Michigan-based American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) has built some of the most amazing off-road-oriented Mopars on the planet over the past two decades. While many of the company’s vehicles have been based on the Jeep® Wrangler and most recently the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, one of the company’s most popular vehicles have been the Prospector XL. The Prospector XL is AEV’s ultimate adventure, which maximizes ground clearance, and takes the Ram Heavy Duty to the next level for off-roaders.
So at this year’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show, AEV gave the public its first look at their latest version of the Prospector XL for the revised fourth-generation 2019 Ram Heavy Duty. Starting with a 2019 Ram 2500 Tradesman Crew Cab Short Box 4×4 equipped with the 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel I-6, AEV is showing off some new equipment design for their next-generation Prospector XL. The new Prospector XL features a new front bumper design, a new grille guard to protector the 2019 model’s bigger grille, as well as a redesigned if the underbody skid plates.
The Prospector XL features two designs of air intakes, with its AEV Raised Air Intake. The standard Air Ram or High-Efficiency, which is self-cleaning and filters out 98% of debris. While heavy-duty AEV differential covers made from tough nodular iron are designed to withstand rock rashes. They also have axle-specific fluid-level ports and oversized fill plugs that double as inspection ports.
Cast from A356/T6 aluminum, the Katla wheels are tested to stringent SAE J2350 standards and feature a valve stem recess to protect the valve and its Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) from being torn off or damaged in rough terrain. These wheels have a RAM-specific backspacing for the perfect fitment of the BFGoodrich 37-inch K02 All-Terrain tires to a 41-inch tire.
AEV improves off-road articulation while actually outperforming stock Rams in pavement handling tests. Factory springs and control arms are retained but are optimized with 3-inch cast aluminum coil spacers and front brackets that reposition the control arms and axle an inch forward. This improves fender-well clearance during suspension cycling. To control unsprung weight, AEV co-engineered Bilstein 5160-series remote reservoir shocks with Prospector XL-specific digressive valving. The benefits are less damping at low speeds and increased firmness as speeds rise, improving control. Corrective components include extended swaybar end links, bump stop lowering brackets, and an aluminum front driveshaft spacer. Additionally, the AEV High Steer Kit restores factory geometry with a replacement draglink, track bar, and track bar tower. These components correct roll center height, body roll, bump steer, and roll steer. Stock steering feel is restored by AEV’s heavy-duty Hydraulic Assist Steering Kit.
AEV engineered the Prospector XL to ride and handle better than stock – on up to 40-inch tires. The key is keeping the vehicle’s center of gravity as low as possible. The AEV HighMark Fender Flares increase the fender radius for maximum tire clearance with only the AEV 3-inch DualSport suspension lift. The flares also combine with proper-offset AEV wheels to accommodate 13.5-inch-wide tires for a wider, more stable stance with no steering clearance issues.
For on-demand traction, AEV equipped the Prospector XL with an ARB Air Locker. This system allows open-differential on-road operation for optimal steering and reduced tire wear. Engaging the system sends equal torque to both wheels for the ultimate in off-road traction.