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Old 05-20-2016, 05:39 PM   #1
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Tires and Alcan

I have seen a number of comments from posters who state they have had flats, sometimes multiples, on the Alcan and in AK. Is there any general reason? My coach tires are excellent and toad very good. I can imagine pot holes and speed can be bad for tires but I wouldn't think the rocks are any sharper there than anywhere else.
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Old 05-20-2016, 05:45 PM   #2
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In 1959 I rode along for a family adventure to Alaska. 1957 Dodge sedan hooked to a 21 ft. Traveleze single axle trailer.


2 months, 22 flats and 10,000 miles and we were home. 2 new trailer tires and the car tires were tubed, patched many times and trashed.


Tire technology has changed a bit since then plus the roads are a bit better now.
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Old 05-20-2016, 05:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drwwicks View Post
I have seen a number of comments from posters who state they have had flats, sometimes multiples, on the Alcan and in AK. Is there any general reason? My coach tires are excellent and toad very good. I can imagine pot holes and speed can be bad for tires but I wouldn't think the rocks are any sharper there than anywhere else.
Well, IMHO, the ones who had multiple flats had multiple poor tires or, they were over loaded or driving too fast for conditions.
I drove the Alcan with 7 year old tires on my coach and towing my 13 CRV. no problems and not one rig in our caravan had tire trouble.
There were a couple of Axle failures but those were primarily due to excessive speed on the rough sections. Take your time and you'll be fine.....
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Old 05-20-2016, 06:33 PM   #4
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We went to AK in 2009. I put new tires on the steer axle and the rear tires were 7 years old but in good condition. I installed a TPMS system which caught 2 slow leakers which probably saved me from having a flat. I also carried a mounted spare for insurance. We did not have any flats.

On the whole trip we did see a hand full of rigs with flats, some motorhomes and some were trailers.

The roads were either good or bad and not much in between. They were working on sections of the Alcan. These areas could cause problems as they were usually rough.
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Old 05-21-2016, 07:36 AM   #5
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They use blast rock for road base. It's not tumbled and thus quite sharp.

Tires that are new or at least in very good condition will help. So will reducing the air pressure in those tires (I'm putting on my asbestos underwear for that statement).

Speed will factor into your experience. If you enjoy the drive and lollygag, you'll have a reduced risk. If you're hammer down, plan for mechanical issues.
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Old 05-21-2016, 08:42 AM   #6
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Highways in that region get a lot of broken pavement from frost heaves and washouts, potholes are common, and repairs are usually the rough gravel that Brad mentioned. So yes, miles driven on roads in Alaska, Yukon, and northern Alberta & BC are somewhat harder on tires than US interstates. Sometimes a lot harder, especially if you don't hold your speed down. The good stretches are probably as good as two lane roads anywhere, but the broken up places are frequent and often have little warning. If you are zipping along at 50-60, you are probably going to get surprised on a regular basis.

That said, multiple tire failures aren't likely if your tires are in good shape and you drive cautiously. We spent 3 months driving those roads, even taking the motorhome down back roads and once onto a dry river bed and had no tire failures at all, coach or toad.
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Old 05-21-2016, 09:57 AM   #7
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I appreciate the replies and it's as I figured. Not being a speed demon and having good equipment is going to make our trip a pleasure, not a white knuckle experience. I have the TPMS set so hopefully it will just tick along saying everything is fine.

Trip starts soon. Everything ready just need to pack.
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Old 05-22-2016, 08:52 AM   #8
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Windshield damage is a different story, though. Flying gravel, whether form your tires or approaching traffic, is likely to take a toll.
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Old 05-22-2016, 06:36 PM   #9
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Made the trip in 2012 with Adventure Caravans. I figured that combined there were 220 tires on the road. Nobody on our trip had a flat tire! Personally I drove 10,200 miles. All tires were visually inspected and "thumped" every morning before beginning our travels. Driving at a reasonable speed and using extra caution on gravel roads is essential.
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Old 05-22-2016, 08:14 PM   #10
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As has been said drive appropriate speed for the road conditions. We went to Alaska, drove the Campbell Highway mostly dirt and gravel for 300 plus miles, drove the Klondike Highway and Top of the World. No problems with tires. We took two new unmounted "spare" tires, they were a comfort to have and I will take two spares when we go next time. Thre worst road on our return was from the Alaska border to Whitehorse about 120 miles. Enjoy your trip and don't worry too much about the tires.
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Old 05-23-2016, 05:53 AM   #11
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The Alcan is much improved over the years. but can still brutalize tires and windshields.

Prior to our 12,000 mile trip from Ohio to Deadhorse (via the Alcan) 4 years ago, we put on 6 new tires and we carried two spares.

We didn't have any problem with tires. I suspect that if we could check into it, we'd find the majority of tire problems are from older tires, and the occasional rock getting jammed in the dullies.

As for windshields - slow down if your approaching oncoming vehicles that are traveling at high speeds. They kick up gravel and bust your windows
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Old 05-23-2016, 08:58 AM   #12
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We didn't have any problems with the Alcan or any other paved roads on the trip. We only ran into gravel in one small stretch, probably less than 40 miles. We had both a broken windshield and flat tire on the Dalton highway though. That's a tough road on vehicles.
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Old 05-23-2016, 09:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacwjames View Post
The roads were either good or bad and not much in between. They were working on sections of the Alcan. These areas could cause problems as they were usually rough.


They work on the roads when they can, after the thaw, they cannot repair while the roads are frozen.
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Old 05-25-2016, 01:26 AM   #14
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You have to keep in mind what some of the roads are made with up north.
When I hauled drill pipe to Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T. up the Dempster Hwy. the road was narrow and made with shale from the area. Shale can be very sharp and hard on the tires. And tires are expensive up there. It would be a good idea to carry a spare or at least a tire without a rim you can have a tire service install if needed. Since I was last up there, a lot of the original hwy. has had new road built parallel to it. You'll be fine in B.C. and Yukon, it's all paved. Just be sure to keep tire pressures up, no overloading and do regular tires checks when you stop to check out the scenery.
Have fun.
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