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Different Take on Bug out Vehicles

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 12:48
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(Before It's News)

After reading all different articles on the subject, I have a different take on Bug-Out Vehicles. And this is the question that seems to be not asked: What are YOU comfortable to work on and maintain as your Bug-Out Vehicle? Do you have the Tools, Facilities, and knowledge/ repair manual to keep your vehicle ready on a moment’s notice to provide you and your family the means to escape? Not to mention on the fly repairs.

Let’s talk about EMP for a minute and my thoughts about modern vehicles, first of all NO gasoline power vehicles that are 100 % percent EMP proof, even most diesels are not as well, cars with point type ignition systems are still able to be affected by an Electro Magnetic Pulse, The condenser, coil and the resistor on point systems can be affected and/or damaged by an EMP if it is powerful enough (large solar flare). However most cars and trucks can handle most EMP events (small to medium nuke) because the car/truck body is basically a Faraday cage. There have been tests that the government has conducted to prove this point,  a  EMP vehicle proof could be an old Mercedes Diesel car as an example, but it would have limited off-road capabilities in stock form.  

Old Military Vehicles most are already hardened electrically for an EMP environment, however there are some downsides to owning them:

  1. Old Military Trucks scream HERE IS A PREPPER! Not good at blending in or hiding plus some are really loud! M35a2 for example.
  2. They are LOUD
  3. Availability of parts, sometimes are hard to find and can be expensive, try getting a water-pump at AutoZone for a M109a4 with the Caterpillar engine.
  4. Large sockets/wrenches and specialty tools make them hard to maintain.
  5. Do you know the maintenance procedures?
  6. Tires, does your local tire shop carry tires that are a correct fit for your M35a3?
  7. Proper fluids, oils etc.
  8. If you live in a climate that gets hot-NO A/C!

So depending on your situation and Old Military Truck may or may not be the best option for you.

Pre-1972 Vehicles,(Chrysler was the first American company to install electronic ignition in 1972, Ford and GM followed in 1974) ah yes the point type ignition systems, so here is a question that most people forget to ask, can you tune and maintain a car/truck with carburetor and a point ignition system? Do you have the feeler gauges, dwell/tach-meter, timing light, vacuum gauge? And do you know what they are used for and how to use them? And  most cars/ trucks from that era require tune-ups about every 10,000 miles? Spark Plugs, Wire, Distributor Cap, Rotor, Points, Timing, Carb adjustment, etc. If you have the tools and the knowledge then this could be an option, however, points and older ignition components are getting harder to find stocked in auto parts stores, also the A/C units required the old

R12 refrigerant (R12 systems were phased out after 1993)  and my not be functioning or converted to R134, and may not run as cool as it did with R12.

Downsides to owning Older vehicles with point type ignition systems:

  1. Maintaining, tuning, becoming a lost “art”.
  2. Parts are getting hard to find.
  3. Fuel economy (carburetor) is not as good as fuel injected vehicles.
  4. A/C units may not work or work as well as intended.

Mid 70’s to early 80’s vehicles non computer controlled electronic ignition.

Most of these vehicles still have carburetors, but the ignition systems have been upgraded to “electronic ignition” types, they still have distributor caps and rotors, but no “points”. These vehicles are fairly EMP resistant, if you worry it may fail from a EMP then have some spare components in a “Faraday” cage: ECM-electronic control module, ignition coil, distributor pick up coil, resistor, some require more components some less. Again the A/C units were designed for the R12 refrigerant which could affect passenger comfort. Some of the emissions systems have lots of vacuum lines and can be confusing.

Downsides to owning this class of vehicle:

  1.  Maintaining, tuning, becoming a lost “art”, Carburetor adjustments, ignition timing, etc.
  2. Fuel economy (carburetor) is not as good as fuel injected vehicles.
  3. A/C units may not work or work as well as intended. R12 refrigerant


Late 70’s to Mid 90’s vehicles with computer controlled emissions (OBD I) during this time each vehicle manufacturer had their own computer diagnostics each had their own input cable and software package to see the error codes and see sensor data, however most onboard computers could flash a code if prompted to give a basic idea of what the trouble condition could be (further diagnostics needed). This is where computers control more and more of the vehicle functions pertaining to fuel/emissions management, again spare components can be stored in a “Faraday” cage, you’ll just need more of a stash, Oxygen sensors, Knock sensor, Throttle position sensor, Mass air flow/Map sensor, and a code reader/scanner for diagnostics. After 1993 R134 refrigerant was replacing the R12 systems (A/C), so passenger comfort will be increased if you have a working system during times of high heat (Summer).

Downsides to owning this class of vehicle:

  1. The vehicles are getting more complex and having a Code Reader/ Scanner helps in diagnosing “Trouble Codes”.
  2. You need to be aware of what sensor does what and why it is needed (not bypass sensors, just because).


1996 to mid-2000’s vehicles (OBD II) during this time all vehicle manufacturers had converted to one of four (4) software protocols to read codes and view some sensor data (a good scanner is almost mandatory), the fuel management systems here are getting more complex, distributor-less ignition systems become standard (now the later vehicles don’t require tune-ups until 100,000 miles). All are now operating R134 for the A/C so replacement refrigerant is easy to obtain.

Downsides to owning this class of vehicle:

  1. The vehicles are getting more complex and having a good Code Reader/ Scanner is almost mandatory in diagnosing “Trouble Codes”.
  2. A repair manual is almost mandatory, it is easy to make mistakes and raise of the cost of repairs/ maintenance.


Today lots of people do not work on their own vehicles, they rely on a shop for repairs and maintenance. You need to be able to maintain/ repair the vehicle yourself or have someone in your group be able to do it. If you have a car/truck for bug-out, it needs to be ready at a moment’s notice for you and your family’s escape, Things happen and it will happen at the worst time (breakdowns), if you don’t take care of your bug-out vehicle it won’t be able to take care of you when you need it the most. Also don’t buy a vehicle that will not fit your needs, make a list of attributes of what you want and prioritize them, is fuel economy a priority? Or towing capacity? Is 4wd a requirement? Diesel vs. Gasoline? Take your time and don’t panic buy. And if you can’t purchase a bug-out vehicle, then try to use what you have already, even a minivan can be altered to fit bug-out needs.


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