Discussion in 'Survival Discussions' started by Vel454, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. Vel454

    Vel454 G&G Newbie

    I was wondering what your guys/gals thoughts were on survival vehicles. I've seen a few links to some "top 10" post apocolytpic vehicles and I couldn't help but laugh at most of them.

    Obviously a big part of it would depend on your location and environment. But I doubt the roads are still going to be in good enough driving condition to zip around in a sports car like in I Am Legend. Destruction abound, chaotics leaving random garbage and loot all over, and possibilities of natural disasters destroying or damaging roads makes me feel that a vehicle with some off-road capabilities is a requirement.

    You would need to find a balance of off-road capabilities, ability to haul gear & loot, descent gas milage, and so on.

    Personally, I would probably vote for an off-road built Jeep JK. 4-doors if you need more room for extra people, if not, can tear them out for gear storage. Small gear area in the back, they're quite an off-road able vehicle, being one of the top base vehicles in some of the most hard-core offroad trails in the US (Moab, etc.).

    The downside - electronics. EMP would probably make it worthless, but it's still what I would go with.

  2. larmus

    larmus G&G Enthusiast

    -pre-1990's model 4x4's i think would be the best, something with a diesel engine where there are no electronics to get wiped out by possible EMP.

    -truck would be good
    -moveable winch that can go from front to back depending on the situation
    -onboard pnumatic system for running air tools
    -onboard arc welder or inverter to run a small 110 mig for welding
    -ability to store extra fuel
    -off road tires not to excessive
    -lift but not so bad its gawdy

    all of this under a camper shell to make it look like a normal truck, normal paint job so it doesnt stick out maybe some dents too.

  3. Archetype_wyo

    Archetype_wyo G&G Enthusiast

    Ruling out EMP...I own a 2007 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab 4x4...I can get around pretty well up in the mountain and not use too much gas. Also it's fairly quiet and has a decent sized box on it. The back seats can fold up to hold a bit more gear. The cab space is fairly roomy so carrying a rifle next to my left leg while I drive wouldn't be out of the question. Basically anything with 4wd is going to be a plus.
  4. Vel454

    Vel454 G&G Newbie

    I don't know if it's a regional thing or what, but a camper on your truck would automatically stand out around here, larmus. =P But it would definitely be nice.

    I have an F150 that, to me, seems too damned long to manuever around the trails very well. I drag the rear bumper on the ground occassionally, bump into trees, etc. It'll work, but I'd rather something different.

    Armored car maybe? o_O
  5. Archetype_wyo

    Archetype_wyo G&G Enthusiast

    Dad has a 1999 F150 with a long-box on it and can maneuver around quite easily in the trees when we are driving to our hunting spot to get out and walk. Of course my Dakota winds around alot easier but Dad does very good in that F150 and hasn't hit a tree yet.
  6. Vel454

    Vel454 G&G Newbie

    I guess I should drop my philosophy of "When in doubt, throttle out" eh? >.<

    Mine's a '91 and I don't really mind if I bang it up, which probably allows me to push it more than I should.
  7. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Evangelist

    Vehicles are like weapons. Each person may be best suited by something different.

    What are your needs?

    What are you proficient with?

    Personally, I'm good with Ford diesels. I can do ANYTHING maintenance wise. I can also diagnose common problems as 6.0s, 6.4s and 7.3s pass me on the highway :). I can fix most of the COMMON ailments as well. I can squeeze about 19 MPG out of a 4 door pick up with 3 fuel tanks totaling over 150 gallons of fuel, while loaded down with gear. I can still get about 15MPG while pulling a decent trailer.

    That pick will also be pushing 400 HP with 500lbs of torque and if I keep it under 2600 RPMs it will still probably give me about half a million miles before it's first overhaul.

    "Yeah right. . . ." You say? 2001 7.3 sittin in my grand-paw's drive-way right now. It's only used when he goes to market and is VERY well cared for. It's mine when he's done with it. Same engine design and truck size my step-father modded to +100 HP and 19MG with nothing more than a $200 fuel ratio chip. Change a few other things like performance air intake and filter, probably nothing else, and that'll nose the HP and mileage up a little more. It'll need the spare tank and bed tanks installed, not a big deal really, spare tank may be too expensive for the benefit. That'll still put me over 100 gallons on a bad day. Thats 1500 miles of range. Pretty serious. That's a LOT of capability.

    It is HUGE, which isn't great for tight spaces, but eh, I'll take it, and avoid the confinements.

    I'll still need to add a winch and I'd like an oil cleaner, they are very expensive, and don't really pay for themselves, but they can extend the life of engine oil to (off the top of my head, probably wrong) 30,000 miles. . . . That's kinda crazy beneficial for SHTF when oil, filters, and such may be just plain GONE. Of course, I would add fresh additives, perhaps additive rich filters too, every 10k miles or so just to be sure that the engine is still getting those detergents and extra lubricity I like.

    Essentially, with JUST the truck, I can carry my whole family and enough gear to last a few months including an oil change for the truck, over some extremely rugged terrain.

    Yeah, takes some know-how and work. . . but I've got both in me.

    Could anything be better for me? Nope.

    For GENERAL SHTF people. . . well as a rule of thumb, take my approach, what vehicle will give you the most benefit for the cost? What do you have at hand? What plays to your strengths?

    Other than that, a simple Jeep Wrangler (also in Papal's driveway :p) is excellent for most people. They are very capable, sturdy, safe (5 star impact ratings on most models in most tests), and easy to maintain (particularly 80-98 [ball park] models)

    They are pretty small and mileage sucks with off road tires. The Cherokee is a larger alternative, but they aren't quite as simple.

    On the other end of the spectrum, are Land Rovers. While generally outrageously priced, they are unbelievably capable off road. . . I know, hence the term 'unbelievably', but I've seen an 05 Land Rover go into and out of places, in street tires, I would take a tractor. . . It's wild. STATE OF THE ART traction control and 4 wheel independent actively adjusting air suspension. Incredible to see in action.

    Now, 05 Ford pick ups and later with the 'off road' package have a VERY similar traction control system. I've seen a pick up stuck in hard mud, climbing up hill, with ONE wheel on exposed bedrock. The driver was gassing all she had, and 3 wheels were lax and the one on bedrock was spinning like hell. They figure out which wheel is gripping, whether or not it is sinking, and give power accordingly. Amazing stuff these days.


    Simple is better, newer is better, bigger is better, lighter is better, more power is better, more fuel efficiency is better, off road capability is better, on road longevity is better. . . .

    Get my meaning?

    All these things are IMPOSSIBLE to really balance out. It all just has to suit you and your needs.

    I'm pretty experienced off road, so I don't need those advanced systems as much as others may. I can fit my truck with obscenely sized fuel tanks, so mileage isn't as big a deal. With me? I can figure out what the top. . . 5 vehicles for me would be. . . but beyond that? Make your own choices.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2010
  8. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Evangelist

    very good logic.

    I hope to keep my SHTF vehicle in an underground garage. That should protect my ECU to some degree.

    Other than that?? Yeah, better get something old, but that reduces the availability of parts and generally means a more worn vehicle.

    Contrary to the way we operate in normal life, in SHTF the newest vehicles will have the most available parts. Those will be the ones that were still in service, not scrapped or crashed, when SHTF, and left around to be scavenged.
  9. Vel454

    Vel454 G&G Newbie

    Oil life wouldn't be as much of a problem as oil filter. Example - Mobil 1 5w30 Struck & SUV lasts 15k miles. Fram Extended Guard filter lasts 10k... Downside to diesels (and ford especially) when talking about oil life - is the amount of oil you'd need to pack around for an oil change. (15 quarts for most Ford Diesels, compared to 12 and 10 for chev and dodge.)

    But, that is to keep it running optimally. I also know someone with an '03 F350 diesel that just broke 1 million miles on their truck. How? Oil changes every week, small amount of ATF in their tank, and an amazing amount of love and care. Would I ever be able to do that during a SHTF scenario? Doubt it. Would I care to even do that in a typical day like today? Not so much. =P

    As for the traction you mentioned, simple and relatively cheap fix for any off-roading vehicle - Lockers.
  10. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Evangelist

    As in locking differential? That's a MINIMUM, and what I know how to drive with, but the active traction system goes WAY beyond that, keeping you from spinning when you try to, and NEVER letting you dig a hole. GREAT for inexperienced off-roaders.

    the 7.3s, especially before 2000, reach 1,000,000 pretty commonly.

    Regular maintenance, with premium products and fuel treatments, and a few repairs here and there are all that's needed.

    yeah, 16 quarts for the ol' 7.3, and they burn about a quart every 5k miles after they reach about 200k.

    I still love them. They are very long lasting, very powerful motors, and like I said, I know them inside and out. They are too much for most, just right for me.
  11. Vel454

    Vel454 G&G Newbie

    You sound confident, good for you.

  12. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Evangelist

    You sound skeptical, I'm not surprised. LOL.

    They only drawback, for me, is the size of the truck, 4 full dors, king bed, longest wheel base (longest pick up on the road), but I can manage.

    I just left a company with about a dozen Fords of various makes and models. We did ALLLLL of our own maintenance and all out of warranty repairs that didn't require a lift (much of that was on the side of I65 or I20 HAHAH!). I've had to tell the Ford mechanics what was STILL wrong (as in the diagnosis) when they didn't fix it the first time. I've got a little experience with them.

    I sound a little overconfident, but I'm not as brazen as I come across in this thread. I just want to beat this horse to death. Again, ideal for me, not for everyone.
  13. Dragunov

    Dragunov G&G Evangelist

    When you absolutely MUST drive over every God-forsaken piece of terrain on this planet........

    Land Rover............ There IS no substitute! :D
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2010
  14. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Evangelist


    I'm inclined to agree. Maintenance is a B%^$!

    They aren't too rare, so scavenging is doable, but dang. . . 6liters of full synthetic, and a $20 filter. . . . ouch.

    Not much different than my 7.3 though, LOL!
  15. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

    New York
    Erwin Rommel observed that "Anywhere a camel can go, a Kubelwagen can follow." You won't be able to lay your hands on a World War II Kubelwagen, but if you are patient you can get hold of a Volkswagen Type 181, aka the VW Safari, and best known as the VW Thing. By choice, you want a 1972 VW Thing.

    It had the standard VW engine with the permanent oil filter that was intended to be taken down and washed out with mineral spirits or gasoline to clean it of the accumulated gunk. That solves one problem.

    It also had a mechanical, not electronic, electrical regulator, which renders it immune to EMP. Of course, every so often the idiot light warning you that the alternator is not charging comes on. This means you have to pull over, get out, open the engine compartment and whack the regulator a couple of times with your fist to get it working again. (I eventually installed a couple of clamps and left a rubber mallet permanently in them inside the engine compartment just for this purpose.) I felt it was worth it to have a car that would keep on running even if the Soviets used a nuclear warhead to try and knock out our commo and power grids, and paralyze our transport systems.

    The Thing has another virtue: it is air-cooled, not water-cooled. That's one less system to go wrong with it. As a SHTF vehicle, you do want to install a better oil cooler than it came with. It's simple enough that you can do it yourself.

    The Thing also has the heavier axles that were built for the Transporter, and a higher ground clearance than a standard Beetle. This makes it suitable for back country use.

    You'll want to install skid plates, of course. One mod I made to the one I used to own is to put a rubber pad over and under the battery in the rear seat area. The battery is mounted in the open - no battery box - and the potential to short across the terminals with the rear seat springs exists. But as the Thing is so simple a vehicle, modifying it is dead bang easy. Get yourself a copy of John Muir's How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive for the Compleat Idiot, and you'll be able to do all the maintenance on it yourself, up to and including removing and replacing the engine.

    Yes, I know that a 1972 VW Thing is nowhere near state of the art. But in TEOTWAWKI situations, simple is always better. It doesn't get much simpler than the VW Thing.
  16. As far as vehicles go, I think the bigger concern is going to be gasoline. Because let's face it. In a SHTF situation, people are going to go nuts.

    Remember Tom Cruise in the movie remake of "War of The Worlds"? Remember what happened when he slowed down and had to sop with the "only" working vehicle?

    Imagine that for gasoline, and food, batteries, water and anything else for that matter.

    Your better off staying put until all that settles down. If it ever does. And even if it does settle down, odds are, people will either already be or get organized to steal what they need. Especially gangs and thugs.

    So I personally think a person and or their families best bet is to either get together with friends or family and all should have this decided well before anything happens and then once that's decided, or if you decide to stay put, no matter which you choose, you have a stash of water, water purifier or purifying tablets, batteries, flashlights, some throw away (cheap ones and a good one or two) and other important items.

    That's my thinking anyhow. Not saying I'm right or wrong. But let's face it. People ARE NOT going to pay for anything let alone be patient. Society IS going to be in a panic. People ARE NOT going to be calm or rational.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2010
  17. Dragunov

    Dragunov G&G Evangelist

    Eh.... I've had mine for five years and have only needed to change oil, front brake pads, plug wires and a battery. No problems yet. :)
    My oil filter is a $7 K&N filter and 6.5 quarts of oil. I had to replace the starter in my wifes Rover, that wasn't too bad. $90.
  18. I know alot of guys like big full size trucks but I have almost always had small pickups with the exception of my 99 Silvarado I had a few years back and from my experience a driver who knows what he is doing can get a small truck (Ranger,Tacoma,S10 ect) NOT lifted alot more places than most guys can get there full size pickups. I know I have taken my old ranger and my current ranger (the old one was only 2wd too) Alot more places than my freinds could take there full size pickups.

    That said MY choice (and is somethign eventually I really want to do ) Is to take my Ford Ranger and swap a Cummins 4bbt deisel into it and swap a solid front axle and rear axle out of a 1 ton pickup most likely a ford, and also use a tranny that is heavy duty enuph to handle the power ( I hear the C5 does alright but would prefure a manual) So I would have a small pickup with a great low end power engine with full 1 ton running gear. I have seen it done and know its very possible to do. Something Else im hoping to do in the neer future is to put a Flat bed on the back of my truck raised up about 3-4 inches higher than the stock bed sits to give me better tire clearence in the back as not to be rubbing the tire on the bottem of the bed. This way I can use the bed to haul any thing but I can also put a tent on the back of it. This way I can take the tent down and still use the back or build a box camper made custom to fit the back of my Ranger. And with the engine I want to use power shouldnt be a problum for toating around a camper in the back. Also I should be able to lift the truck ( this would be done when the new axles were put in) about 6-8 inches (and I think I would leave the axles full lenght to keep max stability when lifted) and run 35s and still have plenty of power to get around since the truck it self problulby only weighs half what most full size diesel pickups (especially dodge rams) weight. Also I would like to install a second battery and altanator for offroad lights mounted on top. I also want to try to get my hands on an air compressor that I could install on the back of the bed to run power tools or air up flat tires.

    Again this is if I had the money. I have read of guys online that have done the engine swaps with a 4bt cummins for under 5k and if you can find a donor vehicle that you could pull all the running gear axles, tranny i meen every thing then you could possibly do it for the same price AND lift the truck. I have heard of guys using a 6bt in a ranger but it looked like a REALLY tight fit.

    Also this would give me an advantage because I could get the stuff to make Bio-diesel if I had too. Only problum is up here in Alaska im not sure how bad it would jell with our cold weather. I have how ever heard of guys running bio-diesel in there trucks and mixing it roughly 75% bio and the rest reg Diesel wich would prolong the ammount of diesel I may have stored.

    Any way If I had the money this is what I would do for a vehicle. And some day If I can save up the parts then I just may do it too. Or if I could get my hands on a donor truck for cheep.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2010
  19. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Evangelist

    The old VW motors truly were works of genius.

    Good logic. I like something with more room and available replacement parts. . . but I'd KILL for VW Thing, lol.
  20. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Evangelist

    Wow! I couldn't get my hands on a starter for my Ford for $90!

    What year? My friend, the one helping me with the knife, has an 05-07 (I can't remember) LR (picked it up during the gas spike for $15k cash up front, lucky bastage!), and he hasn't had to replace anything yet but, looked JIC, and just getting something like a plug-wire is a factory only part at $150 each (off the top of my head, everything seemed OUTRAGEOUS). He said "you should never need to replace anything on one of these, but if you do, God help you."

    Coworker of mine has an 08 that he's still got the 'all inclusive maintenance' for so he hasn't had to pay for ANYTHING but they did have to, as he put it, "I don't know, they just told me they had to replace the brakes," and that set him back $2k. OUCH! Of course, that's a dealership for you. Ford'll charge you about $400 for my 01 explorer compared to Midas's $79.99 lol.