AEV Hits Pay Dirt With Ram 2500/3500 Prospector

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Show of hands: How many of you remember the Dodge Prospector convenience package pickup, Ramcharger or van? If you do, you have a good memory. It's been about 30 years since the Prospector Package sat on a Dodge pickup but now it's back, thanks to the heavy-duty outfitters from American Expedition Vehicles.

If the name AEV sounds familiar it's because this is the same company that birthed the profitable custom Jeep pickup conversion equipment that turns a relatively stock Jeep Wrangler into a rock-crawling AEV Brute Double Cab pickup. It has an almost limitless number of custom features like different engines, axles and frame strength.

Not content with beefing up Jeep products, AEV expanded into the full-size heavy-duty pickup segment with the Ram Prospector. The end result, depending on the options chosen, is a monstrously capable full-size off-roading adventure vehicle. Despite that, it feels pretty close to a stock Ram pickup when driven on city streets or highways.

Here's a little background: After discovering that the Prospector trademark had been allowed to lapse, the folks at AEV liked the newer Ram HD for their latest project because the 2500s had just gone to rear coil springs, which meant the possibility of a more compliant and comfortable ride. Additionally, because AEV aims to keep the ride and chassis geometry as close to a stock ride feel (the lift kit is a moderate 3-incher in front and 2.5-incher in back), it could rely on original Ram equipment to offer 44 different front coil spring rates and 18 different rear coil spring rates. All that changes depending on cab, engine, gearing, gross vehicle weight, etc., choices.

The basic AEV Prospector comes with the 3-inch suspension lift in front, 2.5 inches in the rear; includes a unique front bumper and badging; and offers 37-inch tires, which are about 4 inches taller than the biggest tire available from the factory. AEV also offers a slightly more complicated front-end lift if you want to run 40-inch tires. That includes wider fender flares and more accommodating outer bumper caps that give the front end better approach angles and moves the front live axle forward about 1 inch, all to better expose and fit the bigger front tires to any rock obstacles on the trail.

The feature we like most about this AEV package is that it works on any Ram 2500 or 3500 4x4, from the top-of-the-line Laramie Longhorn down to the entry-level Tradesman and even the Power Wagon (assuming you wanted an unstoppable tractor of a Ram HD).

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We had to chance to take a pair of AEV Prospectors to a local off-road park in Southern California and were impressed with the off-road capabilities of the bigger tires and the solidity of the upgraded suspension. Think Power Wagon on steroids. In fact, we navigated several steep hill climbs and experienced some harrowing off-camber side-hill climbs that had the truck clawing for traction at unnerving angles, but the 4.10:1 axle gears, low range, a front sway-bar disconnect and mud terrain tires (aired down slightly) were incredible. It was amazing how much grab and muscle this Prospector produces — we did not even have to use the Prospector's front and rear locking differentials (a cool Ram feature that no other truckmaker offers).

During our on- and off-road drive we experienced two different Prospector packages: a fully loaded Ram 2500 Power Wagon Prospector (6.4-liter V-8 Hemi, 4.10:1 axle gears and 37-inch BFG Mud Terrain tires) and a Ram 3500 Tradesman stake bed (with the 6.7-liter inline-six-cylinder Cummins, 3.92:1 gears and 40-inch Goodyear Wrangler MTs).

Both pickups had the optional Amp Research automatic side steps, and we were thankful that. Even though the lift is moderate at 3 inches, the larger tires provide at least an additional 6 inches of ride height. That's why AEV also developed its own optional hydraulic assist for the steering pump when choosing the taller and heavier tire option on one-ton pickups (a solution borrowed from the AEV Brute Double Cab). The upgraded package of pumps, ram and high-pressure lines tucks comfortably above the front live axle so nothing is in harm's way when trying to climb over or around gigantic rock obstacles.

As you might expect, the AEV Prospector Ram is not inexpensive. First you select the new 4x4 Ram you want based on how stripped or loaded you want the interior in either 2500 or 3500 single-rear-wheel-drive configuration. Then start checking the AEV boxes that you want: wheel and tire size, bumper setup, winch or no winch, bed configuration, snorkel, etc. The well-equipped base-level package starts at just less than $14,000 on top of the price of a new Ram. That means you can be looking at anywhere from $60,000 to $80,000. Of course, if you already own a late-model Ram 2500 or 3500 4x4, your decision just got easier.

The Prospector pickups can be ordered from any one of 100 participating AEV Fiat Chrysler Automobiles/Ram dealerships across the country. To find out more about this new AEV package, call 248-926-0256 or click here.

Cars.com photos by Mark Williams; AEV photos

 

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Comments

Awesome! Price?

If I were into full sized trucks, I'd call that stake-bed Power Wagon a Monster Truck! Now THAT's a Toy Hauler. It is gorgeous, though WAY too big for my needs or wants. As for pricing, Yuriy, it was mentioned in passing: $14,000 on top of your choice of truck, and up. Only for the Rams, though.

I do enjoy reading about what the aftermarket is capable of doing to improve upon what is offered by the manufacturers. I appreciate the time and expense (and engineering) it takes to make a highly modified vehicle drive much like it did from the factory. I also get AEV choosing the Ram with coil spring rear suspension for a softer, more flexible setup. That said, without airbags, the coil springs would be next to worthless for hauling real loads. A relative's Ram 1500 (beautiful truck, gobs of power) is sitting on the axle with the 5.5' bed full of wood- only level to the top rail. A co-worker had to add air bags to his 2014 ccsb to handle a moderately sized pop-up camper. I'll keep my leaf springs. I do realize the article is about 2500/3500 trucks, and I don't have any experience with the new Ram HDs. I'm just not a fan of rear coils.

Good looking aftermarket accessorized truck. Like it except for the snorkel.

The pickup does look nicer than the usual Rams.

It does need a bull bar to hide the front end as well.

You'd be better of with the money these guys are chasing to modify the pickup yourself.

You can do it cheaper and modify the vehicle to better suit your requirements.

I wonder how many who opt for this aftermarket package will off road? Or will most just cruise around shopping malls?

Daddy's gonna get a Prosepctor with the 6.4L.

This will be my next truck!

Gittin r' done.

That's right Hemi. Make mine a Power Wagon :-) I will have to call them and see if the factory warranty is voided and if A.E.V. will pick up where the factory left off. Also need to decide before I buy. If I go with an A.E.V. Prospector with black rims black bumper I need to buy a silver truck. I know some of you doubt my new purchase because its taking so long. I hope to post you tube video's to prove it.

Not a Ram fan but good atrtcke. We need more of these OK n here.

Like the Ute bed on one of the AEV's but carrying capacity seems a little less than a Car/Ute
http://i592.photobucket.com/albums/tt1/vudu52/IMGP0554.jpg

Congrats to Ram. Best truck on the world. That Power Wagon axle articulation is incredible. All the other trucks dream.

@hemiv8, why do you talk to yourself? We all know you use multiple names and say the same stupid things? Your next truck was suppose to be a power wagon and a hellcat on the side. What an idiot.

$14000 for a 2.5" Coil spacer lift, bumper, light bar, wheels, tires, and a (pointless) snorkel? That's about $4000 worth of stuff. Is it worth $10000 for the 8 hours it would take to install that stuff?

Don't get me wrong, I like the idea, but this package is for people with more money than sence.

@FB, Don't forget the badges and decals! smh.


AEV Prospector
Package Contents

AEV Premium Front Bumper
AEV HD 3" DualSport SC Suspension
AEV Katla or Salta HD Wheels
AEV Badging
AEV Instrument Cluster
AEV Logo Headrests
AEV Serialized Build Plaque
AEV Anti-Glare Decal
Painted Grille and Rear Bumper

Starting at $13,925

http://www.aev-conversions.com/vehicles/prospector

love it! Ford and Chevy can't compete with that!

Sure they can. Any vehicle can be made like this by another company. Its called after market.

It's not easy to aftermarket rear axle multilink coil or air ride suspension.

The start of a great project truck is a great truck to start. Hence A.E.V

https://www.yahoo.com/autos/s/mountain-no-match-aev-ram-prospector-first-drive-163019024.html

@Gomar, I guess it would be hard and that's why it cost so much extra. Coil springs just make it more difficult and that's ashamed.

Truck crazy, If you were to try that maneuver over the above hill, hanging the axles like that in a Ford, you might just cause body damage, not be able to open and close the tailgate and doors! You could do it with a Chevy, but you would need locker installed front and rear, but you would have no problem with flexing! Not to mention the coil springs make this a lot easier on the Ram.

SHOCKING... For a TON of money you can take your truck to someone who will make it better off road for you!!!! While I think its nice to see what new gadgets and such are out there making some big deal out of some obscure custom house operation that's happy to Frankenstein your truck up any way you like or in this case they like that you will probably like if that's what you are looking for but don't wanna invest any thought into and got the money to pay for it all seems silly for this page. Even if such shop has been able to glom onto an old lapsed package name that might have some nostalgia to it. Even worse to me the most fascinating part of this article is the drop side flat bed pictured. I want one of them. I want to see that as an option. Make it aluminum, who cares if it gets scratched, easy to load, easy to unload, take a beating, who cares, give me a dump or stake sides option. Now that's something all manufacturers should be offering across the board. Find out who really wants their truck for work and knows how to work smart.

They article fails to even mention a thing about this bed which to me is the coolest part of their customization. Ive seen these on the Home Depot trucks and they are great beds.

@Clint: AEV is not "... some obscure custom house operation that's happy to Frankenstein your truck up any way you like..." American Expedition Vehicles is a factory authorized and somewhat factory-sponsored house for creating very specific, and repeated, custom Jeeps that are sold directly from Jeep dealerships around the country. The Brute Double Cab, for instance, is not a one-off but is as close to "factory made" as it can be, all things considered, and has been featured on more than one TV reality show. They are the shop that specifically builds a number of true expedition vehicles used by science researchers in the fields of geology and biology--with two of their modified JKU Wranglers climbing the side of a Chilean volcano some years back. In other words, they're not your typical back-yard custom shack.

As for the stake bed, that's hardly new; but you rarely see them on the street here in the US riding on anything less than a true medium-duty truck rated for heavier loads than the normal pickup truck carries. These beds are far more common for "utes" in other parts of the world because they're far more versatile--but require you to secure your load to keep it from sliding off the deck.

I assure you Whale that AEV is NOT a household name in the automotive world especially outside of the Jeep culture (which is very small when you take a look at the big picture). Even more so pales in comparison to market share and name recognition amongst us commoners to names like Rousch, Banks, Saleen, Linganfelter and im sure there are more im forgetting. I deliberately didn't say Shelby since their mods/products can be had straight from the factory hence in that context they really are OEM. So I stand by that its another shop (even if it might be quasi sponsored by the ever in jeopardy part of Fiat called Chrysler or cherished by Jeep owners with lots of money to burn. I have never seen one of those converted Wrangler pickups on the road yet. I must be blind to be missing all that AEV product. If you cant get it from the factory then its a custom thing and hence another custom shop that again is happy to do whatever you want for the money. Some might be a bit better known than others but that doesn't change the gist of it nor the fact that his article is pointless and blows... This week AEV... next week Fast and Loud, the week after Bob's down the street... Again the bed is the most interesting thing. I know all kinds of people/shops doing lift kits right and wrong and playing with gear rations and who think bigger tires and custom wheels are cool.

I love the fact that Ram trucks have the most capable off road trucks from the factory. Ram started the 4x4 market. These AEV upgrades just make Ram trucks unstoppable.

Ram trucks

Most capable off road.

Fastest production truck.

Best in class towing/payload.

Best in class ride handling.

Best in class MPG.

Different power levels for the 6.7 Cummins.

Ram trucks the king of beasts.

Combat proven.

Ram tough.


HEMI V8 - you'd be better off buying one of these since the Power Wagon isn't going to have the ratings to tow what you want.

Looks like you have either been to Alpar or memorizing FCA press releases.

I don't know where you live, Clint, but before you completely diss AEV, take a closer look at some of those lifted and customized 2-door and 4-door Jeep Wranglers around you. Take a look and see if there aren't some on dealership lots already customized and being sold as new. Odds are, if they're on the showroom floor, they're AEV customs. One dealer about 20 miles from where I live specializes in AEV custom Jeeps.

I'm considering buying a 2016 2500 Power Wagon next summer. I went out to the AEV site to see the price breakdown on all the different items. They say that the Power Wagon products are coming soon, so I can only compare what I see. The snorkel is dumb, but if I lived in AK, I might consider it. The bumper seems a little high at $2800. Also concerned with the coil spacer lift that goes for $2100. Today, I can pick up a Tradesman Power Wagon for $47k, maybe a little less. $5K in upgrades: 35s, wheels, BDS Radius-Arm suspension, and Ranch-Hand bumpers, will get me the same for thousands less.

Clint, Roush, Saleen, Banks, and Lingenfelter (you couldn't even get the spelling right) are not household names either. The only people that know Banks are the diesel guys (not a huge subset), the only ones that know Roush and Saleen are the Mustang guys, and Lingenfelter the Corvette guys. Sure, AEV's a custom shop, but they're not "some obscure custom house frankensteining your truck". They're as legit as anyone and has several former Chrysler engineers working for them. They're products are OEM quality. It's not two guys with beer and a welder like you're insinuating.

Hopefully AEV fixed the crappy factory suspension and front end on these turds.

The article remains to be nothing more than SEMA type fluff... I would much rather hear about actual mainstream products that are available and innovative. And I don't care how lingelter is spelled either or any little custom shop for that matter.

Hello good evening I have the 2500 ram 2013
I need the off-road front bumper just as the images show up complete
the suspension wheels and tires
snorkeling
put in panama
I will be able to send me the quote.

Cheers

I love how you can buy one at the Ram dealer. This truck is everything I could ask for. No running around leaving my truck to some shop to dent and scratch up my new truck while adding everything and then wonder what to do with all the brand new parts. All done by pros with a warranty and I can order one and finance it through the dealer. Or walk up and buy one sitting on the lot. Awesome.

http://www.glendaledodgecalifornia.com/aev-vehicles.htm

I just got home from a Ram dealer in Glendale Ca. I test drove a 2500 Granite grey 6.7 Cummins AEV Prospector. What an awesome vehicle. Quite and powerful. Rode nice and had plenty of get up 4.10 gear upgrade. Test drove a black AEV prospector Power Wagon. The 6.4 Hemi rode a little rougher plenty of power but it's delivered different. The gas Hemi is more responsive and sounds better in my opinion. I prefer the ultimate off road truck the combat proven Power Wagon. The truck that started it all. Diesel version was less money. I have my heart set on this truck. Waiting for the money.

If it weren't for "people with more money than sense", many working stiffs wold not be able to earn more than $25,000 per year.

wildomar ohv, dont scratch those pretty trucks in the brush

We just finished up building a 2016 RAM Heavy Duty Cummins Turbo Diesel White AEV Prospector. After working through the extensive installation manual the truck could not have come out cooler. The drive was amazing and the customer couldn't have been happier. Check out the link below to see a full photo gallery.

http://www.totalautoproswholesale.com/#!2016-ram-2500hd-cummins-turbo-diesel-aev/t99za



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