Axleboy Jeep Gladiator Custom Build Part 1

Hey everybody, I'm Tom Shipley. I'm here with Scott Carline from Axleboy Offroad. We just purchased a brand new 2020 Jeep Gladiator Sport and I worked very closely with Scott to spec this out. We talked to a bunch of different dealers, we did a lot of research online. We're going to do a walk around of the stock Jeep and talk about some of the things that we want to improve. We're seeking to walk through the process of buying a new Jeep and then doing modifications to make the Jeep precisely fit the uses that we have in mind for it.

Basically if I understand what we're doing, we purchased the Jeep, we're going to want to use it for more of an over landing camping outdoor experience. When we take that into account, we're going to need enough modifications to the body and the suspension to allow us to get back to where we want to go. If we're going to be getting back into those remote camping sites, we need more clearance to get in those areas, to get down those rough gravel roads. We're going to need a rack of some sort to hold our tent, bike rack, kayaks, that sort of thing. And we definitely have to improve the appearance because-


... She's pretty plain looking right now but we've got some big plans for that and I know you and I talked about easy accessibility to get in and out of the Jeep. Right now there's no steps at all, it's just blank and we're going to be putting 37 inch tires on here so we want to be able to get it out of this thing pretty easily. We also want some body protection because we've got this beautiful Jeep, we don't want to get onto something and smash up the rockers. We're going to do some RockSlide Engineering Power Steps on there, Step Sliders is what they're called. They're electric and they can take a beating and protect the body, it's kind of the best of both worlds. It's going to help you get in and out. It's going to be a pretty big deal when we're on 37s.
To do that, I think we're going to go to a three and a half inch lift on here. We're also going to get some different fenders for it as well. We're going to get some fender armor if you will. Looking at GenRight right now, I think we're going to do aluminum to keep it as light as we can and we're going to have an Aluminum Tube Fender that's going to give us more tire clearance and it's going to give us a little something in case we were to get up close to a tree or a rock to give us a little protection, something more than this plastic. When these get into any kind of trees or brush, they'll just rip right off.

We talked about 37 inch tires.

Right, yeah.

We considered 35 inch tires, and tell me about the reasons that 37s make more sense in 35 for what we want.

Sure. One of the reasons I like a 37, especially on the Gladiator is going to be mostly just because of the bed section. Our departure angle suffers a little bit, we're hanging back there. It has to, otherwise we don't have a usable utility vehicle at that point. Plus we have quite a long wheel base, so it's easy to high center on things right in the middle. If we go over the top of a hill and the center gets caught, we're stuck and we're done. Now, since this is to be a camping and an outdoor vehicle, I don't think that we want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere by ourselves with no way to get around. We're going to try to add some more clearance to be able to get back on some of those tougher areas.

What about road noise?

Oh, I think we're going to do a hybrid style tire. I think we're going to do something that has some mud capability but not a full on mud tire. We're going to do something that's really quiet, still has a mileage warranty, but is still pretty capable off road.

So capable off road, but not screaming when you're going down the highway, you can't even hear the radio.

No. Yeah, we don't want it to sound like a jack hammer. We'd like to be able to have a conversation in the Jeep while we're driving.

But cosmetically, it's going to look more aggressive than what came on as stock.

Definitely. This is just a simple all season tire. We're going to go... Hybrid tire's going to have some mud lugs on it and it's going to have more of an all terrain in the center. There's going to be water and snow technology here for rain and slip conditions, but we're going to have a little bit of a lug on the outside, not to mention reinforced sidewalls to help us from puncturing the tire.


We want to try to avoid that because again, if it's going to be a camping vehicle and we're going to be in remote locations, we want to make sure that we're self-contained and can handle everything we come across.

Very cool. Do we want to walk around this and point out-

Yes. One of the first things I noticed is when we're looking at our headlights, it's the basic headlight design, the Halogen. I think we're probably going to want to go to some sort of LED technology here so we can just flat out see better, especially when we're back on those roads. We might go in too and add some different fog lights and things. Diode Dynamics is one company we do a lot of work with. They've just come out with their S3 light pods. They're DOT approved and extremely bright in a small package. Really, really new technology.

Now, when we get that height up higher with the 37s and the three and a half inch lift, do the headlights need to be adjusted down-


... Because now they're [inaudible 00:04:52] higher.

The headlights are going to be adjusted a little bit. We're going to try to keep from blinding other drivers-


... But we still need to be able to see, so we're going to balance that out. We have talked about possibly going to a stubby bumper in the front, where here we have a full width. If we go to a stubby bumper, it's going to stop right here at the edge of the grill and that's going to give us the ability to get a tire up on something without hitting, so we'll be a little more capable off road. With the larger tire, we are going to change the ring and pinions though, we are going to go to a different final drive gear ratio and that's going to be to restore the power that we lost.
When we increase the height of the tire, we actually increase the circumference and the engine RPMs compared to the mile per hour that we're driving are going to have a significant change. We're going to regear that, we're going to change it so we can get the RPMs back where they're supposed to be and that's going to restore our factory power and economy.

So driving out here on the highway, which is right next to us here-


... I did note that on flat going about 70 miles an hour, we're right about 2000 RPM right in there.

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

If we put those wheels on here and didn't change the gear ratio, what would that RPM look like?

1600ish, something like that.

So it's [crosstalk 00:06:08].

It's going to constantly... What'll happen is, is when you get on those slow rolling hills on the highway, you just got to go in and out overdrive all the time. Just constantly shift in, shift out, shift in, it's going to drive you crazy.

And the gear ratio that it comes with is?

This one I believe has a 321 in it.

321, and we're to 488?

488s yeah. I'd like to see cruise speed right around 2,600 RPMs. That's kind of my sweet spot. That's going to give us good power, good fuel economy.


That's kind of where I'd like to see it. We're going to want to do a rack in the back. I know we talked about that and we talked about spray in bed liner.

Yeah. This is so stock, you can order it with a bedliner and you can order extra options for back here.

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

We didn't think we really needed them and anything that we do determine we need, we can get [crosstalk 00:06:59].

We're going to do it right here. Yeah, I think one of the points of this project is to show how, if we buy a base model, how we can turn it into what we want, not necessarily what Jeep thinks we want. I mean they might have a pretty good idea, but I mean, let's face it, you're going to be out doing some different things. Probably not everything that they thought of. Camping, biking, kayaking. Obviously as we sit right now, this vehicle isn't going to get us back where we want to be and it's not going to be equipped to handle those loads and to carry those items.

Some of the dealers will do their own modifications.

Right, right.

And they'll start with a more of a base model or one more similar to this and they'll put bigger wheels on it and they'll put a lift kit on it.

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tell me about some of the things to look for as far as what's the dealer's intention when they do modifications and then sell it with the modifications versus coming in here and working with you and your team?

Yeah, so there is a big difference in the way that that plays out. When you go to the dealership, what they're looking for is street appeal. If it looks good from the street and the people drive by and they like what they see, they're going to go in, they're going to buy it, they can finance it all right there, boom out the door. But what they find out is, is none of the parts were selected with any idea of how the people were going to use the vehicle. What were the tires that were selected? They were either the cheapest ones they could find or that they got the best deal on, or they just picked a brand name they thought people would recognize.
They didn't take into account, are you going to be on gravel roads? Are you going to be on the highway? Are you going to be in the mud? They're not looking at any of that. How good are the sidewalls? Are they puncture resistant? Like I said, one thing with this vehicle as we know, we're going to be getting back there by ourselves to get these things done that we want to do. This camping, the hiking, the fishing, the hunting, so we need reliable equipment that's going to fit our needs. Not just random brand names that somebody picked because we know they're going to sell when people drive by and they look flashy.


And in our experience we're always going to be better off if we consult before we buy the vehicle with someone like us, where we can talk to you about how you're going to use it and what your expectations are, and then we hand the items to get you there.

Makes sense.

It's definitely more than just looks and brand names.

Let's take a quick look inside.


You're not going to do a whole lot up to the interior. This is stock interior, but I found it very comfortable.

It is. It is a really comfortable interior. Sound system is adequate. I know we talked about adding some camera system to it, so we're going to look into that. Something to help us park.

It came with a pretty impressive rear camera for backing up, but there's no camera on the front.

Right, right.

And there's no sensors to tell you how close you are to the bumper of the car in front of the you.


I need something like that.

Yeah. So we're going to get that all fixed up as well. Make it a little bit easier for you to park. Other than that, I think we talked about some phone and equipment holders, things like that up on the dash. The interiors are pretty good. I believe you have the Upfitter switches.

Yeah, the AUX, auxiliary package. So there's four buttons there, tell me about why those are important or helpful to have [crosstalk 00:10:08].

Right. When you have the auxiliary panel, any lights or electrical accessories that we're going to add, we have a set of programmable buttons that we're going to use that are pre-installed and then the wiring harness is out there. This is all factory style wiring. We're talking about weatherproof connectors. We're talking about the same types of things that are used as if it originally came with it, that's going to give us reliability. Wires aren't going to be corroding and turning green and getting all nasty. It's just going to be really simple.
Now this auxiliary panel is programmable, so we can have it where it's a momentary or a latch switch or available when the keys off or maybe it turns off the power when you turn the key off so you don't run the battery down. We can set all of that and then it's of course in a really nice attractive package that looks like it's supposed to be there.

Yeah, that's the part I liked.

Which is the nicest thing about it.

It's clean and it fits into the design. The original design.

Yeah, it's extremely versatile and it is a nice option, I would recommend that. It can be added later as well by the way, that is an option that we have added to them after the sale. It's always less expensive to do it when you buy it though.

Sure, sure. So that's our walk around of the brand new 2020 Jeep Gladiator that we're going to modify and build with the Axleboy Offroad team. In our next video, we're going to put this thing on the lift and we're going to go underneath it and figure out what we need to fix there too.