Letter Re: Diesel Tractors and EMP Protection

Sir, here is a short bit of advice about EMP: The older diesel farm tractors would probably be usable after an event because they have no chips or transistors to burn out, either in engines or transmissions. They’d be slow but still usable for as long as you have fuel with either gravity flow or manual pumps for fueling. Hook one to a trailer or former motor home and welcome to the post 21st century nomads. They could also power most PTO driven generators if the generator circuitry has escaped the EMP. In our area a lot of people collect …




Letter from Matt Bracken Re: Sailboat Retreating, LP and Natural Gas Powered Vehicles, Diesel Engine Invulnerability to EMP

Dear Jim, Excellent blog, it has really taken off, and I recommend it constantly. I have it on my desktop to read first thing every morning. Currently I’m living in coastal southern California, but plan to relocate in 2006. Much like New Orleans, Southern California is also “under water,” or in our case, dependent on distant water supplies for over 90% of our fresh water needs. In the event of a terrorist attack or major earthquake which disrupts the water supply, SoCal will “go New Orleans” in a matter of days. On the plus side, I have a 48 foot …




Letter Re: Request for Clarification Regarding Diesel Engine Invulnerability to EMP

Jim, I’m no expert but I have some limited knowledge regarding the topic of diesel engines and EMP. What you want is a diesel engine with a mechanical fuel injector pump, not an electronic one. Diesel engines don’t require ignition systems to run, no spark plugs, distributor, etc. and the old ones used a mechanical fuel pump. All you need is a starter to turn the engine over, it runs or fires by the heat generated by the compression stroke. [JWR adds: A glow plug is also needed for the fuel to reach flash point at low ambient temperatures. Some …




Letter Re: Request for Clarification Regarding Diesel Engine Invulnerability to EMP

Jim, after checking out the articles on the best transportation during EMP, I’m a little confused. I read, but may not have understood, that the older pickups (1988) with diesel engines were best. Also that 1994 and older were best, and that the newer trucks are protected today. Can someone help since I am looking for a diesel pickup? – G.C. JWR Replies: Frankly, I’m also a bit befuddled by the conflicting data. Perhaps some kind soul out there that has more knowledge on the subject than I do can clarify exactly which makes/vintages of diesel engines are EMP resistant, …




Two Letters Re: Diesel Engine Vehicles

Hi Guys, Even if those who are skeptical read your blog, they will come back for more. I am very impressed and moreover grateful! Quick comment on G.O.O.D. Diesel Variants: You have pointed out the great benefits to Diesel power plants,…it is very important to know that you are looking at a SUBSTANTIAL weight increase on the front axle [versus gas engines]. This should be known not only for adjusting the way you execute a maneuver, but the huge disadvantage that you will have in soft, or bottomless soil, (i.e.- sand/mud). If not weighted sufficiently equally on both axles, you …




Letter Re: G.O.O.D. Vehicle Advice

Mr. Rawles: In this article you state that “…large crash bars in the front, a removable cable cutter post that is as tall as your truck’s cab,” Do you mean BRUSH GUARDS, because I cannot find any large crash bars! Can you help? JWR’s Reply: To my way of thinking, a proper “crash bar” for a truck is just a very heavy duty bumper + brush guard with the addition of an extra piece of heavy steel stock welded on vertically (parallel with the radiator) in the center of the brush guard. It should extend from the bottom of the …




Three Letters Re: Diesel Engine Vehicles and EMP

1.) Jim: GM diesel models 1994 or later have an electronic injection pump, and are vulnerable to EMP. Some models made before 1994 will have an electronic glow plug controller which can be easily bypassed. From what I can gather GM also went to “electronic” transmissions around 1994. Before then most diesels had th350 or th400 transmissions. Some pre-1994 GM trucks also had th700r4 transmissions that had minimal electronics, and can be rebuilt with the electronics bypassed. Of course anything with a manual transmission should be safe. I believe most light diesels follow the same timeline because of EPA smog …




Letter Re: Subarus and Heirloom Seeds

Hello, I’d like to compliment you on having one of the most informative new blogs I’ve seen. I’ve enjoyed reading it, so far. I have a couple of things to contribute, one on the subject of gardening, and one on the subject of good cars to have around. On the car, first, as it’s short: Subaru stations wagons, 4WD drive ones, if older–all new ones are all wheel drive, are fantastic vehicles for rough driving conditions. Their only drawback is that they are not diesel. My Outback has actually done the stuff you always see in Subaru’s commercials–and then gotten …




Letter Re: Diesel Engine Vehicles and EMP

Jim, 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 …




Letter from G.T. Re: T.H.’s Letter on G.O.O.D. Vehicle Alternatives

Jim, Regarding driver’s licenses for weight classes: The “Class D” that T. H. refers to seems to be for a specific state – and states have all sorts of differing laws. Case in point, I’ve got a Deuce and a half [an Army surplus 2.5 ton 6×6 cargo truck] , 13,450 curb weight, and 23,450 all up. Technically, it’s under the weight limit for federal commercial vehicle ratings, so federally I don’t need a commercial license. However, living in one of the great Nanny states, I’ve had to deal with getting a Class B Non-Commercial license to drive this truck. …




Letter From T.H. Re: J.M.’s Letter on G.O.O.D. Vehicle Alternatives (Posted 16 August)

Jim: I would like to share a little info on box trucks and fuel storage. I have been self employed in the delivery business for 8 years and 5 years as an inspector on crude oil ships. ON TRUCKS First you only need a Class D Drivers license for any truck under 26,000 GVW. These trucks generally weigh 10,000-to-11,000 lbs. So if needed 15,000 lbs of supplies could be stored in one of these trucks. I have owned or been exposed to just about every make of box-bodied truck available. The most reliable trucks IMO are the imports: UD/Nissan Fuso/Mits …




Letter From The Rabbit Man

Jim: The SurvivalBlog is looking better and better all the time. I think that you are getting really good information out there. I’m not sure about J.M.’s letter about the Penske trucks. But it’s worth considering. I still think the GMC 2500 HD is the way to go. OBTW, they interviewed the CEO from www.autotrader.com last night on TV. He said they now have one million SUVs listed on their web site. I guess that your axiom is correct: Buy when everyone else is anxious to sell, and you’ll get the best price. Diesel is very expensive now. It is …




Letter Re: G.O.O.D. Vehicle Alternatives

Jim, agree with your advice on vehicles. Trucks are the way to go and the more towing/hauling capacity the better. Here is one area of vehicles I have often been interested in and thought would make an excellent choice is the event of evacuating: Commercial vehicles, i.e. former rental trucks (Penske comes to mind because of the great care that is given to these vehicles why they are in the fleet and the low miles that they are released at.) These trucks not only have a large load capacity but have the added advantage of keeping your belongings hidden from …




G.O.O.D. Vehicle Advice

If you can afford it, buy yourself a Crew Cab 4WD pickup in an earth tone color. A crew cab is the best of both worlds–room for extra passengers like a Suburban, plus lots of cargo room in the cargo bed.) Buy a diesel if you can stand the smell. (I’ll discuss alternative fuels in upcoming blog posts.) You should plan on either buying a low mileage rig that 1 to 5 years old, or buy an older one and have it fully restored/modified. Either way, the total cost will be about the same when all is said and done. …




Practical and Tactical Vehicles

Buy vehicles that will blend in day-to-day, but that will be eminently practical WTSHTF. Say, for example, a crew cab 4WD pickup with range tanks, towing package, and a camper shell. Select one with both the body and camper shell in flat earth tone colors–like a forest green body with a tan shell. Do not get a vehicle in a camouflage paint scheme. That will instantly brand you as the local whacko. Stock up on some cans of flat brown, green, and black paint to use to paint over the chrome trim, but only do so after the balloon goes …