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Thread: A couple vehicle questions

  1. #1

    Default A couple vehicle questions

    I'm not quite sure where to ask this so I just picked where it seemed to fit best.

    I just bought a 98 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo yesterday and I had a few questions.

    First, I just moved to Alaska a little over a month ago and grew up in south Texas so I have no experience with the equipment and preparation required to get a car ready for subzero winter temperatures. I've been talking to a few people about some of it, but any recommendations or links to other resources are appreciated.

    Secondly, my front bumper cover is a little torn up and since I'll be replacing it anyway I was thinking about putting a little something sturdier up front. I'd also like to add extra driving/moose lights up front and maybe even a winch, so if anyone has any recommendations for any of the above I would appreciate it.

    Thanks in advance for any help!

  2. #2
    Member mod elan's Avatar
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    Where in AK are you? That will help determine what you need for winterization. I don't believe in battery heaters. Never needed one. The battery won't freeze if it is in good shape with a full charge. Engine oil pan heater is recommended. Automatic trans pan heater is good if you are in the interior and will need the vehicle no matter what the temperature. Engine block heater is a must. NOT the circulating kind but the block heater style that goes in place of a frost plug in the engine block.

    Why do you want a sturdier bumper? Hitting a moose with that vehicle will send it onto the hood and rolling over the cab. I've seen them do the same on full size pickups too. A bumper is no protection for hitting animals. If it is for mounting a winch, what do you need a winch for? Will you be offroading it? If you think you'll use the winch for being a good samaritan and pulling someone out of the ditch in the winter think again. When a rig goes in a snow filled ditch it will compact the snow under and around it and large tow trucks have trouble pulling them out. If the winch is for offroading there should be many bumper choices for you. Try some Jeep sites and see what others there recommend.

    Extra lights are great. I like the Lightforce myself. Plastic housing so it won't rust and lots of light. Spendy but worth it IMO.

  3. #3
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default I agree with all that

    I would say listen to Mod elan, as I agree with just about everything he said there, in detail.
    Depending on where you live, near the coast, probably don't need the block heater, up north do it right, just as he says there, that's good advice

    If you like helping people out of ditches, toss the winch idea, carry a good shovel, and be prepared to dig down to gravel all the way back up to the road. sometimes takes a while.....or call tow truck,

    I like digging myself, but I live in kodiak now so snow like that only happens a couple times a yr here ( I should say I miss the snow but... not really the digging)
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  4. #4
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    If you don't have a block heater get one. Make sure you have a battery w/ plenty of cold cranking amps. Make sure your coolant is good to well below zero. I like studded tires. If your heater doesn't get warm in very cold weather then you can block of part of the radiator w/ a piece of cardboard to help.

    I don't see where putting in a big expensive bumper or a winch is going to do much on that rig. The grand chassis (called the ZJ) has a small but rabid following but is way to expensive to turn into even a marginal off road rig IMHO. It will get you down a trail to a fishing hole better than many of the modern "tall car" SUVs, but that is about it. They are comfy highway transportation capable of pulling a couple wheelers or a small river boat.

    I had one and the lights were "ok" but a good set of driving lights may not be a bad idea. A bumper mounted light bar w/ some light force lights would be a nice addition to any vehicle used to travel cross country. Around ANC you won't get much chance to turn em on though without vaporizing other drivers retinas.

  5. #5
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    Default Great Advice

    And if there was one more suggestion to add, I recommend switching your engine oil, trans, transfer case and differentials to synthetic lubricants. You may even consider purchasing a set of snow wheels to mount your studded snow tires on to make the bi-annual tire changing ritual a little easier.

  6. #6
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    Hi Twist,
    Texas is only my current address, however I've never lived in Alaska and my cold weather experience only goes to -25. Because of that I won't answer your question directly, however concerning car batteries and cold weather this link I poached off the net has good information. http://www.ehow.co.uk/about_6326114_...batteries.html
    Steve
    Tomorrow's a mystery, yesterday's history, today is a gift, that's why it's called the present!
    Approach life like you do a yellow light - RUN IT! (Gail T.)

  7. #7

    Default

    First off, thanks guys. I live in Two Rivers up near Fairbanks so I'm in the interior. I bought it from a guy on Ft. Wainwright and it already has a block heater and oil pan heater but I've been looking and think I'm gonna add one for the transmission also.

    For the bumper, I do plan to do some light off-roading with a local group and was planning on fabricating that part myself. I was asking about a winch cuz I like a winch when I'm out on a trail. I have no illusions of any protection from hitting a moose. Growing up in Texas and seeing the massive amount of damage cause by hitting even a small whitetail deer or hog, I know that if I hit a moose head on I'll just have to hang on tight and hope for the best cuz there's no solution other than not hitting it in the first place.

    Coaldust, I decided to just change all my fluids this week anyway and was planning on synthetics.

    On the subject of lights, what do you guys suggest? I've heard good things about Lightforce and Hella, but any specific series or model? Any other brands?

    Thanks again for all the helpful suggestions and clarification. I've been doing alot of research but I always prefer to take the advice of people who have lived it.

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    Default Spend the extra dollar up front

    Quote Originally Posted by Twist View Post
    First off, thanks guys. I live in Two Rivers up near Fairbanks so I'm in the interior. I bought it from a guy on Ft. Wainwright and it already has a block heater and oil pan heater but I've been looking and think I'm gonna add one for the transmission also.

    For the bumper, I do plan to do some light off-roading with a local group and was planning on fabricating that part myself. I was asking about a winch cuz I like a winch when I'm out on a trail. I have no illusions of any protection from hitting a moose. Growing up in Texas and seeing the massive amount of damage cause by hitting even a small whitetail deer or hog, I know that if I hit a moose head on I'll just have to hang on tight and hope for the best cuz there's no solution other than not hitting it in the first place.

    Coaldust, I decided to just change all my fluids this week anyway and was planning on synthetics.

    On the subject of lights, what do you guys suggest? I've heard good things about Lightforce and Hella, but any specific series or model? Any other brands?

    Thanks again for all the helpful suggestions and clarification. I've been doing alot of research but I always prefer to take the advice of people who have lived it.

    Lights: more are better, just keep in mind that you are limited to the output of your alternator. Probably not more than another 50 amps. (Alternators range from 40 amp to exotics near 180 plus)
    Electric winches are "soft" and fail at all the wrong times.
    Spend the $ on A hydraulic wnch (milemarker) and accesories (snatch straps, pulleys, extentions ...) ahead of time.
    Carry a highlift jack in addition. The "full-est recovery kit" always seems shy of something.
    It is always prefer-able learn from the missery of others experience, It came from getting things Oh so wrong
    hell you can even chuckle about it.

  9. #9
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    IMO - Only use your Jeep for roads and established trails. Off roading in Alaska is not the same as down south. It will tear up a rig in short order. For 1/2 the cost of building up a true off road rig you can buy a nice 4 wheeler that will go more places and get you back home. You will need your 4 wheel drive for the roads in the winter.

  10. #10
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    The only thing I'd add is if your battery is more than 5 years old, just replace it vs. waiting it to die on you at the most inopertune time.

    I also agree on the winch sentiments, they just aren't of much use for pulling people out of snow banks, or getting you out of the mud (what are you going to which from?) I pulled a cop out of a ditch last winter, and even with a 3/4 ton turbo diesel truck it took a couple of iterations to get him out, I had to chain up all 4 wheels to get enough traction, and was still sliding around and having trouble getting to right angle to keep from pulling him further into the ditch. Not all extractions are straight back out, and you run the risk of being hit while helping someone, so be very, very careful when rendering aid. I was on a little traveled residential road, and most people had enough sense to stay off the roads that day.

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