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Thread: The Road Chose Me: Driving a Jeep Gladiator around Australia

  1. #1
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    Default The Road Chose Me: Driving a Jeep Gladiator around Australia

    Hi Everyone,
    It's been another long time in the making, and it's time to kick-off my next major expedition.
    I'm setting out to explore all the wild and remote corners of Australia over the next 18 months, in a Gladiator Rubicon I just picked up!


    (My route will have to be flexible because of the wet season in the North, and covid restrictions coming and going)

    The plan is to explore all the wild and remote corners I've heard about all my life but I have never seen.
    I'll cross the Simpson Desert, drive the old Tele Track up to Cape York, Drive the world's most remote road (The Canning Stock Route) explore Tasmania's wild west coast and a WHOLE lot more!


    (They didn't let me keep the bow!)


    In the past I've documented my two trips on my website - http://theroadchoseme.com
    On the first one I drove a little 2-door TJ Wrangler 40,000 miles from Alaska to Argentina on the Pan-American Highway (Beyond.ca thread here) and then I drove a 4-door JKUR 54,000 miles all the way around Africa, covering 54,000 miles through 35 African countries. (Beyond.ca thread here)
    They were both the adventure of my lifetime, let me tell you!
    dan-expeditions-small.jpg

    I figure I need to get with the times, so on this trip I will document the build of my Gladiator and the trip itself on YouTube.

    The first video introducing the Gladiator has just gone live, where I talk about the whys of what I'm doing, and why I chose a Rubicon instead of a different trim level.
    The choices here in Australia are different to the US and Canada, which means my decisions are different.
    Here's the intro video:


    Over the next 6 weeks I will build this into my ultimate house-on-wheels Overland vehicle, and I have a lot planned and boxes have been stacking up for months now.
    There will be a second gas tank, drinking water tank, filter and pump, a complete kitchen setup, fridge, front bumper, winch and lighting, aux battery, solar, custom made storage boxes, a roof rack and a canopy over the rear of the gladiator.
    I will incorporate a lot of lessons learned from my previous two expeditions, and in many ways each system will be an incremental improvement from what I did previously.
    It's going to be a busy 6 weeks.
    I'm really stoked I get to build this vehicle with my Dad in his garage, we're going to have a lot of fun together!
    I'll post the build of the Gladiator here in this thread, and then when I get underway I'll continue to post details from the expedition itself.

    I hope you'll join me for the ride!

    -Dan
    Last edited by Grecy; 07-01-2021 at 07:35 PM.
    Around Africa in a Jeep Wrangler JK @ The Road Chose Me (previously Alaska->Argentina in a TJ)
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    Incredible.
    Quote Originally Posted by rage2 View Post
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    I almost shat myself after eating way too much at lunch with @killramos so ya, we can start the diaper thread now.

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    Look forward to following your journey.

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    awesome

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    Awesome! So what happened to your previous Jeeps? Did you keep them or did you sell them off?

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    Quote Originally Posted by D'z Nutz View Post
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    Awesome! So what happened to your previous Jeeps? Did you keep them or did you sell them off?
    I sold the little one in Argentina, and the one I drove around Africa is currently in storage in Canada. I'm working on a suitable forever home for it!

    -Dan
    Around Africa in a Jeep Wrangler JK @ The Road Chose Me (previously Alaska->Argentina in a TJ)
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    Very Excellent!

    Gladiator will probably be gloriously roomy compared to the previous builds.
    Last edited by killramos; 07-01-2021 at 10:00 PM.
    Originally posted by Thales of Miletus

    If you think I have been trying to present myself as intellectually superior, then you truly are a dimwit.
    Originally posted by Toma
    fact.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yolobimmer View Post
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    guessing who I might be, psychologizing me with your non existent degree.

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    can't believe it has been over 2 years since your Africa trip, I swear I thought it was just last year before covid hit!
    saw your IG post of quarantining down there when you first landed, didnt know you left the Africa jeep here and picking up a brand new one and modifying it there, makes sense!
    looking forward to your future updates

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    You have the aussie accent down pat!

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    Congrats m8 - you're putting most 'overlanders' to shame (including me!).

    Did you get a sponsorship from Jeep for this Oz tour? Would seem like a toyota product would be the go-to choice otherwise
    Originally posted by InRich
    tell her I'll pick her up in the vette
    Originally posted by InRich
    The X5 i bought earlier this year really is FULLY LOADED though not a single option missing including infrared night driving

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    Congrats buddy, this is gonna be an epic trip for you and I look forward to following along!

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    Thanks for the kind words and support everyone!


    I still can't wipe the stupid grin off my face - I've had this thing exactly a week now and love it.

    Driving on the wrong side of the road is taking some getting used to, though sitting on the wrong side of the car is the hardest part for sure. It's difficult to judge where the front corner is, and of course it's much longer than my JK was. The reversing camera helps, though I've never really used one before so I'm still getting the hang of the bendy lines.


    In my latest video I run through the entire build plan for my Overland Gladiator:

    - I discuss the engine and trans my Jeep has (I was so excited I forgot in the last video!)
    - I do the FIRST thing everyone should do when they get an overland vehicle
    - Dad and I dig into the modifications, pulling out weight I don't need, increasing my payload!





    This build is going to be quite extensive while also being extremely functional. It's just getting started!

    -Dan
    Around Africa in a Jeep Wrangler JK @ The Road Chose Me (previously Alaska->Argentina in a TJ)
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    Can't wait to follow along

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    I'll check out the video when I get a chance. I saw your new jeep on Instagram and the first thing that popped into my mind was if you were going to bring it back to Canada when you're done (I'm assuming no, because of importation and it being RHD).

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    As mentioned, incredible.
    "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents... some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new Dark Age."

    -H.P. Lovecraft

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    Quote Originally Posted by S-FLY View Post
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    I'll check out the video when I get a chance. I saw your new jeep on Instagram and the first thing that popped into my mind was if you were going to bring it back to Canada when you're done (I'm assuming no, because of importation and it being RHD).
    Right... there's simply no way I can, so the current plan is to sell it the moment I'm done with the trip - likely towards the end of 2022.

    -Dan
    Around Africa in a Jeep Wrangler JK @ The Road Chose Me (previously Alaska->Argentina in a TJ)
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    Today the Overland Gladiator build begins in earnest, and I install a ARB single air compressor.


    I have this exact compressor mounted under the hood of my Africa Jeep, it's never missed a beat in 5 years of seriously hard use.

    The ARB single makes the most sense for an overland vehicle when we consider payload, electrical use and space consumed.

    They're also extremely tough, and I even find a way to mount it under the hood again so it doesn't use up precious cargo volume.




    -Dan
    Around Africa in a Jeep Wrangler JK @ The Road Chose Me (previously Alaska->Argentina in a TJ)
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    With less than 300 miles on the clock, it's time to cut and drill into my brand new Jeep Gladiator to install an AEV snorkel.

    I consider a snorkel an essential upgrade for the kind of overlanding I enjoy - both for the dust protection and increased confidence in water crossings.

    In this video I show every step of the process to install the AEV snorkel on your Gladiator or Wrangler.

    I was a bit nervous making that first hole in the hood, though with AEV's template and instructions there was no need to be - it turned out absolutely perfect!




    I'm working on about 10 things for the build simultaneously, and have just locked in getting the Jeep on display at 4x4 shows in Melbourne and Sydney just as the adventure will kick off!

    -Dan
    Around Africa in a Jeep Wrangler JK @ The Road Chose Me (previously Alaska->Argentina in a TJ)
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  19. #19
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    Hi All,

    I just wrapped up installing a roof rack on my Gladiator, and I chose the Backbone System from Rhino Rack.

    I've never run a rack before, and it's primarily so I can bring some toys for enjoyment on this trip.
    After way too much research I went with the Backbone System because it bolts right through the hard top and mounts into the roll cage and tub of the Gladiator. That means the weight isn't just sitting on the hard top, it's actually transferred right through.
    I genuinely believe this is the best engineered rack on the market, and it feels extremely stout.
    I'm confident it will easily handle 18 months of corrugations and tough conditions.

    Here's the video where I walk through the entire install, let me know if you have any questions.




    -Dan
    Around Africa in a Jeep Wrangler JK @ The Road Chose Me (previously Alaska->Argentina in a TJ)
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    Follow: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube
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    WikiOverland.org - Everything you need to know to Travel Overland across a country, continent or the world.

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    Good call on the Rhino Rack products. That's all I use on my overland vehicles - bonus that they're aluminum and don't rust, plus all manufactured in Oz.
    Originally posted by InRich
    tell her I'll pick her up in the vette
    Originally posted by InRich
    The X5 i bought earlier this year really is FULLY LOADED though not a single option missing including infrared night driving

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