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-   -   4x4 or not? (http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463/4x4-or-not-132648.html)

BassCan 03-21-2015 08:22 AM

4x4 or not?
 
Started looking for a new tow vehicle for our 27 EB this year.
The wife and I are trying to decide if we need to add the 4x4 option when buying a new truck.
I feel that we live in lower Alabama and do most of our camping during warmer months so we really would not use it.
She feels that it would come in handy when we would need it.
It is a big investment, so want to do it right.
Thinking about a 2500 GMC truck, most likely a diesel.
So 4x4 or not?

SteveSueMac 03-21-2015 08:25 AM

Hi. There are many threads on this topic in the forum and like many other threads, there's a lot of opinions and no right answer. In my personal experience, I've been on wet grassy patches at campsites that I would not have been able to get out of without 4WD. You don't need it 'til you need it and you will - so my $0.02 is better to have and not need than vice versa. Good luck!

BoldAdventure 03-21-2015 08:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SteveSueMac (Post 1596285)
Hi. There are many threads on this topic in the forum and like many other threads, there's a lot of opinions and no right answer. In my personal experience, I've been on wet grassy patches at campsites that I would not have been able to get out of without 4WD. You don't need it 'til you need it and you will - so my $0.02 is better to have and not need than vice versa. Good luck!

What Steve said, but I'll add one more point to that. What do you want to do with it? is perhaps the better question than, do I need it.

We go offloading, quite a bit. We love Moab and many of the Alpine roads in Colorado, so high clearance 4x4 is a must for our lifestyle.

So what we do with it answers the question better than do we need it, because technically, no if we just tow we don't need 4x4. But we need it to do the other things we enjoy.

:D Hope that gives some clarity.

87MH 03-21-2015 09:00 AM

Ditto what has been said above....
 
I, also, have been stuck on wet grass - and buried up to the axle on a brand new gravel RV park pad.

No, it is not an absolute necessity, but it has saved me at least a half a dozen tow truck calls.

andreasduess 03-21-2015 09:02 AM

My next vehicle, whatever that turns out to be, will have the 4x4 option. I too have got stuck on wet grass before, on a very slight incline.

We camp almost exclusively in Provincial Parks where 4x4 comes in really useful at times. If you're spending the money on a new vehicle, you may as well get it speeded right now.

GeocamperAS 03-21-2015 09:24 AM

Yes 4x4. For every reason said so far. You EB is not a light trailer.
Now here in Wisconsin I have used it when not towing. Gotta love winter. :(

FishinHatteras 03-21-2015 09:32 AM

Yup. Gotta Agree...
 
Listen to your wife. She is correct. SteveSueMac, BoldAdventure & 87MH all speak with experience. I am right in line with their thinking and experience. We too like to get off the beaten path, and I can also pull out a stranded truck n trailer if needed. Yes, it does reduce your towing capability, but the opportunities for adventure with a 4x4 really open up if you have it. If you're looking for a new vehicle, the increase in monthly payment is minimal to add it. By all means, get it. There will be numerous times where you are "Damn glad to have it."
Good luck in your choice of vehicles.
Sea ya down the road.
Gavin

carver 1 03-21-2015 09:37 AM

You bet, for all the reasons above plus peace of mind. Knowing that you'll be able to get out of your site after that rain storm

>>ron<<

Isuzusweet 03-21-2015 09:49 AM

IMHO

If you can afford the extra cost associated with 4WD (inital purchase costs, fuel economy, maintenance costs and in some cases lower resale value) then get 4WD if it will keep the peace in the family. HOWEVER having 4WD doesn't mean you're getting off wet muddy grass. I have seen a 4WD on level ground almost bury itself trying to get off wet grass on a clay like soil, without a 27ft trailer on behind! Once it broke through the grassy surface and the tires were coated in clay like mud, it was over. It required them to call ANOTHER tow truck to extricate themselves.

Can you get by without it, YES.

You can purchase better gripping tires for your 2WD, a limited slip rear axle and along with modern day traction controls, it will do quite well. You could also have a front bumper mounted winch for extra pull. Also there are ladder style traction mats roughly four or five feet long that you would back onto, leaving four or so feet in front of the rear wheels. As you started driving off the traction mats, it would allow you to at least get some speed going as it's the intial pull that will cause your tires to loose traction; once going with even throttle you should be okay.
The biggest tool to use is your brain, to scope out the terrain before you decide how, where and what terrain you park your rig on. Even with 4WD you will have to be cautious.
One last thing. Most parks do have tractors or 4WD vehicles that could help you if you should get stuck and most other campers with a 4WD would be glad to help pull the trailer to drier ground, but if you use your brain, you won't need them.

The upside for 2WD is lower initial and running costs, higher load capacity as you don't have all the 4WD mechanisms in the GVWR, lower maintenence up keep and in most cases a nicer ride.

Cheers
Tony

SteveH 03-21-2015 09:57 AM

Forget about actually needing it or not, and think about what you will have to listen to if you don't get 4X4, and actually do get stuck sometime in the future. :D

Oh, and check out what my tow vehicle is.

moosetags 03-21-2015 10:09 AM

We have had both 4wd and 2wd tow vehicles. We have towed our Airstreams over 140,000 miles in the last nine years. We always have two tow vehicles at the same time because we travel so extensively.

For a number of years we had a 2wd Suburban and a 4wd Suburban. The 4wd did get us out of a couple of tight spots, but the 2wd always functioned well and was able to do the job.

When we are on our trips, we go off road into the back country on a regular basis. Many of these situations require 4wd. This is why, when we replaced the 2wd Suburban, we went with a 4wd Silverado 3500.

If we did not do the back Country side trips, a 2wd tow vehicle would be sufficient.

Brian

Al and Missy 03-21-2015 10:13 AM

I have been in situations on paved roads where 4WD was helpful. Notably in snow and ice, but also in the fall after leaves are down on less used roads when it has rained. Partially decayed leaves are slippery!

We don't go off road much, but a couple of times 4WD has come in handy getting into or out of a site with the trailer.

As a devil's advocate position, if you do go off road, 4WD will make it so you get stuck farther away from help. :lol:

Al

BoldAdventure 03-21-2015 10:24 AM

For 2WD folks, even 4WD, these are very useful one time investment. I consider them to be like your spare. You won't need them, tell you need them. :D

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AV2HONS/...I388IDTLB4TCZ4

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/...L._SL1500_.jpg

Mike S. 03-21-2015 10:33 AM

4 wd
 
I was in your position about a month ago. Wanted to upgrade to a 2500 GMC diesel and did not think I would need the 4wd option. Started looking around and found there were 2 2wd trucks in the Southeast US. One in FL and one in NC. One was close to what I was lokking for. Decided I would go the 4wd route and get what I wanted without having to order one. Since it has rained every day for the last 2 months, seems like it anyway, I am glad I have the 4wd as there have been a few times I've needed it around the house. The 2wd F150 I traded in would still be stuck in th front yard. And it is nice having the extra payload capacity! Just my opinion. Mike

aftermath 03-21-2015 11:21 AM

If you live in a snowy clime (you don't) or if you go off road you will actually need a 4X4. If you stick to highways and regular rv parks you probably won't need it. I have a 4 wheel truck because it snows where I live. I can't remember putting the truck in 4 wheel while towing my Airstream. I won't argue with the others that have been stuck on grassy slopes but it hasn't happened to me.

I suppose it all comes down to, can you afford one? If so, get it and make your wife happy. You most likely won't regret having one. I like what BoldAdventure has said. He makes a lot of sense.

gandttimes 03-21-2015 11:32 AM

Minor point maybe but make sure that whatever you get, be it 4x4 or 4x2 that it had " locking" rear diff. not "limited slip". They are not the same thing.


George

RAH 03-21-2015 12:41 PM

Spouse knows best. Why bring extra towels? Oh we might need them. Why bring extra food? Oh we might want it. How about stopping now to camp? Sounds good to me. I don't think going down into this steep canyon is a good idea. (Oh, I should have listened to that one!)

Get the 4x4.

Ampman 03-21-2015 12:50 PM

Four wheel drive is usually not needed for most towing or camping if all you do is stay on paved roads and paved rv parks. The piece of mind you get with having it is well worth the additional cost. Most trucks also have the locking real ends and traction control systems available to help keep you from getting stuck. Unlike trucks of the olden days these new ones with four wheel drive ride pretty smooth. Unhitched ,you can roam to more places that would be off limits to two wheel drive trucks. Also, you can pick up good karma points when you help out fellow traveler's that get stuck with their two wheel drive's. Wonder if Lewis and Clark today would choose four wheel drive if they were Airstreamers?

GeocamperAS 03-21-2015 12:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Isuzusweet (Post 1596317)
I have seen a 4WD on level ground almost bury itself trying to get off wet grass on a clay like soil, without a 27ft trailer on behind! Once it broke through the grassy surface and the tires were coated in clay like mud, it was over. It required them to call ANOTHER tow truck to extricate themselves.

.

There is a right way and a wrong way. Easy on the gas vs. gunning it. This may not have been the case here but I would guess this was a gunner.

Isuzusweet 03-21-2015 12:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gandttimes (Post 1596370)
Minor point maybe but make sure that whatever you get, be it 4x4 or 4x2 that it had " locking" rear diff. not "limited slip". They are not the same thing.


George

True point as if you order a 4WD without either you actually have a 2WD truck. That being said there are pros and cons to both.

A limited slip is a have and forget item as it will automatically engage and disengage should wheel slip occur. The con is that at speed on ice going up a slight incline the axle may lock up and the truck will start to swerve to one side or the other. It does take a gentle and smart approach to the gas pedal on very slippery conditions at speeds with a limited slip. They have also been manufactured for years, are pretty bulletproof and will disengage to allow for turns without damaging gears.

A locker takes a lot more thinking about when to engage or not to engage as once locked the rear axle will not tolerant any speed difference between the two wheels on that axle without possibly damaging the pumpkin gears. A locker is also a lot more expensive $1,500 CDN versus $400.00 CDN for the Ford version. Also they will be more to maintain as they do have, in the Ford case an electrical motor actuator. ARB makes beautiful lockers that are air actuated.

I personally love lockers and had them on my Toyota Landcruiser but they are more applicable IMHO to true off road situations and rely on the user being smart about how to use them.

Cheers
Tony


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