I’ve been meaning to replace Peer Pressure’s starter for years now, but 2020 was the first year it appeared on my to-do list. Today was the day I decided to get it done. Work has paused on the porch project while we wait for polyurethane to cure, so I found myself with an overcast Sunday to work with. I figured the best way of getting access to everything was to pull the wheel completely off, so I used a bottle jack to get the wheel up in the air, braced it with a jack stand, and pulled it off.
Once that was done, it was a pretty simple job of pulling both leads from the old starter, loosening the mounting bolts, and letting it fall into my hand from above. Looking into the hole, it looks like the flywheel is in decent shape, so my guess is that the solenoid wasn’t engaging completely with the teeth and making that terrible grinding noise.
With that done I swapped the spacer onto the new Delco starter and clanked it around until it was in place. I cleaned off both bolts and tightened it up, then reconnected the wires and made sure everything was tight before replacing the wheel and putting it back on the ground.
Reconnecting the battery, I got in and turned the key: She fired right up, and sounded great! the starter has a different sound than the old unit, but it’s something I can definitely get used to.
After that was done, I futzed around with a couple of other small things I’ve been thinking about: the driver’s window is binding up again, so I pulled the panel off and replaced the front spring clip, which continues to come off, with a different one from my spares. Then I tightened up all of the bolts and put the door back together.
Next, I thought I’d fix the bent bedrail caps that have been bugging me since I got the truck. To explain: the soft top has a C-channel hinge mounted in the middle of the bedrail that serves as a mounting point for both of the hoops. The hinge is screwed into a metal cap that IH provided to cover the top of the bedrail. Over the course of several off-road excursions, the previous owner bashed the soft top into stuff and thus bent the caps all to hell. They have looked janky for years and I figured I’d finally straighten them out as best I could. Using a vice and a body hammer I got both of them as close to straight and level as possible, then hit them with some Rustoleum before replacing them and tightening everything down. It all looks worlds better now.
This old warhorse showed up on Craigslist this afternoon; $1500 for some rust held together with what looks like Glacier Blue paint. 4cyl/manual. It’s being sold by a dealer, so it’s more than likely they drug it out of a field somewhere and are advertising it to get some of those sweet sweet Icon dollars.
I would give them maybe $300 for this as it sits; I doubt anyone wants a blue interior, unless it’s got a tilt wheel. The engine is worthless but the transmission and running gear are valuable. And maybe the hubcaps.
I ran a bunch of errands in the Scout this weekend, taking advantage of the lovely 70˚ weather, and toward the end of Saturday I decided to pull the top off with Finn’s help. As with years past, it’s been getting easier and easier to pull off with practice, and we had the whole thing removed in a half an hour. The part that takes the most time is winching it up into the rafters, but even that went quicker than last year. The soft top is now in place, and Jen and I enjoyed a breezy drive out to the Home Depot on Sunday—life is good!
While at the HD I sourced a 8/32 hex head bolt and brought it home to fit into a spare rearview mirror. The one that Peer Pressure came with (bottom) is somewhat narrow and is beginning to delaminate at the top and the bottom, so I thought I’d replace it with a larger, cleaner one (top). The only drawback is that the replacement doesn’t have a daytime/nighttime refractor tab at the bottom—but I do about 2% of my Scout driving at night, so it really doesn’t matter much anyway.
This is somewhat sobering. That’s about 10 years worth of yuck in there.
This is a Fram CA133 filter, about $9 from Amazon.
We’ve made it through over a month of quarantine, and having been stuck in the house this long, I’m thinking more and more about driving and road trips and being outside in the sunshine behind the wheel of a wheezy rattling old truck. We originally had plans to drive out to the Harvester Homecoming this year, but given the current state of the virus, I wonder if that’s going to happen. Which sucks because I was really looking forward to the adventure.
With the eventual resumption of long road trips in mind, I’ve been thinking about locking security on the Scout. I’d like something larger and more spacious than the Tuffy, and something I could ideally put in and remove at will. Since the days when I was parking my Mazda pickup in Baltimore City, I’ve thought of a locking box of some kind with an open slot in the bottom that would accept a round loop welded to the bed of the truck. The loop would extend up into the box and lock in place with a padlock or some other device, and thus be attached to the truck from the inside. I’ve looked at mass-produced boxes for a while, but the majority of them are custom made for Jeeps and thus are engineered for specific uses and locations, like mounting under seats or across the back bed. Tuffy makes several standard boxes for basic applications, but they look either too small or too big for what I want to do.
The second problem is where to put it. There are specialty boxes made for Scouts that mount in the bed wall behind the rear wheel arch on the passenger side, but that’s where I’ve currently got my Rotopax, and until I get the fuel sender sorted out and the rear bumper rebuilt, my spare gas can isn’t going anywhere. The spare goes on the driver’s side most days, and especially on road trips. The next best logical solution would be directly behind the rear seat on the driver’s side, and it would ideally be large enough that I could stack something on top of it to use the space wisely. Something 12″H x 2″W x 2″D would be a good start: tall enough to hold a backpack, wide and deep enough to put other bins or boxes on top of. I normally keep basic stuff like engine oil, coolant, jumper cables and small parts in a milk crate in the back, but for longer trips with the top down I’d like to have someplace to secure a full toolset.
I’ve also been thinking about how to organize all of the tools, parts and recovery gear in some kind of bag or container so they’re easily carried and padded from vibration. The roll-up tool pouch I’ve got is great but there are a bunch of other things rattling around the bottom of the Tuffy, like a spare coil, distributor cap, ignition wires, plugs, and filters. I suppose the first order of business is to collect the recovery gear contents and then figure out how big a bag I need. Then I have to track down a locking box in the size and shape I want, and modify it to my needs.
What you see there is an engine after being sprayed liberally with Simple Green and pressure-washed. It wasn’t as dramatic a result as I was hoping for, but then, I knew this engine wasn’t a beauty queen to begin with. I was able to get a fair amount of grease and dirt off of the engine, steering box, front pumpkin and steering gear. The valve covers cleaned up pretty well. The top of the transmission is visible for the first time since I’ve owned her. And the cowl is mostly the original Gold Poly International shipped the truck with back in 1975.
While I had the cowl exposed I pulled it off to see if I could get the wiper motor mounted correctly. Way back in 2012 I was troubleshooting two dead wipers and unbolted the motor without checking the linkage first; this was a stupid mistake. It turned out the linkage had come undone and the wiper motor was all but impossible to re-attach to the underside of the windshield frame without removing the entire frame. I figured I’d fuck with it some more today and even dragged one of my spares out of the garage to help understand the angles and positions of everything, but ultimately I was foiled—it’s just too difficult to align everything upside down and out of reach. So, I buttoned everything back up tight, fired up the engine (it caught right away and idled happily) and Finn and I took her for a spin around Catonsville to stretch her legs.
Before I put her back in the garage, I took a closer look at the lift gate and realized I’d never put any of my spare weatherstripping around the hatch, so I pulled some from my stash and fitted it around the opening, then put her away for the night.
I saw this Scout on Instagram a week ago, and I really like the look of it. The indoor lighting is a little funky, but I dig the combination of a dark green paint job, traditional 1972 grille (with a silver surround), a white travel top, and blacked out steelies with narrow tires. This is a really traditional look, which is something I’d like to get Peer Pressure back to someday.
I’ve been working pretty much nonstop on stuff for work, going on late into the night, so I decided to take a little mental health time during the day when the sun was out to go get my hands dirty on the Scout. I have a long punchlist of stuff that I want to get accomplished, but today I had to choose some stuff I could accomplish in a few hours, which left mainly cosmetic improvements. The first thing I did was to adjust the parking brake, which has been weak ever since we did the rear brakes. This is a pretty simple matter of loosening two bolts attached to a wire running to each rear brake drum, tightening the wire, and then retightening the second bolt. After tightening, I tested it and it felt good.
Next, I wanted to clean up the janky speaker wires I installed ten years ago when I swapped the original stereo for the new one. When I put it in, Finn was a baby and I had the duration of a nap to get any project done, so I hurriedly carved metal out of the dash, quickly ran wires from the holes hacked in the tub up to the transmission tunnel, and ran them out of the transfer case boot up into the dash. They’ve been there ever since. This was a pretty simple fix, but took some time, as I had to disassemble part of the dash, disconnect the stereo, and re-route the wires through an existing hole in the firewall. But once I was done, it cleaned the dashboard up really well.
While I had that apart, I put some new LED bulbs in two of the light sockets in the speedometer, which has been dead for several years. Getting to all five of these bulbs is a royal pain in the ass, because the only really good way to get the speedo out is to disconnect the hardline and unplug the speedo unit, which is dangerous, because the 50-year-old pins on the back of the units are notoriously brittle. So I fought with the lousy angle and the tangle of wires and the tiny bulb sockets and got two of the LED units in place. Then I buttoned up the dash and left a complete rewire and rebulb for a future day.
Then I tested the parking brake, and…it’s still weak. Two out of three isn’t bad.
I got a very heavy package delivered to the house yesterday: a shiny remanufactured starter motor from AC Delco. The weekend forecast is for warm weather but showers and thunderstorms, so I probably won’t be able to take advantage of the time to put it in.
Top: original crusty starter motor pulled in 2011. Bottom: sexxxxxy new reman unit. Y’know, I think I’m going to bust out the pressure washer and see if I can clean the old one up.
One of the things I’ve been thinking about are the points of failure and wondering what they might be. It’s been so long since we pulled the last unit, I don’t remember what the issue was—if it was making the same noise, stopping intermittently, or something else.
There’s the possibility that there are missing teeth on the flywheel, based on the sounds the engine is making when I turn the key. It could be that the solenoid isn’t working correctly, and getting stuck could be the reason I get a grinding sound. It could be that the contacts aren’t clean enough, which means there isn’t enough juice getting to the starter (the single biggest current draw on the whole truck). One other thought is that we didn’t get the bolts snugged tight enough in 2011 and they’ve come loose.
Once the contacts are clean on both sides, and the new starter is in place, I should be able to walk through the rest of the symptoms and figure out what’s happening. And hopefully, there will be no more grinding.