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Old 07-02-2008, 12:04 PM
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Default Choosing A Bug Out vehicle.



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I wrote this almost two years ago on another website, and while some things have changed due to the price of fuel, others remain the same. I hope it helps.


************************************************** ******


Peoples opinions on which BOV is the best, are about as varied as the discussions on which firearm is the best. But choosing a BOV is something I've given a lot of consideration to because I live on the out-skirts of a major city, and will have to bug-out to a pre-arranged retreat in the event of a crisis. I started researching my options shortly after the 9/11 attacks, and have come up with the criteria that fit my needs, and maybe the needs of some body else.

This is what I've come up with, and I hope it helps someone else.

1) Four wheel drive vs two wheel drive--Whatever vehicle you choose MUST be four wheel drive, nothing else will do when going off-road. I know that in my area, any and all paved roads will rapidly become parking lots, leaving going cross-country as my only option and two wheel drive will do nothing but get you stuck.

2) Cargo capacity--What ever vehicle you choose MUST have adequate cargo capacity to carry ALL your survival goods, plus your loved ones (there are off road trailers that can help, and I'll address those later). This leaves out any of the CJ-YJ series Jeeps, Honda's, or ANY of the small "SUV's." I personally wouldn't use anything smaller than a half ton. You must also remember that the heavier duty the vehicle is, the tougher it is to break. And believe me when you go off-roading, parts break. So again the spaghetti thin axles and drivetrain parts on these smaller "SUV's" will probably become a liability, if you have to go cross country.

3) Mostly stock vs highly modified--Unless you're extremely wealthy and can carry any spare parts for a modified 4x4, what ever vehicle you choose should remain as stock as possible, with mild upgrades of hard parts being ok. While it's cool to have a 4x4 that has a lot of "eye candy" and makes every one at the local "Joe's-biffy-burger-cruise-in" jealous with envy, it will be very difficult to repair in the field when something breaks. You'll have a much better chance of finding used parts for a mostly stock vehicle, than one that is highly modified. Just keep your modifications to those that will add durability to the vehicle, and give you better off-road performance.

4) Diesel engine vs gas engine--I'm a huge proponent of a bug-out vehicle that runs on diesel for a number of reasons.

a) Durability: A diesel engine's service life is about twice that of a gas engine.

b) EMP proof: Most of the diesels manufactured before 1998, are mechanical (no computers to control the vitals), and electronics are minimal and should survive an EMP blast, or will be easy to replace. [If I'm wrong about this, some one correct me.]

c) Economy: Generally speaking a diesel engine will get better fuel economy, than it's gas engine's counterpart for the same vehicle.

d) Ability to use non-standard fuels: A diesel engine will run on other fuels that are "not for highway use." Diesel engines will run on diesel (of course), home heating oil (keep some cheese cloth or old tee-shirts to strain it), kerosene, JP-5, and JP-8 jet fuels. So by "thinking outside the box", you have improved your chances of finding a way to re-fuel, when the gas stations are out.

e) Storing diesel vs storing gasoline: With stabilizers, diesel fuel will store about ten times longer than gasoline that has stabilizers added. Those who already live at their retreat and are storing diesel, will have a fuel source longer than those who are storing gasoline. This also applies to those folks who have diesel generators and live at their retreats.

5) Off-road trailers: For those who have to have "the latest and greatest" small SUV's, off-road trailers are available. But when choosing one try to stay away from the standard Ball hitch, try instead to use a trailer that uses a Pintle type hitch. Any one that has done any off-roading with a ball type hitch, knows what I'm talking about. Over rough terrain they tend to come loose, and that's not what you need when trying to get away from a crisis. There are some really nice commercial trailers but the downside to those is cost, they are expensive. The best deals I've found on good off-road trailers, are the ex-military trailers. I've seen them selling from around $300-$500, they are the best bargain for those wanting to go that route.

6) Paint: Some might ask, "why is paint important?" Having brilliant, attention getting colors that stick out in the woods while trying to escape doesn't make sense. A simple paint job, in a non-obtrusive basic color is your best bet. I would choose any of the green or brown colors as they will blend in better with foliage, a lot better that the flashier colors will. And if you have thought about it in advance, brown or green paints just need a light sanding, and paint job with camo-paint from Walmart, to blend in better.

7) Diesel conversions for gasoline vehicles: These can be done, and are being done by more than a few off-roaders. I've seen Jeep Cherokees and Wranglers, as well as some other 4x4's that have been converted. A lot of the conversions are being been done using the Cummins 4BT Turbo Diesels and the Hurcules DT3.7 Turbo Diesel. Both of the engines are four cylinder, and are achieving an average of 30-35 mpg. There is a company that is selling rebuilt Hurcules engines for $5,746, and also have the adapters to retro-fit them to several vehicles. You can find them at: http://www.kiva.net/~mars/engine.html The Cummins 4BT's were used in a lot of the old delivery panel trucks, just look for an older Frito-Lays delivery truck, more than likely it's a 4BT.

8) Used military vehicles: Used military vehicles are a good scource when looking for a bug-out-vehicle. The Chevy M1008/M1009 trucks and Blazers can be had for a very good price, most under $5,000. They use the 6.2 liter diesel, it doesn't make a lot of power but it's a very durable engine, and at the prices you can get them for it makes for a pretty good bargain. Another plus to using ex-military vehicles is, they are also already set up to tow the military trailers.

Okay, all this to get to what I have chosen for my BOV..................Whew!!!!

I ended up buying a 1980 Jeep Cherokee. I also bought a 1984 M1008 CUCV for it's entire drivetrain. When the Cherokee is finished it'll have the 6.2 diesel, turbo 400 tranny, an NP205 transfer case, a Dana 60 front axle and GM 14 bolt rear axle (both with 4.56 gears and lockers). I'm using stock leaf springs with a spring over axle swap in the front, and a shackle flip in the rear. We are making custom front and rear bumpers, sliders, and exo-skeleton with a safari rack. I've got four of the front fender flares from an older Jeep M715 military truck, these along with the lift from the suspension mods I'm doing, will allow me to run the Michelin 325/85r16 military radials, I've bought. It will also have a snorkel, and the exhaust raised above the roofline in case we come across deep water. I will be covering it in green bedliner instead of paint, I'm doing this for two reasons, durability and I hate washing this beast! If time allows I'll also be doing the veg-oil conversion. Here are a couple pics from before I took it off the road to do the conversion, the black one is a friends that's also being built.



Anyway, I hope my research and opinions help at least one person who is trying to figure out what they need in their bug-out-vehicle.

Last edited by SIXPACK; 07-02-2008 at 12:11 PM.. Reason: Forgot something.
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Old 07-02-2008, 12:27 PM
TENNGRIZZ TENNGRIZZ is offline
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I only plan on my vehicle to get me where i need to go 1 time after that I will be foot or horseback/mule.
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Old 07-02-2008, 12:38 PM
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i like a fuel efficient BOV, im already bugged out, and i wanna be able to make as many trips into town as i can before all the gas is gone. hence the tracker<-----------------
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Old 07-02-2008, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TENNGRIZZ View Post
I only plan on my vehicle to get me where i need to go 1 time after that I will be foot or horseback/mule.
Same here. But once it's finished, it'll be my daily driver.
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Old 07-02-2008, 12:41 PM
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I love FSJ's

I have a 98 cherokee with a couple of mods. that enjoys being in the bush
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Old 07-02-2008, 12:43 PM
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BTW congrats on the build up.....sounds like bullet proof drive train
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Old 07-02-2008, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Tugger View Post
I love FSJ's
Yeah me too, they're very underrated as off-road vehicles. Though my pictures aren't that good, you can see in the pic on the left that the drivetrain is tucked up with in the frame rails. Though you sacrifice some interior room when they're built this way, they have greater ground clearance. I can't wait till this project is done!!
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Old 07-03-2008, 09:06 PM
haha49 haha49 is offline
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want to hear something funny.. its not about what truck or car you have its the ability to get it were your going now i have a 05 civic.. and lets just say day after geting it i went up a decomisend loging road i past people in the huge jacked up trucks that were stuck.. since the car was alot smaller i could get further up the mountain as most trucks were to wide to fit i went over the dug out parts of the road (to stop people from going up) fine had no problems with the 3 foot deep holes in the road why because i would angle the car right and drive over it fine the problem would be if the car droped into the hole then i might lose my bumper but i past people with there big 4 wheel drive cars with no problems i just went super slow... they went bombing up the hill got stuck and i past some of them was priceless you should of seen there face brand new small car passing them in there jacked up trucks likes its nothing

alot of them had there trucks jacked up but the problem isnt the hight of the truck its the hight of the axel no point makeing your truck 10 feet high and then haveing the axel the lowest point only a few feet above the ground i have seen people hit rocks with it and be stuck because they hit that one rock that was sticking out while i just would drive around it laughing now there are some non road type roads that i know i will get stuck in but you know what if i know im going to get stuck dont go there geting stuck is easy learning how to avoided it and take your time you would be supprized in how little of a vechail you will need to get there.. now some of the advantages of suvs and trucks is a little bit higher clearance not always seen some that are like cars.. the ability to carry more in them load wise more space and more roomy inside usally

i wish i took pictures of the people going up and of there cars and the road they were stunned that i made it with out a single scratch or dent on my car hit nothing and even if i would of it would of been so slow that the damage would me minor or none at all.. i know there are some areas that yes a car wont be able to get to.. but the range per fuel out weighs the size and the abbilty to go places the key is slow and steady and dont hit 2 pot holes with both wheels go slow and do only 1 wheel at a time if more then 1 hits then you bottom out bounce around like mad and might get stuck even in a suv or truck you can get stuck in pot holes if you dont know how deep it is dont go through it i saw a truck stuck in a 5 foot deep pot hole full of water one time.. he just blindly drove through it at least 30mph and he destroted his truck when it hit it.. droped in didnt go foward bent the wheel to almost to the rear wheel it was that bad.. if i hit that i would just be stuck and have to get un stuck thats it..


the whole idea of raising a truck up is to put bigger tires on it so you can get more clearance but you would be supprized if you take your time how far you can go in a car vs the truck that got there faster..
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Old 07-03-2008, 09:20 PM
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no offence.....but I dont care how well you drive your civic......you will not follow me :D


While I do agree that many folks who have lifted and modified 4x4's have never wheeled their particular vehicle stock and do not know how to wheel it..........

lift does not give a vehicle its axle clearence.....tires do......but to fit larger tires one must "lift the truck" or do alot of fender trimming..



there is no way you are driving a civic thru a 3 foot deep dug out hole.....that I find hard to beleive......


and having an axle a few feet off the ground would call for a 6 foot tire lol......

as for hitting rocks while you just drive around it......most people who build 4x4 do so, so they can push the rig to beyond its limits.....I wanna see if I can climb that rock....I didnt spend an arm and a leg and a whole lotta blood sweat and tears to "go around it" lol

sorry but I ont wanna sound like a prick but your statements sound way off dude....




follow me in the last pic :D
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Old 07-03-2008, 09:23 PM
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Oh and one more thing.......if I had SIXPACKS rig and the drive train he is installing...those pics would be even gnarlier :D
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Old 07-03-2008, 10:36 PM
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Oh and one more thing.......if I had SIXPACKS rig and the drive train he is installing...those pics would be even gnarlier :D
Thanks man. :D

I'll try to get some pics of work in progress, and when it's done.

And ah, that's a pretty sweet XJ you have yourself!

Last edited by SIXPACK; 07-03-2008 at 10:42 PM.. Reason: Mis-spelled word.
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Old 07-07-2008, 08:32 PM
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Looks like a nice build, Sixpack. Keep us up to date on how the diesel conversion goes - I'm very interested in that. I have a JK and a CJ, but looking to go the diesel route with some future BOV. Starting to do some serious research now.
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Old 07-08-2008, 08:17 PM
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Durability: A diesel engine's service life is about twice that of a gas engine??
I dont agree. Modern turbo charged diesel engines are good for 150,000km only. Low sulphur fuel is not easily available in africa. diesel economy is not that great considering the additional capital investment. Petrol engines handle extreme heat and cold much better, much better towing vehicles, longer service intervals. Turbo diesels are high risk. I agree that a normally aspirated diesel engine is good for many miles but lack power. Our used car market is full of turbo diesels on the 150,000km mark.
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Old 07-08-2008, 09:22 PM
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are you serious. diesel engines get better fuel economy than gas engines. also gas is better for towing? no gas engines can not even close to produce as much torque as a diesel engine. Why would semis and most rv's use diesel if they couldn't tow anything. also diesel engines can last over a million miles before you have to do anything with them.

get your facts straight.
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Old 07-09-2008, 04:20 AM
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There is a huge difference between the big purpose built truck engines that lug heavy loads compared to those in an SUV. On average SUV turbo diesels range between 2.5l and 4l. In order to operate at full capacity for any length of time under load the full consumption almost doubles and the exhaust temps get too high and therefore speeds are reduced with a reduction in pulling power. With a petrol engine I can still change down a gear and get more revs, this is not so for a diesel. The worst diesel suv's are Jeeps with anything over 60,000km's the owners start thinking of changing. On average 150,000km's is the safe limit for turbo diesel engines light pick-ups and suv's. I own a petrol suv as well as a diesel. the diesel is normally aspirated but has no guts but is a fun vehicle. Simple town driving with light loads, no towing, and no off-road work is no problem for turbo diesel pick-ups and suv's.
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Old 07-09-2008, 09:15 AM
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i have to agree with nitroman. i was a diesel tech for a couple of years . the thing with diesels is they produce more torque . (twisting force) the more torque the more capacity for towing. on top of that they get 30% better mileage than a equivalent torque producing gas engine . on top of that a turbo only adds hp and torque. it does not increase wear and tear on a vehicle if set up properly. egt's are only an issue if u abuse the vehicle or add more power adders such as programmers and methanol injection. i personaly like the duramax and cummins line of diesels . on top of that they gate close to 25mpg in real world use. gas engines are far less efficient. not to mention alot dirtier and suffer from more wear and tear . yes i said dirtier .
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Old 07-09-2008, 09:16 AM
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also diesel contains more energy than gasoline .
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Old 07-09-2008, 12:25 PM
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Also, they are talking about real diesel engines, not the small under rated pseudo diesel engines that are so underpowered the require a turbo to make up for the lack of engine capacity.
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Old 07-09-2008, 01:49 PM
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The debate is about a bug-out vehicles and from the experience we had in south africa, there is a finite life span to the turbo-diesels with an increasing risk of failure beyond the 150,000km mark. The cost of failure on a turbo diesel far exceeds that of a petrol engine. I would love to own a turbo diesel pick-up but I am not willing to take the post warranty risk. Also one needs to look at the total cost of ownership of a small turbo diesel engine versus a petrol equalvalent. I am not debating the viability of the big diesels as these are built to do the job, but the small turbo charged diesel engines in suvs that is the issue. I spent 10 years at sea working and slow, medium and high speed diesels so I have a fair understanding of the mechanics and a fair amount of off-road experience in high ambient temps and have seen the failures. I just wish the manufacturers will bring out a decent turbo diesel that will last.
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Old 07-09-2008, 03:02 PM
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buy a cummins or a duramax. a 4bt cummins would be killer in a toyota hilux or surf. i am considering a durimax 6.5 for my 95 surf (4runner) . i hate the 3.0 v6. the only issue i have ever had with any in the fleet i worked on was after 350,000 miles. but a simple refresh on the engine and your good for another 200,000. i have never had a diesel (u.s. made ) crap on me or anyone i know. my brother and his little vw diesels absolutely suck major balls. if u want a good diesel buy u.s. made
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