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Old 01-31-2009, 01:23 PM   #1
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Four Wheel Drive or Two Wheel Tow Vehicle?

I'm sure this has been asked before, but I'm not good with searching. If the tow vehicle has two wheel or four wheel drive, which should you use for general highway driving?
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:31 PM   #2
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Two for sure...

We boon-dock a lot and the 4wd has come in handy more than a few times. A lot of folks don't feel 4wd is worth it, but when it's needed it sure is nice to have. Plus in our neck of the woods it does get used.
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:33 PM   #3
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

We have two Suburban 2500's that we use to tow our 2005 25FB. The 2005 Suburbans is 4WD and the 2004 Suburban is a 2WD. We have pulled the Airstream over 40,000 miles with these two Suburbans.

On the highway we always pull in two wheel drive. The only time that we have pulled the trailer in four wheel drive was in a campground in Montana when we got bogged down in a mud hole.

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Old 01-31-2009, 01:58 PM   #4
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Hardly my expertise but I believe Jeep is the only vehicle with full time 4WD. For other makes you must use 2WD when driving any time on hard surfaces-- it's in the manual. Otherwise you'll scour your tires and get premature tread wear pronto. GM, Ford, Mopar, Toyota, Nissan -- all these other brands don't have a differential between the front and rear axles and 4WD use is recommended only on surfaces that have some give; eg, wet pavement or gravel.

I remember a former moderator buying a diesel 2WD truck he got a deal on -- he went back to 4WD when he got a chance. While towing I've been stopped at a redlight on a steep uphill in pouring rain and wouldn't have gotten going if I didn't have 4WD. There are many campground situations where 4WD comes in handy. Wet grass. Poor traction and you don't want to have just the rear wheels spin rocks up on your Silver Palace!
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Old 01-31-2009, 03:14 PM   #5
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Not my expertise either but...

What about a Land Rover Discovery? They have AWD and the towing capacity (for the '97 at least) is 5500 standard and 7700 max. I live in MT (with the big mud holes!) and am still shopping around for a TV so will follow this forum closely. I drive a little Subaru now and I sure do wish I could pull a tt with that little thing. The Discovery is my first choice right now but Jeep is my second...keep talking ya'll.



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Hardly my expertise but I believe Jeep is the only vehicle with full time 4WD. You must use 2WD when driving any time on hard surfaces-- it's in the manual. Otherwise you'll scour your tires and get premature tread wear pronto. GM, Ford, Mopar, Toyota, Nissan -- all these other brands don't have a differential between the front and rear axles and 4WD use is recommended only on surfaces that have some give; eg, wet pavement or gravel.

I remember a former moderator buying a diesel 2WD truck he got a deal on -- he went back to 4WD when he got a chance. While towing I've been stopped at a redlight on a steep uphill in pouring rain and wouldn't have gotten going if I didn't have 4WD. There are many campground situations where 4WD comes in handy. Wet grass. Poor traction and you don't want to have just the rear wheels spin rocks up on your Silver Palace!
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Old 01-31-2009, 03:48 PM   #6
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My Ford F-250 is 2WD and I had to order it because the dealers usually only carry 4WD because that's what most people want.

I prefer it for a couple reasons. The body is not quite as high off the ground (my knees are getting old) and a smoother ride.

I've only towed 1 time in the snow. If we went to any primitive or boondock places, I'd probably opt for a 4WD then.
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Old 01-31-2009, 04:02 PM   #7
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Just a quick note, all wheel drive and four wheel drive are not quite the same thing. Four wheel drive is a selective feature that is engaged when needed. Four wheel drive is not designed to be used all the time. Doing this can damage the front transfer case, especially if used at highway speeds on dry pavement. All wheel drive is not selective. This feature is designed to be engaged at all times.

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Old 01-31-2009, 04:07 PM   #8
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Our F-250 is also a 2WD and makes for a more comfortable ride for us and our dogs, and it rattles the trailer less. It works well for our camping style.
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Old 01-31-2009, 04:13 PM   #9
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Four me four wheel drive is nice to have for recreational purposes. I live in Texas but most of my trailer time is in New Mexico or Colorado (recreating). In the winter four wheel drive is a must for skiing and in the summer we like to access a lot of jeep roads for mountain biking.

Given my driving habits (and probably most peoples) I would say that 95% of the time four wheel drive is a waste, but the 5% of the time that I do use it, I couldn't live without it.
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Old 01-31-2009, 04:19 PM   #10
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We use as U can see by the lower left corner/2 wheel drive.In Fact we have 2 two wheelers, I grewup (matter of opinion) in Michigan and lived most of my life in snow country and have never owned a 4 wheel drive. I personally think its a waste of fuel. Why carry around 1000 lbs of weight U almost never use.But to each his own,if it makes ya feel better.
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Old 01-31-2009, 04:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mikethefixit View Post
We use as U can see by the lower left corner/2 wheel drive.In Fact we have 2 two wheelers, I grewup (matter of opinion) in Michigan and lived most of my life in snow country and have never owned a 4 wheel drive. I personally think its a waste of fuel. Why carry around 1000 lbs of weight U almost never use.But to each his own,if it makes ya feel better.
Very good point and for most 4wd is a waste. For us however all towing is done in the winter months, going over mt passes and working out of loveland colorado and michigan, it seems when it gets used its on for days, and then off for months. So, tough call, I lease and the lariat models have it on the lot, no real choice. I have wondered how much all the hardware weighs. 1k seems reasonable. It has been mentioned in previous threads that weight transfer is better in 2wd models than 4wd due to heavier spring rates.
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Old 01-31-2009, 05:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikethefixit View Post
We use as U can see by the lower left corner/2 wheel drive.In Fact we have 2 two wheelers, I grewup (matter of opinion) in Michigan and lived most of my life in snow country and have never owned a 4 wheel drive. I personally think its a waste of fuel. Why carry around 1000 lbs of weight U almost never use.But to each his own,if it makes ya feel better.
It is only a waste if you never use it. I use it and I don't mind toting around the extra weight. Nor to I mind toting the weight of the diesel engine either.
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Old 01-31-2009, 05:33 PM   #13
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It's actually really confusing when you take into account all the different drive configurations out there.
Some vehicles, usually the high end luxury versions of SUVs, allow for the selection of 2WD, AWD, and 4WD hi/lo all on the same vehicle. For instance, some Jeep Grand Cherokees have an optional transfer case that allows for all three. Nissan did the same thing and took it a step further with the introduction of the Infiniti QX4 SUV and later on the top end Pathfinder. Those both have a fourth "Auto" mode that keeps the transfer case in AWD mode and then locks the diff when it detects a difference in wheel speed front to rear.
Hummer, Land Rover and the VW Touareg are examples of AWD vehicles that have a locking center diff that become 4WD when engaged. GM also built several AWD pickups and SUVs that are NOT 4WD.
It all really depends on the whims of the manufacturer as to what type of setup is available on what vehicle.
IMHO, the standard selectable 4WD setup is best for towing. It allows you to pull in 2WD on the highway for better fuel economy and still gives you the ability to engage the front axle if you get caught in slippery conditions or decide to go exploring off the beaten path. There's no need for four wheels pulling on dry pavement anyway.
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Old 01-31-2009, 06:04 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the advice. Last time I was out, my GPS sent me off on a steep dirt road and I started spinning out some. I didn't want to stop and loose any momentum (and didn't realize until afterward that I think you can engage 4wd when you're going slowly on my 05 F150). Just got me wondering about whether the added weight of the trailer and whether I should use 4wd more often. But sounds like it's best to save it only for when you need it. I appreciate all the input!

Craig
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