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Old 07-30-2011, 06:32 PM   #1
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4 wd or 2wd for towing DRV 5th wheel

We are trying to put together a FT package and after looking at weights and towing capacity I am concerned because towing capacity is really reduced when you opt for 4wd. Is 4wd a necessity? We are looking at Dodge 3500 diesel and Mobile suites 36RSSB3 Thanks for any input.
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Old 07-30-2011, 07:22 PM   #2
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I presume that you are talking dually with that much trailer and not a SRW. You will a bunch telling you that a dually won't work in snow and wet grass and you have to have a 4 wheel drive.

We have been towing with a dually for a bunch of years and I have never had an issue with my 2 wheel drive. When we live in NE Oklahoma, it was my daily driver and I drove it in ice and snow and never had a single issue of getting stuck. we have parked the 5er on grass and pulled out up an incline with only the 2 rear wheel pulling. I did keep about 400# in bags of sand over the rear axle in the winter.

With a 4 wheel drive, you have more cost, more maintenance, more to repair and lower fuel MPG. If you live in a really heavy snow are and drive during the winter you might consider a 4 wheel drive.

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Old 07-31-2011, 07:41 AM   #3
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We have a Dodge 2500 4x4. We didn't think we needed it nor did we go looking for a 4x4. But it was available and priced right. We have traveled quite a bit this year (our first extended travels) and have not needed the 4x4 while towing the 5er.
During the day trips without the 5er we have been on some forest roads we used the 4x4 on..
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:50 AM   #4
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See signature. We've been towing 5th wheels with 4x2 duallies since 1996 and have never needed 4WD nor have we ever been stuck. 4x2s have LOTS of advantages.

1. Lower height means easier mate-up with 5th wheel while maintaining adequate 5th wheel to bed siderail clearance, easier entry/exit, lower aero and mechanical drag, better fuel economy, lower CG for better handling, etc.

2. Since the truck is lighter, for a given GCWR, the 4x2 will have a higher tow capacity.

3. Independent front suspension of the 4x2 means better ride, better handling and little/no tendency to "death wobble".

4. Lower initial cost and lower maintenance/repair costs - if it ain't there, you don't have to pay for it, maintain it or fix it when it breaks.

Depending on where and when you intend to travel, 4x4 may be required. We, however, don't tow in ice and snow; neither do I do any rock crawling with my truck.

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Old 07-31-2011, 11:10 AM   #5
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Normally a thread like this is full of "you must have 4wd" posts. However, I agree with the others, had seven trucks, all 2wd, all worked fine and never had a need for 4wd.
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:46 AM   #6
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This Chevy dually is my first 4WD vehicle. I don't use it much, but when needed it is invaluable. Our first trip with it was Westbound on US 2. East of Cutbank, MT the road was completely torn up and the detour(nearly 5 miles) was mud about 2" deep. In 2WD the truck spun and threw mud all over the 5er. I punched 4WD high and the spinning completely stopped. Weeks later we were in AZ and decided we wanted to go see some ghost towns, 4WD was needed in the sand in the dry washes and the loose rocks on the hill road(?), it was an 8' wide dozer path really.
My truck is an 02, I have spent zero on 4WD components to date (104,xxx miles), just topped off oils in transfer case and front differential. Towing our 15,500# GVW 5er it gets 10.5 MPG, empty 18 MPG.
If you do not anticipate doing these things, 2WD is a cheaper choice.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:14 PM   #7
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I have 4x4 and have only used it once. Pulled to house in NC in December. Had about 10" of snow on ground. pulled fine until sharp turn and rear wheels started hopping. put in 4 and drove off with no problem. Is it needed, depends on where you are going to take your camper. By the way, I have a 32TK3 Mobile Suites. We are full time and we are 900# over GM specs. We came across scales at 24,4000. truck had full tank of fuel, me (wife in separate car), full fresh tank in rv, others empty. Go by the GVWR weight. You will be closer to that. You may find a 3500 is not enough truck unless it is one of the 2011/2012 units. They have greatly increased the rates on these.jfyi
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:19 PM   #8
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Not trying to alarm you but these Mobile Suites are very heavy. Built very well and I love mine. Most are not aware of the weight. Sure shocked me on the scales.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:44 PM   #9
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we have a 36rssb3 and our chevy 3500 plus trailer was pushing 27,000 lbs when we went across scales in oregon.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:15 PM   #10
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4 wheel drive vs. 2 wheel drive. 4x4 costs a little more up front and a very small amount in fuel consumption. Routine maintenance costs are negligible. ($100-150 to service front diff and transfer case every 30k miles = $450 every 100,000 miles). Meeting my father-in-law for a camping trip in New Mexico one time, I had to wait for him to get there and borrow his 4x4 to push the trailer backwards up a gravel incline to park in our camping spot. I went and bought a 4x4 TV right after that trip. Well worth the added expense! I still haven't lived down having to borrow his truck to park my trailer!!!
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Old 08-05-2011, 09:48 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rfhtlh View Post
we have a 36rssb3 and our chevy 3500 plus trailer was pushing 27,000 lbs when we went across scales in oregon.
unless you own a new truck your gm gross is 23,500. 3500# over is a lot.
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Old 08-05-2011, 12:41 PM   #12
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Even a new truck 27k is high. That is beyond the manufacturer rating for the F450 on the 2011. If there are any hills involved power and torque may be a issue. You are looking at combined weights of units on freightliner chasis with 350-400 hp and 1000-1200 ft/lb of torque.
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Old 08-05-2011, 03:50 PM   #13
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we just purchased a new kodiak with a 30,000 lb gcwr.
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Old 08-06-2011, 09:29 AM   #14
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Smart man.
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