Part one of this story begins with the Scout in Annapolis, being looked over by my original Scout mechanic from 1997. To make a long story short, I needed new bearings and reached out to several mechanic friends, who were all backed up with work. My friend Mikey, who I know through a completely different set of friends, suggested Erick—another example of worlds colliding in amazing ways. I brought the truck down to him with the bearings and he had both the fronts replaced by about 6:30 Wednesday evening. I ran down there with Jen, picked the truck up, and hustled it back home in a light rainstorm. I’d already prepacked everything so it was fast to throw stuff in the truck, kiss the girls, and hit the road to meet Bennett at a park and ride out on Route 70.
From there we drove out to West Virginia to meet Brian at his family river house, and we cracked a beer on the porch before hitting the sack in a beautiful new air conditioned camp trailer they bought last year.
Thursday morning broke hot and only got hotter. The temperature was in the 90’s but the humidity pushed the index into the 100’s, so we checked fluids in the trucks, packed ice and water, had a quick bite to eat and headed west. We hit only one minor slowdown for construction, and stopped every hour or so to hydrate, gas up, and air out the backs of our shirts. Bennett kept the location of the barbecue joint we hit two years ago so we stopped in there for some lunch at about two, and it was worth the wait.
Back on the road, we navigated the evening rush hour around Columbus and then got cooled off in a downpour west of the city which then seemed to follow us. With the bikini top on the truck and a speed above 40mph, everything in the truck stayed bone dry through the worst of the thunderstorm. I’d prewashed the windshield with Rain-X before we left and that helped the visibility; I only had to use the wipers occasionally.
We rolled into the hotel by about 8PM and found the parking lot about 3/4 full of antique trucks. There were a bunch of folks to stop and chat with, and we finally broke off to drag some gear inside before it started raining again. We’d all agreed to avoid restaurants and as much indoor exposure as possible, so we ordered a pizza and had it delivered to the room while the rain passed. Then we headed back outside to meet up with friends and drink some beer.
Friday morning we got an early start, as a lot of the good parts would be fresh on the grass at entry, so we ate a quick breakfast, brushed our teeth, and hit the road for the airfield. After a brief stop at Tim Horton’s drivethrough we entered the grounds and made our way over to the rows, where Bennett and I set up next to each other and Brian got a sweet spot right across the lane from us. After checking in and picking up our swag we set up my EZ-UP (lifesaver) and wandered over to the parts area.
There were a lot of goodies to look over, and I tried to show some restraint for as long as possible. I got a ’72 emblem for the front of Peer Pressure’s grille (mine is missing) for $5, a day-night rearview mirror to replace my single-position mirror for $15, a $20 transmission mount (mine is toast) and a sweet shirt from GRC Fab for $15. There was a lot of other amazing stuff there that I would love to have bought.
We ran into a bunch of friends on the grounds and caught up with them, but by 1PM we were crispy and hungry. We retired to the tent to grill some hamburgers and chat with our neighbor Dave, who owns a last-day 1980 diesel Scout and who was happily eating some homemade ice cream from one of the vendors.
Sipping on a delicious chocolate milkshake from said vendor I heard the announcer offer a door prize to the first person who could produce an IH keychain. I hustled up to the podium and showed him my worn leather keyfob—the fob Chewbacca’s keys came on—and claimed a nice plastic ammo box to hold all of my new parts.
By about 4 we were thoroughly baked so we lowered the tent and headed back to the hotel. The tailgate party was just kicking off so we cracked some beers and I ran upstairs for a quick shower. Then we grilled some dinner on Peer Pressure and talked with friends.
We met a nice kid who parked an immaculate ’78 Rallye next to Brian’s truck and struck up a conversation; he’d spent the last two years working on it with his Dad and was obviously pretty proud of the results. Every nut and bolt was new. The paint gleamed. The engine was spotless. We complimented him on his work and told him to keep it out of the rain. Turns out he was from western Maryland and he’d trailered it in with his Dad that day.
Another man asked me a question about my grille, and I got to talking with he and his teenage daughter. She’d just bought a Scout and wanted to fix it up, and they’d driven four hours from Illinois to learn more about Scouts and how to do things. I talked with them for about a half an hour and answered as much as I could, then recommended a few more people to talk with. He said he was struck by how friendly everyone was at the show, and I assured him this was pretty normal.
Brian and I called it at about 11:30 and after downing some more water we crashed out.
Saturday we got up early to make sure we got our spot back, and after some lousy hotel food and a Clif bar we hit the road for the fairgrounds. Our spot was where we left it, as was the EZ-UP, and we set up camp for the day under cloudy skies and 65˚ temperatures. There were more vendors set up selling things so we hustled over to see what was newly available. I found a set of beautiful 2″ Stewart-Warner oil and amp gauges and got them for $15. Further down the line we stopped in to see Dan at the Binder Boneyard and I bought a locking glove box latch for $20, which should work better than the wiggly hunk of metal I’m currently running. Elsewhere I hemmed and hawed over an incomplete chrome trim set without the clips and walked away, feeling good about my self control.
I then spied a set of fiberglas inner panels and noticed the third section for above the liftgate door—this one had the cutout for a switch like mine. We figured Howie at Binder Boys would have one in stock. His booth is amazing; one half of his setup is two full tables of divided parts containers organized by fastener type, size, shape, and function—thousands of items. The other half is a trailer crammed with neatly organized large parts in racks and on shelves. He hustled into the trailer and within a minute handed me two to choose from, charging me $3 for the best one.
We headed back to the trucks to get some lunch, and then figured we should go over and check out IHPA’s booth up by the hangar. There we drooled over a lot of really nice stuff—including the brake kits we’d seen at Lee’s place. Brian struck up a deal and got a great price on one minus shipping. I got a decent deal on a set of liftgate struts for my truck and decided I’d hit my spending limit.
We visited with friends, got some more ice cream, and wandered through the rest of the show looking at the new arrivals. When they announced the raffle would start at 6 back at the hotel, we broke down camp and headed back there at about 4:30 to get our spots in the parking lot. I was fortunate enough to have a guy park a genuine SSII next to me, which we took time to drool over as the sun finally came out.
The raffle went off pretty quickly (I did not win anything, as usual) and the auction was lots of fun. There wasn’t a lot that I was interested in this year, so I kept my wallet in my pocket.
After the raffle, things broke up into smaller groups. I was feeling pretty worn down, so I called home and talked to Jen for a bit away from the crowds. We mingled a little and chatted with some folks, but were feeling pretty beat and headed upstairs at around 11.
Bennett and I had a long drive ahead of us (Brian was stopping off in West Virginia) so we bailed out of the hotel, ate some breakfast in the parking lot, and checked over fluids and fasteners. After topping off the important stuff we got on the road under cloudy skies. At the first service station a fellow with a crusty SSII on a trailer pulled up next to me, and I wished him luck with his restoration. Talking to him on Friday I learned he’d found one of only 50 Midas SSII’s in existence under a tarp out in the boonies, and he was going to rebuild the whole thing.
We drove into the morning gloom and soon it started drizzling. It was enough to cover the windshield but not enough to be dangerous, which was lucky for me because my wipers stopped working somewhere in Western Maryland. Again, with the bikini top up everything in back stayed bone dry. I think the worst part was that for the first hour I was cold— I was able to get to and put on my windbreaker but my legs were freezing until we stopped for a break and I could get under the hood to manually open my heater valve.
Beyond that, the ride home went off without a hitch. The roads were open, the rain let up right before Frederick, and for the final leg I drove with the top down and the sun on my back. I got into the house at 8PM and enjoyed some dinner with the girls in front of the TV.
Once again, our trusty old binders didn’t fail us. Once again, we had a great time getting out there, seeing friends, talking about trucks (and other stuff) and enjoying the summer in Ohio after it cooled off. We ate too much grilled meat off the tailgate, drank just enough beer, a lot more water, and avoided just enough rain to make it pleasant. Once again I had a great crew to enjoy the trip with, and I’m looking forward to next time.
I saw an ad pop up on Facebook Marketplace for some parts a few weeks ago and filed it away for future reference; as our trip to Mom’s got closer I reached out to the seller. He was in Pine City, a little south and west of Cayuga Lake, so I scheduled a visit on our way home.
The trip from Mom’s house was very pretty and one I’d never made before. We drove down the west side of the lake, parallel to the shore for 2/3 of its length. It was wild to see Aurora from across the water even if I couldn’t make anything out at that distance. We also saw several old Internationals along the way, something I rarely experience, especially up that far north.
The seller lived out in the middle of nowhere, and as I pulled up he already had the fender on the lawn and was coming around the house with a Dana 20 on the lift of a small tractor. We shot the breeze for a while, and I eventually talked him down a little on the condition of the fender; it’s got some bondo on the front edge (and a new dent, yay) and pinholes around the lip of the wheel arch. I can definitely work with it, though, and after a chemical stripping and some sanding I think I can weld the pinholes and clean it up.
The Dana 20 was less of a priority but was something I was interested in just to have a spare sitting in the garage; at some point I’ll take it to be rebuilt and sealed up but for now it’s quietly leaking gear oil on the floor of the garage. He also had a tailgate with the cleanest interior sheetmetal I’ve ever seen. Usually it looks like someone was hauling boulders around in the back of the truck, but there was hardly a scratch on the inside of this one. The outside had some rust-through though, and I’ve already got a spare in the garage, so I passed.
So now I’ve got two solid replacement front fenders, which makes me feel pretty good. Clean fenders are pretty rare on the ground so I’m happy to stock up on spares if the price is right—and they’re getting more expensive.
So here’s a list of the haul from Flintstone, so that I’ve got a record of what I dragged home.
In no particular order:
- The steering wheel—I got the entire thing all the way to the steering box, and I even found the horn button on the floor
- The plastic steering wheel column cover, in black
- The steering box—Got it, along with one chewed up castle nut.
- The lower tailgate latch assembly—I took some time and got the latch, the button, both rods and latch arms
- One of the latch arms from the liftgate
- 4 bolts where the windshield connects to the roof
- The washer bottle—this came off cleanly, along with the little hoses to the squirters (Mine got squashed last summer)
- Hubcaps—I found one front and one rear.
- The coolant overflow tank—although all of the mounting tabs crumbled when I pulled it off
- Light buckets—I got three good side markers and one taillight lens, along with one front turn signal. The rest were trashed.
- Both of the 1978 headlight surrounds—the grille was in pieces on the ground underfoot
- The complete dome light assembly
- The automatic transmission shift cover
- Another glovebox door
- All of the dash gauges, and the dash surround (although that is chewed all to hell; I have three spares in the basement)
- The ashtray—apart from two stubbed-out butts, this is in perfect shape
- The license plate assembly—it’s a hinged model
- two sets of sun visors, both somewhat swollen, and all associated hardware
- A rusted but recognizable tailgate from a 1961 Scout 80, with the IH logo embossed. What I’ll do with this I don’t know, but I got it for nothing.
- An emergency brake setup from the same ’61, which Brian can use in his 800.
The stuff I wasn’t able to get, based on my original list:
- Both front hubs—Dave wanted to keep these with the axles, so I left them.
- The heater motor unit—this was trashed underneath and I didn’t have the time to dig deeper.
- Inner fenders—completely trashed.
- Door strikers from both sides—of four bolts I was only able to get one to budge, after repeated abuse with the impact driver.
- The transmission tunnel cover—this Scout came with factory air, which meant the A/C ducting prevented me from getting the top two bolts off the cover.
- Rear armrests—both of these were moldy black. No thanks!
- Side moulding—someone had come along and stuck a sheet metal screw in the middle of each of these, presumably to hold them on, which had then rusted to the body. I was able to get one off cleanly, but the rest are still on the truck.
- The interior fiberglas panels—both of these were drilled for janky-looking shoulder belts, and there was a wood block drilled into both of them in the back. I passed. I’ve got a spare set in the garage attic.
- The cowl cover—the bolts holding this on were rusted solid. I have a spare from the Wheaton scout.
- Evap gear from the rear access port—not enough time to get into this
- The slider windows—here I also ran out of time.
- The windshield—this was actually in decent shape, but there wasn’t enough time. I’d go back out there for the glass before he scraps it, if someone else wanted to join me.
As for me, my soft desk hands are covered in annoying little cuts. I’ve got two particularly annoying gashes right above the nail on my left middle finger and the top of my right thumb (the kind that catch on the pocket of your jeans or get wet and open back up doing the dishes). I have an abrasion along my right wrist up to my elbow. I’ve got a 2″ gash on the top of my left knee from the old Scout 80; if I get lockjaw in the next couple of days I’ll know where that came from.
So now I’ve got to dig out the bins and organize everything into their right place (there’s one bin for exterior parts, one for interior parts, one for electrics, etc.) The steering wheel will be disassembled so that I can see if the turn signal canceling cam is intact; if so that’ll go into Peer Pressure with a new lockset. Knowing how all of that comes apart on a spare will keep me from completely trashing my working setup.
The power steering pump will get hosed with Simple Green and then powerwashed to the bare metal; this will be set aside for a core trade-in when I order whatever new pump I buy. I’ve also got several starters and one brake booster that might fetch $20/each for a core charge.
The 1980 light surrounds, transmission cover, and hubcaps will probably go up for sale, along with the other shifter cover and OEM center console I’ve got sitting on the shelf.
It’s funny—for a while, I’ve looked back on parting out the Wheaton Scout and wondering why I didn’t pull more off that rig; having just spent the good part of a day wrestling with this truck (both of them equally rusty) I think I may have gotten less from this one than I did from that one. And I was better prepared this time. Maybe it’s because I spent a lot of time on the steering gear.
Like the rest of America, I’ve been chained to my desk indoors all winter, waiting for warmer weather and the chance to get outside and pursue my hobbies in some semblance of normalcy. Being chair-bound for weeks has been bad for my health, both mental and physical. Jen says I’ve been cranky for a while. It’s taking longer and longer to leave work behind, even though it’s only steps from the living room. My neck has been bothering me for months, and my right shoulder and arm are aching each night as I store up stress—further irritated by clacking a mouse around a desk during endless Zoom calls.
Knowing the weather was going to be sunny and warm this week, I took a mental health Wednesday, loaded up the CR-V with recovery tools, and hit the road for Western Maryland. The Scout I pulled the doors from was still sitting up in the woods, and Dave, the owner, had reached out to see if I wanted anything else before it got hauled off to the crusher. I’d looked it over when I was out there the first time but had run out of warm daylight to really focus on stripping it and I knew there were a bunch of other things I wanted to grab.
I got out to Flintstone at 11 AM and met Dave in his driveway. I’d intended on bringing him coffee for the morning but missed my chance to pull off into a town big enough to feature a coffee shop—Flintstone has one general store and no traffic lights—so I was empty handed when I masked up and walked out to greet him. He was busy getting his garage straightened up and told me I had free rein on the Scout and to holler if I needed anything.
I backed the CR-V up the hill and organized my tools for the jobs at hand. Then I busied myself with hosing all of the problematic parts with PBlaster and waiting for that to do its magic. While that was working I started with the low-hanging fruit: light buckets, emblems, any moulding I could get off (not much), simple dash parts, and other small items. The whole hood was already off the truck so that got set aside and I had full access to the engine bay, where two of my main targets lay: the steering column and the power steering box. This Scout was a 4-cylinder so there was plenty of room to work: it’s essentially a V-8 with the driver’s side cylinder bank chopped off, so there’s a huge empty space over the steering column. After some basic wrangling I got one of the two bolts on the rag joint off, but the other refused to budge; taking a break, I went inside the cab and disassembled the dash so I could get the plastic surround off the column and remove the mounting bolts underneath.
Waiting for more penetrant to work, I went to the tailgate and picked that clean: I got the entire latch mechanism, both latch arms, the button, and the license plate mount (a hinged model, something desirable).
Moving back to the engine bay, I put a pair of vice-grips on the stubborn rag joint bolt and was able to separate it from the PS box, and with that I got the entire steering column out. The PS box was next; after some work on the cotter pin and castle nut I was able to separate the drag link and then get the entire unit off the frame.
While I was working one of Dave’s friends wandered up the hill and struck up a conversation: a nice man named Paul told me through a thick accent that he was a farrier and had worked on horses from Syracuse down to Virginia and everywhere in between. Fascinated, I listened to him tell stories of helping fix horses as I pulled the dashboard apart.
By 4:30 I was winding down. The heater box was rusted through along the bottom and I had no way of getting the rest of it off without taking a sawzall to the outer fender (which I didn’t have) so I left that. Packing up my gear, I drove back down the hill and made a deal with Dave for the parts I’d gotten. Then I asked if he was scrapping the old Scout 80 carcass I’d parked next to up the hill, and if I could pull the E-brake assembly off for Brian, whose pretty Scout 800 did not come with one. Some short work with the impact driver and some wrenches and it was in my hands. Walking back down the hill I spied a beat-up early 80 tailgate—the one with the embossed IH logo, not the Scout script—and made a deal for that too.
With everything packed away in the CR-V, I hit the road and made it home at dusk for dinner with the girls. As I sped back down I-70, stinking of PBblaster, power steering fluid, and fresh dirt, I realized I had no pain in my shoulder, arm, or neck, and that I was recharged by being outside in the sunshine, working on my own time, doing something I love.
The guy out in Flintstone with the ex-dealership Scout I pulled parts from still has his truck. During my first visit I was being chased by snow, cold weather, and the sun setting, so I wasn’t able to stay as long as I wanted to pull parts, and I spent too much time heating bolts to pull a hub I didn’t directly need. I’m planning a trip back out there to grab more stuff, because I could be spending winter quarantine time refurbishing parts inside when I can’t be working outside.
I did a shitty job of remembering what to pull while I was there last time, so I’m making a list this time, in order of desirability:
- Both front hubs—I’d like to clean and refurb both of these
- The heater motor unit—we looked at pulling this in December, but there just wasn’t enough time to pull the fender off. It’s pretty rusty but maybe worth salvaging…
- Inner fenders, if they are clean (moon shot)
- The steering wheel—there’s a ton of good stuff in there, including the turn signal canceler, and I’d like to practice pulling the wheel off a spare
- The steering box—it would be good to have a core for rebuilding
- The lower tailgate lock assembly—the spring in my mechanism tends to jump off the cam, which means every three months or so I’ve got to break down the tailgate and reset it
- Door strikers from both sides
- Rear armrests—these are rare in good shape
- 4 bolts where the windshield connects to the roof (always good to have stock spares)
- Any side molding I can get off cleanly—I’ve now got 2 sets of door molding but I’d like to have the pieces that go in front of and behind the door. Peer Pressure is drilled for fancy exterior molding
- The washer bottle
- The fan shroud—I don’t remember seeing this, but they are rare on the ground
- The interior fiberglas panels—especially the middle section over the rear liftgate, if it has the switch
- The hubcaps, if I can find all four
- The cowl cover
- Any spare light buckets that are in good shape
- Both of the 1978 headlight surrounds
- Any good badging
- The dome light
- Transmission cover and plastic shift plate
- Any of the evap gear from the rear access port
- The ashtray—you laugh but I’ve only got one spare
- The slider windows, if they’re still there
- The license plate assembly—it’s a hinged model
So I’ll pack another rescue box, run out to Harbor Freight for an impact driver, buy another can of PBBlaster, and plan an early departure so that I can get as much sunlight as possible.
The verdict: it’s perfect. Both Finn’s bike and mine fit with no fuss at all (I was worried about my top bar being a bad fit).
Today I spent a little time looking over the doors I bought last weekend. I stuffed them right inside the front door of the garage when I got home last weekend, so they were in the way of a lot of things. We had to remove the passenger door without the hinges due to clearance issues when I was in Flintstone, which meant the whole door had to come apart before we got it off the truck, and I brought it home partially disassembled. Knowing how I am with parts, I figured I’d better put it back together before I forgot where everything went.
After I’d put the steel panel, window crank and door handle back on, I moved some parts out of the makeshift shelving unit I built (don’t judge, the whole garage is cockeyed) and reorganized the Scout section. There’s just enough space under the tall shelf to stand them up on end without hinges, so I pulled the driver’s door apart, removed those hinges, and buttoned everything back up again.
Both doors are rusty in their own way. The glass on the passenger door is in better shape than the other, especially the wing window, where the rubber is intact and the hinge and spring assemblies are still intact. The driver’s door is in worse shape overall, probably because it was parked upslope in Dave’s backyard and thus exposed to more of the elements.
I also started looking into the T-handle for the rear lift gate; it’s got a lock that’s pretty well calcified into the housing. I shot it full of PBBlaster and let it sit over the weekend. The lock barrel removal requires having the original key, which is still sitting in the ignition of the truck out in Flintstone. You have to unlock the latch while pushing on a small pin inside the handle housing, which releases the whole thing from the handle. I’ve got Dad’s set of lockpicks from the repo days, and picking a 4-tumbler GM lock from the 1970’s shouldn’t be too hard—but doing that while pushing the pin is going to require two more hands. We’ll see…
Looking through 10+ years of jumbled parts, I found that I’d acquired a 2-barrel Holley carburetor at some point which fits the spare air cleaner sitting on the shelf (the diameter of the opening is too small to fit a Thermoquad). This is in addition to the Holley 2100 I’ve already got—but I haven’t been able to ID this one yet. I think I’ll get the Simple Brown out and soak it for a week to clean things up, and then disassemble it to take a closer look.
Parts are getting harder and harder to find on the ground these days. Where 10 years ago someone might post a grotty truck and some boxes of parts on Craigslist for $500, these days Facebook Marketplace is where the stuff is, and there are more ads on Craigslist for people wanting to buy parts than sell. And the online vendors are getting more and more money for used stuff: A set of used door hinges are $150, for example—something that might have been $10 apiece in the bottom of a cardboard box a decade ago.
I don’t post on FB but I’ve kept my zombie account there, and I check the listings weekly for anything nearby. This past Wednesday a very roached-out truck appeared in Flintstone MD, just beyond that narrow spot in western Maryland where the state is the width of a parking lot. I reached out to the seller to ask about the doors, each of which feature a decal advertising the local International dealer, and when he agreed to $30 for each of them, I started making plans to go get them. He couldn’t meet during the weekend so I took a day off from work to drive out there.
My recovery kit held all the normal stuff—sockets, wrenches, hammer, drill, etc., but I also threw in a propane torch for heating bolts, heating handwarmer packs, a mini camp stove and some tea in case I was really cold, some Clif bars, and several tarps. I wore two layers of pants and three layers up top, knowing Western Maryland is usually 10˚ colder than here.
The drive out there was excellent; I was facing away from the sun, the sky was clear and blue, and the truck ran like a top. I made it to the house by 11 and pulled up behind the barn. The seller was actually listing everything for his (grandfather?) and actually left after he’d led me to the house, so I was there with Dave, the owner of the house and the Scout.
He was happy to hang out and help me pull parts, so I masked up, we put a breaker bar on the door bolts, and actually had them both off in about a half an hour. Looking over the rest of the rig, there wasn’t much to be harvested; the engine (a 196 4-cylinder) was covered in scaly rust, and my attempt to pull the heater box was unsuccessful. I had also wanted the front hubs, and bought good-quality snap ring pliers to remove them, but he wanted to keep them on the truck. I did wind up pulling a hub from a spare Dana 27 axle laying in the yard for Brian, whose Scout this will fit. It came off the axle easily except for one Allen bolt, which we had to heat and then cool to break free.
Dave was a super-nice fellow; we kept conversation mainly on trucks and our collective shock at how easily things were coming apart. In the land of pro-Trump yard signs there was mercifully no talk of politics. Dave has two other Scouts, a ’63 he uses for plowing, which looks well-loved, and a ’61 that he pulled apart to keep the ’63 going. They both have a lot of character to be sure. Our conversation drifted a little as we were wrapping up and he shared with me that his wife had passed several years ago and that he was working on cleaning the place up; it was obvious he was happy to have someone there to talk to, so we chatted for awhile about cancer and his motorcycles.
The only other thing I grabbed before leaving was the T-handle from the rear lift gate. We tried to get the mechanism out but it was rusted inside pretty well, so I gave up on that when I saw that it had begun snowing. After getting everything into the Scout I said my goodbyes and headed East. Traffic was light and I made it back home by 4:30 as the sun was just dipping behind the trees, which was fine by me.
So I’ve got two extra doors—this in addition to the two in the garage—but there are a wealth of good parts on each: the hinges are in excellent shape, the glass is good, the interior panels, armrests, handles and cranks are good, and the interior scissors both work. Plus, there’s an intact chrome strip on each one. I wasn’t able to budge the short chrome pieces on the front and rear fenders, but these pieces look real nice and should clean up well.
I’m kicking myself for not having pulled more while I was there (hindsight always being acute) but I enjoyed my day and I’m happy with what I was able to recover. If he’s still got it in the spring, I may head back out there for some smaller stuff—the tailgate latch assembly, the dome light, the hubs, maybe the steering wheel assembly, the gas evap elements, and some other hard-to-find parts.
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 drove down to my friend’s house Saturday morning to pick up the $50 soft top, and after running some errands this afternoon I took about an hour to check it out in the driveway. The verdict: I scored a hell of a deal.
It’s probably thirty years old at this point (Kayline went out of business in the early 2000’s) but the canvas is all holding up extremely well. There isn’t a tear or rip in any of it that I can see. The windows, which are usually the first thing to yellow and crack due to UV exposure, are clearer than the ones on my black top.
He wasn’t kidding about the seams coming loose: there are several places where the stitching has come undone and will need to be re-sewn, mainly along the driver’s side zipper, and up front above the passenger door along the drip rail.
I laid it out on the driveway and checked out all the parts. He included all the bows and hardware, and from the looks of things they are the stuff that’s aged the worst. The door frame units both suffer from serious rust. The aluminum snap channels are all dinged up pretty well, and the windshield channel is bent. But it’s nothing some sandblasting and a good paint job can’t fix.
I laid it out over the black top and took a few pictures, and then said fuck it and pulled the black top off completely. It took about 10 minutes to snap it in place, arrange the rear strap (one of which is missing, sound familiar?) and roll up the windows, and I had it on completely. There’s only one crack in the windows, about two inches long, on the driver’s side about halfway down, but everything looks clean.
I’m going to leave it on for a week or two and wash the black top (it needs a wash desperately, as does this one) and then decide which one to keep on for the rest of the summer.