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Old 11-13-2012, 04:00 PM   #1
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Moving to Anchorage Upgrades Advice

Like a few other folks I've seen on here, I just got orders to get stationed at Elmendorf/Anchorage, Alaska. I'm coming from Sumter, SC so it'll be a nice drive up but a major change in driving conditions. Since my wife drives a Mazda 6 I figure the taco will be the one left outdoors if we have a garage so I'll be getting the engine, oil pan, and battery heater. I'm already running synthetic.

So the real question comes down to tires, wheels, and any other advice for add-ons I might need. My taco is a 2012 V6 4x4 Access Cab SR5 and I've been looking at in the wheel and tire section but I thought I'd come to the experts first since my snow and ice experience is limited to Utah. As of right now she's all stock except for running boards. What wheel/tire combos are y'all running (full specs)? Does it require a lift kit or other mods to fit? If so, what height and brand? (Can you tell I'm not a huge gear head yet?)

Thanks for any help y'all can offer.

(The wife is giving me a free pass on this one as it'll be my job to pull her out WHEN she gets stuck; just nothing stupid expensive/elaborate)
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Old 11-13-2012, 04:05 PM   #2
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steel wheels are great for sliding into things. you can always beat a bent rim back... aluminum cracks.

that's my only wheel advice for snow because I blew a good 10" of rim off many years ago.

oh and welcome to TW.
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Old 11-13-2012, 04:06 PM   #3
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If you plan to stay mostly stock suspension-wise and keep it on the road... I'm guessing you are looking for a tire you can run year round and have decent summer as well as winter performance? I will recommend Goodyear Wrangler Duratracs (though they are loud driving), Toyo Open Country AT2 (likely my next tire), or Hankook Dynapro ATM. Throw about 200lbs worth of sandbags in the bed in the winter, rig up some mounts on the bed rails to pack along a shovel, get yourself a container of some sort to carry along some extra fluids, shackles, snatch straps, etc and you should be all hunky dory.
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Old 11-13-2012, 04:19 PM   #4
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I am looking for a year-round wheel/tire combo but she's not going to be an on-road-only truck. I was looking at the Goodrich AT/TA KO tires and I've been reading up on the ToyTec ultimate lift kit to avoid snow-pack and give her some ground clearance, but honestly, I'm an electrician and it'll be awhile before I really understand most of this. I just don't want to be "That guy" showing up to Anchorage and looking like a moron getting stuck somehow on a plowed street or on a shoulder somewhere.
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Old 11-13-2012, 04:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RuthlessINXS View Post
I am looking for a year-round wheel/tire combo but she's not going to be an on-road-only truck. I was looking at the Goodrich AT/TA KO tires and I've been reading up on the ToyTec ultimate lift kit to avoid snow-pack and give her some ground clearance, but honestly, I'm an electrician and it'll be awhile before I really understand most of this. I just don't want to be "That guy" showing up to Anchorage and looking like a moron getting stuck somehow on a plowed street or on a shoulder somewhere.
You will get stuck... If you never get stuck you'll never learn how to free yourself or properly free others. I dunno why but I have never been a fan of the TA KO tires and have no good reason why. I feel like they would pack up rather quickly in the snow.
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Old 11-13-2012, 04:29 PM   #6
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As someone who has lived in anchorage my entire life, I can tell you that 90% of it comes from HOW you drive on the ice and snow. I'm running the stock dunlops on my 2010 sprt DCLB and I have never been stuck. They maintain the roads really well up here and if you're careful you shouldn't have any issues. My WIFE on the other hand drives a 2012 Scion XB and I just outfitted her with the best studded winter tires you can get. Hankook dynapros I think is what they are. Amazing soft rubber compound. Loads of siping, and lots of studs.
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Old 11-13-2012, 04:31 PM   #7
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4WD with our trucks is just about all you need as long as you have a good head on your shoulders and don't try to corner too fast. I keep my traction control off all winter long because I can't stand that beeping and I worry with the amount I whip the tail around that my brakes are going to wear unevenly because of it.
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Old 11-13-2012, 04:41 PM   #8
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Like ben said, it's a lot about driving style. I always tell people no sudden moves and you will probably be ok. and keep it in 4wd when its cold. I took mine out of 4wd last winter because the roads were mostly cleared... hit some black ice and did a 360 and landed in a snowbank. I was lucky no one was around and all I damaged was my tail light.

That said, I run Nitto Terra Grapplers year round and they do ok. Definately some slippage but not much worse than anyone running winter tires.

I have run all terrains for 6 years on 3 different trucks now.... I had some BF goodwrenches I liked a lot. I also have had Firestones (ok) and Cooper discoverer (did not like). The Terra Grapplers I have now are pretty good too.
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:00 PM   #9
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I appreciate all the input. So what about something to cover the bed? I'm operating under the assumption that a soft cover is going to be destroyed in the first good snow and a friend of mine here has told me I'd be a complete d*ck if i drove around all winter with an open bed. Are tanneau hard covers or shells pretty much a must?
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RuthlessINXS View Post
I appreciate all the input. So what about something to cover the bed? I'm operating under the assumption that a soft cover is going to be destroyed in the first good snow and a friend of mine here has told me I'd be a complete d*ck if i drove around all winter with an open bed. Are tanneau hard covers or shells pretty much a must?
There are tons of open beds in ak it's personal preference, I kinda wish I got a shell instead of a toolbox.
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:23 PM   #11
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I don't have a cover at the moment. Most people around here are just dicks about it.

I used to have a hinged tonneau cover on my old truck. Only reason I don't have one yet is money.
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:40 PM   #12
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I have the Duratracs that were mentioned earlier and they seem to do ok, granted I have only been here for about a month and we havent had any real snow to speak of but the roads have been slick. I will second the fact that as long as you dont drive like a dick you wil be fine, dont get in a hurry and no sudden movements and everything is good. I have a shell on mine but I already had it when I came up here but as already stated there are a lot of people up here with open beds.
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:06 PM   #13
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Open bed here too. Never had an issue
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:00 PM   #14
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Blizzak makes some awesome tires, I had them on my last vehicle. It felt like my car was on rails no matter what maneuver I made. But if you're looking for a year-round tire setup, I would not get a winter tire as they will wear way too fast. Go with an AT tire like the duratrac or BFG AT. I have a set of Cooper Discoverer AT that I'm currently running for the first time in the winter. I can't stop worth a damn on icy roads. But if the road is snowy, no problem. Last winter I ran studded mastercraft snow tires (still have them, just haven't put them on yet) and they are a hell of a lot better for stopping.

Right now I have 180lbs of sand and probably 30 pounds of gear in the bed plus my shell and I still have a terrible time starting unless im in 4wd, which is fine. If you're planning on being here a while I would definitely look into a set of studded, siped, winter tires.

Oh, you should also consider a remote starter if you're going to be parking it outside. And maybe do a projector retrofit to get some better lighting. It is DARK up here most of the year....theres a GB going on right now for projectors also
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:05 PM   #15
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I'd use it as an excuse to by a nice ARB bumper and some lightforces or a lightbar and a winch.

Make sure you carry extra clothes, boots, flares, food, blanket, lighters/matches etc...
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:08 PM   #16
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Oh yeah, I forgot you said you were driving up. In that case, definitely look to invest in some nice lights. I have not driven up before, but I know it is incredibly dark on the roads and there are moose/buffalo all over the place on the way up. And +1 on the extra clothes, food, and survival type gear.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:38 AM   #17
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I tried running M/S tires on my '99 I had one winter- couldn't even make it up parts of hill side (you'll see) in 4WD, so I absolutely swear to Studded tires. This way, since our summers are short, my Mud tires hold a lot more summer seasons. I find its easier to have studded winter tires, and separate mud, rock crawlers, whatever in the summer months.

Are you driving up the ALCAN?
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:34 AM   #18
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I'll be heading on the Trans-Canada Hwy to the Alaskan Hwy. I appreciate the advice so far. I'm trying avoid having two sets of wheels tires so i was looking at the BFG AT/TA KO tires. I've broken up the build to before the drive up and after arrival. let me know what you think.

For the drive up:
ARB Bullbar 3423130 (Not sure if this will work as my taco is a 2012. Waiting to hear from ARB)
Warn M8000-s winch
Warn W650D remote driving lights (I know there are better lights but I like the spread/distance of the light; also with the remote switch these look like a dream to install)
ARB Snatch strap (17500LBS)

Those should be the most helpful in case we run into trouble on the way up. I don't think it'll be that bad since we'll be driving up in mid-August but I'm not going to lose out on the chance to upgrade or be kicking myself because I don't have the ability to pull the wife from a ditch.

After arrival:
Toytec lift (This is debatable since I only have the 4-leaf-springs. I'll be contacting them to see if this is doable since i'm pretty sure i'll need a full 3" lift to fit 285/75s)
16" black steel rims http://www.wheelersoffroad.com/tacomawheels.htm
285/75R16 BFG AT/TA KO tires



Of course that's just the upgrade stuff. I'll have extra gas cans, clothes, food, water, lighters, flares and so on but as far as budgeting goes they are negligible.

I look forward to hearing from y'all again.

UPDATE:
I got a hold of the local ARB dealer and apparently i'll have to wait until at least January for ARB to put out the new model bull bar. Apparently they did change something in regards to the bumper mounts.
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:58 AM   #19
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Looks like a pretty good list! When do you make the drive?
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:11 AM   #20
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I head out from South Carolina on the 10th of August and have to make it to Elmendorf AB by the 31st.
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