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Old 07-19-2019, 06:52 AM   #1
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Two wheel drive or 4x4?

Most of the trucks I see pulling travel trailers or 5th wheels are 4x4 trucks. How often do you need 4x4 capability when pulling a trailer? Is the additional cost of the 4x4 necessary?

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Chief
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Old 07-19-2019, 07:04 AM   #2
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Lemme tell you a story. I drove I80 from SLC to Cheyenne once a week for 14 years. In that time, I noticed a lot of "gypsie truckers", folks who used pickups to do commercial towing, a lot of those towed TTs and 5th wheels to the dealer. I started counting. Result: 80% used Dodge DRW 2wd across the highest interstate in the country.
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Old 07-19-2019, 07:58 AM   #3
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With 2wd you will get "stuck" on wet grass. I had a 2wd Chevy 3500HD SRW. After being stuck on gravel or dirt several times with my little dump trailer, the last straw was when I had to ask a friend to move my trailer with his 4wd Toyota.
I have since upgraded to my Ram 3500 MegaCab DRW 4x4. No regerts, and no more getting stuck. You only have to "need" 4x4 once to make it worth the extra money. Plus resale is better on the 4x4.
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Old 07-19-2019, 08:09 AM   #4
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Advantage of 4 wheel drive is the ability to use low range to back up. Slow and controlled with very little pedal pressure required.
Just my past experience.

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Old 07-19-2019, 10:45 AM   #5
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I've only managed to get my trailer stuck in 2WD once. 4-Low got me out. I'd rather have it and not need it, than not have it and need it. This was late at night in far west Texas and it would have been expensive and taken several hours to get help. The cost difference is fairly small, it's difficult to find 2WD trucks on lots, and the 4WD trucks will have higher resale. I wouldn't even consider a 2WD.

I use 4-Low on sketchy boat ramps, if you are or might ever be into boating. There are a couple that I feel might have made for a very bad day without it.

With my last truck, a SRW, I often went off on shoddy forest roads, trails, and such without the trailer. I probably won't be doing that with my new DRW, but I sure found 4WD useful on several occasions when doing so with the old one. And my reservations about taking it off the pavement might dissipate as the newness wears off - do I want to have buyer's remorse and be frustrated over not having the right truck for the things I want to do, down the line? Buy once, cry once.

All that being said, TonyMac has a point. If your towing style only ever involves interstates or paved roads, then you are going to be fine with a 2WD and gain a small amount of payload over a 4WD. If it ever involves or may involve anything else, it's better to be safe than sorry and have the extra components.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:58 AM   #6
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Back in 2007 i had the same debate with myself. Wound up with a 4x2 dually and never in 12 years had a regret. Pulling heavy I knew I was never going to take that trailer off pavement. Heck picking up 5000 pounds of rock at the quary I never had a problem either. A 4x2 with positrack or what ever the mfg wants to call their version of a rear end is just as good as a 4x4 with an open rear end. There is not one on road 4x4 that will lave a locked front end, so at best you might get 3 wheels trying to move you foreword. A 4x2 gets you two. Not enough difference to bother with IMHO.
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Old 07-19-2019, 12:14 PM   #7
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I bought used so I got whatever the truck came with (4WD). In suburban America when putting my trailer away next to my house, I need to jump the curb. Never an issue with popping the rear tires up the curb, but without 4WD, you'll never get the fronts over, they'll just spin even with the trailer attached.

Also, if your not camping in a Concrete Resort and have ventured even to a mildly improved campground that has gravel and follows the contour of the land and not graded flat, 4WD will help you not kick up all the dust for your fellow campers as you back up into your campsite.

If you plan to stay at nothing but Concrete Resorts or Heavily Improved Campgrounds, and all your towing is Interstate, then 4x2 is more than sufficient.

Only you can make this decision.
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Old 07-19-2019, 01:04 PM   #8
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Pictures are worth a 1000 words. This was on wet grass in upstate New York last year.
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Old 07-19-2019, 02:01 PM   #9
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I had my 4x4 pulled out of a mix of wet grass and mud. It was a true 4x4 w/o a locking rear diff. What a true 4x4 means is one rear tire (the one with the least traction) will spin and one front tire (the one with the least traction) will spin. So you only have 2 wheels that will get the power.

I now have a 2WD truck with a locking rear diff. I will have 2 wheels that will get power.

I am thinking if you get a 2WD truck at least get a locking rear diff.
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Old 07-19-2019, 02:12 PM   #10
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Go with 4x4. You'll rarely use it, but those rare instances are going to be places where you didn't think you'd need it. I have had to rock a 2wd truck out of wet grass a few times. That's when I stopped getting 2wd and went with 4x4. Now I just hop over to 4x4 high and she walks out of those places like nothing happened.



Now I have a dually and have had to use 4x4 once already while on wet inclined asphalt. It was a rarely used area that had moss growing on it. All 4 rear tires would spin even though the trailer was hooked up. I just put it in 4x4 and she walked up and out just as expected. You won't catch me buying another 2wd truck.
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Old 07-19-2019, 02:14 PM   #11
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Nobody ever said "I wish I had got 2WD". Ever.

I had a 2WD Silverado (with auto-locking rear diff). I had problems backing my trailer onto the grass at home where we stored it. Even when just slightly damp. Both rear wheels were slipping.

I just upgraded to a Sierra 2500 for our new (bigger) trailer. You can bet your life I got 4WD.
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Old 07-19-2019, 03:11 PM   #12
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Well I will start off stating that stating that the 4X4 or 4X2 is personal choice.
That said and out of the way it is well worth the extra $$$, cheap insurance. It will make life much easier all the way around if used correctly.
Many will point out that when it snows you see so many 4X4's in the ditch! Well that is because too many think with 4X4 or AWD they can drive on snow and ice like it wasn't there. Well that isn't true, what 4X4 or AWD provides is far more control at reasonable speeds.
Placing a 4X4 in low range when backing is way easier on the transmission, or clutch looking at the BD 2 low kit for the 2016 Ram. 2 Low gives the advantage of using the 4 low without the bind when turning the front wheels.
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Old 07-19-2019, 04:10 PM   #13
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Getting stuck or stranded because you own a 2-wheel drive truck is pretty humiliating. Especially if the wife and kids are with you.
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Old 07-19-2019, 04:20 PM   #14
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On a SRW I have only needed 4wd when I park in my yard. It minimizes the damage if it is wet. On a DRW it is a must if you are even thinking about being off pavement.
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