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Long road trip - advice welcome.


Explorer Addict
April 6, 2008
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Year, Model & Trim Level
1994 Explorer 2dr 4x4
Around the first or second of September I'll be driving my 94 Explorer [2dr, 4x4, A4LD, 167K miles, all stock] from Anchorage, Alaska down to Little Rock AFB, Arkansas. Not really what I wanted to do but otherwise I pay out of pocket for a plane ticket and I wait 6-8 weeks for the X to arrive, this way I get paid for the weight I transport too.

The trip route will be nearly 4,000 miles. I won't be towing or carrying a lot of weight, perhaps a couple hundred pounds at the most. Tires are in good shape, going to change oil/filter/fuel filter before I go, plugs/wires/belt are near new, new air filter. The truck's in perfect running condition right now and the trans hasn't given me any trouble yet. Before I go on the trip I'll be doing a short off-roading trip (mostly trail driving).

So, any advice on how to help make this drive easier on the car? I will do my best to keep the accelerator off the floor, figure that's a start. Really I only worry about the transmission even though it's not had any problems yet. But what do you think?

Additionally any advice on making the trip easier on myself is welcome too. :p:

Thanks in advance!

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cary a regular jack 2 spares tools and fuel filters etc like an off road trip
u joints etc

change oil,diff fluids,and tranny fluids,change anti freeze,

Carry extra oil, oil filter, and tranny fluid too, just in case the tranny has any issues.

All good advice. A coworker once drove a Chevy Cavalier from Sacramento to Fairbanks, with no more preparation than if he was driving to LA. Had no problems on the road. And, one of my Army buddies regularly rides his motorcycle from Anchorage to Gettysburg, PA.
My advice: get a triple A card (will be useful in civilization), some maps (maybe a GPS), a cell phone, and enough time to enjoy the journey. Stop for food and rest, don't rush.
Bill W.

Thanks for the advice. I'll be carrying a GPS, two cell phones, a computer, all my tools, and I'm limited to under 500 miles a day so it won't be too rushed.

Was thinking about changing the trans fluid but from what I recall reading, views are split on whether it's better to keep it in (avoid shock and loss of good things in the fluid) or change it religiously. I put in some trans additive a short while back.

What color is the existing tranny fluid? If it looks old or burnt I"d swap it.

It's red and doesn't smell burnt at all. I'm pretty easy on the transmission.

As long as you have a spare tire and backup fluids, you should be fine.

I'd bring food, water, tent and a sleeping bag. If you do break down you might be camping for a while. There is no way you can plan for everything that can break. Just fix, maintain everything you can and enjoy the adventure. Have some money saved up if you do need to get help on the road.

I'd also carry extra water (over heating possibly), and a couple different tubes of the radiator stuff in case you get a small leak until you can limp it somewhere. Maybe a spare pully belt?

Also, I don't think someone has mentioned this, make sure to disconnect the battery for a while to reset the fuel trims so when you get on the road it'll figure out the better mileage data quicker.

I just made a long distance drive with my newly acquired F350 and had an issue with the rear dif. Make sure you take along some 90 weight as it can be very difficult to find on the trip. I stopped at five different truck stops and only one had a quart @ $14.99. As it was my diff was leaking through the pinion bearing seal and nothing would have fixed my problem, short of a new diff. I drove from Ozark MO, to Paris TX, then to Kirtland AFB NM, then suffered a breakdown in Green River UT. Limped it to Provo UT where I found a storage yard to put it in, then came after it last weekend with a 2008 F350 and trailer. 927.8 miles from Seattle is a long way from home.

I'd really recommend getting a copy of The Milepost before you go. It has every mile of the Alcan laid out along with every phone and hours of every business along the road.

I've driven the Alcan maybe 8 or 9 times now; it's a great trip in early September. The colors in the Yukon will blow your mind. And try to drive by Muncho Lake in the daylight; it's the most amazing turquoise you'll ever see.

Like someone else said, take your time and enjoy the drive. It's spectacular.

BTW, I was born on Elmendorf.