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Old 10-05-2018, 02:09 PM   #21
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Iíve had various 4wd /AWD vehicles for the last 30 years. Tundra, Excursion, Suburban, Land Cruiser, BMW, Mercedes G-Wagen, etc.

To be honest, I use the 4wd drive option two or three times a year, maybe ten minutes at a time, usually on wet grass, sand, or mud. (We stay home when it snows.) Itís handy to have when you need it, just like ABS.

As far as more maintenance, complexity, etc, Iíve never had a mechanical issue related to 4wd. So far.
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Old 10-05-2018, 03:50 PM   #22
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Hi

The practical alternative to 4x4 is a 2WD with an electronic locking rear axle. That's one where you push a button and it goes *THUNK*. The rear wheels are 100% locked to each other after that point ( = no single wheel spin). Cheaper, lighter, and in a lot of cases more useful than 4x4.

Disadvantages of 4x4 get into just what they did to turn it into a 4x4. Did they raise it 25' off the ground? If so that impacts handling quite a bit. Did they put in squishy shocks and off soft off road tires? Again, not good on a tow vehicle. Did they change around the front suspension so it does not work as well? (usually that's the case ...). Yet another knock on the setup. None of that is a "must work that way" so you really have to dig into your specific truck ...

Bob
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Old 10-05-2018, 04:24 PM   #23
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For me being in snow is worth the minuscule difference 4x4 makes in mileage, payload. I also use my TV as a driver unhooked - thus having the safety there in road conditions is priceless in the stress without it. I can't imagine taking off for the south without 4x4 in fall or returning home - as snow can hit any time either way.

As for payload - if that makes a difference - we are probably taking too much - so the savings on weight of 4x4 is being eaten up by "stuff" that we may or may not use on a particular camping trip.

Just like bringing half the garage should something break so we can fix to save money with having something towed.

I have watched people stuck in mud at rallies and having all manner of faux-pas bashing the trailer up to get her out.

Like insurance - it is there when you need it.

All depends on what your needs are.

My 4x4 did not cost extra - I bought used so price was not much with or without in that case.

Good luck with your choice.
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Old 10-05-2018, 06:32 PM   #24
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I think it depends on where you live and how you camp.

For me, I live in Colorado. Lots of snow. I like to boondock and I mean really boondock off grid where no one else wants to be. The roads (if you can call them that) are rough and can be muddy, sandy, rocky.

These two conditions mean you would be CRAZY not to have 4WD. Imagine being 30 miles down and old logging road that isnít marked. And you get stuck. Who are you going to call, and even if you can, who is going to find you?

If we only camped in traditional camp grounds, etc. 2WD might work.

But the snow factor makes it also a necessity.
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Old 10-05-2018, 07:57 PM   #25
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Sometimes 4wd is useful even when you don't have a trailer behind you.
Case in point; Several years ago, left OC Ca., for Portland Or. in my old '94 Chevy K3500 CCLB, the engine wasn't running all that good, (didn't want to pull 4th gear,) and the weather report had a big storm moving into NorCal, and I5 would end-up being shut down.
I decided to take 395,, well, the storm kept moving across the Sierras, and ~10 miles north of Bishop, the CHP said only 4wd or chains could go on.
With brand new BFG 12x16.5s All-Terrains, I put it in 4wd and kept going.
Lee Vining was a mess of stranded vehicles, got gas and kept on.
At Bridgeport, 395 was totally closed and nobody was being allowed thru,, but there is a little known 2 lane side road at the south end of town that will take you over into Nevada, (un-plowed,) I took it,, and with snow sometimes up to the hubs, and the differentials making furrows, I made it into Nevada, and got the connecting road to Reno.
After some sleep, left Reno,, on to Alturas, then on to Klamath Falls, where I picked-up Or. Hwy 140 West to Central Point.
From Alturas to Central Point, I don't think I saw more than a half dozen vehicles.
At Central Point, the snow turned to rain, and I got to take the rig out of 4wd.
I've forgot the exact mileage,, but from Bishop Ca., to Central Point Or., I never took it out of 4wd.
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Old 10-05-2018, 08:20 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

The practical alternative to 4x4 is a 2WD with an electronic locking rear axle. That's one where you push a button and it goes *THUNK*. The rear wheels are 100% locked to each other after that point ( = no single wheel spin). Cheaper, lighter, and in a lot of cases more useful than 4x4.

Disadvantages of 4x4 get into just what they did to turn it into a 4x4. Did they raise it 25' off the ground? If so that impacts handling quite a bit. Did they put in squishy shocks and off soft off road tires? Again, not good on a tow vehicle. Did they change around the front suspension so it does not work as well? (usually that's the case ...). Yet another knock on the setup. None of that is a "must work that way" so you really have to dig into your specific truck ...

Bob
I'll disagree. A locker is only an incremental improvement. It puts one tire back in play as the other has no traction. 4x4 puts at least 2, if not 3 tires back in play, and no axles are playing dead weight. Huge difference when towing as it's 1 vs 7 tires in a low traction situation with only a locker.

For a pickup, especially a diesel... When unladen and unhitched, the drive wheels are under the light end of a truck, also makes for very poor traction, while the other end plays boat anchor.

Little mentioned, but a low range transfer case that comes with some 4x4s is a huge benefit as well for precision maneuvering in low traction or grades.

The tall 4x4 is a truck posturing thing. 4x4 or AWD does not in any way require them to be jacked up like that. They can be brought back down to civilization with just taking out some blocks. A couple hundred bucks at any garage if one's ego allows for it.
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Old 10-05-2018, 08:43 PM   #27
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With my last 2 wheel drive tow vehicle with locking differential, I got stuck on wet grass trying to pull the Airstream out of a campsite, no slope, just wet.

Since then, 1999, all of my tow vehicles have been 4 wheel drive. I'm not going back.

ps:
I have towed in ice/snow, because I had to, not by choice. I was really glad to have the 4wd then!
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Old 10-06-2018, 07:17 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by pteck View Post
I'll disagree. A locker is only an incremental improvement. It puts one tire back in play as the other has no traction. 4x4 puts at least 2, if not 3 tires back in play, and no axles are playing dead weight. Huge difference when towing as it's 1 vs 7 tires in a low traction situation with only a locker.

For a pickup, especially a diesel... When unladen and unhitched, the drive wheels are under the light end of a truck, also makes for very poor traction, while the other end plays boat anchor.

Little mentioned, but a low range transfer case that comes with some 4x4s is a huge benefit as well for precision maneuvering in low traction or grades.

The tall 4x4 is a truck posturing thing. 4x4 or AWD does not in any way require them to be jacked up like that. They can be brought back down to civilization with just taking out some blocks. A couple hundred bucks at any garage if one's ego allows for it.
Hi

I've been in a number of situations where a 4x4 just spins two tires and goes nowhere. The only way to get three of the 4 going is with a lockup of some sort. Without that ... you just spin two.

I've also seen a *lot* of cases where people got themselves into big trouble based on the "I have a 4x4 it doesn't matter" line of thinking. Driving down the road after a big storm and seeing them all flipped over by the side of the road is not uncommon ....I've seen it many times all over the country.

Bob
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Old 10-06-2018, 09:05 AM   #29
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Hi

I've been in a number of situations where a 4x4 just spins two tires and goes nowhere. The only way to get three of the 4 going is with a lockup of some sort. Without that ... you just spin two.

I've also seen a *lot* of cases where people got themselves into big trouble based on the "I have a 4x4 it doesn't matter" line of thinking. Driving down the road after a big storm and seeing them all flipped over by the side of the road is not uncommon ....I've seen it many times all over the country.

Bob
And I've seen many where 2WD locked up does nothing either. Not hard to imagine if one gets one tire spinning free in a low traction environment, that the other will do so too once locked.

Suffice to say, and to your point:

2wd open < 2wd locked < 4wd < 4wd locked

There's many additional flavors of different 4WD, 4x4, more lockers, articulation, trucks generally having more rudimentary 4x4 systems than some 4WD SUVs, that I won't get into.
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Old 10-06-2018, 09:06 AM   #30
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I am with Troutboy. I need a 4 wheeler because it snows a lot where I live and it is hilly. Do I "need" a 4X4 to tow my trailer? Probably not but I have used it a number of times and I am really glad that I have it. Yes, it will cost a bit more, yes it will weigh more and because of that it will cost you a bit more in mileage.


We once camped at a very nice private campground not far from Boise, ID. We were parked in a grassy site. The site itself was level but the approach had a slight incline. It rained and I couldn't move the trailer. Because I have a half ton I don't carry much weight in the bed of my truck. The 4 wheel got me out without doing any damage.

We visited some friends who have a gravel driveway (small road actually) up to their place. He also has a trailer spot on the grass complete with full hookups. Backing in, I needed 4 wheel drive so I would not rip up the driveway. And whoever said they cost more in the way of maintenance, I say hogwash. I have owned a 4 wheel truck for more than 20 years and have not had any issues yet.



So, those who say they will never get into spot they can't get out of, I wish them luck. Again, if I lived in a flat place with no snow I would probably feel different. Think about resale, going to places with sand or clay or gravel or....take your pick.
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Old 10-06-2018, 10:21 AM   #31
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Here's a real situation where 4wd and low range can be really helpful.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=187951

Can 2wd work, probably. 2wd, with lockup, sure. Having low range and the positive traction of 4x4 are just great tools to have when dealing with the unexpected.

Though the real problem is created by the PPP hitch. Hey, with every decision comes compromise.
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Old 10-06-2018, 02:30 PM   #32
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With a pickup a 4WD is a necessity in area where you get snow. I use my 4WD all the time in the winter. Otherwise that rear end has little real traction. I simply drove into a driveway in the winter without a trailer. Wanted to back up but it had a little slope. I couldn’t get out until I put it in 4WD.

One day we had a 10 inch snow. 4WD made going through it no problem at all. Wouldn’t even think about doing it with just 2WD.

So for me the 4WD is not so much about towing, but normal driving in the Winter. Can’t leave home without it.
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Old 10-07-2018, 05:17 AM   #33
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2 wheel drive vs 4 wheel

Up until last year (when I retired) I served in LE. No snow days for LE so I had to rely on my 4WD truck to get to work so I could help others (ironically with a 2WD Police car). When I served as a City Policeman there were several times where I got stuck (since I couldnít choose the calls-for-service locations) and Iíd have to get a ride back to the station so I could use my truck to retrieve my Police car).

The last two Rams I purchased (2009 & 2012) were 4x4 with traction assist in the rear axle. Pretty good way to go.

As for the 4x4ís upside down in the ditch, thatís because a lot of people get a false sense of security from having good traction. Doesnít mean you can stop any faster and in fact, most 4x4ís have a higher center of gravity so they roll easier that a 2WD. It is a lot easier to maintain control than it is to regain control.
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:32 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by pteck View Post
Here's a real situation where 4wd and low range can be really helpful.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=187951

Can 2wd work, probably. 2wd, with lockup, sure. Having low range and the positive traction of 4x4 are just great tools to have when dealing with the unexpected.

Though the real problem is created by the PPP hitch. Hey, with every decision comes compromise.


I always put a wide board underneath hitch so it doesnít sink down
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Old 10-07-2018, 08:00 AM   #35
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Hi

I'm amazed at the number of people who can't drive in snow without a 4x4. I grew up in snow country. We went skiing every winter. I did a lot of camping in the winter (otherwise what would you do 6 months out of the year ... ). We never had 4x4's and I don't ever remember getting stuck and needing a tow. That includes a lot of back roads that hadn't seen a plow for quite a while.

Bob
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Old 10-07-2018, 08:48 AM   #36
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Hi

I'm amazed at the number of people who can't drive in snow without a 4x4. I grew up in snow country. We went skiing every winter. I did a lot of camping in the winter (otherwise what would you do 6 months out of the year ... ). We never had 4x4's and I don't ever remember getting stuck and needing a tow. That includes a lot of back roads that hadn't seen a plow for quite a while.

Bob


I got stuck numerous times. Also we had studded tires. I also remember barely or not at all making it up hills. So not sure where you lived. We survived but I remember a lot of white knuckle driving. And I can tell you I have been in places that without 4wd it would have been a lot of shoveling
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:07 AM   #37
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I got stuck numerous times. Also we had studded tires. I also remember barely or not at all making it up hills. So not sure where you lived. We survived but I remember a lot of white knuckle driving. And I can tell you I have been in places that without 4wd it would have been a lot of shoveling


Agree, grew up in Buffalo and live in Colorado. When we get as little as a few inches, on our paved road which is maybe a 3% grade, 2wd canít make it up unless they are front wheel drive and go slow. Most people have at least AWD for that reason alone out here.

Add ice to the conditions, forget it. Having spent most of my life in heavy snow, I feel much safer with 4wd. Can you get around safely with 2wd. Yes, but I can tell you the traction of 4wd is much better and safer.

Now if you drive like a dork, it doesnít matter whether you have 6WD, you will end up in a ditch. People think they can swerve in and out or stop on a dime, that equals ditch.....

Remember that most loss of control in snow happens during transitions. Switching lanes, coming to a stop, accelerating from stop. I teach my kids slow and steady during these transitions. This has worked for 35 years for me.

In heavy snow, we stay inside, but know that we can travel safer with the 4WD if needed.

I would love to hear from anyone that thinks 2WD in snow is just as safe as 4WD or safer......
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:46 AM   #38
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Hi

I'm amazed at the number of people who can't drive in snow without a 4x4. I grew up in snow country. We went skiing every winter. I did a lot of camping in the winter (otherwise what would you do 6 months out of the year ... ). We never had 4x4's and I don't ever remember getting stuck and needing a tow. That includes a lot of back roads that hadn't seen a plow for quite a while.

Bob

Same here Bob. Loved those VW Beetles............Heaters sucked, however you could go just about anywhere and if you did get stuck. Everyone got out, grabbed the bumper and lifted...........
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:46 AM   #39
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I would love to hear from anyone that thinks 2WD in snow is just as safe as 4WD or safer......
I have had FWD, RWD, AWD, and 4WD over the last 42 years of car ownership. What happens with AWD is that many drivers choose not to install proper winter tires because they have AWD. RWD or FWD with good winter tires will outperform AWD with all season tires every time in my experience, in snow or on ice. Tires matter more than an extra driveshaft. Obviously AWD with the same tires will do even better, but many make the mistake of going cheap on tires. With proper winter tires, I did better up the steep hill to our home than the AWD sport utility with all season tires, and I had the added advantage of much better stopping and steering. It was safer. Same chassis, same weight weight distribution, just RWD vs AWD and different tires.

I also donít understand all the focus on what is often a part time 4WD system in this thread (particularly with heavier trucks). Sure it can sometimes get you out of a place that perhaps you shouldnít have been in the first place. But a modern AWD system brings advantages all day every day, not just on wet grass a few times per year.
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:50 AM   #40
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Hi

I'm amazed at the number of people who can't drive in snow without a 4x4. I grew up in snow country. We went skiing every winter. I did a lot of camping in the winter (otherwise what would you do 6 months out of the year ... ). We never had 4x4's and I don't ever remember getting stuck and needing a tow. That includes a lot of back roads that hadn't seen a plow for quite a while.

Bob
What's your point here. 4x4 is not an exotic option, with barely any compromises, and lots of advantages.

Could just as easily say... I'm amazed at the number of people who can't tow an AS without a 3/4 ton.

Preference and personal needs should not be dismissed. Not to mention some very legitimate reasons.
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