Driving (A Sprinter) From San Diego to Anchorage -- Few Questions...

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by Ben Carufel, Jun 20, 2017.

  1. Tim McKittrick

    Tim McKittrick Long timer

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    The last two times I drove my Sprinter up the highway I was able to find new trailers to pull and deliver. Shipping a warmblood horse trailer on the barge was something north of $4K at the time and it's new owner was more than happy to cover my fuel and hotel bills. 2nd unit was a pop-up camper trailer and the owner also covered the fuel, and I had a place to stay while on the road.

    Both were for folks I knew...... U-ship may be a way to go but I've never dealt with them, and were it me I would rather be shifting one or two large items than a lot of little things.
    #21
  2. Ben Carufel

    Ben Carufel Boxer Addict

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    Good call. Wonder where I can find people that want/need trailers hauled up!
    #22
  3. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    and put a bunch of crap in the trailer too!
    #23
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  4. Ben Carufel

    Ben Carufel Boxer Addict

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    Well, U-Ship requires commercial permits and DOT stuff for hauling, so that's out.

    I put an advert on Craigslist Anchorage for hauling a trailer up (and down), but that got flagged in all of five minutes. I'm thinking that someone who sells trailers up there didn't like that a person would be able to buy one cheaper for the lower 48 and pay a few bucks to have it dragged up.
    #24
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  5. keith in alaska

    keith in alaska Valley Gruver

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    PM sent
    #25
  6. Ktm Opie

    Ktm Opie Adventurer

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    Put an add on Craigslist or offer up

    Just verify the people first

    Lol

    Cheers
    #26
  7. Ben Carufel

    Ben Carufel Boxer Addict

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    I did put an ad in the Labor/Hauling/Moving section of Anchorage Craigslist, no responses to that yet after almost a week.

    My advert in the trailers for section sale got flagged almost immediately, as I said above.

    I suppose I could put adverts on San Diego, Bay Area, Seattle, and Portland CL too...
    #27
  8. RedShift42

    RedShift42 Some guy

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    If you're carrying firearms, expect that is the cue for a full inspection at Canadian customs. Ask me how I know. Pack a lunch and a book. When they're done, repacking is your responsibility. Though if I had to guess, they're likely a little less uptight at the northern border.

    Unless you're a horse guy I'd recommend against transporting one-- on a multi-day it's a pretty specific regime and there's a lot to go wrong. However, I'm told hay is 4-5x more up here; I know a local family driving down to MT for a load this year. Maybe not the highest margin-per-volume, but an easy sale. Would smell pretty darn good in there too.

    Heck, how about a load of Trader Joe's and Krispy Kremes?

    -Eric.
    #28
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  9. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    In years past I've purchased trailers in the South 48 - both new and used - brought them up and sold them for plenty to pay for the trailer as well as all expenses for the journey. For people moving south from Alaska - and there are always folks doing that - they can buy a trailer here, move south, then sell it usually with a loss that is less than the cost of renting a U-Haul, so they make out well too. Anything you can bring up in the trailer for a nominal fee is frosting on the cake.
    #29
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  10. Ben Carufel

    Ben Carufel Boxer Addict

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    Looks my estimated departure date is now the 29th.

    Might be bringing up a trailer of some sort. Found a guy who needs a 12.5' long crate brought up from Montana, and that won't fit in the Sprinter. So, would like to buy a trailer somewhere along my way and sell it in Anchorage when I arrive.
    #30
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  11. Ben Carufel

    Ben Carufel Boxer Addict

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    Acquisition of Harbor Freight lifts and other items for those who have requested them has begun!

    Currently still slated to shove off from San Diego around the 1st-2nd of August.
    #31
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  12. Ben Carufel

    Ben Carufel Boxer Addict

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    Well folks, this is it.

    All of the Harbor Freight stuff has been acquired. I leave bright-and-early Thursday morning from San Diego, enroute to Vegas to pick up a bike. Then I zag way back over to the Central Coast of California to pick up another bike. Then it's Northwards and Eastwards a bit to snag I-5 again, before finding a place to stay the night as far North as I have the energy to drive. Friday is a day of slabbing it North to Portland to stay with a cousin overnight. Saturday I pick up my uncle at PDX airport and then head North to Olympia, WA to pick up an empty cargo trailer for a guy in Anchorage...from there it's just making miles all the way into ANC.

    Goal is to be in ANC by the 8th or 9th. Maybe 10th at the latest.

    Thanks to all for the help/suggestions/hauling requests. Going to load everything in the Sprinter and do some final services/tweaks to it tomorrow, as well as wrapping up a few loose ends with work.

    Looking forward to a smooth trip. Really excited to see that part of the world...I've flown over it at least 20 times on my way to ANC, but have never seen it from the ground!
    #32
  13. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer

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    If you are hauling a trailer with bikes on it, keep it locked (safety chain locks?).
    And the bikes locked with chains to the trailer too.
    A fellow ADV'r stopped at a store on his drive up a few years ago and when he came out a few minutes later the trailer with 3 bikes on it was gone. :becca
    Some scum had just pulled up next to it...
    Gone in 30 seconds probably :baldy
    #33
  14. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric

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    Have a good trip. Watch Canada highway info for road closures on 97 due to forest fires. May have to veer east to Kamloops to go north to Prince George.
    We rolling south from Fairbanks in mid Aug and have heard from others.

    https://www.tranbc.ca/current-travel-advisories/
    #34
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  15. BDO

    BDO Been here awhile

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    #35
  16. Ben Carufel

    Ben Carufel Boxer Addict

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    WELL! That got interesting quickly.

    I left San Diego on Thursday morning bright and early at 530AM. A quick stop in Riverside for a coffee and Starbucks (I am a GS owner, after all) and then I headed out to Vegas to pick up a bike for an Anchorage-based ADV'er.

    About two thirds of the way out there, I started to get an odd slipping on slight uphill grades. It seemed to get a bit worse as time wore on. By the time I hit Vegas I was severely doubting my transmission.

    Loaded up the 1200GS in Vegas and turned back towards San Diego. I now had a decision; Head to San Luis Obispo for some more cargo, or head back to San Diego to figure out my transmission issues. After an hour of driving towards the split in the road that would force a decision I decided to head back South to San Diego and assess the transmission issue(s) with all of the considerable resources I have here, versus continuing on and potentially having to deal with it on the side of the road in Canada somewhere!

    Friday morning I headed over to a friend's shop and used the Mercedes Benz Star Diagnostic computer to scan for codes. No transmission fault codes present or stored, same for gear monitoring codes. So the vehicle isn't yet detecting an issue...

    Step two in diagnosis was drain the fluid and check the pan. This is where things got interesting. There were quite a few (20-30) significant (fingernail clipping size) brass bits in the pan. Calls to a few friends, one of whom owns a transmission shop and drives a Sprinter himself, suggested that this was a very bad sign and likely meant that the transmission was on the road to failure. Impossible to predict when...and since I'm going on a 7000+ mile round trip with it, safer to replace it here in town on my own terms than out on the road somewhere.

    Mercedes wants a bit over $8,000 for the tranmission replacement with labor. Luckily there's an incredible rebuilder in Oklahoma, SilverStar, who specializes in Sprinter transmissions and in fact prepares rebuilt transmissions with several upgrades to increase life expectancy. My van, for reference, has 208,250 miles on it as of today.

    So, a quick call to SilverStar and a rebuilt gearbox is on its way to me. Cost was just under $3,000 including shipping. Should be here by Wednesday, hopefully will install Thursday, do some shakedown testing Friday, and head Northwards on Saturday the 12th!

    That's the plan, anyways. Let's see how it all shakes out.
    #36
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  17. AlH

    AlH Long timer

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    Back about 1984 we got hassled quite a bit returning to the US with our canoe on top of our van.
    The US border guy demanded to see our registration on the canoe- I told him my home state, SC, does not register canoes unless you put a motor on them.
    He told us we'd could be required to pay an import duty on our own canoe we took to Canada since we had no "papers" on it!
    Eventually he let us in and dropped the canoe BS but we experienced quite a delay and had our van and belongings thoroughly searched.
    #37
  18. Ben Carufel

    Ben Carufel Boxer Addict

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    Time for another update. Rebuilt transmission arrived today. She's a beauty. A buddy (also an ADV'er) is going to install it at his shop tomorrow morning first thing.

    That gives me the afternoon to make sure the van is happy, pack everything, and hit the road first thing Saturday morning.

    It's all coming together...
    #38
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  19. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer

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    Thanks Ben! :clap
    My new HF bike lift and welding table look great. :beer

    I'm glad some of us could help pay for your gas and get heavy stuff delivered. :thumb
    Let us know if/when you do it again, I'm sure I can find something to have you deliver. :y0!
    #39
  20. mach1mustang351

    mach1mustang351 Long timer

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    Thanks Ben!!! The bike looks.... like a project :D

    I appreciate it
    #40