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Jerryb1973 03-15-2011 02:20 PM

Is 4WD much of a necessity?
Looking for a tow vehicle and have settled on a new silverado, but I was wondering if most airstreamers opt for 2wd.

Any advise would be helpful.

Zeppelinium 03-15-2011 02:28 PM

You willbe surprised how many times it comes in handy. I had a fairly steep dirt driveway and it was essential just to get parked. I would definitely recommend it.


driftless 03-15-2011 02:35 PM

Our TV has 4WD, but not because of the Airstream. I also tow a 14' covered utility trailer, many times in winter road conditions here in Wisconsin. Without it I would be stuck, literally.

So, I would think two things would help you make the decision: Will you ever drive or tow your AS off road in conditions requiring 4WD? Are you going to use your TV for other purposes that may require 4WD?

dscluchfc 03-15-2011 02:36 PM

If you consider boondocking at all, it is a must.
Get off on some out of the way meadow or off the pavement place and have a good rain move through and you will be a 4x4 fan for life.
I was in the Yellowstone area last June and it rained 5 days out of 7.
Had it not been for low range 4x4 to gracefully pull out of the camping area where we were, I might have been there for days longer.
One in our party pulling a 5th wheel only had 2wd, and had to have another tow vehicle with 4x4 pull his rig out.
The low range 4x4 also works great if you have to back uphill in any circumstance. Traditional reverse gears are not necessarily designed to push much of a load uphill.
Bite the bullet and do will be glad you did.

moosetags 03-15-2011 02:43 PM

We have one of each that we currently use as tow vehicles. Both of these are 3/4 ton Suburbans. One Suburban is a 2wd; the other is a 4wd. We use the 4wd very often when we travel out to Wyoming and up to Maine. We find the 4wd very useful on wet, muddy upgrades in campgrounds. Once while towing with the 2wd Suburban on a muddy upgrade, our forward progress stopped, and it took us a little while to get going again with the 2wd. In similar situations with the 4wd, we kept right on going.

We are in the process of shopping for a new tow vehicle. It will be a 4wd.


nswhite 03-15-2011 02:46 PM

I have a 2WD. My next TV will be a 4WD. For the few times I needed it, it's well worth it. Usually had to get a friend with a 4WD to help me out. Wet grass after a good rain does it.

RangerJay 03-15-2011 03:07 PM

4WD is one of those features that you may not use a lot - but when you need it - there isn't an easy substitute .....


au_ee 03-15-2011 03:13 PM

It isn't a necessity unless you plan to use it in the winter where you might have to deal with snow conditions or you go places where the roads are not paved, including some campgrounds. We have a 2wd but our next TV (in approx another 100k miles:D) will be a 4wd. We've never been stuck but had a couple of close calls where the 4wd would have been nice to have. We also have 100 acres and that is the main reason we will get a 4wd.

Royce 03-15-2011 03:20 PM

We mostly boondock and it is handy if not essential where we typically park. Sometimes just for peace of mind but worth it even then.

mojo 03-15-2011 03:29 PM

2WD is really only one wheel drive, if you have ever been stuck with one wheel stationary and the other spinning, you know this.

4WD is really two wheel drive, same principle, two axles.

Locking center, rear, and front differentials is true 4WD.

So yes, if you drive off the pavement, encounter snow or mud, or go anywhere with hills and mountains, 4WD is worth it. Locking diffs is for true off-roading if that is what you want to do.

TinShack 03-15-2011 03:31 PM

The 4WD trucks generally have lower tow/payload ratings than 2WD trucks, but is fairly minimal. I love my 4WD and would not own another truck without it after having had both. It gives me great peace of mind.

Bill M. 03-15-2011 03:32 PM

I have it. Not a necessity. But, even as tight as I am, I was afraid not to get it. For one thing, it makes the truck easier to resell, if that is a concern down the road. Down side is that after 82000 miles I had to replace the ball joints (it is a dodge) and the front cv joints. so there could be some maintence costs. I have used it towing. Was glad it was there when I made a mistake in a parking area in yellowstone. But the tow truck would have got there in a half a day or so I guess. one other slight downside is hitching it. I needed a tow bar with a lot of drop to get the hitch height set. Our tow truck is also my wifes everyday ride, and we have used the 4wd several times in the last couple of winters. seems like more snow and ice every year. I guess I just cannot see buying a new truck and not getting 4wd.

dznf0g 03-15-2011 03:36 PM

I would get it on mine. If you don't, at least take the locking differential for the rear axle. (actually whether you go 4WD or 2WD). It's not very expensive and turns that one wheel drive into a 2wd, and the 2 wheel drive 4X4 into a 3 wheel drive! Figger that one out!

Jammer 03-15-2011 03:36 PM

Both my tow vehicles are 4wd. I have found 4wd necessary in several camping situations where the roads or camping pads are not paved. Even if the ground is firm and level, all it takes for a 2wd truck to lose traction is wet grass and trailer tires that have sunk slightly into the soil overnight, especially with a larger trailer like yours.

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