Having finally brought wired power to the garage, I thought it would be a good idea to add a battery conditioner to help the Scout make it through the winter. I generally get out and start her up every weekend during the snowy months to keep systems lubed and working (three of the saddest words in the English language are ran when parked) and there have been some days when I’ve needed to pull one of the Hondas up to jump the battery. I found an inexpensive battery conditioner on Amazon and got it delivered a few weeks ago. It’s meant to keep the battery topped off, which is just what I need.
I heard from our friend Mike in Colorado after a long quiet spell, who has been driving his shiny Scout daily after rebuilding it from the ground up. He offered me a spare set of traveltop window seals he’s got sitting in his garage, which is fantastic timing. I’ve been eyeballing my traveltop in the garage, thinking it would be wise to get it back on the truck before things get really cold. I’ve got experience putting a traveltop on in December in a chicken barn as the sun was setting, and as the last three or four bolts went in my fingers went numb.
My top has solid side windows but I’ve got a set of sliders from the crappy top I chopped up in the backyard, and the seals they came with are OK but not new. One of my goals before it goes on is to knock down and shoot the rust inside along the bed rails with some Eastwood encapsulator and then cover them with etching primer. It’s in great shape overall but there are a bunch of inexplicable screw holes on the roof that need to be welded shut–something I’d like to test out a new welding rig on.
I had a little time to fool around with the Scout this weekend after taking her camping; I tackled a few smaller issues that I knew I could wrap up quickly (with a bored daughter rolling around in the back seat). First up was the passenger door handle, which has been loose since I got the truck. I pulled the inner panel off, took the handle off, and fitted a couple of lockwashers to the mounting screws, then tightened it up snug to the body. Next I took the shitty pot-metal rearview mirror mount off the passenger door (the mirror was gone when I got the truck).
Then I fitted a replacement glove box door to the dashboard. See the clip held in with two screws in the photo above? That’s an early-style clip, from what I can gather. Later clips were actually a hoop of metal the latch hooks onto. My dash is old so the metal lip the hoop mounts to is smaller. I’ve got to figure out some kind of temporary fix for this so I can actually use my glove box.
I also have to get up under the dashboard and POR-15 the seam at the firewall; I noticed some water leaking down inside when the truck was sitting at the campsite. I may actually use some Eastwood rust inhibitor this time to see how well it works, and I can get it at the Advance when I pick up some new door jamb switches.
Look closely, there are two fixes in this picture. The first is the taillight, which took all of five minutes to remedy. I opened the access panel on the back of the tailgate, fed the ground wire inside, and grounded it to the handle mechanism. Problem solved! I wish it was as bright as the LEDs I used on the swing arm, but for now it’s road-legal.
Next is the soft top. See how it’s even across the top? That’s because there’s finally a second strap on the driver’s side. I used some standard polyester thread to sew the nylon I bought from Sailrite last year, and used a piece of scrap metal on the grill to melt the ends closed. Then I sewed it into the canvas of the top and looped it once around the rear hoop. It’ll probably need thicker sail-quality thread at some point (and a big fat needle) but for now it’s functional.
I took a welding class downtown on Sunday–simple stuff, a wire-fed system–but it was easy to pick up and after about ten minutes I was laying down butt and fillet welds in 1/8” box steel. I’m sure it’s more difficult with thinner metal but the concept and execution are the same.
There’s not much to report on the Scout front, but I did do a little sleuthing the other day and found that the license plate light does in fact work–the ground I’d attached it to is lousy. I unscrewed the ground wire and as soon as I touched it to the release knob on the tailgate, it lit up. So I have to run the ground wire back inside the tailgate and hook it up to something more substantial. Other than that, she’s running strong.
I got some time to plug the tire this weekend, after hitting YouTube to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything. It went very smoothly, and the tire is holding strong. I hit the tread with some white paint so I know where the plug went in if it does start leaking again. While I had a little time, I moved the fire extinguisher out of the console, where it does no good locked up, to the base of the driver’s seat.
On Sunday I took her for a spin to the parts store, and misjudged the amount of gas I had in the tank (again). I was coming up on the gas station on the way into Ellicott City and felt the engine quit; I hoped I’d have enough rolling energy to get up the hill and next to the pump, but had to brake while a woman in an SUV blocked my path. So there I was, stalled on an incline, with no brakes and no steering. I cranked the emergency brake down, put it in gear, and went to borrow a gas can.
So: what comes first for the spring? Drop the gas tank and fix the sender for good, or hydroboost?
I got out into the garage for the first time in two weeks to run up the engine, and found a nasty surprise: the front passenger’s tire was flat.
A quick inspection revealed a screw lodged in one of the treads. I broke out the compressor and put air back in it, and it held for a day; Finn and I picked up a new tire repair kit at Lowe’s but I didn’t have time enough to put it in before I had to park her back in the garage.
But, before I did that, I took her down the street to the coffee shop and picked Finn up from daycare.
I did some minor fooling around with the Scout today while the weather was warm. One of the easiest things to accomplish was swapping out the windshield wipers. I used ANCO 5913’s, which come with a bolt and nut ready for mounting (Thanks, Mike Moore!). All I had to do was pull the old blades and grind the rivet off with a multifunction saw, and bolt the new blades on. Make sure your kits have the nut included; one of mine didn’t. I had to use a 1/2″ 14/40 bolt and a locknut from my bench stock to hook up the second blade.
Then I pulled the dash bezel off to try and get the radio working again (turned out it was the ground wire, which we had disconnected when we were diagnosing the fuel sender issue back in the fall). Wile I was in there I pulled both purple-painted light bars out and replaced them with clean spares.Then I tried getting the speedo out to replace some bulbs, but couldn’t get it to come through the dash cutout, so I gave it up and put everything back.
We had a workday north of Baltimore the last week in October, and I was lucky enough to have about five sets of hands helping diagnose my fuel sender issue. What we were able to sort out is as follows:
- My wiring loom up to the bulkhead is not original, but contains original green wiring.
- The ground spade on the sender wasn’t connected (it must have come off at some point after we installed it) but it is now.
- The sender is working properly. We tested it for resistance and it works when we slosh fuel around in the tank.
- The PO put in a grounding wire directly to the frame, which I cleaned up with some sandpaper.
- The wire going up to the bulkhead connector works.
- The bulkhead connector is a mess, and has been screwed with quite a bit.
- Everything behind the dash is a mystery.
The service manual says we’re looking for wire 36-16, which checks out behind the dash but the wire going from the sender through the loom looks like 11. Additionally, the 11 loop (the one which appears to ground on a stud welded to the backside of the dashboard) was loose, so I reconnected that.
While I was there, I bought a Thermoquad from Jason H. for tinkering (it’s the one on the left; the one on the right will get rebuilt as my spare).
One of the things I pulled off the junkyard Traveler last weekend, almost absent-mindedly, was the door rubber from both sides. I wasn’t even thinking about it when I first saw the truck, but as I worked around and inside the cab, I realized it was in very good shape. I’ve been looking for something to cut down on the door rattle on both sides, and having the air leaks plugged when the traveltop is on would be fantastic. I’ve got a set of rubber that came with the top I bought in the spring, but that’s all in one piece and I don’t want to cut it. This set looked great except for a few spots where it had deformed, so I didn’t feel bad about chopping it into smaller sections. I put a vertical strip down the A pillar from the top of the windshield to the dogleg and cut another vertical piece for the B pillar. The lip along the floor is still intact in some areas but there isn’t enough to justify covering it, so I left it. The driver’s door closes perfectly, but the passenger door, which has always been problematic, refuses to shut at all now due to the way it’s hung– inboard and toward the rear of the truck. The rubber is too thick between the edge of the door and the bottom of the A pillar. At some point I’m going to have to adjust it to fit better if I want door seals.
I ordered a set of thin stainless locknuts from Fastenal before our vacation and they arrived today. The replacement hardware I installed on the soft top bows works great, but the locknuts were just a little too fat to let the threads on the bolt reach the nylon, so they kept rattling themselves off. (Brian H. found this out the hard way on our way back from Mt. Airy this weekend). The new set works perfectly, allowing the bolts and bows to move freely but fasten tightly.
Sunday morning I got up early, helped get Finn fed, and then hustled outside to get to work. Brian T. drove all the way out from Chestertown with his compressor and we sanded, scuffed, cleaned and taped off the whole truck. As I was finishing up some final scuffing, Brian looked up from the liner kit and said, “I think we have a problem.” Al’s Liner is a 3-part system, the first of which is an adhesion primer that came in a plastic bottle. My cursory check of the kit last week failed to reveal it had frozen solid after two years in storage. Being a specialty kit, nobody open on Sunday has it in stock, and all the other commercial liners are 2-part systems. Grudgingly, we wrapped everything up under plastic. I’ll call first thing tomorrow and see if they can overnight me a new bottle, in which case I’m going to try and shoot it on one night this week. I hooked up a trio of lights under the tent that should provide enough coverage to see the whole thing.
After everyone took off, I took Finn swimming in the neighbors’ pool and drank a beer to cool off.
Many thanks to everyone for their help this weekend- both Brians went above and beyond and I never would have made it this far without their help.