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Old 07-03-2019, 11:35 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by pendergastjm View Post
We are considering our first RV and are looking at a 2018 Interstate EXT. It seems to have everything that we need but is not 4WD. Our trips will be between Denver and San Francisco, and can be planned ahead of time. My question is do I need 4WD or will the standard 2WD suffice? If 4WD is needed we will need to keep searching since there are not a lot of these units available. Thanks for any input you can provide!
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Get with it. Twelve month driving anywhere in the World. Four wheel drive. The Interstate is a fine RV... but step up to the plate, or maybe the 'poor house'.

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Old 07-03-2019, 11:54 AM   #42
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I live in Colorado and a 4x4 is a must. Max towing package is a must pulling over the Rockies. When you need it use it. If you donít have it youíre screwed.
My opinion.
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Old 07-03-2019, 11:55 AM   #43
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4X4 trucks

4 wheel drives are NOT made for freeway speed driving. You should keep your vehicle under 40 mph where ever you drive in 4-wheel drive, usually under 20 miles per hour.

I use it ONLY when needed in the hills or on steep roads over about 15 - 20 degrees. Driving over a paved mountain HIGHWAY road does not call for 4 wheel drive. Put your vehicle in a lower gear.

A 4-wheel drive is great to have when pulling a trailer because you never know when it might be necessary to use it to get into or out of a situation while camping......and I am not speaking about KOA as camping.
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Old 07-03-2019, 01:06 PM   #44
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I'm a long-term 4wheel driver. That being said, you are correct that a Sprinter doesn't need 4x4. What it NEEDS is to be parked until the inclement weather and roadways clear.
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Old 07-03-2019, 01:29 PM   #45
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I'm a long-term 4wheel driver. That being said, you are correct that a Sprinter doesn't need 4x4. What it NEEDS is to be parked until the inclement weather and roadways clear.
Exactly. And if you are short like me, it is already high/tall enough to get in/out of in the 2WD version, the 4x4 makes it even harder (for me) to get in/out of. I treat my AI like a convertible with its top removed or motorbike - if inclement weather is really bad and/or roads are not clear, I park it & wait it out. Same thing my son in law does with his 34 ft. T.T. even though his TV is 4x4
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Old 07-03-2019, 03:14 PM   #46
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4wd

I remember a number of years back when I was searching for a 4WD Ford Expedition. On the lot was only one vehicle that matched what I was looking for, except it was 2WD. The salesman pointed out that 4WD is only needed on rare occasions. I started thinking at that moment of the rare occasions that I DID need it., deep in the woods caught in the rain turning friendly roads to mush, on a slippery boat ramp, helping a friend retrieve a stuck truck. You only need it when you NEED it. I own a 4WD.
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Old 07-04-2019, 07:07 AM   #47
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ďIts better to have what you don't need when you need it, than not to have it when you donít.Ē
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The only thing you need is a good cell phone signal to call AAA. I tow a trailer with 2wd. I have been briefly stuck 2 times in 40 years. Take weight distribution bars off, drop 1100lbs weight on hitch and easd out. I didn't have to even call AAA. Have a safe trip, enjoy your Airstream. See you down the road.
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Old 07-04-2019, 08:07 AM   #48
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Well, good cell signal is another story. I've run into many problems with that and t-mobile.
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Old 07-04-2019, 09:12 AM   #49
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Sounds like you will be on I70 a lot. There are times where I70 is closed to all traffic except 4x4s and chained vehicles. That being said, you're retired and don't HAVE to move your Interstate off the campground unless the weather and roads are clear. So, here is my opinion,for whatever it's worth.
Just get the 2WD and a quality set of tires chains. Use the chains ONLY when you have to and then ONLY if you know how to install them. Have a tow-truck driver install them if you can't do it correctly and, again, only if you HAVE to move. Incorrectly installed tire chains can come free and BEAT THE CRAP out of your camper! Worn out links can break and BEAT THE CRAP out of your camper! Only put them on if you get stuck out somewhere on the road and have to get to a "safe haven". Also have some insulated coveralls, headcover and good gloves in your winter travel kit.
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Old 07-04-2019, 09:27 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPARKLE19 View Post
I remember a number of years back when I was searching for a 4WD Ford Expedition. On the lot was only one vehicle that matched what I was looking for, except it was 2WD. The salesman pointed out that 4WD is only needed on rare occasions. I started thinking at that moment of the rare occasions that I DID need it., deep in the woods caught in the rain turning friendly roads to mush, on a slippery boat ramp, helping a friend retrieve a stuck truck. You only need it when you NEED it. I own a 4WD.
******

Great post. Parachutes... are only needed when necessary, as well.

A 4x4 will cost more, but will sell for more. The majority of RV owners are seasonal and spend more time parked than moving.

Those who actually travel, 4x4 is a great asset. Like having money in the bank. When you need it, it is a great asset.
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Old 07-04-2019, 11:35 AM   #51
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Is the system offered on the Airstream Interstate a “4 wheel drive” system or an “All wheel” drive system?
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Old 07-04-2019, 07:15 PM   #52
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Is the system offered on the Airstream Interstate a ď4 wheel driveĒ system or an ďAll wheelĒ drive system?
BILLM - I understand your question and is a good one because many conflate the 2 systems, myself included, for purposes of differentiating between 2WD systems. AFAIK, It is still an MB Sprinter 4x4 system, afterall it is still classified as a truck. Not to be confused with Mercedes 4MATIC which is an AWD system on their sedans & SUVs. And knowing MB, they would not shy away from flauntig that 4MATIC emblem on it if the Sprinter was AWD.
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Old 07-05-2019, 08:44 AM   #53
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Hi

Even with "4WD" systems, there is a lot of difference between this setup and that setup. Sitting there spinning two of 4 wheels while no power goes to the other two still does not get you anywhere. That outcome is not uncommon. Diverting 10% of the power to a wheel while the other spins ... also unlikely to get you unstuck.

For serious use, you want a system that allows you to lock up the axles so that you don't get wheel spin. Ideally you would want to lock up both front and rear axles. On normal pickup trucks, about the closest you can get is a rear axle manual lock up.

How do you find this all out? Buy a house with a nicely sloped drive that gets a diagonal stripe of ice on it several times each winter ... every winter.... for years and years.

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Old 07-05-2019, 09:20 AM   #54
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This is what Daimler says about the Sprinter system in their media release...

"Designed with the professional in mind, the all-wheel drive of the Sprinter 4x4 is based on the Mercedes-Benz 4ETS Electronic Traction System, a technology that is employed also in the Vito 4x4 and Viano 4Matic and which has proved highly effective in Mercedes-Benz passenger cars up to the ML-Class. In contrast to the permanent all-wheel drive in the Vito and Viano, however, the Sprinter's 4x4 drive is engageable in line with the van's exceptionally versatile operating environment. The all-wheel drive is engaged with the engine running and with the vehicle stationary or at low speeds up to 10 km/h. It involves an electric motor engaging a spur-gear pair on the transfer case.
In contrast to other systems of this type, the engageable all-wheel drive in the Sprinter does not result in a rigid through-drive. Power is transmitted variably; all elements of the standard-equipment ADAPTIVE ESP, including ASR acceleration skid control, remain operational while the all-wheel drive is engaged."

Source: https://media.daimler.com/marsMediaS...ml?oid=9362120
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Old 07-05-2019, 09:20 AM   #55
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Their is no reason to have 4 wheel drive. I have been towing trailers for almost 50 years with two wheel drives and never had a problem. Have been pulled off wet grass once or twice but never a prob. There is always someone there with the 4 wheel drive if you need a tow. Just carry a 20' tow strap with. For some reason people think they need a 4 wheel vehicle to pull a trailer???? 99% of the time you will be on a hard surface or packed down stone, so no prob. When I read some of the vehicles people buy to pull a 6 or #7000 trailer I just laugh and the wasted money they spend that is not needed. I tow a 34' airstream with a 1997 F-250 7.3 diesel with 391,000 miles two wheel drive with a limited-slip defferential nover a prob. Old school Mech!
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Old 07-05-2019, 09:42 AM   #56
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Hi

Even with "4WD" systems, there is a lot of difference between this setup and that setup. Sitting there spinning two of 4 wheels while no power goes to the other two still does not get you anywhere. That outcome is not uncommon. Diverting 10% of the power to a wheel while the other spins ... also unlikely to get you unstuck.

For serious use, you want a system that allows you to lock up the axles so that you don't get wheel spin. Ideally you would want to lock up both front and rear axles. On normal pickup trucks, about the closest you can get is a rear axle manual lock up....
Found another good summary in more plain language terms...

The Sprinter system in USA does not use diferential locks, but controls wheels spin via the individual brakes...

"The U.S. system also does not have differential locks. Instead it uses sensors that apply the brakes on wheels that are spinning. This has a similar effect to a diff lock without causing issues when you want to turn a corner. Traditionalists seem to be really upset about this, but for most places youíll take a Sprinter, itís unlikely to make much difference."

Source: https://sprintervanusa.com/2016/08/2...in-a-sprinter/
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Old 07-05-2019, 03:40 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by Boxster1971 View Post
This is what Daimler says about the Sprinter system in their media release...

"[B][I]Designed with the professional in mind, the all-wheel drive of the Sprinter 4x4 is based on the Mercedes-Benz 4ETS Electronic Traction System, a technology that is employed also in the Vito 4x4 and Viano 4Matic and which has proved highly effective in Mercedes-Benz passenger cars up to the ML-Class. In contrast to the permanent all-wheel drive in the Vito and Viano, however, the Sprinter's 4x4 drive is engageable in line with the van's exceptionally versatile operating environment. The all-wheel drive is engaged with the engine running and with the vehicle stationary or at low speeds up to 10 km/h. It involves an electric motor engaging a spur-gear pair on the transfer case.
In contrast to other systems of this type, the engageable all-wheel drive in the Sprinter does not result in a rigid through-drive. Power is transmitted variably; all elements of the standard-equipment ADAPTIVE ESP, including ASR acceleration skid control, remain operational while the all-wheel drive is engaged."
MIKE - good article. But educate me here coz now I am even more confused. MB has once again managed to confuse me with their terminologies. I used to think they only had 4x4 and 4MATIC (AWD). And I used to think AWD is All Wheel Drive All the time. But based on this, MB has introduced an "engageable AWD". Kinda a pseudo 4MATIC but yet not a 4MATIC. So a poor man's 4MATIC? My confusion is why did they not just use the 4MATIC technology and be done with it. That system has proven itself for so long, it is hard to imagine why come up with a hybrid and then it has to be engaged stationary or very, very low speeds - which to me does not qualify to be called AWD. Trying to save an extra 0.1 mpg? I know, I realize I am splitting hairs here - but since you mentioned traditionalists (or even purists) - an engageable system would have to be put in the 4x4/4WD category instead of AWD/4MATIC category as MB is trying to do. That is assuming we only have/had 2 categories before. Now MB has created a 3rd. I'll call it 4ETSaMatic I can only imagine the next variant - a disengageable 4MATIC Just having some fun at MB expense, can't help myself.
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Old 07-05-2019, 10:19 PM   #58
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Their is no reason to have 4 wheel drive. I have been towing trailers for almost 50 years with two wheel drives and never had a problem. Have been pulled off wet grass once or twice but never a prob. There is always someone there with the 4 wheel drive if you need a tow. Just carry a 20' tow strap with. For some reason people think they need a 4 wheel vehicle to pull a trailer???? 99% of the time you will be on a hard surface or packed down stone, so no prob. When I read some of the vehicles people buy to pull a 6 or #7000 trailer I just laugh and the wasted money they spend that is not needed. I tow a 34' airstream with a 1997 F-250 7.3 diesel with 391,000 miles two wheel drive with a limited-slip defferential nover a prob. Old school Mech!

Jim


I have to agree. Iíve been towing with front wheel drive cars since 2006. The only times Iíve had issues was on wet grass. I carry plastic traction mats now.

For winter driving Iíll take two wheel drive with winter tires over 4wd/awd with all seasons, 10 times out of 10.
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Old 07-06-2019, 07:07 AM   #59
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Hi

So basically the "4WD" on the Sprinter is a lot closer to a passenger car AWD than it is to a full up off road 4WD system. What I have on the truck is far more capable than the setup on the Sprinter. You can get / customize setups that are much more aggressive than the Ford truck setup.

None of that suggests that the Sprinter 4WD is nonfunctional. It just means that indeed you can still get into situations that are beyond it's capabilities. The "distance" between what it can do and what a good 2WD can do is fairly small. If it was available, I'd go for a manual locking rear end before I'd go with that sort of 4WD. Costs less, weighs less, fewer compromises in the suspension, and a bit more likely to help you out.

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Old 07-06-2019, 03:04 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by pendergastjm View Post
We are considering our first RV and are looking at a 2018 Interstate EXT. It seems to have everything that we need but is not 4WD. Our trips will be between Denver and San Francisco, and can be planned ahead of time. My question is do I need 4WD or will the standard 2WD suffice? If 4WD is needed we will need to keep searching since there are not a lot of these units available. Thanks for any input you can provide!
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I've towed trailers since 1971, and I'm now on my 5th tow vehicle, and the last three have been 4wd. They are useful for safety when on wet roads and you suddenly encounter a huge downpour, especially with wind, and you can't find a place to pull over or get off. I turn on 4wd-high and it automatically shifts at speed and everything smooths out. When the pavement stops being actually wet I turn the 4wd off without slowing down and its done. It has saved my bacon many, many times. Camping late in the season and a light dusting of snow makes getting out of the campground iffy, but in 4wd its a piece of cake. At some AS rallies where we are parking on the grass and subject to mud if it rains too hard, again, 4wd for 100 yards or wait for the tractor to come and pull you out. 4wd is more expensive upfront, and maybe a mile a gallon less on milage, but my 3rd, 4th and 5th tow vehicles have had it, and i would want it on any future tow vehicle.

But you are going to be driving an Interstate, and unless you are going to be towing a supply trailer behind you, you might do fine. 4wd just provides that extra margin of help and traction. Best of luck.
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