Yellowknife ice trucking

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

  1. Hardware02

    Hardware02 Long timer

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    Stupid question time...

    From watching Ice Road Truckers and from this thread, I get the sense that break downs are more common than down south.

    How much of this is due to the extreme conditions and how much because companies are running old, worn out rigs?

    Also...many of the trucks seem to be standard highway tractors. Wouldn't it make sense to invest in new(er) extreme duty trucks, say with power also going to the front axle and also invest in figuring out a way to effectively winterize them?

    Wouldn't that mean more money in the long run because they can run more consistently during drops in the temp and also degraded conditions?
  2. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    The ice roads are open for what, 3-4 months? What do you do with winter-designed trucks for the rest of the year? A driven steer axle will kill fuel economy, and if they're designed to retain heat, they'll have trouble shedding it in warm weather.

    Run synthetic fluids and grease, keep water out of the fuel and air lines, and don't do anything stupid and they should be OK with normal equipment. It's not like they're doing a rough-country crossing of Siberia. And shit breaks on road tractors even in good conditions.
  3. barnyard

    barnyard Verbal tactician Super Moderator

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    Even well-maintained equipment breaks down when it is nice out. The cold just magnifies it.
  4. Hardware02

    Hardware02 Long timer

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    Good points. I didn't know so I asked.

    I see the point on the driven steer axle. As for heat retention, I was thinking mods that could be added/deleted in a few hours, leaving the rig good to go for the warm(er) months.
  5. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    I think that basically no-one has yet come up with a better idea than the belly tarp. It hardly makes much difference to heat, but then there isn't much need anyway. If you put something thick enough infront of your radiator you'll keep the engine warm and as long as you're moving the tranny and diff oils will be warm, too. As for the interior, good door and window seals would be the first thing I'd take care of but I always have a few extra clothes within reach from the driver's seat!

    The best advice I can give about heat from my experience up there is that if you want to stay warm in your truck, don't drive a Freightliner!!:lol3
  6. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    Too bad it's not really practical to spray a case of Great Stuff spray foam in all the voids in the cab. Maybe wear a Roadcrafter with full Gerbings beneath and hope the lighter plug holds up. :lol3
  7. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    You know, electric gear is almost worth a try. Even just a vest might make a difference. I quite like that idea!
  8. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    I'd have to start with electric socks. My extremities get very cold very quickly when the temperature drops, and warming the core doesn't change that.
  9. ChazCable

    ChazCable Mechanic

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    Dad got a pair of electric boots he plugs into the ciggarette lighter in the service truck when he has to run up the winter road
  10. Unique458

    Unique458 Been here awhile

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    Sitting here at camp, only leaving at 1 pm for the ice road, so i,am gonna try to e-mail myself some pics, then use my laptop to show some pics.

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  11. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    Have to laugh about the bug deflector. Probably not worth taking it off for the season. Just don't bump it.

    Are the bright arcs in the sky actually on the windshield?
  12. Unique458

    Unique458 Been here awhile

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    Yeah those are reflections off the windshield.


    And I am only hauling 1 product LSD, he he he ( diesel )
    I get paid to drive, so hauling fuel suits me just fine, usually less then an hour to load/ unload
    So if you have to spend two or three hours getting a load on your trailer ,strap it down , its all time that you're working and not getting paid for so I don't mind the fuel at all

    The road was shut down today because of a storm up north,
    So we dident get out today, just resting up for when it does open.

    And it's warm here in YK -6 right now
  13. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    But the flip side to that is that when the tanks are full at the mines, they're full. The fuel haulers are done their job then, but the freight haulers get to keep going.

    But the flip side to that is that fuel haulers earn more per trip. Really it all works out in the end. If you own your own rig you're likely better off hauling fuel - you'll earn the same amount of money but have done fewer trips so there is less wear and tear on your rig.

    Glad to hear that you get a rest and that things are warmer today...that is quite the change in temperature! Now go and have a beer before the road opens again! :freaky
  14. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    Yep. I've driven Freighliner, KW, Peterbilt and Western Star on that road and the only truck I was cold in was the Freightshaker. It was a significant difference too, and the truck was six years newer than it's closest 'rival'.
  15. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    I shudder to think of how much a beer must cost in YK. I once paid C$40 for a pitcher of beer at a bar in Radisson, QC, back in 2006.
  16. Pro Mover

    Pro Mover Truck Pilot

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    Not a stupid question. The JVWRTC is open 30-45 days/year ... so as stated, dedicated trucks specially mod'ed for this are somewhat prohibitive.

    It is the EXTREME cold and operating conditions (rough, everchanging) that causes the breakdowns. As posted previously, unless in for service, you start em up and keep em running essentially the whole time. Environmental shock (temps, bumps etc) stacks and magnifies, plus the remoteness.

    I do not think that it is a matter of OLD 'broken down' trucks, so much, as it costs money to be DOWN and repair stuff, lost loads etc. OLDER proven trucks without a lot of fancy crap that breaks and is hard to fix are generally preferred, stuff that you can swing-a-wrench at and fix in the field, rather than wait for 14 days for a new computer part or an MIT-grad to diagnose.

    Also as stated, a properly maintained and winterized truck should run ok, notwithstanding that all trucks are BUILT to breakdown -- anything man can build can be broken by drivers! ;-)
  17. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    That's it? No wonder everyone is assholes and elbows trying to get everything moving. I thought it was at least 90 days.
  18. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    Opens Feb 1st, will generally stay open until the end of March. May close a little early if the weather dictates, or the loads have all been delivered. May close later if the weather allows and there are more loads yet to haul. 2006 we had to shut down early because of the weather (can't remember the exact date), and I've never known the road to be open past April 5th or 6th. A regular season would be 60 days, +/- 10 days.
  19. Tip Over

    Tip Over Whoopsie!

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    So really, the only reason y'all can run wide open, hell on wheels for days at a time, is because it's only for a short period of time. After the road shuts down you just sleep for a few days straight?

    I would go bonkers having to do that if it was past two months.
  20. squonker

    squonker Stupid is the new norm

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    Yeah, pretty much. You get the chance to catch up on seep during the season, too, when the road is closed because of weather (can be several days at a time) or your truck is down. I generally go to sleep the day the road closes, and get up again about a week before the next season starts!