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Old 09-27-2004, 09:36 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: South Mississippi
Posts: 36,343
Shuttermutt's winter driving tips

Here is a copy of Shuttermutt's reply to a thread on driving in snow (whatever that is).
Speaking as someone that's driven a 2WD 68 LWB in Northern Maine and Minnesota, here's what I do to get around:
  • Clean the bed out before the first good snow. Make sure your drain holes up near the cab are free of leaves and junk. You'll be glad you did come spring.
  • Get 4 big Rubbermaid tubs. Get ones that are nice and flexible. The cheap ones will get really brittle in the cold and will crack if you stare at 'em wrong. Fill them with sand and toss a coffee can in one. Put two behind and two in front of the wheel well on each side. Cut two 2X4 and place them in between the tubs across the bed to prevent them from sliding.
  • Keep a good tow strap in one of your tubs. You don't want to have to dig around for a frozen strap in the middle of the night, do you?
  • Make sure your choke is in good working order. It's much easier to adjust when it's relatively warm out than when it's -30 below zero.
  • Replace your wiper blades with ones that are rated for extreme cold. Now's a good time to make sure your windshield washer is working and full of an extreme weather fluid (NOT the $1.49 blue stuff).
  • Lube your door locks with whatever you normally use. I prefer a little shot of silicon spray with a blast of graphite powder.
  • Check your defroster. Again, it's more fun to deal with when you're not freezing your butt off.
  • Toss one or two of those $0.99 disposable hand warmer packets in your tool box/bag along with a pair of cold-weather gloves (I really like the cold weather rated ones made by Mechanix).
  • Make sure you're running a real winter tire. If you're allowed to run studs, do it. I had real good luck with Cooper Weather Master II tires on both of my trucks. They do well even without studs.
  • The next time you're down at the parts store, have 'em test your battery. The cold weather is a real bear and a stout battery is very important.
  • Make sure you've got good jumper cables, a small shovel (army surplus collapsible shovels are great), a blanket and other common sense items.
  • Check your antifreeze. Don't just look and say, "It's green so it must be okay!" Get a cheap tester and make absolutely sure.
  • Clean your battery terminals and inspect the cables.
  • Consider moving to a 5W-30 or even 0W-30 synthetic if you're going to be seeing temperatures at 0 degrees or below.
  • I know you're not supposed to, but I keep a half pint of whiskey in my toolbag. It's handy when you need to melt a little bit of ice or, in a pinch, you can soak a rag with it, stuff it in the bottom of your coffee can and use it like a can of Sterno.
  • If it can be lubricated, it should be lubricated. Extreme cold will not only amplify a lack of lubrication, but will also make parts more prone to breaking.
  • Double-check your fresh air vent flap (located on the passenger side in the cowl) to make sure it's fully closed.
  • Hit your local BMW dealership and ask for a product called Gummiphledge. It's a little-known tube of goo used to keep weatherseals pliable even in very cold weather. Unfortunately, the dealership told me they had discontinued the product recently. If you can't find it, Sonax makes a similar product. Note that Armor-All is NOT what you want.
  • Check your belts very well as they can get very brittle in extremely cold temperatures.
  • Check all of your fluids.
  • Throw something in the bed you can use to chock your wheels with. Personally, I don't recommend using your parking brake in the winter as they tend to fail to release when it gets really cold out.
  • Triple-check your brakes. If you've got a problem, get it sorted out now. The last thing you want on an icy road is a truck that pulls to one side or the other or doesn't stop at all when you hit the pedal.
  • Consider an engine block heater if you'll be parking outside.
That's about all I can think of right now. It's true that a LWB will be more stable than a SWB truck, but either one will get you anywhere you want to go with some weight in the back and if you take the time to practice your winter driving skills.
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Old 10-07-2004, 07:34 AM   #2
blood type; Retumbo
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: next to my reloading bench
Posts: 10,135
yes!!! by all means add weight.
if you have a manual trans use the stuff from GM called Synchromesh. that way when you let out the clutch the engine doesnt die. also along the lines of a block heater I highly suggest an oil pan heater. the oil needs to be warm as well.
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