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Old 08-17-2019, 10:18 AM
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Default DIY Car Mods for Survival Situations



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Hi everyone,

My name is Mike and I'm from NYC. I am thinking about putting together a list of DIY modifications I can use to make my commuter more bug out ready. Keep in mind that U have a 2006 Camry so some things aren't going to work. Oh, and I live in Manhattan so there are some definite constraint there too.

One thing that comes immediately to mind are front splitters and side skirts for increasing MPG. Anyone have any experience with these? I will keep adding to the list as it goes but I appreciate your thoughts and experiences.

Be well!

Mike
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:24 AM
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Your first post. So I assume you sell car accessories?

There is a merchant section for that.

Suggesting high speed drag reducing mods for a vehicle in NYC is hilarious. It is one continuous traffic jam.
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:28 AM
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No, I don't sell any of those things. I am asking for things I can do to my 10 year old car. I've lurked here for awhile but the more I think about it, the more I want to be sure I can make it off the island and get far enough Upstate before she dies. I assume there won't be access to gas so I could probably make it to Binghamton before she dies. I have family with land about an hour and a half south of Buffalo. SO, maybe the first thing to do would be to carry a full gas can although I'm not sure how good of an idea that is when I park on the street here.
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:33 AM
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OK then. Make no sense.

Preppers are typically concerned with water, food, shelter, defense, important documents, bugout bag, knife, axe, fishing kit, first aid and trauma kits, repair kits for gear and your vehicle, water filters, living in a remote location, driving an all terrain vehicle.


Your first thought after 4 years of membership is on improving some unproven 3rd order effect like air friction reduction/gas mileage improvement at high speeds, which will not be possible in NYC at anytime, or on the egress routes after a calamity.

Buy a jerry can or 3 and store them somewhere.

Are you asking for advise on front splitters and side skirts, which probably few people have ever even heard of?
Ground clearance is usually one of the first vehicle considerations. These things are only a couple inches off the pavement, which I think are contradictory to the objective.
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:36 AM
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OK then. Make no sense.
This might come as a surprise to you, but living in NYC, I'm not really much of a whiz when it comes to cars. Which is, incidentally, why I came here. I got the same reply on Cartalk that these mods (splitters) are only for high-speeds; something I didn't know before. Someone on another forum told me that they WERE good for MPG. I see I was wrong.

So, forget the splitters, do you have any other ideas? How does a gas can sound?
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:45 AM
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Couple simple things: keep it maintained, fill it up before you get below half a tank, and throw in a GHB (light pack with essentials needed to walk home).
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:46 AM
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Gas can, siphon hose, push bars on the front of your vehicle to push broke down cars out of the way, spare belt, cans of fix a flat....
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:48 AM
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The Allies won WWII carrying fuel in jerry cans. If they can survive rambling all over europe, then they can handle whatever you will likely encounter. Until someone steals them. Not sure what the fire marshal regs are in NYC about jerry cans. I assume pretty much everything that can keep you alive is illegal.
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:49 AM
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To clarify, I have my bug out bag, I have been studying the Alton's book on survival medicine and trying to (slowly) learn to identify edible and medicinal flora in NYS with the help of books and some classes. I have a family with small kids so I won't get far when SHTF without a car (which means we may just be hunkering down with all of the choke points in getting out of here). So, forget splitters and side skirts. I currently have the following in the car:

Jack
Tent
Tanto Knife in Door
Spare Tire
Electric Tire Inflator
Blankets

I'm looking for things I can add to my car as mods or equipment to make it more survival ready.
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:51 AM
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The Allies won WWII carrying fuel in jerry cans. If they can survive rambling all over europe, then they can handle whatever you will likely encounter. Until someone steals them. Not sure what the fire marshal regs are in NYC about jerry cans. I assume pretty much everything that can keep you alive is illegal.
Thanks! And yes, everything I need to stay alive is illegal.
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:52 AM
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Gas can, siphon hose, push bars on the front of your vehicle to push broke down cars out of the way, spare belt, cans of fix a flat....
You mention push bars. You think I can put those on a Camry (this is a serious question)?
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:53 AM
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Gas can, siphon hose, push bars on the front of your vehicle to push broke down cars out of the way, spare belt, cans of fix a flat....
You mention push bars. You think I can put those on a Camry (this is a serious question)? Do you have a recommendation for where to get those? Online?
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:53 AM
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Well, there is a thread or 2 going on right now that is pretty similar.

https://www.survivalistboards.com/sh...ight=truck+kit

https://www.survivalistboards.com/sh...ight=truck+kit


In your situation, I would consider renting a storage facility along your bugout route (in Pennsylvania or NJ) and cache your survival stuff there.
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:54 AM
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Well, there is a thread going on right now that is pretty similar.

https://www.survivalistboards.com/sh...ight=truck+kit
That's great and useful as we're headed for a period of more solar activity too.
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Old 08-17-2019, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
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You mention push bars. You think I can put those on a Camry (this is a serious question)? Do you have a recommendation for where to get those? Online?
Anything is possible if you have cash and someone willing to do the work.
You could take it to a welder or custom car shop and tell them you want push bars and they can custom make them.

Iíve seen a classic 66 mustang with them and 4 wheel drive...
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Old 08-17-2019, 11:35 AM
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I often remove panels in the back of vehicles so I can stuff the area around the wheel wells with fluids (oil, antifreeze, trans fluid, brake fluid, water) and tools then put the panels back. You can store a lot of stuff that way and not take up any valuable room in a small vehicle.

I personally would put a full 5 gallon gas can in the trunk. It is way cheaper than anything you can do to increase mileage and will have a much larger impact if you ever do need to go a distance in SHTF. That and try to keep the vehicle tank as full as possible at all times.

Making sure you don't have bald tires may help you slightly if you need to do anything off pavement.

It wouldn't hurt to have recovery tools(Ie: chain, strap, winch, come-a-long jack, high lift jack). A light car with no off road ability will be easy to get stuck but should also be easy to unstick if you have some basic tools.

Then there is the typical prepper stuff you should have if your plan is to bug out, food, water, heat, cooking, shelter, clothes, and lots of cash.
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Old 08-17-2019, 12:12 PM
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Fuel can (1 x 5 gallon minimum; an additional full tank's worth would be ideal)
Water can (1 x 5 gallon minimum)
Roof rack & hard shell cargo carrier (or waterproof soft cargo bag)
Hitch & hitch cargo box for rear bumper area
Large tarp, line, tent stakes, & bungee cords for erecting a vehicle shade awning during hot weather
Small to medium plastic cooler for ice, drinks, & perishable food; hard to procure during an event
Winter items (clothing & sleeping bags for all; candle lanterns/small stove & pot; enough to overnight in car or tent)
Large capacity (2 quart) vacuum bottles (Thermos, Stanley, etc.) for storing hot drinks or unfrozen drinking water
Travel toilet items (TP, trowel, large mouth pee bottle, female travel adapter for pee bottle, diapers, Adult Depends, whatever...)
Umbrellas for sun, rain, snow (handy at any halt)
Spare coolant, spare oil, & spare windshield wiper fluid
Set of snow chains (or cables) for drive wheels. Like magic for snowy/icy roads. Especially hills.

You have a family fitting (or maybe I misread & it's just you?) into a vehicle that's relatively tight on cargo space. Add additional cargo space to roof & rear bumper.

Use the hitch mounted cargo rack for things like fuel/water cans. Keeps spare fuel out of the passenger compartment and allows for handier access to jugs when stopped. Use the roof mounted cargo box (or a soft cargo bag) for things like tent, clothing, sleeping gear, food, etc.

Think about weather & all 4 seasons. Think about monumental traffic jams. Think about being involuntarily halted/parked at less than optimal locations. Be prepared to hunker down or wait out conditions... from the confines of the vehicle.

PS: Something I learned on potholed Afghan roads & dirt trails. Spare tires (full sized) are life. Have at least one (properly inflated)... even if you have to strap it to the hood, roof, or bumper. You can't travel far or fast on a factory mini-spare.
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Old 08-17-2019, 12:26 PM
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Having ANYthing of value visible on or in your vehicle wll likely be stolen from you, especially after a calamity. What doesn't fit clandestinely in the vehicle, I would store in a cache outside of the NYC zombie zone.

The morally enlightened ones in areas like NYC, Philly etc will ripoff anything of perceived value.

I used to be amazed that people would actually put a sign on their cars that read, "no radio in car".













I would think they should print them in several languages, but that's just me.
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Old 08-17-2019, 01:21 PM
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2wd anything (except a 3 wheeler) wouldn't be my 1st choice for bug out capable vehicle. But it's your thread, so I'll try to be helpful.

Increasing mpg isn't a bad idea, and cleaner aerodynamics will help at moderate speeds. The big gains are by getting a low air dam in the front, and by cleaning up the turbulence in the back, another air dam in the back and ground effects, or side skirts would probably make a difference. Getting a tear drop shape is the best shape below the speed of sound, but tough without reshaping the whole rear end. Some guys use some corrugated plastic sheeting underneath the vehicle to eliminate holes, and places that create a "dirty" air flow. "Moon" hubcaps help a bit also. Also keeping tires slightly over inflated helps.

For more high mileage tips visit a hyper miler site. Most of it is driving style.

Carrying more gas however is probably more useful, and I would do it regardless of mileage gains. A small fuel cell that you could gravity feed from your trunk, into your existing tank would likely give you the most range, as well as more efficient use of the space. I mounted an auxiliary tank for my truck like that in the box. Separate vent line that I could open manually is routed outside, in case I want to sleep back there. You might need to drill a hole and install a bulkhead to vent fumes.

Ditch the "donut" spare, and get a full size in it's place. You'll likely need more cargo space, so a roof rack with hard shell cargo carrier might be useful. Consider a tire repair kit as well as a "good" direct drive compressor.
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Old 08-17-2019, 03:02 PM
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For Post-SHTF the first thing to prepare a vehicle for is the EMP pulse. The second thing to prepare for is no more petroleum.

If your vehicle can withstand an EMP, and if you can re-fuel it without using any petroleum, then the discussion can continue.
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