Winter Truck: RWD w/ locking diff OR 4x4 w/o locking diff

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63
Location
Canada eh
Thread starter
I'm thinking of retiring my current winter truck, which is the 95 chevy silverado in my sig. Nothing wrong with it, just want something newer (around 2011-15ish). I live outside the city and a winter truck is almost a must have for wintertime. I could save a lot $$$ if I don't go after a 4x4, so now I'm considering buying a rear-wheel drive truck with a locking/limited-slip differential. Will my plan work? (I put winter tires on every vehicle I own) Thanks!
 
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1,480
Location
WI
I'd rather have a normal 4x4 truck. A wheel on the back and a wheel on the front will be better than both on the back. It helps having the steering wheels participate.
 
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16,367
Location
NH
Originally Posted by Chris142
A 2wd truck with a posi rear end is a hand full on snow and ice.
That is my thinking too. If it has VSC/TC it might avoid that--but even then, with no load in the rear, it may lead to some wide wide turns. In my truck, VSC is very obtrusive and is often turned off in winter, as it will prevent any tire slip... which is kinda needed on snow. Which did lead me to take up a good chunk of lane once... and that was with snow tires too. I'd stick 4x4. 2WD can be made to work, but... how much more is it to get? How much effort do you want to put into making 2WD work? Also, could you semi-retire the old 4x4 and bring it out on the worst of days?
 
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Astro14

Staff member
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11,326
Location
Virginia Beach
No. It won't work. RWD trucks have poor weight distribution. Low weight over the driving wheels. Poor stability and poor traction as a result.
 

Al

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18,946
Location
Elizabethtown, Pa
Originally Posted by Astro14
No. It won't work. RWD trucks have poor weight distribution. Low weight over the driving wheels. Poor stability and poor traction as a result.
This
 
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664
Location
New Hampshire USA
Back in the old days one would secure 250 lbs in the box and drive sensibly. Now 4wd is preferred but has it`s own cautions. AWD is safer but probably out of the price range for a beater.
 
Messages
63
Location
Canada eh
Thread starter
Originally Posted by supton
Originally Posted by Chris142
A 2wd truck with a posi rear end is a hand full on snow and ice.
That is my thinking too. If it has VSC/TC it might avoid that--but even then, with no load in the rear, it may lead to some wide wide turns. In my truck, VSC is very obtrusive and is often turned off in winter, as it will prevent any tire slip... which is kinda needed on snow. Which did lead me to take up a good chunk of lane once... and that was with snow tires too. I'd stick 4x4. 2WD can be made to work, but... how much more is it to get? How much effort do you want to put into making 2WD work? Also, could you semi-retire the old 4x4 and bring it out on the worst of days?
I'm thinking of selling my 2wd ranger and replace with a 1/2 ton. I like the simplicity of the 2wd truck, good fuel economy too. But after reading all the comments I think I'll stick with a 4wd and save some headache. The old truck works, but you never know what happens next, that's why I'm thinking of replace it.
 
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2,165
Location
Flaherty, KY
RWD trucks are awful in snow and ice, posi or locking differentials help a small amount, but traction will still stink. It's a PIA having to put weight in the bed everytime the roads get slick, then having to remove said weight so you can drive around in good conditions without the weight / fuel economy penalty. 4WD trucks on the other hand are very good in inclement weather.
 
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9,948
Location
Colorado Springs
Trucks in general are awful in snow, let alone 2WD LSD or not. If owners would understand that we would have far less accidents here in CO when it snows.
 
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4,148
Location
N.C.
Originally Posted by 92saturnsl2
RWD trucks are awful in snow and ice, posi or locking differentials help a small amount, but traction will still stink. It's a PIA having to put weight in the bed everytime the roads get slick, then having to remove said weight so you can drive around in good conditions without the weight / fuel economy penalty. 4WD trucks on the other hand are very good in inclement weather.
This! My RWD G80 LSD is a dinosaur on snow and ice. I end up leaving my truck in the garage and driving my wife's ES350 FWD when we get snow and ice. She gives me grief about leaving my big ballsy truck in the garage and driving her girly sedan when bad weather hits. blush
 
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10,416
Location
Cincinnati, OH, USA
I'm going to (somewhat) play devil's advocate on this one-a 3/4 or 1 ton RWD van, with my studded BFG Commercial Traction T/A 10 plys on, is FAR safer on ice than a 4X4 truck, even with a load in the back. Most 4X4s tend to have a high center of gravity, which can make winter driving pretty exciting. It's not winter in the Ohio Valley until the first 4X4 is on its roof on I-75! Now, in heavy snow, four wheel drive wins.
 
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1,434
Location
iowa
Out of the last 5 Chevy trucks I've owned of the last many years, the first 3 were 4WD on winter tires, and after only using 4WD just a few times, the last 3 trucks have been 2WD with a locking differential that works just fine 99% of the time. Otherwise you just get stuck deeper with 4WD.
 
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Messages
2,669
Location
Chicagoland
I spent my early years of winter driving in an open diff RWD Silverado 1500 with 500'ish pounds of tube sand in the bed. While it's an awful choice if you get FEET of snow, a few inches was no problem. Decent tires, drive accordingly, and you'll have no issues.
 
Messages
503
Location
Eastern Wa.
I drive a 2011 Chevy 1/2 ton 2 wheel drive work truck year round. The last two winters just tube sand in the back and newer all season tires (less than 10,000 miles). I get around pretty good, unless really deep snow. Modern 2 wheel drive trucks have a good amount of ground clearence. I think I'm a more cautious driver than the guy in the Subaru going 10 over in a snow storm.
 
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