Monday, December 14, 2009

Guest Post: Crazy Joe - BOV Maintenance & Upgrades

By Crazy Joe - Be A Survivor

Bug Out Vehicle - That which will travel a good long distance, over roads and maybe off road, to carry goods and people, in safety, to a place of safety. Some of you have one already. Some of you, while surfing the net, have seen photos of BOV’ S created by hunters and survival folks and want one. I believe it is the flat green or camouflage paint job and larger off road, big tread tires that grab most people’s attention. Personally, the 12 foot whip CB antenna does it for me. Folks with a Buick Century, Ford Taurus or a little GEO Tracker just feel so left out and embarrassed. STOP!!! Each and every one of you (who currently owns any vehicle - even motorcycles) already owns a BOV. Doesn’t your vehicle take you to work every day? It goes through rain and snow to get you to work or the doctor's appointment? It picks up your children after school - right? The cold mid west plains in winter or the heat of Arizona and Nevada and, you who live there, does your vehicle not survive this? Every vehicle is a BOV. Yes even a BMW or Lexus. The vehicle you own - you rely on. It tackles the Baltimore Beltway, the Atlanta Loop, LA freeway or the worst of the worst in Philly - the Schuylkill Expressway. You should all learn the old saying “It is not the size of the tires but how you drive on them”. Everyday millions of people get up and get in a vehicle, drive, and survive the road. Do not think for one minute this is not survival - it is. Many thousands of Americans die every year in car accidents. Many times the cause of the accident is a poorly maintained, unsafe vehicle. Oh then we have road rage as a reason for accidents. I would say emphatically “Yes my car is already a BOV!”

I have worked part time at a garage/gas station for the past 24 years. I have a fair amount of mechanic knowledge on all the basics and make good use of the perks afforded me by working there. I do all the routine scheduled maintenance ahead of the factory schedule. If you have a great garage and mechanic who maintains your vehicle already then still take note and do the next sentence. I am a firm believer in owning a “Chilton’s Manual” -- -> found online at for the vehicle I own and so should YOU - regardless if you are NOT mechanically inclined. These manuals come in the professional garage manual and the do it yourselfer manual. The statistics are ridiculous on the number of women who get taken/overcharged/ripped off by garages over the simplest of repairs. Why is it that many survivalist's learn all about food shelf life, weapon calibers, edible weeds but will not tackle the how's and why's of their vehicle? Is getting a genuine BOV, with camo paint, gonna be any different than your current Honda Civic? The Chilton’s Manuals are easy to read and very well diagrammed for EVERY SINGLE PART of the vehicle you own. And yes they pretty much have every vehicle covered made in the last 60 years - domestic and foreign. Trust me. Getting one of these and learning about your vehicle, get someone to explain things along the way if need be, can be a money saver and life saver.

Since age 18 - I have owned 5 cars, 2 station wagons, 4 pickup trucks, 1 Suburban and 1 Jeep - a 1982 CJ 7 with a factory installed V- 8 and yes it had those big tread tires. At present I have a 1998 Ford Ranger, 2 wheel drive, with a 4 cylinder engine. I have owned this for over 9 years. It is now approaching 152,000 miles. It averages 22 to 24 miles to the gallon of gas. It always passes inspection. The tires are the standard 205/75 R 14 - the 14 meaning the rims are 14 inches in width. It will cruise nicely at 70 to 75 MPH on the highways but I keep it at 65 MPH. To lift the hood you see an engine you could almost eat off of - yes I spray/wash it down on occasion. This is my everyday vehicle. Behind and under the seats it holds various things for various situations. This truck is always with me and me with it. I view this truck as a tool just like a hammer or bow saw. It is a survival piece of equipment even though it does not have a brush guard mounted on the front or 4 wheel drive. When it comes to upgrading a vehicle the 1st thing to check out is a “Keystone Catalog “from an auto parts store that carries it - some Pep Boys, Auto Zone's and Car Quests will have it. The local NAPA here does not have it nor does the local Auto Zone. It has over 250,000 upgrade items for on road and off road vehicles - this is the ultimate book to view as it carries all manufacturers’ products. This is something a store will let you look through and they will order the part for you - no direct buying as they are a supplier to retail stores. The 2nd catalog to look into is a “J.C. Whitney Catalog" - they have plenty of on road/off road products and also get Jeep/Wrangler catalog specific - this can be ordered for home delivery or you can view their products online. It never hurts to check out the off road magazines available for ideas.

To help me survive the daily drive, part time landscaping or the hundreds of trips I have made up to the mountains I have relied on the 2 catalogs I just mentioned. ALL vehicles are factory installed with an 8 inch rear view mirror - I found a 12 inch rear view mirror which allows me to see 4 - 5 lanes behind me on any large interstate. In New Jersey snow chains are illegal - I have a pair for each of the front and rear tires. In New Jersey it is now illegal to sell/buy portable air tanks (to non commercial buyers - only garages are allowed now) - I got a 5 gallon air tank which will supply enough air to get 2 tires almost back up to par. On my front and rear bumpers I found and put DOT approved high reflective red/white strips - also put one across the top of the tailgate - so I look like a road construction supervisor, I get seen at night. You may not agree but the deer whistles mounted on the front bumper sure seem to work - their heads go up at about 100 yards distance and I am amazed that the closer I get they usually walk away from the road. ALL vehicles are factory installed with a 5 watt/8 watt back up light - in most states this is now outlawed including NJ of course but I found 55 watt Halogen back up lights ( they have a long use warning - could melt the plastic lens cover) which when I am in the mountains it is a real life saver. The front and rear bumpers have stainless steel eyebolts on each corner - it only took me about 20 mins to drill the holes and mount them - great for tying down stuff. My passenger side air bag is gone and is now lined giving me an extra glove box - if memory serves 11 inches long, 6 inches high and 5 inches deep. An auto parts store provided me with a Velcro kit which I used to attach the air bag cover to the dash board - easy on easy off and not detectable - NOTE this is illegal in NJ if I do not disclose that the air bag is missing if I sell the vehicle. On older style pickup trucks they have a large, threaded J hook and clamp for holding the underneath spare tire - I drilled a hole in the back wall of the bed (driver side) - inserted the J hook - I put my 2nd spare tire on it - screwed the clamp on until it tightened up on the rim - nice and secured. The bottom of the bed has 2 factory pre drilled holes - one in each corner - I left enough space between the side of the bed wall and the 2nd spare tire for 2 clamps top and bottom to be secured which hold one CB radio antennae - the cable runs through the punched out hole into the cab - both antennae and CB get removed at night - again easy in easy out. The factory installed dual cup holder/assorted junk holder gone to make room for the CB radio. Most factory installed horns are in the 123 to 128 decibel range in either a high or low pitch - it’s great to find a 132 high pitch horn and add it with the original - I did not do the wiring - Had someone smart do it. Both High and Low beam headlights are now higher intensity Halogen lights - much better on the mountain roads. Got my light bar (2 - 250 thousand watt off road lights) for the roof from the keystone catalog - did some modifying to the factory clamps to make it more sturdy and it’s easy on easy off. There are 2 or 3 other goodies I have added to the truck inside the cab. It is the little things that can make a difference, with any vehicle, on the daily commute that will give you an edge in heavy traffic. Surviving is not just after some disaster. There is not one super deluxe BOV out there that will get through 1 million cars jammed/stalled/dead on the highways. Remember that. Oh did I mention the factory installed split bench seats gone and replaced with 2005 Ford Ranger bucket seats - comfy!

- Crazy Joe

...that is all.

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