One of the most frequent questions we receive is: “Do I need 4x4?”
The answer to this question isn’t always easy to answer as the answer is always dependent on the customer and how they want to use their van. Where do you plan to take your van? Are you going into the deep backcountry? Will you be completely alone? These are all good questions to ask when considering your van.
Do you absolutely need 4x4? More than likely the answer is no. We have taken 2WD (2 wheel drive) vans to almost all the same places our 4wd vans have gone. Of course there are situations that may arise where 4x4 would be needed, but these tend to be rare. Heck we even think that 2wd vans drive and handle better than 4x4.
At the end of the day, most customers are putting quite a bit of money into their van conversions. Be smart about the places you plan to go and don’t put yourself in situations where you need 4x4.
2WD vans weigh less, around 270 lbs, and thus get better fuel efficiency than 4x4. Over the course of time, this adds up. Especially on cross country trips.
Cost: 2WD vans cost close to $10k less than a 4x4.
2WD chassis vans are more readily available, especially right now. Wait lists for 4x4 chassis can be extremely long, especially in our current economic situation.
While 4x4 may look like it has more ground clearance, they are actually the same. The body of the 4x4 is lifted. This is in regards to Sprinter vans.
Tips for success in a 2WD Van:
Larger Tires and/or Wheels-
We recommend upgrading the tires on any build, especially 2wd. A good set of tires will help overcome obstacles and make your rig as capable as possible.
We are big fans of the BF Goodrich KO2’s. With an aggressive tread that still rides well on the highway, you can’t go wrong with these tires.
2019+ Sprinter 2500 2WDs can safely run 245/70-R17 tires without fender modification. With the installation of Agile No Rub Fenders 265/70-R17 tires fit without rubbing or trimming.
MaxTrax is one of the top names in the game when it comes to recovery boards. Good in snow, mud, sand, slush and even gravel. These boards will help you get out of any situations you find yourself stuck in.
A good shovel can be a life saver. Not just for getting yourself out of sticky situations, they have plenty of applications for vanlifing as well. Dig a fire pit, holes for defecation, moving embers in the fire, or leveling out the ground.
If you can’t get yourself out, it never hurts to have the gear so that another could. Bonus: you then have the great to help someone else get out.
One of the best ways to gain some extra cushion and/or traction is to lower the air pressure on your tires. However, you obviously need a good way to air them back up! Air compressors also come in handy if you get a flat.
Tire Repair Kit-
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