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Unfairkickazz93 04-30-2012 11:44 PM

Going to school in Alaska!
I am going to school in Fairbanks, Alaska this fall for a degree called Process Technology. I am driving up there in August. How do these Rams do in 50 below? Anyone from Alaska here?

Stump3r 04-30-2012 11:51 PM

I can tell you this....they do awesome at -45C, I know there is at least one or two Alaska guys here. Hopefully they will chime in. Make sure you have a block heater. Another thing to have in those low temps is a battery blanket. Ensure your antifreeze is at max and you shouldn't have any issues. Remember to let her warm up before driving and don't push her too hard until she comes to temp.

IH Scout Driver 05-01-2012 03:28 PM

Be sure you get the full winterization package for your rig (battery pad, oil pan pad, block heater, winter front, synthetic oils). I live in Fairbanks (been here for over 6 years now). I've had a power steering pump freeze solid in the past (bad fluid was the cause). My diesels seem to do just fine over the past couple years.

The local dealer can be considered a joke at times. Some people have more luck than others. The next closest dealer is in Anchorage and some claim they aren't much better then the Fairbanks dealer. No other dealers in the state that I'm aware of.

I know several people that have Rams locally and no one has reported major issues that I'm aware of. If you plug in when it gets below -20*F on a timer and you'll be fine.

Good luck on your degree, UAF is a good school.

Edit - I looked to where you are living now; I have family in that general area. You'll enjoy the drive North.

Also, the remarks by Stump3r are spot on concerning the antifreeze mix. You want a good winter mix for this far North. You'll get used to the dry snow fairly quickly; it's not like what you're getting off Lake Michigan.

wvcoolvinilla 05-01-2012 03:36 PM

I hope you like Hunting.. I was in and out of AK a couple of times with the Air Force.. some of the guys on base were crazy in love with hunting up there.. goood luck with school..

InDeepWaterBlue 05-01-2012 05:03 PM

Lived there for 13 years before moving to the sunny south. The winters there are nothing like the winters in Michigan, and take it easy on the ALCAN highway. Try to go before it get's to raining as the section in the Yukon Territories can get a bit hairy sometimes. Take some good road side tools and a jack that will work well on the side of a road just in case, a gallon of water, and a 5 gallon gas can. I'm hoping there are a couple more gas stations along the road since I drove it but sometimes there's a pretty good distance between them. Not trying to dissuade you from driving there, just saying it's best to be prepared as the ALCAN is not a road you really want to be stuck on.

ArmyofOne 05-02-2012 09:58 AM

I am from AK, but my truck has never been there, I fly now LOL.

Unfairkickazz93 05-02-2012 11:41 AM

I am definitely looking forward to the drive up there! I have driven across country many times so I know long distance driving. This will be the longest though at 3500 miles. Anyone that has driven the route, How long should I give myself to drive it? I will have my brother to help drive.

As far as the weatherization, I will have that done as soon as I get there. What ratio of antifreeze to water should be in it?

ArmyofOne 05-02-2012 12:33 PM

60/40 for summer, I would run 80/20 for winter up there. Dont want to crack the block.

IH Scout Driver 05-02-2012 02:00 PM

When you get the winterization done (after getting here); they'll put in the correct ratio's. But Army of one nailed them if you're mixing yourself. One nice thing about having the shop do it is that they'll typically flush the system at the same time (very helpful after that drive).

Both times I drove it was in late fall / mid winter; and I had a trailer, so it took a little longer. But I made the trip from Houghton / Hancock to Fairbanks in 7 days (solo); 5 days with 2 drivers.

Be sure to have about ~10 gallons spare fuel with you and a current copy of the milepost. Since you'll be coming up during tourist season, 99% of the shops / gas stations will be open. You'll get slowed down by the RV's in several locations; and watch for the oilfield guys in NWT, some drive like they own the road.

ArmyofOne 05-02-2012 04:16 PM

OK, Having made this exact drive 5x in my life, I can tell you, its a lot of fun. If you want scenery, I highly recommend the trek through Alberta, as its full of all kinds of fun stuff!

As for driving the Al-Can, I drove it last in June 2003 when my folks moved from Anchorage AK (Elmendorf AFB actually) to Fort Worth, TX when my dad Retired. You will want:

-10 gallons extra fuel

-2 spare tires (at least)

-Camping gear, complete with 1 firearm, preferably .45 or larger (even if you
do not plan on camping, it may save your life if you have to camp somewhere!)

-Spare belts/hoses

-1 extra set of HL bulbs (rediculous fine in Canada if you get pulled for a headlight out)

-some kind of rock protection for your truck, be it a temporary screen that mounts to the front (the kind you put on a car being towed behind an RV) or whatever...the gravel sections will destroy your paint.

-Glass coverage on your insurance, I lost 3 windshields in 5 trips. Truckers don't always have mudflaps on the trailers.

-Hand tools

-Lots of cash, you will need to exchange it at the border, and then again at the Alaska Border. I wouldn't use debit/credit cards for many reasons, one the exchange rate is factored in, someone could fudge something up (happened to me, I ended up paying 1,200 for a tank of fuel in BC cause some dolt added a digit), and because MANY places along the al-can dont have the ability to take Debit/Credit, and some won't take US currency. You will be on E and pull into a gas station and dude will be like, "I cant help you".

-Speaking of gas stations, whenever you see one once on the al-can, FILL UP. I know for a fact its not uncommon to see 400+ miles between them.

-Don't expect stellar fuel economy. The altitude is high most of the trip and as such you will run slightly rich. In addition to that, there are many grades of 7, 8 and even one thats 12%. You will be able to identify it by the sand/gravel pit at the bottom...its designed to stop runaway rigs from flying off the mountain.

All-in-all a very beautiful drive, and one I would happily take again.

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