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Friday, January 14, 2011

BASICS TO IMPROVE YOUR VEHICLES CAPABILITY

© 2011Northern Raider

Yes I know  the ideal vehicle is an expedition rated and converted Land Rover , or Jeep but in the real world most of us can only dream of owning such vehicles, and yet we still need to put some effort into adapting our vehicles  to better support us WTSHTF.

So let us just think about what steps we can take to improve our vehicles usefulness and reliability.


FRONT
Spot Lights and Bull bar, fitting those on the front of our vehicle gives us better illumination away from lit streets and the bull bar gives you that extra level of impact protection whilst protecting your radiator if you have to use the vehicle to push obstacles out of the way.

BACK
Tow bar bracket with either 50mm tow ball fitted or Cycle Rack or Jerry Can Carrier.
Rear lights, fit a switch in the cab to turn off rear lights in case you fear being followed
(AFTER TSHTF not before).

BOTTOM
An Engine sump guard and perhaps fuel tank guard?
For economy purposes many vehicle manufacturers design multi point mountings for vehicle exhausts, but only fit half of them. You can improve the reliability and security of your exhaust system by identifying the missing rubber mountings and having them fitted.

TOP Fit a full width heavy duty roof rack system, it can be used to carry extra kit OR be used to carry a roof tent.


TYRES
If possible change your tyres to the more useful but less suited for speed Mud and Snow tyres, they will give you more grip than ordinary high speed road tyres.


ENGINE & UTILITIES
If the budget will allow carry out a full engine service, OIL,FILTERS, LEADS, PLUGS etc, change all the DRIVE, FAN, PS and AIRCON belts for new ones but keep the old ones as spares.
Change the headlight bulbs and wiper blades for new ones as both slowly deteriate with age, but again keep the old ones as spares.


VEHICLE SPARES
Your life can depend on your transport working when you need it, its important to keep spares such as Coolant hose tape, Cable Ties, Fuses, Hose Clips, Duct Tape, Light Sticks, Electrical connectors etc.
Coolant, Screenwash, PS fluid, Gearbox oil, Engine oil, Brake Fluid are also essentials.


VEHICLE TOOLS
You really want a comprehensive list of decent quality tools to go with your vehicle, Spanners and wrenches, torx, allen and other  drivers, philips, posi and flat drivers, torque wrench, pliers and grips, hammer and of course the workshop manual.


RECOVERY TOOLS 
These speak for themselves
Jump Leads, Tow Rope, High Lift Jack (and board for it to stand on), Shovel, Prybar, Axe, Sand Mats, Bungy Elastics, Paracord, Nylon tie down rope or straps.

ESSENTIAL EXTRAS
Drink Water Containers (minimum 20 litres)
Fuel Jerry Cans   (Minimum 2 x 20 litres)
Funnel or spout for each of the containers
Portable Camp Cooker plus gas canisters
Sleeping Bags
Prepacked Food Supplies
Medical kit
Maps and Driving Glasses
Waterproofs
Porta-potti plus chemicals if space allows (mainly panel van drivers only have enough room)
Hygiene kit
Cooking utensils
Up to date road Atlas and Maps
Flashlights and Spare Batteries

This is NOT a definitive list, not is it an ideal list, but it is a list of jobs you can tackle or have done, coupled to items you can obtain to greatly improve the odds of your reaching your destination in one piece.
NR