TV Q's: Expedition EL (2wd vs 4wd, EcoBoost, etc)

Discussion in 'Tow Vehicles, Hitch & Towing' started by audiodane, Jul 23, 2018.

  1. audiodane

    audiodane New Member

    Jun 15, 2018
    Hey all!

    We decided to not overburden our 2012 Odyssey, and are looking to trade it in for a Ford Expedition EL (has more rear storage and better [60/40] 3rd row split [and 3rd row leg room] than YukonXL or Suburban).

    - Currently live in northern Alabama.
    - Looking to make plans for nearly-monthly (call it 8x per year) camping over the next 5-7yrs
    - Do not yet have a camper; looking at either larger PUPs for our 5 + fosters, or a smaller full camper. Leaning towards a PUP as we can store it in the garage and not pay a monthly U-Store-It fee.
    - We have nothing remotely close to Colorado mountains, but we do plan on plenty of trips within 500 miles of north alabama (which includes the Great Smoky Mountains), a few up and down the eastern seaboard, and perhaps one or two potential cross-country.

    Anyhoo, straight to the point... questions..

    1) 2wd vs 4wd?
    2) EcoBoost engine (2015+) or not?
    3) "Tow Package?"
    4) Anything I'm missing?

    2wd vs 4wd
    I have just assumed that one would want 4wd when towing. However yesterday a good friend suggested that we should only get a 4wd if we're concerned with resale value; that a 2wd Expedition EL is a rear wheel drive anyway, so if anything we'll have more weight with a PUP attached. I argued that I would want 4wd for when navigating in and out of areas that are not paved. He asked if we were looking at a camper with a bathroom and I said likely not, and he replied "then you're likely to only go camping at improved campgrounds (with bath houses), which are all typically paved these days and/or flat. No 4wd necessary."

    This really surprised me as he's the type of guy that I would expect to fully recommend 4wd. The fact that he's not has really thrown me sideways. Looking for more opinions.. All things being equal, the same price can get us either a 2015 4wd Expy EL w/ 90k miles, or a 2017 2wd Expy EL w/ 60k miles. Two years newer and 2/3 the mileage if we go 2wd.

    I have read good things about the EcoBoost. It's more powerful and also a few MPG more efficient than it's predecessor Triton engine. It can go from cruising to passing speed in half the time than the Triton. However, all things being equal, moving from a 2014 Expy EL w/ Triton engine to a 2015 Expy EL with EcoBoost will jump us $10k (from $20k to $30k).

    Tow Package?
    It seems all Expeditions (that I've found on Autotrader at least) have hitches. But I don't trust much in a used-car listing when it comes to what kind of "tow package" may or may not be installed. Wikipedia doesn't help much either. It says there is a "heavy duty tow package" available; at what point do I actually need such a package? It seems Expy EL's are rated in the range of >8k-lb, and I think we'll be towing in the realm of 4-5k (with trailer, people, luggage). But is that 8k only with a "heavy duty tow package?" And if we do need it, how do we check that a used vehicle for sale has it? If we get one that does not have the heavy duty tow package, what does that do to our towing capability (again, I'm not finding much useful info online between with and without; I'm only finding "max towing, when properly equipped." umm... thanks interwebs...)

    EDIT: I finally found this from Ford about 2017's at least:
    Looks like standard is only 6k-lbs, and the heavy duty pushes it to 9k-lbs. (Back to autotrader to see if they know the difference in their search terms...)

    EDIT: I was able to register at and use their VIN lookup. At least that site clearly states (for one random VIN off autotrader) "With Heavy Duty Trailer Towing".. Another few VINs later and I found one that said "Trailer Prep" or similar, but not the HD towing package. At least now I have a way to confirm specific vehicles that I find... yay!

    What am I missing?
    I'll be honest-- what I *want* to hear is that a standard Triton engine, 2wd Expy will be more than sufficient, 110% of the time; that I don't need to spend an additional $10k, and that I don't need a "heavy duty tow package."

    But, what I *need* to hear is an honest answer to these questions. ;)

    thanks so much,
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  2. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

    May 31, 2018
    I would check to see what the tow package includes. Most times it includes a better cooling system , along with the hitch, and wiring set up allready. Depending on the year, my 2012 gmc has stability and traction controll along with some computerized anti sway things that I know nothing about. If I was looking for a tow vehical , I would want the tow package to reduce ware and tare on the tv.
    audiodane likes this.
  3. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

    I see no need for a 4x4 unless you plan on going up logging roads & snow capped mountains.
    Sjm9911 and audiodane like this.
  4. JustRelax

    JustRelax Active Member

    Feb 20, 2013
    I have the 2wd expy and love it. It'll be worth less when you sell it by the same amount it's worth less than what you'd pay more for the 4wd now... You'll be limited more by the pop up or camper than where you can go with 2wd. If you need 4wd to get to the campsite you'll likely beat up a standard camper

    You can actually tow more with the 2wd than 4wd usually by the difference of the additional weight added by 4wd components.

    My 2012 is rated for 6000 lbs without or 8900 with a WDH. I don't know if this is true across the board that the only difference is the WDH.

    I am more than confident that the 2wd Triton will be sufficient for you.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
    audiodane likes this.
  5. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

    Oct 3, 2007
    Waterford, Ct
    I also agree on the 2WD, but just about everything in New England is 4WD. If it snows that bad I will stay home. Last year I shopped a new 2WD truck, I dealer found the truck I wanted ....... in Virginia! I'm inConnecticut..... Could order one, but then no special deals. Guess what, I still have my 19 year old GMC.
    And you don't want towing prep ........ you want a factory tow package..... will have the extra coolers, and wiring.
    audiodane likes this.
  6. audiodane

    audiodane New Member

    Jun 15, 2018
    Thank you everyone! I feel more confident in buying now. We'll start looking around (and checking VINs).. Thanks again!
  7. FarmerDave

    FarmerDave Active Member

    Jun 15, 2012
    Nova Scotia
    Never needed 4x4 in a campground yet....but used it plenty for everything else the truck does.

    Have 3.5 ecoboost in an F150. Zero complaints on power towing 6000lb travel trailer.
    audiodane likes this.
  8. Shaman1

    Shaman1 Well-Known Member

    May 13, 2011
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    My 2008 2wd Expy pulls the pup or the Hybrid without any problems at all. I think you will enjoy yours. My DW certainly prefers the ride in it to the 3500 pickup.
    audiodane likes this.
  9. BBQdave

    BBQdave Member

    Aug 31, 2016
    North Carolina
    Agree :)

    Different vehicle than what you are looking at, but my Nissan Frontier (2wd) does fine pulling a small Cub Scout trailer to camping events. State Parks with gravel and dirt roads, no issues. Been to the Smoky's a few times this Summer with my kids, some steep gravel dirt roads we have traveled to camp - no problems.

    And I am doing this on the factory tires with road grip. When these tires wear, will look at more aggressive tread - but so far have not needed a more aggressive tire.

    I would offer, most of your travel challenges off road can be addressed with good off road tires - rather than 4x4 :)

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