My first go with the $70 Harbor Freight sandblaster went pretty well; I got a lot of paint off my two spare windshield frames but it didn’t do much to the heavier rust that was present. Doing some research on blasting media, I read that glass bead is much better at cleaning metal than soda, and that it’s also re-usable. So I went back to the Harbor Freight for a 35 lb. bag of 80 grit media and the Lowe’s for two cheap 33 gallon clear tubs, and fashioned an inexpensive blasting cabinet on my workbench in the garage. My test subjects were two spare valve covers I’ve had sitting in my stash, one with a desirable long fill neck: International used this cover in its large trucks but not in Scouts because the brake booster was directly in the way in the Scout engine bay. When I switched to Hydroboost I gained a bunch of space back in the engine bay, and should be able to swap this one out.
Once I had two holes cut in the sides of the top tub and found a spare plastic bucket to prop the covers on, I gave the glass a try. It was kind of scary how fast the paint came off. This media is much more aggressive than the soda. I had to add a hole in the top of the tub for the hose, and if I do this over again I’ll cut holes in the front of the bottom tub to make access easier. After dialing in the settings on the blaster, it cleaned both covers off quickly and cleanly. I cleaned a bunch of the grease from the inside of the fill cover and cleaned the mounting edge of each, and actually blasted the inside of the passenger cover. The driver’s cover needs to be washed out before I blast it properly.
Then I cleaned the spare dogleg I’ve been slowly working on, exposing all of the edges to get them ready for drilling out the spot welds. There’s a fair bit of seam sealer on there that I have to clean off, and then maybe I can pry the three sections apart to save the dogleg.
When that was all done, I had to spend a bunch of time cleaning up the mess. Two clear plastic tubs don’t mate up very cleanly, and opening and closing them tends to let a lot of the excess media blow around a bit. My workbench was heavily dusted in glass bead by the time I was done. I swept up the big piles into the collection at the bottom of the bin, and used some spare windowscreen to sieve out large pieces of debris from the used media. After two cycles, the media was clean, and reloaded it into the sprayer to go over the parts that still needed attention.
What I finished with looks better than I’d hoped it might: two valve covers that are ready for some finish sanding, an acetone bath, and then some International Red paint, courtesy of Ace Hardware. Then I’ll install them on the engine, where they’ll look like a painted French whore in a landfill.
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Two years ago, I designed a shirt using the face of the transfer case shift knob, and thought about printing some T-shirts to sell. I had a test print made and wore it to Nationals last year. A Scout vendor who attended the same show released a version of that shirt on their Instagram feed this spring. I’d also designed a series showing the grille faces from all iterations of the Scout II and set it aside because…life; they released a similar T-shirt design this summer.
For some reason, this really got to me. I should be making some money on my ideas. Several things were holding me back: I didn’t have anyplace to host the designs (I didn’t want them on my personal sites), I’m wary of the copyright issues around the IH trademark, and I didn’t want to be seen as a copycat. But it stuck in my craw.
The other night I saw a post by another Scout owner in Austin selling her own T-shirt designs and decided I just needed to pull the trigger: if they can do it so can I, and I figure my designs will look better. I bought the domain Oldlinestatebinders.com for $7 and I’ll be using that for a website and an Instagram feed, and I’ll use one of the T-shirt fulfillment vendors online for a while and see how things go. So far I’ve got the 4-wheel drive design, the T-19 shift pattern, the Oldlinestatebinders logo, and a series of grille designs almost ready to go. I figure some careful social media work might generate a little extra cash.
Hemmings has a good writeup on the Scout SSV, which was to be International’s successor to the Scout II. From what it sounds like, they were aiming for the fences at a time when they could only afford to polish what they had.
Light trucks, on the other hand, were becoming more of a bother to the company. It discontinued its Travelalls and pickups in 1975 in response to the 1973 oil crisis, had trouble meeting the Environmental Protection Agency’s fuel economy standards set to take effect in 1979, and faced a second oil crisis that year.
I’ve always thought the SSV was a hideously ugly design that looked more like a Tonka truck than a production vehicle; even if they’d been able to pull this out of their hat, I wonder how many of them they would have sold—it reminds me of AMC’s attempts to shake things up with the Pacer, and later the Matador. And we all know how that went.
There’s a presentation at the ACD Museum in Fort Wayne about this subject on Saturday, which I’d love to be able to listen in on—but it doesn’t look like they’ve accounted for, uh, COVID. It’s a shame, because I’d definitely log in to a ZOOM call if I could.
I’m writing this covered in baking soda, waiting for the rest of the family to finish showering so that I can wash it off, and feeling pretty good about things. On Sunday afternoon I bought a $70 Harbor Freight sandblasting kit and a $40 bag of blasting media so that I could continue cleaning off the windshields. It took about 3/4 of a beer to get everything assembled; the directions are mostly pictures and designed by drunks with limited understanding of a 30-year-old Xerox machine. Using the pictures in the instructions, the picture on the cover of the box and a lot of common sense I was able to figure out how to put everything together, and after masking up I dumped some media in the tank and had at it. Once I dialed the flow coming from the bottom of the tank in, I was able to get the maximum effect with the minimum amount of media.
Soda doesn’t do much for rust but it sure takes the paint off quickly and well. I put about 1/2 the bag through the tank and worked over both windshields, focusing on places around obvious rust and scratches. I guess I’ll have to switch over to actual sand or maybe walnut shells to get the heavy rust off. I did find that the second windshield has one pinhole area on the top flat surface, which I hadn’t noticed before.
When I was done I realized the entire driveway was covered in blasting media, and I freaked out a little bit. But then I hit it with the hose and it all melted away. Clearly I need to build a cheapo plastic blasting cabinet so that I can reclaim the media and use it again, especially when I’m blasting small parts.
I took advantage of a lazy Sunday afternoon to pull one of my two spare windshields out of the garage and throw it on some sawhorses. I’ve been hesitating on really digging in to the paint on the Scout until I get a firm date and commitment from my neighbor’s dad, so I thought I’d start on a windshield as a testing ground for new tools and my metal shaping skills until I can pin him down.
The tan windshield is the first one I bought, waaaaay back when I had Chewbacca, and I’ve been dragging it around with me ever since then. It came to me with no glass and a fair bit of rust, but the main panels weren’t in bad shape. I’d done some very light sanding years ago but stopped before I went farther than I was comfortable with. Today I put the flap wheel on an angle grinder, plugged into a podcast, and went to town on it.
The bottom edge is in much worse shape than the top, which I’d expect on any used windshield. Water collects inside the rubber gasket and eats away at the paint. There’s also rust on the bottom edges of the cowl where it sits on the top of the fender.
I went all the way around the edge of the windshield opening and cleaned both inside and out, and exposed as much of the bad metal as possible. Then I cleaned every other place I saw rust and was able to get about 90% of what I saw.
There are sections near the mounting bolts that I can’t get without a sandblaster, so that will probably be next on the list of tools to be purchased.
I covered everything visible with etching primer to keep it from flash rusting, and dragged windshield 2 out of the corner. This one came to me about 8 years ago, and it came with glass included.
On the surface it’s in better shape than the tan unit, but when you start looking closer, it gets ugly. A utility knife made short work of the windshield gasket, and once I’d made my way through that, the glass popped right out.
Both of the cowl edges are crispy.
When I move them both around, I hear the sound of rust and metal rattling around inside, so I know they’re both crispy inside as well; I’ve got a can of Eastwood Chassis encapsulator on deck for them both but I want to do some more investigation to see if I can access all of the interior through the holes I see.
So, next on the to-do list is to figure out what steel thickness I need for patch panels, summon my courage, and break out the cutting wheel on the tan windshield.
I went to put the Scout back in the garage the other night after dark, and when I hit the running lights I was greeted with the lovely sight of all of the dash lights glowing brightly in front of me. There’s about a one in four chance of this happening at any given time, so this was a nice surprise.
I took delivery of four bushings from Energy Suspension last week and carved out a half an hour to put one in on each side. It took some investigation online to know exactly what I was supposed to do, but once I found a couple of reference photos I got things organized and put them in properly. Both the bolts needed some PBBlaster to come off cleanly, but other than that it went quick.
The bolt on the driver’s side bottom has been replaced with a Grade 8 bolt, washer and locknut, and I have to get a little time next week to replace the bolt on the other side. She still rides like a truck, but the clanking from under the front suspension has disappeared, which is great.
Also, I had a little time last week to fool around with fill welds after I got my magnetic copper backer, so I ground some paint off a panel scavenged from our old washing machine, drilled some holes in it, and filled them with the welder. It’s obvious I’m a bit too zealous with the angle grinder, as the metal has warped a bit, but overall I’ve got the hang of it, and I think with some careful and judicious application of Bondo I can clean up most of the outstanding holes on the truck.
Here’s a walkaround of the Scout, pointing out most of the visible scars, stains, scrapes and scratches.
One of the things mentioned in the video is purchasing a set of chrome trim pieces to install, instead of plug-welding and filling all 20 of the holes along the side of the body. Super Scout Specialists sells a set of trim that they claim is close to the original style, for $170. If I estimate the time I think it’ll take to plug and fill each of these holes (and there are several I wouldn’t be able to do unless I pulled the front fender off) that price looks more and more reasonable by the minute. Even if I spent $500 on a good set of used chrome, that math still holds up because it’s going to take a lot more than 10 hours per side to clean things up.
For the last month or so I’ve noticed clunking coming from the front of the suspension that’s been getting worse, and a couple of Saturdays ago I investigated. I haven’t touched the suspension in the eleven years I’ve had the truck, so I wasn’t going to be shocked if something was loose or broken. What I found was that the driver’s side top shock bushing had pretty much disintegrated and the passenger’s side was right behind it. The driver’s side was moving freely inside the mount, so I started researching repair options and replacement shocks. The ones I inherited are Black Diamond brand, which was a WARN industries sub brand up until the early 2000’s, when WARN got out of the suspension business completely. So there’s little to no information or available parts for these shocks.
Saturday afternoon I thought I’d do a little more research and tried to pull some serial information from the shocks themselves; what I found when I looked at the driver’s side was that the bottom bolt had come loose and the shock was banging around under the truck, completely free from the U-bolt pack.
I sourced a pair of new Grade 8 1/2″ bolts, washers, and locknuts at the local ACE hardware and ordered a set of Energy Suspension bayonet bushings from Amazon, which should be here on Tuesday. I jacked the truck up and reconnected the shock for the time being, and when I get the package on Tuesday I’ll take the wheel back off and put the bushing in properly on both sides.
Brian stopped by last Sunday for a couple more hours of messing around with our ammo boxes, and while we didn’t finish them, we got a lot more done. The first thing we did was to slice four rubber stoppers in half, countersink the bottoms, and drill four holes in the base of the boxes to mount them as feet. When that was done we sorted out the rear mount situation to lock it into the base of the truck. What we’re doing is welding a C-channel to the back side of the box and another C-channel to a metal plate that mounts to the bed of the truck. The box side hooks in to the bed side, and when the front of the box is locked into place, that should keep the whole thing from being removed.
My neighbor’s dad is an old-school gearhead. When I met him for the first time he was behind the wheel of a maroon late-model Dodge Challenger. Soon he replaced that with a blue model. And a couple of years ago he showed up with a bright yellow ’68 Camaro with an angry, lumpy cam and racing slicks. I walked out and talked cars with him for a while, and we got on the subject of paint. He was looking to get rid of the yellow as soon as he could, and I mentioned I was looking to get rid of the purple on Peer Pressure just as quickly. We talked about leads and shared what we knew. Time passed, and I would hear the Camaro rumbling up the street now and again. This spring it showed up silver—I thought he’d stripped it down to bare metal—and then a pair of black stripes appeared up the hood. It looks a million times better; the silver accentuates the lines of the car and it looks much, much meaner.
A week and a half ago I was walking Hazel and we saw him at the 7-11 at the far end of our route. We got to talking and he asked if I was still interested in painting the truck; he’d retired a few months back and built himself a spray booth to reshoot the Camaro, and was now taking on painting jobs. I said HELL YES in no uncertain terms, and told him to slot me in for the spring—he’s got a car lined up to work on in the fall, and I don’t want the truck off the road for too long.
I’m not looking to spend months with a block sander and Bondo to get the metal on PP perfectly flat; I’d be happy with a decent 10-footer as long as the paint was all one color. I’ll have to hustle in the fall, though, because there are several things that would need to be addressed before it went in to the booth:
- One or more of the three windshield frames needs to be cleaned up, sanded, have new metal welded in to the windshield lip, get filled with chassis encapsulator, and made ready for paint.
- All of the random holes on PP’s body need to be sanded down and filled, preferably with welds, and then smoothed over for paint. This includes the old mirror mounts on each door, the trim mounts along the bottom of the body, and the snap holes along the back of the tailgate.
- The orange hood needs to be sanded down and cleaned up at the very least—it’s pitted along the front edge.
- The dent in the rear endcap from the swinging bumper needs to be knocked out and filled.
- Whatever I do, I want to paint the Traveltop white for a classic ’70’s look. It needs a whole lot of attention on its own: there are multiple places where the PO screwed into the metal and left them there, so all of those need to come out and be plug welded. The rack needs to come off, the windows need to come out, and the rain gutter needs to be sandblasted and re-sealed. I’d also like to add some sound deadener to the interior.
- Finally, any and all spare panels I’ve got should be cleaned up and shot with the same paint, if possible.
I have experience with sanding and Bondo, having done some extensive slap-hammer and sanding work on my old VW bus thirty years ago, and I’m sure a middle-aged Bill can do a much better job than a 17-year old Bill.
I bought some new tools last weekend, including a second angle grinder and a pneumatic DA sander, and I’ve got a bunch of consumables on order from Amazon including wet/dry sandpaper, etching primer, and a copper welding backer, as well as a can of chassis rust encapsulator.
So, in order of importance, I’ve got to:
- Do a walk-around and inventory all of the issues on the body
- Practice welding holes closed in washing machine steel
- Sand chips in paint around the tub and sheetmetal
- Knock down any drips in the purple paint
- Sand and weld the holes shut in the body
- Bondo and prep those areas for paint
- Remove all badging and chrome
- Pull glass from the second spare windshield
- Evaluate and choose the best candidate for repair
- Plug holes on the good spare
- Encapsulate rust inside the frame
- Weld in good metal around the inside lip
- Prep for paint
- Plug holes in white fender
- Use aircraft stripper on the blue fender, sand and repair
It’s going to be a busy fall, I think.