Last November, American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) showed their Ram concept truck at the SEMA show. We brought you a brief look at this exciting diesel rig in the January 2014 issue of Diesel World. The AEV Ram is essentially a diesel-powered Ram truck on steroids. Consider that the mild 3-in. lift allows an AEV Ram to run 40×14.5 tires and look stock. There’s a subtle aggressiveness to its look, but the proportions are so well done that at a glance, you wouldn’t think it was running on 40s.
American Expedition Vehicles was established in 1997 and their first project shown to the public was a stretched Jeep TJ Wrangler with a 112-in. wheelbase. This concept was so popular that eventually the factory began producing a similar Jeep. These long Jeeps or LJs were branded “the Unlimited” and are some of the most sought-after Jeeps on the market today.
AEV once again reached into their bag of tricks and this time it’s on the truck front. More importantly, it’s on the diesel truck front. The AEV Ram is an off-road capable, street-friendly, diesel-powered 3/4-ton truck. The AEV Ram concept was developed as a solution for truck enthusiasts who want a very capable off-road vehicle that has exceptional handling, superior ride quality, large cargo capacity and a heavy load towing capacity. While there are plenty of aftermarket upgrade options to obtain some of these factors, until the AEV Ram, no option incorporated all into one vehicle.
While the factory Ram Power Wagon package comes close, it’s still a truck limited to 33-in. tires and doesn’t come with a diesel. AEV founder Dave Harriton points out that what makes the AEV Ram package different from the Factory Power Wagon is that it works on both gas and diesel Ram trucks. You can upgrade an entry level Tradesman 4×4 just as easily as a fully outfitted Laramie Edition truck. Better still, you can actually upgrade a Power Wagon package truck with the AEV system, taking it to the next level. The only stipulation is that this kit is for 4×4 trucks only.
The AEV Ram package consists of several different parts kits; all are seen on the concept rig. First, let’s look at the suspension. AEV offers two versions, one to fit 37-in. tires and one for 40-inchers. The factory fender flares, like those on the Laramie and Power Wagon packages, can be retained with 37s, but the AEV flare kit is required to run 40s. They’re also needed if your rig didn’t come with factory flares. The largest tire from the factory is 33-in., on the Power Wagon trucks. The AEV Ram package we drove was equipped with 40-in. BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain doughnuts.
On the suspension front, the AEV Ram upgrade can be installed on trucks with the Cummins 6.7L diesel engine or gas mills. While the gas and diesel engines vary greatly in weight, the kits are the same. This is possible due to the fact that the AEV suspension kit utilizes the OEM springs, so ride quality and springs rates are exactly the same as original.
Two different wheels are available, both look the same and are called the Katla. (We’re told they’re named after a volcano in Iceland as the wheel’s looks are reminiscent of craters). The wheel for the 37-in. tire is a 17×8, and the wheel for the 40-in. tire is a 17×10 with more offset. The AEV front bumper is a modular unit. The main difference is the bumper corner units, one for 37s and one for 40s.
When it comes to the level of build, there are three options. Level 1: customers can purchase parts kits and put on the parts at their end. Level 2: customers can come to AEV’s Michigan facility to have the parts installed. Level 3: customers can purchase a Ram from AEV and have the truck built before delivery as an AEV Ram. The final option comes with advantages, the main one being a warranty. AEV will warranty their portion of the build for three years and 36,000 miles. Ram Truck will cover under warranty virtually anything AEV didn’t touch. There is more detail pertaining to the warranty, so contact AEV for additional info.
We recently had the chance to drive the AEV Ram with Harriton as our co-pilot and answer man. We were able to take the vehicle out on the back roads and trails in Red Rock country. While this was a short jaunt, the concentrated terrain and road surface types made for a great testing ground. First, driving was a dream over twisty pavement and uneven surfaces. The AEV Ram with 40s was every bit as comfortable to drive as a truck off the showroom floor outfitted with stock-size mud tires. Off the pavement, the AEV Ram was all we’ve come to expect from a Ram 4×4 on the dirt, sand and rocks. Smooth, capable and fun are the words that came to mind. With 40-in. tires we were able to go places that no stock Ram 4×4 would go. If you want the ultimate in a Ram 4×4, consider an AEV Ram package upgrade. You won’t be disappointed. DW
American Expedition Vehicles (AEV)