Episode-868- Wade Bowlin on Bug Out Vehicles — 52 Comments

    • Deb and Paul, you guys are very welcome. It was a lot of fun doing the show. Paul, the Bug Out Bus has been an inspiration to my M820 build.

  1. Very good show and right on time! Wanted hubby to start looking into these or something like it. Posted a hint yesterday for him to get me one for my b-day next month. Thanks for backing me up LOL

  2. I knew I was not crazy for wanting an M35. A lady friend of mine has one parked across from her house half assembled. When I get a chance I am going to tell them about this episode.

    My dad has an M37 From WWII than he wanted to turn into a water truck. the project has not materized yet. There was a rats nest in the engine when went on the trip to go get it. You can find the 2.5 ton series floating around on Craigslist sometimes. Some of them date back to the Korean war.

    Loved the show.

  3. Are the CUCV’s multi fuel, like the bigger trucks? I like the idea of being able to run the engine on so many different fuel types, but the 6×6’s are just way too big for my situation, I live in a densely populated liberal city and they very much against big trucks, as I found out the hard way…


    • Chad the CUCV is definitely NOT a multi fuel. Some have gotten away with waste veggie oil (WVO) but that becomes a problem in cooler climates like yours. I think a civilian Jeep would be a good alternative to have in the city – not too big but very capable.

  4. I’m interested in this type of vehicle. I need to haul stuff around town so I’m OK with a low top speed. Part of what I need to haul is rock for a driveway, so something that can carry more weight would be great.

    Is there a webpage someplace that has an overview of the bidding process and what I should look for?

    • Jerry, it sounds like you need a dump truck or at least a cargo bed with a hydraulic dump. C&C Surplus has a nice one here. Go to Government Liquidation, make an account and read through their documentation on bidding. It is pretty simple process and they are pretty helpful if you give them a call with an issue.

      • I did make an account at Government Liquidation, but I’m having trouble getting started as there are so many un-familiar terms in what I’m reading. I don’t want the box truck like you are working one, but I can’t tell if a CUCV will haul the weight of something like a yard of mason sand.

        A secondary question is how much does it cost to get something like this shipped? While I have worked on tractors and such in the past, I’m a bit hesitant to drive something won in an auction several hundred miles before I’ve had time to use it near to home.

      • According to Google a yard of sand is about 2600lbs. I think a 2.5 ton truck would be better to look at. Search for a M35A2 or M35A3. Other than standard auction terms, the only strange thing you might see is an End Use Certificate (EUC) where they check to make sure you are legit before allowing you to pick it up. Next you will have to deal with an SF-97 form. This is the form you submit to get a title issued for your vehicle. The government doesn’t actually have titles or tags for these trucks.

  5. .
    @ Wade or Jack

    Thank you for your time.
    Great show.

    I have a few questions for you guys.
    ( If you answered any of these in the podcast-I missed them -sorry.)

    How difficult/costly is it to re-fit the Hitch to a Class IV for pulling a travel trailer? ( and sway control? – although it may not be needed when behind a 2 1/2 ton M35)

    And the availability of replacement parts , like rubber window seals, glass windows, seats, tires etc.? (- as well as the engine, bearings, uvj’s, transfer case -those type of things.)

    Is the vehicle insurance a “lot” more than a standard 4×4 recreational vehicle?

    I was in the Army back before Desert Storm, and if memory serves , the top speed was right at 55.
    -Any way to bump it up to 65 for highway speeds?
    (-or is it a gear ratio issue in the axle?)

    Thanks again,

    • Q: Class IV hitch?
      A: Any fab shop could make you one. I’ve seen several MVs with them.

      Q: Replacement parts?
      A: Salvage parts are easily available. New parts depend a lot on if there is a civilian counterpart. A great example is the CUCV vs civilian pickup or Blazer. Either way you can get parts fairly easily.

      Q: Insurance?
      A: It shouldn’t be bad for a deuce. It depends on how your state requires you to license it or how you choose to license it. Search the Steel Soldiers forum for lots of info on licensing and insurance.

      Q: Increasing speed?
      A: Two ways to do it. Taller tires or taller gears. I like taller tires because you don’t spin the rest of the drive-train any faster. Gears spin all of your brakes, axles and bearings faster. That being said, don’t out run your braking ability. You might want to look at a M35A3 as they have a split brake circuit which is much better than the M35A2.

  6. I listened to your pod cast yesterday on vehicles for BUG out, and having been a Bn. N.B.C. NCO for over 3 years and who was one of the 14 best Army wide a thought came to me. In the event of a EMP device being used in America then all vehicles made after 1970 which came with electronic ignitions and fuel injection and computer controlled systems then these vehicles will have all printed circuit boards fried weather on or off. I would suggest that for a BUG out vehicle be of the point ignition and carburetored and have transmissions that are not computer controlled. Just my .02c

  7. Great show guys- one correction, the M900 series 5 tons do not have an air shift transmission, it is a regular big truck Allison.

    The first generation M915/M915 tractors do have a Cat 16 speed air shift that is a bitch until you get used to it.

    On CB- it certainly has its place, a as ham I have used CB a good deal as well. However it also has the issue that I have had multiple experiences with people on it giving bad information or directions as a prank, and in congested areas it gets so busy that extracting good info is difficult. Not to mention the countless times I have heard people jamming, using noisemakers, and other less than desirable behavior from a communications medium.

    That same advantage, lots of people using it, can become a huge disadvantage, because one bad egg using it can give you bad info or even give you directions that lead you into a trap. Since ham is not anonymous and requires a bit more effort to get into, while you have fewer people on it you generally have a more reliable crowd.

    If you look at CB as a flathead screwdriver, a simple ham license gives you a whole box of Snap-On tools, and you pick the one that fits your need. You can still pick up that reliable flathead, or you can pick up any of the other tools and use the one that best fits your needs. It is true that most hams will poo-poo CB, but it is kind of like comparing a slingshot to an AR-15, once you have used the better tool, you see just how poorly the other one was, even though that slingshot still has its place.

    The HF ham radio in my truck will receive CB fine, and with one clip of a wire will transmit on it as well, so while my ham rig is still mounted, I have CB capabilities in it as well. CB and ham are not mutually exclusive, by a long shot.

    • @Tim no offense but this is PRECISELY why no HAM will be doing the guest spot for CB. I have determined it is impossible for any HAM even you to discuss CB without telling me why being a HAM is better. Frankly (not you) but many HAMs come across like bitter old Elmers who you don’t even want to talk to. I hear HAMs saying all the time, “we need more people to take up the hobby”, well I am telling you personally the attitude of many HAMs is why many people just don’t bother to do it. Why the hell do I want a HAM license if 50% of the people on the net are friken bitter Elmers?

      Also I think it is hard for HAMs to grasp this but many people DO NOT want yet another piece of paper that says to the government, HERE I AM, ITS ME AGAIN. Further many people just want to communicate and learn as they go, they don’t really care if a CB has less range, etc. We know they work, they have for years, etc.

      There could be no better example of the “attitude” in the HAM community then the 1 and 2 star reviews of this book. Note the book is a guide to CB Radio it is not “Why HAM Sucks” or “CB is Better than HAM”, I read the entire thing and HAM is mentioned briefly as another technology perhaps 3-4 times.

      From one of the reviews, “Writing a book about CB radio, or in any way contributing to it’s maintenance, is about the equivalent of feeding a rabbid dog: it’s going to die sooner or later, and is a problem (to the licensed radio services) while it’s around, so why not ‘put it down’ and be done with it?”

      Frankly if the HAM community wants to grow the attitude has to go. Again just to be clear Tim I am not saying you are an example of that, you certainly are not. However I do intend to do the HAM show with you and the CB show with someone WITH OUT a HAM license. They are two different worlds and it baffles me why HAMs so often have to crap on CB, we get one tiny spectrum, get over it.

  8. Tim, can you do a ham show with Jack? I think there a lot of us that need some help with it. I’d love to have a similar setup in the 820. Care to share some details on your setup?

  9. Jack, I agree, that is why I say they both have their place.

    I think 99% of the bad attitude about CB comes from the amount of problems that a minority of CB operators (and the majority of CB shops) cause for hams. The majority of “serious” CB enthusiastic use illegal, poorly made amplifiers and/or improperly modified radios that can cause widespread interference to their neighbors TV’s, phones, and even emergency services.

    Usually the first reaction of the people getting interference to is blame ham operators. I have helped my local ham club track down dozens of cases of reported interference by “hams”, and every one turned out to be a CB running an illegal amplifier. Every single one. But because of the bad image ham operators face a constant battle with local governments and even homeowners associations about banning ham radio antennas and towers.

    In addition to that, we have had an epidemic of CB’ers buying radios that are sold as “10m ham” units but are actually units sold that way but made to be illegal CB’s, they make them ham rigs to import them, then someone opens them up, clips one wire, and it is a CB that operates with more power and on other freqs. This has led to a wave of CB’ers operating on the 10m ham band illegally.

    The combination of the two is what generally drives the bad blood between the two groups. I know the actions of CB’ers here causing interference with people phones and TV’s have caused a lot of bad press for the local ham community, and when confronted they really could care less if they cause problems or not.

    An added problem is the FCC not bothering to go after the problems unless they are causing interference with police or aircraft comms because they are short staffed. But when they do, the fines are big.

    I agree there can be an elitist attitude among hams. But some of the animosity is from a long history of problems as well. My main advice would be if anyone advises you but buy an “export” radio, an amplifier, to have your radio “peaked and tuned ” (CB shops that do that are turning the power up past the legal limit and usually turning the modulation up to the point it is unreadable and splatters outside the channel of frequency), mentions “freebanding” or any such stay away from that advice. As you can see from the link, such activity is illegal and will get you the attention of the FCC and will also likely cause more of the problems that have driven the unfortunate wedge between hams and CB’ers.

    If you had a gun club with a range you had put a lot of work into, and some goons lived next door who would fire their weapons in an unsafe manner and your range got the blame for where their rounds went, you would likely have some ill will toward them. That is the closest analogy I can find to explain why some of the bad blood is there. It doesn’t mean all your neighbors are goons who are unsafe when they shoot, but the ones who do will be the ones you notice when you get blamed for it.

  10. I realize my above post seemed somewhat too negative toward CB’ers- I should say there are tons of good people on CB radio, and not all hams hate CB’ers, many of us got started playing with CB’s. Just trying to explain why some of the bad blood is there between the two groups.

    I will admit I have the same problem of when someone says CB thinking first of all the problems we have had with CB issues being blamed on hams and seeing teh same behavior go on and on. Maybe listening to a good responsible CB operator discuss the hobby will be good for my perspective.

    • @Tim and again this is not about your personally. NOT EVEN CLOSE.

      The HAM community needs to flat understand that the community often comes across like self involved elitist assholes even with no mention of CB. My negative view of this attitude long predates any knowledge of the CB HAM conflict, which I just recently even learned about. I know you guys call a segment of your own group Elmers and it is a somewhat derogatory term. Well if you don’t like them, how do you think non HAMs feel about them.

      Frankly I just don’t get it but I can tell you for a fact the reason Jack doesn’t have a call sign is this tone and attitude has made me feel it just isn’t worth it. I can’t imagine taking the time and spending the money in order to be part of a group I currently don’t have a really positive view of right now. Perhaps when I have you on to discuss HAM it will change my mind. I have to say though about 8 out of 10 HAMs I have met and discussed the hobby with were people I never wanted to talk to again. I just don’t get it and perhaps my experience isn’t typical but to me this is why your numbers are in decline.

  11. On CB’s and Hams,

    I used to be a regular CB user in my younger days- mainly for hunting clubs and travel.
    But once I had children, I couldn’t have it on in the truck- too many faceless- inconsiderate scumbags, throwing “F” bombs every other word, and even playing porn audio for all to hear.
    Again, “…just because you ‘can’ , doesn’t mean you ‘should’…”

    On HAMs
    I will be buying one and getting training for HAM use.
    Not really completely sure if I will get licensed just yet- for the reason Jack mentioned- one more paper trail to me.
    —however !—
    I will NOT be using it “illegally”! – unless & until society breaks down, or martial law, etc.
    Then I will do what I have to do to monitor the airwaves to protect my family.

    Just my 2 cents

    • Both CB and ham are useful tools, and they both have their place. I have seen both CB and hams badmouth the other group, but I think that these are just a vocal minority from each group. You see the same thing about many topics – PC vs. Mac, IE vs. Firefox, Chevy vs. Ford, Glock vs. 1911, etc. At the end of the day, what’s really important is that you’re computing, browsing, driving, or shooting – not what tool you use to get there. Don’t let the vocal minority discourage you from “doing” anything. (Shit, don’t even let a vocal MAJORITY discourage you from walking the path that you know is the right one for you.)

      I was BIG into CB from middle-school through college, and I’ve also been a ham for over 10 years. I still use both, and I have a deep appreciation for each. They’re just different tools which solve different issues. It’s shortsighted for someone to completely discount another tool or viewpoint, and ultimately, it’s that person who suffers for it. In the meantime, I’ll happily continue to use both!

      I also wouldn’t worry about the government paper trail to you. This is a piece of paper that INCREASES your options, not decreases them. It allows you to do things legally that would otherwise be illegal, so it’s one of the few papers from the government that solves more issues than it causes. At the end of the day, they (whoever “they” are) can still find you – with or without a ham license.

  12. One piece of advice for those considering ham from a privacy perceptive- the FCC will need an address, but the only legal requirement is that it be an address where you are capable of getting mail. A PO box is fine, a rented PO box at the UPS Store is fine, your work address is fine, your parents home 3 states away is fine. The only requirements is that mail sent there will get to you, not be returned, and it be in an area where the FCC has juridiction and the US Postal Service delivers.

    So a ham in NC can use a relatives address in Texas or a UPS store rented box in Alaska who will forward the mail to him and it is perfectly legal. My callsign comes back to my stores PO box for this very reason.

    • .
      @ Tim
      Thanks for the HAM/FCC mailing tip!

      -Hey, while your here,
      … did you -( or are you)- going to get any more Italian Military Alpine ruck’s ?

  13. Gotcha Jack, and the impression you have been left with says a lot about our community. The term “Elmer” and “Elmering” traditionally has meant an experienced ham who takes a new person under their wing and teaches them. That outsiders see it as derogatory speaks volumes.

    For an example of what ham radio should be like, check out the ham forum on, located with the survival forums:

    For an example of what Elmering should be, look at this thread where we have talked 50+ people through getting on the air- the kind of people you and I would like to talk with.

    Sadly too many hams don’t feel this way- but I and others are working to change it, one good recruit at a time. The tools are too good to let the assholes run you away from them.

    • @Tim I do understand, we have a great HAM board on the TSP forum with GREAT HAMs on it. I don’t have a bad view of HAM technology, I have a very poor view of certain members of the community because of their actions and how they speak to others. Like I said I don’t get it. Some of these guys act like it is equivalent to being a Navy Seal to have a call sign. Come on you get 30 questions out of 200 and you can see the 200 in advance. I know what can be done is amazing, I know that an experienced HAM learns a ton over time, I know there are three levels and a person who has achieved the highest level is really skilled, but damn in the end it is still just a radio.

      I really don’t get the issue and frankly right now I have a bad taste in my mouth about it and I am focusing way too much on the negative and I pretty much need to shut my beak about it because I am not being fair and I know it.

      I also have fond memories of CBs and I can tell you once you contact a breaker you want to converse with you don’t have to stick to the one nine, there are 38 other places to kick up or down to. I have never been on a CB and not been able to find a channel with light traffic to talk to another person on. Sure some CB users cause problems but so do some HAMs. Yea HAMs get the blame for a breaker at times but it isn’t like they are never the issue either.

      I don’t think even many HAMs realize what can be done with a CB LEGALLY to increase range and clarity.

      Oh and I GOT the negative view of the term Elmer from HAMs, for comm experts something needs to be done about the outfacing comms. I had no idea that anyone thought Elmer to be a positive term, thanks for the education on that Tim. Jack out, I am going to go install a CB and talk to some truckers, LOL.

  14. Love your show first off !!! Two questions, #1- Do you know if there is anywhere in Texas that auctions off military deuce1/2 M109A2 or M35A2 multi fuel trucks ? Question#2 , what can be used in place of injectable Lidocaine and injectable novacaine. We’re putting a GOOD 1st aid kit & you may need to deaden an area to stitch up , or pull a tooth . Just wondering if there’s any substitute. THANKS FOR YOUR INSIGHTFUL SHOW , WE LOVE IT ! Keep up the awesome work ! GOD BLESS , Doug Gibson .

    • Check eBay Motors or Government Liquidations and just search for your state. As far as the lidocaine, I have no idea. Post up if you find out something!

      • wade, i know you get this question alot but how does government liquidators work? $150 min is there a catch how is it really a 150 one dollar bills? theres a couple of items I would like to bid on but wasnt sure the total cost. Any help would be appreciated! thanks again

        • That’s where they start the bidding on most auctions. You will also be responsible for tax at around 8% and their “premium” of 10%. If you are bidding on a vehicle you will likely have a fee for the SF-97 form of about $50 (I don’t remember exactly). That’s about it as far as fees go at GL.

          Additionally, you will have transportation by you or a carrier to consider. Also your local license and registration fees along with insurance assuming we are talking about a vehicle. Then there is getting it road worthy. That’s a whole other can of worms!

          Sign up and read their FAQ. That will get you pretty far.

        • Thanks wade ill try my luck at a generator with trailer and see how that goes before I try for a vehicle and the EUC whatever how long that takes

        • If you are not familiar with the generators, I would suggest taking a look at Steel Soldiers Auxiliary Equipment forum and read up on what you are bidding on. Don’t assume it is going to be in great working order when it comes from GL. Gensets seem to come in every condition from new to scrap metal. Be careful.

      • One last question wade, can the m109a3 run on used motor oil assuming you filter the oil out first? The one I am looking at is a multi fuel diesel engine. Kind of pricy at $7000.

        • I wouldn’t try to run straight WMO. I think most people are mixing it 50/50 or so with diesel. I’d do some reading on Steel Soldiers before trying it. Veggie oil is also an option when it is warm. $7k for a M109A3 isn’t a bad price if it is in good condition

  15. Maybe it would have been too boring for most. But seeing as I am currently doing an RV build to my M109A3, it would have been nice to hear the types of modifications you have done or are planning to do to your 5 ton.

    Just a thought.

    And to add to the furor of CB vs Ham. I think part of the dislike of CB from the Ham community was brought to light in an earlier post. On CB you hear a bunch of vulgar language and action. You don’t get that on Ham. And I am sure some of the snob behaviour that Jack spoke of at length is due to the need for a license to operate on Ham bands. Sort of a “members only” vibe.

  16. Wade,

    What’s the 820 like for long-haul comfort? I know in a bug out situation it might not be the primary concern, but if one were wanting to use one now for recreational type use, would it work?

    • I’m not going to lie here. It isn’t anything like a new vehicle. No A/C, no heat, no sound deadening or carpet, the seats are not very comfortable and it has a top speed of about 60mph with the new larger tires. My current build plans include sound deadening, carpet, heat and A/C, and some air ride seats out of a semi truck. It should help quite a bit. Maybe I should start a build thread?

      • @Wade said, “Maybe I should start a build thread?”

        Um like yea, duh, LOL.

  17. Can someone tell me how to estimate the cost to transport a 2 1/2 or 5 ton truck? I’m not sure I want to try to drive a questionable & unfamiliar vehicle 200+ miles.

    • Jerry, good thinking. Depending on the size of the truck I would expect anything from $2-$4 per loaded mile. Due to height and weight the M820 had to come on a RGN triple axle which was a little expensive. A M35 can go on a standard flatbed so they are usually a little cheaper to ship. Check your local trucking companies to see if you can get a back haul. Sometimes they will cut you a deal if they have a truck returning unloaded.

      • One more question, how much time are you given to remove a truck you have won and do I have to actually be there when it is picked up? I’m thinking about bidding on units are are 200-500 miles away from me and would prefer to just have the shipper pick it up and bring it to me.

        • You have 10 days from the date you that your end use certificate clears- and for a first time buyer that can be anywhere from 20-90 days after you send it in. The clock starts the minute it comes in, so if you just left on vacation you better get to work anyway.

          On top of that, you have to work with what day the site is open for pickup and when they can schedule you- so in that 10 day window you could have as few as 5 or 6 days that you can actually do a pick up, and at some remote sites it may be as short as 2 days with a 2 hour window each! I have purchased lots where I literally had only a 4 hour window in that 10 days they would be there for a pickup, and that means you or your shippers schedule must work on theirs.

          So locations are a bit flexible on 10 days as long as you have it scheduled, others will hold you too it and if you don’t get the truck declare it abandoned, keep your money and sell it again.

          Lots of guys get caught flatfooted when their EUC clears without a plan for recovering their truck- have one before you bid!

        • Depending on the truck you might not need an EUC, so that may or may not be an issue. Make sure you are aware if you will need one or not. You can sign your invoice to allow a shipper to pick up for you. Also, you can have the vehicle moved to an intermediate site until the shipper can haul it home. <-That's what I did.

  18. Thanks a lot guys…. I went to the gov auction site and have LITERALLY been dreaming about duece-and-a-halfs for the past several days. If only I had a larger amount of property to justify a need for one! Thanks for the great show.

  19. For Wade or others about to install a CB. I like the Cobra 29 paired to a Wilson 1000 antenna. The Wilson isn’t as bomb proof as a steel whip on a spring but I was able to cover most of SW Missouri any time with that combo on my Wrangler. That’s repeater type coverage.

    Beating a dead horse but I can’t help it. My take on HAM versus CB is that they are two completely different things. CB is 11 meter AM voice, this is one band and one mode. Amateur radio is license to allow the HAM access to many bands and probably a hundred modes. The tool box is bigger with Ham radio, so are the homebrew projects(my favorite part of HAM radio). As with all things though, one needs to decide which tools they want to use. As a HAM I still consider CB one of my tools in the toolbox.

    @ Jack
    As for elitist assholes, they are elitist assholes. I’m sorry you have continually run into them. After getting my license I contacted a guy from the local club to see about tuning my antenna, he sat and talked with me for a couple of hours. I now hang out with a number of HAMs that I’m sure you would enjoy talking to. To be fair there are also some guys that cause my radio to mysteriously lose power.

  20. Awesome show guys. Just hearing about Wade’s experience with the military auction is interesting and eye opening. Sounds like a great resource to scavenge for good deals.

  21. The lights that you are talking about on the front and rear of the vehicle are called blackout lights.