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Breaking down on the road -


Briarscratch

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The season is upon us which means it will be time hit the road for wild birds.  

Average trips are 300 miles one way, 1000 roundtrip. When my truck was young, it was like a chariot that would take me anywhere with confidence.  Nowadays, my truck is not so young anymore.  205,000 miles and getting rickety.  It's past time to get something newer, but due to the dismal ******* economy that's not in the cards.

So lately I've been worrying about whether or not I'd be able to get through the season without any major breakdowns far from home.

When facing a problem like this there is only one real solution - expect the worst to happen and prepare for it as best you can.

Here are my questions for you guys:

Have any of you broken down on the road with your dogs and a fully loaded truck far from home?

How did you deal with it?  

What are the lessons learned?

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That only happened to me once.  I found a repair shop who agreed to fix me up by the next day.  They put me ahead of other customers out of consideration for my situation.  We spent the night in a Motel 6.  (They take dogs).  An inconvenience, but not a disaster.  

Take a credit card.......

Edit:

I remember another time, many years ago, when we broke a trailer tongue coming back from Kansas.  A local welding shop fixed us up in a few hours.  $100 tip for them.

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yup. I have been stranded twice in different circumstances.

A credit card and a belief that it is ok to rent a vehicle to get through the trip help.    AAA helps get your ride ready for when you return. Part of the risk of pushing the old truck one more year.

My bigger fear is the break down 5 miles into a two track 100 miles into a two lane that is 20 miles out of cell range.

If you really don't trust your truck...maybe consider renting?

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Should have mentioned, I have AAA Plus membership and will likely be upgrading to Premium before the season starts.   In fact, I just used it a couple weeks ago for a dead Oxygen sensor.
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bosco mctavitch
If you're really worried, sometimes you can get cheap car rentals that make a lot of sense when you consider vehicle wear and tear, etc. I wouldn't rule that out for a few-day trip, especially if where you're going you are meeting people with vehicles.
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pa'tridge hunters
Do they charge extre to clean up dog slobber, spruce sprills, and feathers? Otherwise sounds like they way to go.
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Should have mentioned, I have AAA Plus membership and will likely be upgrading to Premium before the season starts.   In fact, I just used it a couple weeks ago for a dead Oxygen sensor.

A dead o2 sensor and your truck stalled?

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In addition to the AAA, perhaps identifying and making a list of towing services, repair shops, auto parts stores, tire stores and local welders along the route.....probably close to your hunting destination.  Having a good list to dial up no matter where you are along the route is key.

The closest I have come was earlier this spring running the pooches and ended up flatting the Subaru up on a moutain.  Somehow in my haste I didn't realize the tire iron was not in the car......had everything else......so luckily called a good friend who brought his socket sets and we got her fixed and on the road.  But it made me think through things like you are doing.

Cash and cards, cash for the locals to help and tip, cards for the repairs.  Some grub for both you and beast is a good idea as well.......could be a decent wait for help.

Steve

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Briar,

I am a little surprised such a wise man like you would ask

such a question?

Besides AAA,the answer for me has always been preventative maintenance. My F150 has almost 180,000.

Next month I am going to pull a 6500lb travel trailer

over 2500miles across the continental divide. I tend to

be almost anal about maintenance. Carry an extra spare

tire,air bottle,portable battery jumper,compressor,etc.

Tires damn near new condition.Any liquid close to needing

changing,done. As well as any filters.

I like to keep my truck so I can wake up any morning and

drive it cross country without having to get anything done

to it first :~))

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After reading River19s post it reminds me,unlike Western

hunters you guys back East seem less prepared for emergencies. When I started hunting out West the first issue taught to me was Survival.

Always carry a lot of water,first aid kit,a way to start a

fire,a very good jack and wood blocks,tools,etc,etc.

The list is of course endless because you can never have

enough Stuff when stuck on some mountain range, hurt

or in a broke truck miles  and miles from a paved road.

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It happened to me a couple of years ago in the UP.

I carry a pretty good set of tools, tire plug kit, cables, etc., but some things you aren't going to fix yourself.

For that a credit card and a cell phone are the best tools.

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being in the equipment business I can say with confidence that 99% of breakdowns can be prevented with maintenance and inspection.

whats likely to fail? most of it can be prevented in your driveway for little money

belts and hoses - replace if they have 80K on them keep the old belt in your spare tire well or under your seat as a spare,

upper and low radiator and also the heater hoses replace them all.

Carry a bottle of aluma seal and a gallon of premixed antifreeze (dont use any product but aluma seal)

change your thermostat while you're into the hoses (if its original) radiator fluid original? replace that also

brakes- pull your wheels off and look at them, leaks? pads gone? replace or fix it now before winter. Inspect the master cylinder fluid trays top off

transmission - automatic have the fluid changed and look in the pan for debris if its ok you should be fine, back into spots with an auto when you are hunting, reverse almost always is the first gear to go when an automatic is failing

engine

timing belt ( I hate them) if its over its interval have it replaced

oil and filter change and fuel filter change

let it warm up then put your head near the engine and have your wife idle it up to a real high idle in your driveway and then instantly take her foot off the gas, a suspect bearing will knock as it returns to idle if no knock forget it modern engines and bearings if you've been changing the oil within recommended intervals will go 400K plus.

Except for the timing belt none of these are expensive or difficult to do yourself

if you hunt way back in have some food and a warm sleeping bag in the vehicle and spare food and water for the pooch.

I hunt out of a 91 dodge van with similar mileage on it and I wouldn't hesitate to drive it to alaska ( except the gas cost would kill me :) )

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I hate that feeling - it certainly detracts from what the trip is all about. When my vehicle was getting on, I made up a little box with the stuff that Cooter mentions. Also, I always replace that crappy OEM jack with a hydraulic bottle jack.

One time we were coming back from moose hunting on a 40 mile stretch of logging road in the middle of nowhere. A leaf shackle on the trailer let go and the axle nearly came right off. There was enough left that we were able to cinch the leaf back into place with a small length of chain and a binder. Good enough to get to a welding shop.

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