I’d started planning for a spring workday here at the house a few weeks ago. I sent out an email with a calendar poll for weekends in April and had pretty much settled on a day—then the virus hit. So I sent a follow-up email to postpone until May, in the hopes that things will have blown over by then.
In the meantime it looks like I’ll have some time on the weekends to get things done, and I’ll need to get outside for sunshine every day. So I ordered a part for the truck: a new (remanufactured) starter motor to replace the used unit Bennett and I installed in 2011. Mine has been grinding intermittently for years now, and I’d like to get ahead of it before it craps out completely at an inconvenient time and place.
Next, I’d like to fix my turn signal cancel cam, which has been broken since the day I bought the truck, and while I’ve (theoretically) got the wheel off, I can replace the ignition key cylinder with a new unit and new key. I’ve got a wheel puller I bought at Carlisle years ago ready to go, so it’s just a matter of setting up the puller correctly and taking things apart.
Finally, I can take some time to reroute the speaker wire that’s been hanging down below my dashboard and stuck under the transmission tunnel cover and properly send it out through the firewall and down the frame rail. It’s a small thing to clean up an ugly truck, but every little bit helps.
One of the projects on the horizon for spring is to figure out how to shoehorn my new compressor into an already crowded garage. It’s pretty clear I’ve got to put it along the back wall, but there’s no power back there and that area is full of other stuff. I’ve had to stack stuff one top of stuff because there’s no place else to put it, which makes me unhappy. If I can get rid of the first compressor, that frees up a pile of space under the workbench, which I can then rebuild into shelving. That should free up floor space and the puzzle pieces will fit better.
The first order of business will be to extend power to the back corner. I’ve got two circuits in the garage currently, switched power up over the ceiling for reclaimed fluorescent lights and unswitched power going behind the workbench. It’s pretty obvious that I’ve got to extend the unswitched power further back so that I can run the old fridge and the compressor next to it under the window. This means I’ve got to move a pile of parts, including my spare hood, to other locations.
One of the things I haven’t really been taking advantage of is the space up in the attic, which is currently filled with piles of unbacked insulation from the front porch project. There’s a lot of space up front that I can use for stashing things I don’t need during the summer (when the hardtop goes up on the lift, it blocks the access door) but I have to get rid of that insulation first. Baltimore County has a program where they’ll accept donated materials, and all of this insulation is pretty clean as far as I remember, so when there’s a warm spell, I’m going to get a paper suit, haul it all down, and bag it for donation.
First up on the accessories list for the compressor will be a filter for the outgoing air. Next, a good impact driver and a set of sockets. I’ll probably hit Harbor Freight for that. In the spring I’ll pick up a sandblaster attachment so that I can start blasting parts clean. Finally, a decent HPLV gun will give me the ability to spray decent paint on those parts and get them ready for hanging.
I had a little time Saturday afternoon, in the 70˚ weather, to look over the horn situation on Peer Pressure. The horns are located behind the driver’s headlight on the front side of the radiator support, so you have to pull the headlight to access it. What I didn’t realize is that there are actually two horns, wired in sequence.
You can see both of them in the shot above: The first one in line is mounted straight to the support, facing downward. The second is to the left, mounted on its side. Clearly, one of them isn’t working. I pulled the wire from the first horn to see which one was bad; the second horn fired just fine.
So, I cleaned up the wires on my Mercedes horns, grounded one lead to the body, and hooked the other one to the hot wire. Here’s the difference (Mercedes horns first, stock horn second):
The stock horn is welded to the mount, so I can either cut it off and reuse it for the Mercedes horns, or fabricate a new mount. The stock horn is toast so I don’t see much use in keeping it.
But I don’t know if I like the tooty sound of the Mercedes horns either.
On Sunday I was back out in the beautiful weather, and went through some of my small parts bins to organize what’s out there; I’ve been squirreling stuff in there for years and I’ve lost sight of my inventory.
Most of the stuff in these three bins are smaller parts—going clockwise, I’ve got a lot of lights, light buckets, and mounts, as well as lenses. At 5 o’clock there’s one door scissor—I don’t know what side—and three wiper motors. At 7 o’clock there are two plastic defroster vents. Above that I’ve got a set of door hinges that weigh about a thousand pounds. To their right are a set of drum brake pads (they are now with their mates on the shelf). There’s a fuel pump at 9 o’clock, several wiper and door lock linkages above that, and two kick panel vents above that. In the center there are several tubs and envelopes of hardware, a spare washer bottle, and two door lock assemblies.
In some of the smaller tubs I’ve got a spare set of outer doorhandles, six window cranks, six inside door handles (four left and two right) and two pairs of wing window locks (the part that sits on the top of the triangle). There’s also a tub with wing-vent plugs—anyone with wing-vent windows knows what I’m talking about.
One of my next steps is to purchase a third parts organizer to split out the Scout-specific hardware I’ve got scattered among boxes and bags—the stuff that’s expensive to replace. Things like the allen bolts that secure the window crank to the door, the shallow locknuts that hold the door hardware in place, or the gigantic bolts that secure the door hinges to the chassis. Having all of that in one place would make life much easier.
I’m also going to have to add some new large bins for the oversized parts that are loose on the shelf.
I had the Scout out a couple days before Christmas to run some errands, and she ran great after a warmup in the driveway. The new battery has a lot more power than the old one ever did. About halfway through my trip, while accelerating, I heard and felt a Ting! behind the steering column, from somewhere behind the dash. Alarmed, I did my usual scan for damage, and felt nothing different through the pedals or in the sound of the engine. She continued running straight and true, and the engine was strong and responsive. I continued on and filed that away in my brain for later diagnosis.
A little later it became clear what the issue was: my speedometer needle was bouncing all over the place. For most mechanical speedo cables the cause is the same thing: at some point the grease in the wire got gunked up with age or dirt, and the teeth have started slipping. I’ve got a couple of different options to fix it:
- I can buy a new speedo cable and install it: about $40 from a Light Line vendor.
- I can pull the existing cable and shoot graphite into each end, hopefully cleaning out and clearing up the binding problem, as long as the teeth are still intact.
While I’m in there doing this, I could update the gears in the instrument cluster to reflect the difference in tire size from stock to where they are now; this would show the proper speed and ensure the odometer is recording the right distance.
For Christmas, I asked for a 12 volt bench power supply so that I can pull the instrument cluster and put it on steady power to troubleshoot the lights, as well as the other gauges I’ve got in my spares bin. (After doing some more sleuthing I realized I can do the same with two 6-volt batteries wired in sequence, but oh well). So the first thing to do will be to wire up one of my spares and see if I can sort that out first. Once I know what I’m doing, I’ll pull the working unit and fix that, as well as address the speedo cable issue.
Not much to mention here, other than the fact that I ran up the girl twice over the weekend, once to pick up the Christmas tree, and another to just get her up to temperature and get fluids running through the system. I did notice that even though I’ve had her on a battery conditioner for three years, there’s a decrease in the amount of cranking power I’m getting. After 11 years, I think it’s probably time to replace the cheapo Advance Auto house brand I threw in there when my budget was tight. I noticed this weekend that Costco carries Interstate batteries, and I’ve had good luck with that brand in the past. I’m going to nurse her through the holidays and upgrade in January.
The bottom line is high-quality paint jobs and the supporting bodywork can be had for much less than the cost of a concours-level restoration, but time is the factor in all projects…
At a labor rate of, say, $90 an hour, that’s $36,000 before the first drop of paint is applied…Total labor hours in the 400- to 500-hours range is reasonable for a non-concours job, which puts our friend Jeff’s estimate for his Mach 1 right in the ballpark.
My paint isn’t flaking off and the metal underneath is still in good shape. I guess I’m sticking with purple for the time being…
I’m not on Facebook much, but I jumped on there the other day, following a link from somewhere else. On the Super Scout Specialists page they announced that the next Nationals will be in 2021, skipping next year for the Harvester Homecoming, which is held a little further west in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I’ve got mixed feelings about this, as we had such a blast this year, but my family has tentative plans for a long vacation next year that might impact a trip to Ohio anyway.
While we were out there, I talked to Bennett about the historic license plates he has on his D Series truck, and learned that it’s a $25 one-time fee to switch from current Maryland plates to a set of antique plates correct for the year of your vehicle—if you can find them. The local antique store in town had a bin with about 20 different plates, in pairs and in singles, and I found a clean set of 1976-era plates for a total of $15. This is a screaming good deal, as eBay’s average price for two is about $60. I could have gone with Bicentennial plates but I didn’t like the look of them—red lettering over a white plate will look better with a dark purple paint job.
Peer Pressure rolled out of the Jiffy Lube on Saturday morning with new oil in the engine, pumpkins, and transmission, and… the transmission still sounds shitty. I was hoping $30 of new 50wt. racing oil would quiet the chattering in the box, but it was not to be. So, I called a transmission shop on the other side of town, who come highly recommended (who also replaced the throwout bearing in my Mazda B2000 about 25 years ago) and talked to the owner, who could not have been more accommodating. When I told him my situation (upcoming vacation, IH Nationals in early August) he told me to bring it in Friday before we leave town and he’d put it in a covered storage facility across the street where he keeps street rods and other customer vehicles that can’t be outside. While we’re away he’s going to look it over and let me know what’s going on. It’s not going to be cheap, but I’ll feel better driving 500 miles after the pros fix it correctly.
Look what showed up in my Amazon Prime box this afternoon: an AMT Scout model.
I’m going to tuck this away for the cold winter months when I can’t get in the Scout and drive it.
Meanwhile, I’m looking at getting Peer Pressure in to the local Jiffy Lube for a fluid change this weekend. She’s only had about 12,000 miles on her since I bought her, but the last change was in 2012 and the transmission is beginning to make a disturbing clunk between 3rd and 4th gear. It could just be low gear oil, or it could be that the transmission is slipping. I’m going to try the $100 fix first before I have to deal with a $1000 rebuild, and we’ll see how that goes.
Peer Pressure has been running strong and smooth the last couple of weeks; I’ve had her out every weekend since the top came off. She’s hauled bags of dirt and mulch from the store, garbage to the dump, and run multiple errands around town—basically whenever I have an excuse to go out and get something. I’ve been poor at shooting any pictures, because I haven’t ranged far from home, so the sights are all the same. But I’ve got some plans for her in the next couple of weeks, stuff that’s making me excited. The first thing is replacing the old radiator with the new aluminum unit I bought back in March.
This should be a straightforward procedure. I don’t have any extra cooling gear hooked up to what’s there right now (no transmission cooler, although adding one eventually would be a wise move) so it should be a matter of draining the block, pulling the hoses, detaching the shroud and shroud mount, and unbolting it from the body. Hopefully it’ll pull out without any fuss. Next I flush the block with a kit I bought and clean everything out. Then I put the new unit in and bolt everything back into place. Hopefully the shroud I fabricated will install with little fuss; if anything I’ll have to drill two new holes to adjust for the new radiator. I’ve got this coming Saturday blocked off to accomplish this, and I hope it goes smoothly.
Second, I’ve got an appointment with an alignment/front end shop over on the East side of town to put the caster shims in, as well as go over the front end and tell me what’s in need of repair. This will happen in two weeks, and I’m going to wait there while they work on it. Hopefully we won’t need to order out for any parts, but you never know. I have a feeling they’re going to find some bushings and other parts that are worn, and that will almost certainly require new parts. In which case I’ll just Uber home and wait for the work to be done.
With those two things completed I’ll feel much better about a drive out to Ohio for Nationals this year. I’m really hoping the caster shims help out the handling issues, because I miss having a Scout that tracks straight. If things don’t improve dramatically, I’m going to start saving up for some 16″ steel wheels I can mount a skinnier tire on, and I’ll have to take a loss on the wheel/tire combo I’m running right now. But that will come next year.