Join Date: Sep 2000
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Re: 1100 mile trip
Start with the simple things
Check all the fluids, hoses and belt/s or have an oil change place do it, as they usually will include differential top ups, etc for one low price. Make sure the plugs are recent and the thing's been tuned up in the last year. Then get the oil and filter changed a couple of days before you go on the trip. If they forget to tighten the filter or drain plug, it'll show before you head out onto the interstate.
Older motors often really loosen up on a long, high speed jaunt and start to build up some crankcase pressure because of blowby, so do the following for sure. Check and change (if required) not only the air filter, but the PCV valve and the oil breather filter. Both these items are 2 or 3 bucks each and easily reached because they're at the top of the engine. This will let the build up of crankcase fumes vent properly into your air cleaner where you'll get the added bonus of re-using the fuel laden fumes back into your motor, and you'll be doing your part for North America's emissions problem.
If you don't, and these were close to blocked, this high rpm trip might be just what it takes to blow the valve cover gaskets or other seals in the truck and then you'll have an oil leak to contend with. Go to Walmart and get these two small items, and if you don't want to change them yourself, ask the guys at the oil change place if they'd do it for you.
Sounds like you're a student, so this might hurt but try to stick to a better grade of gas than you normally use for the whole trip, there and back. This usually will reward you with a couple of miles per gallon better than you'd normally get and your engine will run a better at high speed.
Fill your tires right to the maximum pressure recommended on the side of the tires. This will also add a mile or two per gallon, in some cases, on a long trip and will make sure they don't wear from under inflation. While you're at it fill the spare up too and make sure nobody made off with your jack and tire iron, since last blow out.
Lastly check all signals and bulbs. You don't want people not knowing you're going to change into their lane at 80 mph or worse yet, some bored cop nailing you with a fine in the middle of nowhere U.S.A.
The most important things to bring along are; your cel phone, AreoVisa, lots of CDs, non-alcoholic beverages windshield fluid and cold weather gear in care you're hoofin' it to a gas station.