Quadratec JTe: A Gladiator Built to Tread Lightly
What do you get when you combine a 2022 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe and a Jeep Gladiator? Well, if you have the talent of Greg Henderson, and his Unofficial Use Only team, you get the JTe you see here today. This project was set in motion by the aftermarket parts giant Quadratec. The idea was to create something that would not only be an excellent showcase of their Jeep parts catalog, but something that would give back to the off-road community in a big way.
Adorned on the side of the bed you’ll see a 50 for 50 decal. This represents 50 trail cleanups that will happen in 50 states. Working with the off-road advocates at Tread Lightly, the concept is simple and meaningful. Over the next two years, Quadratec will use the JTe to aid in 50 trail cleanups across the United States. As of writing this, Quadratec has already knocked out eight, which are indicated in blue on the map decal on the Jeep’s tailgate.
Though this Jeep was launched at the 2022 SEMA Show, Quadratec ensures us that it is built to be used, not simply shown. Admittedly, we would be a little reluctant to haul off trail debris in the bed of such a well-executed one-off Jeep. However, we love the fact that the Quadratec team did just that merely days after the JTe’s 37-inch-tall Nitto Recon Grapplers rolled across the Vegas convention center floor. While you can learn more about this project, and its trail trajectory at Quadratec’s website, here, we are diving into just what it took to pull off such an amazing build.
Jeep’s most capable and eco-friendly platform (as of writing this) is the Wrangler Rubicon 4xe. So, given the clean initiative of the program, Quadratec thought this would make for the perfect starting base. Once the 2022 Wrangler 4-door arrived at Unofficial Use Only, the team began the massive job of tearing it down.
To close out the cab of the JTe, rear sheetmetal panels, along with a hardtop from a Jeep Gladiator were modified. Not only was the metal merging top notch, but the hardtop was modified in a way that would allow the factory freedom panels to be used.
Using a stock Gladiator bed presented some significant hurtles. First of all, the rear section of frame that the Gladiator bed typically rest on is nothing like the Wrangler. The second challenge was the 4xe’s massive battery pack that once resided below the rear seats. Lastly, centering the wheelwell of the Gladiator bed over the rear wheels left a massive gap between the front of the bed and the cab closeout.
To fill in the 10.5-inch gap created by the bed placement, factory-sourced sheetmetal panels were welded in place. This added length not only gives the bed a more balanced proportion with the cab closeout but creates more usable bed space. Something that will be needed on trail cleanup days.
Since they started off with a white Wrangler and a silver bed, there was no choice but to either wrap or paint the vehicle. Once all of the body work was complete, the Jeep was sent to Red’s Bodyworks where it received a custom “Quadratec Green” paint job.
To ensures the Jeep had reliable and smooth rolling rubber for all of it’s travels ahead, it was equipped with Nitto Tire’s Recon Grappler A/T in a 37x12.50R17 variety. These category busting treads are mounted on 17x9 Lynx Trail Gunner wheels. As one of Nitto’s lightest LT tire offerings, the Recon Grappler A/T not only gives the Jeep a true-to-size 37 but does so without taking a major bite out of the JTe’s performance.
To clear the 37’s, the JTe was equipped with a Lynx 2.5-inch suspension system and Quadratec’s new high clearance fender kit. Providing front end protection as well as a home for the 12,000-pound Quadratec winch is a Carnivore series front bumper. Just in case those trail cleanups do rollover into the night there is a Quadratec 50-inch stealth lightbar behind the windshield and Quadratec Premium LED Projector series headlights to illuminate the trail.
Making sure the bed can withstand the tasks ahead is a Patriot Liner. To get the Recon Grapplers back up to street pressure after a long day on the trail, this JTe is using an onboard air system from Power Tank. In the unlikely event the Jeep does encounter a flat on the trail, there is a fullsize replacement mounted in the bed.
If Quadratec does encounter larger items that need to be dragged off the trail or pulled onto a trailer, they will be ready thanks to a 9,000-lb winch under the bed. The rear bumper you see is part of Quadratec’s Carnivore JL Wrangler line, but was modified to work with the Gladiator bed. Taking care of one of the Gladiator’s most notorious damage-prone areas area set of Oracle taillights, while a custom rollbar adds a touch of flare and nostalgia to the build.
Custom-embroidered Katzkin seats provide a comfortable place to navigate behind the wheel and an Alpine 509 head unit provides an extra-wide display for the driver. To ensure the inside doesn’t get too roughed up from use, Quadratec Ultimate All-Weather Floor Liners were dropped in as well.
Will Jeep Make It?
Is this without a doubt a better Gladiator for trail wheeling? Absolutely. Is there a business case for making something like this go full factory production? We doubt it. Regardless of if Jeep ever offers something like this from the factory, what you are seeing here is proof that it can be done. We love the multitude of things this Jeep represents and look forward to hopefully catching up with it on the trail before long.
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