Tow vehicle 2WD or 4WD - Fiberglass RV

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Old 11-04-2018, 10:19 PM   #1
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trainman's Avatar
Name: John
Trailer: 2019 Oliver Elite II
Posts: 302
Tow vehicle 2WD or 4WD

I'm in the process of purchasing a new 2019 Ram 1/2 ton pickup. We now have a 17 Casita, but in the future we will most likely move up to a larger trailer. It would probably be a Oliver 23, Escape 21, or the Escape 5.0. My question is would a 2WD, or a 4WD be the best choice for pulling these trailers, I will get the 5.7 Hemi in whatever I buy, so which drive would work the best and why. Is one preferred over the other for safety reasons, or just that the 4WD does a better job. I realize the way the truck is equipped could be a big factor in towing with either one.


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Old 11-04-2018, 10:50 PM   #2
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Name: Fredrick
Trailer: Casita 2018 Independence Dlx
Posts: 218
Thumbs up 2x4 or 4x4

We tow our 2018 Casita w a Frontier dbl cab, V6, 2x4, long bed truck w factory tow pkg, wh we bought after we ordered the TT last November. Looked at all the mid size trucks and decided to spend the money [that 4WD wd cost] to instead buy the long bed truck in 2wd.. 14" longer bed and wheelbase. It has made a fine rig for 55 nights of camping since last April 20th and since there's only two of us, we don't plan to buy a bigger trailer.
That said..IF we chg our minds in some future time I wd by a larger V8 truck, but still go for a long bed over 4x4 since I do not plan going off road.

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Old 11-05-2018, 03:48 AM   #3
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Name: Raz
Trailer: Trillium 2010
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I also have a Frontier. Living in Vermont I bought a 4x4. If I lived in Texas I would most likely consider the 2x. There are three advantages to the 4x. It comes with a low gear range that can be handy especially for hitching up on hills. It's great on wet grass or mud. And here in Vermont you can't sell a 2wd pickup. The down side is cost and mileage.
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Old 11-05-2018, 05:44 AM   #4
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Name: John
Trailer: 2019 Black Series HQ19
Smith Valley, Nevada
Posts: 1,443
Four wheel drive is a very handy option and you don't always know when you might need it. It's easy to get stuck on slippery grass or a patch of ice, for instance and so easy to get going with 4WD. When not towing, you might want to go to the mountains in winter and you won't have to chain up. It even offers very low gearing for slow speed maneuvering.

As an example, I got stuck in a Starbucks parking lot early one morning on a wet and steep area. With 4WD I just clicked in in and drove away. Without it I would have had to get a tow, and all I wanted was a cup of coffee on my trip.

I tend to pull my trailer into pretty remote places that I would never attempt without it.

Unless you plan to travel only on paved highways in perfect weather, get 4WD. You won't be sorry.
I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt.
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Old 11-05-2018, 05:55 AM   #5
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Name: Ed
Trailer: 1982 Fiber Stream and 2002 Casita Freedom Deluxe,The driveway is a Dark & Lonely Place now!
Posts: 1,888
I have actually owned the same exact truck both in 2wd and 4wd and while the 2wd was fine most times the 4wd is just a lot more handy when you need it.

I plan to not be without it again if possible.
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Old 11-05-2018, 06:25 AM   #6
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Name: Shelby
Trailer: Casita SD
Posts: 350
I've enjoyed having a 4WD truck because I like to explore dirt roads and you never know what you might find. Also, first snow after moving from FL to TN, I found I couldn't get out of my driveway with my previous 2WD truck The downside for towing is that it reduces payload capacity. You will need to be aware of that as you shop. Payload varies a lot with 1/2 tons and most you find on the lot may be marginal, especially for an Oliver. Check the door sticker on each prospect. I have read that 4WD returns the additional cost at resale, can't say if that's true.
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Old 11-05-2018, 06:48 AM   #7
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 2,145
4WD cost more, is heavy so it cuts into payload capacity, and adds complexity to your truck. If you need it, sure. Towing? Not so much. I've towed my trailer all over the USA and Canada, all the way to Alaska, and have not needed it yet.

+10 Watch the payload with regards to the Oliver.
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Old 11-05-2018, 08:00 AM   #8
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Name: Paul
Trailer: '04 Scamp 19D, TV:Tacoma 4.0L 4door, SB
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I would vote for the 4WD, for the reasons mentioned. The time you will use it may be measured in minutes, but but getting stuck may cost you hours.

Having lived in VT for a long time, I definitely agree with Raz. Many other places have similar conditions.
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Old 11-05-2018, 09:11 AM   #9
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Name: Terry
Trailer: 1996 Casita Freedom Deluxe 17 ft
Posts: 412
Living here in Colorado where they couldn't sell a 2WD, it would seem like 4WD is the way to go. But I think it depends a lot on where you intend to camp with your trailer. If you plan on mostly staying in state parks and campgrounds, then you might be wasting your money with the 4WD. However, if you want to camp in National Forests and perhaps do a bit of boondocking, definitely go 4WD.
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Old 11-05-2018, 09:44 AM   #10
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Name: Charlie
Trailer: 2014 Lil Snoozy
North Carolina
Posts: 560
4WD costs more but it also makes your vehicle worth a lot more at sell time.
That and the other reasons mentioned is why I would never buy a 2WD.
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Old 11-05-2018, 10:14 AM   #11
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Name: Ed
Trailer: 1982 Fiber Stream and 2002 Casita Freedom Deluxe,The driveway is a Dark & Lonely Place now!
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I have been camping a few times where 4wd was needed to get going again after hard rains and was sure glad that I did have it.

I also tow across country often in inclement weather and have needed and used 4wd then as well.

I also like AWD where every situation is just better and traction is rarely an issue and though it is sure heavier and maybe less fuel efficient like many things I am glad I have it overall vs needing and not having it.

I also realize that towing is not going to be too efficient anyway so the little extra hit I might be paying for traction is just part of the feature set for me.
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Old 11-05-2018, 10:38 AM   #12
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Name: Tom
Trailer: Sprinter 'til I buy
Denver, CO
Posts: 944
I note that you live in Independence, TX, not Vermont, so that is a factor. That said, you are buying it for travel. 2WD is ok for pavement, gravel, or dry dirt. Wet dirt is different & has another name.

Snow & ice are different. You might drive the truck in snow or ice, but most vacationers towing trailers don't travel in it. Some do. Take Alaska for example [or Colorado]. The truth is, during the time of year you are likely to tow a trailer to Alaska or the Colorado Rockies the roads are likely to be dry.

You might encounter some wet dirt. See how your payload numbers work out.

Here is an excellent 15 minute course in payload math. It is also an entertaining travel channel, fulltime with kids. ...Just back from Alaska
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Old 11-05-2018, 11:13 AM   #13
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Name: Dave
Trailer: 13' 1973 Boler - tow/2017 Colorado Crew-Cab
Posts: 284
We've 'geocached' and 'camped' through 49 of your states, and 9 of our provinces, variously using highways, thoughways, Interstates, 'Rail Trails' and bush trails. 90% of the time 2WD would have been 'sufficient'; but, the 'reassurance' of having 4WD, or AWD, available, if needed, has always been appreciated. Currently using a 2017 4WD Colorado 'crew-cab', for towing, and general use. We've always lived by the phrase "For an extra-buck; Go First Class".
Find yourself; and then others will find you.
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Old 11-05-2018, 01:40 PM   #14
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Name: Dave (and/or John)
Trailer: Scamp 16 SD std layout 6
Posts: 887
We've pulled our Scamp over 100,000 miles from FL to CA to AK to ME with 2WD with no problems at all. I sometimes think about getting 4WD for off-road excursions when we visit UT, but then I think of the extra $3,000 up front cost and realize I could rent a Jeep for those off-road excursions and save my truck for the normal driving. I will likely order the anti-spin rear axle next time to help in any unexpected driving conditions. If a lot of your driving will be off-road or on marginal roads, then 4WD would make a lot of sense though. I was surprised that the EPA only shows a 1 MPG drop for 4WD vs 2WD in the Ram hemi.

John-Dave and Marilyn
Sharpsburg, GA
04 Dodge Dakota V-8 and 17 Dodge Durango V-6
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