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Old 04-11-2011, 09:21 PM   #1516
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[QUOTE=ragtoplvr;15645177]
Quote:
Originally Posted by squonker View Post
Some pics to be going on with...



I hope that has good antifreeze. How would they get that started, put a tent or portable building around it and put a big heater in there, or what?. I am guessing it could not roll into a shop because all the oil is jellied. If the antifreeze froze and leaked out it would be an environmental problem, right.

Such an extreme environment, always surprised at what lives there.

Hope you are having a good year.

Rod
Hi Rod,

Tarping it and putting a Herman Nelson heater in there for a few hours would certainly be an option. I don't know the specifics of this particular machine, but the fact that it looks brand new and has plywood over the glass suggests to me that it hasn't moved since it was hauled up there - on the back of a truck, the plywood suggests (stops the glass from being chipped/broken by stones on the highway). My guess is that they'd leave it until the weather warms up a little, but who's to say?

Cheers.
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:47 PM   #1517
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Trip #6




Feb 25th 2011

The trailer that dispatch told me to hook up to was loaded with wire mesh. It was parked in a different quarry from the one we regularly use, tight beside another tridem flat which was loaded with assorted bits and bobs. When I turned up to pin on and tie my load down , there was an old guy there tying down the load next door. I wasn't in the best mood because I wasn't happy about having lost my trains, and the fact that this straight trailer likely meant a lengthy delay at Diavik while I got a backhaul, which in turn would mean that I wouldn't get another trip in. If I'd been able to keep my trains and stay on the cement haul I'd have got two trips in for sure. Not now.




This mesh was a pain to tie down. The sharp edges meant that I had to use hard corners under my straps, only I didn't have enough so I cut up an old strap and used lengths of that as protection for my tie down straps. What I mean is that the ends of the mesh would have rubbed through the straps that I used to tie the load down when the load naturally moved a little as I was under way. By putting another layer of strap or a 'hard corner' (a 90 degree piece of aluminium or plastic) under the tie down straps on the corners, they were protected. It was a bitch because each strap required two corners, and each corner meant climbing up onto the trailer at least once to make sure that the corners were positioned correctly under the straps. From memory, I think I used ten straps so that's at least twenty times I had to climb up onto the trailer. What made it even harder still was that it was windy that day, and when threw the straps over the load they'd move in the wind. I'd get them positioned, climb up and put one corner in place, and by the time I jumped down and climbed back up the other side to do the other corner, the strap had moved in the wind and needed placing back over the first corner. The trick was to sinch the tie down strap tight enough so that it couldn't move in the wind, but still leave enough slack for me to get a strap under each corner. It was delicate work!

So while this was going on I was mumbling the odd word to the guy tying down his load next door (he was at least 100 years old, I think!), but I wasn't nearly as friendly as I usually would have been.




Eventually Old man Time was about done and told me that he'd pull away to give me more room to work. I told him I'd check that his trailer wheels were turning for him, and that's when the fun started....

...Basically, they weren't. Well, I think there was one on the r/h side frozen, and all three on the left. I grabbed a sledge hammer and hit the relevant wheels (the wrong way to do it but I was too lazy to get under the trailer if I didn't have to), and most of them freed right up. There was one on the left that just wouldn't un-stick though. I ended up having to get under the trailer to tap the dust cover in the end, but even that didn't work. I got mad and hit it harder with the sledge hammer on the wheel itself. No go. Back on the ground underneath...still no go. He drove forward slowly while I whacked the wheel with the big hammer. Nothing. This must have gone on for a good 15 mins and I was pretty sure that we had a bigger problem on our hands. I was just about to tell the guy that there was nothing else I could do and that he'd have to call the mechanic on the radio when all six of his trailer wheels locked right up. At first I was sure that he'd accidentally dynamited his brakes but he assure me that he hadn't. Either way, there was bugger all I could do. I told him the mechanic's name and how to get hold of him, and got back to my load. When the mechanic did turn up five of his wheels mysteriously began turning again, but that one on the left wasn't budging, and they ended up just winding that brake all the way off.

And the fun was only just beginning...look at this:




Got to go. More tomorrow, I hope.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:11 PM   #1518
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When the mechanic did turn up five of his wheels mysteriously began turning again, but that one on the left wasn't budging, and they ended up just winding that brake all the way off.
I wouldn't have a good feeling about running with a disabled brake. What happens if the rest of them fail out on the ice? Good thing you guys only run 10 km/h.

My dad used to tell a story about crossing Raton Pass one rainy night with a balky LF brake that kept trying to yank him out of his lane every time he hit the brakes. I can't imagine that was any fun.
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:22 AM   #1519
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this looks stuck


do you ever come back from the mines trailerless?
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Old 04-12-2011, 03:57 PM   #1520
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I wouldn't have a good feeling about running with a disabled brake. What happens if the rest of them fail out on the ice? Good thing you guys only run 10 km/h.

My dad used to tell a story about crossing Raton Pass one rainy night with a balky LF brake that kept trying to yank him out of his lane every time he hit the brakes. I can't imagine that was any fun.
Well, remember most of the time we're running at a very reckless 25 km/h, not 10!

There was no danger here running with one brake out for the count - we never use our brakes on the ice anyway and he still had 11 out of 12 working. Never using our brakes comes in to play later on in the story...


Quote:
Originally Posted by cruisnGrrl

do you ever come back from the mines trailerless?
Only once, in 2006. I had taken a load of dynamite to Snap Lake and when Snap dispatch had seen on the computer that it was on its way, they had realized that they had nowhere to store the stuff. When I arrived at the mine they told me that they had asked for my load not to be delivered, and I wondered whether they might make me wait a week or a month until they had room for it in the explosives storage area! They just told me to drop my trailer off in the end, and because they had no backhaul for me I bobtailed home.
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:34 PM   #1521
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Trip #6 contd.



^^I took this photo just to piss Boss off!! Boss doesn't have a very high opinion of Pa Pa Jo, so when I saw the opportunity to park beside him in the yard one day, I snapped this shot. Later I emailed it to Boss for him to blow up and frame on his wall .^^

Ok, where were we? Oh yeah, buddy's brakes. The mechanic came out and was working on solving the problems with that trailer when I left to pull my truck into the shop for an hour or two and do a couple of things to it. When I went to dispatch it was night shift on duty, and I asked Kevin whether he'd do me a favour. I knew it was a long shot, but I had nothing to lose...I asked him whether he'd call Diavik for me. I was getting short on time to get a seventh load in and I wasn't going to be happy if the mine took 18 hrs to scrabble together a backhaul for me as they'd done to Mike earlier in the season. I asked Kevin to call them and say that there was a tridem flat on the way, and that if they wanted to load me with a backhaul they now had 16+ hrs notice. Kevin said no - fair enough, I suppose - but he did say that they'd give me a Snap Lake trip next so that I could fit one more in. As it turned out....


^^ Broken springs that someone had lost on the road, and Security had picked up along the way. ^^

I left Yellowknife on 04:00 on Feb 24th, I think, and had a bitch of a time staying awake by the time I hit Portage 10. I very nearly pulled over to crash on P.16 but struggled on and worked through my fatigue.

I was leading two really nice guys (tanker yankers) called Selwyn and Ken. As we were approaching the north end of Gordon Lake I heard Security talking to a truck that had been broken down on P.21. I didn't get the whole conversation, but it was now fixed and Security were telling the driver to join the convoy that was just passing him right then. There was some mis-communication and the driver didn't join that group. He was now left sitting on the portage all by himself, but by this time I recognized the voice and it was Mike, Boss's other driver so I told him he could join us. In the end Selwyn and Ken stopped there on P.21 at the Sugar Shack to sleep for a few hours and Mike and I carried on together.




To be continued....
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Old 04-13-2011, 10:22 PM   #1522
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Trip # 6 contd...

Mike, whom I'd picked up on P.21, had had a bit of a bummer morning. There's a trailer parked on that portage with a shitter in it (which is why we call it the Sugar Shack), and he'd pulled in to use the facilities. When he came out to his truck again, he couldn't open the door - it had locked itself! The poor guy - I don't think it was too too cold and anyway the sugar shack is heated, but he'd spent 90 mins trying to get into his truck without having to break a window. Eventually he ended up removing the small piece of glass that is down beside the foot well on the passenger side so that he could reach in and open that door. He used a sheet of plastic or something to replace the glass, and had to enter his truck through the passenger door for the rest of the trip.




We arrived at Lockhart at 12:35 and found Dave there having lunch. Dave is the old dude who'd been tying down his load next to me and had all those problems with his brakes. Turns out that even though the mechanic had backed off that one trailer brake for him, it was his quick release valve that was the reason all of his trailer brakes had locked up on him while I was helping him trying to free the one stuck one. Every time he touched his brake pedal his trailer brakes all came on...and stayed on for approximately ten minutes! He didn't find out until he was already on the Ingraham Trail so he was unable to use any brakes at all, and had to get the guys ahead of him to warn him of any downhills. He was pretty good about it though - I got the impression he'd seen a lot worse.

I grabbed a half hour sleep at Lockhart and then lead Dave and one of Dickson's new drivers called Mike to the mine. That was quite the journey...Mackay Lake was much smoother for having been graded, but still rough in spots. Dave kept dropping back which always bugs me, but he seemed content so I just let it go. We had a long delay due to a breakdown on Mackay. I can't remember what had happened, but there was a stranded truck there which the driver, along with a friend of his and some help from Security, had Heath Robinsoned to get it off the lake. Security asked me to let these two trucks join my group, but their fix hadn't worked and we ended up being held up even more. By the time we finally got to P.49 at the north end of Mackay we had lost so much time that while Dave took a minute to sort out his straps, I let two groups behind us go on by. Then, having waited what was probably 20 mins while Dave fought with his straps in the very strong wind (I'd gone out to help him and see what I could/couldn't do for the broken truck, which had limped that far), Mike and I were becoming pretty frustrated. Mike had just said to me over the radio that ok, Dave was on the move when Dave himself came on the radio - he'd accidentally hit his brakes and now he was stuck! I'd pretty much had it by then but we had no choice but to wait until his trailer brakes decided to free themselves up again, then finally we were off.



We pulled in to the mine parking lot at 22:30 (it had taken us eight hours to get from Lockhart to Diavik, should have taken us six), and I was very glad to see that there were only three other trucks there. Ok, perhaps they'd have time to find me my backhaul and get me on my way again. They told me that I was indeed getting a backhaul, but the fact that there was a driver in the shack just leaving with one who'd only been there 3.5 hrs did encourage me.


Feb 25th 2011

In the end I had had nothing to worry about - I left again at 03:20 (so a five hour turn around) and hauled arse back to P.49. I arrived there at 04:40 having had just 30 mins sleep (at Lockhart on the way up) in the past 26 hours. I wrote in my notes that I had been going to make a video, but was too tired. No idea what it was going to be about.




To be continued even more....
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Old 04-14-2011, 09:42 PM   #1523
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Trip #6 contd....

I set my alarm for three hours, but ended up waking up after four. I set sail for Lockhart and was happy to find that they had opened a new lane on Mackay Lake. What happens is that when the northbound lane gets too rough (it services all the loaded trucks and so takes a beating), they plow a new lane on the lake. Northbound loadeds get to take the new lane, then the southbound empties can take the same hammer lanes, and the southbound loaded trucks - me, in this case - can have the old northbound lane and then we don't have to keep slowing down to 10 km/h every time we pass another truck. Everybody is happy.

As I made my way south on Mackay, Mike (the Mike with the broken door lock) was heading north. What the hell - we had arrived at Lockhart together about 18 hrs ago, how come he was so far behind? It turns out that he had left Lockhart once and then been turned around and ordered to go back due to bad weather, so this was turning out to be a very slow trip indeed for him.

By half way across Mackay the rumours were flying about the road being about to close for weather, but you hear this sort of thing all the time. However, when Security began to mention it too I knew that it was something I needed to take notice of. By the time I got to Lockhart at 14:07 the road to the north was closed. I went in and had something to eat and shot the shit with Gary, Sean F., Charlie and Carmen, but the weather was definitely getting worse so I needed to keep going while the road to the south was still open. I was still very (I underlined that in my notes!) tired, though.

I jumped in my truck and called dispatch.
"Lockhart Dispatch"
"Go ahead for Lockhart"
"705 leaving the yard heading south loaded"
"705 southbound loaded"

I was parked in the top lot where the straight trailers are allowed to as long as there is room. It takes..I dunno, about 90 seconds to drive down the hill to the ramp onto the ice, I would think. I was half way there when dispatch called me on the radio.

"705 have you left yet?"
"Just heading down the hill into the lower lot now"

And about thirty seconds later,
"705 do you copy?"
"Go ahead for 705"
"705 I have some bad news for you. I can't let you go alone with the weather as it is. You can leave with another loaded truck when one turns up, or we'll wait for a break in the weather and let you go then. Sorry!"

I was literally about a truck and trailer length away from being on the ice. So close! So I backed up, went and parked back in my old spot and hit the bunk for a couple of hours, thinking that by that time I'd be cleared to go again.

Or so I thought....
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Old 04-15-2011, 10:32 PM   #1524
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Trip #6 contd....

Hello again. This trip is taking a while to write up, I realize, but I'm not posting it up bit by bit only to try and generate any sort of excitement (that ain't never gonna happen in this thread, I know!). There are a few reasons why it has taken so long, but the main one is that I have been on a course for the past three weeks in Vancouver, and have had homework every night. I'm not used to that! Anyway, I'm well chuffed because I have now finished, and as of this afternoon I am now a British Columbia certified driving instructor for Classes 7,5,4,3,2 and 1. For you Yanks, I think you know a class 1 licence as a CDL, and I have a full time job training truck drivers starting in May. I'm very much looking forward to it - as you may have gathered, I love trucks and love being around them but I couldn't think of a worse job than being a truck driver! This way I get the best of everything and I'm quite excited. Oh, and if you're on Vancouver Island and you see a tractor trailer with 'Student Driver' written on it and the face in the instructor's seat looks familiar from this thread, give us a WIDE berth!!

Alright, on with the show (but tonight's episode will be a quickie too because I only got home a wee while ago and I need to go to bed).

The storm. Oh yes, the storm.



Having gone for what I thought would be a short nap to wait for the weather to improve, I woke up to find the wind worse than it had been before. Oops. I went into camp for supper and shot the shit with Charlie, Troy, George and Jason, and I asked dispatch whether they minded if I were to check in every couple of hours about being allowed to go again. They said to knock myself out, so long as I didn't do it on the radio so that everyone else could hear! They also said that it was due to blow for a couple of days, and that wasn't what I wanted to hear at all. Shit. I began to think about what my deadline for time would be in order to get a last quick trip in to Snap Lake before I had to fly home in a few days, and figured I would have to leave Lockhart by Saturday morning. It was currently Friday evening and my flight was booked for Monday afternoon. People began to comment on my truck because I was the only straight trailer there and therefore the only truck allowed to park in the top lot, which is about half as far from camp as everyone else was. I could have rented out my sleeper!



At 8pm I decided to try and stay up until midnight, and that I'd check in with dispatch then, but in reality it was obvious just looking outside that I wasn't going anywhere that night. I closed out my logbook and went to bed.


Sat Feb 26th 2011

I woke up in the morning to find this:




After breakfast I made a video. The first of a few....

Storm at Lockhart 1 from Squonker on Vimeo.
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Old 04-15-2011, 11:39 PM   #1525
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After breakfast I made a video. The first of a few....

Storm at Lockhart 1 from Squonker on Vimeo.
Lots of familiar stuff there. Dad took me with him a few times, and I've actually driven a bit.

I tried to get my license back in '84, but it didn't quite work out. Finding a two-seat tractor in which to take the driving test was a challenge, even with family in the Teamsters. (We had tried to arrange the test in Dad's tractor, but the examiner wouldn't sit on a temporary bench in lieu of a seat. Big surprise. I figured as much, but Dad was hopeful.) The rental companies wouldn't rent a tractor for a test, and most of the Union truck lines had single-seat tractors. After a bunch of phone calls, we found a two-seat tractor we could borrow at the American Freight terminal in Wichita. Dad had already arranged to borrow a 45' trailer from Signal (delivery subsidiary of Sears), so we went over to the American terminal in his tractor and hooked his trailer to the borrowed tractor. Off to take the test we went. Hey, this is a city tractor, so it's only a 5-speed, no split-range shifting to worry about. Woot! Anyway, we got there and the examiner wanted to see the cab card. Pulled it out and CRAP! The cab card had expired on June 6th, just a week prior. No test that day.

We took the tractor back and told the terminal manager about the cab card problem. He had his guys inspect the rest of the tractors and discovered that they were all expired. He called Corporate and they told him they were in the process of switching insurance companies and were running on their grace period. That was a lie. Two weeks later they called him up and told him to send everyone home, that they were out of business. Meanwhile, no other tractors materialized and my regular license was set to expire, so I had to settle for a regular Operators license again. Sigh. I love the smell of diesel fuel.
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Old 04-16-2011, 10:45 AM   #1526
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Trip #6 contd....

Wow, that's quite the story - I guess it wasn't to be! But now I'm allowed to instruct you, you should sign up with the driving school I'm about to start work for!!

Sat Feb 26th 2011



My truck was well and truly drifted in, to the extent that I was going to need a loader to dig around it for me before I went anywhere. All sorts of people were stopping on their way into camp and taking photos of it - me included!







I didn't even have to check in with dispatch to know that I wasn't going anywhere soon, so I went back to my truck and listened to Saturday morning's offering on CBC Radio, and read my book. As I was lying in my bunk I could feel the wind rocking it back and forth. I'd had to put clothing over my air intakes because snow was building up in them. There comes a point when they can become so clogged up that the engine will stall, and then you're in trouble. But you want the engine to breathe, too, so I left the backs of the intakes, which weren't so exposed, open. You can see them in an upcoming video, and here:




Storm at Lockhart 2 from Squonker on Vimeo.

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Old 04-17-2011, 12:04 AM   #1527
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If lockart had not stopped you leaving, could you have beat the storm to town? Or end up waiting it out on a portage ?
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Old 04-17-2011, 04:13 PM   #1528
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If lockart had not stopped you leaving, could you have beat the storm to town? Or end up waiting it out on a portage ?
Paul
Hi Paul,

The plan would definitely have been to make it all the way back to town, and Lockhart wouldn't have let me go if they weren't sure I'd have been able to. The storm went on for a couple of days, so to have had to sit it out on a portage would have sucked. At Lockhart I had food, a washroom, a TV to watch, and friends. On a portage I'd have soon been pretty sick of my bunk! It does happen sometimes that people do get caught on portages, and sometimes it is for days, but that's only when the weather has closed in faster than anyone thought it would, or without any warning at all. Cheers.




In camp, a bunch of us watched 'Breakdown' on TV - pretty amusing watching a movie that features trucks so heavily in a room full of truckers! We had some laughs... Meanwhile, outside the storm was definitely becoming worse.

I think I mentioned already that a few days previously a full tanker had rolled on P.52, and although I'd never seen the rig, a driver in camp had shot some video of it on his iPhone as he drove past. Yikes!

I stayed up until 11pm, but could only watch so many crap movies on TV in one day. The storm was raging as violently as ever, but the temperatures were due to plummet that night, so I hoped that was a good sign.

Pretty easy to fill in a log book on a day like today!!



Storm at Lockhart 3 from Squonker on Vimeo.


Oh look, I found a pic of the Sugar Shack


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Old 04-18-2011, 08:50 AM   #1529
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I am thinking normally you have enough fuel for a round trip. When a storm sets in, how many gallons a day does the truck burn on high enough idle to keep it's heat, and do you have to refuel on occasion.

In the extreme cold does the fuel ever begin to crystallize. Is it refined and or treated to stay liquid or are the tanks heated?

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Old 04-18-2011, 09:25 AM   #1530
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I am thinking normally you have enough fuel for a round trip. When a storm sets in, how many gallons a day does the truck burn on high enough idle to keep it's heat, and do you have to refuel on occasion.

In the extreme cold does the fuel ever begin to crystallize. Is it refined and or treated to stay liquid or are the tanks heated?

Rod
Yes, it's unusual that a truck wouldn't have enough fuel for a round trip and the circumstances would usually be that the truck had small tanks, and was stormed in for a considerable period of time. I think that the accepted figure for the amount of fuel a truck burns idling is 1 gallon/hr, but don't quote me on that. My truck has huge tanks and I could do two trips in most circumstances without having to refuel, but I would never leave home without the tanks topped up to the max anyway. For what it is worth, I can remember that I put in 770 litres when I came back from this trip. If I'd been pulling a set of trains and had gone further, e.g. to BHP, I'd have burned more, of course. I can hold somewhere between 1000 and 1200 litres in my tanks. It is indeed possible to refuel either at the mines or at Lockhart, but the fuel there is extremely expensive and you'd have to have a damn good excuse for your boss as to why you did so.



While I'm sure it is possible to heat the fuel tanks, no-one up there does so. Most engines have a 'return line' which puts warm fuel (having been through the system) back into the tanks, and this is enough to stop the fuel from gelling ("gelling" rather than "crystallizing" is the correct term). Cat engines certainly do this, but I believe that Cummins and Detroits also do so. One make that doesn't is Mack, and that is another of the reasons why every time we get a cold snap, there are Mack trucks parked up (i.e. broken down) all the way along the road. Do yourself a favour - if you ever decide to become an ice road trucker, do not under any circumstances buy yourself a Mack with which to do the job!





We add a treatment to the fuel every time we fill up which is supposed to discourage the diesel from gelling - can't remember what it's called but I know that you can see some jugs of it in the video which gives you a tour of the inside of my truck. I have to say that I have become a little complacent because I never even had a hint of a fuel problem in cold weather, and I only out a little bit of this anti-gel into my tanks, far less than I'm supposed to. I hope that doesn't come back to haunt me one day...!






You might also notice from the videos over the last few posts that not only is the temp on my truck well up into the operating range while I'm parked there (you can see the gauge on the vid where I go over the switches, I think), but also that the piece of foam I put between the grille and the winter front keeps falling down so that it's only doing half the job that it's supposed to. I expect that I could have removed it completely and not have seen any effect on my temp gauge, but I could be wrong. The direction that the wind hits the truck from makes an enormous difference to how well it keeps its temperature. Parked in the wrong direction, you can practically watch the needle drop as soon as you stop moving in a cold wind, but parked in the right direction as I happened to be at Lockhart, even with a strong cold wind (it was +/- minus 60 c with the wind chill), the engine will hold it's temp no problem at all. For what it's worth, if I had had a problem holding my heat in that situation then because I knew I was going to be there for a while, I'd have done something about it e.g. increased the rpms, blocked the front of the truck from the wind better, or in an extreme case even have moved the truck and parked it at a different angle.

Untitled from Squonker on Vimeo.

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