American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) has been outfitting otherwise standard pickup trucks with some serious off-road goodies for years. The company is prepared for our apocalyptic future because its products are legit. Its latest creation – the AEV Recruit Ram 1500 – is a proof-of-concept of what the company has to offer for the half-ton pickup truck. 

Right off the bat, you’ll notice the suspension lift. It’s a four-inch increase in ride height while maintaining the Ram 1500’s factory front Bilstein air struts and rear airbags. AEV added the lift by using raised mounts and spacer brackets and by using tuned extended-length Bilstein 5100 shocks. The suspension kit included AEV-engineered steering knuckles, made from military-grade A206 T4 cast aluminum, according to AEV, and a four-millimeter stamped-steel skid plate. 

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On the outside, AEV added a host of exterior protection such as an AEV front bumper that’s stamped from four-millimeter steel. The bumper is home to cast-aluminum tow loops, which pass all original equipment load specifications, mounts for a Warn Zeon 10-S winch, and a Vision X 30-inch LED bar. At the rear, the bumper is again stamped from four-millimeter steel. AEV even upgrades the truck bed, adding bed-corner protection tubes, recessed cup holders, and more cast-aluminum tow loops. 

The hood, stamped from 23-gauge galvanized steel, sports two vents that alleviate engine heat. The vents also help channel water away from sensitive electronics in the engine compartment. The AEV raised air intake – the snorkel – is made from cross-linked polyethylene and helps deliver clean, cool air to the engine for maximum performance. The Recruit also sports a black grille and two-tone paint. 

AEV Recruit Ram 1500
AEV Recruit Ram 1500
AEV Recruit Ram 1500

Inside, AEV upgrades the upholstery to premium factory-like leather with custom embroidery. There’s an AEV Switch Pod that allows for easy control of the auxiliary lights and accessories. AEV also reprograms the truck’s computer and speed sensor, so both work correctly with the 37-inch tires. 

AEV doesn’t say if the Recruit Ram 1500 will enter production – or if the accessories will be made for individual sale. So far, AEV says the truck has received positive reviews at various shows. Right now, AEV-upfitted vehicles are sold through select Jeep/Ram dealerships, and they come covered by a 36-month/36,000-mile warranty. This beast will tickle your off-road fancy. 

Source: American Expedition Vehicles 

Gallery: AEV Recruit Ram 1500

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The Recruit Ram 1500 raises the bar for daily-drivable half-ton 4x4s

WIXOM, MI – Founded in 1997, American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) has created several award-winning Jeep conversions, including the Brute Wrangler pickup truck and other overlanding-inspired creations. In 2016, the company applied its expertise to Ram HD pickups, offering the Prospector on 37-inch tires and Prospector XL on 40s. These complete AEV-upfitted vehicles are sold through select Jeep/Ram dealerships: covered by a 36-month/36,000-mile warranty with available financing.

Recently, AEV set its sights on the Ram 1500. The company created the Recruit half-ton proof-of-concept image vehicle, following the same general philosophies AEV applied to the heavy-duty Rams. The underlying dual-sport goal was to improve off-road performance while simultaneously retaining factory ride and handling. 

All AEV upgrades are designed, manufactured, and installed in either Montana or Michigan to meet or beat factory standards. They combine high-performance functionality with precise designs. The Recruit Ram concept vehicle began with the company’s production accessories: AEV bumpers, a Heat Reduction Hood, the 4-inch DualSport-SC suspension system, the raised-air intake, 20-inch Mesa alloy beadlock wheels, fender flares, and an AEV Grille. Preferred-vendor additions include Vision X LED lighting, BFGoodrich KO2 all-terrain tires, and AMP Research Power Boards.

The Recruit’s 4-inch DualSport-SC suspension is its marquee upgrade. AEV offered an existing 4-inch lift system for the base Ram 1500 and used the Recruit vehicle to prototype and validate a kit for the factory-option Air Ride suspension, standard on the Rebel trim-level vehicles. This kit increases off-road wheel travel by three inches upward (jounce) and 1.5 inches downward (rebound).

AEV retained the factory front Bilstein air struts and rear air bags, using raised mounts and spacer brackets. Extended-length Bilstein 5100 shocks were tuned by AEV specifically for the Ram 1500 Air Ride system. Carryover components from the existing Ram 1500 4-inch DualSport-SC kit include AEV-engineered steering knuckles, made from military-grade A206 T4 cast aluminum to substantially reduce unsprung weight. A massive AEV 4mm stamped-steel skidplate protects the front suspension without compromising ground clearance.

Exterior protection is another high priority. The Recruit’s off-the-shelf AEV Premium Front Bumper offers several features that exceed OE specifications. Foremost is stamped construction from 4mm steel. This process is more expensive than press-brake bending; stamping increases strength while reducing weight. Cast-aluminum tow loops are tested to pass all OE load specifications and also double as rock-slider wear plates. The AEV Premium Front Bumper includes standard halogen Vision X driving lights and includes mounts for a Warn Zeon 10-S winch and Vision X 30-inch LED bar.

Similarly, the AEV Premium Rear Bumper for the Recruit follows the factory profile. Also formed from 4mm steel, it is painted black and includes a skid-resistant tread pattern on the top. Other features include bed-corner protection tubes, cast-aluminum tow loops, and recessed cupholders on each end. The Recruit also adds rear-vision camera compatibility.

Appearance and functionality are improved by the Recruit’s AEV Heat Reduction Hood. Stamped from 23-gauge galvanized steel, the hood has two strategically placed vents to alleviate engine heat while channeling water away from sensitive electronics. Similarly, the AEV Raised-Air Intake improves both performance and appearance. Made from UV-stable cross-linked polyethylene, this intake is engineered to supply the cleanest, coolest air possible to the engine – from the Artic to the Amazon. 

Other Recruit appearance items include the production AEV Black HD Grille and two-tone paint. Inside, the Recruit’s upholstery was upgraded to premium factory-like leather, accented by custom embroidery. An AEV Switch Pod also adds easy ergonomic control for the auxiliary lights and accessories. Further, an AEV ProCal Module was used to reprogram the Recruit’s computer and speed sensor to function correctly with the 37-inch tires. The bed rack and slide-out tray were made specifically for the Recruit image truck.

The AEV Recruit Ram 1500 has received positive reviews at various shows and from media test-drives. 

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