By Sixpack | From survivalistboards.com
Peoples opinions on which Bug Out Vehicle (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 prearranged 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 4×4, 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 4×4 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 4×4’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 source 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.
This article was originally posted at http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=17569