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Thread: "winterizing" a Toyota Tacoma

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    Default "winterizing" a Toyota Tacoma

    Hi, I've got a 2000 Toyota Tacoma that I'm thinking of bringing to Alaska from Kauai. The truck has been in warm weather its whole life and doesn't have a block heater. Is the block heater simply a heating pad type thing and easy to install? It's also a V6 and automatic; it seems there are quite a few 4 cyl manual trans Tacomas in Ak and wondering if that's because they are typically more reliable for "Alaska"?

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with the V6 automatic for Alaska. If it's true that there are more SR22's with manuals in AK, it would only be an indication the owners appreciate good engineering.

    Basic winterizing involves: installation of a blockheater (an electric heater installed into a freeze plug in your engine block), installing an oil pan heater (an electric heat pad glued to the bottom of your oil pan), ensuring your anti-freeze and bug juice are good to -50, and ensuring all your lubricants are high quality and appropriate for low temps (such as Amsoil or Mobil 1 synthetics).
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    If like most you are headed to Anchorage area or south you won't need anything.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    If like most you are headed to Anchorage area or south you won't need anything.
    Yeah, true but he said he was thinking of coming to "Alaska".
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
    The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It
    #Resist

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Dang still got to pass more love
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I had a toyota truck, the pre tacaoma with a V6 and auto tranny for the first 9 years we were up here and all I did to winterize it after moving up was install the block heater, which replaces one of the freeze plugs in the block. Somehow I ended with an extra new one in box, I'm pretty sure 3 liter and 3.4's use the same heater, pm me if you are interested.

    As to needing a block heater in Anchorage, we do occasionally see -20, sometimes -30. While you can start an engine at those temps without heating the block, your engine will be much easier to start at 0 and below if you run a heater. I generally plug in at 20 or colder and use a timer so that the heater kicks on a few hours before I leave in the morning.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

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    Thanks Paul, will take you up on that offer if the truck gets shipped

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    I have always been more of a fan of the external tank heater. easy to replace once they fail. but if you can easily install the freeze plug heater they are more efficient.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    2 wheel or 4 wheel drive?

  10. #10

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    It's a 4 wd ; sounds simple to winterize it and heard from a friend who has a 2002 that theirs always starts no matter the temp; they are not able to plug it in.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Jim House View Post
    It's a 4 wd ; sounds simple to winterize it and heard from a friend who has a 2002 that theirs always starts no matter the temp; they are not able to plug it in.
    your truck will be right at home up here. Just get a tester and verify that your radiator fluid is rated for about -40. They are super easy to use, you just open the cap, insert a tube and use a suction bulb to slurp out some fluid. There is a pointer on the tool that will point right at your temp rating. If it's not low enough drain some fluid and add straight antifreeze. Just make sure you get the RIGHT antifreeze as mixing the types creates a nasty mess!!

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    Wow didn't know it would mix badly! Thanks! Truck may be sold here, will know in a few days in which case will be on the search for an older 4 cyl 5 spd Toyota. Found shipping to be 1800 from Kauai to anchorage. Not quite as bad as I thought.
    i had a brand new (in 87) 4 banger manual trans miss that truck!

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Toyota trucks are popular up here, and used ones seem to fall into either expensive newer ones, or older beat to death rigs. So since you know the history of your truck, you might be better off shipping it rather then selling it and getting one in who knows what type of condition here. I also imagine your truck has lived a gentler life on the island than in Alaska.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    Member bnkwnto's Avatar
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    You have been given some good advice on here. I had a 2005 toyota tacoma access cab (4.0 six) the first three years I lived here. It was a good truck and I never had a problem not winterizing it living in Anchorage. However, I used it to pull a small trailer (raft, snow-machines, atvs) and it just didn't have the power or the range for towing. It was a 6 speed and my foot stayed on the floor, usually in 3rd or 4th gear. Alaska is really spread out so you will be driving more compared to living on an island.

    I went a little overkill and bought a 4 door chevy duramax pickup. I have twice the power now and still get better MPG. The toyota had a lockable rear axle but it was for slow driving only. I couldn't go anywhere in that truck without putting it in 4wd. My chevy has a automatic-locking rear diff so I rarely even have to put in 4wd.

    For what it's worth (IMO). I thought the toyota was perfect for when I lived in Hawaii but for Alaska you are better off with a full size pickup. If you are single, don't travel with other people and don't tow anything (alaska is made for big-boy toys) a toyota is ok for AK.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    The flip side is my old Toyota went down many trails that a full size wouldn't fit without a lot of AK pin-striping. It was also lighter so some decent all terrain tires and I was able to drive over a lot of stuff that bigger trucks would sink into. It was a good truck when I was younger and didn't tow stuff but like bnkwnto I now have a full size oil burner and have no plans to move back to a mini-truck platform.

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    Member agoyne's Avatar
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    For anybody still reading this thread, I am in the process of having my 06 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 shipped to AK in December. I have researched an oil heater and it just so happens that Toyota has come out with a clip on block heater. All you have to do is take off the right front tire and there is a bracket that you snap the block heater in to. It only costs $49 from a dealer. Other than radiator fluid change out, is there anything else I need to do? Do I need to change to synthetic motor oil?

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=agoyne; Do I need to change to synthetic motor oil?[/QUOTE]

    Probably depends on what part of Alaska you are going to be driving in.. Anchorage and South Central not really.
    Fairbanks and Interior, probably a good idea.

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    Default Yoda

    Synthetic oil is much more affordable than it used to be compared to conventional lubes and since synthetic engine oil has so many advantages in cold weather. I would recommend it, for sure. I would switch all the compartments over to synthetic. Then, before winter hits I would get a set of winter tires. Oh yea,one more thing, have your battery tested. A cranking battery that works great in the tropics may not be ready for the first cold morning of December. No surprises is a good thing. Winter style wiper blades can help keep your windshield clear.

    Quote Originally Posted by agoyne View Post
    For anybody still reading this thread, I am in the process of having my 06 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 shipped to AK in December. I have researched an oil heater and it just so happens that Toyota has come out with a clip on block heater. All you have to do is take off the right front tire and there is a bracket that you snap the block heater in to. It only costs $49 from a dealer. Other than radiator fluid change out, is there anything else I need to do? Do I need to change to synthetic motor oil?

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    Member akiceman25's Avatar
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    One thing that has yet to be mentioned is installation of a battery heater or trickle charger. I prefer the trickle charger method myself.

    No more cold battery slow cranks.
    I am serious... and don't call me Shirley.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM2K7sV-K74

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    Member Akheloce's Avatar
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    I personally find a good quality remote starter to be indispensable in the winter... Especially a two way that tells me the temperature in the cab.

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