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Old 01-16-2015, 03:24 PM   #1
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In a month or so I will be purchasing a new to me TV. I will be using it to pull my Flagstaff 21FBRS. I am looking at the Ford F150 or Ram 1500 in the 2010 to 2012 model years. When I purchase I will make sure of the specs for my towing application. I plan in time to do some full timing with boondocking out west in the picture. My question, 4WD or 2WD? I am reluctant to purchase a 3 to 5 year old 4WD, not knowing how the previous owner took care of it or if they used it properly. Also I understand the MPG is a little better with the 2WD. Any opinions or real life experiences would be welcome.
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Old 01-16-2015, 03:30 PM   #2
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I personally don't believe in owning a Truck that isn't 4 wheel drive. You may use it rarely, but when you need it, its priceless

With your camper (have the same one) you aren't going to Max out the towing limits, so it shouldn't really matter
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Old 01-16-2015, 09:28 PM   #3
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For my own personal preference, I wouldn't buy a truck with 4 wheel drive. One time in 10 years I needed 4 wheel drive. I wouldn't pay for a bunch of moving parts that I will never need. I don't want to pay for maintenance on parts I don't need. I don't want to carry the extra weight. It all depends on your needs, preferences, driving habits, etc.
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Old 01-16-2015, 09:46 PM   #4
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Hows this for rational, motorhomes are two wheel drive, so why not your tow vehicle.
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Old 01-16-2015, 10:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtinNJ View Post
In a month or so I will be purchasing a new to me TV. I will be using it to pull my Flagstaff 21FBRS. I am looking at the Ford F150 or Ram 1500 in the 2010 to 2012 model years. When I purchase I will make sure of the specs for my towing application. I plan in time to do some full timing with boondocking out west in the picture. My question, 4WD or 2WD? I am reluctant to purchase a 3 to 5 year old 4WD, not knowing how the previous owner took care of it or if they used it properly. Also I understand the MPG is a little better with the 2WD. Any opinions or real life experiences would be welcome.

I think that the answer depends upon what you plan to do with the truck. If you are just going to pull your TT on highways to paved campgrounds 2WD is adequate.

I have a 4WD Tundra and use the 4WD occasionally when we stop for the night and need to raise the front of the TT without unhooking by putting blocks under the rear wheels. Also, my wife and I are bird watchers and there is nothing like 4WD to improve handling when driving on washboard gravel roads. I have also helped the Meals on Wheels group in our town when snow/ice prevented their regular drivers from making deliveries.

In short I have a 4WD that I also use to tow my TT.

I have never absolutely needed a 4WD when towing but it has helped on occasion.

Buy according to your needs.


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Old 01-16-2015, 10:44 PM   #6
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My new truck has 10K miles on it. I've used the 4X4 function at least a dozen times. If you so any rural driving on dirt roads, in pastures, etc... I'd go for it. If it's gonna be a hiway queen, 2WD is probably adequate.
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Old 01-16-2015, 11:35 PM   #7
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Do you get snow where you live? If so, 4WD is a near necessity.

But setting that consideration aside, one thing I like about 4WD vehicles aside from the additional traction is the LOW range that is usually offered. Shifting into 4-Low puts a lot more low-speed power on the ground.

One example: I was towing with a Pathfinder that had a 4L range. Starting up a really steep grade inside a campground, I was having a hard time getting going. Shifting into 4L gave me the slow steady power I needed to get things moving.
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Old 01-17-2015, 12:05 AM   #8
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If you've ever tried to pull a loaded camper out of a spot that is all clay you will know the answer about the 4 wheel drive. All it takes is once.
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Old 01-17-2015, 01:19 AM   #9
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Aaaaannnndddddd clearly- there is no one right answer.
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Old 01-17-2015, 01:54 AM   #10
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Here's my experience.

I went with the 4WD option, knowing that it would be 99% highway use. However, the times I've needed 4WD, I've needed it.

The last time I went camping it was nice and dry, supposed to rain for a couple of days, then dry for several days. Wrong. It rained for a couple of days then rained a little bit every day and stayed cloudy. Without 4WD even with the 2500lb pin load I wouldn't have gotten it out. In 4WD it had trouble, once it moved 10 feet I was fine.

If you plan on not going places that could be compromised such as unimproved dirt campgrounds or near boondocking such as in national forests, then 2WD is fine. But if you will be going to those places Murphy's law will strike.

As for buying a used 4WD, it's like anything else, proper inspection is key. Crawl under it and reach on top of the transmission, frame, inside the wheel of the spare tire. If it's been used hard off road those areas will have clods of dirt that simply can't be washed away. If it's just road dirt then odds are it's been treated well. Look at the front axles, see if the CV boots are ripped, etc. If it's been treated well then it should be no issue as modern 4WD systems are pretty rugged.

Finally, MPG. Most modern 4WD vehicles have disconnects in the front axle that essentially freewheels the front end making it almost null. In general use you'll lose 1-2MPG, in fact off road tires tend to hurt MPG more than the 4WD system.

It's up to you and how you're going to use it, do you intend to take it into potentially compromised areas?
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