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Thread: What vehicle should I relocate with?

  1. #1
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    Default What vehicle should I relocate with?

    In a few years I want to relocate to AK. Right now I think I'd like to live on the road, off the grid in the interior somewhere. So, I'll be getting a new to me vehicle, and I want it to be suitable for this purpose. I want to be able to tow a trailer with it up there. But the size of the trailer i'll match to the vehicle that I get.

    Must be a 4x4 and manual transmission. Id like something that parts are readily available for, and that isnt known to have major problems.

    Trucks have the advantage over suvs in most areas it seems.

    Vehicles im considering are, Extended cab ranger, Bronco II, Chevy 1500 extended cab, GMC Yukon.

    Each vehicle has its advantages and trade offs. Lower power, lower hauling capacity, but bettter fuel mileage seems to be what im leaning towards.

    Id like something thats fairly easy to work on. I have experience fixing my own vehicles. An example of something that is easy to work on, older ford ranger, and not easy, dodge 2500 cummins.

    So what vehicles should I consider and what are some things I may be overlooking?

    Thanks

    Bazoo

  2. #2
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    You'll see all the same vehicles up here that you'll see anywhere else. Nothing unique about Alaska in that regard. The only thing which might prove foreign to L-48ers will be wiring your vehicle with block/oil heaters (which you'll have done after you get here). And covering your radiator with an "arctic front" (or just cardboard) during sub-zero weather. Depending on specifics of exactly where you choose to live and your individual needs, you may or may not want a 4WD vehicle. No different than anywhere else. Y'all get +30 degree ice storms from hell in KY; if you know how to drive on that, you already know the pros/cons of different vehicle/tire types. 'Nuff said.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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  3. #3
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    You can order most (a lot of) cars with engine block/oil heaters from the factory. I know Subaru has offered it as an option for years. Check the options on places like Edmunds for building/pricing a car.

    We were in Fairbanks last Feb for our honeymoon and the cars looked like the same sort of selection from the lower 48--in this case Texas (Houston). We did notice that the taxi companies ran more towards 4WD/AWD SUV/trucks -- I think it goes to what iofthetaiga said about "individual needs". If you live on a maintained road and can wait a day or two for the plows, 2WD might be good. If you live on an unmaintained road or need to get to the lab to feed your experiment regardless of the weather, you might want 4WD/AWD.

  4. #4
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    I agree with iot and tod. Don't need to over think or overdo it. Get what you like and you're comfortable working on and call it good. You'll see everything from Prius to Hummer to giant F450 up here. Just get what meets your needs.

    Scott

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  5. #5
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    If you're towing a trailer across countries and major mountain ranges, you really should consider a 3/4 ton truck. There is a big difference between how the chassis and breaks on a 3/4 ton can handle controlling and stopping a trailer and how a 1/2 ton truck or 1/2 ton suv can handle a load. If you're planning to haul building materials to your off grid location, same deal.

    Having made the move with a Toyota truck pulling a 14' wells cargo trailer I can say it is possible, but it had more to do with angles looking over fools and children than being a prudent choice.

    Having had SUV's and trucks, I prefer a truck for an all around vehicle. Guaranteed you'll be hauling liquids that will spill and other stuff that stinks and that's what the bed of a truck is for, not the interior of an SUV. Also you can pack way more stuff in the bed of a truck with a shell than an SUV.
    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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  6. #6
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    So, my $0.02.

    First, as mentioned, one will see vehicles in Alaska that are no different than in the L48, other than generally just dirtier. We've even see Prius's ("Prii?") on the gravel road before the trial to the cabin starts....that doesn't make sense but there you go.

    Second, IMNSHO, a 3/4 ton 4x4 pickup just makes a lot of sense in AK. Don't need the 4x4 and don't necessarily need a P/U, but it's just a very usable vehicle. Depending on the hobbies one acquires in Alaska, a pickup can be much more useful than a similarly-rated SUV: towing a trailer, stuffing skis in the back, throw in the dipnets, "wait, we have 4 coolers, not 2", etc, etc.

    2.1: Yes, I just said you don't need 4x4....but I think it is shortsighted not to get it. When you want to run into town right after a heavy snowfall or when you want go sno-going and the trailhead is full of ruts and mush, or when you're driving in town and you have to start off from polished ice at every intersection, you'll appreciate 4x4.

    Third, ditto ditto ditto the sloppy stinky stuff spilling. From one extreme ("honey, pick up some potting soil for the garden") to the other ("I've got two moose quarters and 30 salmon to get back to Los Anchorage"), it will be easier to deal with spills and smells if you stuff that stuff in the back of a pickup than in an SUV.

    FWIW my Alaska vehicles: 1 PA-12, 1 Cabin Buggy/Truck (started as a GMC 4x4), 1 Chevy PU (3/4 Ton, 4x4, naturally) and a Jeep Wrangler that was my retirement present. Also an F550 Plow Truck that we won't talk about since (being in Los Anchorage) it's having an identity crisis the past 3 winters.

  7. #7
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    Bronco II's don't do well in the winter. They spin around way to easy. My ex just had to have one. I never spun it but was in it when she did 360's down the highway at night with oncoming traffic. She spun it another time without me (I wouldn't get in that death trap) My kid spun it once. I traded it off for a used snow machine and told her she could forget about picking out the next vehicle.
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  8. #8
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    Thanks for the suggestions.

    We do have some serious ice and snow here occasionally. I dont have any problems driving on it. Folks here clean the stores out of milk and bread at the mention of flurries, and most of them cannot drive on any slick stuff.

    Right now, im between vehicles. I am borrowing a friends vw beetle. One of those new ones. I dont care for it. Wrecked my bronco II. I liked it a lot. I prefer chevy, but the bronco and rangers give me more room than the chevy counterparts. Im 6'5. Im leaning towards a ranger so I have some spare parts already. But I do see the value in a larger truck.

  9. #9
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    I require a 4x4 regardless of where I live. And I much prefer a manual over an automatic. Manuals are much more durable, more reliable, and easier to replace. And they are a lot better on snow and ice than an automatic.

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