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.
I saw an ad show up on Craigslist for a dirt-cheap Kayline softtop down in Arlington and checked my Scout fund to see if I had the money available to snag it. Given that new Softtopper units cost ~$1,000 to start, I thought that $50 was a steal for what was offered: “Good for parts or pattern. Could be used, but the rear section is coming apart at the seams. All plastic windows appear to be good. The bows and attachment structures are all there.”
My black soft top has been on the truck since I got it, and it’s definitely ratty, but still holds together. I’m no stranger to repairing the canvas—I’ve restitched the seams on the black top twice. This one is light tan, which could look good or look like shit on Peer Pressure, but for $50 I was willing to give it a shot, especially if the windows are as clear as they look in the ad. Besides, I’d have the sides rolled up 95% of the time anyway. And if I was to repair the canvas section and get it in better shape, with the spare set of bows and mounting hardware I’ve already got, I could resell it for ten times the purchase price, which isn’t a bad deal either.
I called him up and we chatted for about ten minutes; he’s been into Scouts for as long as I have and seems like a nice guy. We traded pictures of our rigs and I told him I’d let him know the next time we were planning on a workday.
Meanwhile, I asked one of my designers, who lives in Arlington, if she could go and grab it for me. I Venmo’d her $50 for the top and $20 for beer, and she’s now got it sitting in her basement waiting for me to pick up.
At the junkyard, after looking unsuccessfully for a CR-V part, I noticed a PT Cruiser with black fabric seats. This got my brain whirring; the replacement PT seats I’ve got are gray fabric and the rest of Peer Pressure’s interior is black (well, minus the original bench seat). The ones I saw were soaked by Hurricane Isaias two days later, but it’s something to look out for every month or so when I return—$60 for two seats is a cheap way to dress up the girl.
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On Instagram of all places, I saw that Roedel Brothers is going to release a replacement dash pad for the Scout II, starting at $375 after a core fee. I’ve got two in my stash, the black one I bought ten years ago and the original green one that came with Peer Pressure. Neither is perfect, but they’re good for now and it’s nice to know new repro parts are coming onto the market.
There’s an International dealership down the road from me in Ellicott City that I’ve been aware of since I was in college, and back in the days when I was sourcing parts for Chewbacca I bought some parts from a guy that worked there, including a windshield that still sits in my garage. From the grapevine I’d heard that he got out of the biz after the first EC flood came through and wiped out his parts stash, but apparently he’s still hauling rusty junk out of the woods. A few weeks ago I saw a post on Craigslist for a travel top and some other parts on a junker and realized it was parked up behind the dealership, and this morning I thought I’d go take a look at it on a quiet Sunday morning. The truck is still there, and hasn’t changed since the post went up. It’s a crusty 1980 Diesel from Arizona missing both front fenders, but it looks like there might be some decent interior parts left, including a three-piece rollbar that looks like it would reach further back than the one in Peer Pressure.
He’s got some other rigs parked up there as well, including this ’78 that gets worse the closer you stand to it. I’ve never see two front fenders rust out like that; I have no idea what the cause might be.
There’s also this 1980 with the letters GMS printed on the side; Bennett tells me it stands for Green Machine Sport, which was a special package made that year to dress things up. This one is in about the same condition as the white Scout on the rollback, but at least all the parts are there.
I don’t know what he’s planning on doing with these. I reached out to him via Messenger to inquire about the rollbar, and he says he probably has plans for it, but he’d let me know if he was going to sell it. So we’ll see.
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.