Letter Re: Diesel Engine Vehicles and EMP

Great to see a real survival site on the net. One that actually provides useful and accurate info. Would rate you in the top two percent of all the sites I have looked at.
Keep up the good work. I have always been a gasoline man for vehicle power, however, I have to admit that you make a very good case for diesel in your recent blog. Will have to re-think my BOV plans. A couple of questions on Bug-out Vehicles (BOVs):

Are all diesels safe from an EMP burst? I’ve heard that only those made prior to 2000 are and that the newer ones are as bad as all the gas cars and trucks. What’s the straight scoop?
Also at what year did the gas cars and trucks go computerized and become sensitive to EMP?

Thanks and again keep up the great site. Best Regards, – J.W.S.

JWR’s Reply:

The major U.S. (Detroit, Michigan) car and truck manufacturers started using electronic (“computer”) ignition systems in or around 1975. Chrysler was the first of the Big Three manufacturers to abandon the traditional “points and condensers” for an electronic ignition. IIRC, that was in 1974. Ford and GM followed with most of their product lines in or around 1975. (The conversion in ignition systems usually took place in automobile product lines before trucks.) By 1976 or 1977, virtually all gas engine cars coming out of Detroit had electronic ignitions. The trucks had all gone electronic by 1978.

The general consensus I’ve read is that indeed, most diesel engines are immune from EMP. However, my knowledge of the latest diesel engine electronics is limited. Perhaps a reader with some first hand knowledge can fill us in. Does anyone out there work in Detroit? And, BTW, do any of you Detroit guys know what the “point of no return” year was for each of the major makers for retrofitting a gas engine to a traditional points/condenser ignition is? (I’ve been told that it is impossible for a lot of the late model engines–most notably the Dodge and Jeep engines with “selectable 4 or 8 cylinders firing” arrangements–to be retrofitted.)