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Old 03-03-2009, 01:48 AM
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Default Civilian vehicles?

The discussion on refugees vs rural communities brought me to this. What about civilian vehicles?

We have talked of fuel types, of EMPs, but what about the type of vehicles that would survive?

Do you think that only older models can survive or do you think that knewer types stand a chance as well? I mean over time of course (from 1997 to 2000).

EMP is not only the problem and even if we admit that EMP don't affects cars very much a number of problems can arise. You'll need spare parts, you'll need to fix them from time to time, and you'll need to find some fuel to run them.

IMO, with the most modern types, you'll quickly run out of spare parts, you'll have trouble fixing them without the proper diagnosis computers and, from what I read, their engines are not as adaptable as older engines (what is fun is that it seems to be the opposite for military engines).

With older types, you might not have that much problem. You can run them on alternate fuel (I think that puttting a gazogene on newer models isn't done with ease). You'll have less problem to fix them either canibalizing another vehicle or modifying the mechanics. You won't have to worry about EMP.

Today, such older vehicle still make a fair part of the running cars (may be 20% in the countryside and 5% in cities) but their number is being reduced every year. Of course, In the time of T2K their would be more numerous. In addition, small businesses often use older vehicles, country people often have several in storage or roting in their backyards...

In the place were I'm living (roughly 20.000 inhabitants), you'll even find trucks and vehicles from WW2 and the late 1930's... They are not that numerous but you can count on a few dozens for the area. If you count pre-1970 vehicles, you might find a few hundreds and if you add vehicles from the early 1980's you'll easily reach at least 1000 plus may be as much in some kind of storage (even under woodpiles). Many are FWD including cherokees, japanese types and lada nivas. Several others are commercial vehicles (van, pick-ups...). For spare parts, you'll find a large number of them all around the area.

Many of these older vehicles are seldom used but a fair number will have a chance to start again. In one of my former house, we found an old 2CV fourgonette from the early 1950's. It was stored under a woodpile at the back of the house and had been there for several years. We took some time to clean the engine (a morning in fact) and in the afternoon it started to run. It never went faster than 25 miles per hour but my father is still running it today (almost 20 years later).

I put a picture (found on the web) of that model and, as you can see, you start it using the old good way
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Old 03-03-2009, 04:36 AM
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The following two quotes are from a document written in 1984 by Major M. J. Nielsen of the United States Marine Corps.
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A vivid example of the potential devastation of high altitude EMP was inadvertently demonstrated during an atmospheric nuclear weapons test in 1962. A device yielding more than one megaton was detonated near Johnson Island in the Pacific nuclear test range. The EMP from this detonation caused power failures, tripped numerous heavy circuit breakers, and activated hundreds of burglar alarms on Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands nearly 800 miles distant. Considering the comparative primitive nature of the electronic equipment affected by the EMP in this example, it is not difficult to imagine the catastrophic effect a similar pulse would have on the more sophisticated and; therefore, more vulnerable systems in general use today.
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It is probable that no electrical system, including such items as truck and tank engines, would function if the energy of the EMP exceeded one thousand Joules.
And this is from http://hps.org/publicinformation/ate/q5171.html
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The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:

Q

Because nuclear weapons generate an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) which can be quite destructive to electronics and since modern cars rely on computers to operate the engines, in the event of a nuclear bomb explosion, is it likely that any cars in the area will still operate?

A

An EMP can be a big problem, and especially so with the more sensitive electronic systems that are so ubiquitous. I don't think that anyone has looked specifically at the effects on cars, but I would not be at all surprised if cars within the range of an EMP would stop working. One question is, of course, what the range of the EMP would be, and views on this vary.

What causes EMP is the ionization of the air by gamma and neutron radiation from a nuclear explosion. This causes an electrical current to flow, which generates an electromagnetic field, and this is what causes the problems. For a high-altitude burst, the EMP can blanket a large area, but a surface burst will be more limited—perhaps to only five miles or less from the site of the explosion (according to The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, written by Glasstone and Dolan in 1977). However, this book (and as far as I know, EMP research) predates modern electronics, which are much more sensitive to stray EM fields than what was around in the 1960s and 1970s. So it is entirely possible that the radius of damage today (knocking out home and laptop computers, cell phones, car computers, etc.) might be much greater than it was when this book was written.

This is a very long way of saying that cars that are close enough will probably be either completely knocked out of commission or, at least, impaired in their capabilities; but I'm not sure if anyone knows what distance would be "close enough."

Andrew Karam, CHP, PhD
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Old 03-03-2009, 05:02 AM
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We had a pretty active thread on EMP and cars back in December

Vehicles and EMP
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Old 03-03-2009, 08:48 AM
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I remember that I strated it but I was not only thinking of EMP. Actually, I was not thinking of EMP at all this time. I was looking for some ideas about vehicles survival over time. The gap between 1997 and 2000 is fairly big when you count on society's diruption. Therefore, I was looking for your opinion about that.

For exemple, in my game, you can find pre-1990 car but the most recent types are all out of order. Even if they survived EMP the lack of proper care soon put them out of commission. However, several among the more simple older vehicles have been fixed and can be found.
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:41 AM
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I find it easy to imagine the remaining military units in the U.S. making use of several types of civilian vehicles where/when possible. 4x4 trucks and SUV's, Semi-tractor trailers, medium moving-style trucks, tow-trucks & other general-utility trucks, and armored cars would be appropriated and used as needed.

It seems like many local commanders would use civilian vehicles to conduct patrols, harboring their remaining military vehicles for attack/counter-attack or bug-out scenarios. Many new vehicles may be KO'd by EMP or other hazards, but if thier utility is high enough, (like civilain armored cars) there are mechanics capable of replacing modern engines and transmissions with older salvaged models.

In most rural areas, many farms will have several old cars or trucks overgrown with weeds. Savvy farmers will be able to get these vehicles running over time. In fact, I have seen some enourmous salvage lots in the rural midwest filled with thousands and thousands of rusting old junkers. In T2K I could see these junk yards being the sight of some commerce as mechanics cobble together whatever they are able to get running.

Also, despite the EMP and nuclear apocolypse some very rare cases of new or near-new civilian vehicles will survive. It is things like this that make RPG's cool. Imagine the PC's negotiating with a local warlord who rolls up in a cherry 1999 Corvette looking for all the world like it just rolled off the show room floor. Yeah.
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:51 AM
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Thanks Jason but you are making my life as a game master a little bit more difficult.
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:17 PM
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the last operational vehicle on earth will be a VW Beetle. It's the perfect apocalypse mobile; rugged, easy to maintain, and contains from little to no electronics.
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rupert Willies
the last operational vehicle on earth will be a VW Beetle. It's the perfect apocalypse mobile; rugged, easy to maintain, and contains from little to no electronics.
No! it will be a 2CV (a bit of chauvinism ). Actually, I'll also agree about the Beetle but the passengers will have to run fast. If you ever want to buy one of the old beetle, don't ever forget to look under the floor carpet. If you don't, you quickly might have a nice view on the road under you.
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Old 03-03-2009, 03:04 PM
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There's always the chance that some newer cars in some of the deeper underground carparks survived. Part of the carpark collapsed and now those cars are just waiting for someone to remove the rubble blocking the entrance. I used that idea in a Morrow Project game once to allow the PCs to find some useful stuff.
There's even the chance that some car-carrier from Japan was anchored out of port before the shit hit the fan and is just waiting for some enterprising types to bring it into port. There might be lots of cars but very little fuel and they'll all have those crappy thin transport tyres not proper road tyres.
(Whether that's realistic or not I don't mind, I go for the fun in the game over being too realistic.)
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Old 03-03-2009, 07:50 PM
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In my campaign Major Po used the fuse box and some of the wiring and electronics from a Porsche his team uncovered in an underground car park in NYC to fix his gyrocopter which had suffered an unfortunate in-flight electrical malfunction.
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Old 03-03-2009, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason
I find it easy to imagine the remaining military units in the U.S. making use of several types of civilian vehicles where/when possible. 4x4 trucks and SUV's, Semi-tractor trailers, medium moving-style trucks, tow-trucks & other general-utility trucks, and armored cars would be appropriated and used as needed.

It seems like many local commanders would use civilian vehicles to conduct patrols, harboring their remaining military vehicles for attack/counter-attack or bug-out scenarios. Many new vehicles may be KO'd by EMP or other hazards, but if thier utility is high enough, (like civilain armored cars) there are mechanics capable of replacing modern engines and transmissions with older salvaged models.

In most rural areas, many farms will have several old cars or trucks overgrown with weeds. Savvy farmers will be able to get these vehicles running over time. In fact, I have seen some enourmous salvage lots in the rural midwest filled with thousands and thousands of rusting old junkers. In T2K I could see these junk yards being the sight of some commerce as mechanics cobble together whatever they are able to get running.

Also, despite the EMP and nuclear apocolypse some very rare cases of new or near-new civilian vehicles will survive. It is things like this that make RPG's cool. Imagine the PC's negotiating with a local warlord who rolls up in a cherry 1999 Corvette looking for all the world like it just rolled off the show room floor. Yeah.
The only thing I would change here is the year of the Vette. I would think the last production year for the vehicles would be 1997 at the very newist, since production shifted to war type assembly lines I doubt Vette's would make the cut for continued production. Surely the nukes of TDM in 97 would put an end to them.
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:37 AM
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Much as I'd like to be able to justify it, I doubt Bowling Green (pop. ~42k) would have been enough of a target to take a nuke, even with the GM assembly plant there. However, you're right - secondary disruption from the nukes would've ended most nonessential heavy industry and seen most of the surviving plants converted to wartime production (Rock-Ola M1 carbines, anyone?).

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Old 03-04-2009, 05:50 AM
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Default Starfish Prime

"This EMP also shut down radio stations and street-lighting systems, TURNED OFF CARS, burned out telephone systems and wreaked other technical mischief throughout the Hawaiian Islands nearly 1,000 miles distant from ground zero." - U.S. Congressional Hearings of October 1999; Dr Lowell Wood, of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, explaining the effects of the EMP as then known from the Starfish Prime test experience:
http://commdocs.house.gov/committees...as280010_0.HTM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starfish_Prime

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Old 03-04-2009, 06:08 AM
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That was 1,000 miles away (but I think I read somewhere it was actually 800) and only one bomb.

In T2K we're given no real idea of how many were used, but in my opinion, we can assume that tactical warheads flew about like leaves in autumn. Once strategic strikes began (which in Europe Nato initiated by the way), I'd think most electrical systems would have been subjected to dozens, if not hundreds of EMP bursts. By the time the big bombs dropped closer to home, many of the available spare parts would already have been used leaving almost nothing to recover from the much more intense strategic bursts.

We can also safely assume that at some point almost every location in Europe had a nuke dropped within one or two hundred miles. The constant, close range battering curcuitry suffered is almost certain to eventually have an effect.
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Old 03-04-2009, 06:18 AM
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Default emp

not to mention that a campaign is oh so much better when arcahaic /makeshift technology is the mainstay and modern stuff the exception ..
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Old 03-05-2009, 12:59 AM
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I like everything you say. However, I had the impression (from reading) that low altitude bursts were generating little EMPs and had very localized effects.

Isn't that the case? If that's effectively the case, most nukes would not imply great effects in term of EMPs.
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Old 06-23-2016, 12:20 PM
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The thread has completely missed the civilian mode of transport that is still under production: bicycles. Krakow is building them. The Wisla Krolova's cargo included them as trade goods. They can be constructed by welding, or, with even lower tech, by butt-and-brazing the frames. A really good machinist might be able to copy a Bendix 3-gear hub. Or a derailleur system and spockets. The main chokepoints I can see will be inner tubes, valves, and tires.
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Old 06-23-2016, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WallShadow View Post
The main chokepoints I can see will be inner tubes, valves, and tires.
So don't use pneumatic air filled tires. Either fill the tires with straw, use full rubber tires made from multiple layers of vehicle tires or just ride the bike on it's rims.

Adi
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Old 06-23-2016, 05:37 PM
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The
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So don't use pneumatic air filled tires. Either fill the tires with straw, use full rubber tires made from multiple layers of vehicle tires or just ride the bike on its rims.

Adi
For the short term, I'd go with option 1. When the time comes that there are no more tires to fill with straw, #2. I hope I never get desperate enough to ride on bare rims.
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Old 06-23-2016, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WallShadow View Post
The

For the short term, I'd go with option 1. When the time comes that there are no more tires to fill with straw, #2. I hope I never get desperate enough to ride on bare rims.
Don't forget that the first bicycle tires where rimmed in leather.
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Old 06-23-2016, 07:10 PM
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Default I believe that civilian diesel engines can be simplified

I'm not an expert, but a friend of mine has told me that you can remove some of the electronic components of modern diesel engines and the vehicle will still run, it is just not as efficent and pollutes more.
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Old 06-24-2016, 09:04 AM
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Speaking of diesel (and using vegetable oils as a substitute/supplement), in addition to filtering the oil (imagining a run on coffee filters for this), how much more pure could you get it by centrifuging it? <imagining large playground merry-go-round, or salvaged abandoned carnival motorized merry-go-round being modified to assist in clarifying biodiesel--definitely would raise both the locals' eyebrows and their questions about the sanity of the perpetrators>
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Old 06-24-2016, 01:16 PM
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FYI - if you have an older car made before electronic ignitions and onboard computers EMP wont do squat - it will just be a very big light in the sky - and there are still a lot of older cars around -

Keep in mind too that a lot of places in the US didn't get hit by nukes - the only nuclear strikes in PA were near Philly - thats it - and thats per canon

Meaning any car in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Scranton, York, etc.. is just fine - same with western and central NY - nothing

and a tactical nuke wont produce much of an EMP effect so outside of a very limited area around such a bomb anything electronic will be fine - including the ignition of a car
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Old 06-24-2016, 02:26 PM
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Some one could have an old vehicle on blocks with its battery and antenna disconnected and frame grounded.
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Old 06-24-2016, 04:38 PM
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Default Modern vehicles stored inside would be functional

Modern vehicles stored inside certain structures would remain functional. Many vehicles are shipped in connex containers which would likely protect them. Many vehicles in underground garages and (I believe) the interior sections of large parking garages would also be OK since the EMP pulse would not be able to penetrate. Vehicles which are not attached to a battery at the time of the pulse, for whatever reason are also less likely to be damaged.
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Old 06-27-2016, 01:18 PM
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I did the stats for the 1965 Pontiac GTO, and it was retro enough for Dark Conspiracy's Protodimension Magazine. A 1960's CJ10 or Gladiator is a nice addition to any gameworld.
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Old 06-27-2016, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olefin View Post
FYI - if you have an older car made before electronic ignitions and onboard computers EMP wont do squat - it will just be a very big light in the sky - and there are still a lot of older cars around -

Keep in mind too that a lot of places in the US didn't get hit by nukes - the only nuclear strikes in PA were near Philly - thats it - and thats per canon

Meaning any car in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Scranton, York, etc.. is just fine - same with western and central NY - nothing

and a tactical nuke wont produce much of an EMP effect so outside of a very limited area around such a bomb anything electronic will be fine - including the ignition of a car
This post covers the fact that worrying about cars not working after an EMP event might be over stated.

http://forum.juhlin.com/showpost.php...9&postcount=47

Of course the game specifically says that EMP was worse than expected. So do with both of these elements what you will.

I still feel that having months to prepare from the first nuke use to Thanksgiving means that a lot of people would have made preparations.
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Old 06-27-2016, 04:05 PM
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Default Once again

Thank you very much.
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Old 06-30-2016, 04:01 AM
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the only real problem cars have with EMP is it shuts them down and kills the environmental control systems and radio. the engine itself can be started back up immediately after the pulse, this is actually something the government has tested extensively. granted the dead ECS will cause problems later but good mechanic should be able to yank that out. the biggest issue i see is is the lack of spare parts will make their long term viability rather limited.
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Old 07-01-2016, 05:23 AM
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I'm sure the PCs in Europe can find a few hundred thousand Trebants.
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