The bag I ordered from Amazon finally arrived this week, so I did a test fit of all the spares in my emergency kit. The bag itself is nicer than I was expecting. It’s made of durable, high quality ballistic nylon that doesn’t feel like heavy cardboard or thin tissue paper. It’s set up with MOLLE straps on the outside, and has three interior pockets that make separating the contents easy. I bought the tan color so that I can see what’s inside easier.

I used one interior pocket for spark plugs, one for bulbs of various sizes, and the largest for hose clamps and zip ties. In the main compartment are my spare box wrenches, distributor parts, tire plugs, one fuel filter, fuses, a spare spark plug wire, and some spare Scout-specific bolts.

It’s a tight fit in the Tuffy console, especially with my tool roll, flashlight, tire iron, and other assorted gear, but I like having it all contained and organized instead of rolling around free underneath everything in there. Clearly I need to do some more research on an additional lockbox, but this is a good start.

Date posted: June 13, 2020 | Filed under Purchasing | Leave a Comment »

It’s been two weeks now since I put the starter in the Scout and I’ve had it out multiple times on short trips around the area. Not once have I heard the terrible grinding noise from the starter, which leads me to believe the problem is solved. It’s nice to make upgrades that work.

I ordered a cheap military-style toolbag from Amazon last week that should fit snugly inside the front of the Tuffy console, which will hold an assortment of spare parts and tools. I’ve got a collection of stuff already organized, and a list of other stuff to buy and have on hand for breakdowns:

  • Zip ties
  • Fuses
  • Stainless hose clamps – I bought three sizes, for the radiator, hydroboost, and heater hoses
  • Spark plugs – I have a spare set of Autolite 303’s that came to me.
  • Distributor cap – NAPA FA85, and points – NAPA CS757P
  • Fuel filters – I’ve got two: Wix 33032 and a Purolator F20011
  • Bulbs – both 1157’s and BP194LL’s. I’ve got both bulb and LED 194’s
  • Tire plug kit – it’s already saved my bacon.
  • Rain-X – comes in handy when the wipers are slow

I need to pick up a few more things:

  • Fan belts (the three on PP are: Gates 7350, 7525, and 7612)
  • Thermostat – I need to find a pair of RobertShaw 370-FHT‘s, or something as good.
  • Spare coil
  • Spare plug wires (???)

Outside of this kit, I’ll also have oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and coolant in back, somewhere…

Date posted: June 5, 2020 | Filed under Part Numbers, Purchasing | 2 Comments »

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.

Date posted: March 23, 2020 | Filed under Future Plans, Purchasing, Repairs | Leave a Comment »

I made an addition to the garage this weekend, something I’ve been considering for some time: a standing air compressor. I have a rolling compressor I got from Bennett back when he was cleaning out his Mom’s house, and it works pretty good. It’s 25 gallons with a 4HP motor, and I was just barely able to tuck it under the workbench, where it’s sat for two years. But I remember something my Dad said about his old rolling compressor, something about the release of air being inconsistent (probably because the output of the gun he was using was overrated for the compressor).

Anyway, I’ve been looking for something that will hold more air and put it out cleanly, and about a week and a half ago a bright red Craftsman unit came up on Craigslist. I let it sit, and it didn’t go anywhere. Then I got to thinking about what I could still get for the one I’ve got, and how this one would fit much easier in the garage (back by the fridge, under the rear window). I had a little over $200 left in the Scout fund, so I emailed the guy and did the deal this afternoon.

This one is a 33 gallon unit, and it’s about 10 years younger than the roller. It’s a heavy mother. It took the two of us to deadlift it into the Scout, and I had to do some careful maneuvering in the driveway with our old kitchen door and the spare tire to get it back down onto the ground by myself. But it’s clean, it works, and it will get me one step closer to sandblasting and refurbishing spare parts.

Date posted: February 23, 2020 | Filed under Purchasing | Leave a Comment »

Brian texted me last week to see if I was available for some junkyard picking, and we set up a time on Sunday afternoon to meet. He picked me up in the white Scout and we headed over to Jessup to see what we could find. He was looking to supplement the electric steering parts we pulled from a Versa back in October. Apparently we didn’t get everything we needed; we’d just grabbed the motor and called it done, when we also needed the bracketry, shaft, and other assorted wiring.

After a few minutes to get our bearings, we found a Versa with some serious front-end damage and found that someone had already pulled the driver’s door, steering wheel, and most of the dashboard apart. All the bracketry we needed was intact, and without the door it was even easier to get what we needed from under the dashboard. After about 20 minutes of futzing we pulled the entire assembly out and continued on our way.

I was there for three things, one of which was Scout related: the horn in Peer Pressure is the wimpiest, most pathetic little toot of any vehicle I’ve ever owned. It sounds like an Italian scooter. I wanted to find something that had some more chutzpah. I did some Internet searching and found that higher-end 80’s Cadillacs came with 4-note horns (an individual horn for each note) that are loud enough to wake the dead. The W126 Mercedes was second on the list followed by 90’s GM minivans, so I was able to narrow the search down on the yard’s handy inventory tool. As luck had it, there was a 300SE in the yard with my name on it. We found it pretty quickly, and someone had already removed the entire hood assembly, exposing the horns mounted to the radiator. All I had to do was put a 13mm socket on one bolt and disconnect the wiring, and they were in my hands.

We then looked for an eighth gen Honda Accord so that I could pull the passenger’s rear door lock assembly (mine has never locked or unlocked remotely since the day we got the car) and after ten careful minutes we pulled it from a wrecked black model with leather seats and four blown airbags.

Wandering around the junkyard, we happened upon a Sprinter van that had given up its engine, and I pulled another horn from  behind the front bumper. It was getting late, and Brian’s motor assembly was getting heavy, so we called it a day and paid for our prizes.

Looking over these three horns on the bench, they’re identical—Mercedes apparently hasn’t updated their design in decades—apart from the note. The 300SE came with a 335hz and a 400hz horn wired in pair, and the Sprinter came with a 335hz. I’m going to start with the single from the Sprinter and see how it sounds in relation to the wuss stock horn, and if I need Get The Fuck Out Of My Way Loud I’ll put the dual set on and see how that does.

As for now, it’s cold and rainy (actually, snowing today) so Peer Pressure sits quietly in the garage, waiting for warmer weather.

Date posted: January 7, 2020 | Filed under Friends, Purchasing | Leave a Comment »

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I took the Scout out on errands Sunday before the first snow of the year. The weather was in the 50’s so it was good to get outside in the sunshine. I used the last of my starting fluid to wake her up so I thought I’d stop off at the auto parts store to pick up some more. When I came back out and cranked her over, the battery decided it was too tired to go on. I guess after 11 years I can’t complain too much; it was a bargain battery anyway.

$150 later, I put a new one in place of the old, hooked the terminals up, and she roared to life with vigor. While I was out, I got three thumbs-ups, a honk and a wave, and two guys telling me they love the Scout.

Date posted: December 16, 2019 | Filed under Purchasing | Leave a Comment »

Not much to report on the Scout front, other than just getting things done. Last weekend we were out at the Home Depot hauling mulch and soil. This weekend we were…out at the Home Depot hauling mulch and soil. Before that, though, we made two trips to the dump with the remains of the greenhouse foam and plastic, as well as two barrels of trash and assorted wood. There will be another two dump runs made next week because I’ve already filled the barrels again.

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I also took advantage of the fact that our new neighbors haven’t moved in and drove across their back lawn to straighten up the fenceline on the other side of our house. When the fence was put in, they poured concrete footers about 3″ deep and drove the posts the rest of the way into the ground. That was probably 20 years ago, and several of the posts were sagging. I threw a tow strap on them and pulled them upright, then drove wedges alongside and underneath, and got them to stand upright again.

She’s running well but I’m more and more concerned about the steering, so I want to move the timetable for getting it fixed sooner than later. The weather is getting warm and I’d like to get the traveltop off, but I don’t want to do that until she’s been over to the alignment shop and back, considering they’re on the other side of Baltimore and it’ll most likely be a couple of days to have the work done. I’ve been waiting on cashflow to pull the trigger, but March-April bills have been killing me. Hopefully May will bring a little extra cheddar to get this done.

I did take about 15 minutes to break down the dashboard and slap a new 4″x8″ speaker in place this afternoon. I went with the cheaper of the two options and used the feed from the left front speaker. It probably won’t make much difference at 60mph but rolling around town it’ll be nice to hear some tunes coming from up front.

Date posted: April 28, 2019 | Filed under Purchasing | Leave a Comment »

I saw an ad on Craigslist (I know, I’m so old-school) for a set of Scout II fenders this week and followed up with the seller. The fenders looked OK from the front but the low price led me to believe they were in worse shape than they appeared. I’ve already got three spare fenders hanging in the garage, so my need is not immediate, but I figured I’d see what kind of shape they were in. I traded some texts and a phone call and set up a time on Sunday afternoon to look them over.

I knew I had the right house when I pulled up and saw a rusty Scout 80 parked in front of a faded Saab Sonnett; clearly this man had eclectic tastes in automobiles. I looked over the fenders in a light drizzle and the seller came out to talk with me; he’s a weird car nerd like me and we talked for about ten minutes before I thanked him for his time and hit the road. They were too far gone for me to want to deal with them; the areas behind the wheel well were all crispy and there was rot setting in at the top corner by the cowl notch.

Meanwhile, I’ve got an order in with Super Scout Specialists for a lineset ticket keyed to the VIN  number I found on the frame back in 2009. I figured I’d at least try to learn where the frame (and possibly, the engine) came from, even if the body is a mystery.

Date posted: March 3, 2019 | Filed under Purchasing | 1 Comment »

Trigger: pulled. Here’s what Peer Pressure looks like with new tires.

Visually not much different from the old ones, but the ride is like living in a dream world of quiet. The Mud-Terrains made a constant droning whine as the lugs hit the pavement which contributed to fatigue inside the cabin (I think this is why Finn always falls asleep in the Scout) but the new Generals are quiet and well-mannered. I do notice there’s a bit more wander on the road, because these are 12.5″ wide instead of 11.5″ but overall I’m extremely happy with them so far. 

Date posted: August 16, 2018 | Filed under Purchasing, Repairs | Leave a Comment »

I happened to glance at a post on Kinja Deals that said General Tire is running a $100 rebate this month on a set of 4 tires. Checking Tirerack.com for the ones I wanted, they said availability was limited, so I went ahead and pulled the trigger ahead of schedule to take advantage of the savings, which will offset the cost of installation. I’m having them shipped to an NTB out on Rt. 40 who can install them for me. I went ahead and bought five so that I can finally have a matched spare, and I’ll stick that on one of the steelie rims I’ve got under the porch.

When I get the Mud Terrains off the rims, I’ll sell those on Craigslist and see if I can get about half my money back. For their age (the DOT stamp on the side claims they’re circa 2000) they are in fantastic shape, with no dry rot or cracking anywhere. The fronts have a lot more wear than the rears (which still look brand new) so I can’t command top dollar for them, but I’m sure they’ll get bought. 

Date posted: August 8, 2018 | Filed under Purchasing, Repairs | Leave a Comment »