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Old 03-02-2018, 02:57 PM   #1
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Default The 4x4 thread

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Let's talk 4x4 Class B




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Old 03-02-2018, 02:58 PM   #2
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Old 03-02-2018, 04:51 PM   #3
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What do you want to discuss?

Russo didn't say much about the 4x4 except you sit higher.

Many manufacturer's are now providing the 4x4 option. Winnebago has gone all in with the ERA and the short body Revel. Roadtrek has built them.

Advanced RV ordered the first 4x4's RB and EB when they first became available because of customer desires. They are now converting the short body Sprinters because of customer desires.

The specialist companies like Sportsmobile and Outside Van kind of depend on them for the market they appeal to or are going after.

Right now it appears to be a Sprinter market and only an after market add (Ford Transit). The Promaster is not convertible if they only market front wheel drive.
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Old 03-02-2018, 05:18 PM   #4
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I can tell you the one time I needed 4x4 and didn't have it. One spring we went to Sequoia NP and wanted to see the General Grant only the road had snow on it from the Museum on. We slipped and slid too much to attempt it. Another reason I would want it was to go onto sand beaches more. They are always chancey adventures in my mind. I have no desire to go down roads that would require 4x4 because the contents of a B would not withstand that kind of driving much, IMO.

The other major reason is clearance. the 3-1/2 to 4 inches is a plus.
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Old 03-02-2018, 08:00 PM   #5
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Davydd,

A question, do you think it would have helped to have chains or cables on your Sequoia trip? I've seen a blog post that claimed fitted cables for the outer rear tires helped ok a winter ski trip, and here in Co they can assert snow traction requirements based on the weather, which means it is possible to need them legally even in June.

I'm with you on the extra ground clearance, even just a few inches would be nice sometimes, even in town.
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Old 03-02-2018, 09:11 PM   #6
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Davydd,

A question, do you think it would have helped to have chains or cables on your Sequoia trip? I've seen a blog post that claimed fitted cables for the outer rear tires helped ok a winter ski trip, and here in Co they can assert snow traction requirements based on the weather, which means it is possible to need them legally even in June.

I'm with you on the extra ground clearance, even just a few inches would be nice sometimes, even in town.
Yes. That was an option and you could rent them at the base of the mountain out of the park but I was already in the park for some miles and was not going back just to go a few miles more. They kept the road plowed to the museum but no further. We didn't know that going in. It was a sunny day in the 50s.
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Old 03-02-2018, 09:18 PM   #7
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Iím not converting mine to 4x4. But I did decide to give it a 3Ē lift & rear locker (coming very soon). Plus if I get stuck Iíll have a winch and Maxtrax to get me out of trouble.

I donít think it would survive actual off-roading so thereís no point doing a full conversion. But Iím hoping it will do well in rough gravel roads, beach camping and very mild off road situations.


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Old 03-03-2018, 08:22 AM   #8
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I saw the Winnebago Revel recently and all I can say is that this thing is huge. I mean tall and wide for a offroad vehicle. Not sure If I would pay that price just to have 4x4 RV and then panic every time the roof and sides hit the trees and branches. However on the sand and open trails I see the advantage but I would not take this were a jeep goes by no means. If you got unlimited cash or own a body shop then more power to yeah. Would I buy one NO. As I am more keen to an overland vehicle that would be highly modified for my needs and possible still come out cheaper.
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Old 03-03-2018, 08:27 AM   #9
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Default Since were on the subject of RV ability I would like some advice.

My RV is on the dodge promaster platform as how does that fwd perform in sand, snow etc if anyone has one that can answer. Thanks
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Old 03-03-2018, 01:50 PM   #10
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Regarding snow, my opinion will be subjective, and affected by snow, terrain, and tire differences. My take driving a rental Promaster based Winnebago Trend in light snow in the Black Hills last fall vs more snow in PA with a Sprinter is they are similar with the edge going to the Sprinter. The fwd disadvantage showed on uphills with turns, like pulling out of the campground parking lot and felt a little squirt on windy uphills. Either were maybe similar to our fwd Toyota Sienna with decent tires, vastly better than our old Suburban or Expedition in rwd modes, and notably worse than our awd cars (the Suburban in 4hi bests them all by a good margin).

I haven't read up on it, is the Sprinter 4x4 full time awd, or is it a real 4hi 4wd?
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Old 03-03-2018, 10:27 PM   #11
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I haven't read up on it, is the Sprinter 4x4 full time awd, or is it a real 4hi 4wd?
The Sprinter 4 x 4 is a conventional system with hi and low range but is compromised by its inability to shift between 2wd and 4wd on the fly which deprives you of the intertia that often can keep you from bogging down.

FWIW, the presence of 4WD running gear doesn't mean that it's installed on a good 4WD vehicle. The height to width ratio on a Sprinter compromises off road stability. With the OEM tires, the Sprinter will sink like a stone in mud. The wheel base and its approach and departure angles are far from optimum. There is no driveline protection. There is no bailout for getting stuck other than being towed out. Even a Jeep has a winch to address this inevitably. The bottom line is that for the 10k premium for the 4WD option all you'll get is better traction in snowy conditions which, incidentally, is exactly the scenario that prompted Mercedes initially to provide it for European winter driving. IMO, you'll save a lot of money with little traction loss by using Blizzack snow tires front and rear on a 2WD rather than opting for 4WD.
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Old 03-03-2018, 11:15 PM   #12
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The Sprinter 4 x 4 is a conventional system with hi and low range but is compromised by its inability to shift between 2wd and 4wd on the fly which deprives you of the intertia that often can keep you from bogging down.

...


You are describing the European system.

The NA version is different.
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Old 03-03-2018, 11:50 PM   #13
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So if you are comparing the Ram Promaster to the 4x4 Mercedes Sprinter than thanks for the comparison. As I would figure the 4x4 would easily win hands down. But just comparing a Front wheel Promaster in snow was outstanding.

I wasn't expecting a comparison when I asked the question about how people experienced the Ram Promaster compared to other vehicles but just their general overall view.

My experience so far is mixed with the promaster platform as I am still getting used to it and after so many thousands of miles and upgrades later time will tell.

Being in the business of test driving almost every make and model available that comes into the shops over the years I have some experience. But for an RV it is learned on the Freeway and parking lots maneuvering.

Please keep posting your view of the FWD Promaster as I am curious. Thank You
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Old 03-03-2018, 11:59 PM   #14
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Back in the early 90's I worked at Firestone for about 3 years as we did alot of repairs for used car dealers. It was difficult as our manager had us doing everything from bumper to bumper which was a good learning experience. Especially emission work which was very challenging to get them to pass.

Even as an A tech I had to do tire work everyday. When it snowed out our store was lined up with customer wanting snow tires. Now I couldn't do it now as my fingers would freeze but in my early 20's without even gloves we would roll our jacks out to the parking lot so we could install mostly Blizzacks.

I remember looking at the tires and all the little tiny holes which today reminds me of like microfiber towels type of rubbery sticky feel. Never put them on my own car back then as I didn't get paid enough to afford such luxury. So no real life experience then just driving alittle after installing them. But the managers loved selling them and the customers liked them as in the spring when I would switch back the customers mostly either liked or loved.

I also did work shortly at a Goodyear store as I was also impressed back in the early 1990's with the Goodyear AquaTreds as they were very unique compared to all the other tires. No experience with them either but I wanted some. Not sure if you can see them by a google search today of what they looked like then.
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Old 03-04-2018, 12:09 AM   #15
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You are describing the European system.

The NA version is different.
Originally Posted by cruising7388
The Sprinter 4 x 4 is a conventional system with hi and low range but is compromised by its inability to shift between 2wd and 4wd on the fly which deprives you of the intertia that often can keep you from bogging down.

I've owned a 4x4 sprinter since 2015 and cruising7388 is correct in that I have to stop (less than 5mph) to engage 4x4 from 2wd. I can drive as fast I want in 4wd (AWD) so it is better to engage the AWD if I think I'll need it.
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Old 03-04-2018, 12:28 AM   #16
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Been jeepin since I was a kid as we never used 4WD unless we wanted to go up a hill, through some mud or were in a bind.

On the fly 4wd is convenient but should be reserved for emergencys like unexpected snowfall through the pass as I get it. Now I realize people want to get through the snow to explore during winter etc. but if thats the case leave the RV at home or take it beyond a factory install.

By taking your RV to the next level by adding snow tires, lockers etc. and a good ham radio or cell booster to call the town truck.
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Old 03-04-2018, 12:51 AM   #17
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This is Advanced RV's video when they took in their first 4x4 Sprinters back in April, 2015. I believe they were the first to adapt them to Class B Sprinter RVs. They tested in two conditions, a newly melted snow field and in a Maple forest woods. They pretty much knew the results because I was in those same field maple sugaring and knew. It is interesting.



This is the WWII surplus jeep that pulled the van out. That's me and my wife. ARV puts its customer to work maple sugaring.

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Old 03-04-2018, 05:02 AM   #18
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....... The bottom line is that for the 10k premium for the 4WD option all you'll get is better traction in snowy conditions which, incidentally, is exactly the scenario that prompted Mercedes initially to provide it for European winter driving. IMO, you'll save a lot of money with little traction loss by using Blizzack snow tires front and rear on a 2WD rather than opting for 4WD.
Interesting info.... never thought of just having Blizzack snow tires on a 2WD Sprinter as an alternative to 4WD.

We like to boondock in areas that have dirt roads.... and if it rains those dirt roads can get very slippery. Clay in the dirt makes it extra slippery.

We also like exploring areas that are sandy / dirt washes.... and if rain comes in I was told "unless you have 4WD you are not getting out"

How about Blizzack snow (or more off road) tires on a 4WD? Extra insurance?

and.... anyone know what size Blizzack snow (or more off road) tires would be good?



FWIIW as far as I could figure from the MB web site - I seem to recall that adding 4WD to a 170 EB added about $7,500. (not 10,000)

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Old 03-04-2018, 07:38 AM   #19
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Interesting info.... never thought of just having Blizzack snow tires on a 2WD Sprinter as an alternative to 4WD.

We like to boondock in areas that have dirt roads.... and if it rains those dirt roads can get very slippery. Clay in the dirt makes it extra slippery.

We also like exploring areas that are sandy / dirt washes.... and if rain comes in I was told "unless you have 4WD you are not getting out"

How about Blizzack snow (or more off road) tires on a 4WD? Extra insurance?

and.... anyone know what size Blizzack snow (or more off road) tires would be good?



FWIIW as far as I could figure from the MB web site - I seem to recall that adding 4WD to a 170 EB added about $7,500. (not 10,000)

John
My reference to Blizzak is sort of generic. Bridgestone used to have pretty much a corner on premium snow tires but the competition has since heated up. Michelin now markets an ICE-X snow tire that seems to get highs marks. BTW, snow tire compounds have been significantly improved within recent years with respect to noise level and wear and I see some folks in the Sierras running them year round.

In any event, the name of the game is to employ snow tires both front and rear. Typically they are just mounted on the rear but it doesn't do much good to have the back of the vehicle well controlled while non-steering front tires slide you to the scene of the accident.

For slippery dirt roads I can't see how snow tires could do anything but help and 4WD would also be an assist.

Actually when sand gets wet, it stabilizes and is easy to drive on. It's deep dry sand or saturated mud that will sink you to the axles like a stone whether you have 2WD or 4WD.

With regard to the MSRP of 4WD, if you were ordering a Mercedes van directly from a dealer, the 4WD factory option would be in the whereabouts of 7.5 to 8k. But when an upfitter gets into the act, then it's apparently Katie bar the door. Roadtrek used to charge 8k but have jacked the option up to just short of 10k. WGO charges over 11k. Coachmen quoted 8k for their 4WD Galleria but I'll believe that when I see it. I've heard some rumors that the 2019 Sprinter will offer an AWD option to replace the current 4WD version.
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Old 03-04-2018, 01:31 PM   #20
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This is Advanced RV's video when they took in their first 4x4 Sprinters back in April, 2015. I believe they were the first to adapt them to Class B Sprinter RVs. They tested in two conditions, a newly melted snow field and in a Maple forest woods. They pretty much knew the results because I was in those same field maple sugaring and knew. It is interesting.
Thanks for sharing that, Davydd!

FWIW, we have had a 4WD F350 for twenty years and 200K miles. I have always felt like it would get me where I wanted to go under any kind of condition. Last year, we test drove a Roadtrek Sprinter 4WD. It made me nervous. Guess I would get used to it, but the CG is so high and the suspension is much softer than our truck that I felt uncomfortable going around curves. I've never seen one laying on its side so I'm sure they are perfectly safe.
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