1. home
  2. how to
  3. body chassis
  4. AEV Protects Your Ram Truck With a Winch Hiding Bumper

AEV Protects Your Ram Truck With a Winch Hiding Bumper

AEV's New Bumper on Our Ram Towverlander

Fred WilliamsPhotographer, Writer

Bumpers are like shoes. There are shoes for work and shoes for play, and for many people the looks of the shoes are more important than their function. The same goes for bumpers. Although they are all designed to protect the front of your 4x4, some are engineered to do more, and everyone wants their bumper to reflect their image of what their 4x4 is supposed to do.

We've been wanting a winch on the front of our big 1-ton Ram for a while, but finding the right bumper that matched that truck's job was difficult. We wanted protection and strength, but also something that worked with the style of the truck, something that is part working tow machine and part backcountry explorer (dare we say "overland rig"?)

We've seen a lot of different and cool bumpers, but the modular stamped steel winch bumper from American Expedition Vehicles fit the bill for what we want this truck to be. It houses a massive winch rated at 16,500 pounds and a handful of lights and still looks good. Being among the first people to get to install this bumper, we took a few days to get the job done because the bumper comes in pieces you assemble instead of one giant hunk of welded steel.

We can't wait to use it, whether it's dragging dead 4x4s around the homestead with the winch or exploring backroads in the dark with the security of recovery, lighting, and armor out front. No matter how you want to phrase it, our Ram has new horns to protect it and new work shoes to get the job done.

A towhook that has gone through extensive testing for recovering a big heavy diesel truck

We've loved our old Randy Ellis light bar and large round HID lights, but we wanted a winch up front for more protection. So these parts, along with the old flimsy factory steel bumper, will all be deleted. We really want to replace the chrome grille with a work truck black version, but that will have to wait for a future update.

With the old bumper off and the grille removed for easy access we began the install. The bumper comes in multiple pieces, and you start with the big center chunk with the Warn 16.5 winch bolted inside. There are new frame brackets, and some trucks require the removal of the intercooler to get these frame brackets on. AEV has simple, easy instructions, but you need to be sure to order the correct bumper for the year of Ram you are installing because there are slight changes in the different trucks from 2010 to present.

It took manpower to heft the bumper in place with that massive winch, but the rest of the job is a one-man deal. The outer wings of the bumper house either your factory foglights or the Vision-X 6.7-inch round lights. The big gray piece is a burly ductile iron towhook that has gone through extensive testing for recovering a big heavy diesel truck, or using it as a winch anchor.

The bumper is assembled on the truck and then all the fasteners torqued to spec. The tow hooks have plastic surrounds that hide the seam between the inner and outer bumper components, and we added a 30-inch LED light bar from Vision X just in front of the winch so that we hopefully can see and stop the truck before running our new bumper into an obstacle or animal after dark.

AEV is the only company making a stamped steel bumper for the Ram heavy-duty trucks. That gives the bumper a smooth rounded look that flows perfectly with the lines of the truck. Yes, it's tough at 4mm thick steel with additional 3/16-inch reinforcements and strong 1/4-inch-thick brackets, plus it comes powdercoated a textured black, but we can't deny it also looks darn good.

The AEV bumper does protrude farther than the stock bumper, but it now houses 16,000 pounds of Warn recovery cable and 3,200 lumens of VisionX round LED lights (plus the big light bar on top), and it will keep highway-crossing deer or backcountry boulders that much farther away from our mobile camping/exploring machine. Stay tuned for a future adventure in our big white Ram.