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2018 Ram Power Wagon Built for Overlanding Adventures

This ’18 Ram Power Wagon didn’t need much to help ease Patrick James over obstacles

The way Patrick James signed off on one of his emails evoked a variety of feelings, with jealousy being pretty much at the top of the list. OK, the only thing on the list. He wrote, "Text me. I am traveling and enjoying life."

There was a hard start to that sign-off, though. In January of 2018, Patrick lost his wife of 41 years to cancer. He bought this '18 Ram Power Wagon brand new the following month. Then, Patrick put more than 34,000 miles on the truck in just 19 months. One could say that the outer strength of the truck assisted with inner strength for the human. "Overlanding has given me adventure and helped me move on and meet new people."

We met Patrick and his Power Wagon on our 2019 Four Wheeler Overland Adventure as we explored the Arizona backcountry.

If you see Patrick James on the trail, meet him. He'll probably be in his new project, a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon/Cascadia Vehicle Tents trailer combo. And he'll be the one enjoying life.

"The overlanding community is great," says Patrick. "You can meet friends anywhere." He picked the Ram Power Wagon for his foray into the sport because "it was fully optioned—leather, heated, and cooled seats; heated steering wheel; and navigation. But the No. 1 reason for buying the Ram is that from the factory there are locking differentials, a disconnecting sway bar, and the 6.4 L Hemi."
"I am a retired pilot, so I want reliable equipment," Patrick says about his product choices when modifying the Power Wagon. "Happy Trails 4x4 shop in Jacksonville, Florida, did all the installation of the AEV suspension and sourced all of the things that I had chosen for the build." The AEV 3-inch lift was joined by the brand's differential covers and pitman arm. A Hellwig 1.25-inch sway bar was added at the rear. Patrick kept the stock shocks, axles, and exhaust.
Rolling stock is 37-inch Nitto Ridge Grapplers and 17-inch AEV Ram Salta HDs.
Patrick didn't touch the factory 410hp 6.4L Hemi, but he did add a Genesis dual-battery system and Odyssey battery.
That's an AEV snorkel system as well as Rigid Industries driving, fog, and auxiliary lights. The Power Wagon rolled off the assembly line with the 12,000-pound Warn electric winch.
The spare tire resides on a Wilco Offroad swing-away hitch carrier. Necessities for getting off the grid include a James Baroud Explorer rooftop tent, Road Shower unit, Alu-Cab Shadow awning, and four Maxtrax recovery boards at the ready should an escape route be needed. There's an ARB dual compressor and fridge, plus an Alu-Cab drop-down fridge mount. The Leitner Active Cargo System is paired with Decked drawers. Patrick also carries a Go Power! 2,000-watt Pure Sine Wave inverter and two 5-gallon jerrycans.
The interior is stock, with the exception of an AEV Switch Pod for cleaning up the switches situation, and there's also an AEV ProCal recalibration module. An iPad Pro handles GPS duty, while a 40-watt Midland two-way radio keeps Patrick in touch.

At a Glance

General
Vehicle: '18 Ram Power Wagon
Owner: Patrick James
Stomping grounds: Palm Coast, Florida
Build time: 3 months
Drivetrain
Engine: 6.4L V-8 Hemi
Transmission: 66RFE six-spd automatic
Transfer case: BW 44-47
Low range ratio: 2.64:1
Crawl ratio: 35:1
Front axle/differential: AAM 9.25-in/electric locking
Rear axle/differential: AAM 11.5-in/electric locking
Suspension
Front: Coil springs, factory shocks, sway-bar disconnect, AEV 3-in suspension kit
Rear: Coil springs, factory shocks, Hellwig sway bar
Tires/Wheels
Tires: 37x12.5R17LT Nitto Ridge Grappler
Wheels: 17x8 AEV Ram Salta HD
Miscellaneous
Armor: AEV differential covers, stock 12,000-lb Warn winch
Cool stuff: AEV snorkel, Wilco Offroad tire carrier, Rigid Industries lights, AEV ProCal module, AEV Switch Pod kit, ARB fridge, ARB dual compressor, Maxtrax recovery boards, Alu-Cab awning, Genesis dual-battery system, Odyssey battery, Leitner cargo system, Decked drawers, Go Power! inverter, 5-gallon jerrycans, Road Shower, James Baroud rooftop tent

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