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Old 11-27-2009, 12:56 PM   #1
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Smile The Alcan Hwy!

Hello, me and my girlfriend are going to be driving through the Alcan Hwy in January to get to the lower 48, and when I searched for Gallons per hour, this forum kept popping up,

What we were planning on doing is instead of getting hotels through our trip, we were going to idle through the night (hotels in the middle of nowhere can be above 100 a night and be very gross from what I have heard from friends and family) and we were just trying to figure out an estimate of how much gas we are going to be burning while we slept (Would be bad to wake up with no gas and nowhere near a gas station) and I can't think of a way to measure it on my own, outside of leaving our car at a gas station for several hours What I have is a 1994 Ford Explorer 4x4

2300 mile trip, here I come!

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Old 11-27-2009, 01:06 PM   #2
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Please use a carbon monoxide detector while sleeping in the idling vehicle.

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Old 11-27-2009, 01:15 PM   #3
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Wow, never even thought about that
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Old 11-27-2009, 02:56 PM   #4
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Old 11-27-2009, 04:43 PM   #5
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Post How so?

Are you saying its disturbing that I never thought of Carbon Dioxide being a problem? I know its a problem in a garage, I know its a problem if you can smell it inside, but I never thought about it building up in an otherwise healthy exhaust system,

That and at -47 F (22 miles from where I live) I don't even know how well my block heater would work at that coldness, at -20 its a rough start even with my block heater having been in all night, I was thinking get a tuneup oil change etc and not turning off the car for a week or so

Scariest thing about this drive I think is going to be is Ice Heaves, its where the ice literally makes the road all messed up
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Old 11-27-2009, 05:02 PM   #6
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Carbon Monoxide is colorless and odorless and displaces the oxygen in your bloodstream. First sign is a killer headache. Takes a transfusion or many weeks for it to clear out of the body.

Sounds like a dangerous time to travel, when it's -47 F outside.

Maybe a car cover and a charcoal grille to sit under the oil pan.

I wouldn't try it myself, unless you can dress to survive if the vehicle leaves you stranded.

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Old 11-27-2009, 08:43 PM   #7
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Yeah, but its actually the best time to do it if you don't want to wait until the middle of summer, if you do it in the middle of winter, you don't have to worry about freezes and thaws, its all just frozen and dressing for the weather is a must, where I live now, its a 60 mile drive one way, or 100 the other to get a pack of cigarettes on a Hwy with very little to no traffic, we are at the bottom of the list for the plows and whatnot, cool area to live in though my GF has a bunch of pictures up at
Not exactly the place to try hypermiling, Have Zero choice in letting your car warm up for 10-20 minutes, unless you want to drive with your windows down :/
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Old 11-27-2009, 09:52 PM   #8
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I think it'd be better to get online and shop for the best motel rates and stay warm and comfortable. That would be preferable to risking death. I understand CO is a nice peaceful way to go, but we are talking death here.

Your car is a 1994 model. Unless the exhaust system has just been replaced, I'm betting there is a leak, or potential for a leak. And your weatherstripping is 16 years old. If you are sitting still, idling, there is a chance of exhaust seeping in that way. Rust-out in the floorboards?

To me, it'd be better to stay at a motel. Or, get some Arctic sleeping bags and sleep outside. Does your G/F REALLY want to spend the night in the car?

Looked at some of the pictures. Really nice place!
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Old 11-27-2009, 10:40 PM   #9
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My 4 cylinder 2.5 L Nissan burns .22 gal/hr at idle when it's warmed up. My 1.5 L Scion burns .15-.17 gph. So, you can assume your Explorer might burn .5 gph, and have a reasonable safety margin.

Traveling the Alcan in the Winter is smooth, but the cold temperatures narrow your safety margin. As an example, we were running low on gas (in the Summer), and should have gassed up in Beaver, but decided to try for the next town on the Alaska side of the border. It turned out to be 50 miles away. When we got there, the gas station was out of gas. We trucked on to the next town, only to find that gas station had burned down, and it was yet another 50 miles to a gas pump. I carried 2 X 5 gallon cans of gas, and could have siphoned more from the truck I was towing, but if I hadn't been prepared, we could have run out under those circumstances.

A friend of mine drove the Alcan in Winter. They just rotated drivers and never stopped. Their old truck's heater didn't heat well, so their clear window area shrank to a 2"X4" hole through the ice.

-50 to -60 F temperatures are no picnic, but I'd probably keep the engine running, or at least restart it every couple of hours. If it fails to start, you're in an instant life or death situation.
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Old 11-28-2009, 02:50 PM   #10
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I left my Dakota idling for three hour stretches, with the A/C on, and left it idling, but locked, while picking up loads. Doesn't bother a vehicle in good condition, but is a bit hard on the oil.

My MPG on the Dakota always averaged in the high 18's to 19's. Even when I didn't let it idle extensively.

Why not ask Ford what that engine uses at idle?

Calculate your fuel consumption based on the worst you get, then add 10% worser for good luck.

Have a great trip! I'm there in spirit.

I use and talk about, but don't sell Amsoil.
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