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Thread: Winterizing vehicles

  1. #1
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    Default Winterizing vehicles

    Having never had to deal with winters colder that -15, I've never prepared a vehicle for extreme cold. In all probability, the vehicle I drive to Alaska will not have anything more than a cab heater.

    What's needed? I hear about engine block heaters and maybe oil pan heaters.

    I'm also trying to decide between a Nissan Frontier and a Titan (both 4x4's). Would one necessarily be better than the other.

    Many thanks for any replies. I've been reading this board for over a year, and ya'll are a terrific group of people.

    Rick

  2. #2
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    A block heater is a must have for sure. some people use battery blankets too. Living in Anchorage all i go with is a block heater.

    As far as the truck goes when I was shopping for a new one I really liked the titan. I almost bought it untill I looked at my silverado with 67k miles on it that is paid for and changed my mind.
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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    The amount of "heat" depends on where in the state you are going to be moving to.

    For Fairbanks / North Pole Area, Here is what I have on my vehicles:
    F250 Diesel - Block, Oil Pan & 2 Battery Pad Heaters
    International Scout - Oil Pan & Battery Pad (Block heater pending)

    Both of the above are manual transmission, so getting a pad heater on the transmission is tough, but possible. I've seen several co-workers go as far as having battery, oil pan, transmission pan & block heaters on their vehicles. I know of several automatics that have the transmission pan heated.

    Be sure your antifreeze is properly rated for the area you'll be moving to as well. I've mixed my own to -50F & keep an eye on levels weekly. You'll want to go with a winter weight oil as well. Synthetics are nice for this as well.

    A good portion of the local auto repair shops have a winterization program that will put the above mentioned supplies into your vehicle once you get into the area. All of the above can be done by the home mechanic as well with a little time & a *heated* garage.

    I'm partial to Internationals, so I am not able to give a good recommendation one way or another. Have a safe drive, keep some basic spare parts with you, belts, hoses, etc...

    Enjoy the trip.

  4. #4
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    All I had was a very basic idea of what's needed, so thank you for educating me.

    Now...to get the vehicle...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by blybrook View Post
    The amount of "heat" depends on where in the state you are going to be moving to.

    For Fairbanks / North Pole Area, Here is what I have on my vehicles:
    F250 Diesel - Block, Oil Pan & 2 Battery Pad Heaters
    International Scout - Oil Pan & Battery Pad (Block heater pending)

    Both of the above are manual transmission, so getting a pad heater on the transmission is tough, but possible. I've seen several co-workers go as far as having battery, oil pan, transmission pan & block heaters on their vehicles. I know of several automatics that have the transmission pan heated.

    Be sure your antifreeze is properly rated for the area you'll be moving to as well. I've mixed my own to -50F & keep an eye on levels weekly. You'll want to go with a winter weight oil as well. Synthetics are nice for this as well.

    A good portion of the local auto repair shops have a winterization program that will put the above mentioned supplies into your vehicle once you get into the area. All of the above can be done by the home mechanic as well with a little time & a *heated* garage.

    I'm partial to Internationals, so I am not able to give a good recommendation one way or another. Have a safe drive, keep some basic spare parts with you, belts, hoses, etc...

    Enjoy the trip.
    I agree. winterizing can save you when the temp drops, but do it right.

  6. #6
    Member akiceman25's Avatar
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    While some choose battery blankets (wraps around the outside of battery)and others choose battery heater pads(battery sits on top of), I prefer hooking up a trickle charger in the same fashion. A fully charged battery will not freeze, in my experience. Also, even with the battery heaters in place on a very cold day(-40 to -50), vehicles still seem to turn over slowly.
    A block heater is mandatory below -10 as is an engine oil pan heater to keep oil viscosity correct. I believe that transmission oil pan heaters also should be mandatory at these temps for automatic transmissions.

    Consider switching to synthetic engine oil too. Keep that viscosity correct and avoid long term engine damage.

    With the trickle charger, block and 2 oil pan heaters expect your electric bill to jump appx. $30 to $40 a month for typical use. This can be less if you use a timer on your plug-ins set to turning on about 3 hours before you intend to start your vehicle.

    Either of your vehicles you're considering should suffice.

    and one quick tip......AUTO START RULES!

    Welcome to AK!

  7. #7

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    ok who does the best work winterizing vehicles up there ..in the anchorage and outer areas around there ,,
    i like to stay with one group of dealers for use ,..

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    Default Adding gasoline to oil in severe cold

    A Russian friend of mine worked in Siberia for several years, he told me of a trick used there to assure your car would start in cold weather when you werent able to plug it in to a power source. While the engine was still running hed pour a small quantity of gasoline into the crank case and circulate it through the engine to lower the viscosity of the oil. When hed restart the engine the gasoline, being highly volatile, would quickly evaporate from the oil restoring the oil to its normal lubricating properties. Anyone in Alaska ever try that trick?
    Steve

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    Member akiceman25's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockdoc View Post
    A Russian friend of mine worked in Siberia for several years, he told me of a trick used there to assure your car would start in cold weather when you werent able to plug it in to a power source. While the engine was still running hed pour a small quantity of gasoline into the crank case and circulate it through the engine to lower the viscosity of the oil. When hed restart the engine the gasoline, being highly volatile, would quickly evaporate from the oil restoring the oil to its normal lubricating properties. Anyone in Alaska ever try that trick?
    Steve

    I purchased a early 70s chevy motorhome many years ago with a 350 ci. engine, ran terrible but I got a great deal on it....come to find out the carb was "rebuilt" in the poorest of fashions placing gasoline into the engine oil..... ruined the engine...cam bearings went!

    Granted, your key word was "small quantity" but unless I got the go-ahead froma reputable mechanic....I wouldn't attempt it

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    It must have been a truly bad rebuild, probably a bad float. Floats used to be made of foam plastic and would slowly absorb gasoline until after many years they'd sink; I purchased a professionally rebuilt carb once that had the original float and it caused trouble six months after I installed it. Probably what happened to your truck engine is that too much extra gas raised the oil level to the point where the rotating crankshaft whipped it into foam. Unfortunately, foamed oil doesn't pump too well. The cam bearings, located high up in the engine would have been the first bearings to be affected.
    Steve

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    Get yourself some good studded tires and carry extra parts. Get a tune up kit together before you come up unless your made of cash. Plugs, wires cap and rotor or the like, plus filters cost twice as much up here.
    If you drive the ALCAN get all your fluids and filters changed when you get to your destination here.
    I use a block heater in my diesel and keep a trickle charger on my batteries.
    I'm a mechanic in Homer for what it's worth.

    Kindest Regards,

    Mountaintrekker

  12. #12
    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    I've been enjoying my Titan. It does great in the snow and ice. Since you don't have the vehicle yet, have the dealer install the heater when you purchase it.
    ><((((>.`..`.. ><((((>`..`.><((((>

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  13. #13
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    I bought a Titan from Advantage Nissan in Bremerton WA just before moving up here. Used it to haul a pretty good sized trailer up and it did great. So far I love the truck and couldn't be happier. I got a great deal on it to so if you interested let me know and I'll send you the guys name in Bremerton. It was quite a bit cheaper than anything else I could've gotten and its a great truck.

    I haven't added a thing to my truck and it has run fine. Granted I live in Anchorage and it doesn't get as cold here as other places. -36F a few weeks back but my truck did fine. The problem is at work there are no plug ins so it doesn't really matter. Places like Fairbanks have plug ins at most places. I now have a garage so I doubt I will add anything to my truck. The key seemed to be able to make it through the night and then during the day it would warm up enough. Most people I know up here don't have plug ins and such and they seem to do fine. Just my 2 cents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by patrickL View Post
    I...... Most people I know up here don't have plug ins and such and they seem to do fine.....
    Don't come to the Interior and try this. There is quite a bit of difference between what you can get by with in Anchorage and what you will need in other places. You will want a block heater, pads on the oil pan and transmission, antifreeze to -60, and something on the battery. I personally use the trickle charger/maintainer set-up on my vehicles and it works fine. Others use pads or battery blankets. All my vehicle lubricants are synthetic - try pouring conventional oils in extreme cold and see what happens. I have also gone as far at times as repacking the wheel bearings with an arctic grade grease. And by necessity many of the hoses on my vehicles (mainly power steering) have been replaced with the blue arctic grade rubber hose. I got tired of replacing power steering hoses every year and finally wised-up. Since I've done that I haven't had to replace a hose (or pump!). Some of this may look like overkill, but if you have to mess with a frozen or disabled vehicle at -40 or colder you won't find it much fun.
    The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps! (Eleanor Roosevelt, 1945)

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    AK257...I only mentioned this as the guy made it sound like he was coming to Anchorage. I am pretty familiar with conditions in the interior as I have spent a fair bit of time there. I certainly would do what you are suggesting if I was living in the interior.

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    Quote Originally Posted by patrickL View Post
    AK257...I only mentioned this as the guy made it sound like he was coming to Anchorage. I am pretty familiar with conditions in the interior as I have spent a fair bit of time there. I certainly would do what you are suggesting if I was living in the interior.
    patrickl, no criticism intended, sorry if it came across like that......I only mentioned it to prevent him from learning the hard way.......... like I did.
    The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps! (Eleanor Roosevelt, 1945)

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    No worries AK257. I just thought he might want to know that not everyplace is as extreme as the interior. I just know I was pretty short on money when I moved up here. Studded tires were about all I could afford and so far I have been able to manage it. If I were to live in Fairbanks, totally different story. There is definitely a substantial cost of living to being up here.

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