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Old 12-25-2013, 08:23 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
Tampa , Florida
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 10
Do I need 4 X 4 on my tow vehicle

New to the forum - will be buying a 25' Flying Cloud this year. Will buy the tow vehicle first. Have decided on a Chevy/GMC HD 2500 Diesel. Plan on camping monthly on long weekends and 3 two week trips to mountains per year. Will be mostly in state and national parks. The only dirt roads while towing should be access roads to some state parks. Would like feedback on the pluses and minuses of getting 4 wheel drive on the TV. Will be carrying bicycles on most trips and Kayaks on coastal trips. My experience with 4 X 4 has been with a SUV and that I did not need it for my use. Do not know if a truck vs SUV or towing changes the need.

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Old 12-25-2013, 08:31 PM   #2
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2012 27' Flying Cloud
W , New England
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I have a Silverado 2500 Duramax 4WD. I've only been an Airstreamer for one year and already needed it once on a rainy weekend at a campsite that was pretty grassy and slightly down a hill that I had to climb to get out.

I think the downside is less MPG/more weight. Upside is - well, better to have and not need than need and not have.

Good luck!

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Old 12-25-2013, 08:36 PM   #3
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2000 25' Safari
1999 34' Excella
Davidson County, NC , Highlands County, FL
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It really depends on how much you will travel and where to!
When I towed with a 2WD I have been stuck on wet grass hooked to my trailer while on a slight incline.
I got caught in a snow storm once, when I had to keep driving. Glad I had the 4WD then.

Welcome to the forum!
2014 Silverado 1500 5.3L maximum trailering package (yes, I'm towing the 34')
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Old 12-25-2013, 08:40 PM   #4
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2004 25' Classic
Prescott , Arizona
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We have been in several parks where 4 wheel drive has saved us. Most of the time it has been trying to back up a hill. Also has come in handy here at home parking it in the back yard on grass sand combination
Julia & Bob
W/ Deedee & Boo
AIR #30685
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Old 12-25-2013, 11:11 PM   #5
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2004 28' Safari S/O
Marietta , Georgia
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I, too, faced that question. I chose the 4x4 after lots of conversations about frequency of need with others. In 23,000 miles of towing, I have "needed" it only once to get out of wet grass up hill as reported above. I have used it more often towing but mostly to ensure I didn't just spin my wheels in questionable situations as a forethought.

Where it has come in handy is after we park the trailer and go exploring off-road in various Wilderness, BLM, or Park lands. If you like boondocking or camping nearby and going to places less traveled by the masses then it is worth the extra expense.

Otherwise, you really don't need it: I see a very small percentage of 4x4 TVs towing Airstreams. Almost all camp grounds are paved with asphalt, crushed rock or shell, or are sufficiently sandy to go without 4x4. Take a long tow rope along and there will usually be others nearby who can lend another set of drive wheels in that rare pinch you are stuck.
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Old 12-26-2013, 02:52 AM   #6
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1978 31' Sovereign
Texas Airstream Harbor , Zavalla, in the Deep East Texas Piney Woods on Lake Sam Rayburn
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Nice to have...but not necessary

My experience has been identical to those listed above....

It's incredibly easy to "get stuck" in a one square foot patch of dewy grass.

A less costly solution to an "aggravation stuck" would be to invest in a good winch mounted on the front of the vehicle. Another option would be to purchase a really good come-along with strap extensions and carry it where ever you go.

I do not ever remember being stuck the 5 years I towed with conversion vans, but in the 5 years since I fell into the 4WD's (Excursion and F-250 Crew) I have been in situations where I required the 4WD about twice a year. Most all of them had I waited for a couple of days of dry weather I would not have gotten stuck.

If you are pulling an AS on major highways and you think you need a 4WD what you REALLY need to do is pull over at the closest exit and camp for a few hours or days. Towing on slippery surfaces is a recipe for disaster.

"Suck it up, spend the bucks, do it right the first time."

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Trailer '78 31' Sovereign

Living Large at an Airstream Park on the Largest Lake Totally Contained in Texas
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Old 12-26-2013, 03:42 AM   #7
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Virginia Beach , Virginia
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More than once I used the orange plastic leveling blocks to get off of wet grass, etc., in lieu of 4 WD - but soft mud caught me twice and I had to get towed out both times.

I got 4 WD on the new Ecoboost!

Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 12-26-2013, 03:54 AM   #8
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Fountain Inn , South Carolina
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I have had 4WD on my last four trucks. I have run into the same wet grass problems listed by others. I do not go looking for places to use 4WD.. they seem to find me. The resale on a 5 year old Chevy 2500HD 4X4 is about $2000 higher than the same 5 year old 2WD.
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Old 12-26-2013, 04:09 AM   #9
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2013 20' Flying Cloud
Cream Ridge , New Jersey
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I have always had 4WD on all my vehicles. I used to drive on the beach where it was a necessity but I have used it on snow and ice, wet grass on an incline and mud and was never sorry that I had it. Having FWD removes some of the limitations when you're out exploring. Off road exploring with FWD also comes with a learning curve. Many think that they can go anywhere with FWD and that is not the case. Do you absolutely need it?? No. But for all around driving, towing, resale value and piece of mind I think it's well worth it.
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Old 12-26-2013, 04:31 AM   #10
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1969 29' Ambassador
1970 21' Globetrotter
Jamestown , Tennessee
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I went without it for 40 years and only got stuck a couple times. The number of times I almost got stuck is probably in the hundreds. I finally bought 4WD this year and found it really helps. More than I expected. i have needed it in Campgrounds this year (7 inches of rain in WV) and I am not tearing up the yard every time I move a trailer. Also the low range is nice for control when you need to back really slowly some where.
Do you need it? Probably not, but it sure is nice. I am getting a little old to be jacking trucks up anfd putting boards under them
Rick Davis 1602 K8DOC
61 tradewind, plus a few others
13 Ram 2500 TD
99 Dodge TD 577K miles

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Old 12-26-2013, 06:18 AM   #11
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I got stuck on wet grass last fall. So did the truck next to me and a couple of others. There are also a couple of Provincial Parks we like where some of the nicer spaces are very sandy.

My next TV will have 4WD if at all possible. I still miss my old Land Rover. That thing was a goat.
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Old 12-26-2013, 06:54 AM   #12
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Burlington , Ontario
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I too have had to use the 4wd to get off wet grass.

Another situation where I have found it useful is some campgrounds that have very steep gravel interior roads. In 2wd, the back wheels spin, throwing gravel back, when I switch to 4wd, this stops.

In our case though probably the main reason I would;t be without 4wd is that we live in Canada! A 2wd truck is not a great vehicle for snow and ice due to the light weight on the back wheels - having 4wd makes a huge difference, and we use the truck as a daily driver. For that reason I wouldn't be without it in our case. Obviously not applicable if you live in Florida!

Brian & Connie Mitchell

2005 Classic 30'
Hensley Arrow / Centramatics
2008 GMC Sierra SLT 2500HD,4x4,Crew Cab, Diesel, Leer cap.
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Old 12-26-2013, 07:56 AM   #13
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2014 25' Flying Cloud
Anna , Texas
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Posts: 46
When I traded in my 4WD F250 on a F350 duallie, I skipped 4WD to save some money, and have regretted it. It's easy to get a 2WD diesel truck bogged down on a soft surface, as there is so much weight on the front end and so little on the drive wheels. I've gotten stuck in the pasture when it was just damp with dew.
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Old 12-26-2013, 08:35 AM   #14
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i would not pull without a 4x4

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