The First (Small) Modification: A Rubber Antenna
Well, I've made the first of several planned modifications to the Gladiator. And it's a big one! Okay, maybe not big. But it does mark the first step in a journey to turn the Jeep into a vehicle that suits my needs and requirements.
This first mod was the replacement of the factory OEM metallic radio antenna with a shorter, flexible rubber one. Specifically, I went with a 13-inch Rydonair Antenna that I purchased off Amazon. It has excellent reviews and is very similar to ones I've swapped out on previous vehicles I've owned.
So why did I change this out? Experience has shown that the rigid steel antennas will break or bend when used off-road. When they catch on over-hanging branches, they'll snap. I've had this happen to me in the past, and on our standard route up to our cabin we encounter lots of trees that crowd the trail.
So how was the installation? Answer: super easy. Honestly, the hardest part was removing the old steel antenna. I could loosen it easily with a wrench, but because of the shape of the flats on the antenna, coupled with the proximity to the bodywork, it was a little (read: really little) challenging to unscrew the old one.
Putting the new one on was even easier. Simply screw the male-male adapter into the end of the new antenna, tighten it down, then install the assembly onto the Jeep. Again, the hardest part is really just tightening it down sufficiently to ensure it doesn't loosen up during normal driving.
Note: I briefly considered using some kind of thread locker, like Loctite, but then got worried that the chemical may actually cause electrical resistance between the antenna and the Jeep, thereby reducing its performance. In the end, I simply tightened the new antenna as much as I could via hand strength.
I'll report on how the unit works on AM, FM, and Sirius as soon as I drive the Gladiator again.