That was fast. This 45-lb. beauty showed up on my doorstep this afternoon, and being that it’s 60˚ outside, I had to go out, unbolt the stock bumper, and do a test fit. It looks fantastic, and the workmanship is excellent—better than I was expecting, actually. The clevis mounts aren’t flush-welded—they go all the way through to the back of the bumper through two holes and are welded on each side. The welds are clean and tidy. The bull bar doesn’t stick out too far, something I was afraid of.
It’s raw metal, so I have to pull it back off and bring it inside so it doesn’t flash rust. Then I can weld on some lamp mounts, drill and tap license plate holes, clean it good, and spray it with some black paint.
I went ahead and ordered a bumper! The way the ordering process went was a little strange; the contact from the Facebook page sent me an invoice via PayPal (keyed to the name of the fabricator) so I used my credit card to purchase it. This way I’ve got their built-in protection working for me. I got a notification from UPS that it was shipping yesterday(!!!) but then the contact messaged me on Facebook the same day asking if it was for a Scout II or an 80/800. Later that evening UPS updated me and told me it wouldn’t be delivered tomorrow, which left me with equal parts sadness and relief. And there’s no update on shipping yet.
I’m already thinking ahead to modifications and how I’m going to weld a set of brackets on under the pushbar to mount a pair of fog lamps, as well as a pair of captive nuts to accept a license plate.
I was in on a long empty zoom call this morning where I was just listening, and noticed that I was getting a lot of spam comments on oldlinestatebinders.com. I’d set up the site back in October but never really worked on it since then. I logged in and set up Akismet, which will shut the spam right down, and updated all of the themes and plugins. While I was listening, I swapped the theme and replaced the stock photos with some stuff from previous events.
Clearly, I need to get some more T-shirt designs finished and get them posted.
I’ve seen a guy selling front bumpers on Facebook Marketplace for a couple of months now. They’re basic prerunner-style bumpers, with a large pusher bar, two clevis mounts, and upturned edges, much like the bumper Brian and I built. They’re built from 3″x 4″x 1/8″ box steel, while my rear bumper is 2″ x 6″.
(through the magic of Photoshop, I can simulate the look)
But the thing that caught my eye first was the price: $280 including shipping.
I did a quick google search and found the company website where they’re selling the same thing for $15 more without shipping, and so this sounded like an even better bargain. I’ve got a little less than this amount left in the Scout kitty, but I just sold a spare camera lens a few weeks ago, so I think I might pull the trigger on this.
As much as I love the ’72 grille I’ve got, and the overall look of the front my truck, there’s always been something missing. This would be a good start, and would be easily modified for a winch or fog lights.
I can’t do much with the Scout in the shitty weather we’ve been having lately, so I’m trying to find some small things I can accomplish in short amounts of time. One of the things I’m planning for the spring is sanding and prepping my spare sheet metal, and one of the primary pieces Iive had my eye on is the white front fender from the Wheaton Scout. That truck had been used for plowing so there was a fair bit of sheet metal damage to the rear, but the main section of the driver’s fender was clean. I’ve been soaking the bolts holding the splashguard in PBBlaster for several weeks, and pulled it into the basement this afternoon to see if I could get the rest of the rusty sheet metal off.
One of the bolts came off easily, but I had to heat the rest of them with a propane torch and use a vice-grip on the retaining clip to get the rest of them them to budge. Still, anytime a bolt comes off without the sawzall is a good day in my book. I also got the chrome strip off cleanly and scraped out the mud and gunk from the inside, and then hung it back up in the garage.
When the weather warms up, I’m going to hit it with the powerwasher to clean the metal off, then glass bead blast the rusty parts. There’s a set of dents in the front that need to be coaxed back out, and then the whole thing will be ready for a light skim of bondo, sanding and priming. The goal is to get this piece ready for final coat and then put away.
Meanwhile, I’ve got a feeler out with a local guy about a heater core from his parts truck. I messaged him about it, fully expecting to set a date to drive out and yank it myself, but he wrote back and told me he’d let me know when he’d pulled it. I wrote back and asked him what he wanted for it, and then offered to drive out and pull it myself. Then he went dark. I’ve never had someone offer to pull something sight unseen, especially not on a Scout. I don’t want a rusty pile of shit, nor will I pay for one, so I’m curious to see if I ever hear back from him. Either way, I’d love to have a heater box I can disassemble and refurbish while it’s cold outside—I’d like a small project to tackle on the workbench.
I got my monthly email from Super Scout Specialists today, and one of their featured items is a rear swingarm bumper that’s currently on sale for 10-15% off until the end of November. Their bumper is a traditional square 2×6″ tube with a tapered bottom. Their swingarm is a single piece of bent tube, hinged on the right side with a lifting bar/pin lock on the far left side. The tire mount point is directly in the center of the tailgate. I see no provision for a license plate holder of any kind in their photos. They offer several customizations, so I priced out a swingarm model with two D-ring points, for a total of $807.
GRC Fabrication sells a swingarm bumper that looks just as beefy. It’s also a square tube base, but the hinge is on the left side. The arm is two tubes forming a welded triangle, and the way they have the standoff built there’s room underneath for a Hi-Lift behind the tire. The standoff is mounted offcenter to the left, so it’s closer to the hinge and directly behind the driver’s seat, and there’s space on the right side of the swingarm for a jerry can holder/license plate. I spec’d out a version on their site with no jerry can mount and two Hi-lift tabs for $1,175. I also had the opportunity to look at one of these in person at Nationals last year, and I liked what I saw.
The big question here is: would I rather try to (re)build the bumper I’ve got, or buy something that’s engineered to work out of the crate?
Looking on the Binder Planet, I saw a build where a guy is fabricating his own bumpers, and took some pictures of the mounts he built before he installed them. It shows exactly what I’d have to do with mine: remove the two square standoffs and either raise or lower them so that a thick bar support can be welded to their bottoms which will bolt up directly to the bottom of the frame rail. This would provide a lot more perpendicular support to the bumper and eventual swingout arm.
From what I can see he might have welded the supports to extend all the way to the bumper box itself to gusset the structure as much as possible, which is a great plan.
So, first I’d have to pull my bumper off completely. This is what mine looks like now, from the inside of the bumper facing out, and from the side (body on the right side):
I’d have to grind off the standoffs and buy new box channel to reach down to the bottom of the bumper edge. Next, I’d cut new mounting plates and weld them to the standoffs. Finally, I’d build and weld two plates along the bottom of the bumper and standoffs that extend to the factory jack mounts on the bottom of the frame.
This would theoretically give the whole assembly the vertical support it needs. All of this would require removing the trailer hitch and getting some longer bolts so that the new bumper mount will sandwich between the frame and the hitch mount.
After that, I’d have to radically alter the geometry of my swingarm. The tire needs to be lowered and moved closer to the hinge so that there isn’t as much unsupported weight bouncing around. In hindsight I welded the hinge on the wrong side—If I’d been smarter I would have put everything on the left side so that the tire isn’t blocking the view over my right shoulder. So the hinge would have to be ground off, and I’d need to rebuild the swingarm from scratch—lower and left-aligned so that the center of gravity was closer to the bumper and frame. Essentially, I’d be copying the GRC Fabrication design in a simpler fashion.
I’m not confident enough in my welding skills to trust them to be strong enough, so I’d have to hire someone for the finish welding. And there’s also the cost of materials—which are harder to get these days; the local steelyard closed down and the only way I’d be able to get the stuff I need is online ordering.
I think I’m beginning to answer my own question here.
The big question for GRC is: how does their unit mount to the body? If it’s just a set of standoffs that mount to the back of the frame box, than that’s no better than what I already have. And could I use my existing hitch mount if I had a set of longer mounting bolts?
Here are the valve covers with two coats of etching primer. I scuffed them with some fine steel wool and shot them with International Red paint yesterday.
I have to touch up a few areas here and there, but I can’t wait to swap out the old ones for these!
The next thing I’m going to work on is the air cleaner housing, which looks pretty beat up. A fresh coat of paint will clean it right up.
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.
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.
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.
Brian left his welding rig in the garage last week, and it’s been out there calling to me since Sunday. It’s a beautiful new Hobart MIG setup with a gas hookup, built to switch between 230 and 115, so it can run off the wiring in my garage and still burn 3/16″ steel.
I had some box steel scrap laying around from my bumper project, so Wednesday night I covered myself in bug spray and busted out the angle grinder to clean surface rust off everything. Then I gloved up and started laying simple lines down. It took some time to get the rig dialed in, but once I’d sorted that out, I took some deep breaths and just focused on getting some good lines across the tube.
After I covered all four sides I cleaned of some smaller scrap and welded them to the side and the bottom of the tube, with the goal of not burning through everything.
I was able to get things dialed in well enough that I started thinking about a bottle jack mount and how easy it would be to put one together with some steel and the welder.
After working on Finn’s fort Saturday morning through to the afternoon, I stopped at 3:30 and turned my attention to the garage. I began forming elements with cardboard and then moved to cutting down some steel we’d picked up at Lowe’s. I started with a piece going down the front of the inner fender and attached an L-shaped section to that, curving back around to the side of the fender to keep the jack in place. After tacking it in to see if it worked right, I welded each side in and cleaned the section up.
Then after dinner I cut two sections of galvanized electrical conduit down and welded them to the tail of the L for both of the jack levers to sit in. This was tricky, as the steel bar was 1/8″ and the conduit was much thinner. I hit it with short burns to avoid blowing through the thinner steel, and after some practice with scrap steel I figured it out.
When that was done, I ground everything smooth, wiped it all with acetone, and shot it with some black paint. When I went to install it for the last time, the threads in the hole I’d been using gave out completely and the bolt spun freely. Disgusted, I moved it to a second hole about 1″ outboard and tightened everything down for the night.
Tomorrow I’ll see if my tap and die kit has a tap for the next bolt size up, and hopefully I can get the whole thing permanently installed. I’ve got some toolbox shelf padding in the basement that will go under the jack and keep everything from banging around.