Until today, whenever I had a passenger ride with me, I (usually) had to get out and lift their door from the outside in order to get it to close. This was annoying. Recently, the latch on the inside disengaged from the linkage, meaning I’d have to get out to let my passenger out.
The girls took a trip up to Philly today, so I was on my own. I made a quick dinner and pulled the Scout out of the garage, pulled the panel off the door, and took a look. The plastic retainer clip broke in my hand as I took it off, so I raided my stash to find a spare. The two doors I’ve got and my spare linkage are from a later year, so the clip is a grommet/steel combination that fits into a larger hole. I drilled out the hole and fit the clip, and that was that. Then I figured I’d look at the door itself.
I put some bracing under the door and loosened the six hinge bolts on the door itself. Then I tightened the middle bolt on the bottom, pivoted the door upwards, and readjusted the bracing. Then I cinched the middle top bolt, loosened the bottom, and pushed it in 1/8″. After tightening everything down, I tested it, and I got lucky: it closed as well as the day it rolled out of the factory.
A question for the ages. I’ve got an entire truck that needs rust prevention, so what best to use? I watched a friend use Eastwood products on his Sprite (English sportscars of the 60’s rival US vehicles of the 70’s for their ability to spontaneously dissolve), and thought they worked pretty well. After some basic research, my original thought was to use Encapsulator in an aerosol can, but as I dug into the online materials a little more, I came to understand that Converter was better suited to my needs. Converter is a two-part acidic paint that converts rust to an inert oxide, while Encapsulator seals rust off and keeps it from spreading. Yes, I need to seal it off, but Eastwood says Converter is better for heavy rust, which is what I’ve got. Then, as I hovered over the Add To Cart button, I saw that they offer a quart bottle for only $6 more than a 12oz. aerosol can. Such a bargain!
I bought a cheap Harbor Freight dremel last weekend and cut down the outside housing of the LED lights I got from Amazon; they are about 3/4″ deep shipped, and about 1/8″ too wide all the way around the outer perimeter. Once I’d cut and sanded down the edges, the light fit flush into the outer bezel. It’s not perfect, and not pretty, but it works. Pulling the originals out of the buckets, though, it appears the quick connect at the end of the wire is actually inside the inner fender, so in order to swap these out I’d need to (probably) pull the headlight out of its bucket to access the inner fender.
Given all the work this took, I may take Mike’s advice and just buy LED bulbs to replace the rest of the incandescents.
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.