Originally Posted by Tater
That is partially correct. This is my third diesel 2WD. I would not go to Alaska in winter conditions pulling a trailer even with 4WD. I have lived in several states with other 2WD trucks. Like I said I have been fortunate and not needed 4WD. As far as I know all dealers here only stock 4WD pickups. I have not seen a 2WD on a lot. Pickups by nature are light on the rear axles and that may affect the outcome as well. The condition noted by the OP may necessitate 4WD even if it wasn't a diesel.
I concur, there are conditions I'd not want to tow in, regardless of 4wd...
My thinking when I bought my previous Sierra was, I don't often 'need' four-wheel-drive, and with the locking rear, I'd be okay. I also have an old Land Rover, so I had a 4x4, that I'd just use if I needed such. Thought I'd save a little upfront money, and maybe save a little in gas costs.
My current Sierra is a 4x4, and gets better gas mileage than the 2wd one did (both with 5.3 engines, the previous was an extended cab, the current is a crew cab). One thing I discovered, was that even if I went through the trouble of finding a 2wd one (as you've noticed, isn't the easiest thing to do), turns out, most other people won't consider a truck w/o 4wd, so you end up really restricting the size of your potential resale market.
But most importantly.... during the time I had the previous one, there were several times when I was 'stuck', that really would have been nothing for a 4wd version to have gotten out of, or even a Subaru, but my older one was, not going anywhere, without help. Not towing, just getting out of a parking lot in one instance, and back off of the roadside onto the road in another, etc etc. Simple things, that should have been easy enough. I ended up putting a few hundred pounds of sand in the bed of my previous truck, just to have enough weight to keep the rear planted enough to get it to go.
I then switched to a 4Runner for several years, and really appreciated it; the reason it left and the new Sierra arrived, was I needed the additional tow capacity.
I've only had this one for a year now, and already, there's been a couple of times that I could do something because it was a 4x4, that I'd not have been able to otherwise. I'll admit, I like my truck, and intend on keeping it for quite awhile, but, when I have to replace it, it will be with another 4x4 that's capable of towing....