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Old 02-03-2024, 09:32 PM   #1
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Driving to Alaska not going so well

I crossed the Canadian border three days ago, and yesterday, my $6000.00 Ford remanufactured and installed transmission started acting up and flashing the overdrive light. It once shifted so hard I thought I had hit a big pothole, but it was the transmission and the OD light started flashing.The light indicates that a trouble code or codes have been set. I have an OBDI code reader but to read transmission codes you need a service monitor. I stopped and camped last night in the woods where I got stuck in the mud, so I camped right on the road. In the morning it was 19degrees, so the mud froze and I escaped. The tranny has been shifting ok today and I made it to Prince George BC where there is a Ford dealer I hope can pull the codes and give me an idea what Iím up against on Monday. The good news is the transmission is still under warranty, the bad news is if it needs any parts, there a minimum of two weeks out, and if they decide it needs to be replaced, a replacement is at least a month out. So my current dilemma is, what if the codes donít indicate a problem? Since itís currently shifting OK, do I trust it to continue further into the wilderness? The highway between Prince George and Whitehorse has basically zero services, no tow trucks, no shops, no support. Thatís basically 1000 miles of wilderness with current temps well below freezing, or do I do the smart thing and abort this trip and head South where there is more civilization and a way better chance of being rescued if needed. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that my diesel heater shit the bed today too. Fortunately I have the back up propane heater, but it seems like thatís three strikes against me at the moment. Is this a hint?

Arctic Traveller
2001 GTRV
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Old 02-03-2024, 10:46 PM   #2
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I'm thinking The Force is telling you this is not the year for that trip. A punt may be in order. Good luck with whatever you decide and keep us posted.
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Old 02-03-2024, 10:53 PM   #3
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I've traveled here and there. I've done the Alcan 5-6 times. I have traveled with the ups, and with the downs. With life and with vans/traveling. I'm a mechanic, I've even owned my own auto shop for some time. I have all the tools, I have alot of the knowledge.

The fact that your asking for advice makes me want to tell you to go home.
The cold will kill you, go home. 19f is not even very cold. 0f is getting cold, expect -20 to -40 traveling through canadia. And BFE AK.

The Alcan trip is so amazing and fun, just go home until it's above freezing and awesome.

I learned long ago to listen to the signs. Prince George is still in soft country. Your not even into real cold yet. Limp home and fix it. Fix it where you are at if you can. I lived in AK 40 years and don't think it's the horrible wasteland that most people do. I do still respect the cold and understand winter will kill you. You should too.
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Old 02-04-2024, 12:54 AM   #4
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I believe you're already aware the consensus would recommend rescheduling. The fact your spirit's nagging you to continue says a lot about your desire, but I'll be glad to offer some unfiltered advise - It would not be wise (expressed solely from concern).
The issues you've mentioned are not likely anything you can manipulate or remedy if they become reality (No parts or services available if the tranny craps out, life-threatening weather if you get stranded, and no back-up heater now).
If you replan the trip during a time of the year where Weather is removed from the equation then if something did occur you'd (at least eventually) be able to share your adventure with the group.
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Old 02-04-2024, 01:59 AM   #5
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Very sorry you are going through this.
I wish I could provide you some positive input.
Best of luck in your decision, and journey.
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Old 02-04-2024, 05:05 AM   #6
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Very sorry to hear this.

Yeah, I think it is not worth the risk depending on the codes although you could have developed an intermittent problem that might reveal itself all the time in the worst possible moment. I personally, like you and others here have encountered problems on the road some of which were easy to take care of and a trip ending one as well.

Much colder when the code/problem demonstrated itself?

Heater throwing a code for which you have a part?

Time for a Planar? I bought mine from Expedition Upfitter/Total Composites in Vancouver.

I know you (arctictraveller) have vast experience in the north, knowledge, and understand the risk. Wish you the best with it all.
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Old 02-04-2024, 10:04 AM   #7
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I had a similar tranny issue. Ford HD reman with warranty. It started not shifting on it's own unless you manually shifted. At the time it was doing duty as a support rig for 8 guys on bikes on day 8 off road and we were deep into the Oywhee. The trip ended OK but when we got back I had the tranny issued dealt with. I got the tranny installed at a dealer in Redmond that serves the rural community. My guy opened it and the clutches were original and not replaced when it was re-manufactured. There was also a towel in it. No joke. A rag was pulled from it. The warranty was under mileage but over time and ford declined to help. Unless you know who did the rebuild you can't be certain. As Marret said you have experience and wisdom. Let us know what happens.
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Old 02-04-2024, 10:42 AM   #8
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Not to be repetitive and jump on the pile -- but head for the barn - carefully ! I know you're a seasoned traveler but discretion is the better part of valor - and there ain't gonna be a medal if you DO make it to Alaska ! Very sorry for what you're going thru - wishing all the luck the SMB Gods send your way !
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Old 02-04-2024, 11:56 AM   #9
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Yes, the desire to continue is strong. I have driven this same trip many times in all seasons including in the dead of winter. I lived in Alaska for over 20 years, and I am familiar with all of its different moods. I’m well prepared with an extensive array of tools and spare parts (including everything to fix the heater along with a new one that has never been installed). Just prior to departure, I replaced The alternator, the belt tensioner, the idler pulley‘s, the power steering pump and the hoses, and that’s just in the last month. I carry spare ignition coils, fuel injectors, a belt, a water pump, chains, lots of recovery gear and more. None of those parts were replaced due to failure, but instead out of an abundance of caution due to the mileage and the amount of remote wilderness travel that I do. The old transmission was working reasonably well, with an occasional delayed shift. It probably was fine, but i elected to replace it anyway, again out of abundance of caution. I have the ability to fix pretty much anything on the road (I am a retired factory maintenance foreman, and chief engineer aboard midsize cruise ships) but, I don’t think I know anyone that could do a transmission repair while on the road. Hopefully, the dealers scan tool will point out a definitive problem that can be easily fixed. If that’s the case my confidence level would be pretty high to continue. But, failing that, if the findings are inconclusive, unfortunately, I’m thinking I may have to abort this trip. It’s unfortunate for a number of reasons, do I ever trust the transmission again whether I’m on my way to Alaska, deep in the Nevada desert, or in Baja? Additionally, I’ve been invited to join a group of friends headed for Newfoundland in the spring. Now what?
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Old 02-04-2024, 12:51 PM   #10
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If you we’re traveling in a Chevy, I’d say go for it. But in a Ford, ya best not risk it.
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