Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 09-06-2004, 06:51 PM   #1
3 Rivet Member
 
BeBop's Avatar
 
2000 27' Safari
Berkeley , California
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 135
Images: 1
4x4 versus 4x2 Tow Vehicle

I was curious...what have been the practical experiences of the forum members regarding the need for 4x4 in their tow vehicle?

Disregarding the various trade-offs with a 4x2 versus a 4x4 (suspension stiffness, effective tow capacity, et cetera)...all factors remaining the same, when has 4x4 traction actually been needed in your experiences?

In selecting a tow vehicle I could save ~$3k by opting for a 4x2 over a 4X4. That money goes a long way in accesories/supplies.

I live on the West Coast, intend to frequent paved roads and established campsites. I do, however, plan 4 season operations, hence travel in snowed areas that have been plowed.

I instictively tend towards the 4x4 for its' versatility, however, would like to conserve on the cash-outlay as much as possible.

As usual, thanks for the excellent feedback!
__________________

__________________
BeBop is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2004, 07:59 PM   #2
3 Rivet Member
 
71_safari's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
West Linn , Oregon
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 195
Images: 12
depends...

There are many arguments on each side of this debate. Many will say just to get it if you think you may ever need it, you will get back the investment when you sell. I tend to resist that thinking because I hate waste, and dragging around 400 extra lbs for the life of the vehicle if I'm never going to need it, plus the other drawbacks in ride, handling, mileage, etc is a waste, to me. A set of snow chains under the seat will get you out of anything that 4WD would, for those rare occasions, but it can be a hassle to use them. And of course no 2WD should ever come without posi in the back.

A lot also depends on the vehicle. I got 2WD on my F250 because they jack up the 4x4's so high and I hate the high-rider look, not to mention the ride of the solid front axle. I was also hoping to get a bit better mpg, and it has pretty good traction with the posi and camper shell/gear in the back. Note, with a diesel truck I would always get 4WD, as they tend to get stuck easy due to the heavy weight bias to the front end. Of course with 4WD they are even heavier in the front and light in the rear, so you end up using it quite a bit, even in light snow.

That said, on other vehicles it is almost transparent. I recently purchased a new Explorer with 4WD and it is so well integrated that it is almost unnoticeable - rides fine, sits low and gets great mileage. The GM pickup trucks also integrate it pretty well with independent front suspension and decent handling, for trucks.

Bottom line - assess your needs, finances and especially the vehicle you are getting, to determine the trade-offs.

-john
__________________

__________________
Currently living in SE Asia
1971 Safari 23 (sold)
71_safari is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2004, 08:26 PM   #3
3 Rivet Member
 
71_safari's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
West Linn , Oregon
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 195
Images: 12
Oops, sorry. Looks like you wanted practical feedback. All I can tell you, definitively, is that I do not take my two-wheel drive trucks into the same places as the 4WD. I use common sense. Snow isn't an issue if roads plowed and/or sanded and weight in the back. But I would definitely be more hesitant to pull the trailer under those conditions without 4WD.

I have, however been badly stuck three times in the past 6-7 years, each time by continuing into worsening muddy situations that I shouldn't have, in a 4WD truck. Last time it happened was last winter, on the Lost Coast of Northern Calif, after three days of heavy rain. I was in my K2500, took an unplanned shortcut back to 101 on the spur of the moment and damn near had to spend the night when the steep, unmaintained county road turned to clay, 20 miles from closest pavement, without my chains, or come-along. Took me hours to get it out and it was dark by the time I did. Not fun. One tough truck, but four-wheel drive will only get you stuck further out. I would have been better off with 2WD and chains in that instance. Guess what got loaded into the truck the day I got back?

-john
__________________
Currently living in SE Asia
1971 Safari 23 (sold)
71_safari is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2004, 09:16 PM   #4
Moderator Emeritus
 
overlander64's Avatar
 
1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,396
Images: 183
Send a message via Yahoo to overlander64
4x4 versus 4x2 Tow Vehicle

Greetings BeBop!

Three of my last five tow vehicles have been 4X4, and my current K2500 Suburban will likely be my last 4X4 tow vehicle. The last two imparticular have been maintenance nightmares - - both are/were GMs - - the '95 had the typicaly manual shifted transfer case - - the '99 has the electronic controlled automatic transfer case. In both cases the transfer cases have been repair headaches - - the current Suburban requires an electronic circuit board for the transfer case every 12,000 to 17,000 miles at a cost of more than $700.00 for each occurrence if the last replacement was more than 12,000 miles in the past (my GM dealer gave me a break on the cost of the most recent replacement as he charged only $575.00)- - so far at 133,000 miles there have been 8 replacements with all but three being replaced under warranty. For the two times in the past ten years that I have needed 4X4 for RVing, the additional expense simply wouldn't have been worth the modest convenience - - up until 2000, I needed 4X4 to insure that I could get to work during the Wisconsin winters - - within the next few weeks I will be officially moved back to far Southern Illinois where 4X4 is rarely if ever necessary.

Quite honestly, in the twenty plus years that I have been RVing, I have found a limited slip rear differential to be far more useful than any of my three 4X4 tow vehicles (two of the three 4X4s also had rear limited slip differentials). I know that when my current Suburban is replaced that it will be with a similar model, but one being of 4X2 configuration - - that time is still at least 170,000 miles away. I rarely if ever boondock, and the only times that I have actually used 4X4 with either of my coaches was when entering or exiting International Rallys - - and even then, they have tractors available to assist in moving trailers for those with 2X4 or 4X4s that weren't working.

Good luck with your tow vehicle selection!

Kevin
__________________
Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
overlander64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2004, 10:20 PM   #5
Rivet Master
 
davidz71's Avatar
 
1986 25' Sovereign
Southern Middle , Tennessee
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 3,152
Images: 23
4WD vs 2WD

I have had 4WD since 1977 and will not be without one ever! The one time I was caught in my wife's car during a freak 2-3" snowfall caused me all kinds of grief and inability to get back home which was only a few miles away.

Having said that, if you stay off wet grass, time your trips to stay off roads which might have snow on them, then you might be fine with a 2WD as long as you have a limited slip or locker in the rear end. If you find the vehicle you want and it has an open rear end then by all means spend the money and install a limited slip or maybe one of the new electronic lockers.
__________________
Craig

AIR #0078
'01 2500hd ext. cab, 8.1 litre gas, 5 sp. Allison auto
3.73 rear end
Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
265 watt AM Solar, Inc. system
davidz71 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2004, 10:40 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
RivetED's Avatar
 
2017 26' Flying Cloud
North Central , USA
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 661
I did a similar assessment when I bought the new (at the time) '03 2wd 3/4 ton diesel pick-up. With a limited-slip rear end I felt comfortable with it and have not regretted the decision with over 35K miles on it. Yes it has limitations, but I can live with them. P.S. My previous pick-up was a Chevy 1/2 ton with the locking rear-end, I liked that very much over the limited slip but...compromizes are a part of imperfect life!
__________________
RivetED is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2004, 02:50 AM   #7
2 Rivet Member
 
IceKing02's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 39
What else are you going to do with your "tow truck"?

My opinion about the need for 4WD or 2WD would be based additionally on what you are going to do with the vehicle when you are not towing your Airstream. Unless you are putting tons of miles on your tow vehicle it does not make too much sense to limit your flexibility (IMHO).

In my particular case I have opted to keep my current vehicle until the wheels fall off! It makes little sense to depreciate another vehicle. I love my 02 F150 4x4 for daily driving and believe that it is the most carlike truck of the bunch--though the new F150s are probably a lot better suited for towing. While I may not have the ultimate tow vehicle, every ride is a compromise--just like our Airstreams.

Having driven Alaska's worst roads/paths/trails/ruts in the road/ mudholes I'm convinced that the saying "you ain't stuck 'till you're four-wheelin' stuck" is true. Chains, a deadman and a winch or come-along are nice when you are doing dedicated rock-crawlin' or mud-bogging...BUT...If you need to drag along snow chains to get your truck out of a "situation" on paved roads or a mud hole you'll love the convenience of 4x4. No offense to 71_Safari but I can't remember the time that I last enjoyed getting out of my truck to put chains on it because I was stuck. Furthermore, I can't imagine ANYONE that would enjoy getting out of their truck to plop down in the mud and water to try and secure chains to their truck in order to pull themselves out of a mud hole--Let alone enjoy getting back into the cab and the resultant mess. I usually keep the hip waders back in the airstream--for fishin'...

If you decide to pursue the road less traveled you are able to do so with 4WD. The tow vehicle will not be the limiting factor in most cases--your baby (airstream) will probably keep you from doing anything too foolish (or your spouse will). The 4x4 may give you a measure of confidence that you need. That confidence is worth at least 3k over the life of the vehicle...
__________________
"Few things are impossible to diligence and skill" -Samuel Johnson
IceKing02 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2004, 09:11 AM   #8
4 Rivet Member
 
Paul Mayeux's Avatar

 
1954 22' Flying Cloud
1954 25' Cruiser
2005 25' International CCD
Paradise , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 404
Images: 23
Another thing to consider as far as the cost of the option goes is the resale value. You'll get a pretty good chunk of that 3,000 back when it comes time to resale the vehicle. Also, I would, if it is an option, go for the manual locking hubs and manual transfer case shift. As one of the previous posts said, they tend to be more reliable.
__________________
Paul Mayeux
A&P Vintage Trailer Works, Inc.
AirForums #1565
WBCCI #7162
Heart of Texas Camping Unit
Paul Mayeux is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2004, 11:08 AM   #9
2 Rivet Member
 
1988 34' Excella
1993 30' Excella
Hillsboro , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 51
The first time we went camping, with a SOB trailer, we got stuck in a state park, with a 2X4 tow vehicle. Had rained a day before, we were on a hill, and all was just slick enough. Decided at that point that the next tow vehicle would be 4X4, even though the ride and economy isn't as good. On a trip last year we turned around on a dry gravel road, going uphill, and had to switch to 4WD to get up it.

I vote for the 4X4.
__________________
linc54 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2004, 11:16 AM   #10
Rivet Master
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 1,482
Images: 19
I am not a big fan of four wheel drive. It adds weight, complexity, and cost. It decreases fuel consumption. But... I have come to the conclusion, somewhat reluctantly, that if you think you might need four wheel drive, you probably will.

For us Airstreamers, the issues are usually not snow and ice - who wants to be towing in those conditions anyway? It is more likely to be loose gravel on an uphill approach to a favorite campsite, or maybe just getting traction on a wet, leaf covered asphalt pad. Or any number of other situations where simple traction is hard to come by.

But if you've been doing fine without it, or don't see getting into situations where you might want it, don't bother.

Mark
__________________
j54mark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2004, 11:16 AM   #11
1 Rivet Member
 
yargseth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 19
Images: 12
I have a AWD ( all wheel drive) and have been very happy. Unexpected road conditions and those trips back to Mn. in the winter for the holidays.

Gary
__________________
yargseth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2004, 11:46 AM   #12
Rivet Master
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,313
Images: 4
BeBop, there was a detailed discussion of this at http://www.airforums.com/forum...ad.php?t=10107
You will find some interesting experiences on that thread. Nick.
__________________
Nick Crowhurst, Excella 25 1988, Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel. England in summer, USA in winter.
"The price of freedom is eternal maintenance."
nickcrowhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2004, 11:46 AM   #13
Patriotic
 
Chuck's Avatar

 
1973 23' Safari
North of Boston , Massachusetts
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 4,537
Images: 260
Tire chains are no substitute for 4wd. no way, no how. they may be all you need on a flat, paved surface, but on an unpaved hill (my driveway), they are useless. I had an old beater jeep pickup that my brother-in-law used to plow his shop (flat, paved parking lot). worked fine, even with 2wd, with chains and 2 1000lb chunks of curbstone in the bed. But it couldn't get up my driveway. a 4wd dodge w/ bald tires would go right up like it was flat.

(and fwiw, I've had dodge trucks w/ their auto-hubs for the last 15 years, and have yet to have a problem with their system. )

Anyway, back to the original question: if you always go to flat, paved areas, you'll be fine w/ 2wd. I have seen people get stuck at wally club rallies, where the parking is often on grass. if its at all soft or wet...people have problems. But thats ok; in the "club" environment, SOMEbody there will have a 4x4, and pull you out!

I also "need" the low-range to push my trailer up that same hilly, unpaved driveway. regular old "R" has no torque at all, and you could toast the tranny doing that sort of thing. When I back into my driveway, I put it in "4L", and it goes right up without straining a bit.
__________________
Air:291
Wbcci: 3752
'73 Safari 23'
'00 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 QC
Chuck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2004, 12:53 PM   #14
uwe
418
 
uwe's Avatar
 
2007 25' Safari FB SE
1958 22' Flying Cloud
1974 29' Ambassador
Yucca Valley , California
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: 1963 26' Overlander
Posts: 4,767
Images: 41
Send a message via Skype™ to uwe
Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander64
Greetings BeBop!
Quite honestly, in the twenty plus years that I have been RVing, I have found a limited slip rear differential to be far more useful than any of my three 4X4 tow vehicles (two of the three 4X4s also had rear limited slip differentials). I know that when my current Suburban is replaced that it will be with a similar model, but one being of 4X2 configuration - - that time is still at least 170,000 miles away. I rarely if ever boondock, and the only times that I have actually used 4X4 with either of my coaches was when entering or exiting International Rallys - - and even then, they have tractors available to assist in moving trailers for those with 2X4 or 4X4s that weren't working.
I agree.
If you live in an area where you need 4WD to go to work or to the store, then you will need it for towing as well.
If not, then you'll be fine most of the time with 2wd and limited slip.
Remember, 4x4 without lockers or limited slip differential is really only 2wd as traction decreases. You'll have 1 front wheel and 1 rear wheel spinning.
The only advantage is when the front ( or rear axle) is on solid ground, then the 4wd will pull you out in most cases.
One added advantage of 4WD is the low gear set. It's a big plus if your'e crossing mountain passes. Most 4wd can do 40 - 50mph in low.
__________________

__________________
Uwe
www.area63productions.com
uwe is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Which is best tow vehicle Van or Sedan? Mr Jody Hudson Tow Vehicles 10 10-06-2016 10:14 PM
"New" Tow Vehicle!!! 66Overlander Tow Vehicles 22 02-28-2006 06:46 PM
Old Toyota V6 Pickup as a Tow Vehicle? geokid1 Tow Vehicles 10 04-02-2004 07:44 PM
Replacing tow vehicle Trevor Davies Tow Vehicles 6 03-20-2004 08:47 AM
4x4 tow vehicle... or not? Cheryl Tow Vehicles 11 08-23-2002 12:00 AM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:59 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.