Bug Out Vehicle (BOV) Chronicles: Creek’s Project BOV Truck: Series Post #1

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?

The decision:

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.


Truck Details:

  • 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
  • 4×4
  • 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.


Did you know I have a FULL ONLINE COURSE about how to Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag???  I’ve marked some of the lessons as FREE PREVIEWS so you can watch some of the course if you want to.  Here’s the link:

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,


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