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Old 03-27-2021, 07:16 PM   #1
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2021 27' Globetrotter
San Francisco , California
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PSA re Diesel Trucks

Hey all,

Had an interesting experience a few months ago that might be relevant to people considering diesel tow vehicles.

I have a very steep driveway, sloping down towards the house. You canít also turn around in it, so whichever way (forward / reverse) you go down, youíre doing the opposite going up.

Hereís the interesting part: it is impossible for my diesel truck to reverse up that slope without being in 4WD! There is so much weight in the front when unladen, the tires canít grip enough and start slipping.

So, if you find yourself considering a Diesel truck, this behavior on slopes might be a reason to consider 4WD. If Iíd bought a RWD truck, Iím pretty sure itís still be stuck in my driveway right now 🤣
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Old 03-29-2021, 06:25 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by XCountry View Post
Hey all,

Had an interesting experience a few months ago that might be relevant to people considering diesel tow vehicles.

I have a very steep driveway, sloping down towards the house. You canít also turn around in it, so whichever way (forward / reverse) you go down, youíre doing the opposite going up.

Hereís the interesting part: it is impossible for my diesel truck to reverse up that slope without being in 4WD! There is so much weight in the front when unladen, the tires canít grip enough and start slipping.

So, if you find yourself considering a Diesel truck, this behavior on slopes might be a reason to consider 4WD. If Iíd bought a RWD truck, Iím pretty sure itís still be stuck in my driveway right now 🤣
I thought I told you to quit polishing your driveway! :-) I can see how that could happen, particularly if the driveway is wet or particularly low friction (polished concrete) but it must be dang steep.
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Old 03-29-2021, 06:42 AM   #3
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And neighbors wonder why I've not paved my driveway....
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Old 03-29-2021, 07:20 AM   #4
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Yes, a heavy front end and stiff springs in the rear equals little traction. Yes, there is a reason why most 2500 trucks sold are 4wd drive. Boat ramps are reason enough for 4wd.
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Old 03-29-2021, 07:39 AM   #5
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I wouldn’t buy a 2 wd....
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Old 03-29-2021, 09:19 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by XCountry View Post
Hey all,

Had an interesting experience a few months ago that might be relevant to people considering diesel tow vehicles.

I have a very steep driveway, sloping down towards the house. You canít also turn around in it, so whichever way (forward / reverse) you go down, youíre doing the opposite going up.

Hereís the interesting part: it is impossible for my diesel truck to reverse up that slope without being in 4WD! There is so much weight in the front when unladen, the tires canít grip enough and start slipping.

So, if you find yourself considering a Diesel truck, this behavior on slopes might be a reason to consider 4WD. If Iíd bought a RWD truck, Iím pretty sure itís still be stuck in my driveway right now 🤣
Out of curiosity, what is the grade on your driveway? That has been a struggle for us with our 16rb Caravel. Our initial TV for that was a 2015 Tacoma Off road. On paper (6500) the weights worked out fine including payload etc. In reality, not so great; ESPECIALLY getting back up our driveway. Similar situation to yours, have to back up as there is not a place to turn around. Just got a GMC, so that should take care of it. I'll find out when I go pick it up from the dealer (warranty work AGAIN... 3rd time in less than a year of owning it)
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Old 03-29-2021, 09:19 AM   #7
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Yeah, I have a very steep 200ft gravel driveway and I use my Tundra's 4WD to get up to the street because otherwise the rear wheels spin and dig ruts, redistributing all the gravel. Periodically, I get offers to pave the drive. No way! Gravel gives you traction and it also drains better than pavement. 4WD is a good thing; that's why you have it!
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Old 03-29-2021, 09:23 AM   #8
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Must be a steep driveway!

The only time I've truly 'needed' 4wd has been a couple of campgrounds in the Rockies when pulling the trailer up a gravel slope to get to our site. Rear wheels started slipping & throwing gravel. Slipped it into 4H, probelm solved.
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Old 03-29-2021, 10:41 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by douayha View Post
Out of curiosity, what is the grade on your driveway? That has been a struggle for us with our 16rb Caravel. Our initial TV for that was a 2015 Tacoma Off road. On paper (6500) the weights worked out fine including payload etc. In reality, not so great; ESPECIALLY getting back up our driveway. Similar situation to yours, have to back up as there is not a place to turn around. Just got a GMC, so that should take care of it. I'll find out when I go pick it up from the dealer (warranty work AGAIN... 3rd time in less than a year of owning it)
To be clear: this is without the trailer. No way can I take the trailer in our driveway.

Exact grade carries, but plans show a total drop of 20í over about an 80í run, so 14 degrees on average. Likely closer to 20 degrees at the steepest part.
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Old 03-29-2021, 11:25 AM   #10
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I had a similar issue when trying to back up our Camplite with our Beetle up our driveway to the trailer pad. It is probably closer to 8 degrees but has a compound angle so at one point, I would have one of the car tires in the air. Lots of fun! It was very easy to spin the tire(s). We would do better if we took a run at it. The Camplite was only 2,000 lbs and 16 feet so it was easy to maneuver and good clearance so we never ran the risk of plowing the trailer bumper or pipes into the driveway.

Now the AWD TV doesn't care about the slopes or angles. I also extended my driveway opening to allow for a more gradual approach with the Airstream.

4WD +1
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Old 03-29-2021, 12:02 PM   #11
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We also have a steep driveway although from his description it's probably not as steep as XCountry's.

Anyway, another advantage of 4WD is the low range feature. Even though my driveway is paved and I don't have the same traction problem with my F250 diesel as described by XCountry, I use 4WD low to back our 25' Airstream up the driveway. It gives me more precise throttle control and is easier on the transmission.
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Old 03-29-2021, 12:42 PM   #12
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Many moons ago I bought a diesel truck. I regularly took my dog walking on an island. I pulled off onto the grass beside the road, slightly damp with a bit of seaweed on top, but completely level. I wasn't 6' off the pavement. Much to my surprise when I returned from my walk the rear wheels would only spin on the slick grass. I had to call a tow truck and have my brand spankin' new truck towed 6' to pavement. Later on my return trip with my new to me massively heavy fifth wheel I had to pull through a 1/4 mile of flooded pasture. I was sure I wouldn't make it any further than the front wheels leaving the pavement. With the weight in the bed there was no stopping that truck. The truck and trailer dug deep ruts through the muck but there was no lack of traction. Just a matter of learning the strong and weak points of your rig. Give me two wheel drive anytime. I'd rather be stuck on slick grass than in a service bay.
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Old 03-29-2021, 01:12 PM   #13
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All pickup trucks are light in the rear until you put a load in the bed. This isn't a purely diesel problem - it's all of them. Must be a pretty steep driveway to need four wheel drive in any vehicle.
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Old 03-29-2021, 01:38 PM   #14
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Give me two wheel drive anytime. I'd rather be stuck on slick grass than in a service bay.[/QUOTE]

Give me 4 wheel drive everytime and itís there if I need it.
For no more than it costs up front now to buy 4wd and the extra resale that you get, to me itís a no brainer. I had an F150 that would spin in wet grass backing up my Airstream until I switched to 4A or 4H. So the issue is not exclusive to HD diesels although itís true they tend to be front-heavy.
Iíve owned plenty is of 4wd vehicles over the years , driven hundreds of thousands of miles and never once had an issue.
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Old 03-29-2021, 01:41 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XCountry View Post
To be clear: this is without the trailer. No way can I take the trailer in our driveway.

Exact grade carries, but plans show a total drop of 20í over about an 80í run, so 14 degrees on average. Likely closer to 20 degrees at the steepest part.


XCountry,

My home is a 1-story w/ a basement w/ a drive-under garage: the driveway beside the house is level; but the front door of the house is about on grade w/ the street in front of my house: so it's not a long drive, but it has to go from basement level to 1st-floor level in the distance of our front yard's width. Via my phone's level tool, the steepest part is 18 degrees, but most of it isn't quite that steep.

We have all adapted, to where we all back downhill into our driveway, so that we can all drive forwards to come up and out of our driveway. It simply makes it a lot easier than trying to back up and out.

Now, in our case, I am putting the AS down the driveway, so I can park it off the back of the driveway, starting to go around the corner of the house. Backing down is possible (couldn't drive down truck first, there'd be no way to turn around, get the truck back out from the backyard, the deck is in the way).
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Old 03-29-2021, 02:29 PM   #16
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If your drive has a slick finish causing tire slippage, have a concrete contractor acid wash it with muratic acid. That will expose the underling rocks making the surface rough. I have done all my concrete and it makes winter much nicer too.
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Old 03-29-2021, 03:10 PM   #17
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I guess I'm the exception. I order my diesel trucks with 2WD and fortunately even going to Alaska and back had no need for 4WD. I would be worried about sliding on the surface coming down a driveway if a diesel could not get up the driveway unless it was 4WD especially with any load.
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Old 03-29-2021, 03:56 PM   #18
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Your problem has nothing to do with the engine being diesel !
Not enough weight on rear axle , that can be solved by either adding weight to the bed of the truck , or weight-distribution system - transfers weight [ if adjust correctly ] to be about even on both front & rear axles .
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Old 03-29-2021, 10:26 PM   #19
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Resale value is another reason for 4WD where I live

A dealer told me 98% of the trucks sold in British Columbia are 4WD, because of mountains and snow.

Later I was looking to see if I could get a good used truck on Autotrader and found one way cheaper than any other truck. It had been on the dealers lot a long time. Then I noticed it was 2WD.

Once, just going through a dip, the equalizer hitch unloaded the rear so much I had to put it in 4WD, otherwise stuck. So much nicer to push a button than get out a tow rope.
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Old 03-30-2021, 09:55 AM   #20
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I guess I'm the exception. I order my diesel trucks with 2WD and fortunately even going to Alaska and back had no need for 4WD. I would be worried about sliding on the surface coming down a driveway if a diesel could not get up the driveway unless it was 4WD especially with any load.
You're in Florida, and went to Alaska and back in... not mid-winter.


My previous Sierra, I thought I'd economize, and go w/ 2wd, since it had a locking rear diff.... that didn't work out so well....

My current Sierra is 4wd. Much happier.
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