New to AK - Dodge Diesel - Diesel Truck Resource Forums

AKDTR #12 Forum for the Alaska Chapter 12

New to AK

Reply

 
 
 
Old 09-11-2012, 02:51 AM
  #1  
Registered User
Thread Starter
 
8Lug_hotrod's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Fairbanks, AK
Posts: 50
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
New to AK

Hey,
I just got up here a week ago and I'm looking for some advice on wintering my truck and really anything else to get me prepped for winter and possibly a hunting buddy to show me the lay of the land.

From what I've read this is what I NEED to do:
Block heater- done
Coolant
Battery blankets
Cold front
Trans pan heater

Reccomended:
Synthetic ATF? Thought ATF was synth
Oilpan heater
0-40 wt oil
Stock up on additives ( power service white bottle I assume?)
Weight for the bed
Gear oil?
Remote start- done
Garage- n/a

So the big question is; what's necessary and what will make my truck the most reliable this winter? Also what will help me to survive this winter? I just moved up from west Georgia but spent 4 years in the Hudson valley of new York prior to that.

Thanks,

Adam
8Lug_hotrod is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2012, 10:28 PM
  #2  
Registered User
 
Adaminak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 616
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Welcome to Alaska!

I had two diesels when I lived in Fairbanks; one auto, one manual. Generally they're not too difficult to keep running well in the winter, but it helps longevity to make a few easy mods in preparation for the really cold snaps.

Block heater- done
If you're not going to buy a timer, make sure you run this at least 4hrs prior to estimated start time...6hrs minimum when temps are below -30.

Coolant
Should already be good for -40, but if not, a 60% coolant/40% water mix is an overall good way to go. Don't go much over 65% coolant as it diminishes effectiveness and actually freezes faster

Battery blankets
Very important to keep your batteries alive longer than one season. Also makes a big difference if your batts are a bit older and not as capable as they used to be.

Cold front
CRITICAL! Go see Alaska Tent and Tarp...they used to make a great winter front out of canvas that covers the entire front end. For an extra few dollars, they would extend it to cover the entire bottom of the engine bay, keeping more heat in. A simple piece of cardboard is better than nothing, but at Fairbanks temps you really need the extra coverage offered by a true winter front. Don't even bother with the grill slats as they don't do enough at those temps to make them worthwhile.

Trans pan heater
Very important for an Auto, less so for a manual. When you run the oil pan heaters, make sure you add a 15 watt or 25 watt strip to the center of your tranny pan.

Synthetic ATF? Thought ATF was synth
ATF is synthetic, but some are better than others. I didn't change it in my auto and while I did replace three transmissions, none were cold-ATF related.

Oilpan heater
This is NOT an option. You've got 3gals of oil that will be at roughly ambient temperature. It doesn't matter how good it is, oil is still thick at -40, and all the heat you just put into your coolant system with your block heater has been sucked out by the cold oil now sludging it's way through your block. Both of my trucks had two 50w heaters on the oil sump; one on each side.

0-40 wt oil
I ran Chevron DELO 5w-40 non-synthetic in my '99, and Rotella 5w-30 Synthetic in my '02 and it makes a difference. I prefer synthetics, but the price is roughly 30% higher.

Stock up on additives ( power service white bottle I assume?)
PS White is a good one, and I used it a lot during the winter months. Also make sure you've got a small bottle of the PS Emergency 911 in the event it actually gels. Most stations in that area do a really good job of providing good, clean fuel, so gelling is fairly rare, but it pays to be prepared.

Weight for the bed
Helpful, but not necessary. I never ran more than 200lbs in sandbags, and that was mostly so I had sand in the event I had an "unintentional off-road excursion"

Gear oil?
It's already synthetic, but if you haven't changed recently it's as good a time as any to make sure you're running clean stuff without any water contamination. I've frozen differentials solid due to poor maintenance and driving through streams in the fall hunting seasons.

Remote start- done
Be careful with this one...if it doesn't start you run the risk of hurting your batteries. Also be advised the rules on the military bases used to be no more than 10 minute unattended warm-up time during the winter months.

While it's certainly not required, a set of winter tires makes a HUGE difference. The roads (especially in town) will be hardpack snow and ice covered from late October through mid-April. I used 4-wheel drive for most of my in-town driving and shifted out when I hit the highways. Avoid a mud-terrain tire as it doesn't have enough biting surfaces (sipes) to get traction on loose snow and ice. If all you have is what's on your truck, you can have most any tire shop sipe your tires for $10-$30 each, and it'll make a noticeable difference.

Also what will help me to survive this winter?
CARRY AN EMERGENCY KIT IN EVERY VEHICLE!!!!! I can't state enough how important this really is. It doesn't matter if it's a 5min trip to the Shoppette/BX, a 4am Taco Bell run or a several day caribou hunt...at -40 any slight incident can end up life-threatening. Make sure your kit includes a candle, strike-anywhere matches, MREs, a clean can (melt snow for water), a few road flares, a small hatchet or flexi-saw, and a blanket or sleeping bags. If you're not already wearing your extreme-cold jacket and boots when you leave the house, make sure you've got them with you.

A few other general things to keep in mind: Don't skimp on clothing...get the warmest stuff you can afford and don't worry about "fashion". Real wool clothing is still hard to beat up here. Wear multiple layers of loose-fitting clothing, and always keep a warm hat on your head. When you take your arctic survival course, you'll learn the mantra "To sweat in the Arctic, is to die in the Arctic"; it's true. If you get wet for whatever reason, get out of the clothes as soon as possible and let them dry before you put them back on. It's better to sit naked under a blanket than to have wet clothes under a blanket. Eventually the clothes will dry (crack the ice after it forms if they're really wet), and you'll be able to put them back on. Consider going to a tanning booth once a month or so to ease the light-deprivation issues. I'm sure you'll get a lot more during inprocessing, but this is a good start!
Adaminak is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2012, 12:16 AM
  #3  
Registered User
 
notw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Alaska
Posts: 199
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Welcome! That is a very thorough post Adaminak. The only thing I could add is a spare fuel filter if you do happen to get bad fuel. 8lug find a winter hobby. Snowmobiling, skiing, trapping, anything to help pass the time. Winters are awesome up here if you have something to do.
notw is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2012, 10:42 AM
  #4  
Registered User
 
cougar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: alaska
Posts: 2,405
Thanked 101 Times in 79 Posts
Originally Posted by Adaminak View Post
Also what will help me to survive this winter?
CARRY AN EMERGENCY KIT IN EVERY VEHICLE!!!!! I can't state enough how important this really is. It doesn't matter if it's a 5min trip to the Shoppette/BX, a 4am Taco Bell run or a several day caribou hunt...at -40 any slight incident can end up life-threatening. Make sure your kit includes a candle, strike-anywhere matches, MREs, a clean can (melt snow for water), a few road flares, a small hatchet or flexi-saw, and a blanket or sleeping bags. If you're not already wearing your extreme-cold jacket and boots when you leave the house, make sure you've got them with you.

A few other general things to keep in mind: Don't skimp on clothing...get the warmest stuff you can afford and don't worry about "fashion". Real wool clothing is still hard to beat up here. Wear multiple layers of loose-fitting clothing, and always keep a warm hat on your head. When you take your arctic survival course, you'll learn the mantra "To sweat in the Arctic, is to die in the Arctic"; it's true. If you get wet for whatever reason, get out of the clothes as soon as possible and let them dry before you put them back on. It's better to sit naked under a blanket than to have wet clothes under a blanket. Eventually the clothes will dry (crack the ice after it forms if they're really wet), and you'll be able to put them back on. Consider going to a tanning booth once a month or so to ease the light-deprivation issues. I'm sure you'll get a lot more during inprocessing, but this is a good start!
This is the most important part. It is you, and whoever is with you that has to survive. I has a kit in each vehicle that will allow 2 people (the wife and I) to survive for 3 days. Then each of us takes with them their own winter survival pack. That has our winter clothes in it.
cougar is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-17-2012, 03:35 PM
  #5  
Registered User
Thread Starter
 
8Lug_hotrod's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Fairbanks, AK
Posts: 50
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Adaminak, thanks for taking the time to put together that detailed response. I feel more prepared for the upcoming winter and I'm about finished with winterizing my truck.
I've been looking into getting a snow machine but I've gotta revolver some costs from this move and my new tranny before I can get into anymore hobbies at this point. Heck, I'm still trying to bag a moose.
8Lug_hotrod is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-17-2012, 10:06 PM
  #6  
Registered User
 
Adaminak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 616
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by notw View Post
Welcome! That is a very thorough post Adaminak. The only thing I could add is a spare fuel filter if you do happen to get bad fuel. 8lug find a winter hobby. Snowmobiling, skiing, trapping, anything to help pass the time. Winters are awesome up here if you have something to do.
I knew there was something I was forgetting! I've had a few gel issues and a clean filter is almost mandatory to get things running again. The hobbies are a great suggestion as well. There is almost always a winter trap and skeet league that is paid for by MWR, so you can shoot at the range for free a few months of the year. They used to provide a -40 patch if you shot a full round at or below that temp, and the camaraderie of shooting in such horrible conditions makes it all the more worthwhile.

Originally Posted by cougar View Post
This is the most important part. It is you, and whoever is with you that has to survive. I has a kit in each vehicle that will allow 2 people (the wife and I) to survive for 3 days. Then each of us takes with them their own winter survival pack. That has our winter clothes in it.
It took me a few years before I believed I was invincible, but Alaska just isn't the place to fool around with. When I arrived at Eielson in Mar '95 I hadn't received much in the way of guidance and I learned quickly and painfully that blue jeans are NOT adequate clothing for extended walks outside at -30

Originally Posted by 8Lug_hotrod View Post
Adaminak, thanks for taking the time to put together that detailed response. I feel more prepared for the upcoming winter and I'm about finished with winterizing my truck.
I've been looking into getting a snow machine but I've gotta revolver some costs from this move and my new tranny before I can get into anymore hobbies at this point. Heck, I'm still trying to bag a moose.
No worries; it's what most Alaskans would do. When you moved up here didn't the gov't foot most of the bill? I know my partial DITY didn't do much more than cover costs, but when I moved back on a full DITY it paid rather nicely.

Good luck with the moose...I took my guns for the obligatory walk in the woods and after seeing absolutely nothing, I've given up for the year. I miss the ease of hunting around Fairbanks though...down here the stupid rules, quotas, private property, restricted property, native lands, and other assorted BS suck most of the fun out of it.

Again, welcome to the wildest, most extreme, most unique and most rewarding place you'll ever live.
Adaminak is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2012, 09:10 PM
  #7  
Registered User
Thread Starter
 
8Lug_hotrod's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Fairbanks, AK
Posts: 50
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks for the warm welcome. Alaska is a place I've wanted to live since I discovered the outdoors in my younger years. It amused me at some of the responses that I got when I told people I actually chose to be posted in Fairbanks, but I guess they don't know what they are missing out on. I did do a full dity but I'm still waiting to get paid on the back end of the move (hopefully that'll be by the end of next week) and I have a nice little fine to pay to the Canadian govenrnment after forgetting about a few issued magazines I had but that's a whole other story.
Me and my buddies went out to the Chena lakes area this past Monday and didn't see nothin. Hopefully I can get out before the season ends. We also got out to the skeet range this past weekend and it was a humbling experience after not shooting skeet for the past 7 years.
Well thanks again, the advice is very much appreciated.
-Adam
8Lug_hotrod is offline  
Reply With Quote
 
 
 
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
grishfish
3rd Gen Engine and Drivetrain -> 2003-2007
113
03-03-2013 10:53 PM
OOPS
3rd Generation Ram - Non Drivetrain - All Years
10
08-28-2004 07:15 PM
powerwagon440
Other
29
04-19-2003 07:19 AM
midwestdually
1st Gen. Ram - All Topics
8
03-21-2003 09:06 AM
akchameleon
24 Valve Engine and Drivetrain
4
03-19-2003 12:39 AM


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Quick Reply: New to AK


Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.