4x4 or dually?

For the longest time we had a Ford 350 dually for towing a larger gooseneck (2+1 type model). It always felt super stable and easy for towing. We ended up getting a new truck a few years ago…and went with a Ford 350 4x4 (not dually)…part of the decision was so we could get a snowplow attachment to the front. Now we are not in a heavy snow area (unless we get a nor’easter). But our tractor was getting old (not reliably starting in cold weather)…and plowing on the tractor was cold. The idea of plowing sitting in the truck seemed way better! Of course, we got the plow and did use it the first year…and have not had measurable snow since (please snow gods - I am not mocking you!! Do not send a snowstorm my way!!).

Now the 4x4 hauls well, but doesn’t have the same stable feeling, and it sits much higher (maybe just a new model thing). The other day the dealer called, wanting to “buy” the truck since they know it is low miles. But, that did get us thinking, maybe going back to the dually isn’t such a bad thing.
Now, we don’t do lots of crazy miles/hauling…and if we do plow, it’s only our driveway and barn area (and a neighbor or two)…nothing commercial.

So, thoughts on staying with the 4x4 or going back to a dually? We really only use the truck for farm stuff, so it’s not that it needs to double as a primary vehicle (and fit into a parking garage or anything like that). Thanks:)

It doesn’t have to be one or the other. I have a RAM 3500 4 x 4 cab and chassis with an aluminum flatbed that is a dually.

Personally, I would never have a truck that was not four wheel drive. I can count the number of times I have parked on a hard top surface on one hand, and I have been hauling my own horses for 25+ year. I do, however, tow in rugged, hilly areas, as well as dirt roads and creek crossings.

I also haul cattle regularly, and the dual rear wheels make the trailer much more stable when doing that.

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We had this discussion at length before we bought ours. Much of what the new truck needed to do was pull. We trailer vehicles (full size SUV’s) for my hubby’s business, the horse trailer ( extra wide/tall), the tractor with implements, etc. We were doing it with a one ton single rear wheel gas truck. There were times that it just felt unstable, especially on the highway or in the rain. We live in the Piedmont so there is mountain travel as well.

After a lot of discussion amongst ourselves, our farming friends and acquaintances, we came to the conclusion that the 4x4 single rear wheel was just not going to be a stable as we wanted.

So we decided on dually for sure, then looked at 4x4’s and after some test drives found they were only slightly better in mud and snow than the 2wd. Certainly not as good as the single rear. Since we don’t tow in bad weather and have an offroad ready 4x4 with a 12k winch, why spend the money?

The only foreseeable problem is a wet field at a horse show. In that case I would not be the only truck stuck and it would take a lot of money in tows to make up for 4x4 upcharge. As for the plowing part, we don’t get that much snow. When we do the tractor makes quick work of it and seems more nimble. Yes, it is colder but the tractor bucket can move snow to better drainage areas but a truck can only push it.

So we went with the 2wd Diesel Dually. It has done one trailer trip for us and we were very happy. It is an older truck and we are getting it baselined and dialed in currently but we feel we made the right choice.

In my experience, I would not buy something to pull my horse trailer that was not 4WD. Like @cutter99 posted, I am almost never parking my trailer on a surface that one would consider level and smooth. It only takes a little bit of slope for the wet grass field to be hard to get out of. Or heck, one barn I go to frequently has a steep driveway that is not paved so getting out onto the busy road after stopping at the top is much less stressful when I can engage that 4WD.

I have owned two dually 4WD trucks so I see no reason to pick one or the other. Just get a truck that has both features if you want them. Those trucks did it all, plowed the driveway, pulled the trailer, etc.

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I agree with what others have said. 4x4 Dually for sure. We’ve had those for the last 20 years (several different brands/years along the way) and would never not consider 4x4. Now though we have a Freightliner to pull our big 52’ trailer and it is not 4x4 (those are very hard to come by for some reason). We have not got stuck yet knock on wood but I’m sure its going to happen at some point at some show!

And my husband has always plowed snow with his dually. For many, many years with no issues.

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We have a 3/4 ton 4x4 truck and a 2wd dually. The dually is a 1 ton and it got stuck on a light coating of snow, where my truck didn’t even notice or need to shift to 4x4. I have a friend with a 4x4 dually and she uses her tractor to tow it and the trailer to the road because the 4x4 is worthless on such a heavy truck.

If you need the tow power go with the dually and make sure you never off road. I stuck with my regular truck and although I only use the 4x4 a few times a year, it’s priceless to me.

Thanks everyone for the feedback - gives me some things to think about! So in doing some deeper thinking about the truck I actually have decided that the better decision may be to downsize the trailer! Current trailer is a gooseneck that is 24’ on the ground. And I really mostly only haul 1 horse. When I got it, we were breeding and taking mares and foals to inspections so the option for 2 box (its a roomy 2+1 with a 6’ dressing room). Now I am not, and I don’t plan to return to doing that. So instead of switching the truck we are looking at seeing what a newer trailer would be with our trade in. Of course, I might still decide to go back to the dually…but if I do the trailer swap then the truck will need to stay as is for a while.

Duallys get stuck because of surface area. A SRW will get to “good ground” sooner because it’s got more pressure per tread. Duallys are known to float around because they have more tread on the ground = less pressure per tread. It’s a hindrance, not a help, unless you’re looking for side to side stability when towing.

Depending on where you are, a heavy 4x4 isn’t a bad thing. If you’re in straight slop, of course you want the lighter one because you don’t want to end up sunk to the frame rails. But in snow on frozen ground, or on ice? Give me heavy all day long.