The innovative minds and expert builders at American Expedition Vehicles have been creating amazing vehicles since their legendary Jeep Wrangler TJ-modified AEV Brute. They have displayed pride and prowess in their craft by cranking out expedition-grade vehicles ready for anything – from the frozen Arctic Circle to a challenging off-road trail! Their Prospector and Prospector XL models possess a suspension system on steroids, and durable parts for the segment-leading 2500/3500 Ram truck.
When all the satisfied customers gave their feedback about how awesome this pair was, some began to wonder if they could have that same truck with a capable and farm-field bustin’ tray bed. While it's true that the 10 examples prepped for production have already been claimed, the Motor Trend auto blogging team were lucky enough to nail down a test drive on the legendary slick rock sections of Moab, Utah. One of the reasons why The AV Prospector is both awe-inspiring and capable is its huge tires that still only have a minimal lift.
The fifth generation Ram 2500 Big Horn is the initial skeleton that the design team began with, boasting its 6.7-liter Cummins turbo diesel as powertrain type and cabin capability to fit generously oversized seats. The AEV DualSport 3-inch RT suspension lift was installed after moving the front axle forward 1.5 inches, which required assistance from AEV’s custom bracket creations. This was a necessary move to keep the big tires away from the firewall while the suspension is actively compressing. AEV’s patented Highmark fenders finished off a difficult job of providing a wheel opening ample enough for 41-inch tires to be present without any friction.
An integral component of the Prospector XL’s appeal is its segment-leading performance on the road, thanks to AEV’s preservation of the factory steering dynamics and suspension geometry. The AEV-specific XP8100 Bilstein big-piston reservoir shocks have been expertly tuned to cut down body roll and quick irregularities that spike up on pavement while offering a spongy characteristic for large and sudden craters on the dirt. The front bumper is composed of proudly stamped steel, and the frame-mounted recovery points are constructed from nodular iron.
This bad boy also boasts a winch that is set as far between the frame rails as possible, providing 16,000 pounds of useful rescue capacity. The standard AEV Prospector XL comes with the factory bed, but this massive mountain moving creation has a hand-built aluminum tray bed complete with plenty of room to mount a full-size spare tire with the vertical mount kit. Moab was an ideal location to see what the Prospector XL is truly capable of, with the crew getting up to highway speed right away and needing no additional steering inputs off the bat.
As soon as the path changed dirt, the crew shifted into 4-wheel drive and instantly realized that the truck’s 6.7-liter Cummins was an excellent asset to have on board. It was noticeable how the truck could just idle its way up and over while encountering sandstone obstacles that would require other standard trucks to rev quite high to have successful passage. When the trails opened up a bit and the rocks parted to reveal sand berms, the Bilstein remote reservoir shocks immediately proved their worth and minimized serious occurrences of bottoming out.
When any testing team keeps in mind that the prospector is an extra-large heavy-duty rig, the overall articulation and performance from the suspension is outright amazing. You won't be caught in the wild without any form of assistance in the least, as an ARB dual air compressor comes mounted directly into the tray bed. The exhaust is located necessarily high to the frame to protect it from battle wounds, and all the recovery points in the front are shaped the same to avoid hanging up on jutted edges. AEV’s comprehensive and high-performing formula keeps the factory chops of the Ram in check, while the addition of adventure ready-features transforms the truck into an expertly sourced and range-topping crawler for the wild.
See the pictures here.