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Old 12-19-2012, 04:16 PM
 
Location: SoFlo
2 posts, read 2,832 times
Reputation: 10

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Hello all!
I currently live in South Florida but will be moving to Anchorage in the beginning of February. I was just wondering what I need to do to make my vehicle safe to drive there on the Alaska Hwy, or if it will be safe at all. I currently drive a 2008 Jeep Liberty 4 x 4 with all season tires on it. I was also raised in New England so winter driving is not new to me. What do I need to do to be safe for this drive? How much winterization is required? Also I was going to haul a 5 x 10 cargo trailer...would this be advisable in winter or not? I've heard a lot of contradicting things and I am so confused now. Thank you all for your time!
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Old 12-19-2012, 05:10 PM
 
4,715 posts, read 10,550,098 times
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Plenty of get ready for the cold threads here. Milepost magazine, winterize your vehicle, in case of breakdown kits, snow tires/chains which are all good. Remember that 18 wheelers pulling 80 ft co trainers drive those roads year 'round.

I would be researching the trailer part. You are lucky in that you are rated to pull 5,000 pounds and have a 1,100 pound haul rating. The 1,100 includes your trailer tongue weight. A 5x10 trailer and loaded down can hit that 5k limit. (how much does the trailer empty weigh?) Assuming you are not moving a 5x10 full of heavy stuff, you should be ok. I would go to a truck stop and get weighed, making sure you are OK. You have a high chance of going thru scales somewhere along your trip.

Next is that empty you do not get great mileage, towing will make that worse. You only have a 19 gal tank. Take note of your mpg while towing around Florida... If you only get 6 mpg, which is possible you only have a 100 mile range. I pulled an open trailer similar in size and only 2,500 pounds which a truck and dropped 5 mpg. Plan on taking some jugs of extra fuel. A 300 mile range should be more than enough. Plan on filling up at every gas station you come across on the Alaska highway. I am going thru this math for my situation too.

You might already know this...
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Wasilla, AK
2,795 posts, read 5,637,741 times
Reputation: 2535
Get The MILEPOST: Alaska Travel Guide and Trip Planner . In my opinion it's the best guide to the drive.

Carry tire chains, small snow shovel, food, water & warm clothing. As mentioned, plan your fuel stops very carefully. Do not leave Watson Lake, Whitehorse, Haines Junction, Destruction Bay, Beaver Creek, Tok or Glennallen without a full tank. As Darkser pointed out, you'll probably want to carry some extra fuel to account for the reduced mileage while pulling a trailer.

I've done the trip before in February with a uHaul truck pulling a car trailer. It is doable, but know that at times you will need to slow down. And I would even plan on having to wait out bad weather for a few days if it comes up.

Cell phone coverage will be nonexistent on a good chunk of trip.

Driving the highway in the winter has been discussed previously on this board. Give some of the other threads a good read for additional information.

Oh, and stop at Fast Eddies in Tok for a meal.
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:59 AM
 
Location: Bethel, Alaska
21,368 posts, read 38,239,063 times
Reputation: 13901
How to Drive to Alaska in the Winter - ExploreNorth
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:02 PM
 
Location: Bethel, Alaska
21,368 posts, read 38,239,063 times
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https://www.city-data.com/forum/alask...ay-winter.html

https://www.city-data.com/forum/alask...an-winter.html
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Old 12-20-2012, 07:56 PM
 
Location: Anchorage
96 posts, read 222,240 times
Reputation: 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by matty88 View Post
Hello all!
I currently live in South Florida but will be moving to Anchorage in the beginning of February. I was just wondering what I need to do to make my vehicle safe to drive there on the Alaska Hwy, or if it will be safe at all. I currently drive a 2008 Jeep Liberty 4 x 4 with all season tires on it. I was also raised in New England so winter driving is not new to me. What do I need to do to be safe for this drive? How much winterization is required? Also I was going to haul a 5 x 10 cargo trailer...would this be advisable in winter or not? I've heard a lot of contradicting things and I am so confused now. Thank you all for your time!
Hi Matty,

I pulled a double axle trailer (7 x 12 I think, or maybe it was 8 x 12, can't remember!) in mid October when there was already a good bit of snow through certain sections. From what I was told from folks that live along the Alcan, it is actually better to drive after the snow has been around a while than when it is new (like when I drove). While I'm not overly comfortable driving a trailer in any conditions, it is doable in the winter. Just remember if something happens that disables your trailer (for example, I had such a severe blow out that the tire wrapped around the wheel and tore out the trailer brakes and lights), you might have a very long distance to go before you can find someone who can fix it. This is the biggest issue with pulling a trailer in a non-populated area. And then you might have to leave your trailer sitting somewhere until it can get towed or put on a flat bed. Something can happen to your truck too, but the trailer just adds an additional element of potential for things that can go wrong. Of course, the chances that this happens are slim, but just something to think about.

Make sure you have spares for not only your truck but also your trailer. I carried 2 spares for the trailer and was glad for them. If you don't have winter tires, per Canadian law you are required to carry chains on certain stretches of highway (including parts of the route you will take). You can find some of this info online here: Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. This is also helpful for Yukon highway conditions: Current Road Conditions - Highways and Public Works - Government of Yukon, and Alaska highway conditions: Alaska 511 - Transportation & Public Facilities, State of Alaska. I would recommend getting winter tires, and you can order them and buy them from a tire shop further north along your route, and carry your regular tires in the bed of your truck or in your trailer.

It's a beautiful drive, enjoy.
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:46 AM
 
287 posts, read 600,631 times
Reputation: 171
Is the trailer a U-Haul?... good luck, they will come and help you - maybe - and remember, they are are usually only maintained enough to keep them on the road.

You can haul a trailer in winter - just be careful of foul weather and road conditions. SLOW DOWN!!!

I wouldn't let the tank get below half driving in the winter. EVER.

Just make sure your tires are good, no fluid leaks, anti freeze for -32 + ... you live in FL, but should still be able to test it to that level.

You can only do so much to prep to your vehicle... if you haven't been maintaining it, you have something waiting to happen and no amount of prep will get you ready for.

Chains, sand, blankets, food, water... you'll be on a road that has minimum travelling during winter months... and even less if you become stuck/disabled during a storm...

Call DOT and see how many times and for how long the road has been closed over the past year or so and go from there...
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Old 12-22-2012, 01:49 AM
 
Location: Dangling from a mooses antlers
7,308 posts, read 14,735,926 times
Reputation: 6238
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcbrewmeister View Post
Is the trailer a U-Haul?... good luck, they will come and help you - maybe - and remember, they are are usually only maintained enough to keep them on the road.

You can haul a trailer in winter - just be careful of foul weather and road conditions. SLOW DOWN!!!

I wouldn't let the tank get below half driving in the winter. EVER.

Just make sure your tires are good, no fluid leaks, anti freeze for -32 + ... you live in FL, but should still be able to test it to that level.

You can only do so much to prep to your vehicle... if you haven't been maintaining it, you have something waiting to happen and no amount of prep will get you ready for.

Chains, sand, blankets, food, water... you'll be on a road that has minimum travelling during winter months... and even less if you become stuck/disabled during a storm...

Call DOT and see how many times and for how long the road has been closed over the past year or so and go from there...
Seriously? I pulled into Tok last night and it was -43. When I left this afternoon it was -54. My antifreeze tested at -35 and I had thick slush in the radiator this morning. Spent two hours thawing out my fuel lines. Last place I got gas at was Beaver Creek. Think they might have had a bit of moisture in there tank.

If you are driving up from Florida start adding HEET deicer (red bottle) to your fuel after each fill up once you cross the Canadian border. I should have done that yesterday but I ran out and the only gas station that's open in Beaver Creek didn't have any. Their toliets were also frozen.

I should write an updated post about this trip. 2 things though. Don't drive after dark in the winter. If you break down it could be as long as 8 hours before the next person comes along. Have an independent heat source in your survival kit in case of breakdowns. When I came around Destruction Bay the winds were blowing so hard it drifted one lane shut. Wind chills were probably in the -60 range.

If your vehicle breaks down what will you do for heat? The old candle in the can won't cut it. You'll be surprised how quickly and how cold an unheated car gets.
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Old 12-22-2012, 06:41 AM
 
287 posts, read 600,631 times
Reputation: 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by stiffnecked View Post
Seriously? I pulled into Tok last night and it was -43. When I left this afternoon it was -54. My antifreeze tested at -35 and I had thick slush in the radiator this morning. Spent two hours thawing out my fuel lines. Last place I got gas at was Beaver Creek. Think they might have had a bit of moisture in there tank.

If you are driving up from Florida start adding HEET deicer (red bottle) to your fuel after each fill up once you cross the Canadian border. I should have done that yesterday but I ran out and the only gas station that's open in Beaver Creek didn't have any. Their toliets were also frozen.

I should write an updated post about this trip. 2 things though. Don't drive after dark in the winter. If you break down it could be as long as 8 hours before the next person comes along. Have an independent heat source in your survival kit in case of breakdowns. When I came around Destruction Bay the winds were blowing so hard it drifted one lane shut. Wind chills were probably in the -60 range.

If your vehicle breaks down what will you do for heat? The old candle in the can won't cut it. You'll be surprised how quickly and how cold an unheated car gets.
I'm not even going to guess what you are saying "seriously" about - but how about some suggestions for a heat source inside a car - so open flame is probably not the best of ideas - and something that runs off the battery is probably not a good idea for a vehicle that is broke down and may or may not run...

When did I mention candle?

It's easy to criticize and not give any suggestions.

Someone coming from FL and hauling a trailer should probably not have a better than 50/50 (70/30 max) mix of anti-freeze if they have any hope for their vehicle not overheating... antifreeze is a not that great as a coolant. Works great where you are and the temp is not getting above 20 - but how about FL where it's still getting pretty warm? No matter what you think, they have to start out from there...

And straight anti-freeze will freeze...

And yeah I forgot about the HEET thing.... a bottle of rubbing alcohol does the same thing. Red bottle HEET is not that common down here, or any other southern state... Yellow is.
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:58 AM
 
Location: Dangling from a mooses antlers
7,308 posts, read 14,735,926 times
Reputation: 6238
50/50 mix of antifreeze will most likely freeze at temps below -40. You're failing to take into consideration the affects of the massive amounts of cold air that are forced through the radiator at driving speeds. That well offsets the affects of running a higher mix percent on the antifreeze. Red HEET has different additives then your mothers rubbing alcohol. This probably is the reason you shouldn't give advice to people driving to Alaska in the middle of winter. YOU'VE never done it. Quit trying to be a genius know-it-all. Walkin' away from this train wreck just SMDH.....
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