Wee bit of a fender bender on the way in to work this morning. Luckily, it wasn’t my fender.
Continuing from my first thread (gas tank replacement), Sunday morning Brian and I took Peer Pressure out for a test ride to get breakfast, and everything seemed to be working great. We had some food and then adjourned to the garage to begin our second project: cutting steel for new rear bumpers. We took our cues from a couple of different writeups here on the BP, especially this one this one and this one, and a number of different pictures and other references from around the web. What we originally imagined and what we wound up with are two different things, as you’ll see here.
The first thing Brian did, months ago, was find us the hinges. He got them here: Guardian Gate hinges He got the 2000 series unprimed model.
From there, we worked with the specifications some other folks had used, and bought a length of 6″ x 2″ 3/16″ box steel as well as two pieces of 2″ x 2″ in the same thickness. The first step was cutting the bumpers down. We used a very durable Porter & Cable circular saw with standard metal cutting blades. We decided to keep the width the same as the stock steel bumper, so they got cut to 64″ wide.
Next, we cut the swingarms 54″ long and mocked them up roughly on the bumpers. We originally debated mounting the swingarm on top of the bumper or on its face, and finally decided to mount on the face 3/4″ outside the edge of the endcap so that the tailgate can be lowered with the swingarm at a 90˚ angle.
Next was the cradle for the swingarm, which came from 2.5″ box steel. Brian notched out one side by hand and we sliced two of them off.
From there, we pulled out our spares and laid them down on some board to mock up the vertical tube. Originally we were going to mount Hi-Lift jacks on the two support bars below the tire, but as we looked at it in person, we thought it would raise the tire too high. (we’re both paranoid about the welds giving way and the whole thing falling off the back of the truck into oncoming traffic).
We both agreed that we’re not going to be running anything larger than a 32″ tire for the foreseeable future, so we settled on that as our baseline size. We decided to lower the spare to about 1.5″ above the swingarm–mine will be 1″ higher than his–and mount the jacks on the face of the swingarm. The vertical bar is 28.5″ high. We lengthened the support arms so that they make a triangle right where the standoff for the tire mounting plate will go.
With that figured out, we cut four support arms down and laid out the triangles on the floor. It was looking like we were going to finish it all up quickly, but then it slowly dawned on us that we had a ton of smaller cuts and pieces to make.
Luckily it was about this time we took a break for lunch, changed into clean clothes, and stopped over to a friend’s house to watch him brew a Belgian triple while being interviewed for the local paper (and sip on a Dogfish Head 90 Minute while doing so). Suitably refreshed, we returned to the garage.
I’ll probably remember this out of order because it was hotter than the hinges of Hell that afternoon, but next we cut two standoffs for the tire mounts and attempted to cut braces for them. Then we measured for standoffs on the frame and cut those from the 3″ box so that the new bumpers will sit roughly at the same height and depth as the stock steel bumpers do, providing enough clearance to lower the tailgate and access the hitch below.
Brian took on the four most difficult cuts himself, which were the shallow angles on either end of the bumpers. We sloped them 6″ from the ends and 2″ from the bottom.
Then, we used some cardboard to measure and mock up flat steel for the spare mounting plate; that piece is a 6″ x 9″ rectangle aligned vertically so that we can use three of the five bolt holes on the spare. Then we cut a bunch of small plates to seal up all of the open ends of tubing.
We made notches for jack mounting points on the bottom. We sliced our remaining 2.5″ box in half and then cut four notches out of the top. Then we measured 12″ from the ends of the bumpers, centered them on that mark, and notched the bottom out. This cut is the only one we couldn’t make with our limited tools; we’re going to hire a professional welder to connect everything and have him use a plasma cutter to chop those bits out before welding in the notches.
The last four cuts were angle iron for mounting the whole assembly to the frame; we’re going to weld the angle so that it’s on the outside edges of the frame rails and bolt the bumper plates to that, as well as the crossmember–we are taking everyone’s warnings into consideration.
By this point it was about 5:30 or so and we were whupped, so we called it a day and cleaned up the shop. I think we probably have a couple of small things left to do–cutting plates for the bumper standoffs comes to mind, as well as gussets or braces for the tire standoff–before we’re ready to call in a welder. We also need to run power out to the arm and come up with some kind of lighted license plate bracket that’ll mount inside the wheel. Brian’s goal is to get his bumper mounted and ready by September 1 for a vacation trip, and I’d love to have mine by then too, if possible.
This took two guys about six or so hours with minimal steelworking equipment: A circular saw, four metal blades, some clamps, angles, and a flat surface in the shade.
I did a 160-mile round trip out to West Virginia in the Scout this weekend, and Peer Pressure ran flawlessly. I’ve never been able to tell what my speed is (larger tires and a speedo with no provenance) but I’ve suspected that it’s indicating slower than actual. I passed several SHA radar signs—the ones that measure your speed and display it to you—and found that 50 mph indicated is somewhere around 60 mph actual. So, there’s that. I also found that I got her up to 60 indicated, which means she’ll do 70-75 mph with no worries. I will say that hitting expansion joints at that speed on Triangle springs is a dicey proposition. Apart from that, and my ladies being in a separate car (one with air conditioning and airbags), the ride was perfect. The outside temperature was warm but not sticky, the sun as at my back, and the roads were mostly clear.
I got one guy who pulled up next to me in an Acura SUV, honked his horn to get my attention, and gave me a huge thumbs-up and a smile. He stuck a camera out the window and shot a picture on the way past.
I still feel a little queasy from the exhaust fumes, but it sure was nice to warm Peer Pressure up and drive her into work. I wonder if a hardtop would cut down on the smell.
I did represent the Scout on my Christmas list; at the top was a new gas tank sender and J-hooks, as well as some inexpensive speakers and a Service manual. Come on Santa!
I chose an absolutely glorious day to drive up into Monkton/White Hall to meet with a nice fellow and buy a spare Thermoquad for Peer Pressure today. Apart from one minor hiccup with lousy battery cabling, the old girl ran like a top, and we ventured out into farm country, blowing up clouds of leaves and passing by cows, horses, and IH farm equipment of all vintages. Erik is a real nice guy with a stable of drool-worthy trucks, and he gave me my pick of two Thermoquads. The one I chose looks like it was recently rebuilt itself, and comes with all the associated hardware I’ll need in case of replacement.
Later in the afternoon, I got a call from Mr. Scout, who was in town and behind the wheel of Chewbacca on her maiden voyage across the Bay Bridge. He stopped in to say hi and we looked her over; the work he did is spotless and the truck is beautiful. We took a short spin up the block and he made me get behind the wheel for the return trip. She feels great; the engine is strong, the brakes are sharp, the wheel is straight, and the truck feels tight, like it just came off the showroom floor. Well done, sir. You’ve made me proud.
I was heading to Columbia yesterday on business and as I pulled Peer Pressure to the end of the driveway, a teal Scout happened to pass by slowly. I honked and they pulled over to chat. It turns out the owner lives in Bethesda but grew up in the ‘Ville, and his Dad lives right around the corner. He just bought his rig a few months ago from Pennsylvania and he’s looking at fixing it up. I would have taken them up on their offer of a beer in the shade but I was under a time crunch so I only chatted for about 10 minutes. I turned him on to the Binder Planet and the ODBA, as well as mentioned the local crew we’ve got in the area. His plan is to drive it up here to his Dad’s place and work on it there over the summer and through the winter. His truck is in really nice shape–little to no rust anywhere but the rear arches and in the rockers; his engine is so clean you could eat off the air filter cover. It’s a V-8 with a 2bbl but he doesn’t know which one yet, so we’ll have to do some sleuthing for him.
Today was a Scout day, even if I don’t have my Scout back yet.
My mechanic got back to me on Friday and asked for a little more time to work on her, which means Monday or Tuesday. The fact that I missed a week of almost perfect convertible weather has me bummed, but the payoff will be worth it when it’s back in the driveway and running well.
In the meantime, plans to recover the local Scout went off without much of a hitch at all. After Finn and I got some doughnuts down the street, Mr. Scout met us at the house and helped blow up her new inflatable pool while we waited for Alan and his friend to make it up with the trailer. After some jockeying around the narrow streets of the neighborhood, they got the tow rig pointed in the right direction and we headed over to the seller’s house.
At first, the Scout didn’t want to start. Gas down the carb made it fire up fine but there was no gas getting through the lines from the tank. After a quick trip to the gas station for a couple of gallons, the seller blew out the line and then the filter himself (can you say “motivated buyer?”) and we tried a few tests with everything disconnected. Once we made sure the fuel pump was working—squirting gas alarmingly all over the engine—we hooked everything back up and tried it again. It turned out that I was closest to the driver’s seat, so I fired it up and it finally stayed running, and everyone cleared a path out for me to crawl down the driveway and line up behind the trailer. This time I got up onto the trailer without doing any damage, put it in 4lo and shut everything down.
We ratcheted it down tight, closed the doors up good, and money exchanged hands. All was good!
The seller was very happy to have it out of his driveway, as was his wife.
Mr. Scout has a new steering wheel for his truck, which makes him happy. We weren’t able to pull it while we were there, so he and Alan will do the swap through the mail, most likely.
Meanwhile, I continued hoarding parts for Peer Pressure. The items above are the reason I organized the whole deal in the first place: a brand-new poly gas tank, unused, with a matching skidplate. I hosed the dust off the tank and looked it over; everything appears perfect. Score!
The next item is a passenger’s fender in excellent shape; this apparently came off a Terra donor rig. It’s in better shape than the fender I’ve already got, which makes me happy.
Side note: I’d say roughly 2/3 of the spare parts I have are or originally were Tahitian Red when they came from the factory—coincidence, or something more sinister? You decide.
I also took home a clean tailgate from the same rig, which is in excellent shape. It even sports a factory “Scout II” sticker.
From the same donor rig, there are two clean doors, which are in far better shape than the two spares I have. They still have Terra glass in them, which will get sold or scrapped. The rest of the chrome looks like it’s in excellent shape. There’s some slight rust on the underside of the interior, and some bubbles under the trim on the drivers door, but it’s definitely repairable.
Alan also brought me some gifts from the last set of scrapped vehicles we picked up: the first is a clean IH-serialed compressor for my AC setup.
The next is a used Holley 2300 carb, which will be my rebuild testbed. I don’t have an air cleaner housing to fit it, but I’m hoping the ThermoQuad air cleaner might.
Update: The serial number off the carb doesn’t match anything from a standard Light Line application, which means it’s not an exact match. I’ll have to find out exactly what I’ve got so that I can order the right replacement kit.
Following that is a Holley 2100 with a spreadbore adapter mounted to the bottom. I’m not as excited about this one, but I’m going to do some reading to learn more about it.
Finally, I took the crappier of the two windshields. I figure the wiper linkage and motor might be worthwhile to have, but the rest is definitely scrap metal.
I took a little time off on Sunday and cruised over the Bay Bridge to help Mr. Scout work on Chewbacca. He’s getting down to the final details, having been out on the road for the first test run, so he’s got a long list of small items to knock off: glass, lighting, seatbelts, dashboard, etc. He and Alan and I set right to work after a delicious eclair from the bakery in Chestertown. I started by looking over the door regulators and doing a test fitting inside the old steel doors to make sure I had the right orientation, then got to work on the passenger side. After an hour or so of fooling with it I’d figured out how to mount it correctly, set the glass in place, and put the wing window in. We pulled it all out to press new felt into the door, and then bolted everything permanently in place. The only thing left to do will be to buy some longer bolts and fabricate a backing plate for the door handle as well as the latch plate, because it’s all bolting into fiberglas at this point.
He had this stuff called white lithium grease, which sprayed out of a can, and which worked incredibly well to lubricate the regulator mechanism. I’m going to go look for some this week so that I can tear both my doors down and get the windows working correctly. It made a huge difference rolling the window up and down. I was also very impressed with his PT cruiser seats, which are incredibly comfortable, and which I’m now considering for Peer Pressure. As I documented here, though, there are a few caveats to this upgrade:
- His came with captains’ armrests on the inboard side, which interfered with his Tuffy console. I think we used a Torx 45 bit to pull them off, as well as the female side of the seatbelt buckles, which are also built into the side of the seat. The driver’s side needs some kind of plastic plate to cover over the bolt mounting cutout, while the passenger’s side had one built into the seat. Strange.
- The driver’s side seat does not lean forward at all. Rear passengers will need to enter on the passenger side (where the seat folds forward almost flat, which is very cool).
- If you run a stock full-size wheel without a tilt column, there isn’t a whole lot of clearance between the bottom of the wheel and the top of the seat. You will probably need to switch out the wheel to a Rallye-style or an aftermarket Grant model.
After some lunch, I busied myself by helping to install his Tuffy console between the seats. We scribed out an arc in the rear mount to clear the transmission tunnel (something I’m also considering for mine) and set it in place with two bolts we had on hand. Meanwhile, Alan sorted out a bunch of electrical gremlins under the hood and helped get the license plate holder we scavenged from the brown donor scout mounted and lit.
Before I had to hit the road, we fired her up and Brian let me take her for a spin around the block. She purrs like a kitten, and with a little adjustment in the clutch and carb she’ll be a very enjoyable driver. It felt good to take her out again, even if she’s 3/4 new fabrication!
Yesterday I woke up early and got to the DMV as it opened to get my title and tags taken care of, and surprisingly it only took about 20 minutes for the whole process (minus the wait outside the front door). After work, I zip-tied the rear plate onto the carrier, opened the garage back up, drove the rig down the street to the gas station, put $10 of regular in it (the gauge still reads zero) and washed the crud off the front window. Then I pulled it around the side and let it idle while I pulled the top off for the first time since I’ve owned it. Let me say I much prefer the fast-trac top to the snap-fastener version!
I saw no leaks from anywhere under the hood, and idle calmed down real quick, even though she was hard to re-start at the pump; I’ll have to check the plugs this weekend. There’s also a tendency to stay at a high idle when coming to a stop, which only a goose of the accelerator will solve-it’s almost like the linkage or the carb is sticking somewhere. I’ve got to adjust the throw of the clutch pedal, which seems to be a lot higher off the floor than I’m used to-plus it’s got a stupid aftermarket racing pedal that I keep catching my foot on.
She has much different highway manners than my first Scout, which had a stock driveline. This one tracks pretty straight but the steering is tight and very twitchy. It’s going to take some getting used to. The brakes seem to be in good shape, and the electrical system is functioning enough to work (even though the BRAKE light never goes off).
I stopped over and picked up Mr. Scout and his wife, who were at his mother’s place around the corner, and we took a quick trip around the block with the top down, the three of us grinning the whole way. Even though I offered the driver’s seat several times, he’s still holding out for his baby.
Last word: I came to a stopsign in the neighborhood behind my house, and two kids in a white pickup gave me the thumbs-up as they turned the corner. The kid in the back (the one with all the drum equipment) looks it over and says, “That is one bad-*** big purple truck, man! Right on!”