How Do Yor Repair EMP Damage to a modern car or light truck?

Discussion in 'Non Sci-fi Debates' started by Dayton3, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. The subject of EMP (electro magnetic pulse) has come up in several threads.

    I've heard that most cars and light trucks (aside from some diesels) manufactured after about 1978 would stop running do to damage to electronic and electrical system components being damaged.

    If nuclear weapons were detonated at high altitude over the U.S. or if some kind of conventionally triggered EMP occurred, how would one go about getting a modern car or light truck to run again?

    What components would have to be replaced or bypassed?
  2. Havock

    Havock #remove swan

    (Complete) replacement of the electronics package?
  3. Xort

    Xort Mahō Shōjo

    The metal frame would absorb a lot of energy. The radio would however be cooked and that could also damage the battery.

    Hard to say.
  4. Firethorn

    Firethorn Cleric, Church of Weber

    True. Battery shouldn't be damaged - it'd take a LOT of energy to cook a massive lead-acid battery.

    Heavy wires intended for 12V operation should survive, so you're looking at replacing the radio and any computers in the car. Some sensors might fry, some might not. It's not well studied.
  5. Havock

    Havock #remove swan

    So what are we waiting for? FOR SCIENCE!
  6. A-BOMB

    A-BOMB Thought Police

    You have the ECM, PCM, and possibly the sentry key(digital key) modules would need replaced, a couple sensors, probably CPS and ABS sensors. Most other sensors would be fine.

    Best bet for a vehicle for use after a EMP is a something powered by a Cummins diesel, the trucks computer would be fried but the engine would only need the started hot wired to run.(note this is for a manual transmission most transmissions these days are electrically shifted, for an auto you would probably need a pre-2003 truck, most truck transmissions were still hydraulically shifted back then)
  7. So you could hotwire start a vehicle with a Cummins diesel with a manual transmission?

    Why Cummins? (I'm not a mechanic. I do basic maintenance)
  8. Alamo

    Alamo Moderator

    One reason is that most gasoline engines have computer controlled fuel injection systems. That means that if an EMP destroys the computer, the car won't run. Diesels, on the other hand, tend to be much simpler and many are not as reliant on computer systems to function.
  9. I knew that most gasoline engines have computer controlled injection systems.

    Is there any way to bypass that?

    Right now, all I know is that the only thing I could get to work would be my Dad's two Ford tractors (1967 and 1970 models).

    Also, what about smaller, simpler gasoline engines like those on lawn tractors and riding lawnmowers?
  10. SuperS4

    SuperS4 I need a new witty Custom Title. Thoughts? "Special"

    Not unless you want said engine to blow up(perhaps not physically, but it wouldn't run all too well, nor very long).

    The computer controls how much fuel gets injected, without it, it either chokes the shit out of the engine, or pours in the fuel and floods it, either way, it stalls out. Or worst case, it blows up.
  11. A-BOMB

    A-BOMB Thought Police

    There is no real way to bypass the computer for the injectors, you would at a minimum need to replace the CPS and computer.

    I would right off any car made past 2003 and any SUV/truck made past 2007 they are almost all fly by wire now, your shifter might be linked to the transmission but is only toggling a switch and probably a switch with a integrated IC at that.

    A lawn mower is just a simple magneto and a condenser/points setup, it has no components that could be effected by a EMP. Even many motorcycles have a similar setup well into the '90s and many 100-250cc bike have that system today. If a motor cycle has a kick start it would probably be find.
  12. Xort

    Xort Mahō Shōjo


    A good hit from an EMP will melt the powerlines off the poles.

    It will fuck the radio and any wiring upto the battery, likely cooking that as well.
  13. a while back a test was run where 100 cars were zapped.
    of them 2 stopped working and needed minor repairs.
    emp is quite damaging to certain electronics, cars not so much
  14. I saw a site (don't remember where) that claimed that a car is a natural Faraday cage and thus is much more resistant to EMP than often suspected.

    I guess unless we have a couple of one megaton nuclear explosions occurring at 100,000 feet over the central United States we'll never really know.

    Of course, if that happens chances are we'll have greater worries...
  15. CrossoverManiac

    CrossoverManiac Bringing you rainy days

    The car body acts as a Faraday cage. It's the same principle that protects drivers inside of a car against lightening strikes. There is also the Ovonic Threshold Device, a solid state switch that opens a path to ground when a massive surge of EMP is encountered by a circuit. I don't know why this isn't mandatory for all government computer.
  16. CrossoverManiac

    CrossoverManiac Bringing you rainy days

    From what I hear, Iran wants to use a NEMP on the US since it gives the 'most bang for their buck'. They don't have much in a way of a nuclear arsenal and using EMP could give them a cheap and easy MAD.
  17. Mr_Swirly

    Mr_Swirly Resident Redneck

    But what year and type were the cars? Are we talking barebones trucks from the 60s? or sports cars from the 2000s (Have we decided what to call the last decade yet?)
  18. If they tested 100 cars I would suspect a wide variety of models and years tested.
  19. By the way.

    1) What would happen to your laptop computer if it was inside your car?

    2) I've heard that parts of the internet were designed to survive a nuclear war?

    So would it be possible that portions of the internet would still be working after nuclear detonations or conventional EMP bursts?
  20. Xort

    Xort Mahō Shōjo

    The wavelenght is only absorbed with objects (wires and such) over a set distance (18inches IIRC). A laptop should be find if it wasn't plugged into anything.

    Becaues you have many sources of long wires inside a computer?
  21. Twisted Mentat

    Twisted Mentat Associate Male

    I can answer this part. :) That's an urban legend. The internet grew out of what was ARPANET which was a network between universities. The fact that the net is resistant to damage is a nice little extra. ;)

    So yes, as long as there is a path between you and the node you want to talk to then you can communicate.
  22. I still find it interesting that ANY of the internet would be resistant to EMP damage though.

    Seems to me that would be one of the first things an EMP pulse would trash.

    Would connections over landlines be more vulnerable than wireless connections or vice versa?
  23. CrossoverManiac

    CrossoverManiac Bringing you rainy days

    Cover it in metal (Faraday cage) and hook the Ovonic Threshold Device to any point that the computer has an outside connection (phone wire and electric plug).
  24. Get out and push.
  25. Without power, the Internet won't be working too well. Some components - fiber optics cables as an example - will be okay. But you need a lot of infrastructure between you & wherever that's operational for the Internet to work.

    The best example I can think of is a major hurricane strike. Ike demolished SE Texas Internet for weeks. Like most things infrastructure, the difficulty and time required to get it fixed scales exponentially with how many layers of the system are impacted.