Jeep Gladiator Build Thread - 18 months around Australia with The Road Chose Me

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Hi Everyone,

We're very close to the red center of Australia now, and we set off on a little adventure into the Finke River Gorge.
The Finke is known as the oldest river on earth, and the scenery absolutely did not dissapoint!

We also teamed up with Matt in his diesel Ford Maverick (a re-badged Nissan Patrol), cook on the fire, sample Kangaroo tail and a whole lot more!


-Dan
 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Hi Everyone,

I think it's safe to say no visit to Australia would be complete without exploring the mighty Red Center.

********** in the middle of the continent there is so much to see and do from the mighty Uluru (Ayres Rock) to Kings Canyon, Palm Valley, swimming in stunning gorges, eating local delicacies and so, so much more!

Jump aboard the latest video as I show you around a place I've dreamed of visiting for my entire life.

After seeing thosuands and thousands of photos of these places over my lifetime they still managed to completely blow me away.


-Dan
 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Hi Everyone,

Exploring the remote corners of the planet has always appealed to me, so crossing the mighty Simpson Desert has been on my radar for many years.

The crossing involves crossing more than 1,300 sand dunes through 733km (460 miles) of deep sand and you won't see a soul for seven days.
Obviously there is a lot to think about to make a safe crossing - in fact I planned and prepared for months to make it happen.

From fuel and drinking water to safety equipment, permits, food, tires, emergency prep and more, I run through all the preparation that went into this massive desert crossing in my latest video.

If you've ever dreamed of getting *extremely* remote in your Overland travels, this one is for you.


-Dan
 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Hi Everyone,

I have dreamed of crossing the Simpson Desert for most of my life, and after months of planning and preparation it absolutely did not disappoint!

We spent 7 days crossing more than 1,300 bright red sand dunes, and didn't see a soul the entire time.

Not everything went to plan, though of course the adventure begins when things go wrong!


-Dan
 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Hi Everyone,

The final challenge crossing the Simpson Desert is "Big Red" - the largest (or at least most iconic) red sand dune of the seven day crossing.

There are multiple different lines to choose from, and of course I took the hardest (steepest) one.

In manual mode, low range, I approached with good speed and just bumped down a gear every time I felt the jeep slowing.
With the tires at 12psi the Jeep was unstoppable, and I actually backed off long before reaching the top.
I did multiple passes and it was always not a problem.

Part II of our Simpson Desert crossing is live now on YouTube!


-Dan
 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Hi Everyone,

I came to Australia to spend time with my family on adventure, and that is exactly what I've been doing!
Katie and I drove clear across to the East Coast, and we've been hanging out with my uncles and aunties in beach paradise.

My Uncle Ron has had a huge influence on my life, and I'm so happy we just spent a couple of weeks together. Ron is an outdoorsy guy who loves fishing, hunting, camping and getting to wild and remote places, so it's safe to say he was always an inspiration for me, and some of my earliest memories of outdoor adventure include Uncle Ron.

He's been fishing right off the beach for shark since he was a teenager, and over the years he has become exceedingly good at it.
In the latest episode of The Road Chose Me I bring you along to show exactly what it's like to fish from the beach down under, and we pull in a toothy beast right off the sand where people were surfing!!

While Overlanding is often called "Vehicle Based Adventure Travel", I like to showcase the adventures we get up to outside the vehicle - after all, those are the very reason we drove to these remote places!

Jump over to YouTube to see all the action:

-Dan
 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Hi All,

I always knew Fraser Island / K'Gari National Park would be a top 10 highlight of Australia, and it absolutely did not disappoint!

This is the world's largest sand island, and together with my uncle Ron we spent ten days exploring all over, taking in the sights.
We swam in the crystal clear water, had dingoes in camp, got Ron's Hilux stuck in the sand, raced the tides and a whole lot more!
We also tackled one of Australia's most iconic 4x4 obsticles - N'gala rocks and the steep soft sand climb it requires.

All the adventure is in the latest video:


-Dan
 

SkiWill

Member
Hi Dan,

Thanks for sharing all of your adventures. You're putting them up faster than I can watch them. I'm curious as to how you are liking having an automatic instead of a manual and whether you find that with such a long wheelbase in the Gladiator the lockers in the Rubicon are more necessary or less necessary than your Africa Jeep.

Overall, I really appreciate your practical approach to all of your adventures. It's a refreshing dose of reality compared with the mega mod mentality on other channels.

I used to have a Jeep Scrambler and have wanted a Gladiator since I first saw one, but it's not that practical with three kids and a dog. One day. In the meantime, I'm enjoying your videos and your thoughtful advice delivered without any pretentiousness.
 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Hi Dan,

Thanks for sharing all of your adventures. You're putting them up faster than I can watch them. I'm curious as to how you are liking having an automatic instead of a manual and whether you find that with such a long wheelbase in the Gladiator the lockers in the Rubicon are more necessary or less necessary than your Africa Jeep.

Overall, I really appreciate your practical approach to all of your adventures. It's a refreshing dose of reality compared with the mega mod mentality on other channels.

I used to have a Jeep Scrambler and have wanted a Gladiator since I first saw one, but it's not that practical with three kids and a dog. One day. In the meantime, I'm enjoying your videos and your thoughtful advice delivered without any pretentiousness.

Thanks for the kind words!

The auto is a love-hate thing. On one hand it's a bit boring - just a big gokart. On the other hand it's really easy to drive offroad, just point and shoot. In the deep sand it's been great not to stress about slipping the clutch, etc. I have to say though, I got in my uncle's Hilux (manual trans) and loved it - right away you just know the engine speed is linked to road speed, and that connection is brilliant. In the auto the engine can rev WAAAAY harder but that doesn't necessarily mean more road speed (maybe it went up or down a gear).
I also wish it would get better than about 18-19 mpg that I'm getting. A manual should get 1 or 2 mpg better, depending on how you drive it (I drive like a grandpa)

Overall I'd rather have a manual, but as far as autos go this 8 speed is pretty good.

As for the lockers - the long wheelbase has actually made a lot of obsticles easier I think - most (all?) 4x4s over here are about the wheelbase of a Wrangler, and so ruts and bog holes and tree roots and all of that mean the front and rear wheels get hung-up at the same time. With the longer Gladiator the rear wheels take forever to get to something, and by then the front wheels are well clear of whatever they were contenting with. I actually think it's more cabable in general, but of course there would be limitation to that (breakover is bad and I assume the rear overhang will catch me sooner or later).

Overall I really like the Gladiator compared to my JK, though I wonder how much of that is the 3.6 and 8 speed. I need to drive a JL Rubicon for a month. Maybe even a diesel :)

-Dan
 

SkiWill

Member
Thanks for the kind words!

The auto is a love-hate thing. On one hand it's a bit boring - just a big gokart. On the other hand it's really easy to drive offroad, just point and shoot. In the deep sand it's been great not to stress about slipping the clutch, etc. I have to say though, I got in my uncle's Hilux (manual trans) and loved it - right away you just know the engine speed is linked to road speed, and that connection is brilliant. In the auto the engine can rev WAAAAY harder but that doesn't necessarily mean more road speed (maybe it went up or down a gear).
I also wish it would get better than about 18-19 mpg that I'm getting. A manual should get 1 or 2 mpg better, depending on how you drive it (I drive like a grandpa)

Overall I'd rather have a manual, but as far as autos go this 8 speed is pretty good.

As for the lockers - the long wheelbase has actually made a lot of obsticles easier I think - most (all?) 4x4s over here are about the wheelbase of a Wrangler, and so ruts and bog holes and tree roots and all of that mean the front and rear wheels get hung-up at the same time. With the longer Gladiator the rear wheels take forever to get to something, and by then the front wheels are well clear of whatever they were contenting with. I actually think it's more cabable in general, but of course there would be limitation to that (breakover is bad and I assume the rear overhang will catch me sooner or later).

Overall I really like the Gladiator compared to my JK, though I wonder how much of that is the 3.6 and 8 speed. I need to drive a JL Rubicon for a month. Maybe even a diesel :)

-Dan
Thanks Dan. I appreciate the feedback. That's very insightful. Enjoy the rest of your trip. Your enthusiasm is contagious.
 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Hi all,

For our latest adventure we set out to explore a remote island off the coast of Tropical Northern Australia.
This National Park wilderness is packed with stunning beaches, waterfalls, river crossings and we even had a tropical rain storm.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the crocodiles.

I'm no expert, and the only thing I really know about them is that I don't like them. Now we're in the far North of Australia, crocs will be a regular thing we have to deal with.


-Dan
 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Hi Everyone,

A couple of weeks ago I asked for questions across social media, and now it's time to answer them all.

Join Katie and I as we run through your questions about the Australia expedition, the Jeep, ourselves, and a whole lot more!


-Dan
 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Hi All,

As I move around Australia I'm seeing a TON of well-built Overland vehicles, but none come close to this one.
Ruth and Tony spent two years driving around Africa on the same route as me in their Defender 130.
We camped together in Egypt at what would be the final wild camp in all of Africa for us, and waved farewell.
They've been in Australia all this time earning money and saving pennies, and in two weeks they're shipping their Defender BACK to Africa for another two year adventure.
Yes, they loved it that much.

This vehicle is so iconic, and I just love the adventures that it enables, and Ruth and Tony's passion to get out there and have adventures on a massive scale.
In my latest video I tour this unreal Defender, and talk about the incredible adventures they have.


-Dan
 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Hey Dan,

The August Issue of Land Rover Owner has an article entitled The Top 5 Aussie Drives. Thought you might be interested.

Jeff

Nice Jeff, thanks!

Wow, they love the remote ones! The Canning just opened last month after being closed for Covid and I'm scrambling to fit it in.
I'll drive all the rest for sure, heading up to to Cape York now :)

-Dan
 

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