When you think of a strong and versatile offroad vehicle what comes to mind? For us it’s the 2023 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon. Built to be unstoppable in any terrain this convertible truck has tons of off-road capability and utility. Like many of Jeep’s vehicles they are insanely fun to customize, so we were excited when this one came into the shop.
This Jeep Gladiator build is a big boy with huge 40-inch tires and a 6-inch lift kit. Then it was packed to the gills with offroad gear like bumper guards, LEDs, and more. Keep reading to take a closer look at everything we added to this build.
|Spray-In Bedliner||RC Vertex 6-Inch Lift Kit|
|3M Premium Window Tint||Rough Country Drop Steps|
|Red Painted Calipers||Window Tint|
|40-inch Cooper Discover STT Pro Tires||17-inch KMC 545 Wheels|
|RC 9-inch DRL Halo LED Headlights||Rough Country 9500lb Winch|
|RC Front and Rear Bumper Guards||Rough Country 2-inch Cree LEDs|
|Dual Steering Stabilizer||Bed Mounted Spare Tire Rack|
6-Inch Vertex Lift Kit
Transforming this Jeep Gladiator into massive build requires a large lift kit. To be more specific it would need about a 6-inch lift kit which we picked up from Rough Country. This lift creates towering presence on the road and gives us the height we need to add our oversized tires. Not to mention we now have a ton of ground clearance to roll over all sorts of obstacles while offroad. This lift kit aids in strengthening the drive shaft and includes other parts like N3 shocks, control arm brackets, progressive coil springs, and quick-disconnect sway bar links.
Dual Steering Stabilizer
Given the size of the tires we would be adding a steering stabilizer is a must. It helps to reinforce the steering components and help move the tires while restraining stress. This steering stabilizer also came from Rough Country and honestly makes for a much more comfortable driving experience. These V2 stabilizers are tough with brushed aluminum bodies hearty 46mm high-flow pistons making them a great upgrade to your vehicle’s performance.
Offroad Wheels and Tires
With all the groundwork set we could now select our new wheels and tires. Going along with Jeep’s rugged modularity we chose the matte black KMC 545 17-inch wheel design. These black wheels blend with the tires to look denser, and their gear like design speaks to the hobbyists who work on their Jeeps.
Now for those big ole tires we’ve been talking about… We greatly improved the height and offroad performance by attaching a set of Cooper Discover STT Pro (40X13.5R17) tires. These things are big, burly, and rugged enough to run across all kinds of different conditions. With these tires on this lifted Jeep Gladiator the offroad performance of the vehicle can reach new heights.
Red Painted Calipers
It may seem silly to have painted calipers behind wheels as big as these, but there are some benefits to doing so. Painting the calipers can help to reduce corrosion and increase their life span. These red painted calipers go along with the red trim accents adding another layer of detail to this custom Jeep Gladiator’s appearance.
For offroad builds like this one we also recommend applying a ceramic coating to the caliper. We do this because it makes break dust, mud, and debris easier to clean while applying another barrier of protection.
Bed Mounted Spare Tire Rack
One big bummer about the gladiator is that the traditional Spare tire rack found on the wrangler isn’t an option. To haul around our spare 40-inch tire we installed a Rough Country tire rack in the bed. This strong powder coated steel rack bares the weight of the massive wheel and tire setup that unfortunately takes up most of the bed. There are other mount options like chase racks that can position the tire differently for more be space though if that’s a deal breaker.
This rack gives your Gladiator a super brawny look while the large spare tire juts out of the bed. It also lets you have practical and easy access to your offroad full-size spare as soon as you need it. Given its location in the bed installing this modification does require drilling.
Spray-In Bed Liner
Even though this Jeep Gladiator’s bed would be occupied by the spare tires rack we still gave it a spray-in bedliner. The bedliner is great for instances when your tossing gear in the back that would otherwise scratch or damage the bed. Along with preventing wear and tear from use they also guard against rust. There are a lot of different opinions on whether to use a drop-in bedliner or spray-in. The truth is they’re each great options with their own pros and cons. For this build we opted to use Xtreme spray-in bedliner to safeguard this truck.
Front and Rear Bumper Guards
Let’s move the attention to the offroad accessories on this gladiator like its Rough Country front and rear bumper guards. Bumper guards armor the front and back of the vehicle from damage like flying debris or jagged rocks while on the trails. Aside from the powder coated stainless steel protection they offer; these bumpers improve the appearance of vehicles like this Gladiator with a tough exterior look.
Now the front bumper guard that installed has built-in 20-inch light bar and a space for a winch hook-up, so these features are easier to put together. Off-road accessories that integrate together like this makes the vehicle look sturdy and well put together.
The 9500lb Rough Country PRO series winch we installed on this bumper guard works well for when you’re stuck in a tough spot, or your buddy is. It houses around 94ft of 5/16th inch cable with a thick red hook at the end, and there’s always a synthetic rope option. Having a winch that you can rely on lets you have some peace of mind when driving in rough conditions.
That 20-inch LED light bar in the bumper isn’t the only lighting upgrade to this Sarge Green Gladiator. We also installed a pair of aftermarket 9-inch DRL Halo LED headlights from Rough Country. These street legal headlights have an assertive design that makes the front end more aggressive looking. On top of that they have powerful illumination with 6500 lumen high beams and 3000 lumen low beams. All concealed in a waterproof durable housing that’s easy to install.
Next for lighting upgrades is a pair of 2″ Cree LED ditch lights from Rough Country. Cube or rounded ditch lights are great for maintaining a visual of your surroundings while navigating paths in the evening. They usually sit on adjustable brackets in the corner of the windshield that can be positioned.
With the huge increase in ride height the cab is more difficult to hop in, so we needed some side steps. The one accessory you will never regret adding onto your truck is a nice set of side steps. They simply make entering and exiting your vehicle so much easier for you and your passengers. Plus, they improve the look of your vehicle while protecting its underside from damage.
You can find a ton of different side-step designs out there. The steps on this custom Jeep Gladiator build are the Rough Country Drop steps which have a long nerf bar that extends the full length of the cab. They’re made from durable powder coated stainless-steel and have slits on the steps to provide traction and drain off build up from the elements.
Fender Vent Inlay
If you want to add a subtle piece of style, then fender vent inlays can be a good addition. We installed some red fender vent inlays on this lifted Jeep Gladiator to go along with its red accents. These automotive grade vinyl inlays hold up against all the element over time when installed correctly and can last about 7 years. If you decide you want a different look or want to take them off, they can be removed without any damage!
The final mod we made to this custom jeep gladiator was a window tint. Applying a tinted film to the windows protects your interior, your valuables, and most importantly you from the sun’s rays. Plus, darker windows create a stern and serious look with the added benefit of privacy.
Using some high-quality 3M Premium FX tint film, we applied a 35% tint on the front windows leaving the back ones at their factory shade. Rear windows are usually darker when the leave factory because they are made with a tint dye and don’t usually require a tint film. Most often we use 35% tints on 1st row windows in accordance with Missouri laws. To learn more about window tint you can read this article we wrote on it.
Tints are offered from 5% to 70% with the lower numbers being darker. The % measures VLT (Visual Light Transference) which quantifies how much light comes through the film. When you go to select your tint, you need to keep in mind your local laws, so that you don’t get ticketed. We always recommend a professional install for this modification. Poor tint jobs will bubble and discolor over time. Make sure your window tint installer has a good warranty to protect your investment!
To see all Jeep Gladiator customization options, look at our CATALOG.
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