When we drove the 20th Anniversary Jeep and RAM 2500 from American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) last year, the other vehicle they had in tow was a RAM 1500 that was displayed at the SEMA show the week before.
AEV is a long time manufacturer of quality upgrades for Jeep Wranglers and more recently the RAM 2500 Prospector but this is the first time it has delved in to the IFS RAM 1500.
The result of the R&D on that earlier vehicle has just been launched at the AEV RAM Recruit and it includes all the quality upgrades you expect from AEV including Bilstein-equipped Dual-Sport 4-inch suspension.
The 1500 presented a new challenge to AEV with its IFS as all the Jeep and RAM 2500 vehicles have live axles, but they tackled it with their usual professionalism manufacturing specific cast aluminium steering knuckles that maintain correct steering geometry with the raised suspension while reducing unsprung weight.
The 1500 muscles up for the AEV conversion utilizing the front end panels from the heavy duty 2500 vehicles allowing AEV to fit its heat reduction bonnet and heavy duty AEV front bar.
Further protection comes from a 4mm stamped steel skid plate under the front end that appears moulded to the vehicle to give protection while not limiting ground clearance. There’s also a selection of AEV alloy wheels and 35-inch tyres that can be fitted to tailor the Recruit to the owners liking.
Unlike the RAM 2500 pick-ups that are powered by the awesome Cummins inline six-cylinder engine, the 1500’s diesel option is the 3.0L VM Motori V6 that we are familiar with from the Grand Cherokee. It is backed by the 8-speed ZF auto and it was this combo AEV 1500 that we drove in the USA.
Like the other AEV conversions, the RAM drove like a new car, just with vastly improved ability thanks to the clever suspension design, oversized off road tyres and the added clearance afforded by the AEV front bar.
It would be a sensible choice for the driver who doesn’t need the heavy duty ability of the Prospector 2500 and would appreciate the on road performance and drivability of the IFS Recruit 1500.
While the RAM 1500 is not officially sold in Australia there are a number of importers who convert and sell them here.
AEV has two local distributors here – Murchison Products in Brisbane and Jeep Konection in Melbourne and either of them can look after you for all your AEV RAM and Jeep products. See the full range at AEV Conversions.