Overland Expo West 2016

Overland Expo West 2016 

Camping and Adventure Travel Exposition At Mormon Lake, Arizona

Overland Expo West is the premiere annual gathering for overland and backcountry travel, an event more important than the SEMA Show for those seeking vehicle-supported adventures. The educational, hands-on, gear shopping, and social opportunities are almost endless, plus it is open to the public, and includes motorcycles. For more about Overland Expo (OE) events visit their website at overlandexpo.com.

During the 2015 event, Flagstaff received a deluge of rain, snow, and resulting mud, combined with unseasonably cold temperatures, but this crowd can handle a little challenge. This year there was some wind, but it was generally very pleasant with seasonal weather.

Ram Truck’s casual press conference was open to the public too.

Ram Truck’s casual press conference was open to the public too.

Ram Truck’s New 2500 Off-Road Package

There is no doubt the Ram Power Wagon is king of full-size trucks in technical terrain, but the Power Wagon package is not available with the Cummins 6.7L for those that prefer the mighty ISB. However, there is a new off-road package for the 2017 Ram 2500 series trucks, including those with the supreme diesel engine from Columbus, Indiana.

Kevin Metz, Head of Ram Heavy Duty Marketing, sharing the lowdown.

Kevin Metz, Head of Ram Heavy Duty Marketing, giving us the lowdown.

Ram conducted a small press conference during OE to talk about their off-highway prowess and offerings. When they shared details on the Ram 2500 Off-road 4×4 Package, I listen intently. The new value-priced option package includes:

-Large front tow hooks

-Fender flares, black or body color (to stop flung debris)

-Bilstein monotube shocks, tuned for the 5-link rear coil suspension and weight

-Firestone LT on/off-road tires, 18” or 20” (less wheel and more sidewall is better off-pavement)

-Transfer-case skid plate (it’s small, but something; a fuel tank skid would be nice)

-Hill-decent control

-Anti-spin rear differential

-“4X4 OFF-ROAD” decals on the tailgate and both sides

This package will be available on almost every trim, cab, wheelbase, gas or diesel-powered 2500 by the third quarter of 2016. Regular cabs were noticeably absent from the list, likely because most are purchased for commercial applications.

Ram Power Wagon is cool, I wish more of its features were offered on Turbo Diesel Rams.

Ram Power Wagon is cool, I wish more of its features were offered on Turbo Diesel Rams.

Some EcoDiesel love at the Ram booth.

An EcoDiesel 1500 at the Ram booth.

Attending this annual event is part of my work, but engaging the folks and scene is a pleasure. The following pictures and captions highlight some of the Cummins-powered standouts.

Owner/Engineer of AEV Dave Harriton’s latest personal canvas on which a custom camper will be built. Dave is a G56 fan, but likes good A/T too, and this 3500 has an Aisin tranny. Using a chassis cab allows 74 gallons of fuel capacity (F 22 R 52), and the DEF tank will be relocated to a less vulnerable and obtrusive location. In these photos the truck already has: AEV DualSport suspension, front bumper, intake snorkel, diff covers, steering upgrades, the new AEV ventilated hood. Huge 41” Super Swamper singles replaced the OE DRW setup, 4.30 gears and ARB lockers are in the differentials, and the bright white fleet paint was covered with a mellow gray color.

Owner/Engineer of AEV Dave Harriton’s latest personal canvas on which a custom camper will be built. Dave is a G56 fan, but likes good A/T too, and this 3500 has an Aisin tranny. In these photos the truck already has: AEV DualSport suspension, front bumper, intake snorkel, diff covers, steering upgrades, and the new AEV ventilated hood. The bright white fleet-look paint was covered with a mellow gray color.

Using a chassis cab allows 74 gallons of fuel capacity (F 22 R 52), and the DEF tank will be relocated to a less vulnerable and obtrusive location.

Using a chassis cab allows 74 gallons of fuel capacity (F 22 R 52), and the DEF tank will be relocated to a less vulnerable and obtrusive location.

Huge 41” Super Swamper singles replaced the OE DRW setup, 4.30 gears and ARB lockers are in the differentials.

Huge 41” Super Swamper singles replaced the factory DRW setup, and 4.30 gears and ARB lockers are in the differentials.

Mario Donovan, co-owner of AT Overland Equipment, built this Third Gen. recently. An ARB bumper protects the nose, and a Four Wheel Camper mounts to a custom flatbed.

Mario Donovan, co-owner of AT Overland Equipment, built this Third Generation Cummins recently. An ARB bumper protects the nose, and a Four Wheel Camper mounts to a custom flatbed.

Dave Bennett is the founder of the American Adventurist website and forum, a place focused on exploring what we have available here instead of abroad, and he recently left Toyota for Ram. His new 2500 project already had lots of cool stuff, including a Buckstop front bumper, but since this photo it received a custom flatbed and Four Wheel Camper.

Dave Bennett is the founder of the American Adventurist website and forum, a place focused on exploring what we have available here instead of abroad, and he recently left Toyota for Ram. His new 2500 project already had lots of cool stuff, including a Buckstop front bumper, but since this photo it received a custom flatbed and Four Wheel Camper.

Dually trucks remain a great choice for heavy slide-in campers, even a popup, particularly if challenging and/or narrow dirt roads are not part of the plan. BundutecUSA is a relatively new camper company based in Iowa, though the founder has decades in the business.

Dually trucks remain a great choice for heavy slide-in campers, even a popup, particularly if challenging and/or narrow dirt roads are not part of the plan. BundutecUSA is a relatively new camper company based in Iowa.

A simple, travlin’ light rooftop tent setup.

A simple, travlin’ light rooftop tent setup.

Copyright 2016 James Langan All rights reserved.

Sources:

AEV: aev-conversions.com, 248-926-0256

American Adventurist: americanadventurist.com

AT Overland: adventuretrailers.com, 877-661-8097

BundutecUSA: bundutecusa.com, 319-234-0071

Overland Expo: overlandexpo.com

A version of this article was also published in Issue 94 of the Turbo Diesel Register (TDR), November 2016.