2021 RAM 3500 Tradesman | AEV Prospector | FWC Grandby

Tex68w

Beach Bum
I think you have a fantastic build overall @ramblinChet and you should be extremely proud of what you've put together as it's no easy task in terms of time, money and effort. I for one look forward to seeing where you take your truck and how it works for your travel needs in the future and I hope that you continue the thread to document those adventures. As you know, my build will be extremely similar so I have a vested interest in your successes and failures with this build and platform in general.

I think what some of the members are discussing here is that the AEV lift simply isn't the finest kit available as you've said, in fact it's not even close. It is effective, rather simple in design and execution, and it keeps things relatively stock to appease the manufacturer for warranty reasons, but it's far from a great option in regards to improving travel, ride quality and payload. Maybe it was the best option for you and your needs/wants/uses/budget/etc. and maybe that's what you meant, but I think most here are taking offense to it being called the best option out there, that's all.
 

UglyViking

Active member
Like @Tex68w I think you've got a great build. I love the idea of a camper I could toss in the truck for some extended comfortable trips, especially in the new england fall weather for warmth. As Tex said, it's a lot of money and time investment to make this happen, regardless of who's turning the wrench, and the waiting is a killer for sure.

I'm always interested in learning more. I've been offroading trucks off and on for about 12 years or so and while I've had a few builds with various levels of suspension setup there is always another way to do it, a pro/con you have to deal with, etc. As they say, there is no free lunch. With that said, you speak very authoritatively on the subject while repeating marketing claims from AEV, which gives me pause and hence why I ask the questions in hopes to learn more. I figure either I'll learn something new, you will, or one of the followers of this thread will. Either way, it's a win for someone (so long as it's positive and there is actual ideas being shared).

@2manyprojects, thanks for the insight on the drag link and track bar info. Wouldn't adding a track bar spacer with the same drop fix that issue? Perhaps it's not that simple.

@ramblinChet, I know some people enjoy keeping the conversation for others and some want to just track their build, so whichever camp you fall into let me know and I can continue the discussion here or move it off.
 

ramblinChet

Well-known member
@Tex68w et al. I appreciate you contributions to this post and look forward to many more. Right now I am heading out for a short weekend adventure in south central Pennsylvania so this reply will be short. At some point in the future I plan to dive into the technical details which drew me to AEV being the only reasonable choice for my application. As I have mentioned previously, I have been lifting, locking and off-roading vehicle for three decades. I have worked at a Tier 1 supplier to the automotive industry and have the pleasure of still having very close friends in the R&D division. Years ago I raced all around the country and my life quite literally depended upon suspension choices and settings. When I worked at NASA LaRC my closest friend designed high-performance vehicles as a hobby. I think it's safe to say that I have an above average first hand knowledge of vehicle suspensions and settings.

Regarding hurting others feelings, my intent is not to do that, but ultimately...I really don't care. If there is no truth associated with a particular statement then it has no impact. In other words, the truth hurts. Debating various topics is good for everyone as long as people are able to set personal feelings aside and drill down to the facts. In the end, if this AEV suspension turns out to be a poor choice for my application and/or something better is available I don't have a problem with admitting I made a poor choice and moving on. And money is no factor for me.

There are a number of other suspension choices out there for HD Rams for other applications that may be a better choice. The HD Ram is a poor choice for technical rock-crawling or high-speed Baja blasts through the desert so why invest in a suspensions optimized for those purposes? And the flashy pretty stuff...don't get me started. I am 99% function and 1% form.

Adventure awaits!
 

Tex68w

Beach Bum
@Tex68w et al. I appreciate you contributions to this post and look forward to many more. Right now I am heading out for a short weekend adventure in south central Pennsylvania so this reply will be short. At some point in the future I plan to dive into the technical details which drew me to AEV being the only reasonable choice for my application. As I have mentioned previously, I have been lifting, locking and off-roading vehicle for three decades. I have worked at a Tier 1 supplier to the automotive industry and have the pleasure of still having very close friends in the R&D division. Years ago I raced all around the country and my life quite literally depended upon suspension choices and settings. When I worked at NASA LaRC my closest friend designed high-performance vehicles as a hobby. I think it's safe to say that I have an above average first hand knowledge of vehicle suspensions and settings.

Regarding hurting others feelings, my intent is not to do that, but ultimately...I really don't care. If there is no truth associated with a particular statement then it has no impact. In other words, the truth hurts. Debating various topics is good for everyone as long as people are able to set personal feelings aside and drill down to the facts. In the end, if this AEV suspension turns out to be a poor choice for my application and/or something better is available I don't have a problem with admitting I made a poor choice and moving on. And money is no factor for me.

There are a number of other suspension choices out there for HD Rams for other applications that may be a better choice. The HD Ram is a poor choice for technical rock-crawling or high-speed Baja blasts through the desert so why invest in a suspensions optimized for those purposes? And the flashy pretty stuff...don't get me started. I am 99% function and 1% form.

Adventure awaits!
Well said! And I don't think you offended anyone or hurt any feelings, aside from a very select few, the overwhelming majority of folks here have thick skin and a good sense of humor. I agree that forums like this one are meant for open discussion and differing opinions about these sorts of things so it's good to know that you can handle criticisms as well as dish them out. Most everyone here has some sort of technical background and/or knowledge that applies to some sector of off-roading and overland as a whole, we just don't go around advertising it.

I think that AEV has a place in the market and many truly appreciate their offerings such as yourself, I do as well, just not their suspension. Aside from a very select few, most of us use our HD trucks for work, towing, and travel but there are some out there that build them to play and they do quite well when properly equipped for those tasks. I'd never build a rock crawler on 42's out of a one-ton diesel but it's been done as have high speed desert trucks too, mostly as chase truck and support vehicles for Baja.

Just keep the discussion alive and share with us your travels and experiences with this build. Enjoy your trip this weekend, I am jealous, I'll be taking the misses out for our anniversary but it's a perfect weekend for the beach and I wish I were out there instead, just don't let her know that haha.
 

CFMGarage

Member
In the world of guerilla marketing and influencers and brand ambassadors becoming more and more intrusive I felt like we were seeing the turn to where you'd start posting just YouTube videos and stop posting quality real updates to this great looking truck. And what a first world problem to have where we argue about who's aftermarket suspension is the best. I'm looking forward to these technical details.

For me, even the paved roads around this country aren't exactly smooth and delightful so ride quality was my absolute number 1 goal. Followed by maintaining 80%+ payload/towing numbers (I got to keep 100% in the end). I never plan to use the full 4200lb payload or whatever my truck has. I also don't plan to tow more than 15k ever and over 10k is a rare event. In my experience I've never upgraded the suspension on a vehicle without changing the springs. I'd also never put front lift blocks on my '85 leaf spring Toyota 4x4 so why would I want to on my Ram. And I grew up seeing the type of trucks that ran front lift blocks after running mud drags for many years. I also think you can under and over shock these trucks. I think those big kings are too much for most people. You just can't work them like they need to. On the other side, I see the Bilsteins, which are not enough shock to me. Especially when you are adding to the sprung weight.

For you, to me, it seems that convenience was what determined that you used AEV for the suspension rather then them being technically superior in some way to other options. This is where I'm interested in the technical details, as your original "I'm going with AEV' post only mentioned that they could give you a package deal, and have it ready in time and then you really just posted marketing information. We may also have different definitions of "reasonable".

I'd also like to see if this boils down to Hemi vs Cummins or Single cab vs Crew Cab. At 7500lbs, my truck felt like the front suspension couldn't control the weight of the front end while stock. It bounced a lot. I could feel the weight up front. Now, thanks to Carli, the front always feels controlled. I couldn't see how the AEV kit would solve that.

I am interested in what AEV does with the rear tire carrier, but they've been talking about that for years and years now with nothing to show for it. Maybe it'll address raising and lowering the tire. I'm sure a 41" tire would be a joy to get up and down from a Prospector XL rear bumper.

No matter what I fully expect you to enjoy this truck. Safe travels!
 

ramblinChet

Well-known member
Out adventuring again this weekend in the mountains of Pennsylvania in the western part of Rothrock State Forest. It's was 27° F a few hours ago but no wind so it is a beautiful night. Here are a few pictures of my drive to the mountains:

Hall's Mill covered bridge near Hopewell, Pennsylvania. Anytime I see a structure with height or width limitations I am interested if the vehicle will fit or now. Parking garages seem to be the largest problem along with the occasional drive through. There have also been a handful of older bridges where I have been very careful.
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America's oldest gas station - Reighard's in Altoona, Pennsylvania. It's still a full service station where they pump your gasoline, wash your windshield and check your oil. They have been open since 1909. My choice was to run only Top Tier gasoline and I have been using Shell exclusively.
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ramblinChet

Well-known member
Here are a few shots while exploring the western section of Rothrock State Forest in Pennsylvania. My goal over the past several weekends was to spend as much time on the twisty backroads and forest service roads in central Pennsylvania. After well over one thousand miles of hilly backroads with countless sharp turns and easily over one hundred miles off-road I am quite happy with my RAM 3500, AEV Prospector and FWC Grandby combination.

I stopped and spent time at this location just watching and listening - very relaxing.
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Here is another beautiful vista where I could see for miles and miles.
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Lincoln Caverns were nearby so I stopped in for a tour. It was nice to be able to relax and have lots of room in the truck afterwards to prepare for the journey home.
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ramblinChet

Well-known member
Decided it was time to purchase a good tire repair kit so after a few hours of reading and watching reviews I purchased the ARB Heavy Duty Tire Repair Kit.

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ramblinChet

Well-known member
Spent this weekend at Bald Eagle State Forest in Pennsylvania. Here are a few shots:

Good morning from atop Penn's Creek Mountain. Watching the sun climb up through the trees was amazing after a pitch-black night in the high 20s with no heater.
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Squeezing through some tight passages on Henstep Valley Trail.
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Swimming through the tall grass.
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The conditions are so very different up on High Mountain. First snow of the year.
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Dropping down into Poe Valley
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Redline61

Observer
Awesome work and thanks for documenting everything so well. AEV is a premium product and worth spending a premium on. I will never forget looking over the high fender and truck conversion on a TJ Brute. Just the most amazingly detailed work and as close as it gets to factory.
 
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