Ram 2500 XL for overland / expedition trips

Ravenmad

Observer
Well, I hesitate to say its another RAM 2500'er AEV prospector XL parts bin build... But it is.

Back on Jan 16th I purchased a 2018 Ram 2500 with a 6.4 diesel. Honestly I intended to buy a Power wagon, but my financial planner convinced me to basically build one instead. So after some research and negotiation I walked out with the keys to a 2018 ram 2500 CCSB tradesman instead. Funny enough, the motor suffered a catastrophic failure at 2652 miles. After that it sat in the Dodge dealership repair lot for the next 5 weeks waiting on a new motor from FCA. I do have to say, the dealership was very good to me, albeit frustrating, they provided me with a 4 door 4x4 truck the whole time. After 5 weeks I broke down and had a sit down with a management to see what could be done. In the end the dealership took the truck back as a trade( before it was repaired), gave what I paid for it and sold me a new (2017) ram 2500 diesel with a few more options for about $2800.00 more than the discounted 6.4 gas motor truck I started with (manual Tase shifter on the floor, clearance lights, aux switches on the dash 4x4 offload package). Im not here to advertise for the dealership, but they were very good to me. Anyways.... thats how we got to this place

The truck, like so many others on here needs to perform many functions, but most of all I need it to be able to haul my whole family, plus a soon to arrive grand child and my daughters Dog to whatever destination or event we want to go to. Understanding that everything has strengths and weaknesses I set out to compile a list of parts that would compliment the strengths and capability of the truck while mitigating and hopefully improving the weaknesses. Overland travel, adventure camping, far away destinations, tow rig for jeep jamborees and my daily driver. Its asking a lot of the platform for sure. A friend told me once "the hardest thing to do is be honest with yourself", with that in mind, I really had to look at the trucks limitations and look at the potential parts list in such a way as to bring balance to it. The truck has a great powertrain, very good capacity, a lot of weight, a long wheelbase, poor ground clearance and a lot of potential. I know I want to maintain its load capacity and although it rides horribly empty I also know that I will be adding about 1500 pounds of sprung weight to the back of the truck and close to 400 pounds of sprung weight to the front in accessories and fuel alone. The truck was made to carry a substantial amount of weight and no question the extra weight will soften up the ride a little bit (hopefully to a tolerable level).

First thing I did was purchase and install a BakFlip Revolver X2 to help secure items in the bed. This particular tonneau cover is the only one that will work with the Nemesis Industries Expedition rack I want to run as it sits flush with the bed rails and leaves the bed rails open for attachments as well. Next I took the truck up to RM window tint and graphics in Colorado Springs to get the front windows lightly tinted and the rears covered in a anti UV clear to reduce the nasty UV rays and inevitable heat inside the cab from the hot hot sun lolol (we will see if it actually works).

Today was a big day for the truck, I ordered most of the parts we will need and hopefully I will make up my mind on the rest of the core build parts this week.

AEV DS 3" lift with the 37-40 inch tire kit
AEV Highmark fender flares
AEV raised air intake
ARB lockers front and rear
40x12.5x18 Nittor trail grapplers (3950 load rating)
Black Rhino Armory wheels in Black 18x9.5 with -18mm offset. (AEV 17x10s are -15.6 offset)

I still need to make up my mind on gear ratio and brand, Im told most all 4.56 gear sets are noisy so that is out.

Waiting on a phone call tomorrow about the Expedition One rear dual swing out carrier bumper for the rear and close to making up my mind about a front bumper. I am a fan of the AEV front bumper, its clean, the lines are nice and it is made to work with the high mark fender flares. BUT, Im still entertaining a couple other options...

I have also not made up my mind concerning a winch yet.

Fuel capacity is a must and with the stock tank only being ruffly 30 gallons I will also need to make up my mind on a second fuel tank. I like the idea of the spare tire replacement tank by Titan fuel tanks, but I also like the transfer flow in bed tanks. I actually have no experience with either brand or second fuel tanks for that matter, so that will take some research and asking around for opinions before I make up my mind.

Well, thats were we are at, parts should start showing up in a few days and hopefully I can start installing the goodness next week. As far as the descriptions to be made on front bumper, gears and the second fuel tank, what do you think, whats your experience?
 

Explorerinil

Observer
For a winch warn 16.5 ti is what you need. I would get the ti s or give custom splice and factor 55 a call like i did.

For gears, any gear installed correctly will be quiet, AEV runs 4:30 gears in their XL builds, I personally would run 4:56 gears, give nitro axle and gear a call or call diesel power products.
 
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Explorerinil

Observer
I forget since the factor spare is no longer usable, remove it and get a Titian tank that mounts in the spare tire location. Start saving up for a dynatrac or Yukon free spin hub kit... I predict with those 40’s or even with my 37’s it won’t be long on these hub bearings.

I have ran the dynatrac hub kit on 2 previous ram trucks, I recommend it, the AEV rims will have to have the hub milled out a tad, there is an article on it on AEV forum.

You will need a psc hydro assist, this is not something hard to do, I ran one before, get the PSC tapped steering gear, hydro lines and I mounted mine on my last truck in the factory steering stabilizer mount.
 

Ravenmad

Observer
Explorerinil, good point on the gears. I called and spoke to Diesel Power Products yesterday as well as AJ at Northridge. I think my two options for gears are factory AAM and Nitro gear. When I spoke to AEV last week they told me to run 4.30 gears (of course they are biased), but none the less, I won't be pulling a 17K 5th wheel or goose neck with 40 inch tires on the truck. I will however be loaded with a lot of gear and pulling a jeep on a tongue pull trailer as well as my offload trailer on occasion.

I think you are correct about the fuel tank. The more I think about it the more I would prefer to keep as much bed space available as possible, plus, it would be good to keep the weight of the tank and fuel as low (center of gravity wise) as possible without compromising clearance. I am working with Nemesis to build a set of skid plates for the truck and I don't think it will be that difficult to engineer a skid plate for the Titan spare tire fuel tank. In talking to the owner, I think it would be nice if they built a package for RAM trucks (expedition rack - skid plates for Engine, Trans, Tase, Fuel tanks maybe a cab mounted rack/basket and some storage solutions).

The RAM assist from PSC, is it a complete kit including the box or do you have to send them your box, they drill and tap, put the kit together and return to you ? I absolutely think it is a must, these trucks weigh a lot and I have to believe with all the weight and 40s it is going to want to chew up the steering gear and steering components.

Did you replace the factory ball joints in your truck with Carli ball joints? AEV sets the factory pieces are fine, but I am suspicious of that advice...
 

marshal

Taco Enthusiast
AEV uses 4.30 gears because thats the largest gear set that AAM sells. Anything larger than 4.30 comes from the aftermarket and are all foreign products.

the ram assist from PSC is either them taking a core charge on you and buying a new box from them while you send your old one back, sending yours in to be tapped, or contracting them to build you a billet box from scratch

one of my best friends has an XL, actually - the very first XL that AEV ever built (aev sold it to him once they were finished with it) and its set up really well with the 4.30's and the PSC hydro assist. I reccomend the setup. Looks like a damn dump truck with how big and blocky it is.
 

1Goodbeer

New member
For a winch warn 16.5 ti is what you need. I would get the ti s or give custom splice and factor 55 a call like i did.

For gears, any gear installed correctly will be quiet, AEV runs 4:30 gears in their XL builds, I personally would run 4:56 gears, give nitro axle and gear a call or call diesel power products.
Ive got the XL and the Gears they installed.... The truck has a slight vibration as you start from a stop light, like you want a shorter gear.....but once you get rolling you forget quickly! I can run 80-90mph and its smooothe like butter! Zero Vibration and solid and smooove!! It literally feels the same at 100mph and revs at just over 2000 rpm's.
Off road or trails you would use the manual shifting option and that slight vibration at roll on goes away. It actually seams like you could smooth the stop light vibration down with a programmer, but Ram locked up the OBDII port on the 2018 so not sure if a work around is in the future??
 

1Goodbeer

New member
The
AEV uses 4.30 gears because thats the largest gear set that AAM sells. Anything larger than 4.30 comes from the aftermarket and are all foreign products.

the ram assist from PSC is either them taking a core charge on you and buying a new box from them while you send your old one back, sending yours in to be tapped, or contracting them to build you a billet box from scratch

one of my best friends has an XL, actually - the very first XL that AEV ever built (aev sold it to him once they were finished with it) and its set up really well with the 4.30's and the PSC hydro assist. I reccomend the setup. Looks like a damn dump truck with how big and blocky it is.
I have the PSC on my XL. It steers better than my Stock 2011 Silverado 2500 4X4 on 33's.....WAY BETTER!!!!!!
 

Dalko43

Explorer
Explorerinil, good point on the gears. I called and spoke to Diesel Power Products yesterday as well as AJ at Northridge. I think my two options for gears are factory AAM and Nitro gear. When I spoke to AEV last week they told me to run 4.30 gears (of course they are biased), but none the less, I won't be pulling a 17K 5th wheel or goose neck with 40 inch tires on the truck. I will however be loaded with a lot of gear and pulling a jeep on a tongue pull trailer as well as my offload trailer on occasion.
So I don't mean to derail your thread too much, but what is AEV's take on re-gearing for bigger tires? Are they aiming for a certain RPM at highway cruising? I've got a friend who is wondering about putting true 35's on his Ram (with stock 3.42 gears). Some people say stick with the stock gearing and some recommend 3.73's. Does AEV have a specific formula they use to figure out the gearing for a certain tire size?

I've seen an equation used to serve as rough guideline:
Optimal Gear Ratio = (new tire size * stock gearing)/old tire size
I think you are correct about the fuel tank. The more I think about it the more I would prefer to keep as much bed space available as possible, plus, it would be good to keep the weight of the tank and fuel as low (center of gravity wise) as possible without compromising clearance. I am working with Nemesis to build a set of skid plates for the truck and I don't think it will be that difficult to engineer a skid plate for the Titan spare tire fuel tank. In talking to the owner, I think it would be nice if they built a package for RAM trucks (expedition rack - skid plates for Engine, Trans, Tase, Fuel tanks maybe a cab mounted rack/basket and some storage solutions).
Just FYI...the skid plate options for the Rams are limited, but seem to have grown as of late.
  • There's an Israeli company that makes aluminum skid's which require no drilling of the frame (I haven't seen any owner feedback on them): Asfir Skid Plates
  • There is an independent fabrication shop that is starting to make engine/transmission skid plates (Gas only for now, but diesel variants are supposedly forthcoming): Dethloff
  • I've heard of some people adapting Power Wagon skids to the diesel Ram's, but supposedly that requires some drilling of the frame to fit a special cross-member that is unique to the Power Wagon.
 

Explorerinil

Observer
So I don't mean to derail your thread too much, but what is AEV's take on re-gearing for bigger tires? Are they aiming for a certain RPM at highway cruising? I've got a friend who is wondering about putting true 35's on his Ram (with stock 3.42 gears). Some people say stick with the stock gearing and some recommend 3.73's. Does AEV have a specific formula they use to figure out the gearing for a certain tire size?

I've seen an equation used to serve as rough guideline:



Just FYI...the skid plate options for the Rams are limited, but seem to have grown as of late.
  • There's an Israeli company that makes aluminum skid's which require no drilling of the frame (I haven't seen any owner feedback on them): Asfir Skid Plates
  • There is an independent fabrication shop that is starting to make engine/transmission skid plates (Gas only for now, but diesel variants are supposedly forthcoming): Dethloff
  • I've heard of some people adapting Power Wagon skids to the diesel Ram's, but supposedly that requires some drilling of the frame to fit a special cross-member that is unique to the Power Wagon.
AEV claims and so does a chart I someone posted on cumminsforum, that 37’s and 4:10 gears gets you close to stock rps, with stock tires and 3:42 gears that all srw ram cummins trucks now come with. 35’s and the stock 3:42 gears will get you by with a recalibration to the speedometer, however if your pulling allot, you will want something deeper. My truck with the Aisin tran has 900 lb of torque, 100 ftlbs more than the trucks with the 68 trans... I can tell you that the stock 3:42 gears flat out suck with larger tires, your trans will shift allot. I pulled 10k with 3:42 gears with 37’s and I had to run in tow haul to keep the trans from constantly hunting on any grade. I run 4:30 gears with my 37’s, if I ran 40’si would have 4:56, I prefer the deeper gears besides I don’t run over 75.
 

Dalko43

Explorer
AEV claims and so does a chart I someone posted on cumminsforum, that 37’s and 4:10 gears gets you close to stock rps, with stock tires and 3:42 gears that all srw ram cummins trucks now come with. 35’s and the stock 3:42 gears will get you by with a recalibration to the speedometer, however if your pulling allot, you will want something deeper. My truck with the Aisin tran has 900 lb of torque, 100 ftlbs more than the trucks with the 68 trans... I can tell you that the stock 3:42 gears flat out suck with larger tires, your trans will shift allot. I pulled 10k with 3:42 gears with 37’s and I had to run in tow haul to keep the trans from constantly hunting on any grade. I run 4:30 gears with my 37’s, if I ran 40’si would have 4:56, I prefer the deeper gears besides I don’t run over 75.
So if 4.10's are sufficient for 37" tires, should 3.73's be sufficient for 35" tires (assuming the truck will see some towing work)?
 
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