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Old 07-14-2009, 03:23 AM   #1
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2WD or 4WD

I just bought a Nissan Titan as a TV for my 25' International sig.

It is 2WD and has 4H and 4L option.

The truck it replaced is a Honda Ridgeline which is full time 4WD, and my other car is a Subaru WRX which is also full time 4WD and I never had to think about this.

My question is, for those who owns a 2wd/4wd TV, do you usually tow in 2WD or 4WD, and why? Also, when you are NOT towing, are you usually on 2WD or 4WD and why?

I would think that 2WD is fine as long as the road is not wet/snowy, and that it would give me slightly better gas mileage due to better efficiency. Thanks for the input.
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:26 AM   #2
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I'm ignorant about the Titan, but most 4wd machines (not all wheel drive, but four wheel drive) are not driveable - for long - on pavement in 4wd, unless there is a traction-reducing road element such as snow. It tears up the driveline. Off road is a different story, as dirt / gravel, etc. usually has enough traction "give" to allow driving in 4wd. I always drive in 2wd unless I need the extra traction - which sometimes is useful in parking the trailer or departing on wet grass, etc. I've been in a few campsites where I either could not have gotten there at all in 2wd or would have had to keep so much speed / momentum up to keep going through sand, etc. that I'd likely have damaged the trailer. And I always use 4wd low range when I'm doing a heavy pull such as pulling a fallen tree out of the road or a stranded vehicle out of a ditch, etc. Best read your owner's manual thoroughly on this one before attempting to drive on pavement in 4wd more than a few feet.
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:47 AM   #3
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Besides the occasional exercising of the 4x4 gear in the summer months, I use 4x4 only if I am in a rough patch when boondocking (backing into a spot dirt/sand/gravel, wet grass, etc) and I need more traction. I have not towed while in 4x4 in summer for either short or extended periods. In winter, I use 4x4 a significant amount of time, but then again the RV is tucked away in hibernation.

Besides the fact that 4x4 does eat up more fuel when in operation, heat is a bit more noticeable. What I found on my truck is that when in 4x4 mode, the transmission does get warmer (even not towing). In fact, here in Chicago, where it can get below zero, actual temperature (not "feels like" temperature), I see my trans temps went up even when outdoor temps were below zero when in 4x4 mode (not overheating or anything). Rarely does the trans temps rise at all even in the cold in 2wd mode. I upgraded my trans cooler and shaved between 10 and 15 degrees off my trans temps across the board, which I think would also apply to any additional heat generated while in 4x4 mode. I would suspect that most trucks with transfer cases and output shafts for 4x4, regardless of make would also generate more heat when in 4x4 mode. I would also guess that in summer months with warm outdoor ambient temps, towing in 4x4 would create a further rise in trans temps given what I have tested and observed my truck doing. My suggestion would be to tow in 4x4 only if really necessary. I find that towing in 2wd with a good locking rear differential can take care of most situations, as does careful driving. Of course if you are in a snow storm, in deep snow, mud, wet grass, etc, sure, if need be, you have to do what you have to do, but as I said, other than that I use 4x4 sparingly or as needed in summer (towing or not) and a lot more in winter (not towing).
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:11 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lvcat2004 View Post
I would think that 2WD is fine as long as the road is not wet/snowy, and that it would give me slightly better gas mileage due to better efficiency. Thanks for the input.
We boondock a lot so 4wd/L has come in handy more than a few times.

Have not used 4wd at all under "normal" driving conditions.
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:41 AM   #5
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With our Sierra diesel, you are not supposed to use 4wd on dry pavement.

The main reason I have 4wd is that we use our tow vehicle as our daily driver. We do get a fair amount of ice & snow here in winter, and I have found in the past that rear wheel drive vehicles are not the most fun in those conditions.

Truth to tell, driving conditions are only bad enough to engage 4wd a few times a year but it is nice to now you have it when you need it.

As far as towing the trailer, we have used 4wd a couple of times on our first day of driving south when on snow. Other than that, I have also used it sometimes on rough or very hilly unpaved campground roads - surely could have gotten by with 2wd, but I think it helps stop the back wheels from spinning and throwing up stones and gravel onto the trailer.

Brian.
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:44 AM   #6
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one thing to remember while using 4wd is that you can actually get less traction in some circumstances. if the vehicle is in a turn and you let off the gas, the front wheels may now drag a bit as you get some engine braking. this load on the front wheels can cause the wheels up front to drag and slide. if the front wheels don't turn, they will slide. this is why you see so many 4wd vehicles off the road in the snow. some of the newer vehicles have systems to help avoid this. read up on driving 4wd in bad conditions. if you test it out in snow (in a safe place) you'll feel what i'm taking about and know what to do to correct it
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:03 AM   #7
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I have not read on the Titan but most other 4x4 vehicles will tear up the transmission if driven in 4 wd on the pavement. Read your owners manual!!!!!!

I drive mine in 2 wd unless needed. Which is not very often with the trailer..
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:27 AM   #8
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My Suburban has a lever, on the floor, to engage the transfer case/4wd. The newer GM's have this "auto-trac" feature, supposed to be able to automatically?, engage front end.
Has this feature been helpfull to any of you who have it?, how does it work?, safe to use on pavement?
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:05 AM   #9
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A rule of thumb that works most of the time is to leave it in 2 wheel drive unless it is breaking traction. I've used 4L a lot of times to get something to move a little-and you can do it on a hard surface if all the wheels on the TV are lined up straight. Any kind of a turn in 4wd on a hard surface (unless it is slick) is asking for trouble.
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Old 07-14-2009, 11:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rangebowdrie View Post
My Suburban has a lever, on the floor, to engage the transfer case/4wd. The newer GM's have this "auto-trac" feature, supposed to be able to automatically?, engage front end.
Has this feature been helpfull to any of you who have it?, how does it work?, safe to use on pavement?
When in the AUTO mode the ECM senses slippage thru the wheel speed sensors and engages 4wd.

Never used it, actually prefer the old lever system that was on our 95 Burb. But it too had a 4wd EC Module that locked the axles. Burned out once in the middle of a Bflo. blizzard. A little "old school" here, pull the lever, get out and lock the hubs, "the good? old days"

In the rain I do run it in 4wd/h for a short time, just to keep the front diff sloshed-up.
And run in circles once in awhile to keep the clutches in the rear differential from getting grabby on sharp turns, not sure if it helps, but got into the habit with an AWD Astro Van.
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Old 07-14-2009, 01:46 PM   #11
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that answered my question, thanks fellas.
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Old 07-15-2009, 06:06 PM   #12
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The moral of the story is Do not tow in 4X4 on dry pavement... No need to. It is incase you get stuck, or trying not to in slippery conditions. Not rain unless on grass or in mud. Turning in 4X4 will add excessive wear to your front end, plus you will notice a change in steering charactoristics, and feel chassis bind.

I would also add, if you are slipping, and on gravel, adjust your weight ditributing hitch, as you might have it chained to high. Put more pressure on your drives.
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