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What Is an AEV JL370 Jeep Wrangler?

American Expedition Vehicles now offers factory-direct Wrangler JL-based conversions.

Sean P. HolmanAuthor, PhotographyAEVPhotography

American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) recently opened up the order banks for the company's turnkey JL350 and JL370 conversions based on the hot-selling Jeep Wrangler JL. AEV has a well-deserved reputation for making some of the most capable turnkey vehicles on the planet and is known for delivering enhanced off-road performance while not compromising the OE's refined on-road manners. AEV designs, develops, and manufactures its own line of parts and whole-vehicle solutions using an OE approach to engineering, durability, and design.

In addition to the Jeep Wrangler JL models, AEV currently offers the Ram HD-based Prospector XL and the Chevy Colorado-based Bison. Past AEV vehicles include the Wrangler TJ-based Brute and Wrangler JK-based Brute Double Cab pickup trucks, the previous generation of Prospectors, and of course their well-known Wrangler JK offerings. We recently had a chance to poke around AEV's 110,000-sqare-foot assembly facility and headquarters in Wixom, Michigan, where their conversion process happens and decided to take a closer look at what goes into an AEV JL370 as we walked by rows of Prospector XLs and Bisons in various states of assembly.

Starting with a Wrangler JL, in either two- or four-door form, AEV converts Wrangler JLs into JL370s through a host of changes. While a Sport or Sahara can be used as the base vehicle, the Rubicon's high-clearance flares will be added (adds $725). For this reason, and the factory front and rear lockers, electronically disconnecting sway bar, and 4:1 transfer case, the vast majority of owners choose to start with a Rubicon.

The basic JL370 package, which commands a $15,600 premium over the cost of a Wrangler JL, includes the following upgrades:

AEV 2.5-inch DualSport RT suspension system
AEV front geometry correction brackets
AEV 4.56 (auto) 4.88 (manual) differential gear upgrade
AEV alloy wheels
37-inch BFGoodrich all-terrain KO2 or mud-terrain KM3 tires
AEV high-clearance front bumper
AEV front bumper skidplate
AEV non-winch cover plate
AEV rear bumper
AEV swing-out tire carrier
AEV 7000 Series LED off-road lights
AEV light cover kit
AEV black badging
AEV branding package
AEV CHMSL mount (third brake light)
AEV IP cluster
AEV jack base
AEV logo headrests
Tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS)
AEV ProCal SNAP module
AEV vehicle build plaque

From there, owners can further customize their AEV builds, which we'll go into in detail below. All factory AEV builds, as opposed to parts builds, get the coveted AEV windshield banner, special AEV badging, and a serialized data plate.

AEV splash guards ($195)
AEV snorkel ($659)
AEV fuel caddy ($450)
AEV winch kit ($1,522)
Baja Designs sport scene light ($408)
AEV light grille kit ($144)
AEV license plate kit ($70)
Vision X bumper-mounted LED lightbar ($665)
AEV jack base mount ($40)
AEV standard leather ($1,900)
AEV Cordura and leather ($2,200)
AEV premium leather ($2,400)
AEV F-1 leather ($3,600)
AEV heated seats ($518)
AEV Pintler wheels (included)
AEV Borah DualSport wheels (+$50)
AEV Savegre II wheels (included)
Painted interior hardtop ($875)
Painted dash panels ($490)
Matte painted grille ($490)
AEV front diff cover ($150)
AEV rear diff cover ($150)

New AEV factory conversions come with a full three-year/36,000-mile warranty and can be ordered and purchased through your local AEV-authorized Jeep dealer. For more information, head over to aev-conversions.com where you can use the American Expedition Vehicles build and price tool to configure the American Expedition Vehicles conversion you've always dreamed of.

Underpinning each JL370 is AEV's 2.5-in DualSport suspension system with triple-rate springs and Bilstein RT5100 shocks developed specifically for AEV and with AEV's input. This suspension is perfect for those who want the maximum performance with a minimal amount of modification. AEV's DualSport suspension sees big gains in comfort and load control off-road, while improving wheel travel and cycling as clean as stock with no squeaks or creaks.

The DualSport RT's quiet and reliable performance comes from using as many factory components as possible, including factory bushings, arms, and sway bar end links.

Part of the DualSport RT's suspension magic comes from AEV's exclusive stamped geometry correction brackets. These brackets drop the front lower control arms and correct the post-lift frontend geometry, allowing the suspension to cycle and align like stock. The new stamped parts feature improved strength, less weight, and use square caster blocks for set-and-forget adjustment, eliminating round cam bolts that can slip or require special fasteners.

AEV prides themselves on OE-like packaging with tight tolerances with no interference, which you can appreciate by looking at the fitment of the steering stabilizer.

AEV's monotube RT5100 Bilstein shocks were co-developed with Bilstein and are unique in the fact that they have an AEV-specific painted finish for better durability in corrosive climates. The smooth-body, non-reservoir shock features a 46mm (1.95-inch) piston. An upgraded, reservoir-equipped 60mm (2.65-inch) piston XP8100 will be available as an option in the near future.

The rear suspension relocates the trackbar to maintain the JL's excellent handling characteristics.

If you've driven an AEV JL370, you know that their suspension tuning is spot on for most driving situations. However, AEV will offer a complete high-capacity option for those who like to run closer to the payload limit. This package will include a matched set of springs and shocks with specific tuning.

The optional heavy-duty AEV differential covers are made from nodular iron for increased protection on the trail. Notable features include fluid fill level verification ports, an oversized fill plug, and a reinforced bottom edge with recessed hardware.

AEV's popular Pintler wheel has been redesigned for the JL application. As with all AEV JL wheels, they are sized in 17x8.5 and feature a JL-specific offset and a larger center bore to fit over the backup camera.

Another wheel option is the versatile Borah. These wheels can be run in three configurations: naked, with a protection ring, or as a true beadlock.

One of our favorite AEV wheels is the Savegre, which was launched as a JK wheel. Today, the JL benefits from the massively upgraded Savegre II, which might be one of the best-looking JL wheels to date. These simple but highly detailed wheels look great and are made strong. Like AEV's other wheel options, the valve stem is protected from trail damage.

AEV's new stamped stubby front bumper is filled with some amazing features, including a design that looks like nothing else on the market. A full-width version will be available at a later date.

The front bumper utilizes a protective skidplate that also houses a recessed Vision X front lightbar. The factory driving lights are retained, and the ability to house a winch and auxiliary lights is added.

On the top of the bumper are innovative neoprene knee pads, making kneeling on the bumper for under-hood access a little more comfortable.

AEV's 7-inch 7000 Series LED lights are really impressive. These units utilize a hybrid beam pattern for maximum visibility and put out 8,000 eLumens each. The lights are mounted on rubber isolators to eliminate any shake from vehicle vibrations and are designed and assembled in the USA. Seen here are the optional rock guards.

Continuing the theme of partnering with premium brands, AEV has chosen the exceptional Warn Zeon 10-S as the company's winch offering of choice on the JL370. The Zeon 10-S is rated for 10,000 pounds and uses synthetic winch rope for reduced weight over the frontend.

Also included with the JL370 package is AEV's rear bumper and tire carrier. Continuing the AEV design aesthetic, the rear bumper is a great compliment to the front, and the tire carrier retains its one-action tailgate access.

The rear bumper's sacrificial corner tubes take the hit on the trail, protecting the sheetmetal, while the rear splash guards provide full coverage for those wanting to comply with strict local regulations or keep the trail spray under control.

Here is a look at AEV's simple and elegant solution for retaining the factory backup camera and CHMSL.

AEV's tire carrier provides a mast to mount sand flags, radio antennas, and the optional Baja Design Squadron Sport scene light, which is perfect for lighting up the campsite at night. Baja Designs also offers an amber cover that turns the Sport into a capable dust light.

The optional tire carrier-mounted Fuel Caddy auxiliary fuel tank manages a 10.2-gallon fuel capacity by utilizing the unused space behind the spare. A molded-in footstep allows easier access to items on the roof, and the nearly hidden tank keeps your extra fuel more secure. Because the fuel is closer to the body, good handling characteristics are retained, even with a full fill.

Another optional signature AEV part is the snorkel. Whether you are planning to ford deep water or want to keep your air intake out of the dust on a trail ride, the AEV snorkel is a modification that extends capability. The 4-inch snorkel is made from durable cross-linked polyethylene for incredible durability.

The standard snorkel intake can be replaced with a prefilter to remove dust before it even gets to your filter.

The interface between the snorkel and the factory airbox looks like it was designed this way from the factory.

Part of AEV's JL370 is the branding package that replaces various Jeep badges with AEV badges and adds some AEV-specific graphics like this hood striping.

The rear corner sees a tasteful asymmetrical graphic around the tailgate handle and new AEV badging.

 

 

Three-dimensional black badges with red accents are tastefully distinctive and look upscale on the JL370. In place of Jeep's "Trail Rated" badge is this AEV "Proven Worldwide" badge, and the American Expedition Vehicles badge is a nice addition.

 

In order to control quality, AEV doesn't outsource any of its paintwork. Instead they have a fulltime in-house paint department and state-of-the-art painting facilities.

 

AEV's optional painted matte grille is actually painted by AEV, and not a molded-in-color aftermarket piece.

 

One of AEV's many leather upgrade options include the premium leather seating surfaces; AEV also offers their signature F1 pattern and a standard pattern, each using a supple and durable grade of leather designed to be comfortable and clean up easily after any adventures.

 

Another option is the Cordura and leather seat upgrade. Mixing the durability and stain resistance of Cordura with the durability and luxury of leather, these seats offer the best of both worlds. The Cordura also holds the occupant in place better on the trail and is more breathable.

 

A signature design element shared on every factory-built AEV vehicle is the addition of the AEV logo on the headrest.

 

For those who want a little more pop inside their Wrangler, AEV offers a custom painted dash panel option.

 

All JL370 builds come standard with an AEV gauge cluster package that has a sportier font and AEV branding.

 

We've found that one of the most dramatic changes AEV offers for the Wrangler's interior is selecting the black painted interior surface of the top. Having an all-black interior completely transforms the cabin and gives the JL370 a more upscale vibe.

The easiest way to tell if an AEV vehicle was built at the factory is to check the passenger doorjamb for the serialized data plate.

All JL370s include AEV's jack base that provides a more stable footprint for the factory jack and allows it to be useful even on vehicle with a lift and larger tires. It perfectly fits in the rear underfloor cargo bin on four-doors and can also be used as a wheel chock.

Before any AEV JL or JT build goes out the door, all vehicles are calibrated for gearing, tire size, and TMPS with AEV innovative ProCal SNAP module. The SNAP module is the easiest way to calibrate for tires up to 42 inches and takes just a few minutes.

Exclusive to all AEV factory builds is the coveted windshield banner.

AEV's badge on the front bumper hoop.

Molded-in AEV branding on the snorkel.

A subtle AEV logo on the hood graphic.

While we were at the AEV factory, we couldn't help but notice this gorgeous Prospector XL Mega Cab with a tray bed option.

A row of stock 4x4s staged at AEV and awaiting their conversions.

AEV's Prospector XL conversion line with new trucks in the midst of conversion.

AEV's massive warehouse is well lit and incredibly clean. The 110,000 square-foot building houses offices, parts, and assembly.

 

SOURCE

American Expedition Vehicles
www.aev-conversions.com