any savings from waiting until the end of the year would be eaten up by putting on temporary shocks to keep the truck drivable and safe. Fortunately, MetalCloak had a Father's Day sale with 10% off, so we went for it.

The kit went on this last weekend in the middle of one of the worst national heat-waves we've seen. We got up super early and cranked on it until around 11 AM or noon then came back out around 5 or 6 PM and worked until we started to lose the light.


Oh yeah, and we are at altitude during a big solar storm, so the sun was destroying us. Fortunately we have an EZup that kept us from turning into sizzling bacon.


Bottomed and busted. They still had a tiny amount of charge in them, but none you could notice while driving. - these things are toast.


Front end UCA, LCA, track bar, dual-rate coil, spring isolators, shocks, and bump stops. The final axle alignment and pinion angle isn't set in this photo and the replacement front drive shaft isn't in yet. A new front driveshaft is needed because the transfer-case side will bind with the extra suspension droop.
The application of the double Flexible Polymer Universal Unidirectional Fasteners (zip ties) to the front anti-sway bar is temporary. Two of the heim joints for the upgraded front swaybar links didn't make it into the package, they are being overnighted and will be installed when they arrive. MetalCloak was awesome about getting them out immediately, I love having a company that I can trust for stuff like that. Remember, it's not about what happens when things go right, it's about how they respond when things go wrong - and they have my thanks for that and for being available on the phone to answer questions about the installation.


Difficult to see in the light, but there's an Easter Egg on the drive shaft - a Jeep 7-slot grill and headlights right in the casting.


Rear End: Showing the difference between OE control arms and the upgrade. The gold color isn't just for show, it's a zinc plating that protects against corrosion and pitting. We were impressed with the OE hardware, it's all Grade 10 and high quality. It's really nice to work on something that isn't 15 years old and rusty.


Nissan was right, dogs love trucks. Tiberius did not like being stuck inside and eventually got tired of his play-pen next to where we were working. I put him in the bed and he was happy as can be.


All done.


750 ml bottle for scale.

It was a lot of hot, sweaty work due to the heat, but everything pretty much went on as it was supposed to. I want to find someone at Jeep to kick in the huevos due to the bolt on the passenger front UCA frame mount. The UCA is installed and then the exhaust is added after, making it nearly impossible to get the OE bolt out. There's no reason the bolt has to go in from the back side, so that's now been flipped, allowing for adjustment and service in the future.

The gold zinc arms and track bars sure look nice behind the Method bronze wheels and the red Rocksport shocks, although temporary for the next year until higher performance ones can be sourced, look pretty good with the other red accents on the truck. The ride is significantly better, I no longer hit the bump stops driving in town and it soaks up road vibrations much better than before.

Update: The last of the heim joints arrived overnight shipping. Beefy.
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