Hello friends. I’ve owned several Bug Out Vehicles over the years. Some have been my daily drivers and others have been a dedicated stand alone vehicle. Some have been new and some have been old. I had a pretty cool 4×4 Ford Cargo Van that I really liked. I’ve had a couple old Broncos and I even had a 90s Explorer.
A new project:
I decided a few months ago to take on a special BOV project. I wanted this one to be different. First, I’ve never owned a Diesel and it was about time I got one. Second, I wanted a dedicated BOV that was truly EMP proof so it needed to already have no electronics/computers or it needed to be such that I could eliminate these items without too many compromises. Thirdly, I’ve never owned a military surplus truck and I’ve always wanted one. And lastly, like most of us, I was on a budget. I wanted the biggest bang for my buck. Oh, and I didn’t want too much of a project. I’m not the best mechanic in the world and I didn’t want to get in over my head with too much of a fixer-upper. Tall order, right?
After much debate. I decided on a M1028 retired military CUCV (pronounced CUK-VEE). It is a 1985 Chevrolet pick-up truck. I found it on-line and after a few basic mechanical fixes I’ve got about $5000 into it. Starting with this article, I am going to chronicle my entire build from start to finish of this BOV. It will take months but I thought it would be a cool project to share here on the blog. And, I thought you could help provide input and feedback as well. These posts may at times be very informal – simply an update with my thoughts and/or goals for the project. I’ll start with a few pictures of the truck and a little bit of background information.
- 1985 Chevrolet Pickup
- GM (Detroit Diesel) 379 cu in. (6.2L) J-series non-emissions diesel V-8 engine, 135hp@3600rpm
- 1 1/4 Ton
- All axles full floating. Front axle is Dana 60 with Spicer Trac-lok (limited slip) and locking hubs, ratio: 4.56:1.
- Rear axle is 10.5 inch Corporate 14 Bolt with “No-spin/Detroit” differential locker.
- GM TH400 (Turbo Hydramatic 400) automatic transmission with 3 forward and 1 reverse speeds
- 5800 lbs (2633 kg)
- Payload: 3600 lbs (1634 kg)
- 12/24 volt dual voltage
- Equipped to tow M101 Series 3/4 ton trailers with maximum towed load of 3100 Ibs. Tongue load not to exceed 300 Ibs.
- Fuel Tank: 20 Gallons US (75.7 liters)
- Max Speed: 1st 25 mph (40.2 kph)
- Max Speed: 2nd 35 mph (56.3 kph)
- Max Speed: Drv 55 mph (88.5 kph)
- Max Speed: Rev 9 mph (24.5 kph)
What I like about this truck:
There are many things I like about this truck. Here is a short list – I’m sure I’ll get into more details as the weeks go by.
- I love the Black-Out Switch. Flip a switch on the dash and all the lights go out – even the brakes. That’s a pretty cool bug out feature! Sometimes you just want to go covert.
- There are no electronic or computer parts on this truck – everything is manual. Minus a few fuses – this thing is theoretically EMP proof as it stands.
- Gun racks. It has 2 vertical gun racks behind the seat – cool.
- Brush guard. The stock brush guard isn’t fancy, but it sure is functional. I like it.
- Beefy shackles. It’s got several beefy shackles throughout.
- 83,000 miles. I’m sure these 83K miles were ‘hard-use’ miles but this is nothing for the diesel engine inside
- It’s diesel. Though this has positives and negatives – I like the fact that I have a diesel truck option.
- 4×4 w/ detroit locker. This is a real 4×4 truck.
- Decent gas mileage – I’m getting over 20 mpg with this truck.
- 8 foot bed
- No rust hardly at all!
What I don’t like about this truck:
- The paint is crap. The guy who had it before me painted it with some kind of janky house exterior paint. This is going to take some work.
- This thing starts groaning like a ticked off grizzly bear when you hit 50 mph. It’s geared for towing, not speed.
- AC – yeah right.
- Interior is shot to you know where – everything needs replaced
- It’s old. I like that it’s old for EMP sake but I hate that it’s old at the same time. Old is less reliable – period.
- It’s beat up. I guess this is to be expected with an 85 military truck but I will want to spend some time on the cosmetics. While I’m not overly obsessed with how it looks – I want it to look better than it does now
- I hate the tires
- Not much interior storage space – may need a cap on back – must think about this
Some initial thoughts:
- Need more storage – A LOT MORE – begin search for truck cap
- Look for tires – and maybe wheels
- Sand down nasty paint spots and pop out tons of dents
- Fix some minor things – blinkers, windows (very hard to roll up and down)
- Get to work on the interior – go to junk yard to find suitable replacements
- Do an initial test drive to my Bug Out Location – calculate time in transit and also fuel expenditures
Immediate / Long Term Goals:
- Find a truck cap to create more secure storage
- Come up with some kind of a camo pattern for exterior / decide on color scheme and overall look
- Start search for tires/wheels
- Interior gun racks/storage
- Source interior trim/panels/seat covers
- Begin installation of communication tools (CB/HAM)
- Install DC power points for chargers, etc.
- More exterior lighting???
What are your initial thoughts? Any initial ideas for the build? I want to tackle larger tasks at first and handle the details later.
Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,