Building the Ultimate DANA Jeep Gladiator
Have you ever felt the need to get away? Not like just a little away, like to the top of a mountain where no one could ever get to away?
When this awesome collaboration started with Spicer Parts and Expedition Vehicle Outfitters an off road and overland shop in Michigan started that was our mission. We set out to build a Jeep Gladiator using an Ultimate Dana Axle and drive shaft package that would meet any challenge head on, including 8ft of snow! Packed full of all new technology that would allow you to do everything from camp in the roof top tent with a diesel heater to a full water filtration system capable of pulling water straight out of a stream.
Our friends at Spicer Parts had a trick up their sleeve. Hell Traxx!!! These MASSIVE 4ft. Wide tracks are designed for very deep snow and will allow the Jeep Gladiator to blast through powder where only snow cats and snow mobiles were once able to venture.
To hold up to all the abuse of off roading in crazy deep snow Spicer Part’s Senior Engineer Zack Heisey threw down a bulletproof driveline featuring a MASSIVE Ultimate Dana 80 rear axle for the rear of the Jeep Gladiator along with a Ultimate Dana 60 front axle. This proven driveline is up to the task and can handle the abuse the New Diesel Jeep Gladiator can sling out.
With this insane setup we all knew it wouldn’t be time to pull any punches. This Jeep Gladiator features some great industry partners as well as incredible craftsmanship that was brought on board to collaborate. But first we needed to tear down this New Diesel Jeep Gladiator Rubicon.
This is when things get serious, the Team at Expedition Vehicle Outfitters stripped the New Gladiator down to the frame to get ready for an extensive build out of this new Gladiator.
Now it is time to pull out some craziness. Insert long time friend, master bridge builder, master black smith and Michigan artist Derek Pung. Along with his coworkers and business partners Derek travels the country restoring antique bridges from the late 1800’s. Breathing life into wrought iron with skills and techniques once thought long gone. Along with Derek and the Team at Bach Steel we all have a huge appreciation for craftsman of years past and feel honored to be able to showcase some of their processes.
But why does this all relevant? Well DANA Incorporated is located in Maumee, Ohio providing many skilled craftsman and hard working people jobs to the State of Ohio. We wanted to help DANA showcase some incredible craftsmanship from years past alongside with their state of the art craftsmanship you see in their new axles and components. Enter in the Zenas King Bridge from Sidney, Ohio.
This is a Zenas King Bridge built in 1879, spanning over the Loramie Creek north west of Sidney, Ohio. This bridge was placed in what is today State Route 66. This bridge was ready for a new life as to not forget craftsmanship of the past.
Though a month and a half of long hours, hard work and progress the Team performed an incredible transformation. The Gladiator bed and rack structure is held together with hand made brass rivets built from hand made dies at Bach Steel. The bed structure is made from wrought iron reclaimed from the Zenas King Bridge showing the intense weathering from over 140 years of use.
From there the complete bed structure was attached to the Jeep Gladiator after 8” was bobbed from the back of the Jeeps frame to provide maximum departure angles. The bed structure holds a slew of overland and camping supplies allowing the truck to stay off grid for extended periods.
From there it was time to put that Ultimate DANA Drivetrain under the Jeep Gladiator. Serving as suspension we matched an EVO Manufacturing Double throw down long arm suspension with Bilstein Shocks Coilovers.
Providing traction when the tracks are off are a set of 40” Milestar Patagonia Mud Terrain Tires wrapped around Trail-Gear Creeper Lock Beadlock wheels.
To provide a warm place to sleep during camp trips the Jeep Gladiator was fit with a FreeSpirit Recreation Tri-Layer insulated Roof Top Tent and a Webasto Diesel Heater to pump warm heat.
Off to the Big Show to be displayed with the New Ford Bronco we built as well. We are all thankful for our industry partners, the Team at DANA-Spicer Parts, Team at Bach Steel and Complete Color Auto Collision for helping bring these incredible vehicles to life.