Letter Re: Re-Engining an Older Ford Pickup with a Diesel Engine?

One of my long term goals is to own a diesel pickup. A mechanic friend of mine down in California, a true Ford guy all the way thru would say that the time tested and proven International engine used in the the Ford pickups was the most reliable–with the Cummins running a very close second (It should be noted Ford owns a controlling interest in Cummins and Ford does/has used Cummins in several of their industrial projects, including farm equipment and heavy duty trucks). I don’t know all the details but I will say that from my own experience the Ford/International trucks, namely the 6.9 liter of the 1980s was a long-lived engine. I once was at a Ford dealership in southern California when a fellow brought in a 1986 F-250 non-turbo 6.9 liter diesel to ‘trade-up’ to a more modern pickup (this was in 2000). His truck, which he claimed had never gone thru a rebuild, had just had regular maintenance had 688,000 miles on the odometer!
The guys at the dealership were astonished and even mentioned contacting the corporate headquarters to use his story as an example of Ford reliability. I myself own a 1973 1 ton GMC with the very reliable 454 gas engine and I have given serious thought to pulling that out and sticking in a 6.5 Diesel. I would more than likely go from my present 9-10 MPG to 15-17 (even with a 3 speed turbo 400 tranny behind it.) If there are any folks out their giving this consideration (those of us with older pickups) they may want to consider this as an option and if they are running an older 3 speed like a turbo 400 or Ford C-6 and they want better highway performance, look into ‘Gear Vendors’ over/under drive. See: http://www.gearvendors.com/index.html. This, I’m told, will turn that old tranny into a real highway cruiser. Story has it that the guys on the hot rod circuit and at the drag strip swear by ‘Gear Vendors’, they are rated at handling 1,200+ horse power! Hope this helps someone that is hanging onto there old pickup but wants the reliability and performance of the newer rigs. Thanks, – Jason in North Idaho

JWR Replies: If your 1973 Ford still has a rust-free body, then it may be worth doing. To achieve full reliability on a truck that old will probably require a lot more work than just re-engining. Read: extensive and expensive.  (For instance: a new wiring harness, rebuilding both differentials, a new drive shaft or at least new U-joints, re-arching the springs, considerable other suspension work, possible steering work, new master cylinder, new radiator, et cetera.) When all is said and done, you might be better off finding another 1 ton 4WD that was built in the the early to mid-1990s with a dead engine as your starting point. Rebuilding a 10 to 15 year old vehicle is a much less daunting task that rebuilding one that is 32 years old! Once a rig is more than 25 years old, it generally requires a true “zero time” rebuild.  Again, that is extensive and expensive. In the interim, you can use your running 1973 until the project on the “new” pickup is done, and then sell it off. Just my $0.10 worth–“your mileage may vary.” (YMMV.)

Letter Re: Rourke Replies to Skousen Comment Re: Rourke on Real Estate Development Proposal Ideas


I am a fan of Mr. Skousen and have the latest edition of his book, or perhaps I should call it a treatise, The Secure Home. I agree with the problems of government among the independently minded (too many cooks in the kitchen, need a head chef), which is why I evolved to the condominium approach, especially as a second home only. Subdivision associations are notoriously too weak to handle the day to day squabbles with people living next to each other full time, and the leakers in particular. It reminds me of Ross Perot’s United We Stand Party, which once they all got together, realized the only thing they could clearly agree on was that they all didn’t like Democrats or Republicans. – Rourke

Letter Re: National Geographic Documentaries on Asian Avian Flu, Hanta Virus, and Biological Warfare

Last night on the National Geographic Channel there were two shows [that were aired] back to back that were of interest to anyone in the survival community.

1. Avian Flu Pandemic detailed the history of the bug and the 1997 outbreak in Hong Kong. It showed the spread across Southeast Asia and the methods that are being used to control the spread. Discussed the use of Tamaflu as a treatment and how most governments are reluctant to stockpile it until there is an obvious need. A World Health Organization scientist stated that when such a pandemic does occur it will be too late to stockpile an the only way to survive will be to stay home and take care of your own family. Stated that we will be reduced to the basic human unit “the family”. Also talked about a case that is believed to be human to human transmission. This case was believed to be transmitted to a family member in close contact with a sick girl who had caught the virus while playing near diseased chickens. This girl’s aunt survived the disease, but the girl did not. Also stated that a problem with developing a vaccine for humans is that since [fertile] eggs are used to grow flu virus for vaccine production the eggs are killed by the virus when it is injected into the eggs. The eggs are vulnerable to the virus just as the chickens are.

2.The other program was on Biological Terrorist Attack. This program went through the list of the Center for Disease Control’s top six dirty bugs of germ warfare. Very eye opening and very chilling.

Anyway, all this spiked my interest so this morning I went to the National Geographic web site and was looking for more information about Bird Flu. I found a link on the news page to two stories on bird flue that should interest everyone.

1. Bird flu vaccine helps stop the spread of the disease in chickens.

2.Bird flu fears cause spike in the sale of Star Anise Spice.
This spice is used in the manufacture of Tamaflu according to this article and people in Asia and the U. S. are buying it as a herbal medicine for use against the

The link is: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/ (Scroll down to “Health”)

OBTW, scroll on down to: Pulse of the Planet. See the article titled: Southwest Rodent Boom to Cause Deadly Hantavirus Outbreak

The article says that in roughly one year to eighteen months after a wet winter as we had in the southwest in 2005 causes a boom in rodent population and so more contact between deceased mice and humans increasing the cases of the disease among humans. Stated that the summer of 2005 already showed a rise in the reported number of cases. Thirty-six percent of human cases are fatal. This should start us all thinking more about rodent control around our stored food, et cetera.

Thanks again for all of your great work in providing this site and for all the very much needed information that is shared by everyone here. Count on a donation from me to help with the blog’s cost in the very near future. Long Life, – Overhill

Letter Re: You May Be A Survivalist Redneck If…

Rourke, a SurvivalBlog regular contributor, sent the following:
* – Indicates they are original or modified by me
The other ones are off various web sites that have Jeff Foxworthy jokes.
Obviously the addition of Redneck Survivalist was from me
*If your MREs consist of Jerky, Slim Jims, Cheetoes, and Bud Light, you may be a Redneck Survivalist.
*If you have ever tried to grill Spam, …
If you have more electronic equipment in your truck than in your house, …
*If you think of pig manure as a valuable resource and you can think of several uses for it, …
*If you listen to the weather so you will know how much electricity you will have that day, ….
*If someone says Christmas ham, and you think you are getting a radio, …
If you have to go outside to get something out of the fridge, …
If the hood of your truck is higher than the roof of your house, …
If your tires are worth more than your truck, …
If your honeymoon involved time at a deer camp, …
If you always thought “Guns and Roses” was something you get for your anniversary, …
If your favorite restaurant has a gas pump in front of it, …
If your favorite cologne is Deep Woods Off, …
If your 23-channel CB radio is used to communicate with your family, …
If you’ve ever had a conversation about truck tires that lasted more than an hour, …
If you keep catfish in your aquarium, …
If you know how to milk a goat, …
If your flashlight holds more than four batteries, …
If your 5-year-old can rebuild a carburetor, …
If your wife’s best shoes have steel toes, …
If your idea of home security is keeping all the guns loaded, …
*If your idea of gun control means being able to hit what you aim at, …
*If you don’t know your Social Security number, but know 2nd Amendment, the Star Spangled Banner, and the Preamble to the Constitution word for word, …

JWR Adds: 
Let me know if you have any others to add to the list.  A tip of the hat to comedian Jeff Foxworthy, ( http://www.jefffoxworthy.com/ ) who inspired Rourke’s post.

Odds ‘n Sods

Ponder the full implications of  The Debt Clock. See: http://www.alkalizeforhealth.net/Ldebtclock.htm

. . .

SurvivalBlog reader H.W. mentioned that Jim McCanney at www.jmccanneyscience.com has a series of lectures about extra solar system objects for the next eight weeks. (The series began 12-8-2005).At the website scroll down until you see the archives for each week’s show.

. . .

As reported by Reuters-Italy, Frank Holmes, the CEO of U.S. Global Investors predicts the spot price of gold to advance to $650/oz. in Aught Six.
He cited short supply and burgeoning demand, particularly in Asia. See:

. . .

The recent correction in the price in silver (currently down to around $8.50 per ounce) might be a good chance to buy, those of you that thought that you missed the boat.  I don’t have a crystal ball, but logic dictates that silver will probably be back to +/-$9.30 by the end of  the year. That will just about cover what you would pay in a typical dealer’s commission.  (The dealer’s premium much higher on silver than gold, due to higher shipping costs.) OBTW, the temporary disparity with the price of gold (which hasn’t corrected nearly so much) has pushed the silver-to-gold price ratio to more than 61-to-1!  (Two weeks ago it was 58-to-1.) So this might also might be a good chance to “ratio trade” and diversify into silver for any of you that feel over-invested in gold. (For example, if you do not have enough silver on hand for barter.) As my brother says: “Balance in all things!”

Jim’s Quote of the Day

"Life is a great adventure and I want to say to you, accept it in such spirit. I want to see you face it ready to do the best that lies in you to win out. To go down without complaining and abiding by the result… the worst of all fears is the fear of living." – Theodore Roosevelt

Note from JWR

Many thanks to all of you that responded to our Ten Cent Challenge! OBTW, a few of you that are serious Secret Squirrels sent anonymous greenback cash or PMO payments without return addresses, so I was unable to send you personal thank yous. So let me express my thanks here: A SINCERE THANK YOU!

A brief reminder to e-mail us your entries for the second round of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best article will win a four day course certificate at Front Sight. (An up to $2,000 value!) Because of the success of the contest, we decided to repeat it. “Round 2” of the contest will end on the last day of January, 2006.

Using Lure and How to Set Snares, by Buckshot

A fast moving storm moved across the mountains, dumping heavy wet snow. The eight Mountain Men had made an almost fatal error. They stayed too long in the high country. Now cut off from retreating from the mountains they must survive and winter in this valley high in the mountains in what is today Wyoming. The pass was filled with eight feet of wind drift snow that no man or beast could enter or leave until the Spring thaw. The eight men decide to spend the week hunting for food to store for winter. At the end of the week only one small deer was taken. All the hunting parties reported the same thing, the valley was empty of large game. At the end of the second week there food was completely out and the men were hungry and cold. Finally one man suggest that they trap the beaver for food. Throughout the winter they caught enough to survive. Not enough to make and easy living but enough to pull through the brutal winter. A early spring thaw in March open the pass and a small of herd of 11 buffalo enter the valley. Soon the buffalo were turned into steaks and roasts. The men had survived the winter of 1804-05.

I read this account years ago and it has effect my life in many ways. Many lessons are taught in this short story. The unprepared can die. Counting on harvesting large game is not always possible. When hunting fails their traps saved their lives. Today we have more modern equipment lightweight snares that can catch and hold the animals. How to set these snares is simple. First you need to understand the basic parts. On one end is swivel. This so the animal can twist without breaking the cable. The next part is called a support collar it looks like a small piece of spring. The support collar job is to hook on to the support wire to hold the snare at the correct height. Next is the self-locking snare lock. There are different types of snare locks. Some such as the cam lock are designed to kill the animal. Others are designed to relax once the animal is caught, like a choke collar.

Say that you want to snare the raccoon that is coming into a corn field. You walk the edge of the woods and find the trail entering the field. Normally the coons will leave sign on what trail they are using like pieces of corn stalk and if you follow the trail in sometimes you find a pile of rocks or log with pile of corn cobs around it. The coons do this a lot in coyote areas. They are vulnerable to coyote attacks in the open so they learn to grab a corn cob and enter the woods climbing on a rock pile so they can watch for coyotes as they eat. On this trail you will find a place to set the snare where the trail is narrow down. Like between two small trees or under a fallen branch, limb, or tree. You can anchor the snare with 1/2″ steel rebar stake. Or go around a tree feeding the snare lock through the snare swivel. Open the snare to an 8 inch loop and set it three inches off the ground. You can use light wire like 14 gauge wrap around the tree with a small piece coming off. Bend this over at the end and feed it into the support collar. That is it. When the coons comes down the trail he walks into the snare and is caught.

Snaring is literally that simple. No big secret trick to it. Now using scent lure to help increase your odds of catching animals. Lure are designed to attract the animal to the snare or trap. Normally lures are made out of 4-to-6 different ingredients. The difference between us and animals is that animals smell so much better, so they can tell each different part of the lure. Animals just like people have different taste. You might like Pizza Hut and your friend would prefer McDonalds. By having the different ingredients you cover a wider choice for the animals. Basically you cover something that will cause the vast majority of the animals to come visit the set. The lures are high concentration and designed to last for years and years. When using snares it is a good idea to place a small amount on a cotton ball on each side of the snare. Not real close to the snare about 2-3 feet on either side of the snare. This increases the odds that the animal will take the trail your snare is on.

Now when using a conibear trap you normally want the lure on the other side or behind the trap so the animal is trying to pass through the trap to get to the lure. My bucket set (as seen in my Beginning Trapping DVD) and some raccoon lure placed on a cotton ball. Toss the cotton ball behind the trap. This has caught thousands of coons for my students. One real good friend caught a 39 pound coon using this system. When other folks ask what he uses for bait and lure, he says that he “…can’t remember.” Like a fishermen, he told me, he has kept his lure secret so he could catch more animals. 🙂

Just like any fast moving storm you too may be caught in a life or death struggle. Remember the old Mountain Man story the traps are why they survived the winter. Today, other factors can be just as fatal as being trapped in a mountain valley for the winter. Today it could be the Bird Flu, terrorist attack, economic collapse, etc. The old Boy Scout motto applies: always be prepared because as we have seen, being unprepared could be a fatal mistake. – Buckshot (Of Buckshot’s Camp: http://www.buckshotscamp.com)

Letter Re: More Questions on EMP

Thanks for your info on EMP protection, but it has created more questions than answers on some points. My current EMP protected items include several 12 volt inverters, solar chargers, shortwave, CB, and FRS Radios. I believe that most items on the grid will be cooked (those plugged in) People preparing today are putting money into generators, and solar power with Trace inverters. These are supposed to be “fine” with an EMP but a modern car will be toast? I am going to build a steel building, with small mesh in the concrete pour and have the whole thing grounded (giant Faraday box). That should cover the modern truck, tractor, ATV and generator. Any thoughts? – Rusty

JWR Replies: An “EMP Proof” garage is a great idea for anyone that is living in “footprint country.”  (Within 280 miles of a major urban area–and hence at risk to a terrorist EMP nuke attack.) Needless to say, be sure not to run any cables (power, phone, or data) into a Faraday structure!

Letter Re: Israeli Slings

Is the sling that David is referring to in his latest piece; “David in Israel Re: Firearms for Survival” the same type as that shown in this link?
http://www.israelmilitary.com/product_info.php?cPath=6295&products_id=547  – Thanks, C.W.

JWR Replies: Yes, believe that is the type that he was referring to.Ther Israeli sling arrangement is nice in that the sling is top-mounted so that the rifle doesn’t flip upside down when you let go of it. Sling arrangements for rifles tend to be very subjective and personalized. Use whatever works best for you, your stature, your personal circumstances, and your intended use.  For me, a plain old M60 black padded nylon sling works fine for nearly all of my rifles and shotguns in most circumstances– assuming that they have top mount sling swivels. This sling is quiet and foolproof.  It is also long enough that it can be very versatile.  (For example, a few M60 slings linked linked together with couple of saplings and a poncho can make a hasty stretcher.)

OBTW, for those of you that are newbies:  Proper “patrol carry” of a long gun in hostile territory is normally with the sling completely detached and stowed in you pack or in a cargo pocket. That way you keep your rifle in your hands, where it belongs. For really long distance marches while carrying a rifle slung (in semi-secure territory), the rifle is best carried horizontal at your waist (using top mount sling swivels or a top-mount sling adapter–such as the excellent Holland’s of Oregon rifle stock pouch with top mount sling D-ring). In my experience, it is best to have the sling  routed only around the back of your neck. That way you can shoulder the rifle quickly. Do not route the sling under one arm or it will hamper you in getting the rifle into action.

Letter from The Army Aviator Re: Photocell and Seismic Intrusion Detection Systems

Good to see this discussion of Seismic Intrusion Detectors. Since I’ve been using these for the last 20 years I thought I’d pass along some of my experiences with the systems and devices. First, the AN/PSR-1A:
I got my first one at a gun show after looking high and low for them. The seller had no idea what it was. The previous owner had left the D cells in it until it corroded. It came with the original four sensors plus another 14. Super neat. With a good set of batteries and holders it’s worked like a champ ever since. Sure it takes commo wire but so what. The nicest thing about it is with a small 9 volt DC radio shack amplifier and a clip lead you simply clip onto the leads showing the indication and you can not only hear stuff, you can listen to conversations. It’s that good. [Here is a real life example:] You should have heard whatever it was that was eating the deer it took down and NO, I didn’t go down there until morning.

Secondly, the AN/TSR-3A Wireless Seismic Intrusion Detection Set:
I originally got a set of these neat RF (read wireless) units for peace of mind while camping and then bought more as I ran across individual units. Daily, I use one in each vehicle as a wireless alarm, set to the minimum sensitivity and with the sensor horizontal (which is the least sensitive position). If the car even moves a little or even a fingernail tap on the window, the 2 meter on my belt beeps merrily away and I can be as far as a mile or two away from the vehicle. They come as a set of four on one of six frequencies (I think it’s 6) so I acquired mine on three different frequencies.
Between the different frequencies and the fact that they each beep out 1,2,3 or 4 beeps, each with a different tone, I readily know where the action is.

BTW, “Springmtnd” was dead on regarding Merino Wool! It’s great (and, now, newly acquired) … Thanks!
Regards to you and the Memsahib.- The Army Aviator

Letter Re: Photocell and Seismic Intrusion Detection Systems (SAs: Retreat Security, Intrusion Detection)

Have you checked out “Dakota Alert“? (See:  http://www.dakotaalert.com) Intrusion detection is their specialty. – S.A.M.

JWR Replies: The Dakota Alert sensors are far more reliable than those Chinese junk systems that you typically see on eBay. You pay more for quality.

Four Letters Re: Rourke on Real Estate Development Proposal Ideas

Wanted to comment on your reply to Rourke. I agree with you that independently managed homesteads are superior to the communal style that Rourke describes, but for a different, much simpler reason: human nature. In ANY communal system where fixed resources are shared, some members consume more than others, and the others get jealous. This is the basic reason that communism is untenable. A small group of people (family size) can emphasize frugality and make it stick, because wasting resources really may kill a loved one. The more extended the group becomes, the less well people know each other, the less ‘real’ the threat is to any individual, and the more envious of others any one may become. Rourke’s idea of banding together for common defense is certainly a good one, but unless someone can ensure that all of the participants begin with equal resources and consume anything communal at an equivalent rate, then the seeds for destruction will have been sown. Just to be clear, I am not denigrating human selfishness in any way. I, in fact, defend rational self-interest as the well-spring from which society has emerged. But I also know that while self-interest is in the nature of every man, rationality is not. Keeping the groups small and self-managed, in a voluntary association with others, is the only tenable arrangement for long term survival. – M.W.

I received this earlier this morning: “You might pass this on to the blog from Joel Skousen. Rourke doesn’t have a clue about how ugly the infighting and disagreement can be in among independent-minded and argumentative survivalists–especially those that start out as religious communities. I’ve seen virtually every survival community blow apart or split into various factions over the knotty decisions about shared facilities! Bad idea. JWR is right–keep it all private except for perhaps the water supply.” Great site and blog, – W.

I just saw your letter from Rourke regarding survival communities. What he’s describing is very similar to a concept called “Co-Housing”. [It] combines both private property with commonly-owned (or controlled) property. Good information about the concept and implementation variations available at http://www.cohousing.org/.   Hope this helps! Debra (at The Claire Files)

Mr. Rawles,
The Rivendell community in rural Virginia was set up along similar lines in the buildup to Y2K. The folks there were interested in forming an explicitly Christian, Reformed, home schooling community that would foster group self-sufficiency. Their website (http://www.mistymountain.org/) is still active, but seems to have changed to theological study.  – TFA303

Rourke’s Reply (to JWR’s Original Comments)

You are going for an entire community then, in which case I would recommend you actually form a Village and have self-government. (City is too complex). Now Disney in Florida even made its own county, but I doubt that will happen again. Still, a Village can be very powerful if you can do all the development up front. Set up police, fire, even schools, and public buildings and systems with survival in mind. What an opportunity. However, as it grows, the survival mindset of those started it is likely to be diluted, and that will show up in elections over time. As a primary residence community, I think it will be hard to get such a concentration of survivalist in a small area, thus I have gone toward the recreational retreat community or condo idea, thus pulling them from all over to an area with good survival capabilities.

I agree how great it would be to form an entire community with all that, but very few from my experience can afford that, thus I have trimmed down my dreaming. In fact, in polling I found $10,000 down and $500 a month was about the maximum you could expect from even the upper 10% of survivalists toward a retreat (besides their home). This is one reason I started with the condo idea, but for people with even lower budgets, I think the best solution is a trailer park/RV park lot. Now this would involve having well, gray water, and black water hook-ups with a common septic system and well, common electric off-grid power, a common building/bunker which will preferably be an earth shelter or concrete dome (i.e. www.monolithic.com) with community bathrooms, showers, and kitchen and emergency housing, so it will stand up to a tornado even if all the trailers are lost. You make a good point about single source point failures, thus have dual systems set up would be a good idea, and over sizing them, so if one goes down, the other can pick up the slack. Hardened storage would also be good idea. Selling a very small lot for $5,000 would provide a lot of money for such improvements, maintained by a reasonable monthly or annual fee. Also, such lot could be leased out when that person is not there, just have a clause that they can be asked to leave within 24 hours and refunded the money, or some sort of escape clause if the owner is bugging out the site. Used hunting trailers around here are around $2,000. It seems to me the least expensive option. Once again, good to be near some farm land and an agreeable farmer for food production. – Rourke

Note from JWR:

I have updated yesterday’s post (Dec. 11, 2005) on the potential radius of EMP effects. The revised figure is a radius of 280 miles, based on a higher anticipated maximum potential altitude for some business jets. (See below.)