Yellowknife ice trucking

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by squonker, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. Unique458

    Unique458 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2013
    Oddometer:
    119
    Location:
    New Brunswick Canada
    Leaving on a new adventure at 6 Am, gonna try to be an ice road trucker.:clap

    Will try to keep you up to date.
  2. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,065
    Location:
    Yellowknife, NWT
    You'd better!

    We don't expect a lot, as long as you check in every half hour or so I'm sure no one will bother you for stories! :D

    I'm a little jealous I must admit, but hope to see you there in 2014.

    Best of luck!
  3. Pro Mover

    Pro Mover Truck Pilot

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    23
    Location:
    Floating around in Whalley, BC (Surrey)

    Still not too late for an '013 adventure .. :hmmmmm
  4. troidus

    troidus Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    16,307
    How's the cell coverage on the ice roads? Any? I figure the mines and towns have at least one tower each, but maybe there's a market for a skiddable tower to deploy on the ice in select spots in winter.
  5. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,065
    Location:
    Yellowknife, NWT
    Interesting idea. There is coverage in Yellowknife as long as you're with Bell, and I believe that Telus has started to provide some service there too, lately. On the ice, though - nothing at all. You'd only need to head a few KMs out of town on the Ingraham Trail and you'll never get any coverage again until you go over the north pole and start coming back down the other side! Nothing at the mines or camps.

    I used to have a girlfriend who lived about 18 Kms north of Yellowknife on the Ingraham Trail and there was no cell service at her cabin there, but she was in a small dip and I seem to remember her saying that on the top of the hill there was a weak signal.

    A portable tower that you towed on the ice would be super cool! But, I know how things work up there and as soon as you implemented that they'd introduce a new rule banning the use of cell phones on the ice road.

    I don't know whether Unique458 has a smart phone or not, but I hope that he'll drop us the odd line from YK if he has the chance.
  6. troidus

    troidus Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    16,307
    Maybe instead of a temporary tower, put one on a small tension leg platform so it can stay out there year-round.
  7. Unique458

    Unique458 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2013
    Oddometer:
    119
    Location:
    New Brunswick Canada
    Just thought I'd check in since I have a few minutes , i have currently made it to Winnipeg well i'm roughly 4 hours from Winnipeg In a small town called Dauphin MT . From here I am only about 45 km from where I will be picking up the truck to head up to Edmonton.

    Will be here for tonight at the motel, because where I'm picking up the truck tomorrow, there is no motel , As long as there's Wi-Fi I should be able to check in for the next few days but once in Yellowknife and start running the ice roads I may not be able to check in too often.
  8. ChazCable

    ChazCable Mechanic

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    55
    Location:
    Newfoundland
    Hey Unique458, driving anything nice? Safe trip to Edmunton,
  9. 1greenmachine

    1greenmachine Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    826
    Location:
    green bay, wi
    So my question is the trucks up there older stuff is mechanical or pre- emission engines or are there new trucks running around to. Just asking because with new emission stuff needing regents and exhaust fluid, the cold up there would cause havoc with the stuff.
  10. ChazCable

    ChazCable Mechanic

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    55
    Location:
    Newfoundland
    There are new 2013's up there, Dad says there is trouble with the DEF freezing alot with the new trucks
  11. Pro Mover

    Pro Mover Truck Pilot

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    23
    Location:
    Floating around in Whalley, BC (Surrey)
    Most "NEW THINGS" tend to break until the bugs are sorted out -- that said, however, if you are referring to cooler temperature effects on DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid), most systems that use it have systems built in that can deal with "most" cold, and there has been testing done.

    When engine and exhaust temps are low and immediately after startup, you don't need DEF right away. So even if it is frozen up, it is no huge deal. It thaws out (as much as it can) and most systems circulate rad-fluid thru a 'heater' of sorts to help thaw out the DEF. You can also use heater blankets etc. Basically if you can keep your fuel from gelling up, you can keep your DEF from being an icecube.

    That said, I am sure that some new tech stuff will break, and as this thread demonstrated, way up NORTH it will usually be in a FANTASTIC and CATASTROPHIC manner! ;-)
  12. Pro Mover

    Pro Mover Truck Pilot

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    23
    Location:
    Floating around in Whalley, BC (Surrey)
    DEF itself freezing is not a problem, as above, it is when it stays frozen and does not thaw! (but that usually indicates another problem anyways!).

    On paper, it is not supposed to be a problem. I have operated in some COLD stuff in Northern BC, but not ICEROAD cold ... so who knows real world what will happen until it is tested/broken!

    http://www.discoverdef.ca/def-overview/faq/#freeze
  13. ChazCable

    ChazCable Mechanic

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    55
    Location:
    Newfoundland
    The problem with a new western star was that the heater element didnt go all the way to the bottom of the tank, she acctually froze up while driving, spittin out 12 trouble codes, CAT mechanical anyday!
  14. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,065
    Location:
    Yellowknife, NWT
    Yeah I'd like a Cat mechanical ideally, too.

    The new DEF systems do cause trouble, but to the best of my knowledge Macks give 99% of the problems. As soon as you get a genuine cold snap up there (-40c and below), there are new Macks sputtering to a halt all up and down the road. On portages, on lakes, it doesn't matter to a Mack - they'll break down anywhere! (In those conditions).

    You have to remember that up there you're above the tree line so there is no shelter from the wind, and the wind chill is a major factor. Many people say that the wind chill is only to do with the effect of the cold on skin, but believe me it makes a difference to mechanicals too.

    -40c is sort of a significant point on the temperature scale, steel acts differently when it becomes that cold. It is much more brittle and much more likely to break. The City of Yellowknife, for instance, is very reluctant to grade the roads at -40c or below because the grader blades can simply start falling apart with only average use.

    Back to the mechanical engines, the KW T800 that I drove for two seasons and the Pete I most recently drove both had the same 435E Cat engine in (one step newer than the 425 mechanical) and neither gave any cold related problems at all.
  15. 1greenmachine

    1greenmachine Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    826
    Location:
    green bay, wi
    I'm a tech at a Cummins dealer so I'm familiar with everything, just would hate to be way out there and something malfunctions and then there you sit. We had some cold weather lately and a lot of after treatment issues were the main reason the stuff was towed in. I'd personally wanna have a pretty 07 emission engine so there's no worries about plugging the filter or catalyst.
  16. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,065
    Location:
    Yellowknife, NWT
    Agreed 100%. And I will have when I buy my truck...
  17. troidus

    troidus Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    16,307
    Seems like it'd be useful to try to keep as much heat in the truck components as possible. Insulation blankets, heat ducts, electric heaters, exhaust heat exchangers, baffles, whatever. Anything to keep the moving parts moving and the liquids thawed. Heck, lightly dragging the brakes could even be good for keeping the hubs warm and the air lines dry, as long as it didn't stop the wheels from turning.
  18. 1greenmachine

    1greenmachine Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    826
    Location:
    green bay, wi
    For the most part they have gotten a lot better but still up there with all idle time its asking for issues, or drop the money and get the delete kit.
  19. ChazCable

    ChazCable Mechanic

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    55
    Location:
    Newfoundland
    Glider kits, new truck with reman pre 07 engine, cats arse!
  20. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,065
    Location:
    Yellowknife, NWT
    I think you'll find that heat ducts, electric heaters etc would be more trouble than they're worth. We put belly tarps on the trucks under the engine and tranny, it is mainly to catch drops of oil but I'm sure that they keep a little heat in too. They tend to get too heavy from ice build up though (e.g. air dryer purging) after a while and then they're a bitch to keep on the truck because the only way you can attach them is with rubber grommets and hay wire. Whenever I had one that was too much trouble to keep in place I just ripped it right off and never noticed any difference in coolant or oil temps/pressures as a result.

    The trucks are never shut off during the season (other than for maintenance, in which case they're in a heated shop), and they seem to keep their heat pretty well. You have to watch which direction you're facing when you park in high wind (that can have a major effect on your temps), but we all carry winter fronts and various kinds of makeshift 'keep my truck warm' paraphernalia around with us.

    Some trucks are more sensitive than others. That T800 I drove didn't care whether you had the front grille covered or not, it barely made any difference at all. But below the main grille was a tiny one - a fraction of the size - that obviously hid a major part of the cooling system because if that wasn't covered the truck would struggle to stay above about 120F coolant temp (180F is normal). All it took was a single piece of cardboard, that made all the difference.

    Another thing that can make or break you is whether or not your fuel return line dumps warm fuel back into the tanks. Most trucks do and that'll do more to stop your fuel gelling/waxing than anything you add to it.

    As far as keeping the moving parts moving, I have posted before about having spent nights out on portages in extreme cold and how in the morning the trucks were very sluggish to get going until the oil in the diffs had warmed up. It was a very noticeable difference in the way they ran, to the extent that it would be hard to make a clean shift because as soon as you let your foot off the throttle it was as though you had hit the brakes.