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Author Topic: Survival Vehicle  (Read 23109 times)

suvh8er

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Survival Vehicle
« on: December 17, 2009, 05:39:15 pm »

I am in the market for a vehicle and I have a minor obsession with diesels.  This is mainly because they will run on just about anything from used motor oil to grease and the engines themselves last forever if maintained.  Both reasons I feel, make them a practical choice for day to day uses as well as any survival situation.

My question is this.  I am torn between getting a modern high-performance diesel compact car or a large late-eighties diesel truck.  I don't have the resources to create a fancy retreat or stock up on 20 years worth of food so if Sh!t Hits the Fan I feel I will have to be able to be as mobile as possible.  The advantage of the car would be speed, maneuverability, and mileage (this car is capable of over 50mpg!).  Hopefully enough traits to keep plenty of distance between you and anyone trying to catch you.   Obvious disadvantages would be the complicated engine and electronics, mass (it wouldn't take much to take it down), and storage capacity.
As far as a large truck (think f250 size), the advantages are shear mass and power, both of which could be handy for roadblocks, off road use, and utility.  The engine is easily maintained and will burn almost anything reasonable as fuel (just a lot of it though).  The ability to store more gear/fuel also has its obvious perks.  Disadvantages would be slow speed and poor maneuverability as well as being one very big target. 

Any thoughts?  Oh yeah and price-wise, the car would be about 12G's to purchase and upgrade, the truck anywhere from 2G's to as much as you want to spend on it (either way it will still run the same).
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Bear

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Re: Survival Vehicle
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2009, 05:47:08 pm »


I think the first decision point is whether you believe Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) will
ever by an issue. If so, you need to get an older diesel that has a carburetor and no
engine electronics. Otherwise, whatever does the job, and is common enough to have
a ready supply of parts will do.

Good luck.

Bear
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rockchucker

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Re: Survival Vehicle
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2009, 07:45:27 pm »

Carbureted diesel?

There are injection systems which are mechanical, and also electrical systems which don't rely on EMP-vulnerable ciruits.
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suvh8er

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Re: Survival Vehicle
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2009, 10:25:42 pm »

Def. never heard of a Carb'ed diesel but I won't say they don't exist.

I was looking at the 88-93 Ford f-series trucks with the International 7.3 engine.  Its supposed to be unstoppable (I don't know about EMP's but I figure an abrupt end to oil imports is more likely).   I don't know much about that engine yet but I thought that it had mechanical injectors.  I kinda of wanted a truck that was "dumb" like that.  Those model years are basically the last of the "dumb" trucks Ford made.  As far as part availability, take a look around you next time your at a stop light and look for old ford work trucks.  Your completely surrounded by them and most have the 7.3! 

Blueghost, what kind of turbo-maintenance problems are you thinking of?  Manual tranny is a must I agree!   
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GoNative

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Re: Survival Vehicle
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2009, 02:14:42 am »

Moderators, please forgive me if I am out of my lane.

I have read Mr. Rawles book, and realize there are some benefits to owning a diesel vehicle. Unfortunately for me, one of the downsides is MPG and price per gallon.
I recently acquired a diesel, ford powerstroke 7.3, and while I LOVE my truck, simply cant afford to keep it. Any like minded individuals in the Northern-Central Idaho AO looking for a diesel
rig, send me a PM. Just want to trade for my own version of the ideal, like a light SUV type. I was always fond of Rodeo's and 4Runners myself.

Also, on the note of 'survival rigs', I would recommend heading over to Lightfighter.net and checking out a thread called 'Megaforce assault vehicles', under the Stud Post thread. I know the title is kinda
out there, but some of the things these guys do to their rigs are awesome. I never thought more seriously about buying a suzuki samurai...
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Mr. Dare

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Re: Survival Vehicle
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2009, 05:37:22 pm »

   Let me start by saying that I rather like the Ford/International 7.3 diesel. I was actually trained to work on them when I worked for Ford. They are basically a solid medium truck engine that will last a long time with proper care and feeding.
   That said, the 7.3 has not one but TWO engine computers. One is a standard Ford engine control computer that does the clerical work and the decision making for the most part. It then communicates with an engine control module that is more of "half smart" switch box. It controls the electronically activated/ hydraulically actuated fuel injectors and also regulates the high pressure oil system that supplies the several hundred PSI engine oil that works the injectors. It's like eight hydraulic jacks that push the pistons that actually squirt the fuel into the cylinder. There are several advantages to this system from a fuel control and timing standpoint (and that is central to a diesel engine working in the first place). The down side is that failures of the system are not intuitive or obvious and will be impossible to diagnose without an expensive scan tool (more than just a $69.00 code reader from auto zone). If something goes wrong, the first hint you get is usually "no moto", followed by a check engine light.
   The 7.3 is also pretty fuel finicky. You need clean diesel. That can be made from a number of oil types and sources, but you can't just pour used motor oil into the tank and expect to keep going after the balloon goes up. You will need to be able to manufacture the equivalent of road grade diesel. Anything less will stop up eight very expensive injectors and probably score the metal injector pistons inside. (If that is, it gets past the very comprehensive fuel filter system and water separator it is equipped with). In it's defense, most diesels made in the last 30 or 40 years are pretty much the same way, though not as heavy perhaps in the "fly by wire" department.
   Bottom line, the 7.3 is good, probably one of the best light to medium truck engines going. But as a survival vehicle that can be kept running with spit and bailing wire... eh, not so much.
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Bear

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Re: Survival Vehicle
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2009, 08:47:25 pm »

About the carb diesels.... I've never driven one, but thinking about it a bit more, I
realize that the conversation was  more than a few decades ago. Ahem. Sorry.   :BangHead:

Bear
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EwB

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Re: Survival Vehicle
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2009, 09:11:36 pm »

early MB with the Bosch mechanical pumps and injectors, same with the early VW diesels.  They were not that powerful but would survive an EMP and were able to stretch a gallon of fuel a long way.   I am looking for a VW vanagon to early diesel conversion with freeway flyer gears in the trans axle.  It is short in the first 3 gears but the final overdrive is tall enough that you can cruise on the interstate ~ 70 MPH without the engine over-revving.

ewb
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rocknbronco

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Re: Survival Vehicle
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2009, 08:28:40 am »

Well if it was my call 12K or 2K I would go for the cheaper option, yet the cheaper option fits my lifestyle as my wife and I both own four wheel drive trucks which are both gasoline burners.
On to the topic if it was me as poster ealier stay away from the GM Diesels, even today I'm not a fan of the GM options. Ford, whom is my pick of the big three, you have the 7.3 best option for your buck they did make a 6.9 back in the early 80's but it didnt come with a turbo. Also Banks makes a Sidewinder kit for the 6.9 and 7.3 non turbos if you want to go that route but the 7.3 non turbo is still a great engine, my brother owned a non turbo and now owns a turbo 7.3. I will say proper shut down time will help the life of a turbo greatly, yet if your trying to get out of dodge a turbo line failure would be bad. Also the newer Ford line up is the 6.0 and 6.4 both turbo the later a twin turbo the 6.4 is plauged with issues or was at its introduction to the market and the 6.0 has been down that route as well but twoards the end got decent, also the 6.4 sucks down fuel 9mpg from what I have heard. These last two engine options are mnore than likely out of the budget. The turbo 7.3 ran from 94 till 03 early year mid 03 it was replaced with the 6.0 that ran from 03 till 08 if it was my call I would go turbo if posssible.  Now dont always avoid an automatic just buy smart, I'm a huge fan of the straightshift and grew up driving them, yet married a woman whom cant operate a clutch to save her life..So I had to got auto the AOD is junk get a C6 the best Ford transmission ever build, I would have it rebuilt with a shift kit, bigger transmission pan, and transmission cooler if need be but if it aint broke then dont try to fix it. Now the option for size I would get a F350, daully is possible if I got a 89 to 93 due to the fact the TTB front end Ford designed is a tire killer on road but great in the desert and muddy fields the TTB came on all F series from 80 to 96 in the Bronco, F150 and F250.
Now Dodge the 5.9 Cummis is a great engine I have seen some with 800K still traveling cross country loaded down it by far outlast the Ford and GM diesels. The 88 to 93 is the first gen use of the Cummins in a Dodge a 12Valve engine the 727 was still an option on some of these trucks if I recall rightly stay away from the four speed autos the are a high failure rate transmission.
Now one thing you dont get with a clutch is toruqe mulitplication as you will with an auto making take off easier, great if your on a hill a very steep hill or slippery road. Also computers were joined to most of the auto trans in the late 70's early 80's for the big three so if your really worried about EMP then yet get a manual but these engines listed are more than likely to have at least one computer controling something on the vehicle. I have heard reports that the modern vehicles will not be affected by an EMP strike as long as they are not running at the time of the strike. I myself feel if we have EMP then a horse will be the best option as nearly every road will be blocked.
Also one selling opint on the cheaper truck you can tow your car to your retreat or local along with alot fo your needed items that may or maybe needed depending on how you look at things.
One last thing get a long wheel base they tow better and an extended cab will work beatter for the traveler as you can set an extra item or two, the family dog, or child. I have a crew cab my next truck will more than likely be a extended cab as my wife is looking for buy an SUV both will be diesels and Ford.
just my .02 worth
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SurvivalPipe

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Re: Survival Vehicle
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2010, 04:45:14 pm »

I'd like something like this:

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Rarick

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Re: Survival Vehicle
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2010, 04:40:42 am »

Diesel, crewcab, regular bed.  Cummins powerplant (family member is fully certified diesel mech).  Daily use I get low 20's MPG, heavy work can pull it down to the low teens.  I have done the work to allow me to run Biodiesel, and there is no turbo on it right now.   

Have you ever heard the various diesel engines? Plan on doing a lot of foot scouting if you are going to try and be sneaky.  More so with a turbo, that whine it makes can be nothing else and it carries further.  High pitched noises are easier to "directionalise" on to as well.
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suvh8er

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Re: Survival Vehicle
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2010, 06:08:17 pm »

I've been doing a helluvalota research on "the best" truck/engine configuration.  Although it is going to be a bit expensive, I'm leaning towards putting a re-manufactured Cummins 5.9L (12 valve) turbo diesel into an early 90's F250 (possibly even an F150 with beefed up front suspension).  The conversion is not cheap but those Fords are everywhere and parts can be had much cheaper than for a Ram that is just as old so I figure it should balance out in the long run.  The 7.3 International for those 87-93 Fords is a great engine but maintenance costs and lower MPG's is a definite No-Bueno.  This is on top of the fact that I would have to turbo the damn thing to get comparable power to the Cummins. 

Rockinbronco mentioned getting as long a truck as possible for towing but I must disagree....   I don't have anything at the moment so heavy that my old "Danger Ranger" can't handle it, albeit very slowly.  Instead, after driving my work current work truck, a 95 Bronco, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the short wheel base.  The turning radius is MUCH smaller than the Danger Ranger.  I may regret it but I'd really like to chop an F250 frame so it only has a 6ft bed.  If SHTF I would much rather be able to to turn around in two lanes of traffic than pull a car-trailer.
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gridboy

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Re: Survival Vehicle
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2010, 02:02:04 pm »


I'm looking into diesel trucks also.  So, does the Cummins 5.9L 12-valve need computers
for engine management?  Are the injectors mechanical?  Any other tricky issues for
do-it-yourselfers?  In general, can any of the diesels (including MB or Volkswagen)
run without a battery?
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Rarick

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Re: Survival Vehicle
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2010, 08:04:30 am »

Any modern vehicle made since the later 80's has an electronic control box.  EMP is the reason to emphasize the older mechanically timed engines (there may be some long term maintenance issues too, but you have to get outta town first).  Basically the cummins B4-B6 series if you can find one any more.......
I haven't made up my mind whether EMP is going to be a problem or not for a modern comercial grade engine, they are typically engineered to habdle a field expedient star from an arc welder.......  Regular light trucks (pickups) mat or may not survive that hazard.  Short wires in an electrical syatem designed to survive a starter surge?  Then again some vehicles have key electronic parts in the stereo system too, which typically sets right under the EMP transparent windshield, instead of under the hood.........

I have an electronic ignition truck, and a motorcycle with an old fashioned carburator/ ignition system, I will use whichever/whatever survives that issue. 
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Bikerman

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Re: Survival Vehicle
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2010, 08:42:07 am »

Cerb diesels, yes, someone was drinking.

If you are alone, maybe with one other person, a small car can serve well, IMO. Speed and mobility might be key. Off road capable probably won't mean roc climbing, dpends where you are and your plans. If you're in the mountains, you may need a larger vehicle, but if you just have moderate hills and need to race across Oz, high ground clearence is probably not critical.

I use to race VWs autocross and rallies with cars, not trucks. There are advantages to each. If you're blasting along through the woods, you may need to get between the trees more than over bolders. Most fences can be run over by a small car. MPG may be critical regardless of what it will run on, I'd rather be able to go 50 miles on a gallon of something than 10 miles.

But saying 50 MPG will not be reality, that's on highways, no vehicle will get it's best milage at 20 mph off road.

A VW Rabbit is cheap, well built and can easily be modified for semi-off road use. Modify the inside and you can sleep in it, in fact live in it. You'll be on par with a backpacker.

I'd rather not say what I'm looking for (lol) thye are rare anywhay so saying might limit the market even more...but either a 4x4 if you really need that in the area you will operate in or AWD, even FWD can be very effective. The old bugs were very light in the front, pop the clutch and they will come out of alot that heavier vehicles get stuck in.

Any small car or van, SUV, will need to be modified somewhat. Choose your vehicle for the terrain you will be in. 
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