Top 10 Truck Upgrades For Survival December 09, 2013
When disaster happens your truck might be the only thing that can get you out of harm’s way and to somewhere you can survive to wait out whatever happened in safety. Getting out of Dodge (GOOD) is a very real possibility that any number of us might have to do, so having a truck that’s ready for whatever comes can mean the difference between life and death. There are some basic modifications you can do to prepare your truck, and the top ten are listed below. 1. Upgrade Tires When a survival situation comes up you’re going to be driving on a lot more than just paved roads. You don’t need huge mudding tires but a slightly larger off-road rated tire will make sure some mud or rocks don’t get you stuck. Think more like 31-33” tires rather than 40” or larger; you don’t want to have to upgrade everything else around them or be unsafe. 2. Locking Differential A standard differential allows one wheel to spin while another has no power. This is fine for daily driving but when you’re going off-road or doing emergency driving this can cause a loss of power and makes it easy for you to get you stuck. In a survival situation you should expect to drive through a variety of conditions, so having a truck that can lock its differential is a must. 3. Lower Gears In a standard car or light-duty truck the final gear ratio can be around 2.5:1. This is great for daily driving and highway use, but can subtract from the possible low-end power you need for off-road use. By using a gear ratio closer to 4:1 you will lose some top-end speed but you’ll gain more power and ability to tow. In survival situations having a high top-speed is far less important that you think it is, but being able to tow, pull, and get out of tricky situations is vital. 4. Suspension Lift If for nothing else, a small suspension lift should be added to give you more ground clearance. For a GOOD truck, only 2-3” of lift is recommended. You’re just trying to add some extra ground clearance, not make a big rock climber. For every inch of lift you give your truck you add about 3% drag, which means a 7” lift would add about 21% to your drag, which can really hurt fuel economy. With gas stations few and far between, it’s a good idea to only lift your truck as much as necessary. 5. Skid Plates Since you’re trying to get a little more ground clearance with the suspension lift, you need to make sure the vital bits under the truck are protected and no, I’m not talking about bumper nuts. With gas being a scarce commodity the last thing you want to do is rupture a full gas tank. Best case scenario there is that you lose all your hard-found gas and worst case, your truck becomes a very expensive BBQ. Skid plates should protect everything under your truck that you wouldn’t like bounding off of a rock or obstacle in the road (can you say zombie?) 6. Snorkel Water can destroy an engine pretty quickly. If you’re planning on off-roading for any reason you need to pull your air from higher than the stock position. You see, water can’t be compressed, at all. Air is great at being compressed, which is why your engine works. When water gets into your cylinders and the engine tries to compress it, the pushrods usually give out, causing hydro lock. Pull your air from as high as possible and you should be safe. 7. Extra Fuel Tank Back to the issue of scarce fuel, making sure you have as much fuel with you as possible is a really good idea. If possible you should install a second gas tank to give you a lot more range, which can result in more safety. You can always keep gas in containers in the bed, but that’s not recommended when everyone is looking for gas. That just makes you an easy target. Most trucks can fit a second fuel cell either disguised as a toolbox or under the bed, so find one that works with your specific truck. 8. Brush Guard The quickest way to disable a truck is to puncture the radiator, which just happens to be up front, dead center in the truck. By installing a good brush guard or push bar you give yourself the ability to run into a lot more things without damaging the truck or the radiator. It would be a real shame to get out of a bad situation only to hit a deer and total your truck. 9. Communications Equipment Cell phones probably aren’t going to work in a true survival situation, so a good CB radio and scanner are great ways to know what’s going on and to keep in contact with people around you. Since they require no infrastructure they should ideally stay working for as long as the devices themselves hold out. You should get the best one possible in expectation of not being able to take it down the street to be fixed in the future. 10. Built-In Storage The last big upgrade you can do to your truck is to hide some storage in it. Building a false bottom into your bed is a great way to lock up guns and supplies to keep them out of sight both today and in survival situations. Building storage for under your seats or behind your seats can secure important supplies so nothing gets damaged and everything stays put. While these are great ideas to hide things, they don’t do too much good if your truck is stolen, so always keep that in mind. As you can see, many survival upgrades are standard off-road upgrades as well. This is a good thing because you don’t want people knowing you’re preparing your truck for the end of the world, as you’ll be the first place they go when something bad happens. Use your truck for fun and off-road with it, but just know that you have Plan B ready and waiting just in case.