If you are ever forced to bug out from your home in a disaster scenario, your efforts will always be made easier and safer by bugging out in a vehicle rather than on foot. A vehicle allows you to travel faster, provides you with some level of protection, and has space for you to carry […]
Many of you reading this probably already have a vehicle. You drive the kids to school, grocery shop and commute back and forth to work, and take road trips, family vacations, in other words, all using your current vehicle. The problem in some people’s minds after reading article after article about when the SHTF and […]
No matter whether you are the driver or passenger in a vehicle, a car accident can be a very traumatic experience.
Even if the accident is minor, you may have hidden injuries, or you may become trapped in the vehicle. Or things could go worse and you might need to get out of the vehicle as quickly as possible.
While every accident is a little bit different, here are just a few basic things you should keep in mind about how to get free from the car and survive the crush.
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Driving Safe is not Enough: How to Reduce the Damage
Knowing what to do prior to an imminent crash can save your life and also mean the difference between minor injuries and ones that leave you in pain or disabled for the rest of your life.
While you may not have much time to act, these simple things can give you the best chance of survival.
Wear Your Seat Belt Properly
Over the years, more than a few people have railed against using seat belts because they feel the government should not tell them how to live their lives. While I am not a big fan of “nanny state” thinking, there is a time when common sense must prevail. As a matter of simplicity, the laws of physics aren’t going to stop working just because you don’t like government interference.
In this case, “a body in motion tends to stay in motion”. If you aren’t wearing a seat belt at the time of a crash, your body will continue to be propelled in the direction of motion even though the vehicle has stopped.
Use the Steering Wheel to Minimize Damage
You can still use the steering wheel and the crumple zones of the vehicle to minimize damage from the crash as much as possible. Depending on the situation, you may start out with as much as 4 seconds. Count on at least ¾ second before you actually see the vehicle move in the direction you turned the wheel.
Keep Both Hands on the Wheel
Insofar as protecting yourself from damage in the crash, there are some techniques you can use. First, always drive with your hands, wrists, and forearms in alignment. A bent or limp wrist can easily be shoved against the steering wheel and broken. In addition, a limp wrist also gives you less support and control in those seconds when you need it most.
Be Careful when Using the Horn
Consider what you do when you are sleeping soundly and someone throws a bucket of water in your face. This is how a distracted driver’s mind works. Their primary focus and main involvement revolves around talking on the phone or sending a text.
At best, if you hit the horn, it will take them time to respond as they shift gears away from the phone and back to driving. At worst, a distracted driver may freeze up or do something else unpredictable.
Safety Tips for the Passengers
As a front passenger, properly belted into your seat, the best thing you can do is push your body into the seat and make as much contact as possible. The larger the surface area, the more room there is for the impact force to diffuse.
If seating in the back, try to choose the middle seat. Excluding the increased safety associated with air bags and seat belts in the front of the vehicle, the middle back seat is the safest in the vehicle.
One Second After: Status Check
If you have ever been in an accident, there is no mistaking how those first seconds of awareness will feel. No matter whether you lose consciousness, are slightly dazed, or are simply startled by the “bump” or “tap” that got your attention, the reality that you were in an accident can take time to settle in.
You have to realize that what you thought was a slight tap could have turned your vehicle upside down, or sent it crashing into a guardrail or worse. In these first few seconds to minutes, it is very important to stay as still as possible.
Before you move, try to take note of the following:
- The actual position of your body. Are you crumpled up, arms at odd angles, or is your head drooped over onto your chest?
- What do you see? Are you looking out the windshield, a side window, or is everything dark inside the vehicle?
- What do you smell? Is there a smell of gas in the air, dust, or something burning?
- What do you hear? Are there sounds of sirens, voices, or other sounds that might indicate someone is trying to get you out of the vehicle?
During those first few seconds, it is entirely possible you will not feel any pain. Do not be fooled by this. As your senses return and you become aware of the situation, you may feel a great deal of pain, along with coughing, dizziness, nausea, too hot, too cold, or even shaky. It can take seconds to minutes for this to subside.
If you move around too much or start thrashing around trying to escape, you can make wounds worse, or cause broken bones to scrape against each other. The key to this time is to stay still and make each movement count.
While you may be tempted to see if you can open the vehicle door, or try some other escape maneuver, the first thing you must do is make sure you are calm and composed. Take some deep breaths if you are able, and give yourself a chance to adjust to the shock of your situation.
Even if you smell gasoline or something burning, you must not panic. Get control of yourself and you will escape faster and with less effort than if you are in a panic.
Getting Out of the Crushed Car
There is no such thing as a car accident that won’t cause you to feel upset and distressed. In some cases, it will be absolutely necessary to try and escape from the vehicle if you want to remain alive. Having the proper tools on hand is every bit as important as knowing what to do.
But most of all, what you need to survive is trigger words and the right mindset. When you have only minutes to escape, it is best to know how to achieve calm in a matter of seconds. A few sessions of self hypnosis and the choice of an activating keyword or image can give you this calm in any situation. Gain this tool and practice it often so that you have confidence in your ability to control yourself and think clearly.
After you have secured relatively dust free air, regained composure, called for help, and assessed your situation, and medical condition, it is time to see about getting out of the vehicle. Here are the basic steps to follow:
- If you have cuts or gashes, try to bind them up with plastic ties and cloth. Even a plastic bag will do if you have nothing else to stop the bleeding and prevent the wounds from picking up dust and dirt as you move.
- Cut yourself free of the seat belt if you cannot reach the release button or it does not work. Don’t forget to brace yourself if you are upside down or in a position where you are going to fall once the belt is no longer holding you in place.
- See if you can open the vehicle door nearest to you. If you cannot and there is a risk of fire or sinking, then break the window nearest you in order to get out of the vehicle. In situations where there is less immediate risk, you can see if another door will open. When breaking a car window, it will produce very sharp glass shards. It is best to avoid having to break the window and try to crawl through all those bits of glass unless you have no other choice.
More than a few sources recommend gathering up your personal belongings before trying to exit the vehicle. While this may be somewhat appropriate advice if the crash is minor, I feel it can cost your life if there is a high risk of the vehicle catching fire or sinking.
If danger is that imminent, you will be best served by focusing on getting out of the seat belt and then out of the vehicle window if necessary. Remember, nothing is as important as your life, and that objects can all be replaced later on. Unless there is another person in the vehicle that also needs to escape, focus on your own well being.
This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.
If you’re a prepper or survivalist, you gotta check this out. Youtube creator, Paul Elkins, put together what he calls his post-apocalyptic bicycle camper / bug out vehicle. Obviously, this wouldn’t work if you have a group or a family, but if you plan to go it alone after the SHTF and there is no […]
Can you imagine your life without having a car? Shopping, going to work, taking kids to a game or going to the doctor without having a mean of transportation would turn into a nightmare. Your life is spinning in the rhythm of our four-wheeled companion.
In a bug out situation, your life will depend on your vehicle even more, so make sure you take good care of it and prepare it to remain unnoticed.
If you live in the city, bugging out may be less about driving on uneven terrain and more about avoiding rioters and traffic jams.
The vehicle that you are going to use must look like it belongs in the area you are traveling through. Depending on where you are and what is going on, there will be times when you can use these tips, and times when you should adjust them in order to avoid specific problems.
Why Customization is a Failure
Many preppers try to customize their vehicles with lift kits, unusual tire types, roof lights, and other items that may or may not actually expand the usefulness of the vehicle. In most cases, the benefits you may get from this customization does not equal the loss of capacity to blend on city or suburb streets.
Some also believe that a heavily armored tactical vehicle will deter rioters and troublemakers. This is a very bad mindset: mercenaries will see the vehicle as a sign of wealth, and do anything in their power to steal it or kill you to get it.
Essential Parts of a Camouflage Kit
You might travel through different neighborhoods with different wealth levels and cultural values, so a vehicle camouflage kit would be useful. If you haven’t surveyed the areas and mapped them out, then do so before you drive through. At the very least, if you need to make changes to the vehicle, you can do so before driving through.
Always keep a few cans of different colored spray paint, gray primer, and other colors of primer in the vehicle. Gray primer is especially useful because rioters and looters will think the vehicle is junked out and pass it by in favor of vehicles that may have something of value to steal.
You can use these paints to make the vehicle look old and rusted out, or you can use them to spruce up the vehicle so that it looks newer.
Video first seen on mycoolkeno.
Fiberglass body repair kits can also be used to change the appearance of the vehicle. Make sure you have some simple body working tools to do the job right.
Different Color Duct Tape
Use dark colored duct tape to cut down on visible light that can be seen at night from the vehicle headlights, tail lights, and running lights.
Duct tape can also be used to give an illusion it is holding two broken body parts together even if they are intact. You can use this to make doors, windows, and fenders look so old, anyone looking at them would think there is nothing of value in the vehicle.
Rolls of Exhaust System Repair Tape
These rolls of tape can make a perfectly good exhaust system look like it is in very bad shape and is ready to fail at any moment.
Any other decals, stickers, or pieces of metal that can help to give the vehicle an illusion of being a junker, or conversely, like it belongs to a wealthier person that belongs in a specific neighborhood.
When using the camouflage kit, the most important thing is how well you blend into your local surroundings. You don’t want to look too affluent, too weak, or unable to protect yourself.
Find that happy medium that tells the rioters and other troublemakers that you can handle yourself without arousing suspicion of local people that can also cause problems.
Why Choosing Your Vehicle Wisely Makes Sense
It is not easy to find the perfect bug out vehicle that will address your needs and also be easy to conceal. In general, the outer aspects of the vehicle should match the times and styles of the areas you will be traveling through.
Stay away from brand new vehicles, or ones that are so old people will remember them because they look different. The outer body of the vehicle should look between 3 and 7 years old and be common looking.
The Size of the Vehicle
When it comes to hiding your bug out vehicle in plain sight, size is also an important factor to consider. By instinct, you will more than likely want a pickup truck or something large enough to carry a lot of items from one area to another.
In a time of social unrest, however, pickup trucks can easily be a target because they have a stereotype of being rough, reliable, dependable, and able to carry things of great value. On the other hand, a medium sized SUV looks as common and nondescript on a city street as it does on a small town road.
Remember, your vehicle must also disguise who and what you are. The last thing you will want is for people to realize that you are a prepper, and therefore have valuable skills, materials, and supplies. From this perspective, you can get away with a larger vehicle as long as it looks normal for the area.
You might be forced to leave the vehicle in a secure location, including an underground location, in a wooded area, or even parked in a cave. For these situations, you would be better off with a smaller vehicle simply because there are more places where you can hide it with less effort.
What About Trailers
Outside of the question of hiding your vehicle, trailers are useful for bringing along more supplies and even for living space. If you are trying to blend in or drive through a crowd of rioters, a trailer can be a huge liability.
Aside from making your vehicle easy to spot, a trailer can make the entire vehicle harder to handle. Not only will you be unable to simply unhitch the trailer and leave it behind, all avenues of escape may be cut off by masses of people.
Camouflage and Concealment: What You Need to Know
You have to take full responsibility for your own safety, and one of the best ways to do it is to stay inconspicuous. Even if you are armed and well trained, it is still better to avoid being attacked.
Camouflage and concealment are different, but related skills. Concealment is making yourself hard to see. Camouflage is changing something’s appearance so it’s harder to notice. Camouflage does not need to involve making whatever you’re camouflaging look like something else. All you need to do is make sure it doesn’t look like what it actually is.
And here are the six basic aspects of camouflage and concealment you need to learn.
The human eye is naturally drawn to anything that looks out of place or familiar, however large numbers of the same thing can cause viewers to overlook similar items. If there are relatively few vehicles in the area, you will need to make your vehicle harder to see. Vehicles or the shape of a human being will all stand out unless they are disguised, and the most effective way to avoid this is to break up the shape by using a camouflage pattern.
A good camouflage pattern doesn’t work by mimicking the background around it. Instead, it disguises the outline of a familiar or unnatural shape by breaking it into smaller or regular ones. Contrasting colors are the best way to do this. You can borrow the idea of military camouflage patterns to match the surrounding colors.
Another way to camouflage a parked vehicle is to use a camouflage net, but never just drape the net over the vehicle. Support it with poles or cut branches to create an irregular shape. When using poles fit some kind of spreader to the end to keep the net from slipping down over them.
There are many shiny things in nature, and they do attract attention. If the vehicles around yours look shiny and bright, a dull vehicle will stick out and be noticed. Oddly enough, what you wear while you are driving can also draw unwanted attention.
No matter what neighborhood you are driving through, avoid wearing anything that will produce a flash or a shine. Remove all jewelry and your watch and put them in your pocket. Reflections of light on your skin can also be very visible. Use camouflage cream to make it harder for others to see you.
Shine is a big problem for vehicles. If you want the vehicle to look run down and useless, remove or paint any chrome work. Cover it with 100mph tape, or burlap. When the vehicle is parked, cover the windows, lights, mirrors, or anything else that might reflect light with burlap sacks, or better yet an old tarp that makes it looks like the windows might be cracked.
Always be aware of the position of the sun when you stop to rest or shelter. It is possible to be hidden in dense vegetation enough to conceal your vehicle, but still enough light to cast a distinctive shadow on the ground. If you are moving inside of a tree line and throwing a shadow outside of it, the movement of the shadow can reveal that you are there. To hide the shadow move further into the trees.
Even if you have the vehicle parked under a camouflage net, that shadow will give everything away. To get rid of this shadow problem, hang a skirt of burlap around the bottom of the vehicle after you have parked. Another way to break up the shadow is to fill this gap area with light brush. If you can, park in vegetation that reaches a couple of inches above the bottom of the doors. Always pay attention to wheel well shadows that must also be removed.
A silhouette is basically a shape against a contrasting background. The classic way to reveal your position by silhouetting is to cross the skyline. Anyone at or below your level will see your outline. If you are following a ridge line do not move along the crest. Stay off to one side and far enough down so that the ridge is between you and the sky.
If you must cross the high ground, look for cover such as trees or a dip in the ridge. To reduce your silhouette as much as possible, you may have to wait until it is darker and you can drive across undetected.
The sky is not the only thing you can be silhouetted against. You must always be aware of what is behind you. It does not matter how well camouflaged you are. Try to avoid moving in front of anything that is a stronger contrast with your vehicle.
Picking the right location is a huge aid to help minimize silhouettes when picking overnight camps. Remember If your are in cover you are not silhouetted against anything so build your camp in the woods. Pick your locations surrounded by higher ground so anyone approaching will be silhouetted, but you will not.
Metallic and Heat Signature
In the modern age, all kinds of equipment can be used to spot a vehicle no matter how well you disguise it for human eyes. Try coating the vehicle in specialized paints or other materials that will prevent your vehicle from showing up on scans designed to pick up metallic objects in unusual places, or heat signatures from the engine and exhaust.
A muffler in good repair is very important for preventing others from hearing the sound of your vehicle’s engine. Don’t forget to turn off the sound system and anything else that will create too much noise.
Hiding your vehicle isn’t especially complicated if it is your sole objective. As a prepper, however, you will find there are many conflicting needs that will interfere with things that will work best insofar as hiding your vehicle.
In the end, it will be up to you to decide what balance you will draw between all of these opposing needs.
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This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.
Many people that haven’t given up on automated transportation during crisis find themselves wondering if their vehicle will be able to navigate over rough terrain. As roads fall into worse disrepair, or are destroyed completely, wheeled vehicles may not work very well, even if there is enough fuel and spare parts to keep them running.
Rubber tires can be a weak point in prepper transport plans, so it may be worthwhile to consider converting the vehicle to one that runs on tracks.
Before spending money on conversion parts and tools, think about the advantages and disadvantages first!
Let’s count them together in the following article!
Better Traction than Wheels
If you have ever tried to drive a vehicle in mud, ice, snow, or even a few inches of water, then you know that navigating can be very difficult. Just about anything that decreases traction between the road and the tires can lead to skidding, sliding, and absolute disaster.
Vehicles with tracks on them have much better traction. Aside from increased surface area for gripping complex surfaces, the tracks are also wider, which increases stability.
Even a fairly small track vehicle can move more easily over large potholes or other surfaces that would ruin the drive train of a wheeled vehicle. Larger track vehicles can find their way across just about any surface as long as the rearward track has something to grip onto while the front moving ones grab onto something else.
For example, if you want to go off road and encounter a sewage ditch, most cars and trucks would get stuck in it. A track vehicle can slide right over the ditch and move on almost as if it had been on steady ground the entire time.
While the vehicle itself may shift around a lot, it will still keep moving forward because the tracks will be able to grip just about any surface and use it for traction. Even if you do get stuck in a track vehicle, it may be easier to back out because moving the tracks in reverse will give more traction along surfaces that worked before.
Better Weight Distribution
To understand how weight distribution works, think about swimming and suspension bridges.
The surface of water has something called “surface tension”, a very thin film of atoms and molecules at the surface of the liquid that are positioned closer together than they are deeper into the liquid. Now think about a paper clip. If it is all folded up, it will sink no matter how carefully you try to rest it in a bowl of water. But if you open up the paper clip (which doesn’t change it’s weight, but causes the weight to be distributed over a greater area) and gently place it on top of the water, it will float.
By the same token, if you are unable to swim, you can still float by laying face up, spreading your arms and legs out and arching your back so that you have as much surface area as possible.
In a similar fashion, suspension bridges work because the weight of the upper support structures serves to redistribute the weight of the pavement below them in relation to the pilings that reach into the water.
Most people will be trying to drive cars with just four wheels on them. All of the weight of the vehicle plus anything it is carrying must be supported by these wheels. This, in turn means that if you are trying to drive through mud or something else that gives way easily, the vehicle will sink, in part, because there is too much weight concentrated in a small area.
Now consider a situation where you have an extra large pickup truck, or some other truck that has tires arranged so that they are doubled up on each axle. Even though this increases the amount of surface area to distribute weight across, there may still be too much weight in a small area.
Even if you go up to sixteen wheels, the weight distribution will be higher than what you would get with a track vehicle. This is one of the reasons why track vehicles can get past muddy areas while wheeled vehicles with the best traction systems will still get stuck.
Always remember that when you have a belt moving across a surface, large weights get distributed across the entire track instead of just resting the focal point created by tires.
Kits That Let You Switch Between Wheels and Tracks Are Available
Realistically speaking, there is no such thing as being able to take an under powered or small vehicle and turn it into something that has the durability and power of a military tank. If you have a conventional four wheeled vehicle, it may be possible to add a track system to the axles on an “as needed basis”. Basically, all you need to do is take the tires off, and then mount the additional wheels and tracks onto the hubs.
Even though these systems won’t give you as much weight redistribution as a track that runs from front to back, they will still work better than the tires you are using now. Right now, on average, a small passenger car exerts 30 psi on the pavement, while a track system would only put around 3 psi. If you are moving through mud or snow, this will give you a very clear advantage.
When purchasing a track kit for your vehicle, bear in mind that your vehicle will handle very differently once the kit is installed. You will need to practice a good bit in different terrains so that you know what can and can’t be done using this kit. This practice should include at least some off-road muddy conditions as well as snow, ice, and city driving.
If you find that there are areas better handled with tires, be sure to include when and where to change the tracks for tires so that you can have the best of both systems.
Video first seen on AD Boivin.
Easier to Defend
If you happen to believe in the ability of guns to stop bad people from doing bad things, then you probably know that wheeled vehicles can be stopped by shooting out the tires. Since track systems don’t require air filling, the tracks should not be damaged by most types of bullets. As long as you use metal tracks made from durable material, your vehicle should keep right on moving no matter how many bullets hit the tracks.
You already know that military tanks weigh much more than a conventional vehicle. When it comes to adding more weight, nothing takes up more than armor plating that will stop bullets, grenades, and other ammo. As a result, if you are interested in a bug out vehicle that will be easy to defend, you will need to consider the ability to add a good bit of weight in armor.
In many cases, adding a track system will enable you to customize even relatively small vehicles without having to worry about the weight problems commonly associated with wheels. Needless to say, these customizations can also include mounting different kinds of weapons inside or on top of the vehicle.
Can Pull Heavier Loads
If you are accustomed to the sight of tractor trailers, then you may think they are the best for pulling heavy freight. As a wheeled vehicle pulls something along, the tires actually dig in a bit, which causes the vehicle to move closer to the ground. If the weight is heavy enough, and the ground soft enough, a wheeled vehicle will literally dig itself into the ground as the wheels continue to spin.
By contrast, a track vehicle has much more ground surface to grip, and will use it to actually pull the weight forward without the tendency to dig into the ground.
Remember, that as the track advances, a whole new surface area comes into contact with the road as other tracks maintain the forward motion. This increase in surface area can be many times larger than the relatively small spot gripped by each tire.
If you do decide to convert your vehicle to run using tracks, you might pull heavier weights with it. Just make sure that the drive train, suspension, and other parts of the vehicle are strong enough to pull the added weight. As efficient as tracks may be, they cannot make up for weaker metal in parts of the vehicle that might give way under heavier weights.
Suitable Vehicles May be Expensive or Hard to Find
Vehicles that run on tracks come in all shapes and sizes. There are also thousands of people that have taken passenger cars, trucks, school buses, and other vehicles and converted them to run on tracks.
Some of them will never make suitable vehicles for preppers because they are either too under powered, too cheaply made (in terms of vital parts like the drive train, suspension, and transmission), or can’t be reworked to meet a variety of prepper goals.
While adding tracks to these vehicles may give you a bit better traction, the tracks cannot compensate for all the shortfalls that are found in most vehicles on the road these days. The ideal vehicle, regardless of whether you add tracks, should have the following features:
- You should be able to live and sleep in the vehicle, or tow a trailer that you can live in. Most passenger sized vehicles that have a large enough back seat are also fuel hogs that will be hard to convert to alternate fuels. While adding tracks may mean you can put a bit more weight on the vehicle, it isn’t likely that you will be able to make the inside of the vehicle bigger without spending a lot of money. A larger sized pickup truck might work well enough along with a removable track kit.
- Speaking of fuel – you should be able to convert the vehicle from gasoline to biodiesel and other fuels.
- The under body of the car should be strong enough to take on extra weight for armor and other defense measures. Most passenger cars simply don’t have strong enough suspension and drive trains to do this kind of job. If you want something at or near military grade armor for your prepper vehicle, you would probably be best served by adding tracks to a Mack truck or an old full sized bus. Needless to say – these vehicles can cost a lot of money even in the used market.
- The engine and transmission must be fast, strong and durable. Did you read about how easy it is for Tesla vehicles to catch fire in an accident because of the batteries? If so, then you may also be aware of the fact that hybrid vehicles have under powered engines because they are expected to run on an electrical motor at least half the time. Even if you could put a track system on a hybrid, it won’t deliver more power or speed. If anything, the vehicle will run a good bit slower and deliver even worse performance in this arena. I would not buy anything less than 6 cylinder engines for a prepper vehicle, and nothing under a 6 (8 cylinders and up would be better) for a track vehicle because of the reduced speed problem.
Too Easy to Spot and Follow
Even though tracked vehicles may not put much pressure on the ground, they do leave distinctive markings. For example, if a track vehicle moves on a lawn, it will tear up all the areas encountered by the edge of the track. If you are the only person in the area with a track vehicle, it will make it very easy to figure out where you passed through.
Once you have a distinctive track pattern, it will be very easy for others to follow you. Here are just a few things that a good tracker may be able to figure out as they follow your trail:
- If you stop to repair tracks or put them back online, it will show in the trails left behind. Depending on how many times you stop, anyone following you may be able to figure out when you and your vehicle are most vulnerable, and for how long.
- Depending on how many times you stop for fuel, someone following you may be able to calculate fuel efficiency. If these people want to surround you or catch up to you – they may look for a time when you are low on fuel and cannot afford to waste it trying to get away from them. Remember, even if there are hundreds of other vehicles on the road, the tracks left by your vehicle may still be on the shoulder or other areas where they can be easily spotted and read.
Unless track vehicles become far more popular, your bug out vehicle will also stand out in a crowd and be memorable. Anyone that sees your vehicle may conclude that you have a lot of supplies in the vehicle, or that you have other things of value.
No matter whether you drive down a city street or pass through a small town, your vehicle will draw more attention than you may be comfortable with.
Tracks Can be Hard to Maintain
If you think getting a flat after a tire has been in service for several years is a nuisance, then you will be very unhappy with the way track vehicles perform. While it is true that metal tracks cannot be stopped by bullets, they can develop problems during normal driving. In fact, tracks are far less durable than tires, and more inclined to need replacing.
Even if the tracks remain in good condition, that does not mean the track will stay in place while you are traveling. Depending on the track system, it may take several hours to re-align the track on its sprockets. You also need to carry around a good bit of equipment to do the job properly. While you may not need a jack to lift the vehicle up, there are many places where repairing a track system can be difficult.
When it comes to maintenance, also consider the cost of buying new parts. Today, there are only a handful of manufacturers that actually make track systems. Whether you need to buy just a single new plate, a new sprocket, or rubber gear to lessen impact on pavement, all these parts can be very expensive.
Unless you are planning to use the vehicle over rough terrain and know how to handle all the needed repairs, you may be better off sticking with conventional tires. If you do decide to buy a conversion kit that can be removed and installed easily, you may find that it will only get you so far in your journey before you have to switch back to tires.
Cannot Move as Fast or as Quietly as a Wheeled Vehicle
Consider a situation where an earthquake, hurricane, or military invasion has led to some kind of localized or larger scale social collapse. There may still be a chance for you to escape from a city or town, provided you do it as quickly as possible. You probably won’t have any “off road” places to drive through until you reach areas near or parallel to larger stretches of main highways or the thruway system.
Until you reach those locations, you will need to move as quickly and inconspicuously as possible. When it comes right down to it, no matter how much you lubricate the tracks and wheel system, they are going to squeak, squeal, and make a lot of noise. Sadly, even if rioters or others looking to steal don’t see your vehicle, they will most certainly hear it coming.
Today, many people claim that there is a psychological advantage to using a track vehicle during a crisis. According to these people, tracks are threatening looking, and people may avoid you because they think you can defend yourself with ease.
Now let’s say you converted a passenger car to run on tracks. After people stop laughing at the spectacle of something like a hatchback crossed with “Number Five” (remember the movie Short Circuit), their next thought will be to see what you are carrying. While they may be more hesitant to approach a Mack Truck or a bus, rest assured that smaller vehicles will be a target.
Your vehicle will not be able to move fast enough on tracks if others decide to follow you in wheeled vehicles. Unless you can get to a swamp, off the road, or to some other area where wheels do not work well, the lack of speed alone will present a huge problem.
While you may have thought ahead and added armor, it will only be a matter of time before a slow or stopped track vehicle can be breached. Even if you can get to an area where tracks work better, the sound of your vehicle moving along may still make it possible for thieves to follow you at their leisure. They will be guided both by the sound and the tracks that you leave behind.
Converted Vehicles May be Difficult to Steer
No matter whether you are going through a city, trying to turn onto a different road off the highway, or merging onto the thruway, accurate and easy steering is very important. Typically, this is much easier to accomplish with tires because they can be easily moved in the direction that you want to go. By contrast, when you want to move a track system, the entire length of it must shift along and adjust.
When it comes to creating the perfect bug out vehicle, there is no question that changing wheels for tracks has some advantages. Once you look more into the cost of this conversion, however, you may conclude that it is best to buy a vehicle that already runs on tracks.
If you have an interest in the kits that convert conventional vehicles to run on tracks, bear in mind that these kits also have some strong and weak points.
Test these kits out to see how well they work, and keep them on-hand for a time of need. You won’t be spending thousands of dollars on converting to tracks that cannot be used for routine travel, or buying something that will be more useless than expected in an actual crisis.
Would you convert your car from wheels to tracks? Share your thoughts and experience in a comment below!
This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.
On March 12, 2017, Amber Van Hecke ran out of gas in the Havasupai Reservation while leaving the southern rim of the Grand Canyon. The twenty-four year old college student was there hiking for spring break when her vacation turned deadly. Thanks to her own resourcefulness and preparedness, she lived to tell the tale.
So, what can we learn from Amber’s experience? We found 8 survival lessons to learn from her adventure, and we’ll take them one by one in the following article.
When Hiking Goes Bad
First, I’ll bring you up to speed on what happened, then we’ll get to that part.
Video first seen on ABC News.
Amber’s problem started when she plugged Havasu Falls Trail Head into Google Maps and followed the directions, just like the rest of us probably would. She only had 70 miles of fuel left until empty, not counting the reserves (so she thought) in her tank and decided to roll the dice because, according to Maps, it was only a 40-mile drive to the next main road.
She took a right turn when it told her to, even though her gut told her that it was too early. She found herself on what she calls a “ratchet dirt road” and followed it for 35 miles before her GPS told her to take a right onto a road that didn’t exist. Being a person fairly experienced with backroads, and considering the horrible road she was already on, she thought that maybe part of the road had eroded, so she took the turn, hoping to run into the remaining section of the road shortly.
Instead of finding a road, she ran straight into a fence. Amber admits she panicked a bit and drove around trying to find the road when she should have just stayed put. By then it was getting dark and she was down to zero miles to empty, and her reserves were empty, too. She found the nearest man-made structure and decided to wait til morning to decide what to do.
She certainly didn’t lack creativity or motivation, and she had food and water because she was planning a hike. She actually had extra, as any good prepper or trail-savvy person does.
This is when her 5-day period of waiting began. She had no cell signal, so she made an SOS sign from rocks that were about 4’x10’. That didn’t work, so she spelled out “HELP,” again using rocks, but this time she went big – her letters were 20-30 feet tall. She tried getting help using a signal fire, but because she was stuck in an extremely dry area, the wood burned too clean to create smoke.
After a truck drove right by her before she could flag him down, she barricaded the road (which was brilliant, actually, just in case). She had a flashing headlamp in her truck that she turned on at night, to no avail. Finally, after 5 days, she decided to take matters into her own hands and took off walking in an attempt to find a cell signal. Fortunately, she didn’t kill the battery in her car, so she was able to charge her phone.
She was smart about it, though. She left a detailed note with her vehicle, and she marked her trail. It said: “I started following the road EAST to see if I can get a cellphone signal. I am marking my way with white sports tape. If you read this, please come help me!”
After she’d walked 11 miles east of her vehicle and tried a whopping 76 times to get a call out she did manage to find a weak signal and contacted the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office. Her call dropped 49 seconds into the call and she couldn’t get another call out, so she just had to hope that they’d managed to locate her before the call dropped.
She walked almost all the way back to her car, but the helicopter did find her after searching with the limited information that they had. They spotted the glint off of her car and the help sign that she’d made. They also found her note and followed the direction that she said she’d gone in order to find her, and they succeeded.
Because she’d had a stockpile of water and food, she was in good shape when they found her. She rationed it because she didn’t know how long it would take, and she made ramen noodles on her dashboard.
8 Survival Lessons to Learn from Amber’s Story
With little to no injury, Amber survived because she was prepared and knew what to do in an emergency. Did she make mistakes? Yes, but don’t we all?
Just for those of you who need to know it:
Stranded with no way out =/= camping regardless of how well I prepared with my supplies.
I had a compass and I am fantastic at reading maps but I made the mistake of not bringing one this time.
Almost everyone has run out of gas at some point, mine just happened to be supremely inconvenient.
It was not a matter of simply turning around since I wasn’t aware how to get out and I was legitimately lost.
So, yes, I made silly mistakes. However, I also maintained composure when I found myself in an unfortunate situation…
Let’s look at what we can learn from her experience.
Don’t Depend Solely on Technology
Her gut told her she was turning too soon, and had she heeded that instead of doing what many of us are trained to do – trust that technology knows more than we do – she may have found her way and her story wouldn’t have been more than another leg of her travel plans.
Don’t Cut it Close on Fuel
Only having 70 miles left in your tank is just fine if you’re tooling around town or heading between one major town and another, where there are many opportunities to refuel. However, the US – especially the US West – still has many roads where there are at least 70 miles between gas stations.
As a woman who rides a bike, I have a standing rule – never turn down the opportunity to pee or get gas. It’s a good policy to follow, especially when you’re in a remote area.
Stock That Vehicle Bag
Let’s see … what did she use that many people wouldn’t have necessarily had in their vehicles? A flashing headlamp. The materials to make a fire. White sports tape. Oh yeah, she had books that kept her occupied. Pen and paper. Food and water. A mobile cellphone charger.
Did they all work? No, but she had options and tools, and some of them – the charger, the food and water, and the pen and paper saved her life. Any one of them could have worked had the right person flown over or driven by at the right time.
Don’t Risk Getting Lost
She makes a comment at one point in an interview that she got bored and tooted her horn to make the coyotes leave the prairie dogs alone. What if she’d panicked and taken off walking in the dark? What if she’d made a wrong turn on her way back to her vehicle after she made the call because she didn’t mark her trail?
She did everything right when it came to this part of her experience. She stayed where she had shelter – there wasn’t anybody there to honk the horn to keep the coyotes off HER – and she marked her trail when she did leave so that she could find her way back.
Pack Energy Dense Food
She purportedly had sunflower seeds and an apple left when they found her. Those are foods that are high in sustained energy – the apple because it has fiber that slows down the digestion process, and the seeds because they have both fiber to slow down the processing of the sugar, and fat that your body will use after it uses the sugar.
Packing food isn’t enough – pack the RIGHT foods.
Nobody wants you to get saved more than you do. She communicated: she made signs, she built a signal fire, and, when none of that worked, she got tired of waiting and took her fate into her own hands and decided to walk til she was able to help people help her. Don’t just sit around waiting for the cavalry when they may not even know you’re missing.
However, don’t screw up your chances by not communicating – in this case, had she not left the note, the rescuers may have missed her.
Keep Your Vehicle in Good Repair
Yes, she ran out of gas, but the rest of her car was in good repair and ready for a trip. Had her battery failed, she may still be sitting there, out of water and out of hope.
Yes, I realize that it’s easier said than done, but she admitted that she ran the last of her gas out because she panicked. Would it have made much difference in her case? Probably not. But what if it was the middle of winter, when temperatures can drop to the single digits in the desert? What if she’d been in Maine or North Dakota instead of in Arizona?
By panicking, she didn’t just run out her source of transportation, she exhausted a major heat source, too. True, she could have started a campfire, but that would have left her to the animals, that likely didn’t have granola bars, seeds, and apples stocked back. Keep your head and think before you act.
Amber survived this situation because she was prepared. Of course, she also got herself into it because, when it came to fuel, she made a mistake and went in unprepared. Her story offers dual lessons of what to do and what not to do. Thankfully, she did way more right than she did wrong, and that – along with a bit of luck – ensured that she lived to tell the tale!
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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
The term “bug out vehicle” gets thrown around a lot in the prepper community, but it almost always refers to a car or truck of some kind. That is great if you have a family, but if you’re single and in good shape (or have a partner who is also in good shape) and don’t […]
The first thing that people do in the movies when there’s a catastrophic event is try to get out of town. They end up in gridlocked traffic and end up surrounded by panicking people abandoning vehicles that can’t go any further. Obviously, there was a lack of planning.
As preppers, we’re prepared to avoid these types of situations either by bugging in, or by having bug out vehicles that can navigate terrain, and will allow us to avoid major roads so that we have a better chance of getting safely away.
Though many people don’t consider a motorcycle a good choice for a bug out vehicle, don’t discount the advantages out of hand. After all, while all of those cars are gridlocked, you can ride the berm or split the lanes to continue traveling. This would, of course, come with the risk of somebody knocking you off your bike, so you’d have to be extremely cautious while also traveling quickly.
You can also travel off-road if you have the right bike and it’s properly equipped. Oh, and if you have an EMP room that’s at least 5 or 6 feet square, you can keep the bike right in there along with an extra motor and parts and still have plenty of room left for your other stuff.
Also, a motorcycle gets anywhere from 30-70 mpg. The average dual sport bike has anywhere from a 3-6 gallon tank, which means that you can make it 150-300 miles on one tank. They’re also versatile and do well both on the street and off-road assuming you choose a good bike and put knobby tires on it.
Many people like to use a 250cc for a bug out vehicle, but I like a little more speed and power – I’d recommend a 600 – it doesn’t weight that much more than a 250, though you will lose a little mpg. That’s negligible, though – 10mpg maybe. Chances are good that your bug out place is still going to be well within your tank range.
There are downsides. You can’t realistically take more than two people and will only be able to take the bare essentials with you. Ideally, you should probably use a bike to get you to a pre-stocked bug out location. Most sport bikes, enduros, motocross bikes and duel sports are light enough that 2 people can lift them up into the back of a truck.
However, there are a few modifications that you should probably make in order to optimize it for bugging out. These are just general suggestions – you’ll have to account for your individual terrain and bug out plans.
Put Headlights on Toggle Switch
Motorcycles typically have headlights that turn on as soon as you turn the key as a standard safety feature. Since you may need to hide, it’s probably a good idea to put the headlight on a toggle switch. Fortunately, the wiring on a motorcycle is fairly simple, so this is easy to do.
Paint to Match Your Terrain
I absolutely love the electric blue and neon green paintjob on my GSXR, but it doesn’t exactly lend itself to hiding.
Not only do you want to keep from being seen on it if possible, but you don’t want it to stand out for somebody to target as a potential getaway vehicle for themselves should you need to stop and be away from it. (i.e., bathroom breaks, etc.)
Fortunately, it doesn’t take much paint to cover an entire motorcycle. Choose a paint that will help you blend into your terrain. Whether it’s green or tan, or somewhere in between, camouflage that ride.
You can buy a cargo rack for behind the seat, or you can do what I did for my last bike and build it yourself. This allows you quite a bit of customization because you can add a little bit of storage here and there.
For instance, you can potentially add a rifle carrier that would ride under your thigh, or a storage rack in front of it. You can also buy or build saddle bags. We are, after all, the kings and queens of DIY.
Use Quiet Exhaust
On a standard day, I’ll preach that loud pipes save lives all day long, but not in this case. Your goal is to fly under the radar, so you want the bike to be as quiet as possible. Because of the way a motorcycle motor works, you’re not going to be able to get it whisper-quiet like a car is, but you can muffle it significantly by modifying the pipes.
Especially if you’ve opted to use a small-cc bike, don’t do too much in the way of modifying the heads to muffle the sound because you don’t want to restrict the airflow.
Have an Extra Motor and Parts in Your EMP Room
If you have an EMP room, you have room for a motorcycle motor. They’re small and fairly light – less than 150 pounds in many cases.
Magnetic and Handlebar Bags
Once you start looking, you’re going to be surprised by how many places you can put a storage bag on your bike. There are handlebar bags made to sit in the triple tree. I put mine on the front between the forks when I carry it.
You can also get magnetic tank bags that will carry a surprising amount of gear and supplies.
These are great. The magnets are seriously strong enough to hold onto the tank even if things get rough. I had one on my last bike that I used when we went camping and I kept it on the front of my tank up by my gauges. You can, of course, always customize them or have them custom made.
This is probably my most important piece of survival gear because it stays right with me all the time. I don’t have to worry about it falling off or catching on things, or slowing me down as long as I’m on my bike. Put what you can’t live without in here, in case somebody steals your bike.
I always keep, at a minimum:
Sounds like a lot, but actually if you think about it, the only big item is water. It all fits in the bottom of one of my pouches, and I have a nice little “just in case” kit.
I also keep a toolkit underneath my seat that holds the main 3 sockets and small wrenches that work on my bike, a pair of pliers, and zip ties.
Depending on the bike that you have, you may need to adjust the suspension so that it’s fit to ride off-road. This is a topic best researched before you decide on a bike. I can’t really offer much advice that would be any good because everything depends on what you have to work with.
If you’re going to take your bike off-road, you need to have knobby tires on it. If you’re not, you need to keep your street tires in excellent condition because in the middle of an emergency is the worst time possible for you to have a blowout.
These are just a few tips to help you get your motorcycle ready to use as a bugout vehicle. I considered recommending armoring the tank and you can do that if you want, but truthfully, you’re using it as a vehicle that is light, nimble, and maneuverable. You want to avoid weight where you can.
Do you have any other tips to help prepare a motorcycle so that it will serve as a good bug out vehicle?
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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
If disaster hits, you must be ready to leave quickly without attracting unwanted attention. Bugging out by car is the number one and only choice for most preppers. Even more, bugging out by car provides a certain safety from criminal elements. If you plan to do the same when disaster strikes, here is what you … Read more…
You’re out on a ride on a lonely backroad, thirty miles from home, and it starts pouring rain. Ideally, the best option would be to pull over and wait it out.
Realistically, you may have to pick up the kids, be riding to work, or be bugging out. At that point, pulling over is not an option.
Rain changes the game, but with the proper skills you can make the ride much safer when the roads are slippery and you can hardly see. Here’s what to do!
Wear a Full-Face Helmet
Wearing a full-face helmet, at least during inclement weather, is the first step toward making your ride safer. Broken legs heal. Broken skulls or brains usually do not.
As an additional bonus, a helmet serves to keep your head dry and warm and keeps the rain from beating in your face and eyes, thus preventing distraction and improving vision.
If you’ve never ridden in the rain, even a light drizzle feels like you’re getting hit with gravel when you’re going 40 or 50 mph. It’s hard to focus on the road and other drivers when it feels like you’re getting exfoliated with a sandblaster.
Adding a layer of Rain-x to your face shield will help repel the rain so that your visibility is improved even more.
Have Good Boots
There are all kinds of fancy boots out there that look great but remember that their primary purpose is protection.
For riding in bad weather, it’s good to have tall boots that cover your shins. This helps keep you warm and dry (if they’re waterproofed) as well as protect you from losing your footing when you put your feet down.
Especially in inclement weather, it’s important to have boots that have non-skid bottoms. You can find non-skids in every design – cruising and racing. The most important factors are comfort and grip, so try several pairs on to see which ones fit the best. Scoot a little to see if they truly are “grippy.”
Wear a Sturdy Coat Designed for Riding
I’ve been down twice – once while wearing a T-shirt and once while wearing full race gear, which included high-quality racing leathers. Fortunately, I was going slow – about 20 mph when I went down wearing the T-shirt, but I still have the scar on my arm from the road rash, and it was difficult and painful to clean out the dirt and gravel, and care for it while it healed.
When I was wearing the leather, I was on the track and went down at 65 mph. I had no skin injuries whatsoever, and I slid for over 20 feet. The leather made all the difference. I also have both a leather motorcycle jacket and a nylon/Kevlar jacket that’s more in line with the sportbike that I ride. The leather is waterproof and offers supreme protection in cold, rainy weather.
I specifically recommend jackets/coats designed for motorcycles because they have three features developed just for riding
- the tail is longer in the back so that it doesn’t ride up,
- there are zippers on the sleeves that zip so that they’re snug around your wrists to keep out cold air and rain/snow,
- the zippers have pull tags on them so that you can zip/unzip with gloves on.
Also, the pockets zip up instead of down to prevent the zipper from opening while you’re riding.
Keep in mind that safety is number one priority when riding a bike and you have to be prepared for anything and to assume full responsibility for your personal safety.
Carry Survival Tools
I never leave the house without my backpack (saddle bags are nice, but don’t really come with sport bikes). I carry various survival/emergency items that include:
- The common sockets/wrenches that fit my bike
- Zip ties
- Faro stick/striker
- Fire starter – Vaseline-soaked cotton balls in a baggie
- A Bracelet made of 550 paracord
- A bottle of water
- OTC pain killer
- A knife
- A baggie to put my phone and gadgets in so they stay dry
- A couple of granola bars
- A hand mirror
- A whistle
- A sweatshirt/extra T-shirt – wet shirts are miserable when you reach your destination, and it tends to get chilly once the sun goes down.
- A small flashlight
Yes, that may sound like overkill and some of my rider friends tease me about it, but only until their bike breaks down or it starts raining and they want to put their phone in my baggie. Then I’m not so silly.
Wearing gloves serves two purposes – they protect your hands and keep the oils in your hands from degrading the rubber in your grips.
Choose gloves that are reinforced on the top of the knuckles and palms in case you go down. Those are the two areas that are most likely to come into contact with the pavement.
You’d be surprised how much a pair of chaps protects your legs from the cold and rain/snow. Of course, they also provide an extra layer of protection in case you go down.
Avoid Road Paint and Other Road Debris
Now that we’ve covered gear, let’s talk about some road hazards. Road paint – you know, those white lines used at stop lights/signs or to designate parking spots – is like stepping on ice when it’s wet. Even in non-skid boots, it’s slick. Avoid it.
The same thing goes for sand, leaves, oil, and other materials that gather on the road. Watch where you put your feet.
Also, when it first starts raining, the oils, grease, and other slick material on the road is washed to the surface and distributed all over the road, so the pavement is going to be extra slick.
In good weather, leave yourself plenty of room to see what’s on the road at least 30 feet in front of you. Double or even triple that if the roads are wet or icy.
Remember, you’re on two wheels, so you don’t have the ability to lock up the brakes, and if you run over something such as large stones, animal carcasses, puddles, or small limbs, it’s hard to stay in control.
Also, it tends to hurt when you rear-end them and you need more road to stop than you would in a car. Pay attention.
I know that riding what’s called 2-up (side-by-side) seems nice, but it’s not safe for a wide variety of reasons, especially in bad weather.
You (and other riders) need room to dodge road debris, standing water or ice, loose sand or gravel, and cars that may not see you and come into your lane. You also need room in case you take turns a bit too wide or have a tire blow-out.
For all of the same reasons, you need to ride on the opposite side of the lane as the rider in front of you, with your front wheel no closer than several feet behind and to the side of him/her. In addition to being safer in case something happens, this also keeps you from getting a face full of road water coming off the spray of the rear tire in front of you.
Keep Bike in Good Repair
This is the safety tip that you can’t afford to ignore. If your bike breaks down in inclement weather on a back road, you may just find yourself stuck for hours or even overnight., a flat is tough to recover from when road conditions are perfect, but if they’re wet or icy, the chances of an accident increase exponentially.
It’s tempting to want to hurry to get somewhere warm and dry, but when you combine decreased visibility with poor road conditions, you’re asking for trouble. You’re likely already soaked to the bone, so another few minutes or so isn’t going to make much of a difference.
Riding a motorcycle in bad weather is hazardous to say the least. Following all of these tips will help to make it safer for you, but when it comes right down to it, you need to watch the weather, ride within your abilities, and use your common sense to determine what’s best for you in your individual situation.
Ride safe, and keep the shiny side up!
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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
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The Cricket Trailer: RV with Low Costs to Combat High Gas Prices The Cricket trailer is a great option for a camping or bug out trailer. Low cost, lots of usable space. This trailer will quite literally rock your world. Before you start reading this could I trouble you to vote for this website as …
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Homesteaders and farmers recognize the importance of tractors in daily life. These vehicles tend to be very durable, but it’s important to make sure you can still use them in a post-crisis world.
Aside from increasing the number of things you can use the tractor for, taking these steps will also help your tractor last longer and perform better during its lifespan.
Know What the Tractor Can Do
Over the years, I’ve purchased all kinds of gadgets in my quest to find devices that use less electricity or power while delivering at or near the same level of usefulness as more conventional devices.
For example, when I was still learning how to use power tools, I thought battery powered tools would be better or safer than conventional ones. It wasn’t long before I found out that “under powered” means nothing more than slow and virtually useless.
To this day, my very first battery powered jigsaw sits in its original box somewhere in the attic, with a battery that I haven’t charged more than once every few years to see if it still works. At the same time, my conventional powered jigsaw sits right next to my desk and is always ready to use.
When it comes to preparing a tractor, it is very important to know just how much work they can do. Simply put, you cannot get an engine rated for 5 – 10 horsepower and expect it to do the work of a 25 horsepower engine.
If you are going to add accessories to the tractor, or in any other way expand what you use the tractor for, it is very important to know if the engine, drive train, and transmission can truly take the added wear and tear. The last thing you will want to do is purchase attachments or make plans only to find out that the tractor won’t suit your needs. Get a good sense of what your current tractor can do so that you can purchase something better or look for alternatives before it is too late.
Buy Adapters that Expand their Usability
Did you know that you can purchase an adapter for a tractor that can be used to plow snow?
While many preppers think of tractors as farm and homestead equipment, they may also be useful to conventional homeowners and apartment dwellers. The sheer number of attachments and accessories for tractors make them as versatile as they are powerful.
Here are just a few attachments that you may find of use for homesteading as well as some others that can be used by just about any person that is concerned about having a versatile travel vehicle in time of need:
It’s ideal for people that have large stockpiles stored in boxes or crates. The fork lift can be used to lift all kinds of heavy items at one time. Depending on size and power of the main tractor, a forklift may also be useful for lifting and pushing small vehicles out of the roadway.
No matter how big or sturdy tractor tires may be, muddy terrain or complex areas can be more easily navigated with steel tracks that give you advantages similar to what you would have with a tank.
If you are planning to cut down large trees, you can easily haul the lumber with this tractor attachment.
Spade and Bucket Attachments
These devices will give you a chance to use the tractor as you would a backhoe.
This should be one of the first things you buy, especially if you plan to use the tractor like a forklift or backhoe. The steel cage will keep you safe and may also make it easier to use the tractor in a wider range of weather situations.
Harrows, Scrapers, and Pipe Layers
There are all kinds of attachments for tractors that can be used for planting crops, or digging into the ground for some other purpose.
Get All Shop Manuals for the Tractor and Accessories
As with any other motor vehicle, you need as much information as possible about the parts and functionality of every system in your tractor. A shop manual will give you far more information than just how to exchange old parts for new ones. You may get a better look at what is inside each part so that you can refurbish the parts if needed.
These schematics will also help you gain a sense of additional skills and tools that might be of use to have on hand. For example, if a specific part has a rubber diaphragm, then you know that this part may be something that wears out faster than others. This information will show you what things are best to have in your stockpile. In this case, you will store away materials that can be used to make a new diaphragm as well as extra parts that can be changed out as needed.
When it comes to sourcing replacement materials for parts refurbishing, new polymer and resin technologies may offer better replacement materials. Once you get a look at the shop manual and study it carefully, you will know more about what kind of newer materials may work as well, if not better. Considering you may have to keep the tractor running for decades or even pass it along to future generations, you need as many suitable materials on hand as possible.
A shop manual will also give you a complete listing of every part used in the tractor. Did you know that it may be possible to scavenge parts from vehicles that aren’t the same make and model?
Usually, the key to achieving this goal is to know exactly where the mounting points are and if they can be adapted to your vehicle. Once again, the schematics for the parts used for your tractor will give you some good ideas about how the insides are arranged. This, in turn, makes it easier to estimate what can and cannot be done with scavenged parts.
Setup and Maintain a Maintenance Schedule
It is very easy to be inspired by all the power you wield when you have a tractor at your fingertips. On the other side of the equation, a tractor is still a machine that requires good quality routine maintenance to keep it working for as long as possible.
It’s all too easy to forget when the last oil change was, or when you carried out some other maintenance task. As with your car, setup and maintain a maintenance schedule for your tractor, based on the following:
- Consult the shop and owner’s manual so that you know what should be done at each maintenance interval.
- Include a listing of all materials and tools that you will need.
- Identify any areas where you feel that you do not have the knowledge or skills to do the job yourself. Even if you cannot do the job at the nearest time interval, make it your business to get the necessary training to do the job the next time it is needed.
- Set aside enough time so that you can do the job yourself and be sure that you are doing it well.
When it comes to prepping, there are some additional things you should add to your maintenance plans. Consider a situation where you have been doing routine maintenance, but haven’t done any tests to check on the engine compression. Even though the tractor is operating just fine, wear and tear is going to add up over time.
It is best to have some advance warning of parts that may fail so that you can be ready to repair or replace as needed. You will need to consult the shop manual and research each part of the tractor. The more you learn about the risks, the better chance you have of developing tests that will help you diagnose and repair in time.
Convert for Multiple Fuel Use
Just about every prepper is aware about the lack of fuel for motor vehicles in the post crisis world; this topic comes up as often, if not more than EMP proofing. Even though many tractors run on diesel, make sure that you have systems in place that can take advantage of biodiesel, wood burning and methane.
One of the most fascinating emerging technologies involves using hydrogen to partially or fully power motor vehicles. While kits designed to inject hydrogen into cars and trucks are still controversial, there is far more progress being made with tractors. There are already kits on the market that covert water to hydrogen through a hydrolysis process without having to involve a commercial electricity supplier.
Video first seen on Daniel HHO Hydrogen Donatelli.
Consider changing out the tractor’s engine entirely and using a steam engine instead. This is the best way to incorporate the largest number of fuels because you can burn just about anything to generate steam.
If you decide to keep the internal combustion engine running in your tractor, it doesn’t harm to keep a steam engine, boiler system, and transmission connections on hand. If you do run into a situation where the main engine is of no use, then you can try installing the steam engine instead.
When considering alternative fuel types, remember that any system you use must also have a good chance of surviving an EMP. If you experiment with hydrogen fuel, eliminate solid state technologies as much as possible. Instead, look for ways to use gears and other simple machines to replace of electric motors and controls. In a worst case scenario, you can still try shielding these and other vulnerable parts of the tractor with EMP proof paints and coverings.
Have the Right Tools and Spare Parts
More than a few preppers think that if they find an second hand tractor that matches their own, they will have more than enough spare parts to get through a major crisis.
Tractors and their parts are made in largely automated factories just like cars and trucks. This means if there is a problem on the production line that impacts one part, it is likely that it will impact every reproduction of that part until the error is discovered. In most cases, that error is not discovered until hundreds, and perhaps even thousands of consumers wind up having the same kinds of problems.
So even if you do buy a spare tractor, the parts in it may be just as inclined to wear out or break down in the same order as the ones in the tractor you plan to use on a regular basis. In fact, if you buy a tractor that doesn’t run, the part that you need most may be the very one that you already know isn’t working on the spare!
From this perspective, choosing the best parts and tools comes down to researching before you actually buy anything. Once you go through the shop manual, research on consumer forums dedicated to the tractor model that you own. If you see that several people have the same problem, then make sure that you have extra spares for that part, or that you can refurbish what you have.
Be Able to Maintain and Repair On Your Own
Have you ever kept the same vehicle for so long that friends and family members joke that you must have replaced everything but the gas cap?
If so, then you have an idea about what it will be like in the post crisis world where you will have no choice but to patch things, bypass them, or make something new to replace something that fails. You may view this as an educational hobby right now, but these skills will become important.
Here’s what to learn if you plan to maintain and repair your tractor at the highest possible level:
- Know how to salvage and repurpose any metal that you happen to come across.
- Know how to recognize sources of metal ore and extract it from natural sources.
- Know how to mix different ores and minerals to produce a metal suitable for making tractor parts.
- Be able to heat, forge, and anneal metals so that you can shape them into usable parts. This includes extruding wire and making precision cuts and holes in any given piece of metal.
- Find out more about polymers and other materials that can be stockpiled and used to make prototypes or actual tractor parts. You’ll also find useful to have a 3D printer on hand.
- Be able to weld, solder, and manage every other aspect of metal working.
- Find ways to melt down plastics or other non-metallic parts so that you can make new items or repair old ones as needed.
Overall, I recommend getting rid of as many computer based or electronic controls in tractors and other vehicles for the sake of EMP proofing and also long term durability. Even though computer chips and solid state devices can go for decades and work perfectly, there will come a day when they stop working.
Unlike purely mechanical devices, there is simply no way to repair a blow IC chip or other solid state part, and all of your efforts will go to waste if you cannot replace these parts with functional new ones. Use your time to make changes that eliminate these devices instead of trying to store them away or figure out how to diagnose them.
Have at Least 3 Safe Storage Locations
No matter how many people die or are wounded when a crisis begin, those left behind will also die off or be injured in large numbers. Before that happens, desperation will drive people to do all kinds of things: joining together to pillage and loot any place that might have food or other important resources.
If you have a tractor and land, sooner or later some kind of rouge element will find its way to your door. From EMP blasts to hostile invaders, you need at least three safe storage locations for your tractors, accessories, and spare parts.
When planning your storage locations:
- Try to divide up the items into caches so that anything found at one site is useless unless it is combined with items from 2 or three other locations. For example, if you are storing away engine parts, do not store the tools in the same cache.
- It’s best to have underground storage locations since these will be easiest to protect from nuclear radiation. If you are already building a shelter for yourself, you can add on to that shelter more easily than building a structure above ground for the tractor.
- The shelters should all be EMP proof.
- The shelters should be hard to find from the ground or by land. Learn more about ground penetrating radars as well as how to disguise the tractor signatures as much as possible.
- Make sure that all of your caches are easy to defend. Choose areas where you can quickly arm traps as well as areas where you have enough room to lure invaders into fields of fire.
- The caches should be far enough apart so that you can get the tractor into them as quickly as possible no matter where you happen to be on the homestead.
- Resist the temptation to connect all the caches via underground tunnel. If someone does invade and gets to one of the caches, it will only be a matter of time before they find all of them.
Practice Making Your Own Fuel and Secure Provisions
Regardless of how many ways you modify your tractor to accept different fuels, you need to know how to make them. Make sure that you can produce and store the materials until you are ready to turn them into fuel. For example, if you went ahead and installed a steam engine or a wood burner in the tractor, then make sure you have plenty of trees.
Also if you are going to make biodiesel or some other fuel from natural resources, make sure you can carry out the task for decades or more. Many biodiesel manufacturers today rely on GMO corn.
If you purchase these seeds, it is likely that they will not produce viable seeds for the next season, and the plants that grow from these seeds won’t release pollen that reaches crops earmarked for food. Not only will you lose the capacity to grow corn for biodiesel, but you may also wipe out safe corn for food.
Rather than use GMO seeds, learn how to make biodiesel from sugar beets. There are many heritage strains of this particular plant that can be used for food and biodiesel. As an added bonus, sugar beets usually yield more fuel per acre than you would get from GMO corn.
Once you have all the materials for making fuel in place, make sure that you can store the fuel safely. If you are lucky, you will have one or two crops to harvest per year, and then you will need to make the fuel and store it until more can be made. As with storing the tractor, store fuel tanks underground and in multiple locations.
Know and Practice Making Lubricants
Motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid and other maintenance products may become unavailable before conventional fuel stores run out. No matter how many bottles of these materials you store away, they may decay over time or be used up before you were expecting a problem. If your tractor develops oil ring wear and burns more oil, and you cannot replace the ring, your oil stores will go faster than expected.
At least, learn how to strain oil to remove the worst of the debris. Look for oil blends that will not break down as fast as older types. Remember, no matter how much you filter the oil, that does not mean the molecules in the oil have the same capacity to lubricate and remove heat from moving parts.
Overall, you will find it very hard to make a motor oil that will match the characteristics of modern oils. You can still do some research on this topic, as well as the main ingredients found in modern lubricants.
Experiment with different materials to see if you can make something that will last for at least a short time. Look for the best quality oils that last the longest and storing them away for future use. If you can’t find what you need, then mix different products to see if you get something that works better.
Some aspects of preparing your tractor for a major crisis will be easier than others. Set tangible goals for yourself so that you have a functional tractor on hand when you need it, and even if you only accomplish some objectives, it is better than not doing anything at all.
No matter whether you work with a group to divvy up the tasks, or it takes you several years to complete them, you will be taking action that leaves you better prepared for anything that may happen to disrupt your way of life.
This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.
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Even though there are plenty of pre-built new and used utility trailers on the market, they may not meet your exact needs. If you are going to use the trailer for any kind of prepper application, it is best to make sure you have everything you want in the design.
As with so many other things, this means you will more than likely need to design and build the trailer yourself. While this may cost more in terms of time and labor, in the end it may save your life and make living in the post crisis world easier than expected.
If you are looking to expand or upgrade your DIY skills, building a utility trailer will give you plenty of practice.
Stages of Building Your Trailer
These brutal financial times make it difficult to justify building a utility trailer that may or may not be needed to address some kind of major future crisis. Surprisingly enough, you don’t need to build a utility trailer years, or even months in advance of a major social collapse.
By keeping the following points in mind, you can build a suitable trailer in just a few days, or even do so after a major crisis happens.
As you think about how long it will take to build a utility trailer, keep the following points in mind. You can divide the timeline into five main parts:
1. Planning and designing the trailer
You can plan and design a trailer at little or no cost. Make your basic plans on paper, and then do your research for free online. Look at other designs on the market, find out what materials are available, and get a good sense of how much all the parts will cost. Once you have the blueprint, parts list, and projected assembly plans, just about everything else can be done in a matter of days.
When of making up a parts list, include as many recycled or salvage parts as you can, and add at least 2 or 3 alternatives that suit your needs. This will make it easier to choose parts later. If you run out of time before acquiring all the building materials, you can use this list during and after a major crisis as a guide to viable materials.
2. Obtaining raw materials
Before you buy materials, purchase any tools that you might need. These tools can also be used for many other household and travel needs, so they won’t go to waste. The more time you spend using basic power and hand tools, the better off you will be in any situation.
The more time you have for obtaining building materials, the better. Aside from being able to budget more easily, you will see if there are reusable materials in flea markets, junk yards, or estate sales that might be of use.
Individuals that are building and maintaining comprehensive bug out plans should take the salvage and alternative material list along on test excursions. This is an excellent time to take note of what items may be available on the way to your bug out location.
3. Building the trailer
Preparing for an emergency is never easy, especially when you are concerned that all your hard work will be stolen by rioters or others. An utility trailer can be a bit hard to hide, and just about everyone that sees it will know what it is, or remember that you have one. Once a major crisis occurs,these people will be looking for you and ready to take anything of value that you might have.
This is the main reason why I don’t recommend building a utility trailer from the top down and having it all ready to go. Rather, it is better to build the trailer in units, test them out, and then be ready to assemble them at a moment’s notice. Many systems are small enough to be hidden in your home or garage, and then assembled later on when the need arises. If you make fast assembly and modular system designs part of your plans, this process may be easier than you would expect.
4. Testing everything out
There is a definite trade off between testing out a completed trailer and keeping its existence as secret as possible. Doing your best to test specific modules may not be enough when you actually assemble the trailer.
Your best option will be to try and assemble the trailer in a quiet location where no one will know. Once you know everything works together as a unit, you can always take everything apart and then reassemble it in time of need.
As soon as you begin keeping supplies on hand, or materials to build the trailer itself, you will always need to be concerned about maintenance.
For example, if you purchased aluminum for the sides of the trailer or other parts, they may still need painting, lubrication, or other routine care to prevent them from being ruined.
Where to Get Materials From
Have you ever gone to a local hardware store, home improvement store, or automotive shop only to be disappointed by the inventory? You may find some items in these stores to get you started on a DIY product, while other items may not be available (thicker aluminum, for example).
Be careful how you shop online, and you should be able to keep your building plans secret.
Here are some other places where you might find building materials at a more reasonable price:
- Local auctions and surplus events. Newspapers and websites dedicated to your town or city may list these venues as well as what kinds of materials are available.
- Watch the classified ad listings in supermarkets, department stores, or other areas where estate sales, flea markets, or other private sales might be listed.
- Military surplus outlets may also be of some use.
Check the end of the article for a list of websites that may help to salvage or find construction surplus materials.
The absence of a means of propulsion doesn’t mean utility trailers are simple, or that you can build them with a lack of care and consideration. A poorly designed or constructed trailer can spell disaster. Do not cut corners or reduce quality if you want to build a reliable trailer!
Wheels, Axle, Suspension, and Braking Systems
The axle and suspension system must be able to support the entire weight of the trailer and everything in it. These parts must also have the flexibility to absorb shock as the trailer moves without bending excessively or breaking.
Many utility trailers have smaller wheels, but bear in mind that you might take the trailer off road or into areas with deep ruts, mud, or broken pavement. Spend a bit more on larger wheels with deeper and heavier treads so that the trailer passes more easily over these areas.
The frame must work in conjunction with the suspension, axle, and braking system to provide a solid foundation for the rest of the trailer. No matter whether you choose an open design or a closed one, the suspension must be sturdy and durable. A frame that is built independent of the suspension will give you more options and also much better performance.
Coupler and Tongue Jack
If you do not have a good quality coupler and tongue jack on the trailer, it can lead to a number of problems including:
- The trailer may break way from the vehicle pulling it along.
- It may sway from side to side or be very hard to control when the pulling vehicle turns.
- A poorly designed coupler may be difficult to connect and disconnect as needed.
The wall frame must still be study enough to keep all of the items in the trailer secure no matter whether you design an open trailer or a closed one. Choose frame material that will not bend or buckle if objects inside the trailer hit it.
It is also best to choose a frame material that is sturdy enough to accommodate the weight of a roof and enclosure if you decide to make these changes later on. Even if you decide on low walls now, make sure that you can bolt on taller pieces later on without sacrificing on frame strength.
Roof Frame (optional)
Try to make the roof frame sturdy enough to accommodate the roof covering and storage for other items. It never hurts to create a roof top frame that can also be used to house solar panels, small wind turbines, or other devices used to generate electricity, gather water, or carry out other tasks.
If you are looking for a cheap easy way to enclose the trailer, start off with canvas, and then keep a vinyl covering for times when you need to keep the interior as dry as possible. As time and budget allow, enclose the trailer with aluminum or some other more permanent and durable material. As long as the roof is made from a solid material (polymer or resin might work), you could also generate power and still use canvas for the trailer sides.
Most people that build low walled trailers do not worry about doors or windows. On the other hand, even if you plan to live in a canvas covered trailer, you’ll need to enter, exit, add to, and remove items from the trailer.
Ventilation and adequate air flow are also important so that you don’t wind up with moisture, mold, and mildew buildups inside the trailer. Doors and windows on solid side, enclosed trailers can also make it more comfortable to live in.
When all your worldly possessions are going to be packed in a trailer going a long distance, security systems are crucial.
You can use electronic surveillance systems as well as specialty locks and bolts. Just remember that these systems are only as good as the materials used to build the rest of the If the sides are made of canvas or vinyl, there will not be much sense in installing locks. Instead, think about what kind of weapons you can use to defend the trailer as well as any devices that can be used to deter people from approaching it.
Shelves, seats, tie down areas, and privacy enclosures are all important for a multi-purpose utility trailer. Keep weight down by using plastic furnishings or ones that can be packed away easily.
For example, beanbag chairs are lightweight and can be put together to make a bed. Alternatively, use plastic tubs to store your items and then put an air mattress on top of them. Just because internal features need to be light weight and simple, that does not mean you have to be uncomfortable or unable to enjoy whatever time you may need to spend in the trailer.
Aside from running computers or other devices that store important data, electricity is important for power tools used to fix the trailer or build parts that were not complete before started using it. There are many devices that can be used to power a utility trailer, like different wind turbine designs that will lend themselves well to sitting on top of a trailer. As long as the trailer is in motion, the turbines will spin.
You can make a series of smaller turbines that are housed in other parts of the front of the trailer and then combine them into a single battery pack. This is especially important if you want your trailer to look as inconspicuous as possible. A few fans hidden behind grills will not be as noticeable as solar panels or a shell design turbine sitting on top of the trailer.
Water and Sanitation
Many people that don’t plan on living in a utility trailer after a major crisis occurs think they can ignore water and sanitation issues.
On the other hand, you are always going to need clean water. As such, you should at least have some tools on hand so that you can purify water or pull it from other resources. Even if you store away plastic and a shovel so that you can retrieve water vapor as it evaporates from the ground, you will be ahead of the game.
Setting aside a small part of the trailer for sanitation and privacy needs is more important than you realize. At the very least, bring a few items along that you can use to meet these needs once they are assembled.
Tools and Skills You Need for the Project
You will need common tools such as screwdrivers, hammers, pliers, metal cutters, drills, and hand saws for building your trailer, but also other items. These tools require electricity to operate, but it’s not impossible to make a sturdy trailer without them.
- Welder – you need a welder to join together steel rods used in the trailer frame. Even though welding is not especially difficult to learn, you need some practice before you weld the rods together. Remember to wear a welding hood, gloves, and an appropriate apron. No matter how fascinating welding and the sparks it makes may be, remember that you are working with very high temperatures and a light source that can blind you in a matter of seconds.
- Circular saw, jig saw, and hand drill – these power tools make cutting boards and other materials much easier and faster. Perhaps I am a bit old fashioned in my preference for corded tools, however I have yet to find battery powered tools that lasted as long or provided as much power when I needed it most.
- Hydraulic Jacks – you need at least 4 to support the frame while you are mounting the axles and wheels.
- Hoists and Pulley Systems – if you start building in modules, hoists and pulleys make it possible to assemble completed parts in a matter of minutes.
Equipment and Furnishings: Buy or Make Your Own?
When you make your own racks, shelves, and other furnishings, it’s easy to create what you need and in the size that you need it. But if you don’t have the time or patience to make furniture, it can be a very tedious task. Unless you upcycle free wood palettes or other materials, you’ll find that the cost of making your own furnishings is about the same as buying pre-made models.
Research on camping and RV gear, and you’ll find all sorts of things that can be used to make the utility trailer more comfortable and convenient. In many cases, this equipment may not meet all of your needs. You may not be able to repair the items if they break down, or they may not be as durable as you would like.
If you want cutting edge designs or newer technologies, those devices may also be more expensive. For example, if you want to include a wind turbine, it may be impossible to find the best in a pre-fabricated form, so you’d better look at different bladeless turbine designs, and build something that meets your needs.
Newer polymers and other materials on the market can make this task as simple as working with a 3D printer and a few well designed templates. Aside from cost and innovative concerns, when you make your own equipment you can always add room for adaptability. If you need to scavenge parts or build systems that are easy to repair, there is nothing like developing your own designs.
DOs and DON’Ts When Building an Utility Trailer
Building an utility trailer is like many other things in life. There are some basic things you should always do, and others that you should avoid.
Here are some of the most common practices that lead to building a trailer that will be durable and useful or one that will not be worth the effort you put into it.
- Do not cut costs on critical components such as the frame, suspension, axle, and coupler. Everything in the trailer depends on how sturdy and durable these items are. If you don’t know how to weld, or don’t have enough practice in metal working, make sure that you know what you are doing before you tackle building these parts.
- Do seek training for everything you need to do. From wiring the trailer for electricity to installing windows and shelves, it never hurts to take a few courses on these and other building oriented topics.
- Never work on the trailer when you are tired, angry, or sick. Most of the time, you will be working with power tools, chemicals, or something else that can cause injury or death. Exhaustion, excess emotions, and illness can make you careless and impatient. Even if you are not injured, the mistakes you may make can come back to haunt you when you put the trailer on the road and discover these “hidden features”.
- Always observe safety precautions. Goggles, ear protection, gloves, aprons, steel toed boots, dust masks, and respirators are all necessary safety gear that should be used. While many people today recognize the need for goggles, far too many do not wear protective ear plugs and respirators. Never forget that everything you are working with will create some kind of dust, smoke, or gas. None of these fumes or dust are good for your lungs or your health.
- Give yourself plenty of room to work. Over the years, I have seen many accidents caused by a simple lack of working space. Make sure that you have plenty of room to lay all the parts and tools out. Keep your work area neat and clean. No matter whether you are working indoors or outside, it is all to easy to take a step backwards and trip over something you forgot was back there.
- Make sure that others working with you observe safety and good working habits. If you work with a team, it is all too easy for you, and others to put things where they can pose a risk to others. If everyone makes it a point to put things back where they belong, it will be much easier to avoid accidents.
- Always keep detailed records of everything you did and how each system fits together. Later on, if you need to diagnose problems or make repairs, these notes will give you a valuable point of reference. Include photographs taken during the construction process, these will make it easier to orient and prepare for making any required changes. Do not forget to update your notes and photos once you are done.
- Never use drugs or alcohol while working on the trailer. As soon as you lose any kind of control of yourself, both the tools you are using and the materials can also get out of control. This can lead to cuts, bruises, burns, and other serious injuries. If you must have a drink or take some kind of medication, stop for the day and then go back to it when your thinking and your reflexes are in better condition.
Take the time to design and build a custom utility trailer, and you’ll develop a perfect prepper solution!
While this task isn’t as difficult as it seems, you will need to put in a considerable amount of time, effort, and money. When a disaster strikes and you are able to move and live comfortably in the trailer, you will see that it is well worth the effort.
This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.
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Do you have enough money set aside to pay for hundreds to thousands of dollars in vehicle computer repair and diagnostics?
Have you been watching the news and feel that either a terrorist group or a foreign country is right on the brink of launching an EMP strike right here in the United States?
Even without the usual concerns you take into account as a prepper, just a few computer chips can make it impossible for you to use your survival vehicle, nor to get to work and meet other vital transportation needs.
Replacing the PCM or Powertrain Control Module in your vehicle brings you one step closer to having reliable transportation regardless of what is going on in the world around you.
What is the PCM?
In most vehicles, the Powertrain Control Module is the key computer that controls just about every aspect of your vehicle’s performance. Its presence is designed to improve gas mileage and also make it easier for mechanics to detect oncoming system or part failure as well as find problems faster when they occur.
As with any other computer, however, they can be a serious headache to consumers because:
- When they break down or produce false readings that prevent an otherwise functional car from operating. Replacing the computer can be very expensive and is usually beyond the ability of the vehicle owner. It also often requires a manufacturer licensed repair shop to reset the new computer so that it works correctly.
- The PCM and other computer systems in the car are all susceptible to EMP strikes.
- In more modern vehicles, the computers may be hacked by outsiders that can literally cause your vehicle to stop cold in traffic or accelerate to a dangerous level in order to cause a crash.
- RFID chips equipped with GPS locators or wireless internet access elsewhere in the vehicle can make it easy for hackers, stalkers, and others to locate your vehicle. In some modern vehicles, these chips which may not reside in the actual PCM can cause your vehicle to become inoperable.
The Basic Parts of the PCM
The ECU or Engine Control Unit
It controls the air to fuel ratio, idle speed, and ignition timing. Together with these functions, the ECU or related computers may also control firing order and valve timing.
In some vehicles, the ECU may also control ABS braking, skid control, traction monitoring, and cruise control. The ECU may also have some control over steering in newer vehicles with automated crash avoidance technologies.
The TCU or Transmission Control Unit
It’s mainly used in vehicles with automatic transmissions. This part of the PCM receives information from sensors that reveal the vehicle’s speed, the throttle position, and traction control monitoring. From this data, it determines which gear is best to use.
It also controls how the transmission shifts from one gear to the next. The TCU is also heavily involved in improving mileage.
The BCM or Body Control Module
This module is usually dedicated to other accessories found in the vehicle. Automatic seat belts, electronic lock doors, sun roof, anti-theft systems, the radio, electronic windows, and internal lights will all be controlled by this module. Some vehicles may have this module integrated with the ECU, while it is a separate computer in others.
Video first seen on DanielJaegerFilms.
In order to function, the PCM must send and receive information about what is going on in other parts of the vehicle. Much like your brain, the PCM has “sensors” that detect certain conditions and then relay the information directly back to the PCM, or to another module that reports back to the PCM.
As an analogy, your eyes detect the presence of a very narrow band of frequencies within the light spectrum. That information is sent via the optic nerve to your brain where it is interpreted so that you can “see”.
Once the PCM receives information from the sensors, it compares it to information organized in a table or database. If the value is outside the range set in the database, then the PCM “interprets” that something is wrong. If the data is inside the range, then it determines there are no problems in that part of the engine. Depending on the findings, the PCM will send one set of directions or another to other computer modules, that, in turn, control how the actual working parts of your vehicle perform.
As an extremely simplified example, a sensor located inside the cylinder might report when the spark plug has fired, as well as the estimated power of that spark. The PCM or an associated module should have already initiated the process which takes fuel from the gas tank, turns it into a mist, combines it with air, and then injects it into the cylinder.
As the explosion occurs inside the cylinder, another sensor might keep track of the heat delivered by the explosion, if there are leaks in the piston rings, and when the piston reaches its lowest point in the cylinder.
While all this information is coming in and being compared, the PCM will be dedicating some of its resources to repeating the same process in the next cylinder set in the firing order. If a fault occurs, other resources within the PCM will be used to let the driver know there is a problem by activating one or more lights on the dashboard.
That’s a lot of work for one tiny computer, isn’t it? While you can expect the sensors attached to the PCM to fail more often than the computer itself, they can cause it to send out wrong instructions, or, worse yet, cause the PCM to shut your vehicle down entirely. In the scenario listed above, here are some problems that can occur.
These problems can occur regardless of whether an EMP strikes. In addition, if an EMP occurs, damage to the computer chips or those found in the sensors can also generate false readings or no readings at all. Either way, your vehicle may not run, or be ruined because the computer will give directions that can cause the engine to seize up and fail.
- If the plug is fouled or does not fire, that will be transmitted to the PCM. An error code will be generated that will cause the check engine light on your dashboard to light up.
- If the sensors itself is failing and transmits that the plug is misfiring, it will also cause the PCM to generate a system fault.
- If an EMP strike affects this or some other sensor that, in turn, damages part of the PCM, it may cause the cylinders to fire out of order. It may also reduce coolant flow (modern automobile computers send less coolant through a newly started or cold engine so that it heats up faster), which can cause the engine to overheat and seize up. If you think about all the things that can cause an engine to seize up or fail, chances are you will find at least on sensor that leads back to the PCM. Each of these sensors can very easily cause the engine to seize up via the PCM or other computers attached to it.
Perhaps off topic, but I am inclined to disagree with the view that a motor vehicle that is not running during an EMP and has the battery out should survive the blast. Others claim it is impossible for the computer to cause the engine or transmission to seize up and fail completely.
Remember, an EMP pulse can propagate without the benefit of a physical medium such as a wire or other direct connection. If your vehicle is near a power line or anything else that can conduct electricity, the computer can be ruined by the EMP. The safe distance from the power line will depend on the magnitude of the EMP and the capacity of the conducting medium.
In essence, the stronger the EMP, the further away your vehicle will have to be from transmission sources to remain safe. Do some research on wireless power transmission, a technology envisioned by Tesla and on the verge of changing how we receive electricity from centralized sources.
What Does the PCM Do in Your Specific Vehicle?
Depending on the age, make, and model of your vehicle, the PCM may do relatively little, or it may replace important parts that were once mainstays in motor vehicles. As a general rule of thumb, the newer your vehicle is, the more integrated the PCM will be.
For example, almost all vehicles on the market right now still have camshafts (these determine when valves open and close). It is entirely possible, however, to see camshaft free vehicles widely available to consumers in the next 5 – 10 years. Instead of a camshaft (which you can fix or replace as needed), these newer vehicles use hydraulic pumps that are, in turn, controlled by the engine control unit (aka ECU).
Before you decide to remove the PCM, look at the shop manual that should be available through the manufacturer. This book should tell you exactly what the PCM does in your vehicle, all the other computers it connects to, and the sensors involved in the chain of information.
If you are in the market for a new or used vehicle that you might want to retrofit to get rid of the computers, it will help to have a look at the manufacturer’s shop manual. As you read through the shop manual, flow charts including the following information:
- The name of each sensor, the module it reports to, and what it reports.
- Other information that is reported to the same module from other sensors.
- Where the module reports next in the chain. Keep following this chain until it goes directly back to one of the major parts of the PCM. Also note any side chains that may report to another module elsewhere in the system.
- Continue following each line of the flow chart until you reach an actual component that does tangible work in the vehicle. For example, you will know you have completed the trail when you hit something that instructs a motor to turn, a valve to open, or a hydraulic pump to work.
- If there are RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips or other ties not entirely related directly to engine performance, this is how you will find them.
Once you have made a complete chart of the sensors and modules within the vehicle, it will be easier to see how they all connect to each other. Bypassing one sensors may, in fact, entail bypassing several others so that the vehicle runs properly. If the PCM is highly integrated into the transmission and braking systems, you may have to do the entire overhaul at one time.
Alternatively, you may want to consult some open source vehicle retrofitting sites to see if there are workaround micro controllers that transmit information to the PCM even though the sensors and other parts no longer exist.
Make sure that your vehicle is safe to operate during the time period when one part of the PCM is present, but another is not. Fortunately, if your main concern is getting rid of automated remote shutoff RFIDs or other devices that can be used to control your vehicle remotely, bypassing them may not impact the overall functionality and safety of the vehicle.
Common Systems and Replacement Options
The Air to Fuel Ratio
If your vehicle has fuel injectors, then the air to fuel mixture will be controlled by some kind of computer. The only thing you can do, based on older technology, is to replace the fuel injectors with a carburetor.
If there is not enough space between the top of the engine and the hood, you may need to cut a hole in the hood to accommodate the added height of the carburetor.
If you replace the fuel injector system, the carburetor will also control the idle speed. Unlike fuel injector systems, you will have full, easy control of the idle speed when using a carburetor. If the idle is too fast or too slow, just turn the idle adjustment screw.
In modern vehicles with PCMs, you cannot adjust the idle speed at all, and will have to take the vehicle to a mechanic that has the kind of computers onhand that can communicate with the PCM and make the necessary adjustments.
At the simplest, modern electronic ignition systems use sensors to monitor a magnet spinning on the distributor shaft. Transistors and other solid state devices (which you will recall are highly sensitive to EMPs) initiate high current flow through a coil, which then causes the spark plug to emit a spark. This whole process is controlled by the PCM or a related module.
You would need to install a mechanical based distributor in place of the electronic ignition system and then adjust the timing manually as needed. A mechanical distributor basically has a “cap and rotor” assembly on top of the distributor. The rotor has a piece of metal in the middle that accepts current from the distributor, and a small metal bit of metal on the outer edge. The cap has one metal bit for each spark plug that will be activated by the distributor.
As the rotor spins, the two pieces of metal meet and electricity from the distributor passes through the rotor, into the cap, down the spark plug wire, and into the spark plug. Once the metal on the rotor passes the metal point on the cap, no power is available for that spark plug until the metal on the rotor spins back into position.
Along with the distributor, you would also need to add a vacuum advance to the ignition system.
On a mechanical distributor system, the firing order is determined by the position of a gear which drives the distributor. This gear, in turn, is driven by the camshaft.
In order to avoid backfires or other symptoms of misfiring, the cables that connect the distributor to the spark plugs must be in the right order. If you do not have a repair manual that indicates the cylinder designations for each point on the distributor cap, and the firing order, you will have to find them manually.
Video first seen on HOWSTUFFINMYCARWORKS.
Modern camshaft systems use the ECU to control how much the exhaust and intake valves open as well as when they do so in the timing sequence.
Changing this system to remove the computer control will depend largely on how the camshaft is constructed and how the camshaft lobe is designed. Since different manufacturers use different methods for arriving at variable valve timing systems, you will need to look at the system for your car and take it from there.
Basically, anti-lock braking systems use a sensor that detects when the wheel stops spinning, yet the vehicle itself keeps moving forward. Because locked wheels prevent steering, the first priority is to get the wheels turning again so that traction can be restored. Since most people slam the brakes when they feel the vehicle skid, they make the situation worse.
ABS systems automatically release the brakes and then re-apply them so that there is a balance between braking and traction control. You should be able to remove the sensors, and also the control module that connects to the pump that provides power assist while braking.
Just remember that you may need to do some additional work to restore full control between the brake pedal and the master cylinder.
Automatic Transmission Gear Switching
Even though you may remove the ECU, some parts of the TCU may still be looking for input from the ECU. As a result, you may also need to make some changes to the transmission so that it can run without input from a computer module. First, you can completely change the automatic transmission out for a manual one. This can be a difficult task, especially if you cannot find a compatible transmission.
Building one from the ground up would take access to metal working equipment, plus the experience required to build a fairly complicated system. Since you may also want to eliminate as many motors as possible in the vehicle, switching to a manual transmission may prove to be the best option.
Your other option may be to install an older style cable that controls the transmission directly based on the position of the gas pedal.
Essentially, the transmission has a throttle valve that connects to the gas paddle via a cable. When you press on the gas, more pressure is exerted on the throttle valve. This, in turn, initiates changes in the hydraulic system within the transmission to engage or disengage different gears.
Have you ever shut the engine of your vehicle, and then realized that you needed to open or close the window?
If so, then you can readily understand what the rest of your vehicle will feel like when some part of the PCM is damaged or destroyed by an EMP. Without question, electronic windows are as dangerous as they are problematic to preppers that want a safe, reliable vehicle.
In order to change electronic windows for manual ones, you will need to find and install a window crank system that will fit inside the door compartment of your vehicle.
If the window system is deeply integrated into an anti-theft device which integrates with the PCM, you may have to disabled any number of sensors and auxiliary control modules so that the vehicle will start up and run properly.
You will more than likely need to change the lock on the door as well as install a manual lock system. This includes an internal door latch that will allow you to open the door from the inside.
Considering how dangerous electronic doors are if you happen to get locked inside, making this change should be a top priority even if you aren’t concerned about EMP proofing at this time. As with electronic windows, you may have to disable parts of the PCM or the BCM in order to get the vehicle to operate.
Since most modern vehicles don’t have crash avoidance systems, the computer integration may be at about the same level as in the braking system. You may need to do without power steering, mainly because this is yet another motor that can be damaged by an EMP.
Are you going to let another year go by without doing something to EMP proof your car? In all probability, this will be the year I begin the process of rebuilding and retrofitting a more modern vehicle to one that will be EMP proof.
Please comment in the section below on this topic so that we can all be encouraged to be better and more confident preppers in the arena of transportation!
This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.
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Ever thought about a ‘mobile’ bug-out with a travel trailer or RV? Pros? Cons? For many, purchasing another home or piece of property away from ‘the city’ or dense suburbs to have as a ‘bug-out location’ is unattainable. Given a worst-case-scenario whereby a bug-out to a safer location is or would be a matter of […]
8 Military Bug Out Vehicles YOU Can Own Modern society has over 80% of the population in urban areas. That means that most of us reading are probably within the vicinity of a metropolitan area. Being a prepper you know you may not survive in such a densely populated area. Many of us have begun …
What is a Bug Out Vehicle? When the SHTF (shit hits the fan) or TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) happens, there are several ways to respond. You could panic and die like a meek sheep. You could “bug in” at your already prepped (and secure) home. Or you could “bug out” of the place you currently live and head to a predetermined safe place. If you choose the “bug out” option, then you will need a vehicle that can haul your family–and any supplies you need for the journey–to your desired destination. THIS is a “Bug Out Vehicle.”
There is no perfect overall bug out vehicle, but there are many different options. Base your choice on your budget, where you’ll be running from, your bug out destination, how many people you’ll be transporting, and how much stuff you’ll be carrying with you. The unconventional bug out vehicle is our focus in this post. But before we get to those, let’s mention the standard ones.
Standard Bug Out Vehicle
I’ve seen some really cool DIY bug out vehicles:
All of these standard bug out vehicles have pros and cons. There are many sites that cover them. You can click on some of the links above to get more information.
Unconventional Bug Out Vehicle
Regardless of what SHTF event happens, if you don’t get out of town fast all of the major roads are going to be jammed. Because of this, let’s look at some unconventional bug out vehicle options that don’t involve roads.
Bug Out Railroad Vehicle
When the roads are jam-packed, the fastest land routes between cities will probably be the railroads. I don’t mean train travel, but rather a custom-made railroad vehicle. Imagine a bicycle that can be easily put on and pulled off the tracks, or a small cart zipping down the track as quickly as possible. There is a huge web-like railroad infrastructure criss-crossing the whole country. Wherever you’re going, you can probably get close by taking a railway. Plan your route ahead of time with this Interactive Railroad Map.
The first time I heard of the railroad bug out vehicle option was when I read about a bug out railroad bike; a mountain bike that had a small frame like a boat outrigger on the side of it, and a guide on the front wheel to keep you from having to steer. I’ve seen frames made out of aluminum tubes (and even PVC pipes) attached to different types of bicycles. Talk about a cheap bug out vehicle. A railroad bike may be the best bug out transportation to get if you’re on a tight budget. Here is a nice two seater one. And here’s a link to a guy who fabricates rail wheels.
A quick search on YouTube will result in several options. Here is a cool rail bike made with PVC:
But if you don’t feel like pedaling, you might prefer a bug out railroad cart instead. These are custom made platforms with rail wheels and typically a lawn mower engine on the back to propel it. The down side to these is that they do not typically have standard wheels on them, so you are confined to the railroad tracks, which could be problematic if you see trouble (or a train) coming toward you.
Here is a YouTube video of a cool rail cart:
Now if you are not interested in building a bug out vehicle for yourself, why not see if you can find a bug out vehicle kits to attach to one of your existing vehicles. I’ve seen maintenance trucks with a special guide on the front and back. Here is a video of a homemade golf cart on a railroad.
It sure would be awesome if you could get guides like this to fit on a Polaris RZR!!
Bug Out Powered Paraglider
I’ve always wanted to learn how to fly a powered paraglider, but I live in a big city (Houston) where there really isn’t a place to do this without going down to the coast, which is about an hour’s drive. Not a very practical bug out option for me. But if I lived in a less crowded area (and wasn’t worried about transporting a family) I’d be all over this. A powered paraglider would be a sweet bug out vehicle for one or two people. You could clip a small bug out bag on the front of your body and fly above everyone else on your way out of Dodge. I’m sure you could figure out some interesting bug out vehicle accessories for this. They would need to be small and light.
Here are a couple YouTube videos to get you excited:
Bug Out Rowboat
So what if you lived along the coastline or near a large river? Large waterways could be great escape routes. Have you ever heard of an ocean rowboat? Talk about a legit survival vessel. There are people who use them to row all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, from one continent to another. Now this isn’t exactly for everyone, but say you lived and worked in New York and your family was off the coast in South Carolina. Could you imagine trying to get to them by taking the roads through Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC? You would be torn apart by politicians!
Take a boat, instead. Move it from storage to the water under the darkness of night and head out to sea. These vessels have a small sleeping compartment in the back. They have plenty of airtight storage space, and they are easy to maneuver. I know what you’re thinking. Why not a high powered motorboat or a comfortable sailboat? Think of this setup as your own personal post-apocalyptic gym.
Here are some links so you can find out more information:
If your plan is to bug out in the event of societal collapse, you should put plenty of thought into the type of bug out vehicle you need. What is your budget? What kind of terrain will you encounter between the place you’re leaving and your bug out destination? How many people will you need to move from here to there? And how much supply stash will you need to carry? After taking all of that into account, a standard bug out vehicle may not be your best choice. You might need to think outside the box and give an unconventional bug out transportation option a try.
Alternative Transportation Bob Hawkins “The APN Report” Listen in player below! Being prepared in this day & age means more than preparing your habitat for crisis, it also means prepping your mobility. Our entire lives revolve around the automobile, our towns & cities accommodate it, or livelihood depends upon mobility, even the food we eat … Continue reading Alternative Transportation!
Is This the Ultimate Bug Out Vehicle? In a SHTF situation, you might want to be as isolated as possible. A getaway vehicle that doubles as living space would be ideal in this situation. Unfortunately, an RV will stick out like a sore thumb, not to mention they are gas guzzlers that can’t stray from …
Police use them and the military has used bicycles, (bikes) for decades, as well, so why not you. As the saying goes, you are not someone on wheels, but someone with wheels and wheels may be just what you need when you cannot drive a motor vehicle and also need the stealth that can only come from a bike that doesn’t make noise.
There are updated civilian versions of a “Paratrooper Bike” that was used by the U.S. military.
Consider a mountain bike before you would a bike designed for speed, such as a racing bike. A mountain bike, of course, is designed for rough terrain and would get along nicely on city streets as well, unlike a racing bike that simply could not stand up to the rigors of a rough trail.
You can buy folding bikes that can be transported by car so if the SHTF fan while at the office and you cannot use your vehicle you do have wheels.
Pros: Using a Bike for Bugging Out
1.) Quiet, so you can move around at night or during the day without leaving a noise signature.
2.) No fumes, from an exhaust system, so it again can be used when stealth is important. People sometimes forget that your nose is important in a survival situation and gas fumes can linger for hours indicating someone is or has been in the area.
3.) Portable and even more so if you have a folding bike, which would make it ideal as a get home bike if at work or even to escape work for parts unknown?
4.) Help keep you in shape, as well.
5.) Can weave in and out of stalled vehicles, go off road and use hiking trails to get around, get around literally the entire country if need be using well-marked trails. A mountain bike can be used on city streets as well. You can go where cars simply cannot, so you can escape the urban sprawl if you need to.
1.) You have to be in relatively good shape because remember you will be carrying supplies in most cases.
2.) Cannot carry a lot of gear, but more than you can on your back if you load it right.
3.) You are exposed. You have no protection from the weather or gunfire and you cannot use a bike for a shelter unless you use it to drape or attach a tarp.
4.) You need to carry spare parts, in particular tubes, tools, and a patch kit.
We mentioned before that you need to be in decent shape. You cannot just start out on a mountain trek without working up to it. When the SHTF, however, it is too late to work up to anything, you have to be ready, so start now getting in shape for bike riding.
You can modify your bike by adding brackets to attach a shotgun or rifle, for example, but make sure you do it right. You do not want to lose a weapon because of faulty brackets. You may not be able to stop and retrieve it, in some cases.
Experiment with packs, baskets, and maybe even small carts that can be pulled behind, to better carry your gear.
The post Using a Bicycle for a Bug Out Vehicle: Some Pros and Cons appeared first on Preparing for shtf.
Seeing that we spend a lot of our time driving around, we can be trapped in our vehicles at any time due to various unpredictable on-the-road events. Having a vehicle survival kit in your car can save the day when no one else is around to give you a helping hand. Sinkholes, rollovers, natural disasters … Read more…
The post Build your vehicle survival kit for on-the-road emergencies was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.
A world without fuel is a doomed world and only a few will manage to survive without running a generator or any other useful gas-powered equipment. Having a gas cache will prove useful regardless the survival situation you need to overcome. You may need gas for your bug out vehicle or you may need it … Read more…
We know that the big one is coming. We prepare ourselves to survive by having enough food & water, medical supplies and other things on hand but we also need to protect ourselves from all.
Protecting yourself and your Family at home from violence, intruders, Terrorist groups and more has become one of the highest priorities these days. So what areas should one begin to protect? Entry ways & Windows! There are various ways intruders can penetrate a home or business but most common are Doors and Windows. Violators will most likely act quickly by blasting down a door or shooting down windows. It is important to know what economical Bullet Resistant materials to use and how to easily install them. Here is what you can use to make a normal door Bullet Resistant.
Triad Security Solutions has developed a UL Level 3 Bullet Resistant Door Guard that can be installed on any normal door in 15 minutes making it bullet resistant. The BR Door Guard covers 75% of a standard size door and covers the most important areas that a gunman will most likely shoot at. The BR Door Guard shown below absorbed 120 bullets shot from a 38 special, 9mm, 357 mag, 40 caliber, 44 mag and 12 gauge slug and pellet. None of these rounds penetrated the BR Door Guard.
This same product has been made available to public and private schools, colleges to protect the students and teachers from a Gunman.
Triad Security Solutions also outfitted the cabin area with the same Level 3 Bullet resistant material for Jim Delozier’s well known
Triad built the BR Door Guard to be affordable for everyone. Unlike Level 3 Bullet Resistant Doors that cost from $4,500 – $7,500 installed, the BR Door Guard retails for $1,399.00. The Door Guard comes with (10) TamperPruf Security Screw and (10) predrilled holes for easy and quick installation. Wood grain laminate is used to cover the BR Material and can be painted or stained to fit home or office décor.
As an introductory offer Triad is offering American Preppers Network members a 10% discount ($140.00) and FREE Shipping ($100.00).
To survive an apocalyptic scenario requires imagination: many of the steps you take in preparation for a sudden change in your way of life come from thinking about abstract eventualities. You may not be able to perfectly replicate the resources that big movie heroes use to prevail in hard times, but such fictions are a […]
Whatever type of situation occurs to bring about a major disruption to our way of life, chances are it won’t be quite what we expected. The end of the world might not be as grim as described in modern fiction, but it will surely become a race for survival. Of course, each of us has … Read more…
What if you could design a completely independent motor home that uses solar power or grid power to charge batteries to provide engine power, a dehydration system for water and hydroponics for food?
Much like what kind of firearm you should own, or what should go into a proper bug out bag, most preppers could endlessly debate the qualities needed in a bug out vehicle. And like any debate among preppers, there is no definitive answer. The perfect vehicle for you will vary depending on your preferences, circumstances, abilities, and experiences. There isn’t a single type of vehicle that is perfect for anyone.
In the future however, there may be a new type of engine that just about every prepper will want in their vehicle. I say “in the future” because this setup was only recently invented by a man in San Antonio named Josh “Mac” MacDowell, albeit for very non-prepper reasons (though he’s not the first person to come up with this idea). Rather than an internal combustion engine, he wants to place a stirling engine in his vehicle.
I’ve written about the stirling engine and its potential uses for preppers before. It was invented in the early 1800’s as a safer alternative to the steam engine, but it never caught on. Thought it’s rugged, simple, easy to maintain, and has stellar fuel efficiency, the engine doesn’t work very well on a larger scale. Its motion is reliant on its ability to exchange heat between the engine and the air, so if the engine is too big, it will struggle to shed heat.
It also can’t shift into different speeds very quickly, which is why it never caught on in the car industry. Not that they wouldn’t be interested. The stirling engine has a fuel efficiency that’s about three times better than a gasoline combustion engine. Unfortunately the stirling takes a really long time to heat up or cool down, both of which determine how fast the engine is running. Those technical hurdles were too much for car companies to overcome.
However, those hurdles are no longer a problem with the technology that’s available to us today. Here’s what stirling engine is capable of, once it’s combined with a hybrid vehicle:
Though mechanically sound, the Stirling engine never caught on in the 1800s, with most businesses choosing to use steam engines for their industrial applications. NASA even experimented with the engine in the early 1980’s, and was able to achieve 54 miles per gallon, but the Space Agency never went any further with the technology. MacDowell borrowed one of these Stirling engines from NASA and began experimenting with it to see if he could use the regenerative engine with 21st-century automotive know-how.
MacDowell coupled the engine with existing hybrid technology, creating a system that will deliver 58 miles per gallon to a Ford F-150 and at least 100 miles per gallon in a smaller SUV. In his model, the Stirling engine runs at a fixed RPM generating electricity that is used to charge the batteries, which drive motors that propel the vehicle.
Using this thermopile technology, a Stirling-powered vehicle can drive at highway speeds without having to recharge. MacDowell also redesigned the Stirling engine to have the dimensions and appearance of a standard four-cylinder engine, making it compatible with existing automobiles. His idea was so brilliant that Texas A&M University became involved in the project, providing MacDowell with technical expertise and a testing environment to aid in the development of the engine.
By using the stirling engine as a generator to power the batteries, as opposed to directly powering the car, this bypasses pretty much all of the problems with the engine. Nothing but the benefits, such as the insanely good fuel efficiency, remain. MacDowell believes that if his experiments are successful, then his setup could replace the internal combustion for most applications in the near future.
So what else could this vehicle provide to preppers, other than giving a vehicle the ability to drive across the continental US on a single tank of gas (which MacDowell intends to demonstrate in a few months)?
For starters, it would be a stealthy car. You could turn the engine off and just run on the batteries if you found yourself in a hairy situation. Second, you would have a power generator everywhere you go, and a massive battery bank to charge whatever electronic devices that you brought with you. If you tried doing that with an ordinary non-hybrid vehicle, you would run the risk of burning out the lead acid battery.
The greatest advantage however, would be the versatility of the stirling engine itself. Since that engine runs on an external heat source, as opposed to an internal combustion engine, you could use pretty much any fuel source you can imagine. You could pour gasoline, diesel, bio-diesel, kerosene, or alcohol in the tank. With a few modifications, you could run natural gas or propane as well.
Though this certainly wasn’t MacDowel’s intention, he’s basically created the perfect prepper car. If there ever comes a time when our society collapses for a prolonged period, and fuel is both scarce and varied, a hybrid car with a stirling engine would be the last car on the road to “run out of gas”, so to speak.
Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.
Joshua’s website is Strange Danger
This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition
Tundra and 2004 Ford 350 FXL Super duty as BOV Barney Whistance Every prepper knows the importance of having a good Bug Out Vehicle (BOV). Not everyone can afford to take out a new car, but fret not there are plenty of good options available in the second-hand market. One of the best options is … Continue reading The Tundra and Super Duty as a BOV
You’re Bug-Out Vehicle Preparing and Packing Most preppers know that even if a full-fledged bug out from their home location is not called for today, there will be plenty of times in the near future when they could be stranded in their car or will be in an emergency situation while driving or within reach … Continue reading You’re Bug-Out Vehicle Preparing and Packing!
Since I’m an avid promoter of off-grid living and an outdoor enthusiast, I try to discover and share new things that would make life easier for those who love these types of lifestyle. Something caught my attention this week and I decided to share my findings with my readers. This new invention is called the … Read more…
The post Honey Badger Wheel: Amazing All-terrain Solution for off-gridders and preppers was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.
You have, of course, heard the expression about putting all of your eggs in one basket. Carry that thinking over to your bug-out-vehicle, your BOV if you will. If you pin all of your hopes on your vehicle during a crisis, you may be putting your survival at risk in some cases.
Imagine your BOV is packed top to bottom with your emergency essentials, and you can only get a few miles down the road. A vehicle packed with much more than you could ever possibly carry in a pack, and at this point caching your supplies is out of the question as well. What do you do if you can’t drive?
In some cases, it may make more sense to have a bug-out-vehicle hidden somewhere other than at your home, at a bug-out-location perhaps or some other place. This sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it.
It makes sense, because if the situation is so dire that you have to bug-out, chances are you will not be able to leave in a vehicle. A situation that causes you to flee your home may very well have damaged roads or the fact that everyone else is trying to flee the area, and thus, creating gridlock. Now you have a vehicle packed top to bottom and you cannot leave in it, and yet you have to leave to save your life.
The only option is to leave on foot, and how comforting would it be to realize that you do have a vehicle at the ready somewhere away from the disaster are, vehicle at the ready with some supplies cached close by or even in the vehicle if it is hidden well enough.
Once at your safe haven or even a few miles outside of the urban sprawl, you have options if you have a vehicle that you can walk too, but if you tried to leave in one at the onset it may very well be abandoned somewhere along the route, because of conditions caused by a disaster. An abandoned vehicle with supplies inside that you could not carry nor cache.
You have to reverse the process to create a situation away from the destruction. However, you have to plan carefully and have a location in which you feel comfortable. Once at the location with a vehicle at the ready, you have given yourself more options. You can hunker down there or move from that area.
The vehicle can be at a trusted friends or family members’ home or hidden on some property that you own, or have complete access to at any time. This is no small feat by any means, but bugging out with a vehicle and only being able to go a few miles is not a problem you can overcome, so you have to eliminate the problem before it is created.
Obviously, you have to choose your vehicle carefully. It needs to be big enough to accommodate your gear and passengers and well maintained to ensure it will operate when needed. Keep in mind your vehicle may have to double as a shelter for several days or even longer, as well.
No one really knows what an EMP will do to any vehicle and guessing is only going to get you into trouble, so the older the vehicle the better, and one that looks like it is ready for the salvage yard might keep people from investigating it too closely if they happen upon it by chance. A shiny new rig hidden under some Camo netting is a beacon in the night.
Keep the gas tank empty when parking it, but, of course, have gasoline/diesel cached close at hand and use a fuel stabilizer to keep the fuel fresh. One reason for emptying the tank is to keep someone from driving off with your vehicle and to prevent the fuel from deteriorating in the tank and lines and literally gumming up the works.
This plan is not for everyone, and once the SHTF any plans will likely change, but knowing you have a vehicle and supplies cached somewhere can save your life.
The post Bugout Vehicle: What do You do if You Can’t Drive? appeared first on Preparing for shtf.
As the eastern seaboard remains in an unbelievable state of chaos due to Winter Storm Jonas, I cannot help but think back to times and places where we didn’t bother to name “winter storms”. We dealt with temperatures in the double digits below freezing along with 8+ feet of snow and didn’t descend into mindless panic that prompts politicians to call for driving curfews and such.
Here are some tips based on my experiences over decades of driving on snowy/icy mountain, town, city, highway, and thruway roads. Regardless of day or night, heavy traffic or none, whiteouts or sleet – I have never needed a 4 x 4, (most of those years I drove a manual with front wheel drive), fancy computers, or halogen headlights, let alone a tow truck.
Make Sure You Are Ready for the Journey
The first thing you must do is be prepared at all levels to drive in the snow. This means mentally you must be focused and determined to make it home safe and sound. If you are tired or hungry, take a nap and get something to eat first, even if it is in the back seat of your vehicle (don’t idle the vehicle, but do use blankets and hand warmers).
Remember, the storm isn’t going anywhere, and you aren’t going to be able to outrun it. Even a 15 – 20 minute power nap can mean an enormous difference in your ability to manage snow glare and other problems that will cause more fatigue than expected. The rest time also gives you a chance to refocus away from what you were doing before driving home so that you can more effectively shift gears to focus only on your driving.
Some foods are better than others when it comes to a position where you might be on the road for several hours. Much of this time will actually be very tedious, slow work, so you are best served by choosing foods and beverages that will keep you alert without giving you a buzz.
Since each person is different, I can only say that some people can do well enough with a cup of coffee and some fruit. I personally recommend decaf coffee/tea or fruit juice. Most people will actually be too buzzed by power drinks and not realize that the “energized” feeling is actually a stress response that will slow down your reflexes and make it harder to concentrate on monotonous but critical details.
Your next task will be to put all thoughts of time aside. Call family, friends, co-workers, or anyone else that is expecting you to arrive at your destination. Let them know an approximate time, but explain that it could take 2 – 3x or more time before you arrive. It is better to be late than never get there at all or wind up injured. At least when others know you are on the way and may be late, it will take off some of the external pressure that might cause you to move faster than is safe for the weather conditions.
Next, shut off the cell phone. The last thing you will need is the phone to ring or a text to come in. If you get stuck or see an accident that needs to be reported, make sure you are fully stopped and then turn on the phone to make your call. As with any other kind of driving, there is never anything coming in via your phone that is important enough to warrant having it on, let alone using it while you are in the driver’s seat.
Once you are ready to get started, take a moment to center yourself mentally, emotionally and yes… spiritually. Start off with a prayer before you start the engine or do whatever it is you need to do in order to feel safe and confident that you are going to make it to your destination without mishap.
This won’t make you invincible, but it will give you a point of reference and help you stay calm when you visually lose the road, you have to make it down a steep decline, or you suddenly go into a skid. That point of calm is absolutely essential, because without it – all you have left is panic- and when you panic – the snow wins and you get hurt or die.
Make Sure Your Car Is Ready for the Journey
Perhaps in some ways, preparing your vehicle for driving in the snow is easier than preparing yourself. Here are the basics:
- Check all oils and fluids to make sure they are at appropriate levels. This includes making sure that you have windshield fluid that will not cloud up or freeze up in colder temperatures.
- Keep spare blankets, flares, ropes, kitty litter (in case you get stuck and need traction under the driving wheels), flashlights, food, water, hot packs, a snow shovel that can cut through ice, an ice scraper, extra heavy gloves, and driving chains in the vehicle.
- Make sure that your tires are not overly worn and that they are suitable for the conditions you will be driving in. For most cases these days, all weather tires will work well enough. If you are going on mountain roads or other complex terrain, use snow tires. Together with that, always check the air pressure in the tires before starting off.
- Always keep your windshield wipers in good shape. An annoying line in the windshield when it rains can be catastrophic in the snow or a whiteout.
- Choose a radio station that will deliver traffic alerts and also relaxing music. Choose music that will keep you awake and alert without adding to your stress levels or music that encourages you to move faster.
What Your Vehicle Can and Can’t Do For You
In these days, many people buy 4×4 vehicles or ones with all kinds of fancy computer navigation systems that are supposed to prevent accidents in the snow or on the ice. Sadly, these same people forget that it is their foot on the gas or brake, and their hands on the steering wheel. The computer can only compensate so much, but in the end, nothing can violate the laws of nature and motion.
There are few things people don’t know about what their vehicle can and cannot do in the snow. Even if you know this, remember, other drivers may not, and they can endanger your life with their excess speed or insistence on driving distracted:
- Anti-lock brakes will not prevent a skid. In fact, anti-lock brakes only kick in when your vehicle begins to skid. This system can get the wheels turning, which in turn builds traction. Depending on the speed you are going, this may or may not reduce the skid length enough to prevent you from hitting something or going into a ditch.
- There is no guarantee that you will skid only in one direction. Even though modern steering systems are designed to favor a pull to the right and roads are sloped so that you will angle to the right, that does not mean your vehicle will go that way in a skid. Your direction of travel depends on the direction the driving wheels were pointing when they locked up and the speed you were traveling.
- The traction off light is not a reliable warning that a skid is about to happen. In fact, the traction off light may only go on when your vehicle is already in a skid and there is no way to prevent it from happening.
- Computer systems can’t predict the location of black ice or any other slippery condition any better than you can. They cannot slow the car down for you, nor can they take over and steer out of it on your behalf.
- Even though some vehicles can shift drive power to different wheels, that does not mean the new driving wheel will have any better traction than the others. In addition, by the time the switch over happens, you will have already lost valuable time that could have been spent working out of the skid.
- There is no such thing as a computer, drive system, or other feature that can compensate for a loss of traction let alone the consequences. This includes the kind of minor slippage that people don’t pay attention to and tend to believe means they can just use longer distances when stopping. The fact of the matter is if your vehicle does not have the best possible traction, you are going too fast and you are also far more likely to skid. The extra 5 – 10 miles of our faster travel can cost your life or the lives of others.
- There is no substitute for slowing down and taking your time. Even if you have to crawl along at 3 – 5 miles an hour or just barely keep your wheels moving, you will get where you need to go.
12 Basic Driving Tips
Here are some basic things you should always know how to do when driving in the snow and ice:
- To preserve night vision, put your sun visor down. If the clouds are very heavy at night, you will get a pink sky that is more than bright enough to see by. It can also rob you of vital night vision because of still high contrast between the snow and other land features.
- When driving in day hours, use UV protect sunglasses. This will cut down on the glare and also eye fatigue. If you wear prescription glasses, consider getting ones with a good quality anti-glare coat. These glasses are also indispensable for night driving in the snow.
- If you are driving in areas with oncoming traffic, turn your eyes so that you are looking more to the lower right instead of at their headlights. You should still be able to see the road and the other vehicle in your peripheral vision.
- Do not stare at the light path created by your lights, and try to avoid high beams.
- If the lines on the road are invisible, look to the sides for the location of guardrails or signs that will act as markers. As long as you keep within those points, you will be either on the road itself or close to the shoulder. If another vehicle comes along, ease over gradually and gently to let them pass if they wish. Do not speed up or move suddenly, or it can put you into a skid.
- Wind and increased snowfall can cause sudden whiteouts. The best thing you can do in this situation is slow down to a crawl and put your hazards on. Keep your foot on the brake just enough to engage the brake lights. Most whiteouts will only last for a few minutes, however they spell disaster for many drivers that try to drive at normal speed or forget to make their vehicle as visible as possible. Sadly, pulling off to the side of the road is not the best answer, unless you can get into a driveway, turnaround area, or a parking lot where vehicles coming up from behind aren’t likely to slam into you.
- Even though you may have a full whiteout in front of you, you should still be able to see some road markers to the right side, so use those to stay as much on the road as possible. If you get onto the shoulder, you will feel that in the wheels. It should also be noted that some mountain roads have lines cut into the pavement on the shoulder that will make a distinct sound as you go over it. This can help you navigate turns even when you can’t see anything at all. Unfortunately, roads with this feature are few and far between, however if you are on them, use them to your advantage.
- If you have a line of cars behind you, ease over, stop, and let them pass. You will always get a few nuts in the bunch that are talking on the cell phone, in a hurry, have no respect for the laws of nature, or are so panicked they are trying to outrun the storm. Let them pass along with the rest of the crowd so that they don’t involve you in an accident.
- In most areas, snow plows will clear one lane more than the other. Use that lane and then use the uneven area as your driving landmark.
- Do everything you can to avoid making a full stop, unless you are at an actual stop sign. Drop down to a crawl so that you can wait for lights to turn green, and do what you can to let the weight of the engine allow you to come to a natural stop if needed. Nothing creates skids faster than braking. Even if you can keep your wheels just turning, you will have better traction and better control.
- If you must make a full stop before making a turn, do not simply start turning the steering wheel because you will go into a skid. Let your vehicle’s tires make at least one full rotation before turning the wheel. Turn gradually and make sure that you always feel tire traction. If traction becomes lighter, ease gently off the gas and stop turning the wheel. When you regain better traction, you can turn the wheel some more and gently accelerate.
- Use the weight of the vehicles engine to increase traction. If you are fortunate enough to be driving a vehicle with a manual transmission, just drop one gear down. For example, if your gear shift has 5th as your overdrive or highway gear, drop down to 4 or even 3 if you are going that slowly. Some automatic transmissions can also be geared down, however it will put more wear on the transmission. Remember that if you do use the engine’s weight to avoid a skid, you will also have more weight added to your forward momentum if you do actually skid. This means your car will move forward further and faster. In short, before you assume that you know how to gear down and manage a skid, be sure to practice so that you know what to expect. There are going to be times when you will, in fact, have to gear down, however you must also know how to use that tool.
Video first seen on Dan Robinson
Surviving a Skid
No matter how hard you try, there are going to be times when your vehicle skids. When this happens, you must know how to get out of the skid and what to expect, and instructions for getting out of a rear wheel drive skid are different than for front and 4×4. In my experience with front wheel drives, do the following:
- First, do not panic and do not hit the brakes. Your wheels are already locked up, applying the brakes will only make the situation worse. Do not pull the parking brake either, as this will lock up your back wheels too. Always remember that hitting the brakes in response to the first stage of a skid will cause your car to spin around instead of go straight.
- Do not disengage the transmission or try to put the vehicle in neutral hoping that it will slow the vehicle down. All this will accomplish is to disengage the engine and cause the weight to shift, which makes yet another variable to try and compensate for. In a skid, it is important to make things as simple as possible so that you can use whatever traction you regain to the best advantage.
- Very gradually ease off the gas until you are off completely. Do not do so suddenly because you will disrupt the engine weight too suddenly, and this will make it harder for the tires to regain traction.
- Do not turn the wheel in the opposite direction of the skid. Instead, steer ever so slightly into the same direction. This will put more the car into better alignment which will help all 4 wheels regain traction. If your wheels and vehicle are straight in alignment with the direction of the skid, give the wheel a slow, slight tug in either direction to see if you can gain some traction. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell where the ice begins or ends that caused the skid. It is truly a matter of luck to find a place where your tires will grip before you hit something or the vehicle stops under its own weight. Always remember that, for a front wheel drive, trying to steer in the opposite direction of the skid is the second part of what will cause your car to spin around in circles or spiral completely out of control.
- Once you feel traction, use steady, gradual motion to turn the wheel the direction you want to go. Do not turn too fast or the overcompensation will cause the vehicle to fishtail. Once you feel the wheels turn and grip in the desired direction, you can gradually begin to apply the brakes.
- You can expect at least some fishtailing. Work through it with gradual motions just as you did the skid.
Oddly enough, the best way to survive a skid is to get plenty of practice with navigating them. This includes making sure that you know what your vehicle’s full traction feels like. You can learn a lot about this when driving in the rain. If you are out in the beginning of a rainstorm, oil from the road will make it more slick. Pay attention so that you can pick up on the subtle change in your vehicle’s traction. This change will feel more pronounced on snow and ice.
You can and should ask about local areas where you can practice going into skids and getting out of them. Driving schools may have obstacle courses that you can practice on as well as trainers that will give you the right information for your specific vehicle. Even if you already have your driver’s license, or have been driving for many years, you can always go for a limited number of lessons and learn how to get out of skids.
As with many dangerous driving conditions, you are best served by staying where you are instead of trying to travel. On the other hand, there are also going to be times when you will, in fact, have to drive in blizzard or icy conditions. You can do this safely, just as people in mountain areas have done for decades.
If you follow a few simple rules, you can drive just about any road in any condition, and may even come to a point where it becomes a winter sport that you do not welcome, but you do not fear it either.
This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.
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There are pros and cons to using a motorcycle as bug-out transportation or using one to simply escape a disaster area. You would drive yourself crazy trying to prepare for all possible road or off-road conditions when it comes to choosing a motorcycle. Therefore, to make a decision you would assess your need, probable terrain you would have to cover and do a threat assessment. Most importantly, however, can you navigate with a motorcycle in the winter months, because if you cannot then it is not a logical choice?
Cruising bikes are not ideal for jumping ditches and heading out across a pasture to get around a gridlocked section of the highway while a traditional dirt bike is typically smaller with limited cargo space and they are not ideal for long trips on pavement.
However, motorcycles inherently give you more options than most vehicles would as far as getting around traffic jams and other obstacles on the road and even the so-called cruising bikes can take advantage of walking paths and narrows lanes, and navigate over rough terrain, because they would not bottom out and could avoid large rocks and downed limbs for example.
1.) Fuel economy. You can travel much further on less fuel, and this could mean the difference between surviving and not in some cases.
2.) Easy to store and hide at a base camp, at home or anywhere you end up. Once out of the disaster area you can conceal/camouflage a motorbike rather easily as compared to a full sized motor vehicle.
3.) Avoid gridlocked highways, and road barriers/obstacles, but you have to be careful and know your bike’s off-road capabilities before setting off cross-country as you try to avoid traffic jams.
4.) Leaving quietly is another advantage. You can push the bike far enough away so when you do start it and it happens to alert anyone you have a good head start.
1.) Limited cargo space, even though the fuel economy compared to a motor vehicle is considerably better, you would still need fuel at some point. Unless you have a cargo trailer attached you would not have the ability to carry fuel with you.
If you do have a cargo trailer, then you have pretty much limited yourself to relatively good roads and certain trails or pathways.
2.) No protection from the weather and this could be a major concern in some areas of the country. Limited to no cover at all from thrown objects, gunfire and other projectiles like arrows, bolts or even steel balls launched from a slingshot.
3.) Snow will slow or stop you completely, as would ice.
Obviously, there are more advantages and disadvantages to using a motorcycle as a bug-out vehicle, but we have listed the most obvious ones.
In an ideal world, you would have a bug-out vehicle capable of going off road and you would have a motorcycle in the back of your hulking 4×4. When you could not travel any further in your motor vehicle, you would ditch the truck and hop on the bike, but this is more likely to happen in the movies than in real life.
A bike may not work unless you have a specific destination in mind and can get there on a tank of fuel and that you have supplies at your location. You cannot carry much on a bike, even a bug-out-bag may be too much to carry on some bikes.
You can get a small cargo trailer to haul behind some bikes, but the expense can be considerable because certain bikes would not be able to tow a small trailer and once you start adding accessories the price tag increases, and once again you are limited as to which trails and roads you can use if you tow a trailer.
The post The Pros and Cons to Using a Motorcycle as Bug-Out Transportation appeared first on Preparing for shtf.
By James Smith – The Survival Place Blog
If you’re preparing for TEOTWAWKI and you don’t have a bug out vehicle in your list of essential items, you are not really prepping. A bug out vehicle is basically what you would need to escape in if SHTF. If you have plans of surviving a disaster, civil war, zombie attack or any other catastrophe, you will most definitely need a bug out vehicle to escape in with your family.
So what exactly should you be looking for in a bug out vehicle? Here are some things to consider before you decide which vehicle you’re going to buy.
How many people can it carry?
It doesn’t matter if you’re single, or just a couple living out in the country side. A bug out vehicle should have place for at least four people. Of course, this is excluding all the survival foods and items you’re going to carry.
Expert preppers say that in a real bug out scenario, you should have place for as many people as possible. This is mainly because they believe strength and support lies in numbers. The most popular bug out vehicles wouldn’t make it impossible for you to take a couple of extra people with you if you need to leave town.
Can it carry your survival supplies?
Most two seat vehicles and even a large number of mid-sized sedans have almost negligible cargo space. So much so that you may not even be able to fit in your bug out bag. When buying a bug out vehicle, you need to keep in mind that you will be carrying at least a couple of bug out bags, a lot of survival foods, arms and ammunition, and most importantly, a lot of water and fuel.
While you can’t pack everything in your house into your car, your bug out vehicle should be able to carry a good portion of your survival gear and supplies.
Can it navigate through rough terrain?
Expert preppers usually go for four-wheel drives as their number one choice of bug out vehicle. Although it may consume a little more fuel than other cars, and some people suggest going for hybrid cars to save gas, imagine going down a highway clogged with downed trees or a field in case of a hurricane evacuation in a Prius or a Nissan Leaf?
Contributed by James Smith for The Survival Place Blog
You might not have heard of this, but last weekend Eastern Europe has been hit by a wave of snow and really low temperatures. So much so that roads were closed for over 12 hours.
Maybe this doesn’t seem so unusual, but what capture my attention was the survival story I stumbled upon. This guy managed to stay alive for 3 whole days after the facility he was working in was left without electricity. He got water from the already too much snow, he had some food supplies and his shelter? Well, his car!
It’s almost a miracle that he lasted for so long and he didn’t even need medical care after this ordeal. And although the rule of 3 played an important role in his survival, there is one thing without which he would have tragically failed: fuel. If your fuel reserve won’t last enough, you won’t stand a chance, so you must know how to stretch it as much as you need to.
You don’t have to get to Europe for harsh winter, heavy snow and winter traffic jams. Just take a look at Washington D.C. these days instead.
Is common science that cold weather reduces the range for all vehicles. Fuel economy tests show that a conventional gasoline car’s gas mileage is about 12% lower at 32°F than it would be at 73°F, and it can drop as much as 19% at 0°F comparing to 73°F. As for very short trips (3 to 4 miles of city driving), the fuel economy drops to 22%.
Take a good look at the facts below, as they could really change your perspective when you rely on your bug out vehicle and your winter driving skills for survival.
How Is This Happening?
Engine and transmission friction increases in cold temperatures due to cold engine oil and other drive-line fluids. The engine needs more time to reach its most fuel-efficient temperature, which explains why a shorter trip “costs” more fuel than a longer one. How much would you lose of your economy because of the less efficient components? Up to 14%! Combine trips so you could drive less often with a cold engine.
As for the battery, its performance decreases in cold weather, making it harder for your alternator to keep your battery charged. Drive at least 5 miles between start cycles to fully recharge the battery.
Everything you do to prepare your car prior to driving out of your alley increases fuel consumption, because you use additional power. Heating the cabin, window defrosters, and heater fans are the most “expensive” in terms of fuel, as they all use additional power. And more power means more fuel, which goes your economy down to 15%.
And remember that winter grades of gasoline can have slightly less energy per gallon than summer blends.
Also, colder air is denser, which will increase aerodynamic drag on your vehicle (especially at highway speeds), and decrease your fuel economy up to 5%. Even tire pressure decreases in colder temperatures, increasing rolling resistance and reducing the range up to 4%.
Icy or snow-covered roads decrease even more your tires’ grip on the road, wasting energy. Safe driving speeds on slick roads can be much lower than normal, further reducing fuel economy, especially at speeds below 30 to 40 mph. And remember that using four-wheel drive increases fuel consumption too.
How Can You Solve It?
Now you wonder what can you do about it. We have some clues for you below.
1. Start Your Preparations with a Good Vehicle
First, having the proper vehicle spares a lot of effort. Most preppers agree that less time you spend on the road, less danger you’ll face along the way. You need a vehicle that is not only fast, protective, and off-road capable, but gas-efficient as well. Whether you go with the family’s sedan or opt for a terrain vehicle, your main goal when bugging out is to get far away as quickly as possible. With that in mind, larger and heavier vehicles are bound to come with a drawback in the fuel department.
More, these types of vehicles stand out like a sore thumb when compared to your everyday cars, trucks, and vans. The ability to remain unnoticeable and safe when navigating through heavily populated and hostile areas, is just as important as your vehicle’s fuel economy.
Still, your vehicle of choice will be largely dependent upon your environment. The choice remains yours whether to purchase a designated bug out vehicle or update your daily commuter car for a SHTF contingency. But regardless of choice, the biggest concern for any bug out vehicle is fuel range. Above all other aspects, a bug out vehicle should be prepared and maintained to provide the best possible fuel economy.
2. Weight Control
For starters, weight is one of the biggest factors deciding a vehicle’s fuel range: an extra 100 pound could reduce your MPG by 1%. Removing any unnecessary equipment, supplies, or people from your car will inevitably translate to lower fuel consumption. That also means stripping the vehicle itself down of any unneeded aftermarket parts. These things reduce the vehicle’s aerodynamics and add weight, which translates to fewer miles.
Some preppers advocate that a bug out vehicle should contain as much food, water, and gear as you can carry. However, your chances of consuming everything on route are quite slim. So is your possibility of taking what’s left with you upon reaching your destination. For that reason, a 72-hour bug out bag for each family member is all the gear you’ll need in the car. Everything else can be found along the way or upon finding safety.
Removing hauling cargo on the roof, for example, reduces wind resistance, and increases fuel economy by 2% to 8% in the city driving, and 6% to 17% on the highway. If you really need to use it for your luggage, opt for rear-mount cargo boxes, which “costs” only 1% to 5% of your fuel economy.
3. Acceleration Control
You can also save on fuel by easing your pressure on the accelerator. Slamming the pedal to the floor every time you accelerate consumes significantly more fuel than applying less and gradual pressure. Most vehicles are also at their most efficient when cruising in their highest gear at a moderately low speed (40-50 mph).
Though your goal will be to get out of dodge as quickly as possible, you should still pay attention to your rate of acceleration and cruising speed. Driving fast may serve to get you out of dodge quickly, but doing so could stop you short of safety if your pedal’s to the metal.
Use cruise control if your car is equipped with this feature, and avoid aggressive driving, as speeding, rapid acceleration and braking waste more energy.
Avoid excessive idling too, considering the fact that it can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and other features that you use at the moment. Actually, turning your engine off when you are waiting in your car saves your money, because it takes only 10 seconds to restart when you need to drive off compared to how much fuel is burned while idling.
4. Tires Pressure & Maintenance
Despite seeming trivial, under-inflated tires can significantly lower a vehicle’s fuel economy by miles per gallon. Keeping them properly inflated will improve your vehicle’s fuel performance. It will also make for much safer travel across on and off-road terrain.
You should always strive to stay current with preventative maintenance on your car. This means the normal fuel, fluid, and filter changes in addition to addressing any engine problems indicated by the light on your dashboard. What may seem like nothing could be a dead oxygen sensor or related emissions problems that keeps your vehicle from performing.
5. Fuel and Engine
In today’s economy, most drivers opt for whatever gas is cheapest at the pump. Though some modern cars suggest using higher-octane fuel, most can still run on regular without any consequential long-term effects.
Cars with superchargers and modified intake systems usually mandate the use of premium gas. But if your car is rated for regular gasoline there’s reason to pay more at the pump.
Diesel engines are something to be considered, as they have much greater lifespan than typical engines and can be run using homemade bio-diesel fuel. In a long-term survival situation, gas could become a scarce commodity and mandate the use of alternate sources of fuel. However, it’s still advised that bug out vehicles running on regular gas carry one or two jerry cans of extra fuel that gets rotated into use regularly.
And Few More Cold Weather Tips
Remember not to use warmers and defrosters more than necessary. Scraping ice every morning makes you sick? Look for natural, low cost solutions, like parking your car facing east or using a vinegar solution for defrosting your windshields.
Video first seen on Ken Weathers.
Locks freeze, windows and mirrors ice over, tires get stuck – ice and snow are just miserable to deal with first thing in the morning, or at any other time of day for that matter. Here are a few tips to remember:
- Protect your rubber edges with cooking spray to keep them from freezing shot.
- Blow some hand sanitizer on your car’s lock to defrost it.
- Use a lighter to heat your car key a little bit before sliding it in the lock.
- Don’t leave you windshield wipers up overnight so they won’t become stuck to your windshield. Cover them with socks to prevent snow and ice buildup on the wiper blades.
- Dress your mirrors in plastic bags overnight to prevent them from frosting.
- If your tires are stuck in the snow in the morning, place a piece of cardboard or your car mats beneath to help them roll.
Deciding to brave the roads during harsh winter, will confront you with challenges along the way, making it necessary to choose a vehicle capable to handle a variety of contingencies. Compromise has to be made, as no bug out vehicle can have it all. There is no such thing as the perfect vehicle, everybody has his opinion and makes his personal choices. Finally, the only thing that makes the difference is your skills.
This article has been written by Michael Martin for Survivopedia.
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Off Grid Survival created what is probably the best collection of bug out information on the Internet. As the author says, bugging out “should never be taken lightly, as it could carry significant risks to your safety and security.” If you’re going to bug out, you need to […]
Today’s modern vehicles are built with the latest safety and life saving systems available. Even with all of these new systems it is still the driver who has the control of the vehicle, and he/she is responsible for driving that vehicle responsibly.
Depending on the type of accident, these new and improved safety features may save your life or greatly reduce your injuries in a vehicle accident, however there are no guarantees. Learn what to do after a crash to increase your odds of surviving and doing as well as possible.Driving Safely Makes Your Survival
Often people take things we do regularly for granted, like driving. We sometimes assume that we have the basic skills to handle all situations even those rarely experienced like driving in the snow or heavy fog.
Nevertheless avoiding a car crash remains the best survival option, and you can help reduce your risk of being in a crash by following a few simple rules:
- Not using your cell phone while driving.
- Not driving after you have been drinking or taking drugs.
- Reducing your speed accordingly when the driving conditions become difficult or extreme such as through rain, frog, snow, or glare.
- Taking a 15 minute power nap whenever you feel drowsy or sleepy.
- If you are on a long road trip, make it a point to stop every 2 hours and take a 15 minute to 20 minute break.
- Anticipating what might happen by looking ahead and closely observing the movement of other traffic whenever you drive.
- Always expect the unexpected, take extra care when changing lanes, passing, going through intersections, and driving at night.
- Never rush or lose your patience when driving.
- Practice the “two second rule”. Even if you are an experienced driver, make sure that you still perform these counts from time to time to make sure that you haven’t forgotten the laws of physics in favor of what your eyes (and mind) think is the proper distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
Crash risk for drivers differs according to age and their experience.
Aging drivers are at a greater risk of being killed or seriously injured in a crash due to increased frailty and other issues rather than risky driving behavior. It is a fact that with age the human driver will get slower in reflexes and eye sight will not be as sharp.
Inexperienced drivers are at least three times more likely to be involved in a serious accidents than experienced drivers. This risk gets even higher in the first few months of getting a license. This is partly because some new drivers do stupid things and take stupid risks, but the major reason is that they lack driving experience.
How the Car Can Save You
Even though some of these features kick in on their own, others rely on you to make conscious decisions. Use these features to avoid or mitigate crashes to the best of your ability.
- Shatter resistant glass: Shatter resistant glass provides a windshield and other vehicle glass that breaks into numerous, harmless pieces in the event of an accident. Shatterproof glass is laminated in such a way as to prevent injuries.
- Seat belts: This safety feature was invented in 1849 but was not standard equipment until 1966 when the federal government made it mandatory for all vehicle manufacturers to make seat belts standard.
- Airbags: In 1998 airbags became mandatory in all motor vehicles manufactured in the United States. Airbags are designed to supplement the protection provided by seat belts. They are not a substitute. The best protection in frontal crashes is achieved by using a properly worn seat belt in combination with an air bag.
- Anti-lock braking systems: These systems detect when the wheels are locked up (ie. Skidding) and temporarily release the brakes even if the driver is pushing on the pedal. The brakes immediately clamp again in order to slow the vehicle.
- Stability control: Stability control allows the drivers to avoid dangerous rollover accidents when the computer helping to compensate for driver error. For example, if you turn too hard in a vehicle without stability control, you may have a rollover accident. If you did the same in a modern vehicle with stability control the computer compensates for the amount of over-steering by sending power to different wheels to avoid an accident.
- Lights: The government has mandated that there will be three types of lights for any vehicle. They are brake lights, turn signals, and headlights. It is your responsibility to use all three of these lights, as well as check your light bulbs regularly to ensure they are working perfectly. If you have a bad bulb replace it as soon as possible.
- If you do a lot of nighttime driving HIDs or high power headlights may seem like a good idea because you can go a tiny bit faster without over running them. You should be aware, however, these high powered lights are a nuisance to oncoming traffic and that blinding the other driver may result in a head on collision.
- Mirrors: Proper positioning of side and rear view mirrors is very important . This proper alignment of your mirrors ensures high visibility and eliminates the blind spots.
- Bumpers: Bumpers are perhaps the most primitive of all the safety features. Bumpers are built to withstand minor collisions. They can prevent damage to the main body and the engine of your car.
- Four wheel steering: This option offers precise maneuverability while driving at high speeds. It is especially useful for driving in hilly areas.
- Pre-collision technology: Many modern cars have sensors that provide impact protection when an impending collision is detected. Seat belts get tighter, air bags align, and brakes become pre-loaded to reduce shock.
- Forward collision warning system: This forward warning collision system alerts the driver that a crash is about to occur so they can begin to take preventive action.
- Low speed auto emergency braking: This auto emergency braking system is designed for city drivers were crashes often happen to cars at low speeds. It is not designed to be activated by pedestrians or roadside objects.
- Driver inattention detection: This system is designed to identify signs of an inattention or drowsiness of the driver. If these two dangerous conditions are noticed by the computer system, the system will alert the driver to avoid an accident.
- Active cruise control: Active cruise control detects the distance and speed of the preceding vehicle and maintains an appropriate following distance.
- Blind spot warning system: These systems detect the distance and closing speed of objects in adjacent lanes and alert the driver if a collision is imminent.
- Adjustable steering wheel: Adjustable steering columns allows the steering wheel height to be adjusted to the drivers preference.
- Daytime running lights: Are headlights that illuminate during the day in order to make vehicles more visible and reduce their involvement in crashes.
- Reversing camera: These cameras improve the rearward view and can assist drivers in detecting persons or objects in the path of a reversing vehicle.
- Rear 3 point seat belts: These are seat belts that go over your waist and the shoulder of the occupant. 3 point seat belts provide better protection than 2 point lap seat belts.
- Headrest are important safety features that should be fitted to all seats. This includes the front and back seats and in vans and SUVs and all seat between the front and rear seats. Headrest position is critical for preventing whiplash in rear impact crashes. Whiplash is caused by the head extending backwards from the torso in the initial stage of a rear impact, then being thrown forward in a snapping movement. To prevent whiplash, the headrest should be at least as high as the head center of gravity which is about the eye level or a little higher. Also the headrest should be as close to the back of head as possible.
Remove accident victims in emergency cases only. If you’re driving on the open road and you come across an automotive vehicle crash, remove the occupants only if there is a life threatening condition such as fire, hazardous chemicals leaking from one of the vehicles, or if one of the vehicles is about to fall off the roadway or a bridge.
If there is not a life threatening emergency and you removed occupants of a vehicle crash, you could be held responsible for any medical injuries that occurred after the main impact of the crash. Some states have what is known as the Good Samaritan laws.
These laws protect individuals who in good faith try to rescue and save people who are trapped in vehicles in accidents. If a person tries to remove a trapped and badly injured victim, and in the process the individuals sustain other injuries, these laws protect the good Samaritans from civil lawsuits.
What to Do After a Car Accident
After the accident stay in your car and stay calm. If the car is driveable, move the vehicle to the shoulder of the road so that it will not cause another accident.
Report the car accident to the police by calling 9-1-1 if you can. If you cannot, have someone at the scene dial 9-1-1 for you. After you have dialed for emergency services stay at the scene of the accident until the police have questioned and reviewed the incident getting your description of what happened. If the driver or any other passengers do not feel right, be sure to request an ambulance to check over all parties in the accident.
You definitely need an emergency preparedness kit, and it is to your advantage to always carry an emergency preparedness kit. Here are a few items that should be in the kit:
- Cell phone
- Disposable camera
- Pen and paper
- Emergency paperwork: Medical information card dealing with insurance numbers, allergies, and conditions that might require special attention if you are not conscious.
- Emergency contact names and numbers of family members or close friends.
- First aid kit
- Small emergency triangles or emergency flares.
- Mylar blankets
- Flashlight with extra batteries.
Exchange car insurance and driver information: After the accident always exchange the following information.
- Phone numbers
- Drivers license numbers
- License plate number
- Insurance company and policy number
- write down the description of the vehicle including make, model, and the color.
Locate any witnesses. Did someone see the accident happen? If so, get their name phone number, address or any other personal information they will give you so that they can be a witness in court if need be.
Never admit fault but wait for an official conclusion. When you come face to face with the other drivers of the other vehicle or vehicles involved, never assign blame, or admit fault or liability. Let the police and insurance company do their jobs and use their tools to come to a conclusion. You don’t want to admit to something in a state of shock or sadness.
Never under share injury concerns with others at the accident scene. If anyone asks how you’re doing respond in a low profile answer simply stating “I’m shaken up a bit”. The truth is you do not know if anything is wrong or not. At this time you still could be in shock. It can be very hard to refute any non injury statements that were given at the scene, like I was alright, or I’m ok.
In fact you had injuries and you did not know that you had them. In some cases, it can take days, or more for bruises to emerge or other injuries to become apparent.
Know what your car insurance and health insurance covers. Knowing your car and health insurance details can save you a lot of grief when dealing with a vehicle accident scenario. It is always better to know before any accident that you’re fully covered for ambulance trips, tow trucks, or rental cars. Check your policies for specifics and get extra coverage today for those essentials you’ll need to cover if you are ever injured or your car cannot make the drive home.
Always photograph and document the accident scene. Be sure to carry a disposable camera in your emergency kit to photograph the damage to all vehicles. If your cell phone has a built in camera then you’re good to go. Take photographs of the damage to your car, the other driver’s car, and the entire accident scene to give perspective to the event. Take wide shots of tire skid marks to show vehicle travel paths. Photographs showing the entire accident area can help you make your case to claims adjusters if there is a dispute in your case.
Seek medical attention after your accident. If you are injured in the accident and it is injuries to the neck, back, or internal injuries, you should call for an ambulance as soon as possible. Personal injury situations often wind up in litigation, and in these cases, the other side will try argue that minor injuries became major ones because they were not treated at the scene properly. No matter how small the injury seems at the time of the accident, get all health concerns documented sooner rather than later.
Report your accident to your insurance company immediately or as soon as possible. After you have settled down and have gone to the hospital to have your injuries documented then this is the time that you call your insurance company report the accident.
If the damage seems minor or the other driver wants to settle without making an insurance claim, do not do it! A seemingly small fender bender vehicle accident can reveal major damage later on. An example of this is a bent car frame, so keep your insurance company in the loop and let them know as quickly as you can or you might be without coverage when you really need it.
If you have a lawyer this is the time to call him before the vehicles are moved if possible. Getting a lawyer may help you get the most out of an insurance claim and help you see more clearly when everything else seems like a mess.
Always remember to remove your valuable belongings from the car. If you’re well enough to walk away from the wreck and is safe to do so, remove your valuables from the vehicle before it is towed.
If you cannot remove the valuables yourself, have a family member or a close friend get them from the vehicle storage location and return them to you as quickly as possible. Try to do this before the keys are turned over to the tow truck operator.
What to Do When Police Arrives
What you should do as the first non police officer on the accident scene:
- If you come upon a vehicle accident and you are not part of the original accident, you should go about 75 to 100 feet ahead of the accident and park on the shoulder and turn on your emergency flashers. Then call 9-1-1 to request emergency assistance from the police and emergency personnel.
- Put traffic control individuals at the rear of the accident to direct traffic safely away and to put down safety triangles, cones, or flares. When using flares it is very important to check the angle of the accident scene. The last thing you want to do is to throw down a flare into a flammable liquid and start a major fire that would destroy all vehicles involved and possibly injure or kill trapped victims of the accident.
- The next thing you should do is to carefully check all occupants of all involved vehicles to see if there are any injuries.
- If you can take a photograph or two to show the exact positioning of the cars involved in the accident.
- If it is possible, see if the vehicles involved in the accident can be moved off to the shoulder. This is done to protect the vehicles and driver and occupants from being in a second accident by oncoming traffic.
- Disturb the accident scene as little as possible. Do not allow spectators to wander through the accident scene.
- Make mental or written notes about the condition of the scene upon your arrival.
- If you have to move something make a note of it and tell the investigators when they arrive.
- Do not allow others to move evidence. The exception of this is to assist injured or to control additional losses.
- Note the environmental conditions which are light, heat, cold, odors, and noise.
- Note what doors, windows, access means we’re open / close upon arrival.
- If possible rope off the area to limit access to all but essential persons.
- Pay particular attention to the floor as this is where most evidence will be found and it’s also the area more easily contaminated.
- Write down all the names of persons present upon your arrival. Keep a record of all persons coming and going from the scene.
- Take photos and sketch the scene if things must be moved and the investigators haven’t arrived or are delayed.
- Never allow eating, drinking or smoking at the accident scene. Not only can it contaminate the accident scene, but it’s also a health hazard.
- When the police arrived notify the officer in charge your name address telephone number and other personal information that is necessary for his reports and give him a copy of your notes.
Most of today’s modern vehicles have all kinds of safety features and protective features to keep drivers and passengers safe while driving and to protect them in the event of an accident. Remember that even with all the safety features the skill of the driver is still the most important factor while driving.
This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.
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In any bug out situation your life will depend on the vehicle you choose, as well as how you took care of it, and prepared it for the journey.
So it only makes sense to pay close attention to your bug out vehicle, and to learn as much as you can on how to keep it in best functioning condition, depending on the disaster you might be facing, the location you would be heading to and the route you take to get there.
So take a look and make sure to let us know what’s your bug out vehicle of choice, in the comments section below!
Interested in learning more on EMP survival? CLICK HERE to find out more!
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Your car gets you from point A to point B. It may give you a thrill when you rev the engine and it allows you to carry all sorts of stuff, like groceries, kids and luggage. But can it cook for you, too!
As a matter of fact it can! It’s actually not a new concept – people have been doing it for just about as long as cars have been on the road but it’s re-emerging as a great alternate resource for cooking in a survival situation. Carbequing is the topic today!
It’s becoming so popular that Alton Brown teamed up with Myth Busters to see if it’s actually possible (like we needed the theory tested!) and they ended up cooking an entire Thanksgiving dinner by using the areas around the manifold as well as utilizing the area underneath around the exhaust. All they did was wrap it in foil, rig up a special pan to hold it near the exhaust, and a meal was born!
So how, exactly can you do it, and what can you cook? Well, the answer to the latter question is that you can cook everything from a pot roast to an apple pie.
The only problem that I see with this is that it takes a while and if fuel is at a premium in a SHTF scenario, you’ll be wasting fuel that you may not have to spare.
If the emergency isn’t going to last more than a couple of days and you have a full tank of gas, then it may just be worth it if you don’t have another source of cooking. If the emergency is going to take longer than that and you’re hunkering down and saving your fuel, then maybe not.
Another scenario where it’s feasible is if you’re bugging out in your car. In that case, it’s a free resource because you’re going to be driving anyway; after all, multi-use is the prepper’s way! You can warm up a can of soup or cook some hot dogs in just a short trip, but if you’re cooking something like a pot roast, it’s going to take an hour or two of driving, or letting the car idle up to temperature, then leave it running.
Cooking on an engine block takes longer than traditional cooking but not as long as using a slow cooker, so time your meals accordingly. Make sure that your meat reached the internal temperature appropriate for the type so that you don’t run the chance of getting food poisoning, especially with fowl.
We’re going to provide some recipes below, but if you want the know-all, be-all book on the subject, pick up a copy of Manifold Destiny. I don’t believe that it’s in print anymore but you can get a used copy on Amazon, or a Kindle version.
Now, let’s get cooking.
Preparing Food for Cooking on an Engine Block
First, prepare the food as if you’re going to cook it on a grill or in the oven. Spice it the same way and then wrap it in aluminum foil. Use the heavy-duty kind so that you don’t risk ripping it and starting a grease smoking fest under your hood! As a matter of fact, I’d use two or three layers of it just to be sure.
Make sure that the sides are long enough that you can pull them together and roll it down a few times. Leave enough space on each end to do the same. You’ll be cooking it basically in its own steam so you want to make sure that no air escapes.
Tip: Spray the foil with some cooking spray or wipe it with some oil to help keep the food from sticking, just like you would if you were putting it on the grill or in the oven.
Finding the Hot Spots on the Engine
You can’t just toss your food under the hood in any ole place and expect it to cook. If you’re not familiar with the parts of the motor that get the hottest, start your car and either drive it for a few minutes or let it sit and warm up for 10 minutes or so.
Turn off the car and open the hood. Feel around with your hand hovering over the motor two or three inches to find where it’s hottest. Some sites tell you to touch it to find the hottest parts but take it from a girl who knows her way around a motor – that’s a sure-fire way to end up with some bad burns.
If you find a spot that is putting off enough heat that you wouldn’t want to touch it with your fingers, that’s a sweet spot. If it feels cool enough that you feel as if you could touch it without being burned, it won’t get hot enough to cook your food.
The best place, if you can get to it, is near the exhaust manifold – the place where your exhaust pipes come out of the motor. If you’re going to be driving while your food is cooking, make sure that the spot you choose is tight enough that your food will fit in without falling out. This isn’t so important if you’re cooking while the car is still.
You can test this by wadding up some foil that’s the same size as your food packet and putting it in that spot. If it fits snugly, you’ve got a winning spot. A good reason for using a test piece is to make sure that your hood will close without smashing your food. You need enough clearance to be able to shut the hood whether you’re traveling or not – it holds the heat in.
If you want to get really fancy, you can also secure your food underneath your car on or near the exhaust pipes. I wouldn’t recommend putting it directly on the pipes because that reaches temperatures that are way too hot. You’ll burn the outside of the food before the inside is cooked.
Securing Your Food to Cook on the Engine
You want to make sure that your food isn’t going to fall out if you’re traveling, or even if it’s in a spot where you think it might fall out at a stand-still. You can do this by tucking it under some hoses, or you can secure it with some wire. Don’t use rope or anything else that can’t withstand high temperatures or else you’ll run the risk of either melting it or catching it on fire. Neither scenario is good!
If you’re using a spot underneath the car, you can rig up a pan. The best way to explain this is to let you watch this video of Alton Brown and the Myth Buster guys doing it. You’re now ready to cook!
Video first seen on Discovery.
And a Few Recipes for Carbequing
Here are a few good recipes to get you started.
- 1-2 medium-sized potatoes
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp oil or melted butter
Wash and cut the potatoes (or more depending on how many you need and what your space limitations are). Cut them into squares about ¾ inch. Place them in a bowl, drizzle the oil or melted butter on them, then add the seasonings. Stir or toss to coat. Prepare your foil, then wrap the potatoes in the foil as described above. Place on your hot spot on your motor and cook for 25-30 minutes.
Lemon Pepper Turkey Breast
- 1 standard sized turkey breast (or 2 chicken breasts)
- 1/8 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
- 1 tsp oil or butter
Place your turkey or chicken on the greased foil. Sprinkle the seasonings on each side. Seal the foil as described above and place on the hot spot on your motor. Allow to cook 45 minutes if sitting still or an hour if driving. Check internal temperature using a food thermometer. It needs to be 165 degrees at the center to ensure that all bacteria are dead. E-coli sucks.
Poached Rosemary Salmon
- 1 lb. salmon filet
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary or 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
Prepare foil as described above. Lay the salmon filet on the foil and sprinkle the rest of the ingredients over it. Wrap in foil and place on your engine’s hot spot for 15 minutes if sitting around or 20 minutes if driving. If you’d like to make a complete meal out of it, you can always add some green beans or other veggies in there, too. If you’re using frozen veggies, allow for a few minutes extra cook time.
- 1 can cookie dough or your own recipe
- Vegetable spray or oil for the cookie sheet
This recipe only works if it’s really hot outside – say 90 degrees – so that the inside of your car gets hot enough (160 degrees) to bake the cookies and kill any salmonella from the eggs. Place the cookie dough on a cookie sheet just like you would if you were baking them in the oven, though you may want to squish them a bit flatter.
Place on your dashboard, preferably in the sun, and shut your car doors so that the heat is trapped in. Leave them alone for about an hour. They won’t brown much but they will cook. Check them after an hour and if they feel done, remove. If not, leave them in there and check every 15 minutes or so.
Alternative: Place the cookie sheet on your manifold and close the hood, making sure that they don’t touch the underside of the hood. Cook on a hot engine for 8-10 minutes.
These are just a few ideas to get you started with using your car for cooking.
Play around with other meals and if you have any good recipe suggestions, add them in the comments section below!
This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
Main picture & featured picture source: capture from Cooking by…Car | MythBusters.
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Armor, bug out vehicle!
Highlander “Tech Preps”
This episode I will discuss bug out vehicles, do you need a fully armored bug out vehicle? Will those zombies be coming after you and you just run right over them? Well we will discuss this, is it just paranoia or does a vehicle of this caliber have merit in certain situations. The Police seem to think so, they use armored personnel carriers all the time to respond to hostile situations.
We will take a look at the price of such a vehicle and the legality of it. What are the pros and the cons of such a vehicle, and what would be good to equip it with? Along with the pros and cons is the costs of and kinds of accessories, armor, radios, computers, and other helpful gadgets that may help you if an event strikes with no recourse but to bug out.
I will help recommend a few products that could be installed as well as what I believe is the best route when choosing a vehicle chassis, and what to look out for. I will talk about the pros of a vehicle being armored such as bullet resistant (not bullet proof). Also the advantages over diesel vs gasoline engine. Also the advantages of heavy armor vs light, and the cons of both. I will talk about the cons of the vehicle such as speed, maneuverability, and weakness’s.
Communications, another important item to consider. What are the advantages of having various communications in a vehicle such as gps, wenches, and various other gadgets.
As always I will be taking questions from the chat and live call in line, so please feel free to visit chat or call in and talk to me live!, we will have a good time and I hope everyone enjoys the show!
Join us for Tech Prep “LIVE SHOW” every Monday 9:00/Et 8:00Ct 6:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat
Listen to this broadcast or download “Armor, bug out vehicles” in player below!
Rourke: This post was orginally published HERE on ModernSurvivalOnline.com
In any bug-out scenario, your vehicle becomes, and remains until further notice, the place where you live, along with everything you own in the world. You may be the best-equipped prepper in your circle, or the smartest gal on the block, but when TSHTF, you may find yourself to be just another weary traveler looking for a safe place to land. In many ways, you’re a refugee, no different from Okies escaping the Depression Dust Bowl; or survivors fleeing a volcano or armed killer mobs or the authorities du jour, which may not be mutually exclusive.
It ain’t necessarily pretty. It’s pretty clear that if you can uproot folks and get ‘em moving, it’s fairly easy to keep ‘em moving, or herd ‘em into corrals of one sort or another. Then it’s hamburger. There’s plenty of good advice out there to stay away from crowds, don’t allow yourself to get swept up into camps, etc. There’s also a lot of evidence that this is already going on; forced relocation has been a policy of our government for quite some time. Ask an Indian.
If we’re talking vehicles here, I’m guessing we can agree that we mean ones fueled by internal combustion engines. We’re going to leave out discussion of backpacking, bicycles, horseback, ox-carts, sailboats and rickshaws, even though there is a lot of merit in thinking about those, and perhaps including them as secondary or fallback options. Suffice it to say that the amount of stuff you can haul decreases significantly when one loses fossil-fueled prosthetics and slaves.
If you’ve planted your flag, and are determined to live or die defending your very own spot on the planet, that’s nice. Maybe we can be friends, and maybe we can assist one another, and WPCTS (When Push Comes to Shove – an acronym I haven’t seen yet), maybe we can’t. Having, and retaining, the ability to maneuver in such instances strikes me as important.
We humans have been moving around this planet for a long time, jockeying for position and advantage, and dodging the Grim Reaper, and there’s no reason to think that’ll change. I haven’t studied mass migrations, or refugee behavior (from the perspective of either the refugee or from the agents who create refugees for their own benefit), or nomadics; and I’d welcome readings and discussion of those topics as it pertains to survival, specifically mine.
But there’s a long, honorable history, notably on this land, of whole peoples successfully living nomadic lives while remaining deeply attached – rooted, even – to the land, and I suspect we’ll be seeing more of that, and may well be better for it. There are better places – and times – to grow crops, or hunt and fish, or trade, or winter, or a thousand other nuanced things; and those places and times are not likely to all be the same, and moving from one to the other, when safe and appropriate, may be a good way to live … or the only way you can keep yourself and your loved ones alive to move the species forward.
Ol’ Remus over at the WoodpileReport.com is on-point this week [Rourke: remember – this is a repost], as he routinely is, in his discussion of guerilla gardens. “The alternative to living like a convict is to live like an escapee,” he says this week, and knowing where you’ve stashed food, or can grow, hunt, forage, and preserve it, and how to safely move between sites on whatever is your scale and timeline, will mean the difference between living and dying, between freedom and slavery. I’m amazed in my travels at how much unused land there is in this country, even in the East, and finding folks who’ll rent or trade you an acre for potatoes or Jerusalem artichokes (800 gallons of fuel alcohol per) or a couple of hives of bees; or free places to plant annual or perennial herbs for later harvest, is not all that difficult.
Which brings us back to the bug-out vehicle, AKA “your car” or “the daily driver.” There’s a whole big thread out there (try the Van Dwellers Yahoo Group to start) of folks who are now living in their vehicles full- or part-time. Many are conducting “normal” lives, going to jobs, socializing, recreating, etc. Many are older retirees, like Snowbirds and Workampers, driving huge RVs and towing cars around the country, who’ve already “bugged out.” What’s going to happen to that lifestyle? You might want to think about exactly how little you need in a vehicle, as well as how much you can cram in. What are your deal-breakers when it comes to vehicles: standing head room; full-size bed; a toilet; running water; nighttime A/C or heat? How much electricity is enough, and how are you going to get it? You may have to gut and rebuild the ridiculous interior of an old RV to eliminate horrid design and make the unit work long-term.
There are some significant advantages to making the move to vehicle-based living before a SHTF situation occurs, leaving aside the argument that it’s already hitting.
For one, it forces you to think, hard, about what you need and how to keep it safe, productive and relevant. Does vehicle-based living free up money that’s better used elsewhere? Instead of a mortgage (taxes; utilities; maintenance) in a suburb that frowns on agriculture, will car living enable a farmland purchase? Or just eating? Am I capable of, or interested in, owning a house or land? Do I have the money, or the credit, or the job/career, or the kind and level of responsibility necessary for “ownership”? Will that continue? Are those things even desirable? Am I better off as a fixed, or as a moving, target?
I’m very leery of adding any fossil-fuel-powered equipment to my life, from a number of perspectives. Anybody who’s looked at a graph of per capita energy use, or of Hubbert’s Peak, gets a sense that we humans are likely to be using far less energy than we have for the last couple hundred years, and that we Americans, as the most profligate oil users, have the farthest to fall. Fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Back on topic: How many vehicles should I own, insure, maintain, equip? How many can I drive at once? I suspect Gary, whose video I saw linked over at M.D. Creekmore’s www.thesurvivalistblog.net, owns even more than the two vehicles he’s shown us, plus his house, probably all with multi-burner propane stoves and toilets and swivel TVs. Gee, he must have a lot of money
If you only had one motor vehicle, from now until forever, what would it be? A pickup, van, car, SUV, RV? 4WD, 2WD? What engine, transmission, fuel? American or foreign; old or new? How do I find it; what does it cost to buy, fuel, insure and maintain? Can I make it last 2 years … 5 … 10 … 20? Do I have the necessary skills and can I get the parts? Can I live in it and with it for that long if I want to or need to? Moving and parked? This, like the endless firearms debates, is ultimately unanswerable by anyone but you; but it, too, is crucial.
What about stealth? Do I blend in or stand out where I am and where I anticipate going? Is it good to have folks telling you how cool your rig is, or would you prefer nobody noticed? Can I show up to work every day in an RV, or not leave the parking lot at night, without inviting nasty questions and snooping? Am I better off pulling a travel trailer with a “civilian” vehicle, or parking my Winnebago elsewhere and riding a bicycle or motorcycle to work? Can I work nights and sleep safely in the daytime, or park safely when it’s light and find other safe places to sleep? How does sleeping much, much lighter in a vehicle affect my health, alertness and judgment?
Can I park at a friend’s house (or plural …or WalMart) and use their electricity, bathroom, kitchen, and/or washer? For how long? What will the neighbors think? How about a 24-hour gym membership; I can probably use the exercise, and I could sure use a shower, and if it’s open at all hours, it’s a good place to park, right? What’s that cost these days?
What about range and mileage? Can I count on the next supply of fuel? Can I make my own, perhaps with friends, like a fuel alcohol or biodiesel coop? I can’t just turn the car out to pasture to forage, and it’s unlikely to heal itself when something goes awry, though I have seen it happen.
Do I have useful mobile skills, the equipment to use them, and reliable markets for them? How about tools for gardening or carpentry, or a small workshop in a Wells Cargo? If I stash my tools in a trailer or storage unit, or friend’s house, how quickly and safely can I get ‘em? Can I sleep in it? How does pulling a trailer affect mileage and maneuverability? What are my protocols for dropping my trailer? What happens if I lose it … the trailer, that is?
Am I likely to be flying solo, or with family or friends? If I’m in a group, by choice or chance, what about their gear? I’ve seen enough Westerns to worry about the weakest wagon, and I’m sure the Plains Indians made sure everyone’s travois were up to snuff. And what about defense, personal and group?
Does it make sense to become a migrant worker; if so, what’s involved? How do I move my wealth, and protect it on the road? I know what it feels like to have every penny locked up in a vehicle; it tends to induce paranoia, and to restrict one’s movements in order to keep the vehicle constantly in sight. Do you?
What about the rest of my stuff? Do I sell or dump it; is it worth anything? How about a storage unit(s)? Is it cheap, secure, 24-hour accessible, adequate? What happens to that electric gate if the grid’s down? Does it make sense to have several units in strategic locations? Will they let me store gasoline, alcohol, propane, food, weapons and ammo? Will they know or find out? Are the owners on site; can they be trusted?
Where and what sort of caches are appropriate? Does it really make sense to carry a half-ton of rice, beans and wheat berries? How about Operational Security, for us civilians? There’s some good thinking over at Analytical Survival’s YouTube channel. How long before I run out of gas – physically, mentally, emotionally, financially? Is that a realistic time line? What happens then?
Speaking personally, if not too specifically, I am living on the road now, with my wife, dog, and, currently, four cats. No, they’re not for dinner. We left what had been our home base for 25 years last July, semi-voluntarily, and anticipate moving again six to 10 weeks from now, with our next destination uncertain. We’re learning a lot; it’s stressful; it’s uncertain; and I don’t think either of us regrets the experience. Our current bug-out vehicle: a 1998 Ford Explorer pulling a home-built camper/utility trailer. Perfect? Hardly. But it’s what we’ve got.
How about you?
Today, many people believe they can go back to earlier system designs and retrofit modern vehicles to these specifications, as this would be one of the best ways to protect their vehicles in case of an EMP. While this can work in some systems, it is not likely to work in others.
Some older system methods were simply too dangerous or broke down too often, hence the need for motorized or even computer controlled assemblies. But it’s common science that more computers mean more vulnerability during any EMP scenario.
What would be the best choice then?
Read this article, then learn how to replace the parts for the most affected five systems of your car as opposed to changing the systems altogether.
What Is the Most EMP Resistant Car?
Aside from the oldest vehicles that used a crank instead of an electronic ignition system, your best options will include older vehicles with as few computerized, motorized, or electronic parts as possible. Sadly, even these vehicles can be destroyed even after being retrofitted.
So, if you are interested in having a functional car outside of ground zero created by an EMP event, there are many cars sitting in junk yards that can be suitably retrofitted. Sadly, there are many vehicles that were turned over during the “Cash for Clunkers” program that could have been retrofitted.
If any of these vehicles haven’t been crushed or completely destroyed, you will have to do an enormous amount of work just too legally put them back on the road.
On the other hand, if your goal is to create a viable EMP proof car and you have the time, money, and patience to make the car roadworthy, then you can truly start your search for pre-’80’s cars in the local scrap and junk yards. If you look at modern cars, it can be very easy to forget just how close they are to the roadway.
While this may not be of much consequence now, low suspension systems can cause all kinds of problems in off road situations. This is just one of many reasons why you may not necessarily want to spend a fortune in time, effort, and money on EMP proofing a conventional vehicle. Instead, you may want to look at ATVs and other off-road vehicles that can be used for bugging out.
But can you make the car system work after an EMP or you just have to stash them for a further replacement? Let’s see how to EMP proof some of the most important systems of your car and what parts to stash for future times.
5 Crucial Systems and How to EMP Proof Them
It is more than obvious that the computers will be the most affected part by an EMP. The best way to prevent it to disable it, dismantle it, and get rid of it any way you can.
Store any module that you cannot do without in a Faraday cage. Be prepared to spend several hundred to several thousand dollars on the parts plus tools required to calibrate the computers and sensors after they are installed.
The Electrical System
The electrical system is going to be one of the most affected car systems by an EMP. As long as there are motorized starters, and other systems within the vehicle, it is virtually impossible to eliminate the electrical system.
You are best served by learning how to replace each part if needed, and then retrofit anything that is currently integrated into a computerized system. Your best options include studying cars from the 70’s since these vehicles had a number of electric devices, but not computer systems that are the most vulnerable to EMP blasts.
If you want to add some parts to your car survival stockpile, store extra wire for the harness, an alternator, remote starter, wire continuity tester, extra batteries, independent battery charger, extra belts for the alternator, extra fuses.
The Ignition System
Even though older vehicles were started up by using a crank system, it is not necessarily a good idea to follow this path for EMP proofing your own vehicle. Among other things, crank systems often led to all kinds of injuries that will hamper your ability to survive in a post crisis world. You will be best served by leaving the ignition system as intact as possible.
If you can find a way to eliminate computer sensors and systems instead, go ahead and do so. This includes keyless starting systems as well as ones that utilize microchip embedded keys. There are many other ways to protect your vehicle from theft or unauthorized use without resorting to computer based systems that will completely disable an otherwise functional car after an EMP.
Store away at least one spare starter and extra battery wires and terminals.
The Emission System
At the current time, it is not legal to remove devices such as the catalytic converter, EVAP system, EGR valve and other emission systems parts. But you can, and should know how to remove them if they are damaged during an EMP blast.
It is up to you to decide if you want to sacrifice some of the fuel efficiency created by the emissions system or if you just want to get rid of it for the sake of avoiding additional complexities.
It is also important to study computer and fuse integration schematics so that you know which parts to cut out or disable once the emission devices are removed from the system.
Since manufacturers do not want these devices removed, rest assured there are likely to be redundancies in the fuse and computer systems that will prevent the vehicle from running if appropriate signals are not received from the emission control devices. Even if you did everything else right, this one tiny thing can prevent an otherwise functional vehicle from starting up and running.
You should store any parts that you intend to replace if they happen to be damaged by an EMP. You should also store away extra exhaust pipe in case you decide to get rid of the catalytic converter.
The Cooling System
Every part of the cooling system is absolutely necessary for proper vehicle function. For example, without oil and an oil pump, the engine will overheat and seize. By the same token, radiator fans and the rest of the cooling system are all vital no matter whether the vehicle is operating in cold temperatures or warmer ones.
You need to store thermostats, oil pumps, radiator fans. Consult the shop manual for your vehicle to find out what parts are computer controlled. Look for older designs that do not rely on computers and see if you can retrofit these elements.
You may need to work with a professional machinist to make new parts that can be exchanged for those now being controlled via a computer system. When it doubt or searching for ideas, look at the cooling systems for very early internal combustion vehicles. Follow their path of evolution until you arrive at a balance that safeguards the cooling system and still delivers sufficient cooling for your vehicle.
Never forget that modern vehicle engines also tend to run hotter than engines in older vehicles. Make sure that you know the temperature ranges you are dealing with so that you can design suitable and durable alterations.
If you are planning to EMP proof a hybrid or electric vehicle, you will be faced with a challenging if not impossible task for every system in the vehicle. For cooling systems, you will need to find some way to keep the battery packs cool without relying on computer systems. You can try using basic electronic components and conventional switches that you control manually from inside the vehicle.
Be very careful when working on any part of a hybrid or electric vehicle because their internal systems have very high voltages that can easily kill you. If you must work on this type of vehicle, always consult with a mechanic certified to repair and adapt these vehicles.
Unfortunately, simply reading the shop manual for these vehicles and trying to transfer skills learned with conventional vehicles may not always be successful, let alone safe.
As for doors and windows, if your vehicle has power windows, doors, and seat belts, get rid of them immediately. Do everything you can to retrofit to crank handles for the windows, keyed (not microchip keys) locks, and manual seat belts.
This may well save your life if you are ever trapped in a vehicle during a crash as well as during an EMP. Without a question, if there is a place in a motor vehicle where computers pose a serious and constant hazard to occupants, this is it!
As long as you retrofit your vehicle to manual systems, you will not need to store away special parts. In fact, even if an inner door handle breaks off, a bit of duct tape and a nail will work just as well the way electronic safety systems, doors, and windows are set up.
While it may be a tiny bit inconvenient to use manual systems, they will always work perfectly even if there is no power to run a motor.
As you see, most EMP proofing for vehicles involves finding workarounds for motors and computer systems. In these days, you will find that conventional cars can still be converted, however it is much harder than it would be with an older vehicle.
Overall, you will also find that it is essentially pointless to try and EMP proof a hybrid or electric vehicle. The best thing you can do with these vehicles is try to at least return to manual doors, seat belts, and windows.
At the very least, you won’t be trapped inside the vehicle with no way to get out. Failing that, never drive off in a hybrid vehicle unless you have something to break the windows within easy reach.
Interested in the full list of car parts to store for EMP survival? CLICK HERE to find out more!
This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.
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If you are looking for the ideal bug out vehicle, you really need to consider much more than just the vehicle brand, whether or not it’s a 4×4, and other common considerations. One thing that most people tend to overlook is the type of fuel the vehicle uses. In other words, should you go with a bug out vehicle with a gasoline engine or one that uses diesel? Diesel powered vehicles have quite a few advantages over their gasoline powered brethren. It is these advantages that make them ideally suited for bug out vehicles. Let’s take a look at these advantages.
First, it’s important to realize that diesel fuel will keep for a longer period of time than gasoline. If stored properly in a clean, cool, and dry location, it will stay fresh for up to a year without the use of fuel stabilizers. Diesel fuel may be stored for as long as five years if proper fuel stabilizers are used such as Diesel STA-BIL and STA-BIL Biocide. Gasoline, on the other hand, will only stay fresh for a few months when stored in a gas can. Of course, the life of the gas can be prolonged with the use of fuel stabilizers. The longer gasoline is exposed to air and higher temperatures, the shorter its shelf life will be. That’s the reason why so many people have to put fresh gasoline in their lawnmowers after being stored for the winter.
Another advantage to consider is the fact that diesel engines deliver up to 40% better fuel economy than their gasoline powered counterparts. And better fuel economy means you can go much further on your fuel reserves. Diesel engines are also considered to be much more reliable than gasoline engines. This is one of the reasons why most large trucks are powered by diesel engines. It is not uncommon for a diesel-powered rig to accumulate over 300,000 miles before needing an engine overhaul. And not only that, but there are many trucks that have had their diesel engines overhauled several times and have accumulated over 1,000,000 miles on their odometers!
Diesel engines produce more torque (or pulling power) than gasoline engines. This is another major advantage they have over gasoline powered vehicles and is also one of the main reasons why heavy equipment and trucks use diesel engines. It’s all about the power.
One of the primary reasons why diesel engines are more reliable is that they have fewer parts overall than gasoline engines. They are much simpler engines. Diesel engines, for example, don’t have ignition systems. They have simple glow plugs that heat the diesel fuel to burn it instead of the complex spark/ignition systems that gasoline engines use that utilize carefully-timed sparks to ignite the fuel each time it enters a fuel chamber. The simple design also allows diesel engines to run much cooler than gasoline engines. It is the simple design of the diesel engine that makes it so reliable.
If a major catastrophe happens, gasoline will most likely sell out much more quickly than diesel fuel. This is because the vast majority of vehicles sold in the United States are powered by gasoline due to the stringent EPA exhaust requirements. Diesel passenger vehicles make up approximately 2.88 percent of all vehicles in the United States. In a major national or world emergency, everyone will be racing to fill up on gasoline, and not necessarily diesel, leaving plenty for those with diesel engines.
Diesel fuel is much safer to store than gasoline. One of the reasons for this is the fact that diesel fuel does not emit vapors like gasoline does. Also, keep in mind that diesel fuel does not explode like gasoline does. Diesel fuel burns. If a spark lands on some diesel fuel, it isn’t going to explode. It still might ignite and start burning, but that’s a preferable alternative to a large explosion, which is what could happen if a spark landed in a container of gasoline.
Diesel engines also allow for the use of a broad range of fuels, not just the diesel fuel you buy at your local gas station. Diesel engines can run on different blends of bio-diesel, home heating oil, kerosene, jet fuel, unused vegetable oil, used vegetable oil, motor oil, automatic transmission fluid and hydraulic oil. Many people who own diesel-powered vehicles make arrangements with local restaurants to collect their waste vegetable oil and make bio-diesel out of it for pennies on the dollar. And still others power their vehicles with straight vegetable oil, after carefully filtering it. Yes, it does require some of your spare time to make bio-diesel, but you can literally save many thousands of dollars in fuel costs over the life of your vehicle.
It’s important to realize that diesel engines do have some negative aspects that you should consider. First, diesel engines are more difficult to work on and parts may be more difficult to find than gasoline engine parts. Diesel engines are more difficult to work on because they rely on high-compression cylinders, whereas gasoline engines use cylinders with much lower compression ratios. Also, because so few engines in the United States are diesel-powered, replacement parts are not as plentiful and will be more difficult to come by.
Another negative aspect of diesel engines is that they can be noisier than gasoline engines. Not all of them, though. Some of the newer diesel engines are just as quiet as gasoline engines, but there are still plenty on the market that are louder.
Yet another negative thing about diesel engines to consider is that diesel fuel can be very messy. If you’ve ever gotten some diesel fuel on your hands, you surely know how difficult it is to remove. It is greasy, smelly, and requires multiple hand washing to finally feel free of the diesel funk. If you get some gasoline on your hands, in contrast, it quickly evaporates, leaving a gas smell that can be easily washed off with a couple of washings. Diesel fuel, however, is very thick (like syrup) and can be very difficult (if not impossible) to remove from clothing.
Although the diesel engine is not without its negatives, the positive aspects of the engines make it a strong contender for any bug out vehicle. It’s positive attributes are so strong, in fact, that many motorcycle owners are now switching out their gasoline bike engines for aftermarket diesels.
If you are in the market for a vehicle you plan to keep for bug out purposes, definitely consider one with a diesel engine. They are powerful, fuel efficient, and are very reliable. And you can even make your own bio-diesel fuel. What’s not to like about that?
About the Author: Alex Vanover is an avid motorcycle enthusiast and has spent the greater part of his life riding and writing about motorcycles and the auto industry. He is also the purveyor of Motorcycle Trading Post. An online classified ad listing site.
This article first appeared on American Preppers Network and may be copied under the following creative commons license. All links and images including the CC logo must remain intact.
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