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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Gentlemen

I am new to owning a cummins and I am seeking first hand experience from you all on how to winterize my truck for cold climates and salt roads.

Heres the details: Traveling to Winter Park, Colorado for 1month, leaving in December. I currently live in Florida. The truck is stock and previously maintained by Dodge dealships by previous owner. :coocoo Im expecting temperatures down to -30. The town is at 9,000+ feet.

I am due for my 60,000 mile preventative maintenance, so I am debating changing all fluids myself or actually paying someone to do it... :confused013: Do I need a 70/30 mix or stronger of Antifreeze?

Also if anyone has suggestions, I am looking to avoid paying $100 a per tire for snow chains... I have heard sand bags in the bed weighting down the truck aids in maintaining traction?

As you can tell I am foreign as hell to Winter Driving... I am just a Florida Firefighter... Help a brother out :S:
 

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Anti-freeze at a 50/50 mix is all you should need. The extra weight in the back can't hurt along with your 4x4.
 

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Mostly you will be OK. You will be fine w/ 4X4, but Sandbags are a plus. I put 4 all the way back. Synthetic 5w 40 oil is your best friend. Plugging it in is also a plus. I wouldn't worry too much about the coolant. You should not really need a change yet and I think the stock setup is OK. For God's sake stay in the right lane if you are moving slow. You may be disliked out here in Co. otherwise. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks man, I have not located the "plug" for the block heater. Is that standard on all trucks?
 

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the plug is an option from dodge, but every cr truck has the heater, its located on the passenger side of the motor, pretty much right behind the oil filter. they sell plugs on ebay, and a number of other sites for around 20 bucks. and just to let ya know, i've made it through a number of high altitude passes with 6 inches of snow on the ground in my 2wd. i did get stuck in the parking lot of stevens pass 2 years ago when the parking lot attendant made me stop on a small hill that i had built up momentum to get over... 10 min. later i was out thanks to my chains. i actually bought mine at a shop at the base of mt. hood in oregon that same year, they were only 80 for the set, but im running stock tires. id say with 4x4 and 33's you should be good to go pretty much anywhere.
 

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I'll help a fellow ff. Good idea to have your fuilds changed. Nothing really to winter driving. Put it in 4hi and your good to go. I like to use 2nd gear on hills to help slow it down. Make sure your tires are good. Sounds like a nice road trip, have fun :thumbsup:
 

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If you think it is going to get -30 make sure you get a plug. If thier is a Cummins Shop around you, you can get one from them for about 15 dollars. I live in Alaska and yesterday it was -16 and I forgot to plug my truck. It started fine but was not happy about it. Just because you have 4x4 does not mean your safe from icy roads, just be careful.
 

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No need to change the coolant until 100k or 5 years. Be aware of black ice on the roads. It's a sheet of ice, that you can't see until it's too late (meaning you'll end up in the ditch or worse). Drive cautiously on the freeway/highway, not 100mph.
 

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ahh i miss living in denver, and the many trips i took up to the mountains for powpow runs :D i didn't have a truck then (or now anymore), but my wrx and sti made it a lot easier. you should be okay, just be cautious and don't always follow the crazies lead out there, i have seen a few multi-car pile ups.

when in doubt throttle steer lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you gentlemen very much! You all have been helpful.
I'm excited to adventure with this truck.
 

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down the mountain both ways you go out of Winter Park. Hwy 40 south is a winding snake with switchbacks and large steep canyons . no my idea of fun in the ice
beautiful country.

you may run into blizzard snow conditions in the Rockie Mnt. passes were the law enforcement or highway authority requires chains, even on 4wdr vehicles with traction tire. don't get stranded because no chains or plan on staying intown.
get in the right lane and stay 10 truck lengths behind a semi that has chains on, he'll cut the trail for you.

consider 35 mph the MAX safe speed when driving on snow/ice, always easy to go with 4wdr but it's the long slide skid that KILLS all the fun and makes front ends look like a crushing yard.
plus, it can take hours for an ambulance to get to you over a bluff in a snow storm or icy conditions

get yourself a front snow cover. keeps the snow from building up and blocking engine air flow.
also makes it easier to keep the cab warm below 0d F. takes a long time to warm the cab at -20d F.

if you get off road, remember that once the heavy diesel front end drops through the snow crust on 20" of snow, you're stuck no matter how much power you have. high centered on the differentials. think a $1000 wrecker tow bill.
 

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plug it in. i was hunting this past weekend in north park, CO, west of fort collins, and it was -14 on saturday morning. my truck did not like that. it took forever to get warm in the cab. i would wage that if you have any sort of anti-freeze mix, you shouldn't have a problem. winter park/fraser gets cold, but in the month of december, it won't be the coldest of the winter.

i got my chains at truckntow.com - $150 w/ shipping for 4 tires worth of medium duty highway chains. you shouldn't need them on pavement, but if you get off-road on anything remotely steep w/o any weight in the back you will need chains. never seen any of the passes in this state require chains on non-commercial vehicles. as long as you have 4wd and don't act stupid, you'll be fine.

give plenty of distance to the guy in front of you. take it easy going around curves. don't nail the accelerator and break traction. same with the brakes - don't slam them and go into a slide. common sense stuff will get you a long way.

a friend puts 8 bags of tube sand in the back of his cummins. i would say that it isn't essential, but it couldn't hurt. not sure i'd do it if i'm only gonna be here a month, though.
 

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Coming from a warm climate like fl get some power service Diesel fuel supplement + Cetane boost. Better safe than sorry with a diesel, the fuel you get in colorado will be treated for winter use but I would still treat it at those temps. Also start treating your fuel when you leave florida. Like mentioned above change your oil to a 5-40 syn, get a radiator cover, and a plug in for your block heater. We have bad roads up here for several month a year, just remember its possible to go 55-65 mph with your 4x4 the problem starts when you have to stop, so take it easy and you'll be fine. Have fun in the snow!
 

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DONT USE POWER SERVICE. do a read up on additives for fuels, most aren't good for your injection system, and power service is actually really bad. two stroke oil is one of the best, i can't remember some other ones that were at the top of that list, but if you search fuel additives on here, you'll find it, one of the guys has a website that has an amazing amount of info on it.
 

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First I've ever heard of that, with 13 diesel engines on the farm we've used it for years without any ill effects. Of course if his fuel gels on him at -30 I highly doubt he'd care if someone thought it was bad. Any studies been done to back up that claim? Links?
 

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Exactly. Those claims are BS. 1st off, 2 stroke won't help the gelling issues. It just adds lubricity to the fuel. There's NOTHING wrong with using Power Service.
 

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first week you get up to Winter Park, take your rig to a snowy/iced large EMPTY parking lot and practice snow driving.

gives you a chance to learn how to use the 4wdr front end pulling steering,

braking on ice and still have steering control plus sufficient stopping distance,
i've seen new ice drivers in an emergency stop, slam both feet on the brake, lock the elbows and close their eyes.

how to feather the throttle and slip the clutch to take off without sliding, rear lockup will often send the truck sideways especially on a slope


then go out and find yourself some empty downhill icy pavement with no big canyons on the side. practice panic stops.

may look stupid, but my motto is I might look stupid but I and my passengers are still alive


watch out for the go fast nuts on icy/snow

don't forget to take the truck out of 4wdr on dry pavement, can damage the mechanicals
 

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Pretty much do what everyone has told you already. I lived in Alaska for 10 years and Western Michagian for 5 years. The best thing to do is find a empty parking lot when you get there and practice throttle control and brake control. Its allot easier than you think. But just remember not to get to cocky with 4x4 and think you are unstopable because that is how wrecks happen. Take your time and drive smart and you will be fine. Plug the truck in everynight, start it at least 10-15mins before you leave to let it warm up, oh ya and pack a emergency kit just in case the unexspected happens, ie: blankets, flares, flashlights, jumper cables, basic things. As a FireFighter you know the drill. Enjoy the weather and the mountains. Living back here in the south I do miss the snow and mountains this time of year. Good luck and have fun:party018:
 

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There's NOTHING wrong with using Power Service.
Except emulsifying water, except for reducing lubrication. Really nothing when you think about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thank you guys for all the info! I have decided to change the fluids myself and use 5W-40. I am very excited to learn something new. Parking idea sounds perfect.

Thanks again.
 
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