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2014 Ram 2500 - Game On

Posted in Features on March 10, 2014 Comment (0)
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This ’14 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty, modified by American Expedition Vehicles (AEV), was one of the most talked about 4x4s at the massive 2013 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. That’s quite an achievement. In the sea of look-at-me glitzy 4x4s, the Ram was comparatively nondescript, yet it still stopped people in their tracks.

What made people stop and take notice is no-nonsense styling and a number of real-world, yet creative modifications. A multifunctional front bumper, electric winch, differential lockers, rugged and stylish seating, aggressive 40-inch tires, limited suspension lift, fender flares to keep the crud at bay, and a set of handsome wheels with a conservative diameter.

“A lot of people were surprised by our choice of a 17-inch wheel when the market says 20-inch wheels are the norm. We haven’t ruled out a 20-inch wheel, but for most off-road use the 17-inch works the best when combined with an aggressive off-road tire. The sidewall flex is key,” says Harriton. We wholeheartedly agree. A 17-inch tire is easier to purchase should a tire failure occur, too. The tires are luggy 40-inch-tall, 13.5-inch-wide BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2s and they’re mounted on 10-inch-wide AEV Katla heavy-duty cast aluminum wheels.

In case you’re not familiar with AEV, the company became well known in the late ’90s for stretching the wheelbase of the Jeep Wrangler TJ, which gave many Jeep owners what they wanted but couldn’t get from the factory. Over the next few years, the company diversified into a variety of areas including aftermarket Jeep accessories, Jeep Wrangler Hemi V-8 engine swaps, the Brute Wrangler-based pickup, and the incredible Brute Double Cab pickup, which we featured in the July ’12 issue of Four Wheeler.

Now you’re probably wondering what this company, historically catering to Jeeps, is doing building a Ram. Well, that question is answered by Dave Harriton, AEV’s founder and president. He says, “We wanted to do with the Ram what we do with the Wrangler, meaning a complete package where everything works together and creates a very well engineered, well thought-out, usable package.”

Judging by the amount of attention the Ram received at SEMA, it seems as if what AEV created is a hit. Looks like it’s game on for AEV in the fullsize truck market.

The DualSport 3-inch suspension was one of the many things AEV put a lot of thought into. Harriton says, “Given that there are approximately 37 different front springs for just the 2500 and 3500, we couldn’t make any sort of business case to put that kind of development and engineering into tuning all those variations, let alone being able to stock that many parts. Typical aftermarket is two springs- one gas, one diesel, which didn’t used to be quite as much of a problem when you were dealing with coils in the front and leaves in the rear. Now with the 2500 going to rear coils and the 3500 getting air-assist options, the frequency tuning becomes really important.” AEV’s logical resolution was to build everything around the stock springs, which the company felt was the optimum solution for an expedition, general off-road use, and everyday use truck. At both ends the company installed Bilstein 5160 remote-reservoir shocks, and height is accomplished via aluminum coil spacers. “In this case, the shocks are custom-tuned remote-reservoir Bilstein’s and there is a lot of suspension bracketry that changes all the geometry for the performance like we are known for. Roll center and steering angles were two areas we were able to make drastic improvements,” Harriton says. Bracketry changes were made to the front trackbar, rear track bar, and radius arms. The DualSport 3-inch suspension was one of the many things AEV put a lot of thought into. Harriton says, “Given that there are approximately 37 different front springs for just the 2500 and 3500, we couldn’t make any sort of business case to put that kind of development and engineering into tuning all those variations, let alone being able to stock that many parts. Typical aftermarket is two springs- one gas, one diesel, which didn’t used to be quite as much of a problem when you were dealing with coils in the front and leaves in the rear. Now with the 2500 going to rear coils and the 3500 getting air-assist options, the frequency tuning becomes really important.” AEV’s lo

At A Glance
General
Vehicle: 2014 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty
Owner: American Expedition Vehicles
Stomping grounds: Commerce Township, Michigan
Build time: Two weeks

Drivetrain
Engine: Cummins 6.7L 24-valve I-6 turbodiesel
Transmission: 68RFE six-spd automatic
Transfer case(s): BorgWarner 44-46 two-spd
Low range ratio(s): 2.64:1
Crawl ratio(s): 35:1
Front axle/differential: AAM 9.25-in/4.10 gears, ARB Air Locker
Rear axle/differential: AAM 11.5-in/4.10 gears, ARB Air Locker

Suspension
Front: AEV 3-in, Bilstein 5160 remote-reservoir shocks
Rear: AEV 2-in, Bilstein 5160 remote-reservoir shocks
Steering: AEV high-steer

Tires/Wheels
Tires: 40x13.50R17 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2
Wheels: 17x10 AEV Katla

Miscellaneous
Armor: AEV Stamped Front Bumper
Cool stuff: AEV Flares, Vision X lighting, Warn 16.5ti winch

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