Importance of 4WD? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-13-2015, 09:07 AM   #1
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Importance of 4WD?

We are planning our retirements, hope to full-time with boondocking being important. How important is having a tow vehicle with 4 wheel drive?

Thanks!

Jan Georgen
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Old 11-13-2015, 09:20 AM   #2
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It all depends on where you live, and what you drive, and the conditions you plan to drive in. Here in Calgary, where winter can be tough, some vehicles, like pickups, do way better with 4WD. Other front wheel drive vehicles do just great in the snow, especially with snow tires.

With pickups here, it is just about a standard these days to have 4WD. Resale would be difficult without it. Nice to have even with an SUV, as it does help a lot in slippery conditions.
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Old 11-13-2015, 09:25 AM   #3
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In the 4 1/2 years I've been towing my Escape with a RAV4, I've only had to lock in the 4 wheel drive 3 times. Still, in those three cases I would have had to find someone to tow me out if I didn't have it, or in two cases, wait for the grass/soil to dry out enough for good traction to pull the trailer out of the site.
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Old 11-13-2015, 09:34 AM   #4
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Importance of 4WD?

Winter conditions are not the only reason to have AWD.

I tow a 13' Scamp with a FWD-only SUV. Once a year we camp at a local lake. The access road is 3 miles of graded dirt and gravel with one short section that challenges a FWD vehicle. The road rounds a sharp bend and ascends an 8%(?) grade on loose gravel and exposed bedrock. I have to disable the stability control and allow some wheel spin to get through. For those five minutes once a year I wish I had AWD. But not enough to pay the price (purchase cost, fuel mileage, and extra maintenance).

So I guess it might depend on how often you expect to encounter limited traction conditions.
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Old 11-13-2015, 09:55 AM   #5
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4WD is like a first aid kit, fire extinguisher or gun. Most of the time you never need it but that time you do will be worth the extra expense. Plus, your vehicle will be worth more at trade in time.
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Old 11-13-2015, 10:10 AM   #6
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and just to confuse the issue...

there is what I call "real" 4WD...and a whole host of different AWDs....some drive all four wheels all the time...some drive all four wheels when slip is sensed and some only drive two wheels at a time but can shift that torque to any wheel....you have to dig into the owner's manual to know how a particular AWD operates....most salesmen I've come across don't seem to know/care...but they'll explain to you in great detail how you can sync your phone to the car and bluetooth this or that....how the onboard GPS will save your life by telling you where the next pizza joint is located...yeah sure

I tow with a 4WD....I need it for another reason but where I like to tow my trailer I would need one if I didn't already have it
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Old 11-13-2015, 10:28 AM   #7
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I have needed 4wd on wet grass sites.
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Old 11-13-2015, 10:37 AM   #8
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Always thought 4 wheel drive unnecessary but I have a Suburban. costs on gas too
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Old 11-13-2015, 10:44 AM   #9
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Not important...
AWD is different from 4WD, neither is needed enough to warrant the cost.
Of the two, AWD would make more sense for towing an RV trailer.
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Old 11-13-2015, 10:48 AM   #10
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Carefull ! For 30 years I had always driven four-wheel drive half-ton and 3/4 ton pick-ups. Cautiously, I 'down-shifted' to an AWD in 2012. It was only because I had learned the difference between 4WD and FWD. In our area, FWD usually referred to 'Front-Wheel-Drive' (only!), and therefore didn't provide the four-wheel traction I required.

In Boondocking, I would always prefer 4WD (or, perhaps AWD). Otherwise, I'd make certain that the someone else who may be at the same location does have 4WD. Now, I'm comfortable with my AWD; but would not consider FWD for boondocking, which is usually done alone.
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Old 11-13-2015, 10:55 AM   #11
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it surely depends on your personal preferences. For myself, I would not go anywhere without at least AWD, because I windsurf and otherwise play on the water a lot, so often have to negotiate beaches
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Old 11-13-2015, 11:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwgeorgen View Post
We are planning our retirements, hope to full-time with boondocking being important. How important is having a tow vehicle with 4 wheel drive?

Thanks!

Jan Georgen
A lot depends on weight distribution on front and rear axles.
If you have Front Wheel Drive (FWD) only, and a heavy hitch load, it reduces the weight on your front wheels, thus reducing traction.
Simply put, with a heavy trailer, you are better to have a Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) vehicle. but, our lightweight FGRVs generally don't cause enough weight shift and a FWD car works just fine. AWD of 4WD just lets you get stuck deeper.
Gas mileage is affected by total gross combined weight. more weight, you burn more gas.
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Old 11-13-2015, 11:10 AM   #13
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Indispensable for us given our location and lifestyle. Wouldn't be without it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwgeorgen View Post
We are planning our retirements, hope to full-time with boondocking being important. How important is having a tow vehicle with 4 wheel drive?

Thanks!

Jan Georgen
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Old 11-13-2015, 11:30 AM   #14
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Since you indicated boondocking was an important consideration I would advise either a AWD or 4WD vehicle. You really don't want your tow vehicle to limit your options and it will provide the piece of mind to go where you please.
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