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Old 07-07-2014, 12:47 AM   #1
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2 X 4 VS. 4 X 4 tow trucks

Wanted a poll of how many tow with a two wheel drive vs a four wheel drive truck. Those of you that tow with a Four wheel drive, how many times have you actually needed / used the four wheel drive ? I know lots of guys want the most macho thing going, but is four wheel drive all that necessary ? I have been towing our 24' TT with a Chev Tahoe and the short wheelbase and gas engine made for an interesting trip to Zion from Las Vegas last fall. It has the tow haul mode, I have the WD hitch and sway bar etc. I know it will be overkill for this trailer, but I have a new 2015 2500 Duramax (with limited slip rear end ) on order to have all the power I need if I go to Colorado or wherever. I ordered the two wheel drive to save a little money, which on this truck seems almost moot trying to save, ha. I also wanted to save the weight so that I would have more payload capacity if we upgrade to a small 5th wheel someday. My Tahoe is 4 wheel drive and the Z71 Pickup I had before it in the late 90s / early 2000s had 4WD. I wasn't towing anything though other than wave runners and atvs. Sorry for this long post, but it is not too late yet to do something different, I just want to make sure I don't need the 4WD. I don't plan to be camping in the snow , or sand , etc.

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Old 07-07-2014, 02:53 AM   #2
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I've owned 4x4's for close to 50 years. Needed it a few times with trailers but mostly exploring without a trailer behind. I use it enough to justify the extra cost, which comes back when I sell them.

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Old 07-07-2014, 04:19 AM   #3
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With our winters, I have a 4x4...For trailer hauling, not really need. It is nice if you are backing up into a wet slippery site sometimes.
Todays 4x4s get just about the same mileage as a 2x4, so thats not really debatable
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Old 07-07-2014, 04:29 AM   #4
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4x4 here. Winter and the box trailer mostly. We are in the hills here and where it goes in the yard, 4x4. As to places I have pulled the trailer to, not home, it has not been required.
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Old 07-07-2014, 05:13 AM   #5
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4x4 here too... winters and tasks such as pulling double or triple racks of hay from field require a 4x4.
2014 Ram 3500 CCLB 4x4 Dually 68RFE, 370/800 Cummins 3.42 highway gear - Deep Cherry Red
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Old 07-07-2014, 05:41 AM   #6
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2x4 here, have been in situations where 4x4 would have helped, but not enough to justify the extra cost. Less wear and tear and better fuel mileage without. If you use 4x4 then get it, if you don't use, then get 2x4. It really comes down to personal choice.
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Old 07-07-2014, 05:54 AM   #7
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Between hunting/fishing occasional ice/snow and farm/ranch use I won't own a pickup thats not a 4x4...

If you're strictly going to tow and stay on pavement, your prolly better off with with a 2x4. If your TV is also your all around vehicle and you have even occasional uses for 4x4 I say heck yeah, Having it on the TV isn't really a disadvantage and it might come in handy when you need it most.

Have yet to have 4x4 figure in to an RV towing situation, but when I do it'll be there.
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Old 07-07-2014, 06:39 AM   #8
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If you can afford it, get it.

Nobody ever said "I wish I had 2WD".

Though I never planned to go offroad, I've had instances when I needed it including one time I was manouevring my trailer and drove onto grass only to sink axel-deep in mud. I needed 4-wheel diff-lock to get out.

I have also helped several others out of sticky situations when their 2WD got stuck.
Chris, Jo & Dell (Siberian Husky - 110lb of fur and muscle)
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Old 07-07-2014, 09:02 AM   #9
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I have been towing RV trailers since 1968 and have never owned a 4x4. If you know how to drive, you don't need 4x4. I grew up on a farm and never had a 4x4 there either. Yeah, 4x4 would be nice to have in some situations, but a good driver either avoids those situations or figures out how to "make do" with a 4x2.

However, my current 4x2 has the electronic locking rear axle. That works much better than the old-fashioned Posi-Traction I've had since I bought a new 1965 Corvette Stingray coupe way back when. With Posi-Traction (Ford calls it limited slip) you have to learn how to make the differential lock up, and it's not intuitive. But again, learn to drive.

I lived in Denver for 20 years while the kids were growing up, and we went skiing often over the Continental Divide. Never had a 4x4 for that either. Again, you have to learn how to drive in snow, ice, mud, mountains , whatever without the crutch of 4x4.

4x4 is very useful for some situations. Backing a heavy trailer up a steep grade is one of them. Put that puppy in 4x4 low range and you can back the heavy trailer up a steep grade without cooking the automagic tranny. Dragging a heavy boat out of a lake is another place that 4x4 low comes in handy. Not required, but handy.

4x4 drivetrain weighs about 400 pounds more than 4x2, so you're always hauling around that extra 400 pounds. The laws of physics tells you that your MPG cannot be as good as without that extra 400 pounds of payload.

Some day when I win the lottery I may buy a 4x4. But in the meantime, I'll get by with my 4x2s.
Grumpy ole man with over 50 years towing experience. Now my heaviest trailer is a 7,000-pound enclosed cargo trailer, RV is a 5,600 pound Skyline Nomad Joey 196S, and my tow vehicle is a 2012 F-150 EcoBoost SuperCrew.
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Old 07-07-2014, 09:54 AM   #10
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I am also a 2x4 truck and living here in vancouver I have not had the need for a 4x4. If I recall in the gm brocure you got the max towing capacity if it was a 2 wheel drive truck. And nice part with the gm is the G80 rear locking diff. I have this in my truck and it worked great the few times we had a good snow fall. And as far as camping we are normally at full hook up sites. If I move back north where there is lots of snow I would get a 4x4 truck.
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Old 07-07-2014, 10:09 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by SmokeyWren View Post
With Posi-Traction (Ford calls it limited slip)
Posi-Traction is GM's branding of a limited slip differential (LSD). Limited slip is the correct term. Similar to kleenex and tissue.
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Old 07-07-2014, 10:11 AM   #12
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With my Tundra 5.7L 4x4 is the only way they build them. Anything over 4" of snow and your toast without 4x4. Used it a few times this past winter. Also needed it on a steep section of gravel road this past trip.
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Old 07-07-2014, 10:14 AM   #13
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If 4 wheel drive was needed for towing, you'd see 4 wheel drive semi-tractors. If you add up the miles most 4x4 SUVs and trucks NEED it, you'd still need miles to get out of town! If you're into going off road and up dirt trails, fine, but you'll sacrifice MPG and ride comfort to do it. JMHO

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Old 07-07-2014, 10:27 AM   #14
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When I was towing enclosed trailers (24'~28' @10K lbs) I bought a 2WD Dodge Cummins Mega cab 2500HD 6' bed specifically for that purpose. With it's better IFS, rack and pinion steering and slight rake when unloaded, it really does go down the road much more easily and cheaply than a 4WD. I could drive it with one gentle hand all day.

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