I got a text from Brian yesterday with the photo above; he drive to Delaware and took possession of a beautiful 1968 Scout 800 painted white over red, which was previously restored a couple of years ago. It’s in fantastic shape and looks like it rolled off the factory floor (with a custom bumper, modern soft top, and bigger wheels). Due to scheduling and weather I haven’t been able to see it in person yet but I’m hoping we can organize a meetup sometime soon.
He’s already made a list of upgrades he wants to make. The rollbar in his Scout is only a single hoop, and because he wants to be able to take the whole family on the road, he wants to upgrade that to a family-style cage like he put in Chewbacca. I’ve been wanting to upgrade my rollbar with something more stout, as well as adding shoulder belts. GRC Fabrication makes rollbars for the 800 and Scout II that we’ve both been looking at, and if he pulls the trigger on a kit from them I’ll probably go in on it with him to save on shipping costs (and we can weld them up and install them at the same time).
I pulled the Scout out of the garage the week of the Polar Vortex and ran it up in the driveway, and she gave me a scare. I started hearing a terrible whine coming from the power steering pump at idle. I shut her down, topped off the power steering fluid, and restarted the engine, but it came right back and frightened me to the point where I scuttled my plan to run down the street for coffee and backed her back into the garage; I didn’t want the pump exploding in the driveway the day before I had to drive back up to Syracuse.
I was in NY State for my father’s funeral for most of last week, but took advantage of 60˚ weather and a work-from-home day yesterday to run her up again, thinking maybe the temperature was to blame. I was right. She fired right up and idled smooth out of the garage, and there was no sound to be heard at all. Whew.
Buoyed by that success, I gave Mike Moore a call to see if he’d be able to help fix my caster issues. True to his character, he told me he could certainly do it but I should really try to find a good, reputable alignment shop around here and have them install them–and not a “$49 alignment special” type place. He also gave me the industry name for the parts I’ve got: Camber Caster Sleeves. I also asked him for a price on what it would take to rewire Peer Pressure, and we talked about that for a while. I don’t have the money right now but it’s good to know what to budget for. Mike is a great guy and I’m glad I called him. I found a place with decent reviews across town and called them for a price; I’ve yet to hear back but will call and follow up tomorrow.
Digging through the family archives this weekend, I found a couple of shots of Chewbacca and I in her prime. This was from about 2001 or so, out in front of my parents’ place in New York State. I guess I’m used to looking at a taller suspension these days, but she’s riding awful low on the springs.
As a brand and marketing professional, I’m not sure if this is a failure or a success: The guys behind Anything Scout, an old-school Light Line dealer in Iowa, are also behind New Legend 4X4, an upscale restomod fabricator specializing in Scouts. I wouldn’t have know this if I hadn’t recognized some of the people behind the scenes on the NL website (I met a couple of them at the IH Nationals this summer). On further reflection, I think it’s probably more success than anything else; these trucks are priced firmly in ICON territory, catering to the kind of people who don’t build anything themselves and want a turnkey refurbished truck with a modern Chevrolet powertrain and a JK-based chassis. 9/10 of the guys at Nationals are like me; we’re average people with average incomes who are scraping and saving to keep our existing trucks on the road. So I guess it makes sense to separate the brands completely. I am glad a shop with a solid IH history is in the restomod business now, because they will do the rigs justice.
They do build pretty Scouts, that’s for sure.
I’ve been having problems with my seat belt for a couple of months now. It won’t release enough for me to get it around my waist. If I’m on a slight incline it won’t release at all. No amount of gentle tugging, violent pulling, or whispered pleading would help. I decided I’d take advantage of 50˚ weather today to pull the ratchet mechanism apart to see what was wrong.
My seatbelt is based around a simple mechanism involving a single ball bearing in a cup. When the ball is stationary in the cup, the seatbelt has give and will release properly. When the ball is moved out of the cup by a strong force–say, a collision–it contacts a pawl which closes a ratcheting mechanism and stops the belt from releasing. Most of the online sources I found said the mechanism was probably filled with dust and the ball was stuck. I pulled it apart and shook out about a pound of dirt, straw, leaves, and dust, but the mechanism was still jammed. After blowing dust out of the cup with a can of compressed air, the mechanism started working and all was well again.
Hmm, I just realized I never mentioned what happened with my steering caster upgrade. Short answer: nothing. The guy I brought it to had it for about three hours while I hung out in a Starbucks across the street. When I walked back over, it was parked on the side and he sheepishly told me he couldn’t budge either ball joint stud no matter how hard he tried. To his credit, he backed off, afraid he’d break something, and didn’t charge me anything for his time. Looking over both knuckles I didn’t see much evidence of an attempt, but whatever.
He recommended bringing it to the local 4×4 shop to see if I could have someone there work it over for me. This thought made me nervous for several reasons; I get the sense most of these shops are staffed by 22-year-old vape bros catering to guys who want to bolt aftermarket crap onto their shiny new Jeeps.
At the Scout meetup later that week I got to talking with one of the guys who knows a local mechanic who used to work on Internationals, and he suggested I get in touch. This week I’m going to follow up with a phone call, looking ahead to an appointment in the spring. Because while he’s working on this stuff, I’ll have him go over the whole front end and check it for wear.
My intention this afternoon was to take 20 minutes to replace the ancient 1970’s era speaker under Peer Pressure’s dash with a new one. A few weeks ago I some cursory research on the interwebs and someone claimed the stock speaker was 4×10″, so I ordered an inexpensive replacement online. Today I pulled the old one out, and it turns out I was wrong (a quick trip into the garage to look over the two spare dashboards I have would have confirmed this): it’s 4×8″, a very unconventional size for a speaker. RetroSound has replacements for $100+, which is more than I care to spend, or there are some cheaper alternatives which are intriguing (and, strangely, listed as OEM replacements for Case/IH equipment). For now, I’ll return the new one this week and come up with another plan.
And, just to prove I am not a complete philistine, I pulled the fiberglas inserts down out of the garage attic and stuffed them into the Scout this afternoon.
Saturday was looking pretty grim for most of the morning but around noon the clouds seemed to burn off and we got some sunshine. Which is great, because the high was 48˚. Even so, six Internationals showed up, including Bennett in Heavy D, Steven G. in his Scout II, Dwight R. in his shiny Scout II, Paul S. in a glorious lifted Travelall, another guy whose name I missed in a second D-series pickup, and of course Peer Pressure.
We hung around the parking lot for an hour or so, talking trucks, and then went inside for some barbecue. As always, it’s great to talk with old friends and make new ones too.
In preparation for the meetup this weekend I figured I’d better get off my ass and fix the issues I had with the first batch of stickers I produced. The new ones now say Old Line State Binders on the face of the hub where the Lock and Free lettering is embossed. I increased the size of the map in the background and added a slight rule around the hub to set it off the background. And, now the stickers are the right size: 3″ in diameter.
These look cleaner. The printing went better (it didn’t plug up the blacks like the small version) and the relationship to the flag is OK…but now I’m thinking the hub needs to go back to the original ratio, because the flag is too big.
It’s a miracle I can get myself dressed in the morning.