View Full Version : Hello from Alaska
10-28-2006, 07:14 AM
Will try to get some pictures of my 1998 Trooper on the computer with the new camera. In the meantime I hope to pick up a few bits of information along the way about this vehicle that is relatively new to me. I made the purchase in April 06 after putting a ton of uneventful miles on a 1993 Trooper. After it hit 160k I was certain major problems would be on the way and made sale, but not before I purchased my current Trooper with just over 90k on the odometer.
Being 8 years old, it needed new shocks so Old Man Emu shocks and springs went in along with a few cranks on the torsion bars to level things out.
The engine required work when I made the purchase so two brand new heads and all cooling compents from the radiator to the thermostat were replaced if needed. The drivetrain looked good so all fluids were changed and fittings regreased.
Not wanting to deal with additional front end wear and tear, I put stock sized Michelin LTX M+S tires 245-70-16 tires all around.
Now the engine is quiet after the heads were installed, the ride is smooth with the suspension upgrade and new tires but the best part has got to be the off road capability of this rig.
I have driven it into Canada and bush Alaska under a variety of mud and rough trail conditions comparing it to the other vehicles I have used in the past (Dodge, Ford, Chevy, Mazda, Toyota).
Traction wise, it is among the best I have ever driven and this is without lockers or the factory LSD in the rear. And I would add right now that unless you are an expert in field repairs (involving millions of hungry mosquitos and gnats to keep you company) with extremely limited rescources due to the distance from parts and garages, then sticking with vehicles that have heavy duty factory drivetrain components would be a good idea.
A broken axle, and I have seen many over the course of my 42 years, generally ends the day and often ruins the entire trip so I stick with overbuilt driveline components like the ones I see on the stock Troopers. Everything from the transfer case to the rim feels solid, even under heavy loads. The OME suspension and tires stay on the ground getting the most traction available out of the open differential systems. In fact, the only add-on I make when going off road would be the aggressive four wheel chains commonly used in Alaska to maintain grip when tread patterns tend to fill with tundra mud.
Honestly, as a daily driver that can mix it up in mud, or rocks or broken trail it has been outstanding. In fact, we travesed to the top of Grey Mountain outside Whitehorse Canada (recommend this anyone who wants an excellent day trip) and I left the system in 2 wheel drive just to see when I would lose traction going up the steep switchback grades. Fact was, we reached the top before I had to engage the front end. In a word I was amazed, as was my father who has 50 years worth of Alaskan off-road experience under his belt. In fact, he is looking for a 1999 Trooper to purchase himself.
This all may sound like sales pitch but it's not, if the 1998 Trooper was junk I would say so, and move on to something else. For the 10k I have invested, I don't know of anything that beats it unless money is no option and when those vehicles such as Lexus, Mercedes, Land Rovers, New LandCruisers ect.....show up at he trail head, the first serious obstacle encountered is often the last before heading back. If had 50K tied up in my SUV, I would as well because sometimes there is no gentle way to get through the deep stuff and I learned quickly that this rig, at least in 1998 was well built.
I will close for now and try to get those pics on the site but other than sitting a little high over the tires, this Trooper looks very common but it's a bit more than that when things get rough.
10-28-2006, 01:18 PM
Welcome to ExPo! :wavey:
I think you'll find a number of very capable Troopers represented here on this forum.
Although I am a Land Cruiser guy, the troopers I have seen are very nice vehicles and a great platform to build on. I've heard good things from non-Trooper folks as well.
So, welcome, and enjoy!
10-30-2006, 02:00 AM
Dennis, Welcome to ExPo! As a 98 Trooper owner my self, and all stock except for 265/75r16 tires, my Trooper has yet to be stopped. I have over 120K on the clock with original brakes, and suspension. The suspension does need to be replaced as the ride is horrible and getting worse, but the brake pads and rotors still have a good bit of life left in them. I have the G80 LSD in mine, and I have yet to find a need for a locker. And as far as over built, I can attest to that. This has to be one of the greatest trucks ever built, and I love the fact that not many people know that fact, and that they are amazed when they see what they can do in stock form. My only suggestion is to keep a very close eye on your oil level. The 3.5 loves to go through the oil abou as much as it does the gas. For a great review of the 98 Troopers go to Scotts site at www.expeditionswest.com and get a great insight on the Trooper there. And as soon as you can get some pics up lets see her.
11-11-2006, 06:55 AM
Thanks for your reply and yes this Trooper loves oil, to the tune of one quart every 500 miles. Given that consumption I can't figure out why the tailpipe doesn't dark smoke other cars right off the road but doesn't produce anymore than other cars. I have heard a Seafoam treatment in the cylinders will improve things so that may be my next option along with a new PVC valve.
All that said, the thing runs like a champ and I enjoy it more and more everytime I get behind the wheel. If I wasn't complaining about oil, I truly would have no complaints.
On a side note, I just returned from the Haines Junction, Whitehorse Yukon Territory area. The snow is nearly non-existant and the temps hover from 0 degrees at night to 15 above during the hottest part of the day. The lack of daylight makes for short drives unless pitch black is your favorite scenery but road conditions in all directions was said to be excellent and I would have to agree given the roads we traveled.
One other side note worth mentioning would be the situations encountered at the Canadian border crossings. I have gone through them all my life without so much as a sideways glance but the three times I traveled through Canada this year marked a change in Canadian demeanor.
My advise to anyone planning to travel through Canada is to spend a few hours on the Canada Border website and bring all the documentation they say you MIGHT need to visit Canada. Because if you don't have it, along with a huge smile on your face, your simply not getting in, period.
Minor children will need notorized letters from one or both parents to travel into Canada (to prove nobody is being kidnapped) and if you have EVER been before a judge, then consider your time at the border crossing dramatically increased. No passport must mean additional hours waiting around for nothing to happen because having one means a long wait as well. Fact is, I have been with people who were turned away for things that were non-issues a few years ago and the inconvienence factor of such a decision when your tired, it's late and you are 50 miles away from the nearest American town, cannot really be appreciated unless you have experienced it firsthand. Hence my advise.
I left the last crossing thinking that I would do almost anything to avoid Canada in the future, and as it stands now, I would. Sad really but the officers are making something that has been historically very easy, quite hard and make no mistake, they were not one bit concerned about the comments made by myself and others who had to deal with them.
11-11-2006, 04:21 PM
I had no problems crossing the Washington border last September. Also the wait times that I see on line
appear to be normal. On major crossings, US bound wait times are typically much longer than Canada bound ones.
The ID requirment may be new and causing some problems for people who were used to crossing without showing anything. I have been carrying my passport to streamline the US bound crossing, so it is no extra burden if Canada wants to see it as well. However I don't recall the Canadian official asking for it last time.
When you arrive at the border, please have ready your photo ID and proof of citizenship.
11-11-2006, 05:36 PM
Thanks for the note and all can say about your experience is that yours the reception I would hope for, but it simply hasn't been mine at the Skakway, Haines and Tok Alaska border crossings this year. And at the locations I listed, being turned away because your notorized parent letter isn't on Attorney letterhead or due to your driving partner having a DUI 20 years ago, is huge problem given the isolation factor.
Regarding wait times, I believe these estimates are given based on the number of cars traveling through the crossing and the time in generally takes to process those numbers. I always rolled up to an empty crossing alone or in a small caravan of vehicles with a common destination so sheer number of cars is not the issue. The hassle factor is. Passports are collected and then we sit, and sit, and sit.....and anyone who is under the impression an American Drivers License will suffice hasn't met the officers at the crossing I outlined above. Birth Certificates (no copies) and a photo ID is the minimum.
Like I said, your experience is what I always hope for and it was like that for years, but for whatever reason, it's been much different this year at AK crossings and I also hope my three hassle fests are not the case everywhere.
11-19-2006, 05:31 AM
Had 30 inches of snow last week in Juneau AK and I got a chance to see how this vehicle operates under those conditions. Despite the size and weight, this SUV does well in snow and ice. I operated most of the time in 4 wheel drive and was satisfied with the ride and traction at all speeds. I can say that it made me appreciate those who have 4 wheels turning full time as the handling improves and the dead stop starts are quick and responsive. Also noted that milage didn't go down very much as it looks like I got around 12 / 13 around town with the tank I used this week. Considering 15 is my normal average, it's not bad.
12-24-2006, 05:21 AM
November saw five feet of snow in Juneau AK and the Trooper spent most of that time in 4 wheel drive. Everything worked well and when the rain did finally fall in December I noticed a snow burm or one to many bumps had seperated the tail pipe from the muffler.
Given the age of the pipes and fittings from the Cat. converter back, I had it all replaced. Sounds great and a January trip to Teslin Canada (despite the border problems) is in the plans.
I now have a digital camera and the connections needed to hook it up to the computer. If anyone can get me the short version on how to get some pics from my computer to this thread, I would greatly appreciate it.
Changed the PVC valve but the oil goes up in smoke at the same rate as before. 500 miles a quart, might be as good as it gets. More later.
12-27-2006, 03:33 PM
Go to the ExPo Q&A section. There is a great post there on instructions on how to post up pictures. Much better than someone trying to explain it in a post on a thread. If you are still having troubles just let us know and we will be happy to help you out.
Also, good to hear about the Trooper doing so well in the snow. Bummer about the exhaust though. Glad you got it fixed and is workin well for you. Keep us all posted, and get those pics posted up ASAP.
01-14-2007, 02:41 AM
01-14-2007, 03:14 AM
Welcome to the forum. You have a great truck and live in an awesome state!
I will be coming your way in June.
01-14-2007, 04:34 PM
Miss fire! Try it again!!!!
Here's some help in doing pictures from FlyingWil
Welcome to the ExPo my friend!!!! Alaska is on my list to do some fishing some day!!!
01-25-2007, 06:15 AM
01-25-2007, 06:16 AM
01-25-2007, 06:17 AM
01-25-2007, 06:24 AM
OK, I have the camera, Photobucket account, the instructions, ect.... and I can finally post. I am going into Canada on Friday heading up to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory after spending some around the Teslin / Ross River area. I will take pictures along the way and post when I return middle of next week. Except for the Old Man Emu suspension, this Trooper is pretty much stock but it's been a few places already and I will try to outline, in pictures, what I do to get ready for a one thousand mile extended weekend trip.
01-30-2007, 07:09 PM
This was getting ready to leave Juneau Alaska on Friday 01-26-07 and, of course, had to top off the oil.
01-30-2007, 07:15 PM
Difficult to get a good picture of the Alaska Ferries from the staging area. This was taken after we parked inside the boat. The service and prices are really very good. Round trip from Juneau to Skagway for the vehicle and two people, was $130 dollars. Round trip from Juneau to Bellingham Washington runs $1200 dollars and takes three days one way.
01-30-2007, 07:48 PM
Canada border high above Skagway. I carried 5 gallons of gas (legal limit) into Canada to avoid the $4.00 + per gallon prices encounter along the way.
Caracross Yukon Territory roughly 40 miles into Canada and the staging point of deciding if you are heading north or sounth along the Alaska Highway. Very nice place with good services for people and vehicles, and they always seems to be open.
Teslin Yukon Territory, located about 150 miles from Skagway. Population roughly 500 hundred very nice people. Stayed here overnight as the temps fell well below zero at night so sleeping in the vehicle was a last resort on this trip.
The Canol road was in perfect condition and with a couple more days, I suspect we could have driven it's entire length (500 road miles ending with the starting point for the 244 mile Canol Road Heritage Trail) without any problems. As it was, we traveled towards the city of Ross River, Yukon Territory and saw some beautiful country along the way. After lunch, we headed back on the Canol road towards our next stop, Whitehorse, YT.
The city of Whitehorse has everything the province has in the way of goods and services. Also has the most affordable gas at $3.80 a gallon so we purchased enough to get us back to Skagway, a distance of 110 miles along excellent roads. Like everything else on this trip, the weather was outstanding.
In summary, we did and saw everything planned and if time has allowed, we would have traveled into the city of Ross River as well. In total we traveled roughly 600 miles in three days and the decision to stay in Teslin an extra day meant the planned 1000 mile trip was reduced. We spend $100 dollars Canadian en route and the Ferry transport costs an additional $130 US dollars. The exchange rate is a non issue anymore as our dollars are worth about the same on the world market.
If you take a trip like this to the place described, pack for own food (as we did) carry as much gas as you can and refill in the major cities only. Use the Alska Ferry system during the winter months. It;s affordable and adds a unique experience to your adventure. Plan ahead and use local B&B's rather than the chain hotels / motels and don't get locked into a tight schedule as weather, local events and a host of other cirumstances can and will change your plans from day to day. Trying to fight this fact of life in the Yukon Territiry, will make you personally miserable and publically unpopular with the laid back people along the Alaska Highway.
01-30-2007, 07:58 PM
I should mention that the Trooper ran great throughout the trip. I suspect the milage ran betweenn 17 and 19 per gallon but haven't topped of the tank yet to get the finall numbers. Oil usage does increase in cold weather so be sure to check the level after 3-500 miles. over those 600+ miles, mine burned 1.5 quarts and this is well above the normal rate here in mild Juneau. Despite this, the engine and drivetrain ran strong and smooth. Also started well in the cold temps of Teslin.
01-30-2007, 08:58 PM
Great posts! You are getting me so excited... I am planning on going up from Calgary to Prudhoe Bay this August. I'm working on the route right now and trying to shove it all into just 3 weeks!
If you have any suggestions of great roads I would love to hear it. I haven't heard of Canol road so I am going to start researching that one...
AKTrooper, those guards at the Fraser crossing are hit or miss in terms of pleasantness, They are far from everything and get bored, so if they do not know you they can make it tough. Sorry you had a hard time with them.
I'll bet you had no problem at the Skagway, US customs down the hill, those guys have always been great, I love the fact that the two stations are so far apart, nowhere to go in the no-mans-land in between.
Thanks for the photos! I used to live in Skagway, so it is nice to see the old stomping grounds. Grey Mountain in Whitehorse is really cool, and in the summer the mountain biking trails that run down it are incredible.
02-22-2007, 05:29 AM
Much depends on where your coming into Canada from in the states. If Washington State was the starting point, then I would be sure to take the Cassiar Hwy heading north then stick to the Campbell highway and Klondike Loop road leading into AK. Then travel the Taylor down to Tok then head north towards the Dalton that will be your only chioce heading to the North Slope. These are not superhighways and gravel / dust will be part of the adventure if you choose these routes. Give yourself more time and pack accordingly.
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