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Old 01-17-2011, 06:01 AM
 
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I'm moving up to Alaska in March, driving up to Alcan. I've searched the web and these forums and can't find anything answering my question: I'm driving one car and towing the other (to avoid shipping costs), are there any recommendations to winterizing my towed car to keep the engine block/radiator from freezing and cracking? Does it even get cold enough in March that this should be a concern?

The towed car is a 1982 manual Jeep CJ7, no electronics, bells, or whistles.
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Old 01-17-2011, 07:26 AM
 
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I would think that whatever you need to do to winterize the car for long storage in the winter would apply. I am looking forward to the answers as I might be doing the same thing at one point.

Without anyone chiming in, what I was planning on doing is that if it started to get cold enough to worry about it, why not just start it up and let it run? Bring the engine up to operating temp and then shut it off. Do it when you take your rest/food/fuel stop. If you are towing 4 wheels down, you are already turning the differentials and they should keep themselves lubricated. In the long run, that might be cheaper and easier than draining fluids and or removing hoses, etc... Then you have a vehicle that is ready to drive when you get there too!

Ohh my only other suggestion, make sure you are running the correct blend of anti-freeze to water, synthetic fluids everywhere else (oil, differential oils) just to be extra safe, and windshield washer fluid (not regular water). Unless someone can think of a reason not to, I would keep the gas tank full (not to very the top of the tank) to avoid condensation in the tanks. Make sure all of your servicable joints (zerk fittings) are lubed up too - but that should be a part of normal maintenance anyways.

The next question people here will need is where in Alaska? The reason is that if you are going to be in "Arctic" conditions, they may have some other suggestions for you - these are *my* general cold weather guidelines and may be woefully inadequate for your situation. I can think of block heaters, battery warmers, oil pan warmers, etc.. For just the drive part in March I think that would be overkill, but again I don't have artic condition driving/living experience. However, since you are MOVING to Alaska, you may need them in order to drive/store it there anyways. BTW, I am obsessive compulsive over car preparedness.
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:01 PM
 
3 posts, read 10,574 times
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I'm going to Anchorage, which I understand is rather temperate compared to inland Alaska, the concern however is driving through interior Alaska. All four-wheels of the Jeep will be on the trailer, so that method of protecting the differentials won't help much. Yes, taking it off the trailer and driving it around every once in a while might help; however, the Jeep isn't currently drivable (though I hope to have that fixed before I move). The engine does start though, so running occasionally would be a viable solution.
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:28 PM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
16,600 posts, read 28,753,083 times
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Then all you need to do to the vehicle is to have the antifreeze mixed to the right proportion, and have the correct engine-oil grade in the motor. That's all. You can have the vehicle winterized when you arrive to Anchorage, since you won't be able to plug it to an electrical outlet when driving across the US and Canada. The safest antifreeze/water ratio for the interior of Alaska is 60/40. Also, the cheap testers sold at automobile parts stores aren't very accurate. A few years ago a good tester could cost several $100.00s (made by Leica and such), and now I see some at Amazon and other places for around $45.00 (maybe made in China?) For using these testers the fluid's temperature is added to the equation, a drop of the fluid is placed on the glass, and then one points the instrument toward a light source and looks through the eyepiece. The readings will be shown on the display inside the instrument. I used these instruments on Rotax aircraft engines, since the antifreeze mixtures had to be exact.


By the way, if you take your vehicle to have it winterized in fairbanks where it gets colder than Anchorage, this what the shop will do for you:
-Install a block heater
-A battery heating pad
-Oil pan heater
-Mix the antifreeze around 60/40, or slightly below 70/30 if you ask for that
-Correct oil grade, regardless of being synthetic or not
-A short 3-outlet "arctic-grade" (blue color) extension cord

If the vehicle is old and you want a trickle charger instead of a battery heating pad, then you will have to pay a lot more. If the vehicle is brand new, there is no way that the dealer is going to install a trickle charger for you unless you assume the vehicle's warranty relating to the electronics of the vehicle (including the ECU). Also, if the vehicle is brand new, the shop is not going to mess around with antifreeze/water ratios other than what the vehicle manufacturer recommends (unless you assume the liability in writing). If the vehicle is brand new, only the correct engine oil grade is used in accordance to the vehicle manufacturer.

Last edited by RayinAK; 01-17-2011 at 05:45 PM..
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:59 PM
 
4,718 posts, read 8,960,529 times
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RayinAK, I agree with you as I would ALWAYS newer or older use the correct grade oil the manufacturer recomends for the temperature the vehicle will be operated in. Every vehicle I have owned has always had a cold, normal, and hot weather oil recommendation. There are Synthetic oils that will meet the recommended API (for gas) and CJ-4 (diesel) standards and won't void the warranty if you want to go the synth route. I like syntehtic oils, but that is just me. Dino oils are fine. Although since this is a 1982 Jeep, I don't think the OP is worried about voiding a manufacturer's warranty on a 28 year old vehicle. For Example, my 2011 F350 standard/normal use oil is a 5w-30w, but I can use 5w-40w for cold weather and 15w - 40w for hot weather. As long as the oil meets CJ-4 standards I am fine. Shell Rotella T6 is a synthetic diesel oil that is CJ-4 certified... I will change to this right before my summer drive up to AK. I already have a block heater, but hopefully I will not need that in MAY.

Since you are trailering the jeep, just start it up every once in awhile, if it even gets cold enough to worry about. For the anti-freeze ratio. It might be cheaper and easier to just do a flush and fill with the correct ratio RayinAK mentioned. Get it a little over 60% but less than 70%. When was it changed last anyways? Can't hurt to have fresh fluid. Also, there are test strips out so you don't need a fancy tester. RayinAK have any expereince with them? How accurate are they compared to the machine? This is something I have to do every other oil change in the Diesel truck.
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Old 01-17-2011, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
16,600 posts, read 28,753,083 times
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By the way, cover the vehicle in tow with a good coat of wax, but don't buff it off. This will somewhat shield the paint from road salt and other materials in liquid or dust form. Also, cover the front of the vehicle in tow with a fine wire mesh (something smaller or around 1/4" holes). Cover from the top edge of the windshield down to below the bumper.
---------
Dekster: yes, I agree with you about synthetic oils. These are the best for extreme weather driving, but since the OP is not going to drive the vehicle in tow, it makes no difference. Also, some (not all) automobile manufacturers only recommend synthetic oils on their motors after a period of breaking-in, or for new motors that have turbos. Also, some automobile manufactures (BMW, Mercedes, etc., recommend 0W-20 synthetic oils for some (not all) of their new automobiles.

Since synthetic oils penetrate a lot more than regular oils, if the older motor leaks a little oil and one does not want to replace the oil pan and other gaskets, these oils aren't the best in this instance unless you can afford it. But lets say that I have a fairly new motor on my car, one that shows around 7K on the odometer, and I want to replace the oil every 5K or five months, I would certainly use synthetic oil. Now, in the case of my wife's Rav 4 I could use synthetic or conventional oil at will since she drives it way under Toyota's warranty schedule (5K/5-month). She drives it maybe 2K in five months! So, if I can afford using synthetic I would certainly do so, and the same if she were to drive it 5K because that's stretching the life of conventional oils.

In relation to synthetic versus conventional oils: yes, they are best, but are more expensive. If the automobile is driven a few miles per month, then it makes no difference which oil is used as long as it's of the correct grade for the motor. In this case, only the $ in your pocket makes difference. We can have a poll right here in this forum pertaining to Fairbanks drivers and what oils they have used for years and year in their vehicles, and I assure you that most still use conventional oils just like their parents did before them.

Last edited by RayinAK; 01-17-2011 at 08:10 PM..
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:47 AM
 
3 posts, read 10,574 times
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I use synthetic, high mileage oil in the Jeep, which if I'm not mistaken, I don't want to risk going away from. After using high mileage synthetic oil in a vehicle once, you need to continue using it because of how it bonds with gaskets and all - switching away from it, so I'm told, causing extra leakage and you're going to start burning off your oil. But I will certainly switch it out to the the winter-grade weight before heading up there.

As far as starting the vehicle while I'm towing it up there, you had mentioned, Dakster, that this would probably be very similar to storing a car for the winter, so I started researching what I would to winterize a car for storage. I found many sources that recommended *not* starting your engine unless you were going to drive the vehicle for 20-30 minutes. Most said that simply getting the engine up to operating temp wouldn't be enough to burn of the moisture that starting the engine would create, therefore, starting the engine seems to actually be worse for the car. Besides, I was perusing the historical averages (which can't always be trusted, be at least allows a rough ballpark) and in the March time-frame that I'll be passing through, it doesn't seem like anywhere should be getting below -20F, which seems to be that temperature at which you need to start worrying about block heaters and the like.
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:35 AM
 
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There has and will be a debate between starting a motor and stopping it without driving and not ever starting it... You can idle-up when you start it and let it get to "operating" temp, which would burn off any moisture. Just don't hit the gas right after you start it, give the motor some time to circulate the oil. (Remember, that they are talking about starting and not driving for years or months - you were talking about making a "drive", which is why my advice shifted that way) But it is good to know that there is still debate over starting and not driving.

If I were worried about the water in the radiator or engine freezing and breaking things - I would want to keep it "liquid" so I would start it. (or as a last resort drain it) If you don't get into weather below -20, then as long as you are using the correct fluids you should be more than ok...

yes, I would never switch away from Synthetic once used - but you can switch "weights."
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