Hmm, I just realized I never mentioned what happened with my steering caster upgrade. Short answer: nothing. The guy I brought it to had it for about three hours while I hung out in a Starbucks across the street. When I walked back over, it was parked on the side and he sheepishly told me he couldn’t budge either ball joint stud no matter how hard he tried. To his credit, he backed off, afraid he’d break something, and didn’t charge me anything for his time. Looking over both knuckles I didn’t see much evidence of an attempt, but whatever.
He recommended bringing it to the local 4×4 shop to see if I could have someone there work it over for me. This thought made me nervous for several reasons; I get the sense most of these shops are staffed by 22-year-old vape bros catering to guys who want to bolt aftermarket crap onto their shiny new Jeeps.
At the Scout meetup later that week I got to talking with one of the guys who knows a local mechanic who used to work on Internationals, and he suggested I get in touch. This week I’m going to follow up with a phone call, looking ahead to an appointment in the spring. Because while he’s working on this stuff, I’ll have him go over the whole front end and check it for wear.
My intention this afternoon was to take 20 minutes to replace the ancient 1970’s era speaker under Peer Pressure’s dash with a new one. A few weeks ago I some cursory research on the interwebs and someone claimed the stock speaker was 4×10″, so I ordered an inexpensive replacement online. Today I pulled the old one out, and it turns out I was wrong (a quick trip into the garage to look over the two spare dashboards I have would have confirmed this): it’s 4×8″, a very unconventional size for a speaker. RetroSound has replacements for $100+, which is more than I care to spend, or there are some cheaper alternatives which are intriguing (and, strangely, listed as OEM replacements for Case/IH equipment). For now, I’ll return the new one this week and come up with another plan.
And, just to prove I am not a complete philistine, I pulled the fiberglas inserts down out of the garage attic and stuffed them into the Scout this afternoon.
Saturday was looking pretty grim for most of the morning but around noon the clouds seemed to burn off and we got some sunshine. Which is great, because the high was 48˚. Even so, six Internationals showed up, including Bennett in Heavy D, Steven G. in his Scout II, Dwight R. in his shiny Scout II, Paul S. in a glorious lifted Travelall, another guy whose name I missed in a second D-series pickup, and of course Peer Pressure.
We hung around the parking lot for an hour or so, talking trucks, and then went inside for some barbecue. As always, it’s great to talk with old friends and make new ones too.
In preparation for the meetup this weekend I figured I’d better get off my ass and fix the issues I had with the first batch of stickers I produced. The new ones now say Old Line State Binders on the face of the hub where the Lock and Free lettering is embossed. I increased the size of the map in the background and added a slight rule around the hub to set it off the background. And, now the stickers are the right size: 3″ in diameter.
These look cleaner. The printing went better (it didn’t plug up the blacks like the small version) and the relationship to the flag is OK…but now I’m thinking the hub needs to go back to the original ratio, because the flag is too big.
It’s a miracle I can get myself dressed in the morning.
I’ve been organizing a fall IH meetup for the last month or so (I got nominated at Nationals, as I organized the last meetup in 2014) and it’s looking good. So far I’ve got 10 confirmed attendees and 6 Scouts coming to a lunchtime/parking lot gathering, which is about all we can do in late November. Previous meetups have been work days, but it’s just too cold to work outside, and nobody has a big enough space to gather in at this point.
If you’d like to stop by, here are the rough details:
November 17 @ 11:30-?
Famous Dave’s Barbecue
6201 Columbia Crossing Cir, Columbia, MD 21045
Steering on Peer Pressure has gotten…sporty since I put the new tires on. What was once a pretty stable platform has gotten wandery and looser, which makes me nervous when driving at speed. I bought a caster correction kit from Super Scouts a month ago or so, and realized pretty quickly that the installation is more than I’m prepared to take on. So I called the alignment shop I’d used before Nationals and asked if they could install it for me, which they agreed to. So I’ve got an appointment for Saturday morning, and hopefully I’ll see a difference when it’s complete.
Meanwhile I got my rebate card from General Tire in the mail, and the clown who has been hounding me to buy my tires for $100 lower than the asking price got back in touch with me this week. Fuck it. I want them out of my garage. With that cash (providing the guy actually shows up) I can order an aluminum radiator and new hoses, and set that aside as a fall project, if it doesn’t get too cold too quickly.
Finally, I pulled the shitty switch out of the fiberglas panel in back of the TravelTop. I don’t remember having this switch in Peer Pressure, which was a stock 1978 model, so it’s a new thing to me. As I was attempting to unscrew the live lead from the dome light, it was sparking (!!!) so I know I wasn’t seeing things last week. I marked the position of the switches and pulled it out, wrapping the live lead with some electrical tape.
Examining it closer, it’s a miracle it didn’t burn the truck down earlier. It’s just the barest of mechanical parts with a flimsy plastic switch in the middle, and it appears to be missing a pin or other conductive metal object that was spring-loaded, providing resistance when toggled. I can’t find any mention of it on any of the IH parts sites and there’s no serial number printed on it anywhere. It’s clearly a factory part, as there’s a mount built into the fiberglas panel, but I don’t see any sign of it on the electrical diagrams in the manual (there’s just a straight run from the passenger’s taillight up the rear pillar to the dome light).
More sleuthing to follow.
I had an hour or two this weekend to fool with the Scout, and decided to pull the soft top off and drop the Traveltop on the rails. This is the first time it’s been on in two years, as I lost all of last fall to chemotherapy. As a result I was a little rusty with the process. I have it suspended from the ceiling with four ratchet straps, attached to two 2×3’s with eyehooks at each end. This inexpensive solution keeps the top mostly up and out of the way during the winter, but I’d certainly kill for a taller ceiling and a motorized hoist.
First the soft top gets unsnapped and disconnected from the body. Then it gets unsnapped from the rear hoop, folded in half, and lifted off. Then the hoops and bedrail caps get unscrewed and removed as one unit. The hoops separate in the center and I fold each side together, and zip-tie them in place so they store easier. Finally, the metal retaining strip across the top of the windshield frame gets unbolted.
Next, I pull out the rubber gaskets and lay them in place: on the top of the windshield and on either bedrail. From there I carefully lower the top down by releasing slack in each of the ratchet straps until the 2×3’s are sitting on the bedrail. By bending over and lifting the top on my back I walk it forward and into place, and then I have a helper (in this case Finn) pull the 2×3’s out from the side while I lift the top. I make a few adjustments to get it aligned and then finger-tighten 10 bolts along the bedrail and four bolts in the windshield. Then we tighten everything down.
Finally, I unscrew the passenger’s taillight and thread the cabin light lead down a hole in the rear corner of the tailcap where the pigtail lives, and connect it back up. There’s a switch wired to the plastic fascia above the liftgate that probably turns the light on from the back, but it’s broken. Alarmingly, I saw some kind of light or spark behind it when I tried it so I’ll have to pull that apart next weekend and either cap it off or fix it.
I had to take the spare out so that we could reach the bolts, and I was worried it wouldn’t fit with the top back on, but it does, just barely. We celebrated by taking a ride around the block.
Meanwhile, I’ve had two spare carbs sitting on the bench downstairs for, oh, two years now. It’s time to get the good one refurbed and boxed away for future use and off the bench for good. With a little liquid courage, I went downstairs last night and started putting things back together.
I opened the rebuild book and started working on the parts I knew about, following the instructions as best I could. Within about two hours I’d put in both floats and adjusted them, laid the new gasket in place (and taken it off, and replaced it, and…), unscrewed and cleaned both of the idle mixture screws, and pulled and replaced both of the main jet brass fittings.
Thankfully, I’ve got the spare TQ sitting next to it on the bench, so I can refer to it whenever I need to know which way a retaining pin goes, or how the linkages on each side are re-connected once I’ve got the whole thing together. There are a pile of smaller gaskets and pins and brass fittings that still have to go in (I’m only about 1/10 of the way in to this) but I’ve got some confidence now that I’ve started.
Following up on my last post, I was all set to order a threaded rod from Fastenal ($19.50 for a 2′ rod, before shipping!!!) but today’s errands took us past the local Ace Hardware and I stopped in to see what they had. They aren’t technically local so it’s not a quick trip, but their fastener section is twice the size of either offering at the nearby Lowe’s or Home Depot (their Grade 8 section is comprehensive and where I’ve sourced 9/10 of my fasteners). I found a 2′ rod for a grand total of $2.79 and practically ran out of the store with it.
At home I heated it up the same way as the others and within 10 minutes had it bent on both sides. After a test fitting for length I took it back off, chopped about 5″ off with the angle grinder, cleaned up the threads, and had it mounted in place. I also remembered I had a steel plate that came inside the toolbox I bought from Bennett, and I added a hole in the center. Within 10 minutes I had the whole thing mounted and the tire up off the bed of the truck. Success! Just in time to take it all back out so that I can put the hardtop on. Oh, and I’ll have to paint the plate with some POR-15 too…
One thing that didn’t make it on the 2018 To-Do list was the creation and installation of a longer retaining rod to secure the new spare tire. Stock 1976 Scout wheels were 10.5″ wide and thus the rod mounted to the rear bed wall is a certain length. I’m now dealing with tires that are 12.5″ wide, and the rod is definitely 2″ too short. I bought a 12″ threaded rod and a 3/8″ coupling nut a while back, thinking I’d extend the length of the existing rod and cut off what I didn’t need, but after a test fitting I found that the coupling nut would most likely be right where I needed the wingnut to be, and if my license plate bolts are any indicator, the coupling nut would rattle itself loose after 100 miles. Then I thought I’d make my own rod, by heating the threaded rod and bending it in my vise. I used a propane pipe torch ad within about 10 minutes had the main bend complete but found the shorter bend a little harder to accomplish.
I tried mounting it tonight. Turns out it’s still about 2″ too short, which is a bummer. I’m going to order a 18″ threaded rod tomorrow and see if I can make that work.
Meanwhile, Brian noticed a Scout for sale online and sent the link to Bennett and I. In the huge cache of pictures linked to the ad I noticed how the seller is mounting his spare, and slapped my forehead. Why not get a flat piece of steel, cut it down, and use it for a mounting plate? Looks like I have a trip to the steelyard to make this weekend.
I’ve also set the wheels in motion for a Maryland IH meetup sometime in November with the usual crew of guys, plus a bunch of new faces we’ve met over the last couple of years. As of right now there’s no set destination and no firm date, but I put together a simple online poll and hopefully we’ll get our act together in a week or so.
Somebody stuffed a note under my wiper blade at soccer practice last week that said “I like your truck. Would you be interested in selling?”