Gladiator - Good/Bad?

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
I was hoping you might chime in as you have had great experiences with your jeeps. Your current set up is fantastic. And, so is our 80 series, which by all accounts is a plush version of the 76 series. It seems I’m in the minority here in the states, preferring a tractor. Have a great day & stay safe.
What engine do you have in the 80?

The best LC might be the 200 with the twin turbo 4.5 V8 and the auto. Buy far number one in Australia for towing.

-Dan
 

Mules

Well-known member
The Gladiator Good: It's a real Jeep and a Truck!

The Gladiator Bad: It's a real Jeep and a Truck!


I've owned Landcruisers, Broncos, Jeeps, and Tundras. I loved them all for different reasons, but I bought a Gladiator this time around. The Landcruiser was the most luxurious and best 4x4. My Old Bronco was a convertible with a V8 (power but gas hog). My Tundra was the biggest baddest truck that could pull the Space Shuttle.

My Little Gladiator can do it all! It's my daily driver, my camper, my pickup, my 4x4, and my convertible. It may not be the best at any one thing, but it is one great Swiss Army Knife.

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MOAK

Adventurer
What engine do you have in the 80?

The best LC might be the 200 with the twin turbo 4.5 V8 and the auto. Buy far number one in Australia for towing.

-Dan
1FZ Fe 4.5 petro. It gets horrible fuel mileage- 11-12 mpg loaded on a good day. However, with 371,000 miles on the original drive train, it just keeps on going & going. The 4.5 has had the head off once, for valve stem seals, cleaned up and reassembled at 292,000. Most Americans are power hungry and would view the 4.5 as being underpowered. My farming heritage chooses low end torque & longevity over power. It’s OK to climb the hill slowly. As a side note; I watch very little YouTube, but I did watch your series on traveling up to and on the Dempster before we headed out this past July. Thanks!
 

MOAK

Adventurer
Next
On pavement, yeah it is more reliable, lots of time off pavement, that is a horse of a different color. Give me a Jeep for offroad reliability over a Toyota every day of the week and twice on Sunday. They are just not anywhere as "beefy" as a Jeep leading to a higher rate of offroad failures. The older Toyotas from the early 80s or before, well they holdup offroad better, but then again, they had no IFS. What it all boils down to, I would rather have a major failure on the highway than 40 miles from the nearest pavement where I could purchase a new vehicle for what recovery would cost.
You state that Toys aren’t as “beefy” as jeeps after the early 80s. I don’t know man, I’ve owned both and the 96 FZJ I have now is a whole lot beefier ( axles rated at 1ton ) than any Jeep I’ve ever been under. I’ve sprung it properly for overlanding and now have a 7,250lb GVWR. I think the Gladiator is the first Jeep that comes close to that. There is very good reason the rest of the world refers to LCs as trucks.
 

smlobx

Wanderer
The comment above about the Rubicon suspension being soft is spot on particularly for an overlanding vehicle. However, it’s an easy cure. Just go to AEV and get their complete suspension package and a set of 35” AT’s and there’s not many situations that it can’t handle…
 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
It gets horrible fuel mileage- 11-12 mpg loaded on a good day

And that right there is the deal breaker. I wouldn't have been able to get to many of the places I have on the planet because it would have been impossible to carry enough gas.
Never mind it would have cost almost double in fuel (around $35k for my Africa trip).

That is a vehicle that just can't work for me.

-Dan
 

Bobzdar

Observer
I had a '20 (early 2019 build, so one of the very first) Gladiator Rubicon that had everything except the forward camera. Transmission went out at 14k miles, bad pump. That was the only issue i had in 75k miles. At 3.5 years I had to replace the batteries, 1 went and the other went a month later. I towed my airstream, car trailer and did a bunch of off-roading, etc. I loved it, and I really used it like a truck. It did everything well without being a PITA to drive daily like a full size truck. I had a 1/2 ton Chevy previously and the Gladiator was way easier to live with every day, especially if you need to park on the street, park it in parking lots or parking garages often. I had swapped on mojave shocks which fixed the lazy shock damping, added a winch and soft top for the bed, otherwise stock, got 18.5mpg average.

However, my kids are getting bigger, my mom moved next door and I have two dogs - we found ourselves frequently taking multiple vehicles as we could not all fit comfortably. I ended up buying a Defender 130 to solve that - seats 8, 7 adults comfortably, can tow more than the Gladiator and has higher payload. I kept the Jeep but ended up trading it for a 4xe around a month ago as it was doing mostly short trips and no towing/hauling, so the 4xe was just a better fit.

By comparison, the D130 gets 20mpg. 4xe gets 20mpg in hybrid.
 

MOAK

Adventurer
And that right there is the deal breaker. I wouldn't have been able to get to many of the places I have on the planet because it would have been impossible to carry enough gas.
Never mind it would have cost almost double in fuel (around $35k for my Africa trip).

That is a vehicle that just can't work for me.

-Dan
I get that Dan. Fuel can be quite expensive, but I do have good range, 500+ miles, thanks to a 25 gallon auxiliary tank, and the ability to carry 10 more gallons in jerry cans if ever needed. When my brother-in-law makes fun of me for the poor fuel mileage, I remind him I’m not making $600 a month car payments for a diesel truck that gets 18mpg. However, if I were traveling the world or racking up more than 14 or 15 thousand miles a year, here in North America, I too would be in a platform that would be as fuel efficient as possible. Be good & keep doing good.
 

MOAK

Adventurer
What makes you say that? Genuinely curious. I've owned an 80, a TJ and a WJ. Not sure if our old KL Cherokee counts as a Jeep, lol Out of those 3, I'd take the WJ any day. I may be a rarity but my 80 and TJ were both crap.
Yes, a rarity, however, the WJ platform does come to the closest to an 80 series, because it has a solid front axle. Albeit a Dana 30, and if you’re lucky a Dana 44 out back. Most came through with Dana 35s in the rear. The 80 has axles that are rated in between the 44s & 60s and they are full float axles, sometimes ( as in my 450/80 ) with factory lockers front & rear. The two vehicles really aren’t comparable other than their outward appearances. Full float axles along with payload rating puts the New Jeep Gladiator right up there with the old 80 specs.
 

Todd n Natalie

OverCamper
Yes, a rarity, however, the WJ platform does come to the closest to an 80 series, because it has a solid front axle. Albeit a Dana 30, and if you’re lucky a Dana 44 out back. Most came through with Dana 35s in the rear. The 80 has axles that are rated in between the 44s & 60s and they are full float axles, sometimes ( as in my 450/80 ) with factory lockers front & rear. The two vehicles really aren’t comparable other than their outward appearances. Full float axles along with payload rating puts the New Jeep Gladiator right up there with the old 80 specs.
Hmmm... I can't recall if it was a 35 or 44 out back. My WJ was a 4.0 but I looked for one with the tow pkg so I could get 3:73's....
 

DoKarider16

Observer
I went and drove 3 the other day. A diesel Rubicon, a nicely outfitted Mojave and a brand new Sport. The Mojave probably does what I want the best. Still intrigued by buying a sport and building it out instead of getting a prebuilt package but that is time money and research to try and make it something better. Any of them will do more than I need it to.
 

smbisig

Adventurer
Still intrigued by buying a sport and building it out instead of getting a prebuilt package but that is time money and research to try and make it something better..

This is what I did. I knew that I would be swapping out the suspension, bumper, installing Air Lockers..blah blah. So I ordered a Sport S with a few factory features that I wanted like LED lights, heated seats, the better alternator, and a diesel engine. For me, it would have been a waste to pay for extra parts that were going to be removed anyway. I am happy with the route I decided on because I had a build plan before I even placed the order and I knew how the Gladiator was going to be used.
 

plainjaneFJC

Deplorable
You are comparing a 1/4 ton chassis- the Jeep, to a vehicle that has 1/2 to 3/4 ton chassis equivalent parts under it. Every nut/bolt/bracket/axle/spindle/chassis cross section etc is a lot bigger heavier than what the jeep has. I’m not saying a jeep is bad- just responding to his “beefy” comment.

What makes you say that? Genuinely curious. I've owned an 80, a TJ and a WJ. Not sure if our old KL Cherokee counts as a Jeep, lol Out of those 3, I'd take the WJ any day. I may be a rarity but my 80 and TJ were both crap.
 

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