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Diesel powered vehicles during an EMP strike

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Diesel powered vehicles during an EMP strike

Postby Photon Guy » Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:30 pm

Im wondering how Diesel powered vehicles would manage during and following an EMP strike, if such vehicles would run or have any function. I know that a diesel engine does not use an electrical spark to ignite its fuel the way a gasoline engine does so I was wondering if diesel powered vehicles would have any use during an EMP strike.
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Re: Diesel powered vehicles during an EMP strike

Postby daaswampman » Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:47 pm

They don't have a spark plug, but depend on a fuel injection system and glow plugs. I love diesel, but I doubt there is much advantage, unless it is a real old engine before modern electronics. Swamp

[snip]

Diesel engines, unlike gasoline engines, do not use spark plugs to induce combustion. Instead, they rely solely on compression to raise the temperature of the air to a point where the diesel combusts spontaneously when introduced to the hot high pressure air. The high pressure and spray pattern of the diesel ensures a controlled, complete burn. The piston rises, compressing the air in the cylinder; this causes the air's temperature to rise. By the time the piston reaches the top of its travel path, the temperature in the cylinder is very high. The fuel mist is then sprayed into the cylinder; it instantly combusts, forcing the piston downwards, thus generating power. The pressure required to heat the air to that temperature, however, requires a large and strong engine block.

The temperature at the top of the compression stroke depends on many factors, particularly the compression ratio of the cylinder and the starting temperature of the inducted air. When the engine is cold, the temperature of the inducted air is low and it receives little heat from the engine cylinder walls. In addition, as the air is compressed and becomes heated, some of this heat is lost to the cold cylinder walls, further reducing the temperature at the top of the compression stroke. The glow plug solves this.

There are two different glow plug types: the in-cylinder variety and the in-manifold ("Thermostart") variety. In the case of in-cylinder, there is a plug in every cylinder direct injected (or in the case of indirect injected, the glow plug is in the prechamber providing a hot spot to encourage ignition. In the case of the in-manifold one, there is only one for all the cylinders.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glowplug
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Re: Diesel powered vehicles during an EMP strike

Postby 101airborne » Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:18 pm

Photon Guy wrote:Im wondering how Diesel powered vehicles would manage during and following an EMP strike, if such vehicles would run or have any function. I know that a diesel engine does not use an electrical spark to ignite its fuel the way a gasoline engine does so I was wondering if diesel powered vehicles would have any use during an EMP strike.


It's not a matter of what type of fuel the vehicle uses, or how the fuel is "ignited" that is the issue in an EMP. But rather the electronic parts that control everything from the ignition switch to the controlling the idle. Some theories state that an EMP would completely fry all of these. Requiring replacing all electronics before the vehicle will start/ run. Some of these same theories believe that even uninstalled components on parts store shelves would also be destroyed and the only "safe ones" would be ones shielded in a faraday cage or similar. Then there atr the theories that a metal/ steel car body on rubber tires preventing it from being grounded and not at "ground zero" of the blast would not be affected or minimally so. requiring limited replacement of fuses and possible relays.

To be completely sure of no damage you'd have to have a 100% non electronic vehicle either something built prior to 1980 or converted (primarialy diesels) to non electronic engines.
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Re: Diesel powered vehicles during an EMP strike

Postby Illini Warrior » Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:18 pm

if the US gets attacked using enhanced EMP producing nukes - you can be also assured they'd be positioned correctly - there wouldn't be much left of civilian type electronics .... they'd be looking to overcome the protection being used by the military and civilian companies in the utilities and communications type fields .... that's why you don't skimp on your Faraday cages - you want some solid metal and not just some tin foil wrapping ....
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Re: Diesel powered vehicles during an EMP strike

Postby Photon Guy » Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:41 pm

101airborne wrote:It's not a matter of what type of fuel the vehicle uses, or how the fuel is "ignited" that is the issue in an EMP. But rather the electronic parts that control everything from the ignition switch to the controlling the idle. Some theories state that an EMP would completely fry all of these. Requiring replacing all electronics before the vehicle will start/ run. Some of these same theories believe that even uninstalled components on parts store shelves would also be destroyed and the only "safe ones" would be ones shielded in a faraday cage or similar. Then there atr the theories that a metal/ steel car body on rubber tires preventing it from being grounded and not at "ground zero" of the blast would not be affected or minimally so. requiring limited replacement of fuses and possible relays.

They should test these theories to see how accurate they are and to get at least an idea of what can be expected in an EMP strike.

101airborne wrote:To be completely sure of no damage you'd have to have a 100% non electronic vehicle either something built prior to 1980 or converted (primarialy diesels) to non electronic engines.


Way before 1980 vehicles had electric motors to start the main engine which might run on gasoline or diesel. 100% non electronic vehicles would be the really old ones which were crank started which was from what I know more or less phased out and replaced with electric starters by 1920.

Anyway, I was thinking, with a diesel engine even if it isn't 100% non electric if you could jury rig it somehow to be able to function without electricity since diesel does not rely on a spark plug to set it off.
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Re: Diesel powered vehicles during an EMP strike

Postby Photon Guy » Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:44 pm

Illini Warrior wrote:if the US gets attacked using enhanced EMP producing nukes - you can be also assured they'd be positioned correctly - there wouldn't be much left of civilian type electronics .... they'd be looking to overcome the protection being used by the military and civilian companies in the utilities and communications type fields .... that's why you don't skimp on your Faraday cages - you want some solid metal and not just some tin foil wrapping ....


I was thinking a gun safe must make a good Faraday cage. After all, its solid metal and if its a good gun safe its going to be quite thick too.

Anyway, there is the threat of a manmade EMP attack from an outside nation but there is also the possibility of an EMP disaster resulting from natural causes, such as certain activity from the sun.
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Re: Diesel powered vehicles during an EMP strike

Postby tidewaterva » Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:06 pm

Most gasoline engine vehicles changed to electronic fuel injection controlled by an ECM (engine control module -aka computer) in the mid 80's to early 90's. Diesel cars and trucks were a little slower to change to electronic fuel injection. I have a late 90's diesel pickup which still was built with a mechanical injector pump, no ECM, and no emission controls. The intake preheater is only needed for starting when Temps drop below 40 or so. In my opinion, vehicles that were never equipped with ECM'S would probably survive an EMP strike just fine, however any ECM equipped vehicle would not be useable if there was a nearby EMP. Many older diesel vehicles with a manual transmission can be started and run indefinitely WITHOUT A BATTERY OR FUNCTIONING ELECTRICAL SYSTEM by manually opening the fuel shutoff solenoid, parking the vehicle at the top of a hill, and coast starting it when needed. This trick has been used by farmers who want to avoid buying expensive batteries. Gasoline powered vehicles must have a functioning electrical system at all times to power the ignition system. A vulnerable part on almost all vehicles is the electrical alternator, which uses diodes to rectify the AC current produced into DC which can be stored in the battery. Solid state devices such as diodes, transistors, and ECM'S are the Achilles heel which would be most vulnerable to an EMP attack. For preppers with newer vehicles who are concerned about EMP, a trip to the salvage yard or ebay to pick up a good used ECM, and alternator would be needed. It would also be wise to learn how to install the ECM (not difficult in my experience), and then store the spare ECM and alternator in a Faraday cage. Additionally, many newer vehicles have multiple computers (BCM or body control module, etc). You would need to store spares for each of these modules in a Faraday cage.

After the late 90's all diesel cars and trucks went to electronic fuel injection to meet EPA emissions standards. I don't see much advantage to those vehicles over gas engine during an EMP.

Another possible advantage of diesels is the ability to run on biofuel (biodiesel) which may be locally produced in many areas. I have run many tanks of B100 (100% biodiesel) in my pickup, and it runs great and produces a French fry smell).
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Re: Diesel powered vehicles during an EMP strike

Postby Illini Warrior » Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:32 am

Photon Guy wrote:
Illini Warrior wrote:if the US gets attacked using enhanced EMP producing nukes - you can be also assured they'd be positioned correctly - there wouldn't be much left of civilian type electronics .... they'd be looking to overcome the protection being used by the military and civilian companies in the utilities and communications type fields .... that's why you don't skimp on your Faraday cages - you want some solid metal and not just some tin foil wrapping ....


I was thinking a gun safe must make a good Faraday cage. After all, its solid metal and if its a good gun safe its going to be quite thick too.

Anyway, there is the threat of a manmade EMP attack from an outside nation but there is also the possibility of an EMP disaster resulting from natural causes, such as certain activity from the sun.



there's "ifs" involved in safes - most have gasketing around the door for humidity control and can have manufactured holes that are just plastic plugged ....
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Re: Diesel powered vehicles during an EMP strike

Postby Cast Iron » Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:02 am

This is an interesting read on the effects of an EMP on vehicles. It quotes the EMP Commission, so some of the data is dated.

http://www.futurescience.com/emp/vehicles.html
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Re: Diesel powered vehicles during an EMP strike

Postby Permafrost » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:24 pm

I think it all depends on the particular diesel vehicle. If you have a mechanical injection pump then you are way ahead of the game. Diesels have another advantage most do not think of, you can get air powered starters for them. Because diesel engines are used in marine applications it is relatively easy to install a air powered starter on them, along with removing the A/C and installing a air compressor (and reservoir tank) in its place. Something like a 7.3L aspirated engine (F-250/350) found in the pre 96 fords can easily be converted over to a non-electric system and even upgraded for more hp & torque using something like a Banks SuperSidewinder turbo. I have helped someone do this conversion, mostly because they only drive the truck once every year or two and they wanted something that could sit for years and still start using nothing more than a hand pump to fill the air tank to start it. EMP is not a huge factor in how I prep but I have no doubt that something like this will still be drivable after a EMP strike, although I do not know if the headlights or power windows will work.
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Re: Diesel powered vehicles during an EMP strike

Postby Photon Guy » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:33 pm

Well I wonder how a hybrid car would do during an EMP strike and if it would have any chance at all. I've been thinking of buying a Tesla car which is not even a hybrid its 100% electrical and uses no fossil fuels whatsoever. The thing is, in an EMP strike a Tesla car would be history.
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Re: Diesel powered vehicles during an EMP strike

Postby Permafrost » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:46 pm

Photon Guy wrote:Well I wonder how a hybrid car would do during an EMP strike and if it would have any chance at all. I've been thinking of buying a Tesla car which is not even a hybrid its 100% electrical and uses no fossil fuels whatsoever. The thing is, in an EMP strike a Tesla car would be history.

Something like a Tesla could be a very good or very bed thing, depending on where it is stored. I would think that if you had a metal garage (general steel building) that had the interior coated with rubberized paint it might provide enough protection to let a Tesla make it, depending on the strength of the EMP. I think golf carts fall into this category as well, completely electric so there is no need to have stored fuel, only a ability to recharge batteries that have a 15 year lifespan. I have pondered building a electric ATV for the cabin just because there is no fuel requirement, and skidding logs in the summer with a team of dogs sucks. I go back and forth on the EMP factor for such a build, if stored right it would be fine (with said solar to charge) but if it is in the open during a event it is a very expensive river bank stabilization device that my dogs have to drag to the riverbank and I would have to push over.
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Re: Diesel powered vehicles during an EMP strike

Postby Photon Guy » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:32 pm

Permafrost wrote:Something like a Tesla could be a very good or very bed thing, depending on where it is stored. I would think that if you had a metal garage (general steel building) that had the interior coated with rubberized paint it might provide enough protection to let a Tesla make it, depending on the strength of the EMP. I think golf carts fall into this category as well, completely electric so there is no need to have stored fuel, only a ability to recharge batteries that have a 15 year lifespan. I have pondered building a electric ATV for the cabin just because there is no fuel requirement, and skidding logs in the summer with a team of dogs sucks. I go back and forth on the EMP factor for such a build, if stored right it would be fine (with said solar to charge) but if it is in the open during a event it is a very expensive river bank stabilization device that my dogs have to drag to the riverbank and I would have to push over.


Here's the thing, what if Im on the road during an EMP strike? Having a garage that can sufficiently protect your car from EMP strikes is great but there is a condition that must be met, the car must be in the garage at the time of the EMP strike in order for it to be protected. I really like the Tesla, they really help you save money since you don't have to buy gas and they help cut down on pollution since they don't burn fossil fuels and as of recently Tesla has been reducing the cost of their vehicles so they cost about half as much as they used to cost. The downside of it is its vulnerability to stuff that harms electronics such as EMP strikes.
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Re: Diesel powered vehicles during an EMP strike

Postby Permafrost » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:47 pm

Photon Guy,
I think there are very few if any things that are EMP proof if they are in use during said event. I suppose it is all about where you are in life, and the risks you are willing to take. If Tesla made a 1 or 1 1/2 ton 4x4 truck I'd buy one in a heartbeat, but I am not all that worried about a EMP event. I don't go far from the house when I am in town and if you divide the time I am on the road in hours by the total hours in a year, the percentage of risk is extremely low that I would be in any vehicle during a event. I actually spend way more hours in a given year in a boat or on a snowmachine than I do in a vehicle, I might even spend more time in single engine airplanes than I do in my truck. I think everyone's situation is different in this regard, for someone who commutes every day for multiple hours or for someone who travels many miles away from their home it would not make sense from a EMP standpoint.
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Re: Diesel powered vehicles during an EMP strike

Postby Photon Guy » Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:16 pm

Permafrost wrote:Photon Guy,
I think there are very few if any things that are EMP proof if they are in use during said event. I suppose it is all about where you are in life, and the risks you are willing to take. If Tesla made a 1 or 1 1/2 ton 4x4 truck I'd buy one in a heartbeat, but I am not all that worried about a EMP event. I don't go far from the house when I am in town and if you divide the time I am on the road in hours by the total hours in a year, the percentage of risk is extremely low that I would be in any vehicle during a event. I actually spend way more hours in a given year in a boat or on a snowmachine than I do in a vehicle, I might even spend more time in single engine airplanes than I do in my truck. I think everyone's situation is different in this regard, for someone who commutes every day for multiple hours or for someone who travels many miles away from their home it would not make sense from a EMP standpoint.


Well lets say an EMP strike hits when you're out at sea? If your boat is a sailboat and or if it can be rowed than you might be OK but otherwise you might be in trouble. When you're in your snow machine to you go far from your house? If you don't than you could no doubt make it back to your house on foot although your snow machine might be useless. As for the single engine airplanes you use, do they have electrical systems for controlling the wings? I've done some flying myself in single engine airplanes and the ones I've used the guidance system is entirely mechanical so even without electricity you could still control where the plane flies and in the case of an EMP strike you might be able to safely glide down. With an electrical system though you would be in trouble if you can't control the plane following an EMP strike.

As for me, I can be on the road quite a bit. I've had my car for close to three years and already its got over 150,000 miles on it. I sometimes drive across the country and back so an EMP strike could spell trouble for me if Im in the course of such a trip.
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