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Old 08-13-2014, 08:55 AM   #1
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4 wheel drive or 2 wheel drive for 5th wheel

We are close to ordering a Ford F350 to pull our 37' Coachman Brookstone 5th wheel and we've received different opinions on whether to get a 4 wheel drive F350 or 2 wheel drive. Can anyone help with this?
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:02 AM   #2
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Our Last F350 was a 2 WD. The resale is lower on a 2 WD if you care. We never wished we had a 4 WD when we were pulling and the ride was a bit smoother as well. We now have a 4 WD which is of course higher than the 2 WD, plus it has 20 inch tires......I also use the pickup for other things, not just pulling the 5er. Depends really if you are using the truck for anything else where you might need a 4 WD.
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Old 08-13-2014, 10:27 AM   #3
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First I'll state the being full time, we stay out of places with cold climates. That doesn't mean we haven't been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

As far as 4x4; with an F-450 I didn't have a choice - it comes standard. If I had had a choice I don't think I would ordered a 4x4. In 30+ years towing, I have only had one time when I needed 4x4. that was in a CG with gravel roads and a very steep climb exiting the CG. I needed the traction of all 4 wheels that day. Having said that and my living situation being what it is, I still would not get 4x4 given the choice. JMOHO

As previous poster stated, it really depends on the other uses you will have and where you live.
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Old 08-13-2014, 10:28 AM   #4
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I have a 4WD I park my trailer in my yard, I always put it in 4WD to make sure I won't spin the tires on the grass and leave a grass-less spot. I also live in Colorado where we sometimes get snow and ice () and I use 4WD regularly in the winter. I have been boondocking and needed 4WD to get out of the field I was in...I once pulled my trailer from Alburquerque, NM, to Denver, CO, in a snow storm that extended that entire distance along the I-25 corridor - I was in 4WD off and on the entire trip - there are more stories, but you get the idea.

I won't have a 2WD truck, but you being in Florida, YMMV!

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Old 08-13-2014, 11:20 AM   #5
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This is not what I recommend!!! I drove a 1982 GMC 3500 2wd pulling a gooseneck trailer year round in Colorado over all the passes and up and down the front range, I carried chains with me and chained up any time I needed to.. Then we moved to a 2005 GMC 5500 topkick 2wd to pull the same gooseneck. Both being flatbed trucks. The 3500 did a good job in snow 6 to 8 inches deep.. The 5500 Uh, NOT SO MUCH!!! Now, mind you I was not carrying or towing my belongings and it was not my truck or trailer and I did this for about 15 years..
Now, all that being said, I would have had a 4x4 for piece of mind, because just about the time you say, Aw, I ain't going to need 4wd guess what!!!! Yep, you need 4wd.. If you plan on driving anywhere north of I would say Dallas TX, I would buy a 4wd because of winter, South of Dallas well, that is your call. I would probably still go with a 4wd. Yes, added maintenance because of 4wd, maybe lower fuel mileage due to 4wd. But, you have 2 extra tires that can get you out of a soft spot or grassy area without destroying property unless you giver everything she's got... I hope I helped at least a little.. What it really comes down to is, are you willing to part with the money for a 4wd... GL
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Old 08-13-2014, 11:44 AM   #6
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4x... with or without the trailer. I won't even look at a 2x truck.
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Old 08-13-2014, 11:52 AM   #7
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I have a 4X4 and would tow with nothing else, others do. I do live in a cold climate; Northern IL and we do get snow and ice so this helps me when I need to drive my truck. I have also had experiences not being able to get the trailer out of a campsite after rain in 2WD on wet grass. The tires spun on the wet grass and we would have dug a hole in the ground where we were camping if a stayed in 2WD. I switched to 4WD and pulled right out. Another camper came over and asked if I had a tow strap to pull him and his unit out. I told him no; only carry a tow strap in the winter.

So to me once you have a 4X4 you would never go back to a 2WD. In fact my wife still complains sometimes because she gave up her 4X4 SUV for a TDI Jetta. She would not spring for the cash on the TDI SUV from VW said 70K was too much. We have been driving 4X4 vehicles since the late 60ís so I do have some experience with them.

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Old 08-13-2014, 11:54 AM   #8
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If you are in a "flatland" area and only tow in summer on all paved highways and stay in upscale all paved RV parks, there is no need to have 4 wheel drive, it only adds cost and reduces payload due to extra weight. It is also another thing to worry about maintaining or waiting to fail. Having said that, I wouldn't be without it, 4WD has saved me a couple of times on slippery mud and grass and I've been caught a few times by surprise snowstorms in mountain passes with no place to turn out. We don't get a lot of snow in our part of oregon, but last year's snowstorm was epic and I'm glad I had the extra traction for those several days of 1 foot plus snow....
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Old 08-13-2014, 12:05 PM   #9
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Is the bed heighth of the 4x4 Ford much higher than the 4x2? If so, will the 5th wheel clear the bed? Or, will modifications to the 5th wheel be necessary? Is the additional expense worth the benefit and possible drawbacks?
I can recall needing 4x4 twice to tow our trailer or 5th wheel in 30+ years and a couple more times exploring solo with the truck. I am not so adventurous now but I do really enjoy backroads with our 4x4 toad. Whatever, there's nothing like a new truck! Enjoy.
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Old 08-13-2014, 01:23 PM   #10
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The bed is higher on our 4x4. I had the trailer blocked, which raised the trailer the extra few inches we needed. It cost only a couple of hundred dollars.....It was worth the expense as the 5er's rear end might have dragged going up or down a ramp or other steep incline.
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Old 08-13-2014, 01:34 PM   #11
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If you have no other need for 4WD, I wouldn't waste my money on a 4X4. Just more weight and gears to turn while towing with no benefit. Also a 4X4 will have a higher profile and will not handle as well towing as a 2WD.
A 4X4 costs more money, but you will almost always get that extra money back when you sell.
IMO, 4X4 is great, but just about totally unnecessary to tow with.
How many 4WD motorhomes do you know of?
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Old 08-13-2014, 08:43 PM   #12
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In many places the resale on 4WD is much higher, pay it up front and get it back on the resale.

We tow a 367RL 2012 Brookstone with a dually long bed with 4WD. Our travel range is Arizona to Alaska. We do not need it often, but when we want it it is there. Sometimes it is snow, or wet grass, or loose gravel. We try not to travel in bad conditions, but have run in to them when stopping was not an option.

Short answer, I would not tow in the West without it.
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Old 08-13-2014, 10:36 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by merlins View Post
We are close to ordering a Ford F350 to pull our 37' Coachman Brookstone 5th wheel and we've received different opinions on whether to get a 4 wheel drive F350 or 2 wheel drive. Can anyone help with this?
As you might surmise from the answers it might be helpful to know a bit more information about where you live, where you intend to travel, and when you plan on towing.

For me, based on my level of experience with on road and "true" off roading, I'd go with a 4x2 for lower initial cost and maintenance, even though we live in the Pacific Northwest. But we'll be limiting our outings to only the warmer parts of the year for travel. An F350 dually in two wheel drive with a locking differential would do just fine unless you're doing a lot adverse terrain or weather.

YMMV of course!

Good luck!
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Old 08-14-2014, 10:40 AM   #14
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We were exploring the Painted Canyon near Palm Springs. No cell service, hot day and were on a gravel road that quickly turned to sand and started to dig in. I stopped and put it in 4wd and easily pulled out and on our way.

4 low is great for backing the RV up a hill or up onto thick leveling blocks. Saves the trans.

So 4wd for me!
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