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What Truck

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by 3MTA3, Jan 1, 2014.

  1. 3MTA3

    3MTA3 DMZ between Liberty and Tyranny Behind Enemy Lines Bronze Supporter

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    I plan on buying a truck this year, and I want something that will be useful in our third world future. I don't have any prejudice regarding make. What I need (for sure) is:
    • reliability
    • maintainability
    • reasonable towing capability
    • minimal electronics to replace
    • No electronics that could be used for tracking, or those that could be disabled

    Please give me your input for make, model, year, engine, etc.
     
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  2. GOG

    GOG State of Jefferson Well-Known Member

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    I'd suggest a pre-1972 4x4 of some type in good shape. Then go through it and R&R anything that needs it. It should then be EMP proof and a good reliable ride.
     
  3. simon99

    simon99 Central Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Dodge Cummins 4x4 pre-2003.
     
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  4. techiej

    techiej vancouver, wa Active Member

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    An old as possible Cummins diesel based truck that you could then convert to run on waste/veggie oil rather than diesel.

    BTW my preferred ride is a current model GM Duramax as I'm not as worried about that far into the future....YMMV
     
  5. clambo

    clambo Vancouver, Wa. Well-Known Member

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    Old, think old. Pre-80's. Something with a distributor and breaker points. Diesel might even be a better choice but there were no diesel pickups until somewhere in the 80's. ( cant remember what year Dodge began ) Also, if it gets truly that bad we might be just driving off with whatever vehicle we can get started. I think the idea of personal ownership will be among the first to go. M1 title so to speak. I mean my house really isnt my house, I dont own it outright. In a catastrophe I wont have the ability to continue paying for it, yet I do plan to keep living here. Im thinking the mortgage company isnt gonna be trying too hard to make me leave and if they do.....well.....refer to M1 title.
     
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  6. 3MTA3

    3MTA3 DMZ between Liberty and Tyranny Behind Enemy Lines Bronze Supporter

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    Thanks for the input so far. I'm adding 4x4 to the list, should have been there from the start. I like the idea of diesel as well, but I'm going to evaluate the pro's and cons of diesel vs. gas like storage life, etc. I have heard that diesel engines are just getting broken in about a hundred thousand miles after most gas engines last.

    Any thing else I should add to my list? I do plan on a winch. My Dad several years ago came up with a system that uses a dual class IV hitch that can be mounted front and back.
     
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  7. Father of four

    Father of four Portland, Oregon Well-Known Member

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  8. 3MTA3

    3MTA3 DMZ between Liberty and Tyranny Behind Enemy Lines Bronze Supporter

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  9. simon99

    simon99 Central Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Diesels really are the way to go IMO. Just like other fuels, you can put additives in diesel for long term storage. Provided they are well maintained, they run forever. I have a friend who owns a 2001 Dodge Cummins that has over 750K on it with just regular maintenance. Winches are only as good as the mounting system. Good winch bumpers can be bought or fabricated by yourself or a skilled metal fab shop. Also consider a good set of aftermarket lighting. There are many great aftermarket companies that can build you a bulletproof truck. Drivetrain, bumpers front and back, lighting, suspension, tires and wheels....these are the first places I'd start researching. Best regards
     
  10. Father of four

    Father of four Portland, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I have a 2001 Chevrolet Suburban LT with all the bells and whistles. It is a awesome rig, but would be useless if the computer went out in it from a virus/ EMP or if Onstar gets all mean and nasty.

    A pre-1976ish 4x4 truck really is the way to go.
     
  11. parallax

    parallax eugene, or-gun Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    what u think about a multi-fuel like the military trucks of old.
     
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  12. Father of four

    Father of four Portland, Oregon Well-Known Member

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  13. 3MTA3

    3MTA3 DMZ between Liberty and Tyranny Behind Enemy Lines Bronze Supporter

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    I like the concept and love the utilitarian look of military vehicles, but I'm looking for something that doesn't attract attention.
     
  14. Sun195

    Sun195 Pugetropolis, WA Well-Known Member

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    [video=youtube;y_4qmjyHRNM]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_4qmjyHRNM[/video]
     
  15. 3MTA3

    3MTA3 DMZ between Liberty and Tyranny Behind Enemy Lines Bronze Supporter

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    Wow - Just watched a few minutes so far, but that's got a LOTS of SHTF potential!
     
  16. notazombie

    notazombie Hillsboro Well-Known Member

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    OP didn't mention budget. For me it would be an early '80s Chev/GMC diesel or a pre-Powerstroke Ford. Both have their good and bad points. Both are cheap. Both are tough.
    I have nothing against Dodge -- I just think they're overpriced.
    If I could build from scratch I'd have a 12valve Cummins in an F350 (straight front axle) crewcab with single rear wheels and a flatbed.
     
  17. Father of four

    Father of four Portland, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Just about anything beats a vehicle that doesn't have a distributor and idle screws.
     
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  18. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Large or small?

    Budget?

    What do you consider "reasonable" for towing? I.E., what do you want to tow with it, how far, how often?

    For large, especially if you are going to be towing anything substantial, then diesel powered. Diesel will store longer than gasoline.

    Diesel can be found in tractors, combines and other ag equipment, larger trucks, industrial equipment, construction equipment, larger gensets, homes that heat with "oil" (although those are decreasingly common), airports that service jets and turboprops and helicopters with turbines, seaports, and on and on.

    Not as common as gasoline at gas stations, but common enough.

    You can easily supplement the diesel with propane "fumigation" (injection) to get more power, stretch out the fuel consumption, and add some fuel diversity (you can't run on propane or NG by itself without a significant amount of modification that is best done by the manufacturer and currently is relatively uncommon except in certain large truck markets).

    For a large diesel truck I recommend a Dodge 2500 to 3500 with a 12V 6BT Cummins made before 1998.5 - at which time they went to electronics in the fuel system. Before 1998.5, when they switched to 24 valve engines, there were no electronics that are critical to the engine running except for the fuel shut off solenoid - which can be jerry-rigged to be held in the open position to keep the engine running, or you could just replace it with a cable operated shut off like they used to do in older trucks and tractors.

    There are no glow plugs in Cummins 6BT for cold starts, just a intake heater "grid" with a timer circuit to heat the incoming air. This is not critical to starting the engine (which is an advantage over pre-combustion chamber diesels that require a glow plug for cold temps) - if you have enough battery the engine will start in most cold temps above zero. I got an almost instant start last year when it was 20 degrees out without waiting for the grid heater - although I had to hold the throttle because it wouldn't idle well for the first minute or two. I should have tried again when it was even colder this year, but I was only thinking about keeping warm.

    The other electronics in the 12V Cummins Dodges is the electronics that control the dash gauges and that is tied to the charging system - if this goes out then you lose the charging system and gauges, but that should not stop the engine.

    Whatever truck you decide on, get a manual transmission. You cannot roll or push start an automatic transmission (or very few of them anyway, and those that you can are very rare that I know of).

    If you want a smaller truck then an older Toyota Hilux (predecessor to the Tacoma). If you can find one with a Toyota diesel, then thats okay but they are underpowered and probably wouldn't tow much. I recommend you get one with the straight front axle (assuming 4x4), but the IFS are okay (mine is IFS).

    You can put, or have put, a Mercedes Benz OM 617 inline 5 cylinder diesel from a mid 80s MB 300D car into the Hilux - it makes about 30 more HP than the inline 4 (22re) you will find in many Toyota Hilux and Tacomas. This is a quite popular diesel conversion for the small truck crowd, but of course adds to the cost. Some put in a Cummins 4BT, but it is significantly heavier and more costly and is not at all suited for the stock transmission of the truck.

    The big difference between the Cummins and the MB diesel is that the Cummins is a larger truck diesel that makes its power at about half the RPM the MB diesel does. This is okay for a large truck with a close ratio transmission, but for a small truck it is not suitable at all for daily driving.
     
  19. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    BTW - at least some of the 24V Cummins Dodges can be converted back to mechanical injection, especially the earlier ones.

    How that is done is beyond the scope of this thread, and is best discussed with experts who have done it.

    What other electronics may be present that might impact the running of the engine I can't say as I have not dug into it as my Dodge is a '97 and therefore it isn't relevant to my truck.

    I do know that the later engines make more power, are more efficient, and run better.

    The main thing about diesels is keeping the fuel clean, which isn't hard to do but is very important:

    1) Get clean fuel to start with.

    2) Have a good filter on your truck with a good water separator. Racor makes good ones.

    3) Religiously drain any water off the bottom of the fuel filter.

    4) Periodically add a biocidal fuel treatment to your tank. If there is any water at all in the fuel, it will settle to the bottom - the interface between the water and the diesel may cause a bacteria to grow which will gum up your fuel system.

    It doesn't take much to do this, but it should not be ignored.

    Beyond that, if you change the oil and filters periodically, use good fuel, the engine should last and run fine for a very long time - assuming it ran good when you got it.

    I believe the sweet spot years for Dodges with diesels in them is '94 to '98 - for the purposes you seem to be aiming for. My truck is a D3500 1+ ton cab chassis (12 foot flatbed) with duallies.

    There are a few endemic problems and weak areas to watch for, but for the most part the Dodge, Ford and GM trucks use the same running gear except for the engines. The transmissions, transfer cases and axles are pretty much the same models and makes with some small differences. That doesn't mean all the parts will interchange, but many will.

    The problem with the manual transmission used in my truck, an NV4500 (5 speed with a granny low) is that the fifth gear will back off the shaft and you will lose engagement of the gear. This happened to me last year while towing. I made it home fine in fifth gear, but I have not fixed it yet. I am think of replacing it with the NV5600 (6 speed with a granny low) unless I can find a better transmission. I could also just fix the 5th gear, but there is no guarantee it would not happen again. Some of the fixes can result in serious damage to the transmission, some of which may result in total stoppage.

    Also, the large Dodges of that era (and some others?) have what is called a "central axle disconnect" in the front axle. When you put it in 4WD the front axle connects via vacuum at a point near the center - this takes the place of automatic hubs. This can be deleted and replaced such that you then need to use manual hubs. This is another thing I want to do to my truck, at the same time I replace the "unit wheel bearing" - neither of these things are cheap to do as in thousands of dollars.

    Another thing is that some years, especially the mid 90s, have a problem with steering. They will wander all over the road. This is due to a flaw in the design and the steering mounting and links and so on wear out. My truck also suffers from this.

    In short, I have a lot of work to do on my truck.

    Fortunately I pretty much knew this going in. The truck is a project for my retirement 5 years hence, not a daily driver and is sitting in my shop right now waiting for me to get some motivation to work on it and/or have it worked on.
     
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  20. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner You'll Never Know Well-Known Member

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    I'd stick with gasoline, come SHTF, you can always run some kind of distilled alcohol mix. I'd go with a carbureted engine, preferably 4 cylinder like a 1988 Toyota pick-up. 22R engine, standard transmission, 4X4. but, that is me.