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Old 01-14-2014, 12:25 PM   #1
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Wire mesh under engine area for Alaska trip

Will be traveling to Alaska this summer and some rver's and tour companies are suggesting putting 1/4 to 1/2 inch wire mesh under engine area to stop rocks from getting into belts,radiator and other parts. We have a 45 ft Spartan chassis and wanted to do this if other iRV2 travelers have done this or would suggest it. Thanks Tom
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Old 01-14-2014, 01:18 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by tom chelbana View Post
Will be traveling to Alaska this summer and some rver's and tour companies are suggesting putting 1/4 to 1/2 inch wire mesh under engine area to stop rocks from getting into belts,radiator and other parts. We have a 45 ft Spartan chassis and wanted to do this if other irv2 travelers have done this or would suggest it. Thanks Tom
With your side radiator it will not be necessary.
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Old 01-14-2014, 01:27 PM   #3
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Tom.....the rear radiator coaches are like big vacumns and suck everything up from under the engine and then blow it out through the rear radiator causing damage. As Steve said, you shouldn't have an issue with a side radiator model.

We had always thought we would do an Alaska trip, but haven't. I was more concerned about paint damage to my wheel wells front end. I pictured using the 3M painter's tape around the wheel wells. Just take a 2" strip and cover the edges of the wheel well. It can be easily removed when done.

I also thought about using clear shelving paper on the front end. A few rolls would probably last the trip and would be easy to put on and take off.
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Old 01-14-2014, 01:37 PM   #4
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Alaska is a gravel road?
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Old 01-14-2014, 01:45 PM   #5
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Tom.....the rear radiator coaches are like big vacumns and suck everything up from under the engine and then blow it out through the rear radiator causing damage. As Steve said, you shouldn't have an issue with a side radiator model.

We had always thought we would do an Alaska trip, but haven't. I was more concerned about paint damage to my wheel wells front end. I pictured using the 3M painter's tape around the wheel wells. Just take a 2" strip and cover the edges of the wheel well. It can be easily removed when done.

I also thought about using clear shelving paper on the front end. A few rolls would probably last the trip and would be easy to put on and take off.
Don, have a look at this stuff. You can find it at WallyWorld.
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Old 01-14-2014, 01:48 PM   #6
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Alaska is a gravel road?
If we go we're flying. That looks worse then most oilfield roads
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Old 01-14-2014, 01:49 PM   #7
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First, I doubt you'll be driving your 45' coach "off road". I've driven the Alaska Highway many times, lived in Alaska off and on since the 1970s, and I'm happy to report that for years, the highway has been fully paved. You won't see the kind of crumbling gravel roads others have/will report unless you plan to go way off the beaten path. Buy a copy of The Milepost as a great reference for your trip.

The MILEPOST: Alaska Travel Guide and Trip Planner

An invaluable reference. And, enjoy! Alaska is a beautiful - and BIG - state.
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Old 01-14-2014, 01:50 PM   #8
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If we go we're flying. That looks worse then most oilfield roads
Cruise Ship is another great option. No mud and great food.
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Old 01-14-2014, 03:42 PM   #9
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First, I doubt you'll be driving your 45' coach "off road". I've driven the Alaska Highway many times, lived in Alaska off and on since the 1970s, and I'm happy to report that for years, the highway has been fully paved. You won't see the kind of crumbling gravel roads others have/will report unless you plan to go way off the beaten path. Buy a copy of The Milepost as a great reference for your trip.

The MILEPOST: Alaska Travel Guide and Trip Planner

An invaluable reference. And, enjoy! Alaska is a beautiful - and BIG - state.
I totally agree. We've been there several times. We spent a couple months there last summer. All the main roads there are as good as the main roads in the lower 48. There's always a little construction, but nothing worse than what you would see anywhere else.

The first time we took our motorhome there in 2007 we happened to meet several caravans starting from the same campgrounds. We couldn't believe what some people were doing to their motorhomes. Some had the whole front end wrapped in bubble wrap while others had fabricated what looked like a fence in the front to ward of the road debris.

It was rather interesting to see them a few hundred miles down the road with all the precautionary wrapping removed. It seems they had "heard stories" about people driving the previously unpaved sections years ago and sustaining major damage. When they realized how civilized the road actually was they didn't bother with all the junk. There's always the off chance a passing truck could kick up a rock and chip the paint or windshield, but no more so than on any other road.

I was more scared of the mosquitos than the bad roads. If you hit the peak of the season a couple big ones could either drain you dry or carry you off never to be seen again. As Bart Simpson would say, "That's my story and I'm sticking with it".
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Old 01-14-2014, 03:55 PM   #10
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Yes,put the screen on even if you have side radiator.
it will keep the small rocks out of your belts and holes in your radiator.
I have a campground in Alaska and see many problems with this.

It seems hard to get the right parts when you need one.
put the screen on with zip ties and have a great trip.
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Old 01-14-2014, 05:14 PM   #11
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Any and all measures you take to protect your equipment will be of benefit. You will be traveling over too numerous 'gravel breaks' both in Canada and Alaska...doesn't matter the route.

Gravel breaks are repairs to eliminate frost heaves in the road that are caused by the harsh winters. The road bed freezes and in spots, elevates the surface of the road. If some of these heaves are hit doing 50 - 60 mph, the coach will be launched into the stratosphere. Road crews completely remove the road bed, fill and then lay down oil/tar covered by dirt and stones...compacted and most times repeated. These breaks stay dusty and the loose stones are prevalent for months. It's not unusual for these gravel breaks to last for miles. Unrepaired heaves are usually marked by some sort of signage, but mostly it's just with an orange cone...you HAVE to pay attention and slow down...fast.

I'd also recommend protection for the toad's front end paint and windshield as well. Also, make sure the rock guard on the back of the coach is elevated at least three inches above the road surface...this helps the guard from kicking up loose stones on the gravel breaks.
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Old 01-14-2014, 06:39 PM   #12
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HUH?? We've been up 6 times since 2006 driving both rear and side radiator and have yet to have any problems. We pull a full size pickup and just got back from a trip up with the brand new 2013 Bus. We have a Coast Line Cover on the toad that covers the windshield, but the best way to deal with damage is to slow down. We see a lot of wrapping, and get to laugh a lot. Oh yeah, we probably put 100 - 400 miles on dirt each year we go up. One year I did get a driver side window broken on a 4 lane divided highway about 20 miles west of Edmonton.
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Old 01-14-2014, 07:13 PM   #13
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We did our Alaska trip two years ago. As stated, pretty much all asphalt. I did see quite a few motorhomes with shrink wrap plastic protecting the front ends. We did have to get our windshield replaced after picking up two rocks. This was from trucks heading the opposite direction.....but we have also had rocks in the lower 48.

It is a great trip and I would not sweat things very much. Do your maintenance before the trip and you will be good to go. Take your time and enjoy. It is a wonderful experience.

I guess the one thing I did do was to carry an unmounted spare. That way if you have a flat, the mobile tire guy has the proper tire to get you going again.
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Old 01-14-2014, 07:41 PM   #14
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Alaska is a gravel road?
Where did you find a road in Alaska that is in that good of condition?
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