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Old 09-29-2007, 12:15 AM
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Dodge county GA
Posts: 72
moving to alaska what mods do I need to make?

When I move to Anchorage Alaska next year what mods do I have to make to my 1983 240D?
Can I get a plug in fuel heater for at night?
Should I have a new undercoating put on?
Should I get a different car for the winter? Small SUV? 4WD sedan?
Any advice would be apprecated


Last edited by kirk240; 09-29-2007 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 09-29-2007, 12:49 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 23
Anchorage in winter:

They DO NOT use salt on the roads up there, just sand, so you don't have to worry so much about rust. Because of this, the roads can be slippery and everyone has two sets of tires and uses studded snow tires in the winter, which really eats up the roads. You will notice all the roads are rutted out because of the studded snow tires. I think your car will be fine for year round unless you live out in the boonies or way up on the hill.

You definitely want a block heater, even most gassers plug in at night up there in the coldest months. I don't know anything about fuel heaters. We lived up there from Feb to Jun this year (my Mercedes stayed in MN) and I think it was about 5 below every morning for 5 weeks straight in March. In Anchorage, it really doesn't get colder than 20 below, so I guess that's a plus.

We absolutely loved it up there.
82 300D 225k
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Old 09-29-2007, 12:50 AM
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Location: Milford, CT
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Removing the diesel and replacing it with a gas engine.

I'd imagin up there you just wouldn't shut it down, and cut the heck out of the fuel with kerosene.

How cold does it get up there anyway?
1999 SL500
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Old 09-29-2007, 12:57 AM
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Location: Dodge county GA
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Record low -34F Jan 1975
average temp in January a toasty +16
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Old 09-29-2007, 01:00 AM
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Location: Twin Cities, MN
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The winter temps seem to range from -5 F to 30 F with occasional thaws and a couple dips to -15. Anchorage is moderated by the ocean. If you go inland 100 miles or more, it is a whole different ballgame. When my wife and I drove up there via Canada and the Alaska HWY through the interior at the end of February, we encountered temps near -40. I was pretty proud of our trusty Toyota Corolla that I was able to start without a block heater at -35F.

I was surprised to see so many diesel trucks up there, considering the climate.
82 300D 225k
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Old 09-29-2007, 01:10 AM
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Location: Dodge county GA
Posts: 72
what kinds of water traps are avalable for the fuel? any thing like a gascalator on an airplane?
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Old 09-29-2007, 01:14 AM
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Location: Walnut Creek, CA & 1,150 miles S of Key West
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Its not like Fairbanks in the center of AK where it is routinely -20 to -40F. There most parking stalls in town have outlets and every car, atv and snow machine has a block heater and oftentimes a battery blanket too.

I dont remember seeing that many plug-ins in Anchorage although I am sure there were some. Homer (Kenai Peninsula), 125 miles further south typically stays in the high teens and low 20's at night and mid 30's in the day time. Thats not to say they do not get cold spells for a week or two where it gets down to 0F or colder. I would think Anchorage would be very similar as it also is on the banks of the Cook Inlet (Turnagain Arm), perhaps a little colder as it has less ocean influence.

You'll want a block heater and to be certain your rad and anti-freeze are in good order for sure. You may want to change oil viscosity to something a bit lower coming from GA too.
Terry Allison
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Old 09-29-2007, 08:48 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Lafayette Indiana
Posts: 38,296
That does not sound that much colder than here. Most of the time I don't even plug them in if I have a good sound engine.

Tom W
[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins & six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I have a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual.[SIGPIC]

..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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Old 09-29-2007, 12:00 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 100
If you're serious about driving a diesel in Alaska, there's a lot of work to do.

Check compression and blowby, it will be even lower when it's freezing out. If you're marginal now, it's time to do some engine work.

Check your block heater to make sure it's working. Install a lower coolant hose heater like DieselGiant's. Add a pad heater to the oil pan, and the transmission pan too. Fuel filter heaters are available, look for one that matches the diameter of the spin-on. A pad heater on the fuel tank is a good idea if it will be sitting out overnight.

You'll need to plug in the heaters for at least 4 hours before firing up.

At the same time as you put in the coolant hose heater, drain and flush the cooling system throughly. Diesel fuel will have to be cut with kerosene, or have lots of additivies put in to lower the cold filter plugging point (CFPP). CFPP is where the fuel will still flow, but sluggishly, and it will start to crystallize and, as the name implies, plug the filter.

Now, this is all advice from a friend who lived in AK for ten years; but she did live out in the boonies, where help was a 50 mile snowmobile ride away in emergencies, and getting stranded wasn't a good plan. You might get away with religious use of the block heater and some good fuel additives, and having a heated garage. Or get a (and I hate to say it) gasser Even gassers plug in up there, though, to avoid problems in cold weather. Like the water in your exhaust freezing to the cylinder walls.

On a side note, the weatherizing they do to the really really big diesels up nor' is way cool. Most of them will have a pony engine that shares coolant with the main engine to heat it, and the pony's exhaust is routed to heat the oil pan, transmission pan, fuel tank, and often the differentials. Even in extreme conditions, the temp of critical components won't drop below 40F.
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Old 09-29-2007, 01:19 PM
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well having a sound engine is the key my mb hasnt been plugged in in Nh down to -5 but it is barely broke in at 410000 miles i suppose a steady diet of cold weather I might switch to a synthetic oil

commercial fisherman diesel in my blood in my boats trucks and Dear old Dad has had me drivin them since i got my first license in 1968
1986 300 SDL 427654
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1987 190 Turbo 158000 Mom's (my inheritance)
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