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-   -   4wd really needed? (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/4wd-overland-tech/4wd-really-needed-32418)

4WDTraveller 17 Jan 2008 17:39

4wd really needed?
 
I'm just wondering: how often do people actually use 4 wheel drive when travelling by 4x4? I know quite a number of travellers who would have been fine in a station wagon, but choose 4wd more for image than practicality.

With 4L available, people often get them selves into trouble that they would otherwise have avoided had they been driving a Calibu rather than a Landcru, for example.

Any thoughts/experiences on this?

Rebaseonu 17 Jan 2008 19:28

First, about what part of the Earth are you talking about?

Low range is very helpful on small tracks, on abandoned mountains passes on old roads etc. However, this does not mean you can't do without 4wd. When driving west coast route in Africa I was quite surprised that main roads are much better than expected. Of course in wet season things will be different but during dry season when one uses only main routes then 4wd is generally not required. But if one likes more adventurous travel on small tracks then 4WD is a must.

Main problem is that people who are planning their first trip just don't know what to expect. They have seen all these loaded Defenders and think that is the only way of doing it. You see many tourist 4WDs in Africa that generaly stay on main road but that have every kind of off-road accessory installed. This kind of stuff is not needed for general travel.

Other thing is that reading books like Tom Sheppards "Vehicle-dependent expedition guide" makes people think that they are going to that kind of expedition, so they prepare too much. However, Toms book is about serious expeditions like crossing Sahara desert off-road, not driving on main routes as most people end up doing.

pieter 17 Jan 2008 19:52

Quite some time back I lived/worked in Nigeria and we had the use of an old Peugeot 405. A long wheelbase car which you would think would be uterly useless off road, but we got over some very badly eroded tracks with it (very slowly, though).

Mind you, this was in the dry season! In the rainy season we did get around fine as well, but wouldn't have tried anything too adventurous.

Pieter

JulianVoelcker 17 Jan 2008 19:53

In most countries you travel you will find locals driving around in beaten up 2wds so in theory you should be able to do a round the world trip in a 2wd.

However you will find that most 4wds tend to be a lot more robust so will survive the trip with less problems.

Also 4wd alows you to travel routes that 2wds can't handle and also to travel a lot more safely.

The bottom line is that 4wd is not essential, but you will be safer and be able to do a lot more in a 4wd than you would in a 2wd.

Brian E 18 Jan 2008 00:40

I totally agree 4WD is not needed, a good driver in a 2WD can drive almost anywhere against that is a bad driver in a 4x4 can drive anywhere.
The most useful feature in a 4x4 is the low ratio that might be a miss if your using a 2WD vehicle. unless you can put a lower ratio diff on the vehicle.

Walkabout 18 Jan 2008 00:51

Quote:

Originally Posted by 4WDTraveller (Post 169060)
I'm just wondering: how often do people actually use 4 wheel drive when travelling by 4x4? I know quite a number of travellers who would have been fine in a station wagon, but choose 4wd more for image than practicality.

With 4L available, people often get them selves into trouble that they would otherwise have avoided had they been driving a Calibu rather than a Landcru, for example.

Any thoughts/experiences on this?


Hi,
If you want any more views on this question, there are a shedload of similar threads in here - from my recollection of reading one or two, they concur that 4 wheel drive is not necessary.
A nice to have, perhaps, for that "safety feeling" (alluded to earlier) that folk need to one degree or another.

:welcome: to the HUBB BTW.

4WDTraveller 18 Jan 2008 04:10

Good point, thanks Dave (and for the welcome). I should have searched first...funny how often people choose to forget not to!

Anyway, I'm starting to think the only real advantage of 4wd for a longer RTW trip is the extra storage and carrying capacity. A 2wd SUV for example would carry as much or more and get better fuel economy, and still offer better ground clearance than your average car.

Dessertstrom 18 Jan 2008 10:54

:welcome: 4wd traveller,
In Saudi there is a road that runs from the mountains to the Red Sea which crosses many bridges over wadies,I had used this road for years almost every weekend. Never needed to use 4wd as it is tarmac all the way until one day it rained and rained and rained and the resultant head of water took all the bridges out which meant crossing the river beds. At each river crossing I had to tow my mates 2wd across using low range 4wd on my Landcruiser.
I have also done a lot of offroading in 2wd but every so often you need 4wd it all depends on where you want to go.
Cheers
Ian:thumbup1:

gilghana1 18 Jan 2008 12:03

Quote:

Originally Posted by 4WDTraveller (Post 169060)
I'm just wondering: how often do people actually use 4 wheel drive when travelling by 4x4? I know quite a number of travellers who would have been fine in a station wagon, but choose 4wd more for image than practicality.

With 4L available, people often get them selves into trouble that they would otherwise have avoided had they been driving a Calibu rather than a Landcru, for example.

Any thoughts/experiences on this?

Welcome 4wd traveller
My thoughts:
- whenever I am on unsealed roads my car is in 4 wheel drive, simply as a safety issue, so 4x4 gets used a lot!
- Yes you could drive around in a 4x2, but for me anyway part of the fun of travel is being on really quite remote and little used roads, and I also really enjoy off-road travel and there I would want/have to be in a 4x4.
- Carrying capacity is another aspect, as I tend to carry a lot of stuff so a 4x4 again is better at load carrying.
- again the safety issue as pointed out already in that you never know what is ahead of you sometimes.

Given the choice for me there is no question and I would go 4x4 anytime. Of course it also depends... On holiday in Europe I never use a 4x4 because I don't need to as even if I am traveling it is on good roads
Gil

Alexlebrit 18 Jan 2008 13:07

Have you been watching Top Gear?
 
Top Gear | Windows Media Video - broadband

The boys crossing Africa in an assortment of poorly maintained ill-suited 2wd's including a Lancia Beta. Mind you I bet they had 4wd support vehicles.

I know I went all osrts of places well off-road when I was in Austalia in an old Holden hurse, and while it did it there was always that nagging doubt in the back of my mind, the one that said "You have no safety net". I think that's what a 4wd gives you. That said it can also give you a false sense of security, I've seen Chelsea Tractors stuck up to their windows in water trying to cross a ford near me.

Walkabout 18 Jan 2008 17:02

Quote:

Originally Posted by 4WDTraveller (Post 169060)
I'm just wondering: how often do people actually use 4 wheel drive when travelling by 4x4? I know quite a number of travellers who would have been fine in a station wagon, but choose 4wd more for image than practicality.

With 4L available, people often get them selves into trouble that they would otherwise have avoided had they been driving a Calibu rather than a Landcru, for example.

Any thoughts/experiences on this?


I've just remembered that there are also some intelligent discussions in those other threads about the ground clearance of vehicles.
Between the wheel base, and at the front and back of the vehicle; there is a fancy term for the latter but I can't remember it!!

Ground clearance can be more important than how much traction you have - just a further thought.

noel di pietro 18 Jan 2008 20:11

choices
 
He 4WDTraveller,

Its all about choices! No you don't need 4WD, no you don't need a jeep type of car. Maybe you have heard about those Belgian guys who did Belgium - Cape Town in 2CV Citroen, if you like welding 6 broken axels, chassis, etc, that is the way to go! But try to cross Congo in the rainy season in 2WD or follow the Turkana route with 300 km of boulders in a not so sturdy car, or try to cross 300 rows of sand dunes in the Tenere and Bilma deserts. Ok you do not need to do those things but after 60.000 km and 30 countries in Africa, those are the thing I remember most vividly and which make me smile, even after 2 years. Its all about choices, you will get there certainly in a very easy way if you stay on the tar!

Check my site with a 10 minute movie trailer on what you might mis out on in a 2WD!

exploreafrica.web-log.nl

Cheers,
Noel

RogerM 18 Jan 2008 20:18

"Approach" and "Departure" angles.

About 25 years ago I was tasked with setting up a comparison of a Toyota Landcruiser 4x4 and a Holden Kingswood Ute automatic with a limited slip differential, for a truck magasine.

We had to drive both vehicles in some sand dunes, up a muddy track, and up a rocky and badly rutted track.

I was amazed that the Holden went everywhere the Toyo did, and in the sand pissed all over the Toyo.

I think that 4x4 is often over rated, its not necessarily better than a conventional 4x2 vehicle - just look at Top Deck Travel who ran double decker buses from London to Nepal in the 1970s along some awful tracks. How many VW Kombis did the Europe to India or South Africa trip as well - must have been thousands of them over the years?

4WDTraveller 18 Jan 2008 22:36

Interesting points, Roger. I too have seen 2wd's go some very impressive places, which is often a testament to driver skill (not mine...I need 4WD to compensate for my poor driving, more often than not...)

The Holden ute with an LSD would be a good climber...but if the TLC had a LSD or diff-lock, I imagine the results of the test would have favoured the Toyo? An open-diff 4WD is really a 2WD...and a 2WD with LSD is also a 2WD...

Dessertstrom 19 Jan 2008 08:02

Momentum
 
I was returning to our camp on the beach along a hard pack track in 2wd and took a wrong fork in the track that I didn't know. After about 1klm I went over a drop off about two feet and the shock made the 4wd lever jump it's gate leaving me in 2wd with 2klms of soft sandy beach to the camp.
I had enough hard track to get up to speed in third gear and hit the beach at about 60klms per hour with the engine screeming and the shogun bouncing all over I managed to get to the camp. My mate heard me coming and stood in the soft track wondering what was going on but he was in my way and as soon as I lifted off the throttle the shogun sank in the sand.
So when you are on your RTW don't go on the many beautiful beaches in 2wd,you have to stop some time.
Cheers
Ian:thumbup1:


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