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Discussion Starter #1
Just what the title says really. We came up with the idea to drive to northern Finland over Christmas because the flights are silly money.....plus a road trip taking about a week to get there stopping at interesting places on the way would be much more fun!
We'll be dealing with temperatures down to (if it's a bad spell) -40 but hopefully around
-15 to -25 celcius. Was -25 last year around Christmas.

Wondering if anyone else has done a similar trip and what they did to their Alfa to prepare it for the extreme cold. I'm trying to get a list together early so I can get the car done in time. It's a 156 sport mjet diesel 150bhp model. So far I've got....

Mobil 1 td 0w40 oil
4 winter tyres.
New Bosch battery with 250 more starting amps
Silicone turbo hose (noticed it has been rubbing, don't fancy it splitting)
New windscreen (small crack in mine)
Replace coolant with 100% coolant.

Maybe something to partially block off the radiator to stop the engine getting to cold? I have no idea what else to check for as I've never took a car that far north before. I do know my girlfriend's folks plug their car in to preheat the engine Before starting which I would not be able to do (perhaps an electric blanket wrapped around the engine for an hour in the morning?)

Any advice on how to prepare or what to take would be great!

Cheers in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Someone did mention an additive for the fuel to stop it freezing but I think it's already in the pumps where you fill up in northern Finland. I'll have to check.
 

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Does the car have a timing belt? if so can i just point out that the timing belt will probably not be good for -40°C
 

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That sounds like an exciting trip :)

I would imagine whatever fuel they sell up there will be mixed for their conditions. But it does get bl00dy cold. Here's a snap from Levi, in March when it was starting to warm up! :eek:

IMG_2207.jpg

You will need a decent ice-scraper/brush, the ones sold in the UK are toys. Probably best to wait and buy one in a supermarket over there.

Have fun.
 

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Thing is you should also be prepared that the oil could freeze in the engine whilst parked - you may want to change your oil to whatever they use up there. I think 5w30 or 0w20 would be the best ones to use.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Timing belt is a good one. The car has done 120000 miles and has a full history, will have to inspect it and check out when it is due.

The oil I've bought is mobil 1 turbo diesel 0w40 which is good for very cold start ups.

Some kind of super low temp screenwash is worth looking into as well as a decent scraper.

It's a few months away but i'm really looking forward to to it! Last trip I took around Europe was on a bike 7 years ago but that was to a much warmer climate.
 

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the belts on the diesel are 4 years 50,000 miles due to waterpump failure. :) Not 5/72,000 as alfa maintain but no specialist in their right mind would ever leave until.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Is it an easy job to replace yourself? Or do you need a bucketful of 'special' tools for the job.

Would be eager to have a chat with someone who has done this.
 

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I presume you have the 1.9 16v? Same as my 140. You can do it yourself if you know your way around a set of spanners. You can do it with marks but really advise against as you can't tell if it is set correctly. These two tools should should be all you need as long as you have torque wrench :) Here is a link to the site to buy the special tools. Not too bad for the diesel. You'd get away with the cam locking pins and exhaust pulley tool :)

P.S I've done it both ways :)
 

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Sorry maybe i will go into more detail timing belts are great, but in extreme conditions the life is reduced. let me explain this is due to a belts construction. Rubber has a glass transition temp. On most eu belts this is rnd -20 mark. Beyond thos the rubber goes hard an brittle, it then cracks. Then the tensile member breaks an belt becomes useless. I not saying this will happen, but the extremes u tlk about, could be v serious.
 

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Sticking a new belt on should make it more durable than an old belt. I think rubber is okay at -40C but if it isn't, a new belt will still hang on longer than an old one. Same goes for aux belts.. put a new one on.

You need to de-moisturise everything as any water on, or in, it will freeze.. Take some tyre black spray in a trigger-bottle. It's slightly oily and so it's useful to wipe the door and window rubbers from time to time, to stop them freezing shut overnight.

Thoroughly oil (and then pack with grease) all the locks and any moving parts.

Give the engine hoses and plastics a squirt of your tyre black every now and again, to make a water repellent environment under the bonnet. Vaselinise the battery terminals.

Get chains for the tyres, if they're allowed.. as well as winter tyres where chains are not suitable.

Coolant.. I think you're not supposed to use neat anti-freeze.. I think the coolant needs water in it to lock the ethylene glycol in.. otherwise it (the ethyline glycol) will all just instantly evaporate out and you lost the anti-freezing properties. I'd give the manufacturer a ring to ask them. Go for maybe 66% mix if you're in doubt.

Stick a good thermostat on there if yours is lazy. That should sort our any issues with keeping the temperature up rather than blocking the radiatore or reverting to pieces of cardboard.. but if your beast has an oil cooler, cover it up with a card and put a sock over it to keep it warm.

Your handbrake cables and mechanism will freeze. If you grease up all the moving parts (spray WD40 then pack the LM in there) and cram as much grease as you can get into the cable, then it'll be fine. Still park with the brake off though... and don't put the handbrake on if there's any resistance to the lever that feels like the cable is not moving.. or it might not release properly.

Windscreen washer.. there's nothing better than vodka. Buy a cheap bottle and stick the whole lot in.

Bring a trigger-spray bottle of de-icer too and leave it under the car at night, so that you have it handy next morning. Don't leave it in the car.. :D If it's frozen when you try to use it.. stay in bed that day! :D


Ralf S.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Some really good advice there Ralf. Vodka is a great idea!

Winter tyres are mandatory in Finland, not sure if I'm gonna bother with snow chains though...will check the weather nearer the time.

As for the timing belt, I'm sure cars that far north have them so I'm not too concerned about it although for piece of mind I will get it replaced. Toying with the idea of doing it myself to save nearly £300. I'm an engineer by trade so am quite handy with the spanners but have never changed a cam belt on a car before. There seems to be some kind of black magic surrounding the swapping of belts but if you have the correct tools for the job then surely it can't be that bad?

Cheers for the link Joss!
 

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check ur power steering fluids also, put fully synthectic oil there, it can still squeeze in those temperatures... I use now Valvoline Syn power steering fluids even they are not recommended by the book, but it seems to quit the steering noises in those temperatures. Use some sort of gun oil to locks and fuel tank cap to avoid freezing. They start selling "winter" diesel here when its need by climate.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I have changed the power steering fluid recently so I'm happy that'll be up to the job.

I got a good price from Alphashop to change the cam belt, tensioners, water pump and thermostat (think mine may have gone because it never seems to get above 70?) and antifreeze. So I'll let them do it whilst I pimp myself out to pay for it.

The unwanted expense that I may have before we leave is a new clutch :( The car has done over 100,000 miles and as far as i know it's still on the original. It's horrifically expensive to do properly and I'm not sure if I would entrust Joe blogs at the local garage to it right (gearbox out, drive shaft and input shaft seals replaced etc). Guess I'll play that one by ear for now.
 

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+1 for vodka in the screen wash! I spent many years living in that kind of climate - not only is vodka better, but it's usually cheaper too :)

p.s. Don't forget to buy too much :D
 
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