Monday, December 20, 2010

If You Need Another Reason to Own Land...

I was just reading a discussion about vandwelling, "mobile homelessness" or whatever you want to call it, and the subject of storing valuables came up. Almost everyone alive has something that needs to be stored in a location that will be safe, and if you live on the road, that is not a safe place to keep stuff. What if your RV catches fire and burns your important papers? What if you have a prized firearm that is legal in your state of domicile, but is illegal to possess in some states you may be passing through in your travels? You can rent a storage unit, but if you are short of funds and can't pay the rent, you could lose everything in the unit. Same thing with a safe deposit box, plus there are some things you just can't store in a safe deposit box.
It's good to have a piece of ground anyway, to use as your permanent domicile address. Barron's Banking Dictionary defines domicile thusly: "Permanent home or principal establishment of an individual. Residence is not the same as domicile, since a person can have many transient residences but only one legal domicile, which is the home address to which he always intends to return for prolonged periods. The domicile of a business is the address where the establishment is maintained or where the governing power of the enterprise is exercised. For purposes of taxation, it is often a principal place of business."

I have been a longtime proponent of establishing your domicile in a state and county with laws that are favorable to your needs, and in a depressed area of slow or negative growth, low property values and taxes, and no zoning laws. Preferably out in the boonies rather than in Detroit, although anti-agriculture laws are being lifted in Detroit and it seems that people will almost pay you to take property there, so who knows...
But anyway, having such a place as your domicile doesn't necessarily mean you have to reside there at any given time. I mean, especially in today's economy, how many people do you know who have to rent a room in a distant city because that is where they can find work, or that is where their job sends them? Does that mean they have to make that city their permanent home? Of course not. So just because present circumstances preclude you from living fulltime in a certain area, doesn't mean you can't establish your domicile there.
All that is an aside, though. Even if you don't decide to make your cheap piece of land your domicile, you can still store stuff on it. And if your own personal SHTF event happens, you have some place to fall back on. You can never be truly homeless, as long as you have a place like that. You can buy an excellent canvas wall tent for $500. People have lived in tents for centuries, and you can too, if you need to. It sure beats sleeping on a park bench. Just make sure you do your research before buying, so as not to end up in the same situation as Dick Thompson, the 72-year-old man who is being evicted from his own land in Madison County, Indiana.

Cheap, unrestricted land is available, too. You just have to know where to look. I have one piece of land that I paid $1000 for. Property taxes are $15 per year. I can pick up aluminum cans, if I have to, to keep the taxes up to date. Not only are there no restrictions, but the county seat is nearly 100 miles away. I doubt they are likely to bother with my little piece of land, if they could even find it. I have seen other pieces of land available for as little as free for the asking, with $5 per year taxes, for a half-acre lot. Of course you need a jeep, a GPS receiver, and time to get to it. But if it's hard for you to get to, it's hard for other folks to get to, as well. Here is an article about finding a piece of land.
Wherever your place is, if you are not planning to live there right now, it is a good idea to go to the place and establish a campsite. Camp on it for a few days, get a feel for the place, and make whatever campsite improvements you need. Then dig a hole in the ground at a high spot on the property, certainly in a spot that never, ever floods. Make the hole whatever size you need for storage. Perhaps four feet deep and four feet square. Line the bottom and sides with a few thicknesses of six mil poly sheeting, then put in about four inches of gravel. Follow this with reinforcing wire, and pour a concrete slab. I know, it's work; but you can haul a few bags of cement, sand and gravel, and a 55 gallon drum of water just about anywhere. While the cement is still wet, place a run of concrete blocks around the perimeter and stick some rebar through the holes into the cement. Then follow that with two or three more runs, overlapping the blocks but aligning the holes, so that rebar can tie the blocks all together. Fill the holes with more concrete mix to strengthen the structure, and make some kind of lid for it. The best would be a steel and concrete lid that can be locked and is heavy enough to need a hoist and tripod arrangement to open it. Put your valuables in the box, after rustproofing and sealing them. Seal any papers in two or three thicknesses of plastic, or roll them and put them in a waterproof tube. Now seal the lid and locking arrangement with poly and tar, and cover the whole thing with dirt. That is the ultimate. You may not need anything that secure, but if you do, it's nice to have peace of mind that nobody is likely to go to the trouble of digging it up. If you don't need to store anything in it right now, so much the better. Build it and seal it up, then if you need it five years from now and find that it has not been tampered with, that is a good sign that you chose a good location.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bug Out Bicycle

Sometime around the late '80s to early '90s, I read an article in the now-defunct American Survival Guide magazine about the mountain bike as a form of survival transportation. That was a great article, ignoring such filler as the history of mountain bikes and delving right into the mechanics of what one should look for in the basic bicycle and how to outfit it for our purposes, and it struck such a resonant chord in me that I immediately began shopping for one of my own, using the criteria presented in the article to make my choice. Then I scrimped, saved, skipped my Friday-night Arby's roast beef sandwich, postponed bills, and bought myself a new Diamondback mountain bike.
At the time, I was living in an apartment near one end a medium-sized town, working third shift at a company only 2 miles from my apartment. To make it even better, there were two vastly different paths from my apartment to my workplace, and both were about the same distance. One was a paved route which took me through some back alleys and then out onto a relatively sparsely-traveled, paved two lane road. By that route, I could make it to work in about 6 minutes with a minimum of fuss. The other route made better use of the "all terrain" aspect of my bicycle, because it started out as a one-lane gravel road skirting a low, heavily wooded hill with no roads traversing it other than a couple of rough jeep trails. As this road got farther into the woods, it quickly deteriorated to a faint trail through a swamp before finally climbing up the side of the hill and becoming rocky and rutted. This road also passed a couple of abandoned old shacks that I would occasionally stop and check out, and I even camped in one of them once or twice. Needless to say, I generally took the paved road on the way to work, and usually on the way home too. But once in awhile, especially if it was "Friday", I would take the woods road home, and take longer than 6 minutes. A lot longer. In fact, sometimes I would take several hours, and then arrive home soaked, covered in mud and briars, and looking pretty much like a hound that has been out hunting all night.
My 1965 Jeep and 1978 Toyota pickup truck began sitting at home most of the time, relegated to those few occasions that I needed to haul more than I could haul on the bike, or travel more than about 20 miles. I certainly didn't need them for the 4 mile round trip to work, and as much as I liked having them, I also liked not having to drive them unless I just wanted to.

My job was such that I was able to work 12 hour shifts (by choice) for 7 straight days to get my hours in for the pay period, then take the entire second week off (which is why I put quotation marks around "Friday", above). This was wonderful, because it allowed me to head out on week-long camping, backpacking and mountain biking expeditions twice per month! I made the best of it, too. While working those long hours, I would daydream and plan survivalistic bugout exercises to embark upon, once the work week was over! I would plan various scenarios wherein, as the stuff hit the fan and other people panicked as they sat in gridlocked traffic on the highways, I was picking my way over a mountain trail to the east, or building a raft to cross the river to the south, with my heavily-laden steel mule at my side, carrying the basic supplies and equipment I would need to survive.
Sometimes, when my off week finally arrived, I would undertake such an exercise designed to simulate actually having to get outta Dodge, other times I would go out of town with other mountain bikers of my acquaintance, to camp and ride the trails in other areas. More often though, I would just put a full bugout load on my bike, head off down the trail through the woods that I described earlier, perhaps camp a night in one of the abandoned shacks, then continue on to the larger wooded areas surrounding the river, where I would build makeshift shelters and camp for several nights.
In my gear, aside from my ever-present defensive handgun, I had a Ruger 10-22 that I had converted to a takedown configuration. In its disassembled state, I could stuff this rifle into my daypack so that, during the brief time I was traveling through a residential area, there was no danger of the sheeple being alarmed by the sight of a rifle. My ammo of choice was Remington 40 grain hollowpoint subsonics. They had plenty of killing power on squirrels and rabbits etc, but lacked the supersonic crack of regular high-speed ammo, so that once I was in the woods, even someone only a quarter mile away would probably not notice my shot. I still like those, and don't feel underpowered with them. After all, my late grandfather used .22 Shorts to kill everything, up to and including an 8 point buck.

I learned a lot during that time, and I found that a mountain bike is an even better choice for a BOV (Bug Out Vehicle) than I had originally thought. Upon first consideration of a BOV, it seemed that the ideal would be my old Jeep Wagoneer, loaded with my camping and survival gear, and with the mountain bike tossed in back as a "scout vehicle" or whatever. In fact, this is a wonderful combination for a vacation, but it really has some drawbacks as a true bug out plan.
First, regardless of one's feelings on the issue of the right to travel, if you are driving along in your private motorized conveyance and are either individually targeted by a cop or have the misfortune to run across one of the "your papers please" roadblocks that our wonderful, benevolent government is increasingly providing us with these days as part of their plan to secure our freedom and liberty, you had better have all your paperwork in order, your voluntary taxes paid, etcetera and smell for all the world like just another sheeple on his happy way to work, or you just might lose that conveyance and all your gear, and wind up in the local hoosegow.
Second, that Wagoneer (or whatever) needs fuel and oil, among other things, and running out of any of those things means it is going to stop wherever it happens to be, and go no farther. Also, a serious mechanical breakdown, gridlocked roads, or getting well-and-truly stuck could have the same effect: that of walking (or riding your bike) away from your prized vehicle and any gear you're not able to carry, and leaving it in a location that is probably not secure, meaning you might as well write it off as a total loss, because that is probably how things will turn out.

OK, but what's so great about a bicycle? Well, for starters, I can pick it up and carry it for short distances. That means I'm not gonna get too badly stuck, because I can just drag it out of the mud (or whatever) and carry it to solid ground if necessary. Also, if I come across a fence or pile of boulders or disabled vehicles that would stop motorized vehicles, I can sling that bike across my back and climb over. And if I find myself on a gridlocked highway, with a bicycle I can still get through.
Then of course there is the fuel situation. Yes, you will need to eat more to produce the energy you will be using, but that is offset by the overall improvement in your health and physical condition.
One thing I discovered during the time that I was bicycling everyday, was that my stamina quickly improved to the point that I was able to maintain an average speed of 10 mph, hour after hour without tiring. If necessary, I could ride 100 miles in a day, then get up and do it again the next day. At 100 miles per day, if you need to bug out, you can change the scenery and the situation substantially in a short amount of time. Even after getting out of the bicycling scene for a few years, upon starting to ride again I was immediately able to ride 20 miles in a couple of hours, without any difficulty. On the other hand, walking 20 miles would be a serious undertaking, even if I had all day to do it.
For shorter distances, 20 to 30 mph is no trouble to achieve, and I can do it quietly enough to vacate an area without anyone ever knowing I was there. That silence is another of the great advantages of a bicycle. If I'm bugging out, I can ride slowly down the road at 5 mph, more quietly than I can walk for any distance at the same speed, looking and listening for any danger I may be approaching, or that may be approaching me. If I do spot danger ahead, I can either hightail it back in the direction I came from, and/or leave the road and work my way around the danger. If that danger is a roadblock and I'm in a motor vehicle, they will be aware of my presence before I'm aware of theirs. I don't think that's a good thing.
Lastly, if worse comes to worst and my bike develops mechanical problems I can't fix right now, it still works as a cart to carry a greater load than I can carry on my back, as long as at least one of its wheels remains capable of rolling.
Oh, and don't forget that licensing issue. In most areas, the legal standing of a person on a bicycle is the same as on foot. There are probably some cities where that is not true, but I intend to avoid those places anyway.

We've covered why a bicycle makes a good bug out vehicle, so what should one look for in the basic bike, and how should it be set up?
First, it should be a mountain bike, rather than a road bike or a cruiser. Mountain bikes have tough frames that are designed for abuse, and the frame geometry is designed to make them maneuverable in rough or varied terrain. Also, their upright seating position is more comfortable for the average person than is a road bike.
It should be equipped with standard 26" wheels, rather than the more esoteric 29", because 26" rims, tubes and tires are easier to find. In most situations, a mild all terrain tread in 1.95 to 2.1" is best because it provides good traction in the dirt while still minimizing rolling resistance on pavement; but if you live off the beaten path you may want to consider a more aggressive offroad tread in up to 2.35" width, for greater traction and flotation.
The frame should be steel. Not the mild steel of some cheap bikes, but double-butted chrome moly steel. Chrome-moly, of course, is a strong steel alloy, harder and stronger than mild steel so the tubes can have thinner walls to reduce weight. It also has some springiness to "bounce back" from hard trail impacts. Double-butted means the wall thickness of the tubes is thicker near the ends where they are joined to other tubes, because that is where stresses are concentrated, and thinner in the middle where there is not as much stress, to reduce weight. A frame that is double butted will say so. If it says "double butted main tubes", it means only the main triangle is of double-butted tubes; that's good but "fully double butted" meaning all of the tubes, is better.
You may be tempted to buy an aluminum frame, but I don't recommend it. They are light, but they have "dead" handling qualities, without the springy, "alive" feel that makes a good steel bike so nice to ride. Also, aluminum will eventually fatigue and crack under hard use. Lastly, steel may be readily repaired by welding.
Suspension: pass. It is a fad; something foisted off on people because they don't know any better. I remember when the "Rock Shox" suspension forks first became available for downhill racers. For that application, suspended bikes may or may not have some small advantage; for everyone else it is a very bad idea. Why? Climb on one and start pedaling away: what is the first thing that happens? The suspension first settles, then starts bobbing up and down as you pedal. With every pedal stroke, you are lifting yourself and the bike; pedal harder and it gets worse. Now add a 100 lb load, and you will be lifting that too. The energy to do all that lifting and bobbing is coming from you, and then it is dissipated as heat from the suspension. If you adjust and ride your bike properly, your body is working within an efficient range of motion, and if the geometry of the bike is correct, the energy thus produced is efficiently converted to forward motion. Why would you want to throw away a percentage of that energy to create heat and wear in a suspension? And wear it will, too: that suspension is not only something that wastes energy and unnecessarily complicates the bike (not to mention making it heavier), it is also another thing to go wrong: something that will eventually wear out and cause problems. I've never yet worn out a rigid fork.
As for sizing the frame of the bike, there are entire books on that subject, but suffice to say that it should be large enough that you can ride it vigorously on a tight trail without interference between the handlebars and your knees, but small enough that when you stand astraddle the bike, you have about 4 inches of clearance between your crotch and the top tube. The best thing is to ride it around through varying terrain, and see if it feels "right" to you.
Oh, and make sure the frame has as many threaded lugs as possible for mounting racks, packs, pumps, bottle cages, etc. You will miss them if you don't have them.

As for finding such a bike, go ahead and look at the local bike store and tell them exactly what you are looking for. They may actually have something like that, or more likely they will have a hardtail that is close. A hardtail is a rigid frame with a suspension fork. At the very least you can ride it to see how the frame fits you, and a good bike shop will almost certainly work with you to get a rigid fork; either a special order delete option from the factory or by swapping out the fork right there at the shop. Or, you may decide to just go with the suspension fork after all.
Another reason for going to your local shop is to touch base just to see what's available and maybe start building a relationship with them, and then hit the thrift shops and flea markets to see what's available out there. You may just luck upon a super high quality, full rigid bike that is a few years old, for next to nothing. Some people actually throw away excellent bicycles just because they are old, don't have suspension and need a little maintenance. Their stupidity can be your gain. As an example, a couple of years ago I bought a fully ridable Giant Iguana at the Goodwill store for $20, and I have ridden it many miles and continue to ride it now. That wasn't a top of the line bike in its day, but it was about a $400 bike. It is an ideal bike to base the bug out bike on, and in fact has replaced my old Diamondback for that purpose.
Even if you do decide to buy a new bike, you may be able to buy a cheap bike or two at the flea markets that will yield a few spare parts, a spare frame and a rigid fork.

Having looked at the bike itself, let's cover some of its equipment. First, brakes: I would avoid disc brakes. They are simply unnecessary; another case of "OK, now what can we sell the masses on?". I mean, they work great, but so do V-brakes, and cantilevers for that matter. But disc brakes are heavier and more complicated than necessary, more to go wrong, and they are expensive. The best brake for a bicycle is a V brake. A modification and optimization of the earlier cantilevers, they are light, simple, and I have seen them for as little as $10 for a set of new ones, and those ten dollar brakes were as nice-looking, as light, and worked even better than the $400 Grafton cantis I remember lusting for, way back when. I remember the first time I ever rode a bike with V brakes, and marvelling at the fact that I could stand it on the front wheel with one finger. If you don't have brakes yet for your homebuild, or you are buying a new bike and deciding on options, or the old flea market relic you bought has crap brakes, buy V brakes and get the local shop to show you how to set them up properly. If you have decent cantilevers, put some new pads on them and read up on how to set them up properly, and they will be fine. There is nothing wrong with good cantis, and I certainly wouldn't dump them.

Shifters: whatever you have is probably fine. I started with Rapid-Fire pushbutton shifters and loved them, then Grip-Shift became all the rage and the next new bike I bought came with that. I wasn't crazy about the Grip-Shift but they work, and that bike still wears them, so they are OK. These days though, given the choice, I prefer old fashioned friction shifters. They always work, are dead simple, and allow me to adjust each cog's engagement by sound, even if my cables are getting stretched out.

Wheels: What you have is probably OK, but if not or you just want to optimize (which is a good idea; a good wheelset can do wonders for the riding quality of your bike) I recommend Shimano Deore LX hubs, 36 spoke for strength, plain 14 gauge stainless spokes, and a good quality aluminum rim that is designed for use with V brakes (most are). Sun CR16 used to be a good but affordable rim, but Sun has probably replaced it with a different part number by now. Mavic also makes good rims. All that info is out there on the 'net, and it's really out of the scope of this article anyway, so let's move on.
Cog cassette? Aftermarket steel Deore compatible. They are cheap, functional, and much heavier duty than the light aluminum jobs. Rear derailleur: again, Deore LX. BTW, the reason I am going with LX and not top of the line XT and XTR components is, that top of the line stuff gives up ruggedness for light weight; and they also tend to be cutting edge and not necessarily backward-compatible. LX is excellent quality, very smooth and reasonably light, while still being rugged, affordable and backward-compatible.
For the crankset, chainrings and front derailleur, whatever you have is even more likely to be fine but if I needed to change (old used bike with heavy, short steel crankset, for example) I would again go with Deore LX, 175 mm crank arms, and cheap aftermarket steel chainrings.

On to accessories. I would put a standard luggage rack on the back, and another on the front. This will not only carry gear, but can also be a mounting point for lights, radio antenna, or whatever you need. You need to mount a pump of course, and also a tool kit containing at least one spare tube, patch kit, and tools to work on every part of the bike. Two water bottle cages are better than one, so you have plenty of water available while riding.
In addition to the bicycle-specific tools, remember that this is a bugout bike, and should have its own bugout kit permanently mounted so it is ready at all times, and also to allow you to work out any bugs and get accustomed to its handling qualities with a full load. If you are reading this, you probably already have a pretty good idea of what should be in your bugout kit, and that is a subject for another article at any rate, but I will say that it should contain a small axe, shovel, and heavy-duty wire cutter. Probably a hacksaw, too. Why the metal-cutting tools? Use your imagination.
Lights: personally, I wouldn't buy "bicycle lights". I think the ideal solution is a small, 7 amp/hour or so, 12 volt gelcell battery mounted on the front rack, and used to power a small LED light pointed down at the road, also mounted on the front rack. I would probably make it a red LED to preserve night vision, and just have a momentary pushbutton to I can turn it on only as needed to see where the edges of the road or trail are. I would also have a clip-on, hand held automotive type spotlight that I could use to light up whatever I need to. The battery would also be used to power radio equipment and whatever other 12 volt accessories I need. I would have one of the standard 12 volt, 6 watt bicycle generators that work by rubbing the side of a tire, for charging the battery. These can be had for about $15 from online bicycle equipment shops.
You can also get a front hub that has a built-in generator, and that would be another option; but I'm more partial to the standalone generator for its low cost, simplicity and ease of replacement.
You will probably notice that I didn't cover lights for visibility. That is because I don't ride in traffic, especially at night. I've seen those people, covered with reflectors and lights, riding down the road at night. I've also seen the news stories when they get run over and killed anyway.
In fact, I remove all the reflectors from my bikes, because I don't want to be seen by a sweep of a spotlight. If I must travel on a road when it has traffic, I do so as a pedestrian, walking my bike well off the road.

I think that pretty well covers it. The last bit of advice I can give is, now ride the thing! There is nothing wrong with having one or more other bikes for different purposes, and to ride them most of the time, but I recommend taking the bugout bike for a nice long ride over varying terrain at least once a month, and once a week is even better. Push its limits, and yours, so you know how to handle whatever comes up, should you ever need it for the real deal.
Be sure to set one up for every other member of the family, too.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Toyota Hilux Pickup Truck

Many, many people have watched this video or the original TV episode of Top Gear, and come away believing that the Toyota pickup possesses some kind of special qualities that no other vehicle has. Full disclosure; I have a Hilux 4x4. That should be ample proof that I don't have a vendetta against them. But I do want to point out their deficiencies. All vehicles have some sort of deficiency, and we self-sufficient types should reject brand loyalty and look at every piece of equipment with a pragmatic eye.
Watch this video carefully. As you watch, note whether they really did anything that any other comparable vehicle couldn't handle. Vehicles like a Jeep CJ7, CJ5 or Wagoneer, International Scout, Travelall or pickup, or a non-computerized, straight axle Chevy, Ford or Dodge 4x4 pickup or SUV. To be fair, all of the above should be equipped with a manual transmission, as was this Toyota.
Now that we are on the same page, think about this. They beat on the sheetmetal quite a bit, but that wouldn't cause mechanical failure. They submerged it in seawater, but then spent at least 40 minutes (they didn't disclose exactly how long; could've been hours) getting the seawater out of everything. They probably replaced all the fluids; they stated no parts were replaced, but fluids aren't parts. And then they didn't really drive it very far after submerging it. Or before, as far as we can tell from the video.
What else did they do? Well, they slammed it into a tree. This was done at a low speed and off center, so as to protect the radiator. Then they checked the radiator and the battery before continuing. Then at the last, they set it afire. From that point, we don't see it moving under its own power, but are assured that it can still do so. I don't doubt it. But look at the fire damage. Some wood was placed in the bed of the truck, and then the wood and the interior were doused with some liquid fuel and set afire. It is quite obvious that the fire was extinguished soon after that fuel was consumed, because little damage was done other than a fair amount of scorching. Even the seats weren't burned beyond the upholstery, because the foam cushions remained.
Let's consider some comments well-known survival blogger Ferfal posted about the HiLux, before continuing with a realistic look at the Toyota versus some other vehicles.

"... one of the most important, and unnoticed, weapons of guerrilla war in Afghanistan and across the world: the lightweight, virtually indestructible Toyota Hilux truck. “In Afghanistan in particular,” says counterinsurgency expert David Kilcullen, “[the trucks are] incredibly well respected.” It’s not just rebels in Afghanistan that love the Hilux. “The Toyota Hilux is everywhere,” says Andrew Exum, a former Army Ranger and now a fellow of the Center for a New American Security. “It’s the vehicular equivalent of the AK-47. It’s ubiquitous to insurgent warfare. And actually, recently, also counterinsurgent warfare. It kicks the hell out of the Humvee.” Anecdotally, a scan of pictures from the last four decades of guerrilla and insurgent warfare around the world—the first iteration of the Hilux appeared in the late ’60s—reveals the Toyota’s wide-ranging influence. Somali pirates bristling with guns hang out of them on the streets of Mogadishu. The Toyota is such a widespread and powerful weapon for insurgents, says Dr. Alastair Finlan, who specializes in strategic studies at Britain’s Aberystwyth University, because it acts as a “force multiplier.” It is “fast, maneuverable, and packs a big punch [when it’s mounted with] a 50-caliber [machine gun] that easily defeats body armor on soldiers and penetrates lightly armored vehicles as well.” It is particularly dangerous, he adds, against lightly armed special-forces operatives.
The rest of the article

So according to Ferfal's article, the Toyota truck is used in many places as a tactical truck. It is a decent choice for that role. But there are some modifications that could be done to the typical HiLux found in the US that would make it more suitable. There are also some other readily available trucks that are already better. Allow me to explain.

First, the Toyota truck is a poor choice for a situation where the coolant may be lost, and the truck still needs to run long enough to get you to safety. Several miles into the desert, for example, where you may not have any water to replenish what is lost after a burst hose or the radiator being punctured by a rock, or whatever. You need to be able to drive a mile with no coolant, then shut down and allow the engine to cool for an hour, then drive another mile, etcetera, until you make it out. Perhaps you are attacked while driving, and the radiator is punctured by gunfire. You need to be able to continue driving to get to a safe area. This is a realistic concern for a tactical truck. Of course, it would be nice if the engine survived this overheat condition too, so that you still have a functional vehicle after you patch the holes and refill the radiator.
A Toyota is not that vehicle. It has an aluminum head on a cast iron block, and if you try to drive to safety with no coolant in the engine, you will not make it far. The aluminum head will quickly warp so severely that compression will be lost and the engine will cease to run. I know this from experience.
On the other hand, a Rambler inline six, such as the ones used in Jeeps starting with the 232 in the 1965 Wagoneer, through the 232 and 258 from 1970 until 1983 in the CJ5, the 258 in the CJ7 from 1976 through 1986 and in the 1987 Wrangler, and the 4.0 liter in most Jeeps from 1988 through 2006, will run until it glows in the dark. Then after a one-hour cooldown, it will run again. The same is true of most all-cast-iron engines from Chevy, Dodge, and Ford, whether they be inline 6 or 4, or V8.
The other weak point of the Toyota truck, but less so, is the Birfield joint in the front axle shafts. These are a type of universal joint that allows the axle shafts to bend when turning. The Birfield joint is usually troublefree, but can grenade if subjected to extreme abuse. The same is true of most US made 4x4s built before 1970, including Jeeps. But in 1970, Jeep switched to the far simpler, stronger and easier to repair single-cardan U joint. If you have a HiLux and are breaking Birfs, the simplest permanent fix is to swap in a Dana 44 front end from a Wagoneer. The wheel lug pattern even matches, believe it or not.
 While we are swapping parts, why not put in an engine that can take more abuse? An inline six is too long, but a small block V8 will work, and the rest of the truck is strong enough to handle it. Lots of Toyota fans have swapped a small-block Chevy V8  into their Hilux.
A better choice, though, is the Chevy 4.3 liter V6. It is just a small block Chevy, minus two cylinders. Parts for it are almost as cheap as they are for the SBC, and it is lighter. The power level is a good match for the truck. And, worse come to worst, the cast iron block and short, cast iron heads will be more likely than the Toyota engine to survive an overheat condition.
The stock 4- or 5-speed transmission will work just fine, and adapters are readily available to mate the Chevy engine to it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What Is It About Guns, Anyway?

Why are guns such a hot button, politically? What causes people to be so passionate about them, either pro or con? I have my own thoughts about that, but that is not what this article is about.
I was just reading a fairly good article about the erosion of our liberties, that mentioned the fact that up through the 1950s in the more rural parts of America, a 12 year old kid could bring a gun to school, store it in his or her locker, then take it out after school to go hunting or plinking, or even participate in a school-santioned target shooting event. In fact, up until 1968, that kid could (with parental permission, of course) actually buy a gun from a catalog and have it shipped through the mail to his home.
This sounded great to me, and in fact, I remember the last dregs of those days. But then the author stopped me cold with this statement: "I want a gun-free world as much as the next person, and the way to get to that world is to create so much love and freedom that, eventually, nobody needs or wants a gun." That ruined the article for me.
I'm sure that, to some people who are around me in person or who read my random rantings on this and other sites, I seem to be fixated on guns. There are a couple of reasons for that. One is the political thing, simply because how any "public servant" views my right to keep and bear arms (which these days is treated more as a licensed privilege rather than a right) is an indicator of how he regards my status: freeman or slave to the state? The political side becomes even more weighty when you consider that, in many states, it is a felony to even carry a gun without prior governmental permission, regardless of what the Second Amendment says. And everywhere in the USA it is a felony to possess a variety of different types of guns the government has ruled not acceptable for us to own without governmental permission. Guns so simple as, for example, a .22 revolver with a smooth bore, for efficiently using rat-shot cartridges to dispatch vermin in the barn without damaging walls and equipment.
And by the way, in case you don't understand that, felony charges cost thousands of dollars, whether convicted or not; and conviction results in mandatory loss of rights (including permanent loss of the right to keep and bear arms, as if we really had it to begin with) and a probable prison term, where we are pulled from our families and placed in an environment where we are surrounded by real criminals. I think that threat, in itself, is sufficient cause for a great amount of consideration.

But there is another side to gun ownership, a side which the author of the referenced article alludes to but obviously doesn't understand: guns are not just about killing or injuring people. That is the main obstacle we, as gun owners, face when dealing with non-gun-owners. And even with a lot of gun owners, for that matter; especially those who live in the city. In fact, guns are not just about killing or injuring anything. Legitimate uses for guns fall into several broad classifications, and all of those classifications are things free people have a right to not be harassed about. If they are harassed about them they are not free. Here are some of those classifications:

  • Defensive use. You never know when you may be attacked. The attacker may be a person with criminal intent, a person who may not understand what they are doing (such as diminished mental capacity) but nevertheless poses an immediate threat to your or someone else's life; or perhaps an aggressive dog or wild animal. Or it could be a rabid animal. Even a skunk that is carrying rabies could pose a serious threat to your life, or your child's life. And since such threats don't make prior appointments, the only way you can be truly prepared is to do like the Second Amendment says, and bear arms. That means carry a gun on your person, all the time if possible.
  • Hunting. OK, that's the other one everybody knows about. Not everyone agrees with it, but everyone who understands it does. The thing is, although many people assume that human encroachment directly reduces wildlife populations, that is not the case with all species. In fact, it tends to be more the case with predators (with some exceptions, like black bears and coyotes), and less the case with their prey, especially deer. What that means, in a nutshell, is that since our encroachment has reduced the population of wolves which thinned the deer herds, we must take up the slack by hunting deer. Otherwise, they overpopulate and then die off from starvation and disease. Furthermore, since we are also creatures of this Earth, and a look at our tooth structure will confirm that we were intended to eat meat, it follows that we have the right to hunt for that meat. Doing so is also healthier to our own bodies, as well as our environment, than buying meat that was raised on a factory farm.
  • Vermin control. Every farmer understands this. Raising food of any kind attracts animals that want to avail themselves of that food. From rats and mice which steal grain and also introduce disease organisms, through raccoons, foxes and even copperhead snakes that kill chickens, to coyotes and feral dogs that kill newborn calves. Guns are a necessity for farming and homesteading.
  • Recreational use. This is something most anti-gunners are aware of, but consider unimportant. What they don't consider is that restricting or banning the free exercise of shooting sports is the same as restricting tennis, golfing, hiking, or even chess playing. Shooting sports run the gamut from casual plinking to long-range target shooting, reloading, home gunsmithing, and many other activities. Some of these activities are highly technical, and some are not. But even casual plinking is a legitimate sporting activity, and should not be unnecessarily restricted, even in public recreational areas. Those who are against the activity claim that it is too dangerous, causes litter, etc. But there are already laws against littering and against reckless endangerment. How about prosecuting people when they actually do something wrong, rather than persecuting them because they might do something wrong?
  • Utility uses. This is a class of firearms use that is rarely considered by people who are down on gun ownership. I'll give some examples. Winchester used to build an 8-gauge slug gun that was specifically designed for knocking build-up off the inside of huge steel tanks. Lots of ranchers have used a rifle or handgun as an impromptu power tool when a hole must be punched or a cable or chain broken right now. Twice I have had to use a rifle to free a tree I was felling, when it became hung up in the branches of adjacent trees. Yes, I was firing in a safe direction and yes, I realize this doesn't say good things about my lumberjacking skills, but I couldn't just walk away and leave a trap like that to possibly kill somebody when it fell.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Survival Manual

Survival Manual Summer
This is the USMC Summer Survival Manual. It is a very good and useful manual, and I recommend downloading it and at least printing out selected pages to keep in your bugout bag. For example, the section on water purification would be a very good reference, if only to help you remember how many drops of tincture iodine from your first-aid kit to add to your water bottle after you refill it from a stream.

The Dakota Fire Pit

The Dakota Hole is a tactical fire lay.
Although no fire is 100% tactical, this fire lay will accomplish certain things:
(a) Reduces the signature of the fire by placing it below ground.
(b) Provides more of a concentrated heat source to boil and cook, thus
preserving fuel and lessening the amount of burning time.
(c) By creating a large air draft, the fire will burn with less smoke than the
fire pit.
(d) It is easier to light in high winds.

From the USMC Summer Survival Manual

Friday, October 15, 2010

N95 Respirators versus Gas Masks

I have just been watching Jesse Ventura's Conspiracy Theory episode about Plum Island Animal Disease Center. Scary stuff; makes your flesh crawl just to think about it. Then there are the anthrax attacks which occurred in 2001, where at least 22 people were infected with anthrax, with 5 of those people dying from the disease. In 2002 there was an alleged and much-publicized plot to release the deadly poison ricin in the London subway system; and don't forget the (still unsolved) US ricin mail attacks of 2003 and 2004. During these attacks and scares the US government advised people to stay at home as much as possible, and stock up on sheet plastic and duct tape.
I remember hearing people crack jokes about the duct tape and plastic recommendation, but sealing the doors and windows is a fairly effective defense against airborne contaminants. But what if you are not at home when a chemical or biological attack or accident occurs?

Everyone has seen the frightening images of WWII soldiers wearing gas masks in the hopes of surviving chemical and/or biological attacks. And those of us who grew up during the Cold War have at least thought about buying one for ourselves and each member of our families. Come on, admit it.
Of course, since 9/11 and the anthrax attacks that followed, it has become more acceptable to have at least some form of respiratory protection from airborne contaminants whether chemical or biological, intentionally released or otherwise.
The question is, do we really need those bulky gas masks, or are there lighter, cheaper and more compact alternatives in the form of medical respirators?
I have considered this question, and I personally think a real gas mask for each member of the family is a pretty good thing to have, just in case. The best place to store it is in your bugout bag, so that you will know where to find it and will hopefully have it in your vehicle, if you need it.
For the EDC (everyday carry) bag though, a gas mask is too bulky under normal conditions. So I would just carry a couple of easily-foldable N95 respirators and some kind of eye protection, whether it be safety glasses, prescription glasses, or even just a pair of sunglasses. Be sure to carry a few yards of duct tape too, and if that safety equipment is needed, use the tape to seal around the respirator, glasses, cuffs, and to cover exposed skin. While, of course, getting out of the affected area.

The US FDA webpage has this article about N95 respirators:

About Facemasks and N95 Respirators

Facemasks and N95 respirators are devices that may help prevent the spread of germs (viruses and bacteria) from one person to another. They are one part of an infection-control strategy that should also include frequent hand washing and social distancing.
Facemasks and N95 respirators should not be shared. Facemasks and respirators may become contaminated with germs (viruses and bacteria) that can be spread between people.
The following provides basic information about facemasks and N95 respirators.


A facemask is a loose-fitting, disposable device that creates a physical barrier between the mouth and nose of the wearer and potential contaminants in the immediate environment. Facemasks may be labeled as surgical, laser, isolation, dental or medical procedure masks. They may come with or without a face shield.
Facemasks are made in different thicknesses and with different ability to protect you from contact with liquids. These properties may also affect how easily you can breathe through the facemask and how well the facemask protects you.
If worn properly, a facemask is meant to help block large-particle droplets, splashes, sprays or splatter that may contain germs (viruses and bacteria) from reaching your mouth and nose. Facemasks may also help reduce exposure of your saliva and respiratory secretions to others.
While a facemask may be effective in blocking splashes and large-particle droplets, a facemask, by design, does not filter or block very small particles in the air that may be transmitted by coughs, sneezes or certain medical procedures. Facemasks also do not provide complete protection from germs and other contaminants because of the loose fit between the surface of the facemask and your face.
Facemasks are not intended to be used more than once. If your mask is damaged or soiled, or if breathing through the mask becomes difficult, you should remove the facemask, discard it safely, and replace it with a new one. To safely discard your mask, place it in a plastic bag and put it in the trash. Wash your hands after handling the used mask.

 N95 Respirators for Use by the Public

An N95 respirator is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles. In addition to blocking splashes, sprays and large droplets, the respirator is also designed to prevent the wearer from breathing in very small particles that may be in the air.
To work as expected, an N95 respirator requires a proper fit to your face. Generally, to check for proper fit, you should put on your respirator and adjust the straps so that the respirator fits tight but comfortably to your face. For information on proper fit, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.
The ‘N95’ designation means that when subjected to careful testing, the respirator blocks at least 95% of very small test particles. If properly fitted, the filtration capabilities of N95 respirators exceed those of face masks. However, even a properly fitted N95 respirator does not completely eliminate the risk of illness or death.
N95 respirators are not designed for children or people with facial hair. Because a proper fit cannot be achieved on children and people with facial hair, the N95 respirator may not provide full protection.
People with chronic respiratory, cardiac, or other medical conditions that make it harder to breathe should check with their healthcare provider before using an N95 respirator because the N95 respirator can require more effort to breathe. Some models have exhalation valves that can make breathing out easier and help reduce heat build-up.
ALL FDA-cleared N95 respirators are labeled as "single use", disposable devices. If your respirator is damaged or soiled, or if breathing becomes difficult, you should remove the respirator, discard it properly, and replace it with a new one. To safely discard your N95 respirator, place it in a plastic bag and put it in the trash. Wash your hands after handling the used respirator.
FDA has cleared the following N95 respirators for use by the general public in public health medical emergencies:
  • 3M™ Particulate Respirator 8670F
  • 3M™ Particulate Respirator 8612F
  • Pasture Tm F550G Respirator
  • Pasture Tm A520G Respirator
These devices are labeled "NOT for occupational use.”

 N95 Respirators in Industrial and Healthcare Settings

Most N95 respirators are manufactured for use in construction and other industrial type jobs that expose workers to dust and small particles. These respirators are evaluated for effectiveness by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which is part of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These are labeled "For occupational use.”
N95 respirators cleared by FDA for use in the healthcare setting are called surgical N95 respirators. These devices meet some of the same performance standards as surgical face masks and are also NIOSH certified to meet the N95 respirator performance requirements.

 Additional Information

For more information on the proper use and removal of masks and respirators, or to learn more about these and other issues relating to pandemic influenza, visit

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Airsoft: Survival Skills In Action

By John Durfee

You've been stalking this one for a while. They wandered off from the rest of the group, jumping around, making too much noise. The main group has dismissed this noisy one and decided to stay by the waterside to drink. You're in the spotted shade of a gnarled tree, perfect for hiding your silhouette. You've never been this close to one before. Only 30 yards. Your stalking skills and patience have paid off. There, they've decided to sit for moment, this is your chance. You slowly raise your rifle, and pull the bolt slowly. When you push forward the bolt it clicks, just a bit. Your prey raises their head for a moment, then goes back down to whatever they've been focusing on. You line up the crosshairs, take a deep breath, and smoothly pull on the exhale. CRACK. Direct hit. "OW! Who did that!?!" the teenager looks up from his cell phone, scanning wildly but still unable to spot you. You wave your hand and he quite literally jumps back in surprise. You make your way back into the deeper shade of the woods. The teenager is rubbing a red spot on his forehead. One down, 6 more to go. What I've described is the sport of airsoft, and while fun, can be a great tool for teaching survival skills, hunting tactics, and dynamic firearms training.

Airsoft is different from air rifles and pellet guns in that they use standardized airsoft 6mm plastic bb's that weigh far less than metal pellets or sabots, and are perfectly safe in a controlled play environment.

There are an increasing number of airsoft fields and organizations establishing multiple day events that can be attended for a set fee. They're run on weekends, usually centered around military scenarios, and the core skills practiced are valuable to real world preparedness. You can even learn a few new ones from fellow players. There are varying degrees of immersion, ranging from "play and go back to the car for a snack" to full airsoft milsim, where one acts, functions, and performs like a real military force for the entire duration. These latter are great for putting survival skills to the test. You'll make camp and have to spend one or two nights in the wilderness, so you should pack everything exactly as you'd have your emergency bag. You can practice making your tent or sleeping area using local materials and a tarp. You'll have to bring your own food and water and manage it. If possible, you can research local flora in order to gather and prepare it while immersed in the event as a way to supplement your initial supply. These games are full immersion, so even when you're ready for bed, you have to be alert for surprises coming at a moment's notice. If there's local sources of water, like a stream, water filtration devices can be put to the ultimate test so you know their true reliability. Make sure to ask the event planner if you can practice first aid on "injured" soldiers with faux sprained ankles, cuts, and broken bones using a real First Aid Kit. Also ask if you can bring real equiptment, such as a survival machete or knife, for use in building and cutting down trees. They should be ok with it, but make sure to clear it.

On a recent trip I was tasked to do recon for my group. This was great practice for my hunting and stalking skills, as I followed and marked where the opposing forces were making camp without being detected. Try to get yourself on the "defense" side of an event if they have it, where you have protect and watch a building/compound, that's the more realistic situation you'll most likely be in during an end of society scenario.

Airsoft is also a invaluable way to familiarize yourself with firearms while learning to use them properly for self-defense. Airsoft teaches proper weapon usage, maintenance, and safety precautions. Most airsoft guns in the mid-range price look, feel, and function as close to the real steel guns as possible. Many have the same safety features and levers as their real counterparts. Some gas airsoft pistols even disassemble the same way as the real thing! Real firearms training is great for training how to shoot, reload, and work against recoil, but airsoft simulation events teach valuable self-defense tactics in actual firefights against other people.

Another great side effect of this is physical fitness. Running around all day with limited resources, a full pack, and adrenaline is fantastic exercise. Just make sure to stay hydrated! You'll be sweating a lot more than you think. It also trains your body to react well under stress and flight/fight situations.

These events help train you while reinforcing the survival mindset. You can put all your survival gear through real world paces and determine what works, and lose what doesn't. Working in a team, you're depended upon and also forced to rely upon others. Trust is crucial to any worst-case survival scenario. You have to be constantly aware of your surroundings, because you are a set of eyes and ears for your group. You learn to distinguish between friend and foe. You'll hone your aiming and marksmanship skills on real targets who react and move. All uses of a firearm should be defensive, not predatory, so you'll train yourself how to respond - rather than react - to surprises and potential threats. And if you're "killed" you can learn from your mistakes, so you survive next time!

Try googling the term 'airsoft' and your state, you'll find forums where people get together and arrange outings. Airsplat has a comprehensive listing of US Airsoft Fields. So get out there with your kids and have a safe and fun time!

John Durfee is a Gulf War veteran and the marketing manager for Airsplat, the nation's largest retailer of Airsoft Guns and Airsoft Apparel.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Detroit Diesel 2-Stroke Series 71, 53, 92 Engines

I put this video on Youtube. It is an Oliver 1950 farm tractor, powered by a 4-53 Detroit Diesel. This is one of the old 2-stroke Detroit Diesels that used to be so prevalent in generators, large boats, garbage trucks, and lots of road tractors. Although the Detroits are very popular, they are unusual in that nearly all competing diesel engines in their size range are 4-stroke designs. Bigger diesel engines, such as those powering ships, are often 2-stroke.

A 4-stroke diesel engine has one or two intake valves and one or two exhaust valves per cylinder, located at the top of the combustion chamber. These valves are actuated by a camshaft, which is geared to turn at half of the crankshaft RPM. It works like this, one stroke at a time:
1. The cam opens the intake valve as the piston moves down, drawing air in through the intake valve.
2. The intake valve closes as the piston moves up, compressing the air. Because of the high compression ratio, the air gets very hot as it is compressed. A few degrees of rotation before the piston reaches top dead center, the injector introduces a shot of fuel to the combustion chamber. The hot air ignites this fuel, which begins expanding.
3. Because the valves are closed, the expanding column of gas has nowhere to go but down, pushing the piston ahead of it. This is the power stroke.
4. When the piston reaches the bottom of its travel,the exhaust valve opens. The piston travels back up, pushing the expended gas out through the exhaust valve. When it reaches the top, the exhaust valve closes, the intake valve opens, and the cycle starts over.

The Detroit Diesel 71/53/92 series 2-stroke engines have a cam too, but it is geared to run at the same RPM as the crankshaft. The cam actuates two or four exhaust valves per cylinder, which are located at the top of the combustion chamber, same as in a 4-stroke engine. But there are no intake valves. Instead, there are intake ports cut into the cylinder wall at the bottom, where they are covered by the piston except when the piston is at the bottom of its travel. Here is a description of operation; in this case we will begin with the power stroke:
1. The exhaust valves are closed and the piston is being driven downward by the expanding gas column. As it nears the bottom the exhaust valves are opened by the cam, and at the same time the intake ports are uncovered by the piston. There is a blower on the side of the engine, driven by a gear from the crankshaft, and this blower blows air into the cylinder via the intake ports. Because the exhaust valves are also open, the incoming air pushes the spent gas out the exhaust valves.
2. The piston starts its upward travel, covering and shutting off the intake ports as the cam allows the exhaust valves to close. Now the combustion chamber is closed, so the piston compresses the air within it, which becomes very hot. A few degrees of rotation before the piston reaches top dead center, the injector introduces a shot of fuel to the combustion chamber. The hot air ignites this fuel which begins expanding, bringing us back to the starting point.

It is worth pointing out that 4-stroke diesels have a high-pressure fuel injection pump which greatly compresses the fuel and distributes it to the cylinder that is ready for it. This pump has precise internal clearances, and is subject to wear if the fuel lacks the necessary lubricity, as in the current ULS, sulphur below 500 parts per million US diesel fuel requirement. It also is subject to damage from water, dirt or any other contaminant. Alternative fuels like waste vegetable or motor oil cause problems too, to varying degrees depending on the design of the pump; but well-processed biodiesel is injection pump friendly; more so in fact than ULS diesel. These pumps are key to the operation of 4-stroke diesel engines, and cost thousands of dollars to repair if worn or damaged.
Current highway diesel engines lack this pump, having instead electrical plunger-operated injectors which are fed fuel from a moderately pressurized, common rail. These injectors are fired by a signal from a computer. If an injector develops a problem, it may be simply replaced.

Detroit Diesel 2-stroke engines also lack the high pressure injection pump. They have a moderately pressurized common fuel rail feeding the injectors, which are fired (and high pressure developed within) by camshaft. These injectors may be simply replaced if they develop a problem, and they are also individually rebuildable. This factor, combined with the very heavy-duty construction of the engine, makes the 2-stroke Detroit Diesel an extremely reliable, long-lived engine.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

DIY Water Wells

Yesterday I received an email from a reader who has a website about drilling your own water well. I like it. Not only does the site provide in-depth information about how to develop your own water supply; it addresses the possibility that you may not wish to report your new water supply to the county. I like that. Too many information sources go out of their way to withhold information that may empower people to bypass the official control mongers, with the preconceived notion that we are all subservient to, and nothing without, the "authorities".
Anyone who is planning to develop a new water supply on his or her land can benefit from this information.
Check it out, here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Welcome To the Matrix

Ten Ways We Are Being Tracked, Traced, and Databased
The war on terror is a worldwide endeavor that has spurred massive investment into the global surveillance industry - which now seems to be becoming a war on "liberty and privacy."  Given all of the new monitoring technology being implemented, the uproar over warrantless wiretaps now seems moot.  High-tech, first-world countries  are being tracked, traced, and databased, literally around every corner.  Governments, aided by private companies, are gathering a mountain of information on average citizens who so far seem willing to trade liberty for supposed security.  Here are just some of the ways the matrix of data is being collected: Read the rest of the article
Read the comments at the bottom, too.

I try to be aware and limit my exposure to this sort of thing. But this article brought up a couple of things of which I was unaware. Not necessarily things I didn't think possible at some point in the future, but wasn't aware they existed already. I shouldn't be surprised, though. I mean, since the Superstate is concerned with furthering their own goals of greater control over everyone, and knowledge by "we the people" is their greatest enemy (Don't think so? Think about it.), they certainly aren't likely to tell us about all their capabilities. In fact, this has proven to be the case. Over and over, the Superstate nannies have denied everything until caught red-handed, spying on us instead of the bad guys they invoke every time they push for some broad new suite of powers over everyone.

What can we do about it? Not much. But here are three suggestions which spring immediately to mind, while reading the article.

  1. Boycott the companies that push this stuff, inasmuch as is practical. Apple, for example. I have known for a long time about Apple's pro-control, anti-freedom attitudes and tactics. Fortunately, they have effective competition for everything they produce, so I'm not really giving up anything by boycotting them. Hence, Apple products are not allowed in my home.
  2. Sidestep their efforts to monitor and control you. Be careful about this; don't get yourself in trouble. But there is (as yet, in most places) no law against wearing a hat with a brim, and looking at the ground when cameras are pointed at you. And don't support anti-burkha laws, because they will certainly end up being used against your hat. Also, there are products which make it difficult for a camera to make out your license plate number, while not preventing human eyes from reading it.
  3. Most importantly, separate all people and entities into two groups: those who respect your rights, and those who favor control over you. You can't always tell for sure about everyone, but believe me, any politician and anyone who wears a badge falls into the latter category, as do most who work for any government entity. If they didn't, they would be doing something else for a living. You will have to deal with people like this, but keep their status firmly in mind as you do so. They are not your friends, so question the motive behind everything they do and say. The auto industry and most other large industries are also in this camp.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Simplest Antenna You Can Build

Sometimes, you just want or need to put a radio on the air in the simplest manner possible. Perhaps you just bought a brand-new (or used, hamfest treasure) radio and want to use it NOW, not after you get a proper antenna set up. Or maybe you are in a hotel room during the Dayton Hamvention, and would like to join in the fun that is happening on the air. Or, on a less happy note, perhaps that storm that just came through not only knocked out the phone lines and cell network, but also brought down your antennas. Here's a quick and easy way to deal with it.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Legal Firearms For Prohibited Persons by Mike Crooker

Unknown to most persons, except lawyers and those ATF victims incarcerated in federal prisons, it is a federal crime for the following nine categories of persons to possess firearms: persons who have been convicted of a crime potentially punishable by more than a year (a bad check conviction 40 years ago can suffice), fugitives, users of drugs or marijuana, mental defectives, illegal aliens, dishonorable dischargees, renouncers of citizenship, those subject to domestic restraining orders, and those convicted of misdemeanor domestic crimes of violence (threatening your wife 20 years ago can be enough). Title 18, U.S. Code, Sections 922(g) and 924(e) mandate a penalty of up to 10 years, and in the case of persons previously convicted three or more times of drug crimes and certain others, a mandatory 15 years to life with no parole. (Someone 50 years old convicted at age 19 of, say, three pot sales, thereafter becoming a model citizen and caught with a gun hunting ducks 30 year later is an Armed Career Criminal subject to the enhanced 15 years to life.) Any person purchasing a modern handgun, rifle or shotgun from a retailer must sign an ATF Form 4473 swearing that he is not in one of these categories. Lying constitutes yet another federal crime.      There are several tens of millions of Americans that fit one of the above prohibited categories. There are also over 10,000 such persons in federal prison for illegal gun possession, including over 2,000 with the enhanced 15-life penalty. Horror stories abound and I can think of two published decisions off the top of my head in which people were sentenced to 15+ years: a duck hunter caught in hip waders with duck decoys and a shotgun and a man caught with a Model 1908 Colt .25 caliber automatic pistol with no ammo, no clip, no grips, and a slide rusted closed.

     Federal law exempts antique firearms from all gun controls. Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 921(a)(16) defines antique firearms as all guns made prior to 1899 as well as all muzzleloaders made anytime, and replicas of pre-1899 cartridge firing guns made anytime, provided that such replica uses cartridges "not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade." (Note: Cartridge firing machine guns and short-barreled shotguns are still illegal regardless of when made, under Section 5861 of the IRS Code, Title 26, U.S. Code.)

     Muzzleloaders (so-called black powder guns loaded from the end where the bullet exits) are legal, whether original or replica, regardless of the date of manufacture. You can buy them by mail order. The most practical to own for self-defense are the so-called cap and ball revolvers originally made between 1840 and 1870 and used by Wyatt Earp and other gunslingers of the West. Numerous companies make and sell replicas of these six-shooters. Many can be had for $100 or slightly less. A good choice would be the .44 caliber Model 1860 Army. To use them you need powder, lead balls, wads, and percussion caps, all readily available in gun shops and sporting goods stores.

     Between 1858 and 1898 millions of cartridge firing guns were made by Smith & Wesson, Colt, Iver Johnson, Remington and numerous others in such calibers as .22, .32, .38, .44, .45 and many dozens of others. Believe it or not, these original guns (totally exempt from federal gun controls) are so abundant that they can be had for $150 or less at any of the dozens of gun shows held in this country from coast to coast on any given weekend. At nearly any gun show you can pick up a very workable .32 or .38 S & W revolver, a 12-gauge double barrel shotgun, a 7mm German Mauser bolt action military rifle, and many others for less than $150, all made prior to 1899 and legal for anyone to possess.

     This third antique category will not be dealt with in this article simply because this author does not know of any modern made replicas of pre-1899 cartridge firing guns that use ammunition cartridges not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade. ATF claims that they have no list of guns in this category and any request for antiquity classifications of such will be dealt with on a case by case basis.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

V6 Engine Design

V6 engine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A V6 engine is a V engine with six cylinders mounted on the crankcase in two banks of three cylinders, usually set at either a right angle or an acute angle to each other, with all six pistons driving a common crankshaft. It is the second most common engine configuration in modern cars after the inline four.[1]
The V6 is one of the most compact engine configurations, shorter than the straight 4 and in many designs narrower than the V8 engine, and is well suited to the popular transverse engine front-wheel drive layout. It is becoming more common as the space allowed for engines in modern cars is reduced at the same time as power requirements increase, and has largely replaced the inline-6, which is too long to fit in many modern engine compartments. Although it is more complicated and not as smooth as the inline 6, the V6 is more compact, more rigid, and less prone to torsional vibrations in the crankshaft. The V6 engine has become widely adopted for medium-sized cars, often as an optional engine where a straight-4 is standard, or as an economy engine where a V8 is a higher-cost option. It is also becoming a high performance engine, due to its high power and torque output like the classic V8 while still maintaining great fuel economy [1] Some examples of this are: Nissan Z-car, Infiniti G, Chevrolet Camaro and the Hyundai Genesis Coupe all in which have at least 300 horsepower at the crank.
Modern V6 engines commonly range in displacement from 2.5 to 4.3 L (150 to 260 cu in), though larger and smaller examples have been produced.



Some of the first V6-cars were built in 1905 by Marmon. Marmon was something of a V-Specialist which began with V2-engines, then built V4's and V6's, later V8's and in the 30's Marmon was one of the few car-makers of the world which ever built a V16 car. [2]
From 1908-1913 the Deutz Gasmotoren Fabrik produced benzene electric trainsets (Hybrid) which used a V6 as generator-engine.[3]
Another V6-car was designed in 1918 by Leo Goosen for Buick Chief Engineer Walter L. Marr. Only one prototype Buick V6 car was built in 1918 and was long used by the Marr family.[4]

Lancia V6
The first series production V6 was introduced by Lancia in 1950 with the Lancia Aurelia. Other manufacturers took note and soon other V6 engines were in use. In 1959, GM introduced a heavy duty 305 cubic inch (5 L) 60-degree V6 for use in their pickup trucks and Suburbans, an engine design that was later enlarged to 478 cubic inches (7.8 L) for heavy truck and bus use.
1962 saw the introduction of the Buick Special, which offered a 90 degree V6 with uneven firing intervals that shared some parts commonality with a small Buick V8 of the period. Consequently the Buick Special met consumer resistance due to its excessive vibration.[citation needed] In 1983 Nissan produced Japan's first V6 engine with the VG series.[citation needed]

 Balance and smoothness

Due to the odd number of cylinders in each bank, V6 designs are inherently unbalanced, regardless of their V-angle. All straight engines with an odd number of cylinders suffer from primary dynamic imbalance, which causes an end-to-end rocking motion. Each cylinder bank in a V6 has an odd number of pistons, so the V6 also suffers from the same problem unless steps are taken to mitigate it. In the horizontally-opposed flat-6 layout the rocking motions of the two straight cylinder banks offset each other, while in the inline-6 layout, the two ends of engine are mirror images of each other and compensate every rocking motion. Concentrating on the first order rocking motion, the V6 can be assumed to consist of two separate straight-3 where counterweights on the crankshaft and a counter rotating balancer shaft compensate the first order rocking motion. At mating, the angle between the banks and the angle between the crankshafts can be varied so that the balancer shafts cancel each other 90° V6 (larger counter weights) and the even firing 60° V6 with 60° flying arms (smaller counter weights. The second order rocking motion can be balanced by a single co-rotating balancer shaft.).
This is almost the same technique which balances an even firing 90° crossplane V8 in primary and secondary order. A 90° V8 is in primary balance because each 4-cylinder bank is in primary balance, and the secondary of the two banks can be made to cancel each other using a crossplane. However, there is no equivalent of the crossplane crankshaft for the V6, so that the vibrations from the two banks cannot be made to completely cancel each other. This makes designing a smooth V6 engine a much more complicated problem than the straight-6, flat-6, and V8 layouts. Although the use of offset crankpins, counterweights, and flying arms has reduced the problem to a minor second-order vibration in modern designs, all V6s can benefit from the addition of auxiliary balance shafts to make them completely smooth.[5]
When Lancia pioneered the V6 in 1950, they used a 60° angle between the cylinder banks and a six-throw crankshaft to achieve equally spaced firing intervals of 120°. This still has some balance and secondary vibration problems. When Buick designed a 90° V6 based on their 90° V8, they initially used a simpler three-throw crankshaft laid out in the same manner as the V8 with pairs of connecting rods sharing the same crankpin, which resulted in firing intervals alternating between 90° and 150°. This produced a rough-running design which was unacceptable to many customers. Later, Buick and other manufacturers refined the design by using a split-pin crankshaft which achieved a regular 120° firing interval by staggering adjacent crankpins by 15° in opposite directions to eliminate the uneven firing and make the engine reasonably smooth.[6] Some manufacturers such as Buick in later versions of their V6 and Mercedes Benz have taken the 90° design a step further by adding a balancing shaft to offset the primary vibrations and produce an almost fully balanced engine.
Some designers have reverted to a 60° angle between cylinder banks, which produces a more compact engine, but have used three-throw crankshafts with flying arms between the crankpins of each throw to achieve even 120° angles between firing intervals. This has the additional advantage that the flying arms can be weighted for balancing purposes.[6] This still leaves an unbalanced primary couple, which is offset by counterweights on the crankshaft and flywheel to leave a small secondary couple, which can be absorbed by carefully designed engine mounts.[7]
Six-cylinder designs are also more suitable for larger displacement engines than four-cylinder ones because power strokes of pistons overlap. In a four-cylinder engine, only one piston is on a power stroke at any given time. Each piston comes to a complete stop and reverses direction before the next one starts its power stroke, which results in a gap between power strokes and noticeable vibrations. In a six-cylinder engine (other than odd-firing V6s), the next piston starts its power stroke 60° before the previous one finishes, which results in smoother delivery of power to the flywheel. In addition, because inertial forces are proportional to piston displacement, high-speed six-cylinder engines will suffer less stress and vibration per piston than an equal displacement engine with fewer cylinders.
Comparing engines on the dynamometer, a typical even-fire V6 shows instantaneous torque peaks of 150% above mean torque and valleys of 125% below mean torque, with a small amount of negative torque (engine torque reversals) between power strokes. On the other hand, a typical four-cylinder engine' shows peaks of nearly 300% above mean torque and valleys of 200% below mean torque, with 100% negative torque being delivered between strokes. In contrast, a V8 engine shows peaks of less than 100% above and valleys of less than 100% below mean torque, and torque never goes negative. The even-fire V6 thus ranks between the four and the V8, but closer to the V8, in smoothness of power delivery. An odd-fire V6, on the other hand, shows highly irregular torque variations of 200% above and 175% below mean torque, which is significantly worse than an even-fire V6, and in addition the power delivery shows large harmonic vibrations that have been known to destroy the dynamometer.[8]

 V angles

 60 degrees

The most efficient cylinder bank angle for a V6 is 60 degrees, minimizing size and vibration. While 60° V6 engines are not as well balanced as inline-6 and flat-6 engines, modern techniques for designing and mounting engines have largely disguised their vibrations. Unlike most other angles, 60 degree V6 engines can be made acceptably smooth without the need for balance shafts. When Lancia pioneered the 60° V6 in 1950, a 6-throw crankshaft was used to give equal firing intervals of 120°. However, more modern designs often use a 3-throw crankshaft with what are termed flying arms between the crankpins, which not only give the required 120° separation but also can be used for balancing purposes. Combined with a pair of heavy counterweights on the crankshaft ends, these can eliminate all but a modest secondary imbalance which can easily be damped out by the engine mounts.[1]
This configuration is a good fit in cars which are too big to be powered by four-cylinder engines, but for which compactness and low cost are important. The most common 60° V6s were built by General Motors (the heavy duty commercial models, as well as a design used in many GM front wheel drive cars) and Ford European subsidiaries (Essex V6, Cologne V6 and the more recent Duratec V6). Other 60° V6 engines are the Chrysler 3.3 V6 engine, Nissan VQ engine and the Alfa Romeo V6 engine.

 90 degrees

90-degree V6 engines are also produced, usually so they can use the same production-line tooling set up to produce V8 engines (which normally have a 90-degree V angle). Although it is relatively easy to derive a 90-degree V6 from an existing V8 design by simply cutting two cylinders off the engine, this tends to make it wider and more vibration-prone than a 60-degree V6. The design was first used by Buick when it introduced its 198 CID Fireball V6 as the standard engine in the 1962 Special. Other examples include the Maserati V6 used in the Citroën SM, the PRV V6, Chevrolet's 4.3 L Vortec 4300 and Chrysler's 3.9 L (238 cu in) Magnum V6 and 3.7 L (226 cu in) PowerTech V6. The Buick V6 was notable because it introduced the concept of uneven firing, as a result of using the 90 degree V8 cylinder angle without adjusting the crankshaft design for the V6 configuration. These engines were often referred to by mechanics as "shakers," due to the tendency of the engine to bounce around at idle speed. More modern 90-degree V6 engine designs avoid these vibration problems by using crankshafts with offset split crankpins to make the firing intervals even, and often add balancing shafts to eliminate the other vibration problems. Examples include the later versions of the Buick V6 and the 90-degree Mercedes-Benz V6 which, although designed to be built on the same assembly lines as the V8, uses split crankpins, a counter-rotating balancing shaft, and careful acoustic design to make it as smooth and quiet as the inline-6 it replaced.

 120 degrees

120 degrees might be described as the natural angle for a V6 since the cylinders fire every 120 degrees of crankshaft rotation. Unlike the 60 degree or 90 degree configuration, it allows pairs of pistons to share crank pins in a three-throw crankshaft without requiring flying arms or split crankpins to be even-firing. However, unlike the crossplane crankshaft V8, there is no way to arrange a V6 so that unbalanced forces from the two cylinder banks will completely cancel each other. As a result, the 120° V6 acts like two straight-3s running on the same crankshaft and, like the straight-3, suffers from a primary dynamic imbalance which requires a balance shaft to offset.
The 120° layout also produces an engine which is too wide for most automobile engine compartments, so it is more often used in racing cars where the car is designed around the engine rather than vice-versa, and vibration is not as important. By comparison, the 180° flat-6 boxer engine is only moderately wider than the 120° V6, and unlike the V6 is a fully-balanced configuration with no vibration problems, so it is more commonly used in aircraft and in sports/luxury cars where space is not a constraint and smoothness is important.
Ferrari introduced a very successful 120° V6 racing engine in 1961. The Ferrari Dino 156 engine was shorter and lighter than the 65° Ferrari V6 engines that preceded it, and the simplicity and low center of gravity of the engine was an advantage in racing. It won a large number of Formula One races between 1961 and 1964. However, Enzo Ferrari had a personal dislike of the 120° V6 layout, preferring a 65° angle, and after that time it was replaced by other engines.[9]
Bombardier has designed 120° V220/V300T V6 engines for use in light aircraft. The ignition sequence is symmetrical, with each cylinder firing 120 degree after the previous cylinder resulting in smooth power delivery. A balance shaft on the bottom of the engine offsets the primary dynamic imbalance intrinsic in any V6 layout. The straight, pin-type crankshaft journals in the 120° V-6 layout allow a shorter and stiffer crankshaft than competing flat-6 engines, while water cooling results in better temperature control than air cooling. These engines have the additional advantage that they can run on automotive gasoline rather than avgas, but have been produced only in limited quantities to date.

 Other angles

Narrower angle V6 engines are very compact but can suffer from severe vibration problems unless very carefully designed. Notable V6 bank angles include:
  • The 10.6° and 15° Volkswagen VR6, which is such a narrow angle it can use a single cylinder head and double overhead camshafts for both cylinder banks. With 7 main bearings, it is more like a staggered-bank in-line six rather than a normal V6, but is only slightly longer and wider than a straight-4.
  • The 45° Electro-Motive 6 cylinder version of their model 567 Diesel locomotive engine.
  • The 54° GM/Opel V6, designed to be narrower than normal for use in small front-wheel drive cars.
  • The 65° Ferrari Dino V6. A 60° angle limited the size of the carburetors which originally used in the engine, while a 65° angle allowed larger carburetors at the expense of a slight increase in vibrations.
  • The 75° Isuzu Rodeo and Isuzu Trooper V6 of 3.2 and 3.5 liters in both SOHC and DOHC versions.

 Odd and even firing

Many older V6 engines were based on V8 engine designs, in which a pair of cylinders was cut off the front of V8 without altering the V angle or using a more sophisticated crankshaft to even out the firing interval. Most V8 engines share a common crankpin between opposite cylinders in each bank, and a 90° V8 crankshaft has just four pins shared by eight cylinders, with two pistons per crankpin, allowing a cylinder to fire every 90° to achieve smooth operation.
Early 90° V6 engines derived from V8 engines had three shared crankpins arranged at 120° from each other, similar to an inline 3-cylinder. Since the cylinder banks were arranged at 90° to each other, this resulted in a firing pattern with groups of two cylinders separated by 90° of rotation, and groups separated by 150° of rotation, causing a notorious odd-firing behavior, with cylinders firing at alternating 90° and 150° intervals. The uneven firing intervals resulting in rough-running engines with unpleasant harmonic vibrations at certain engine speeds.
An example is the Buick 231 odd-fire, which has a firing order 1-6-5-4-3-2. As the crankshaft is rotated through the 720° required for all cylinders to fire, the following events occur on 30° boundaries:
Angle 90° 180° 270° 360° 450° 540° 630°
Odd firing 1 6 5 4 3 2
Even firing 1 4 5 6 3 2
More modern 90° V6 engines avoid this problem by using split crankpins, with adjacent crankpins offset by 15° in opposite directions to achieve an even 120° ignition pattern. Such a 'split' crankpin is weaker than a straight one, but modern metallurgical techniques can produce a crankshaft that is adequately strong.
In 1977, Buick introduced the new "split-pin crankshaft" in the 231. Using a crankpin that is 'split' and offset by 30° of rotation resulted in smooth, even firing every 120°. However, in 1978 Chevrolet introduced a 90° 200/229 V6, which had a compromise 'semi-even firing' design using a crankpin that was offset by only 18°. This resulted in cylinders firing at 108° and 132°, which had the advantage of reducing vibrations to a more acceptable level and did not require strengthening the crankshaft. In 1985 Chevrolet's 4.3 (later the Vortec 4300) changed it to a true even-firing V6 with a 30° offset, requiring larger crank journals to make them adequately strong.
In 1986 the similarly-designed 90° PRV engine adopted the same 30° crankshaft offset design to even out its firing. In 1988, Buick introduced a V6 engine that not only had split crankpins, but had a counter-rotating balancing shaft between the cylinder banks to eliminate almost all primary and secondary vibrations, resulting in a very smooth-running engine.

 Racing use

The V6 engine was introduced into racing by Lancia in the early '50s. After good results with privately entered Aurelia saloons Lancia set a works competition department in 1951. Four B20 Coupes were entered in the '51 Mille Miglia and the one driven by Giovanni Bracco and Umberto Maglioli caused quite a stir by finishing second overally after the 4.1-litre Ferrari driven by Villoresi and Cassani, a car which three times more power than the Lancia. After that encouraging start Lancia decided to carry on with the endurance racing program, first with specially prepared Aurelias (called Da Corsa) and then with specially built prototypes. A D24 with a 3,102 cc (189 cu in) V6 making 230 PS (170 kW) won the 1953 Carrera Panamericana with Juan Manuel Fangio at the wheel.
After that came the Ferrari Dino V6. Alfredo Ferrari (nicknamed Dino), son of Enzo Ferrari, suggested to him the development of a 1.5 L DOHC V6 engine for Formula Two at the end of 1955. The Dino V6 underwent several evolutions, including an increased engine displacement to 2,417 cc (147 cu in), for use in the Ferrari 246 Formula One car in 1958.[10][11]
The use of a wide 120° bank angle is appealing for racing engine designers as it permits a low center of gravity. This design is even considered superior to the flat-6 in that it leaves more space under the engine for exhaust pipes; thus the crankshaft can be placed lower in the car. The Ferrari 156 built for new Formula One 1.5 L regulations used a Dino V6 engine with this configuration.[12]
The Dino V6 engine saw a new evolution in 1966 when it was adapted to road use and produced by a Ferrari-Fiat joint-venture for the Fiat Dino and Dino 206 GT (this car was made by Ferrari but sold under the brand Dino). This new version was redesigned by Aurelio Lampredi initially as a 65° 2.0 L (~122 cu in) V6 with an aluminum block but was replaced in 1969 by a 2.4 L (~146 cu in) cast-iron block version (the Dino car was renamed the 246GT).
The Fiat Dino and Dino 246GT were phased out in 1974, but 500 engines among the last built were delivered to Lancia, who was like Ferrari already under the control of Fiat. Lancia used them for the Lancia Stratos which would become one of the most successful rally cars of the decade.
The Alfa Romeo V6 was designed in the 1970s by Giuseppe Busso, the first car to use them being the Alfa Romeo 6. The over-square V6, with aluminium alloy block and heads, has seen continuous use in road vehicles, from the Alfetta GTV6 onwards. A notable use of the Bussone Sei (Busso's big Six) V6 was the Alfa Romeo 155 V6 TI. Turbocharged, it had a peak power of 490 PS (360 kW; 480 hp) at 11,900 rpm. The 164 introduced a 3.0 L (~183 cu in) V6, a 2.0 V6 turbocharged in 1991 and in 1992, a 3.0 L DOHC 24 valve version. The Alfa 156 introduced a 2.5 L DOHC 24 valve version in 1997. The engine capacity was later increased to 3.2 L (~195 cu in), where it found application in the 156 GTA, 147 GTA, 166, GT, GTV and Spider 916. Production was discontinued in 2005.
Another influential V6 design was the Renault-Gordini CH1 V6, designed by François Castaing and Jean-Pierre Boudy, and introduced in 1973 in the Alpine-Renault A440. The CH1 was a 90° cast iron block V6, similar to the mass produced PRV engine in those two respects but otherwise dissimilar. It has been suggested that marketing purposes made the Renault-Gordini V6 adopt those characteristics of the PRV in the hope of associating the two in the public's mind.
Despite such considerations, this engine won the European 2 L prototype championship in 1974 and several European Formula Two titles. This engine was further developed in a tubocharged 2 L version that competed in Sports car and finally won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1978 with a Renault-Alpine A 442 chassis.
The capacity of this engine was reduced to 1.5 L to power the Formula One Renault RS01. Despite frequent breakdowns that resulted in the nickname of the 'Little Yellow Teapot', the 1.5 L finally saw good results in 1979.
Ferrari followed Renault in the turbo revolution by introducing a turbocharged derivative of the Dino design (a 1.5 L 120° V6) with the Ferrari 126.[13] However, the 120° design was not considered optimum for the wing cars of the era and later engines used V angles of 90° or less.
Both Renault and Ferrari failed in their attempt to win the Drivers' Championship with V6 Turbo engines. The first turbocharged engine to win the championship was the Straight-4 BMW.
They were followed by a new generation of Formula One engines, the most successful of these being the TAG V6 (designed by Porsche) and the Honda V6. This new generation of engines were characterized by odd V angles (around 80°). The choice of these angles was mainly driven by aerodynamic consideration. Despite their unbalanced designs these engines were both quickly reliable and competitive; this is generally viewed as a consequence of the quick progress of CAD techniques in that era.
In 1989 Shelby tried to bring back the Can-Am series, using the Chrysler 3.3 L (201 cu in) V6 (not yet offered to the general public) as the powerplant in a special racing configuration making 255 hp (190 kW). This was the same year that the Viper concept was showed to the public.
Originally the plan was to produce two versions of this race car, a 255 hp (190 kW) version and a 500 hp (370 kW) model, the 255 horsepower (190 kW) version being the entry circuit. The cars were designed to be a cheap way for more people to enter auto racing. Since all the cars were identical, the winners were to be the people with the best talent, not the team with the biggest pockets. The engines had Shelby seals on them and could only be repaired by Shelby's shop, ensuring that all the engines are mechanically identical.
Only 100 of these 3.3s were ever built. Of these 100, 76 were put into Shelby Can-Am cars (the only 76 that were ever sold). No significant amount of spare parts were produced, and the unsold engines were used for parts/spares. The Shelby specific parts, such as the upper intake manifold, were never made available to the general public. According to a small article in the USA Today (in 1989), these cars were making 250 hp (190 kW) [stock versions introduced in 1990 produced 150 hp) and hitting 160 mph (260 km/h) on the track. The engine itself was not that far from a standard-production 3.3. The Shelby engine is only making about 50 horsepower (37 kW) more than the newest 3.3 factory engines from Chrysler. The Can-Am engine has a special Shelby Dodge upper intake manifold, a special Shelby Dodge throttle body, and a special version of the Mopar 3.3 PCM (which had this engine redlining at 6800 rpm).
Nissan also has a quite successful history of using V6's for racing in both IMSA and the JGTC. Development of their V6s for sports cars began in the early 1980s with the VG engine initially used in the Z31 300ZX. The engine began life as a SOHC, turbocharged 3.0L power plant with electronic fuel injection, delivering 230 PS (169 kW). The VG30ET was later revised into the VG30DETT for the Z32 300ZX in 1989. The VG30DETT sported both an additional turbocharger and an extra pair of camshafts, making the engine a genuine DOHC twin-turbo V6 producing 300 PS (221 kW). Nissan used both of these engines in its IMSA racing program through out the 1980s and 1990s each producing well over 800 hp (600 kW). In the Japan Grand Touring Car Championship, or JGTC, Nissan opted for a turbocharged version of its VQ30 making upwards of 500 hp (370 kW) to compete in the GT500 class.

 Motorcycle use

Laverda showed a 996 cc V6 engined motorcycle at the 1977 Milan show.[14] The motorcycle was raced in the 1978 Bol d'Or.


  1. ^ a b c Nunney, Light and Heavy Vehicle Technology, pp. 13-16
  2. ^ Box, The Complete Encyclopedia of Vintage Cars 1886-1940, p. 195)
  3. ^ Matschoss, Geschichte der Gasmotorenfabrik Deutz
  4. ^ Borgeson, The Golden Age of the American Racing Car, pp. 77-78)
  5. ^ Nunney, Light and Heavy Vehicle Technology, pp. 14-44
  6. ^ a b Nunney, Light and Heavy Vehicle Technology, p. 16
  7. ^ Nunney, Light and Heavy Vehicle Technology, pp. 40-41
  8. ^ Kane, Torsional Output of Piston Engines
  9. ^ Ludvigsen, Classic Racing Engines, pp. 138–141
  10. ^ Ferrari 246 F1 on
  11. ^ Ferrari engines on
  12. ^ Ferrari Dino 156 F1 on
  13. ^ Ferrari 126CK on
  14. ^ Laverda V6 on


  • Borgeson, Griffith (1998). The Golden Age of the American Racing Car (2nd ed.). Society of Automotive Engineers. ISBN 0-7680-0023-8. 
  • Box, Rob De La Rive (1998). The Complete Encyclopedia of Vintage Cars 1886 - 1940 (3rd ed.). Rebo Productions. ISBN 9-0366-1517-8. 
  • Kane, Jack (2006). "Torsional Output of Piston Engines". 2006 Advanced Engine Technology Conference (AETC): EPI, Inc.. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  • Ludvigsen, Karl (2001). Classic Racing Engines. Haynes Publishing. ISBN 1-85960-649-1. 
  • Matschoss, Conrad (1921). Geschichte der Gasmotorenfabrik Deutz. Berlin. 
  • Nunney, M J (2007). Light and Heavy Vehicle Technology (4th ed.). Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN 0-7506-8037-7. 

 External links

Go here for a discussion of the inline six engine.