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Old 11-27-2009, 10:23 AM   #15
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Some years back former mod Pahaska, reflecting on his developed campground ways, bought a 2WD pickup on the lot. He's gone back to a 4x4.

This last summer I was in a private "developed campground." They had odd places they stuck non-seasonals. Our slot dropped 3 feet in about 12 feet as it left the loop road. The site had nicely mowed but thick grass and I was sure glad I had the 4WD when I had to pull out of there.

The very day we picked up our Safari, a rain storm was sheeting the streets as I was stopped maybe 6-8 degrees uphill at a redlight in Manchester, Iowa. Mountainous Manchester? Nope... I tried starting out in 2WD and the truck wallowed sideways. Took my time, switched to 4WD and was easily underway.

And I really do prefer to dry camp in out-of-the-way Forest Service or state forest campgrounds. My choice is 4WD. Your results may vary...
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Old 11-27-2009, 11:01 AM   #16
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Generally speaking, 4 WD drive is great for off road and 2 WD drive is great for regular roads.

Of course, there can always be exceptions.

Andy
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Old 11-27-2009, 12:09 PM   #17
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Question about 4x4 TV ...

I certainly concur that four wheel drive vehicles can be expensive to repair as I have only had one of three that wasn't. I bought all of the arguments for four-wheel-drive, and have had it in three tow vehicles. The only one in which is was trouble-free was my '84 Jeep Grand Wagoneer. With both of the other two, which were both purchased new by me, the four-wheel-drive was/is a source of constant problems and expense -- my current K2500 Suburban has had the following expneses with its four-wheel drive mechanicals:
  • 36,300 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- cost to repair if dealer hadn't pushed it through under warranty would have been $775.00.
  • 48,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- covered under MFG parts warranty.
  • 62,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- $825.00 for replacement of module, and an additional $200.00 for replacement of Transfer Case output shaft seals.
  • 76,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- $750.00 for replacement of module.
  • 94,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- $750.00 for replacement of module, and an additional $550.00 to replace all of the grease seals in the Transfer Case.
  • 105,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- covered under MFG parts warranty.
  • 120,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- $750.00 for replacement of module, and an additional $300 for new front differential seals.
  • 136,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- $750.00 for replacement of module.
  • 155,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- $750.00 for replacement of module.
  • 180,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- $750.00 for replacement of module.
  • 193,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Casee -- Failed -- $750.00 for replacement of module.
  • 198,000 miles -- Transfer Case Rebuild or Replace needed -- deemed a danter to operate vehicle until repaired -- the worn parts could fail causing a loss of vehicle control -- estimated repair cost is between $1,300 and $3,300 depending upon whether I want my original transfer case rebuilt or a new Good Wrench transfer case. The decision has been made to disable the electronics of the system and remove the output shaft from the case and other related parts as necessary to remove it as a continuing maintenance problem -- estimate for disabling four wheel drive $850.00.
At this point, the four-wheel-drive system has cost $6,925.00 in repairs and it will take another $850.00 +/- to disable the four wheel drive and return the vehicle to operation. I could have easily called AAA or Good Sam Road Service for tows many times for the amount the system has cost in repairs not to mention the decreased fuel economy.


My Suburban's four-wheel drive has never had operable four wheel drive when it was "needed" after its second year. I have yet to have needed a tow to get out of any situation with my Airstream or Argosy -- its locking rear differential has come to the rescue every time. My towing has been mostly in the Rocky Mountain region, and I have attended all but two of the International Rallys since 1998 (actually used 4-WD to get into this rally (1998), but many were ok without it and I don't believe that I would have gotten stuck without it given the rear locking differential), and have only had operable 4-WD for one of the International Rallys.

I would suggest careful consideration before choosing a four wheel drive tow vehicle. I thought that I had done my homework when I purchased my Suburban with four wheel drive. Aat this point, after 200,000 miles (and 11 years) there has only been one time when I "may" have needed four wheel drive when towing either the Airstream or Argosy, and given what the system has cost for repairs -- a tow truck would have been very inexpensive by comparison. I can see now that I do not need four-wheel drive often enough to make it a worthy option -- the locking rear differential is on my mandatory option list.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 11-27-2009, 12:15 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander64 View Post
I certainly concur that four wheel drive vehicles can be expensive to repair as I have only had one of three that wasn't. I bought all of the arguments for four-wheel-drive, and have had it in three tow vehicles. The only one in which is was trouble-free was my '84 Jeep Grand Wagoneer. With both of the other two, which were both purchased new by me, the four-wheel-drive was/is a source of constant problems and expense -- my current K2500 Suburban has had the following expneses with its four-wheel drive mechanicals:
  • 36,300 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- cost to repair if dealer hadn't pushed it through under warranty would have been $775.00.
  • 48,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- covered under MFG parts warranty.
  • 62,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- $825.00 for replacement of module, and an additional $200.00 for replacement of Transfer Case output shaft seals.
  • 76,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- $750.00 for replacement of module.
  • 94,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- $750.00 for replacement of module, and an additional $550.00 to replace all of the grease seals in the Transfer Case.
  • 105,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- covered under MFG parts warranty.
  • 120,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- $750.00 for replacement of module, and an additional $300 for new front differential seals.
  • 136,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- $750.00 for replacement of module.
  • 155,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- $750.00 for replacement of module.
  • 180,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- $750.00 for replacement of module.
  • 193,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Casee -- Failed -- $750.00 for replacement of module.
  • 198,000 miles -- Transfer Case Rebuild or Replace needed -- deemed a danter to operate vehicle until repaired -- the worn parts could fail causing a loss of vehicle control -- estimated repair cost is between $1,300 and $3,300 depending upon whether I want my original transfer case rebuilt or a new Good Wrench transfer case. The decision has been made to disable the electronics of the system and remove the output shaft from the case and other related parts as necessary to remove it as a continuing maintenance problem -- estimate for disabling four wheel drive $850.00.
At this point, the four-wheel-drive system has cost $6,925.00 in repairs and it will take another $850.00 +/- to disable the four wheel drive and return the vehicle to operation. I could have easily called AAA or Good Sam Road Service for tows many times for the amount the system has cost in repairs not to mention the decreased fuel economy.


My Suburban's four-wheel drive has never had operable four wheel drive when it was "needed" after its second year. I have yet to have needed a tow to get out of any situation with my Airstream or Argosy -- its locking rear differential has come to the rescue every time. My towing has been mostly in the Rocky Mountain region, and I have attended all but two of the International Rallys since 1998 (actually used 4-WD to get into this rally (1998), but many were ok without it and I don't believe that I would have gotten stuck without it given the rear locking differential), and have only had operable 4-WD for one of the International Rallys.

I would suggest careful consideration before choosing a four wheel drive tow vehicle. I thought that I had done my homework when I purchased my Suburban with four wheel drive. Aat this point, after 200,000 miles (and 11 years) there has only been one time when I "may" have needed four wheel drive when towing either the Airstream or Argosy, and given what the system has cost for repairs -- a tow truck would have been very inexpensive by comparison. I can see now that I do not need four-wheel drive often enough to make it a worthy option -- the locking rear differential is on my mandatory option list.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
After the first failure, it looks like the repairs lasted about 15,000 miles, more or less. What a bummer.

Was it always the same repair shop?

Andy
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Old 11-27-2009, 12:32 PM   #19
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Annie, looks like you're doing the right things—looking at all options.

Some years ago we went to rafting with some people who had their own large professional raft. I don't remember what kind of SUV they had, but it was a 4wd. As we left the parking area, raft in tow, we had a fairly steep incline maybe 100' long. Part way up the wheels started to spin and the driver switched to 4wd. Then there was no problem. This was a dry, though sandy and rocky road (sand on rocks is very slick). We've been to CG's with fairly steep inclines that were dirt, sand and rocks. But as mike suggested a few posts ago, a tow policy would be cheaper, though much less convenient.

Since you are thinking about vintage, not so old or anything, older trailers are generally lighter and you may not need a 3/4 ton truck or a diesel. If you want to keep a truck for a long, long time, reliability is a priority. My experience is that vehicles start to look old at about 6 years, so that's when I try to sell them so I can still get a good price (this may be a rationalization since I really want a new truck every 15 minutes), so I don't care if the engine can go to the moon a few times.

Consumer Reports in their annual auto issue has a section on best and worst used trucks and cars plus reliability ratings for just about anything on the market. I think it's reprinted in the annual Buying Guide. The auto issue comes out in a few months, but you can get last year's at the library, or just go out a buy the Buying Guide. You can, and I think you probably are, read all the tow vehicle threads and Linkmaster 2air has provided a few links.

We tow a trailer with a GVWR of 7,300 lbs. with a 2007 4wd 1/2 ton Tundra (gas, 5.7 l, 401 lbs. torque) and have no problems. Others tow heavier trailers with the 2nd generation Tundra and are happy. We buy for reliability. I don't want to fix motor vehicles anymore, and RV's need constant work, so at least one part of the rig is trouble free.

Gene
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Old 11-27-2009, 12:56 PM   #20
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Kevin...either you got a "lemon" or you abuse your vehicle ...I am assuming you got a lemon and something was not "right" with your 4 wheel "system" from the start.

I have had four 4 wheel drive vehicles since mid 80's and have not had ANY repairs on the four wheel drive part of the vehicle...other than normal oil/grease maintenance. One of mine was a GM and the other three Toyotas. Not sure either your very troubled experience OR my problem free experience provides evidence of the "normal" maintenance costs of the four wheel drive portion of a vehicle.

While I have not had too many times I "needed" 4 wd...I sure have appreciated when I needed it and likely will always have 4 wd on one of my vehicles...FWIW Tom

Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander64 View Post
I certainly concur that four wheel drive vehicles can be expensive to repair as I have only had one of three that wasn't. I bought all of the arguments for four-wheel-drive, and have had it in three tow vehicles. The only one in which is was trouble-free was my '84 Jeep Grand Wagoneer. With both of the other two, which were both purchased new by me, the four-wheel-drive was/is a source of constant problems and expense -- my current K2500 Suburban has had the following expneses with its four-wheel drive mechanicals:
  • 36,300 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- cost to repair if dealer hadn't pushed it through under warranty would have been $775.00.
  • 48,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- covered under MFG parts warranty.
  • 62,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- $825.00 for replacement of module, and an additional $200.00 for replacement of Transfer Case output shaft seals.
  • 76,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- $750.00 for replacement of module.
  • 94,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- $750.00 for replacement of module, and an additional $550.00 to replace all of the grease seals in the Transfer Case.
  • 105,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- covered under MFG parts warranty.
  • 120,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- $750.00 for replacement of module, and an additional $300 for new front differential seals.
  • 136,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- $750.00 for replacement of module.
  • 155,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- $750.00 for replacement of module.
  • 180,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Case -- Failed -- $750.00 for replacement of module.
  • 193,000 miles -- Electronic Control Module for Transfer Casee -- Failed -- $750.00 for replacement of module.
  • 198,000 miles -- Transfer Case Rebuild or Replace needed -- deemed a danter to operate vehicle until repaired -- the worn parts could fail causing a loss of vehicle control -- estimated repair cost is between $1,300 and $3,300 depending upon whether I want my original transfer case rebuilt or a new Good Wrench transfer case. The decision has been made to disable the electronics of the system and remove the output shaft from the case and other related parts as necessary to remove it as a continuing maintenance problem -- estimate for disabling four wheel drive $850.00.
At this point, the four-wheel-drive system has cost $6,925.00 in repairs and it will take another $850.00 +/- to disable the four wheel drive and return the vehicle to operation. I could have easily called AAA or Good Sam Road Service for tows many times for the amount the system has cost in repairs not to mention the decreased fuel economy.


My Suburban's four-wheel drive has never had operable four wheel drive when it was "needed" after its second year. I have yet to have needed a tow to get out of any situation with my Airstream or Argosy -- its locking rear differential has come to the rescue every time. My towing has been mostly in the Rocky Mountain region, and I have attended all but two of the International Rallys since 1998 (actually used 4-WD to get into this rally (1998), but many were ok without it and I don't believe that I would have gotten stuck without it given the rear locking differential), and have only had operable 4-WD for one of the International Rallys.

I would suggest careful consideration before choosing a four wheel drive tow vehicle. I thought that I had done my homework when I purchased my Suburban with four wheel drive. Aat this point, after 200,000 miles (and 11 years) there has only been one time when I "may" have needed four wheel drive when towing either the Airstream or Argosy, and given what the system has cost for repairs -- a tow truck would have been very inexpensive by comparison. I can see now that I do not need four-wheel drive often enough to make it a worthy option -- the locking rear differential is on my mandatory option list.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 11-27-2009, 01:18 PM   #21
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Question about 4x4 TV ...

Greetings Tom!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomR View Post
Kevin...either you got a "lemon" or you abuse your vehicle ...I am assuming you got a lemon and something was not "right" with your 4 wheel "system" from the start.

Tom
Neither the Suburban nor the K1500 Silverado were ever abused -- in fact each was serviced every 3,000 miles by either my selling dealer, or the GMC dealer that my family has patronized for more than 50 years. The four wheel drive systems are the issue -- I have spent nothing on other systems on the Suburban other than regular maintenance. If the Suburban had been a lemon, it would have been traded at under 50,000 miles just like the K1500 Silverado that had many, many more problems beyond its perpetually inoperative four-wheel-drive system. I fully expect to hit 300,000 to 350,000 miles before my Suburban will need to be re-engined.

I started out towing with full-size convertibles and station wagons, and have never really felt the need of four-wheel-drive. I have tried the four-wheel-drive now, in three different vehicles, and have only once been in a place where it would have been necessary in 29 years of towing 18' or larger RV trailers. The only time that I willingly boondock is when I am on Caravan or at a Rally -- otherwise I seek out a minimum of 30-AMP electric where I park my Airstream.

Kevin
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Old 11-27-2009, 03:27 PM   #22
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If I counted right, the ECM for the transfer case failed 11 times. I don't think abuse would be the cause—bad part never redesigned by manufacturer. If there were abuse a lot of other things would have broken before the module. Of course, if every time Kevin has a chance he uses a hammer on the module because of some psychological problem, then it would be abuse. Maybe it's that crazy neighbor down the block.

Kevin, you have a lot of patience. I would have written to GM years ago and demanding a real solution. Once fixed for the 4th or 5th time, I would have sold it.

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Old 11-27-2009, 03:55 PM   #23
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In the aviation maintenance business, after a part or module fails more than once, we start looking for what caused the part to fail. There may not have been anything wrong with the electronic control module for the four wheel drive transfer case, something else may have been smoking it.

I have never had any trouble with any of my Chevrolet K1500's as far as the 4x4 feature, and it has been very useful when pulling the Airstream in damp grassy conditions and also in other circumstances.

We do all know never to operate in 4 wheel drive when on pavement?????
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Old 11-27-2009, 04:55 PM   #24
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Jack, whether or not you can operate a 4wd on dry pavement depends on the system. Some you can, some you can't.

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Old 11-27-2009, 05:45 PM   #25
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4 weeks ago, I picked up my new tow vehicle. It is an 09 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4 with a locking rear. Prior to that I had an 07 Silverado, and although I never had any problems, I always thought that it would be nice to have a 4 wheel drive, just in case. I will be leaving early Dec. for about a month, and will be doing some beach front camping, and I just feel more comfortable knowing that I have that extra bit of traction if I should need it. Interesting enough, my Silverado had a 4 speed gear box and was rated at 6800 lbs towing capacity, and the new Sierra has the same engine, & rear, but has the 6 speed gear box, which raises the tow capacity to 9500 lbs.
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Old 11-27-2009, 06:18 PM   #26
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After I get stuck (which happens every so often), I swear that I'll get a 4WD. Then, time passes and memories fade... until I get stuck again.

Unlike Gene, I'm more of a "buy and hold" guy. In the past 20 years, I have had two trucks (not counting our recent vintage purchase). In the same span of time, I would wager my brother has had 15 to 18 trucks.

Here's my thought... if you are going back and forth to generally the same places, you'll learn relatively quickly whether or not you need a 4WD. If you are "rambling" and going into numerous unknown situations, 4WD is a comfort. I wouldn't have a 4WD as a daily commuter (unless I was working in the woods again). If I can't get there on a "hard road" with 2WD and vbar chains... I ought to have the good sense to stay home. Pulling a trailer into mystery campsite, however, is another kettle of fish.
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Old 11-27-2009, 06:19 PM   #27
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OL64

The transfer case should have been inspected/overhauled after the second ecm failure. Do believe there was a good deal of human error involved here.
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Old 11-28-2009, 05:20 AM   #28
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Since you live in Nevada and are probably surrounded by desert on all four sides...

If you want piece of mind you may want to get 4X4. Many of your state parks are dirt or sand and sooner or later you'll be pulling onto a sand or dirt area. Thats when the 4X4 earns it's keep.

Our F250 4X4 diesel gets 17.9 empty and 14.8 while towing. We've used the 4X4 feature often as we boondock in the desert but we have had to use it when we didn't expect to also. Parking in a dirt lot on the highway to run into the store and other similar places.

Good luck with your decision.
what year is your f250? I have an 08 with the 6.4 and can never get over 11 mpg, empty, pulling the trailer, 10 mph or 100 mph the mileage never changes.
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