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Old 09-28-2009, 09:05 PM
 
4 posts, read 13,863 times
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Default Winterizing our vehicles...

Hello,

We are transferring from Washington state to Eielson in Feb. I have already talked to a few shops around here, and no one seems completely competent about installing block heaters. They all have referred me to dealerships, and even they were not the most knowledgeable. This has made me extremely nervous.

My question is....we are going to be taking the ferry up in mid Feb with our SUV and we are going to have our car shipped. Could we get away with waiting until we arrived at Eielson before having our vehicles winterized? It seems like the shops around the Fairbanks area are the hands down experts on installing the proper components to winterize a vehicle. We are porting in Skagway, then driving to Whitehorse and staying over night. The next morning we are going to attempt to drive the rest of the way to Eielson. Would it be sufficient just to change the motor oil to a lighter weight and change the anti-freeze to -60 mixture? Thank you very much for all of your help.....and we are VERY excited to get to Alaska.
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:57 PM
 
Location: Too far from Alaska
1,435 posts, read 1,602,800 times
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Check out the threads here:
http://www.city-data.com/forum/anchorage/
Or hit the "search" button, you will find many topics on this.
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Old 09-28-2009, 10:25 PM
 
Location: Palmer
2,486 posts, read 3,790,665 times
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Yes, wait until you get here. Just make sure you have good enough antifreeze so that it doesn't freeze up before you have it worked on. Any shop should be able to do that.
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Old 09-28-2009, 11:11 PM
 
Location: Barrow, Alaska
3,538 posts, read 4,293,072 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pope_1605 View Post
This has made me extremely nervous.
It should make you nervous. There's a lot more to winterizing a vehicle for the Interior than just antifreeze and a block heater. Wheel bearings and the differential (plus only a good mechanic knows what else) all need to have grease that will not turn to concrete at -60.

The block heater will prevent damage and allow the car to start. But if you stop for 15 minutes at -60 with the wrong grease in the differential that car won't be moving until it gets a lot warmer! I've heard of cars sitting in a motel parking lot in Tok for several days... :-)
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Old 09-28-2009, 11:56 PM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
12,809 posts, read 13,515,298 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pope_1605 View Post
Hello,

We are transferring from Washington state to Eielson in Feb. I have already talked to a few shops around here, and no one seems completely competent about installing block heaters. They all have referred me to dealerships, and even they were not the most knowledgeable. This has made me extremely nervous.

My question is....we are going to be taking the ferry up in mid Feb with our SUV and we are going to have our car shipped. Could we get away with waiting until we arrived at Eielson before having our vehicles winterized? It seems like the shops around the Fairbanks area are the hands down experts on installing the proper components to winterize a vehicle. We are porting in Skagway, then driving to Whitehorse and staying over night. The next morning we are going to attempt to drive the rest of the way to Eielson. Would it be sufficient just to change the motor oil to a lighter weight and change the anti-freeze to -60 mixture? Thank you very much for all of your help.....and we are VERY excited to get to Alaska.
A lot of people do that, and then have the cars winterized at the gas station at Eielson, North Pole, or Fairbanks. If you have to stay at a hotel overnight near Tok, you may want to remove the battery and bring it inside with you to keep it warm. If the automobile is under warranty, you may want to have the dealer installing a block heater in Fairbanks. Also, you will have to check with the dealer what type of differential oil to use. Also, it's a good idea to have a can or two of Isoheat (removes water from the gas tank). These are small red-color bottles of alcohol. Once you get to Alaska, pour one in the tank (read the instructions first).

Your automobile will need the following:
-Block heater (around $45.00)
-Oil pan heater (an electric pad sold a NAPA for $12.00 or so)
-Battery blanket (another heating pad or blanket sold at NAPA for $12.00 or so)
-Transmission oil pan heater (optional)

A dealer would charge you around $350.00 to winterize your car, since labor will be around $70.00 per hour, and because they charge an arm and a leg for parts. A regular shop may charge around $150.00 to $250.00.

I just do it myself, but let the dealer install the block heater if the car is under warranty.
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Old 09-29-2009, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Bethel, Alaska
20,991 posts, read 21,865,718 times
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Why not shave off some miles and drive up from Haines? This would make more sense unless you want to go to Whitehorse.
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Old 09-29-2009, 10:09 AM
 
Location: Alaska
5,154 posts, read 8,862,613 times
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I've heard people suggest that you use synthetic oil instead of regular oil. It stays more fluid at lower temps.
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Old 09-29-2009, 05:24 PM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
12,809 posts, read 13,515,298 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warptman View Post
Why not shave off some miles and drive up from Haines? This would make more sense unless you want to go to Whitehorse.
Sounds like a good idea.
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Old 09-29-2009, 09:56 PM
 
Location: Barrow, Alaska
3,538 posts, read 4,293,072 times
Reputation: 1790
Quote:
Originally Posted by akck View Post
I've heard people suggest that you use synthetic oil instead of regular oil. It stays more fluid at lower temps.
Synthetic is virtually the only way to go, and that applies to anywhere that ever has temperatures lower than about 20F.
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Old 09-30-2009, 12:07 PM
 
Location: Interior alaska
6,272 posts, read 7,645,087 times
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There is a various bunch of levels you can do to get your car to start and run in the interior cold. The first five will do you well.

Use a synthetic oil like Mobil One's 5W-30, but they have a 0W-30 now, but I always have used the first and all three vehicles have well over 100,000 miles with no issues.

A good block heater. The tank heaters will heat the engine faster and have at thermostatic control once they get to a certain temp, but use more electricity if left on all the time. The block "Freeze plug" heaters are about a third of the watts used, but take some time to bring a "Frozen" block to starting temps.

Pan heaters for both the engine oil pan (100 watts is average) and if a automatic transmission, a pan heater on that as well.

Ensure that your antifreeze is rated to at least -50 for your engine coolant.

You windshield wiper fluid is rated for subzero temps as well, if not, it will freeze your system and crack open the lines, pump and possible the bottle itself.

The following are optional, but good to have if you can afford them.

Battery heater/blankets are so/so, but won't hurt. You already have a somewhat heated engine compartment from the heaters there... But they do keep the battery warm and I have installed them on hundreds of cars/trucks, but don't use them myself in any of my stuff and haven't had any battery issues in fifty years, but when I did, it was a battery or charging system issue and not the cold.

On older cars/trucks where you can repack wheel bearings with grease, I use a synthetic grease on them, most of the newer cars have sealed bearings and you aren't suppose to be able to do anything with them... "suppose" is the key word there, the seals can be removed and re-greased if one knows how, but not a big deal....

Drain out the differentials and put a Synthetic 70W-90 gear lube in there as well, the factory gear lube is a bit thick, but will still get you though the winter with no big issues.

Remote start system with a temp settings that will restart and warm up your engine at the lower temps in case you have no place to plug in your car/truck. Uses a bit more gas/diesel than you may want to use, but it has it's place as well.

Winter wiper blades are a good choice too, they are a rubber boot set of blade where you don't see the wipers themselves, they are enclosed in the boot, it keeps the ice and snow from freezing in place where they won't wipe and you will be opening your windows to grab the wipers as they go back and forth in an effort to pick them up and "Pop" them to get the ice off.... normally, the cold subzero wind will go up your sleeve and be a "Pain".
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