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View Full Version : SHTF Older Vehicle - When to replace parts


Intimid8tor
12-16-2012, 11:10 AM
I see more and more threads of people talking about older vehicles for SHTF. They make great SHTF vehicles in many cases, but maintenance and repair can be annoying as parts wear out.

We have an 88 Suburban 3/4 Ton 4wd that is our SHTF vehicle. It has run great, until the other day when it developed an ignition problem. I haven't started trouble shooting it, but it got me thinking, when is it time to replace things so they don't become an issue at the wrong time.

I'm not talking about maintenance items like plugs, wires, caps, rotors, filters, etc.

I'm specifically thinking about things like coils, distributors, distributor pick ups, EGR valves, EGR Solenoids, Ignition modules, injectors etc.

CSACANNONEER
12-16-2012, 11:26 AM
Petrolium fueled vehicles are not going to get far during a true SHTF or EOTWAWKI senerio. So, why bother even considering them?

To answer your question from a mechanical point of view, there is no right time. Things like coils can fail when they are new. I'd rather rely on one which has been proven with a few years of service. Same goes for many electronic parts.

I've had an intermitent coil failure before and it was very hard to diagnose on the side of the road. It acted like a fuel delivery problem to me.

Dutch3
12-16-2012, 11:32 AM
Most of those things will work just fine until the instant they fail. It is hard to predict when that will happen. You could stock up on spares like a complete distributor, ECM, etc. to minimize downtime when something dies.

Being an '88, it has TBI fuel injection which depends on the electric fuel pump, electronics, etc. to function.

A better choice might be an older model with a carburetor, points ignition, mechanical fuel pump and other components that don't require any "black boxes".

Intimid8tor
12-16-2012, 11:40 AM
Most of those things will work just fine until the instant they fail. It is hard to predict when that will happen. You could stock up on spares like a complete distributor, ECM, etc. to minimize downtime when something dies.

Being an '88, it has TBI fuel injection which depends on the electric fuel pump, electronics, etc. to function.

A better choice might be an older model with a carburetor, points ignition, mechanical fuel pump and other components that don't require any "black boxes".

I would agree with the older vehicle if I were to buy another one, but I won't. However, accumulating the parts to convert to carb is probably not a bad idea.

I wasn't thinking from a long term SHTF situation as petroleum vehicles would only be good for a few months at most unless you somehow had a large supply of stabilized gas and other stuff.

Let me rephrase my question. For an old vehicle that you want to keep in good running condition with minimal issues, is there a time to replace some of those items. Of course money is an issue or I would just have the motor rebuilt including all components and be done with it.

Steve_In_29
12-16-2012, 12:50 PM
No way to tell when electrical stuff is going to fail. The part that has been in there for 20 years might last many more years while the part you just replaced it with can fail tomorrow.

Keeping appropriate spares on hand (along with the tools and knowledge to replace them) is your only sure bet.

Scout2Diesel
12-19-2012, 1:08 AM
I blew a 92 GM igition module out of the blue one day last year. no ryhme or reason had about 125,000 miles on the factory maintined engine PO was the tech. stuff happens.

I'd be thinking along the lines of:

Cooling system-
how many decades do you think a radiator will last? (maybe one...)
water pump? (+-100k)
a failure here will junk you engine quickly.

alternator? (+100k)
batteries are cheaper than an engine....

Starter? (really how many starts not miles)
I just replaced the eroded solenoid contacts @ 175k on good starter.

brake caliper.... 200k (if its been rebuilt before)
good commercial grade class E tires...... 7-8yrs and you're asking for trouble.

ymmv

NOC
12-19-2012, 12:51 PM
along the lines of Scout2Diesel's musings (a scout diesel would be a great SHTF vehicle!) cooling system component life can be extended by regular changing of coolant/antifreeze every two years, use deionized water. There is a product that allegedly jay leno uses called Evans at 40.00 a gallon but supposed to be lifetime. 100k is a good service life for a water pump, should have a spare as these can fail any time. radiators should be upgraded to full metallic (i.e. no plastic tank etc.) and keep bars leak handy.

alternators should consider upgrading to higher amperage for truck type vehicles, there are some out there that actually support light welding!

batteries, a good agm or gel battery from an outfit like Deka is a good idea both for service life and safety, they don't spill acid if the vehicle rolls also much greater capacity

brake calipers will last longer if fluid changed out from time to time, water absorbed into fluid kills the seals etc, but should keep a rebuild kit for calipers as a last ditch spare, at least one for front and one for rear calipers, this is also an area that a good upgrade can be had (and should be considered if larger than stock wheels/tires are installed)

if get a spare starter also get new starter bolts. when installing new starter don't use old bolts unless an emergency, this is an issue with big or diesel engines, you have to torque the bolts to the point where all elasticity is gone from the threads and old bolts won't always hold, use highest quality you can get here, is cheap insurance.

caduckgunner
12-19-2012, 12:53 PM
Just keep spare parts. You never know when a part is going to break, and you never know how long a new part will last. Keep a stockpile of parts, tools, and a manual so you can fix them as needed.

NotEnufGarage
12-19-2012, 1:00 PM
Go diesel.. less parts to fail.. no spark plugs, plug wires, distributor, coils, etc...

Keep a spare starter, alternator and any relays in a farady cage to protect them from EMP and you should be good to go in any SHTF scenario.

kb58
12-19-2012, 1:07 PM
Go diesel.. less parts to fail.. no spark plugs, plug wires, distributor, coils, etc...

Keep a spare starter, alternator and any relays in a farady cage to protect them from EMP and you should be good to go in any SHTF scenario.
True, but any newer diesel has electronic sensors and and ECU. As was said, going for an old (mechanical fuel pump) diesel is the best. Heck, if you park it on a hill, a diesel doesn't need any electricity to start and run.

knucklehead0202
12-19-2012, 7:29 PM
diesel can be made by an intrepid person as well. gas is much harder to produce. scout diesel, or just about any old diesel you can get in a 4wd vehicle would be a good bet. a suburban is good and bad because the old detroit diesels worked alright, but the vehicle it's in was made by general motors and lots of parts of them were just garbage. perfect vehicle is a full-size bronco with a cummins. never made but could be made, and would be awesome.

NOC
12-20-2012, 9:50 AM
I really l like the idea of a top end older truck or SUV with a cummins, unfortunately for the most part such conversions won't be able to be registered in our fair State, I understand that there are exceptions but that the process is fraught with legal traps for the unwary and at the end of the day if one were to spend thousands of dollars to put a cummins in an older ford (which would be a great combo) it might be heartbreaking not to be able to register the vehicle. Other states, including Oregon and Arizona, don't seem to have this issue.

Steve_In_29
12-20-2012, 3:17 PM
I really l like the idea of a top end older truck or SUV with a cummins, unfortunately for the most part such conversions won't be able to be registered in our fair State, I understand that there are exceptions but that the process is fraught with legal traps for the unwary and at the end of the day if one were to spend thousands of dollars to put a cummins in an older ford (which would be a great combo) it might be heartbreaking not to be able to register the vehicle. Other states, including Oregon and Arizona, don't seem to have this issue.Seems to me all you need is a 1975 or older Ford (which requires no smog) as your base vehicle. You can then upgrade any drivetrain parts you feel like to make it into what you want.

gunman05
12-22-2012, 10:09 PM
For Sale
1974 Ford F-250 4x4 390ci 4" lift w/35" tires.....
$1500
:D

gunman05
12-22-2012, 10:10 PM
For Sale
1974 Ford F-250 4x4 390ci 4" lift w/35" tires.....
$1500
:D

gunman05
12-22-2012, 10:10 PM
For Sale
1974 Ford F-250 4x4 390ci 4" lift w/35" tires.....
$1500
:D

gunman05
12-22-2012, 10:12 PM
For Sale
1974 Ford F-250 4x4 390ci 4"lift w/35"tires
$1500

:D

gunman05
12-22-2012, 10:13 PM
For Sale
1974 Ford F-250 4x4 390ci 4"lift w/35"tires
$1500

:D

spy-d
12-23-2012, 7:56 PM
My Favorite is the Military M151A1. I have 2 with trailers. Very easy to work on and with a little mod, You can get up to 300 miles per 15 gal of fuel. Water resisant, Quick ckange engine and tranny and it does not need a computer to make it go.

spy-d
12-23-2012, 8:01 PM
This is my M151A1.:D

Intimid8tor
12-23-2012, 8:39 PM
I replaced a couple extra parts while I was in there. Over the last 5-7 years the tcase has been split, radiator recored, new starter, new fuel pump, power steering pump, power steering gear box, ac rebuilt, tie rods, ball joints, shocks, spin on tranny filter, aux coolers for oil and tranny, front and rear axle rebuilds, brakes replaced and flushed, new main tranny filter and a few other things. And of course regular maintenance and repair items.

I'll stock up on some additional parts so I have them just in case.

spy-d
12-23-2012, 8:46 PM
Just for info, If you get a replacement computer for your 88, Plug it in to make sure it works. Also, Heat sensor, O2 Sensor And all of the other sensors on your engine, you should get as well. And don't for get the little plastic hoses. You'll need them as well.

Cucv
12-24-2012, 9:07 PM
For Sale
1974 Ford F-250 4x4 390ci 4"lift w/35"tires
$1500

:D


is it a highboy ?

Pics ?

Cucv
12-24-2012, 9:08 PM
My Military pickup truck is a bug out rig.

1984 cucv M1008

SERIAL SNIPER
12-25-2012, 1:17 AM
egr is not going to stop your suburban from running. throw an extra set of plug wires, plugs, cap and rotor with you just in a storage compartment in the back

spy-d
12-25-2012, 6:12 PM
Don't forget Motor oil. Basicly, almost everything. Bearings, Univercels, lugnuts, Points, plugs, and anything else that han K.O. your truck.

I stock all spare parts for my M151 and that sits in my trailer. The basic repair and tools sit in a footlocker that sits in back of the 151 where the rear seat use to sit.

But, one can go a little overboard. I don't think you'll need an engine overhaul kit or a tranny rebuild kit. But you will need oil and grease.