Hagerty released its 2020 Bull Market List, a wrap-up of classic vehicles they predict will rise the most in value in the coming year. Smack in the middle of that list is the 72-80 Scout II. Some takeaways:
- They say the usual dumb stuff—”parts can be difficult to find.”
- Also: “Gen X is 56 percent of the quotes, and if Gen X likes it, the values are going to go up.”
- “American rivals such as the Ford Bronco and Chevy Blazer have out-appreciated the Scout.” Really? I don’t see Chevy Blazers anywhere. Early Broncos are everywhere, but I fail to believe a second-gen squarebody Blazer is more valuable than a Scout. Maybe a mint condition K5.
- The comments are divided, but I see more than one person saying they’d only take the Scout and the Ferrari from the total list of 10 vehicles.
- I’ve owned two of the other vehicles on this list: the Honda CRX and the Jeep Cherokee.
I had a little time Saturday afternoon, in the 70˚ weather, to look over the horn situation on Peer Pressure. The horns are located behind the driver’s headlight on the front side of the radiator support, so you have to pull the headlight to access it. What I didn’t realize is that there are actually two horns, wired in sequence.
You can see both of them in the shot above: The first one in line is mounted straight to the support, facing downward. The second is to the left, mounted on its side. Clearly, one of them isn’t working. I pulled the wire from the first horn to see which one was bad; the second horn fired just fine.
So, I cleaned up the wires on my Mercedes horns, grounded one lead to the body, and hooked the other one to the hot wire. Here’s the difference (Mercedes horns first, stock horn second):
The stock horn is welded to the mount, so I can either cut it off and reuse it for the Mercedes horns, or fabricate a new mount. The stock horn is toast so I don’t see much use in keeping it.
But I don’t know if I like the tooty sound of the Mercedes horns either.
On Sunday I was back out in the beautiful weather, and went through some of my small parts bins to organize what’s out there; I’ve been squirreling stuff in there for years and I’ve lost sight of my inventory.
Most of the stuff in these three bins are smaller parts—going clockwise, I’ve got a lot of lights, light buckets, and mounts, as well as lenses. At 5 o’clock there’s one door scissor—I don’t know what side—and three wiper motors. At 7 o’clock there are two plastic defroster vents. Above that I’ve got a set of door hinges that weigh about a thousand pounds. To their right are a set of drum brake pads (they are now with their mates on the shelf). There’s a fuel pump at 9 o’clock, several wiper and door lock linkages above that, and two kick panel vents above that. In the center there are several tubs and envelopes of hardware, a spare washer bottle, and two door lock assemblies.
In some of the smaller tubs I’ve got a spare set of outer doorhandles, six window cranks, six inside door handles (four left and two right) and two pairs of wing window locks (the part that sits on the top of the triangle). There’s also a tub with wing-vent plugs—anyone with wing-vent windows knows what I’m talking about.
One of my next steps is to purchase a third parts organizer to split out the Scout-specific hardware I’ve got scattered among boxes and bags—the stuff that’s expensive to replace. Things like the allen bolts that secure the window crank to the door, the shallow locknuts that hold the door hardware in place, or the gigantic bolts that secure the door hinges to the chassis. Having all of that in one place would make life much easier.
I’m also going to have to add some new large bins for the oversized parts that are loose on the shelf.
It looks like Scouts are popular on Instagram; my feed was topped with Peer Pressure this year.
Brian texted me last week to see if I was available for some junkyard picking, and we set up a time on Sunday afternoon to meet. He picked me up in the white Scout and we headed over to Jessup to see what we could find. He was looking to supplement the electric steering parts we pulled from a Versa back in October. Apparently we didn’t get everything we needed; we’d just grabbed the motor and called it done, when we also needed the bracketry, shaft, and other assorted wiring.
After a few minutes to get our bearings, we found a Versa with some serious front-end damage and found that someone had already pulled the driver’s door, steering wheel, and most of the dashboard apart. All the bracketry we needed was intact, and without the door it was even easier to get what we needed from under the dashboard. After about 20 minutes of futzing we pulled the entire assembly out and continued on our way.
I was there for three things, one of which was Scout related: the horn in Peer Pressure is the wimpiest, most pathetic little toot of any vehicle I’ve ever owned. It sounds like an Italian scooter. I wanted to find something that had some more chutzpah. I did some Internet searching and found that higher-end 80’s Cadillacs came with 4-note horns (an individual horn for each note) that are loud enough to wake the dead. The W126 Mercedes was second on the list followed by 90’s GM minivans, so I was able to narrow the search down on the yard’s handy inventory tool. As luck had it, there was a 300SE in the yard with my name on it. We found it pretty quickly, and someone had already removed the entire hood assembly, exposing the horns mounted to the radiator. All I had to do was put a 13mm socket on one bolt and disconnect the wiring, and they were in my hands.
We then looked for an eighth gen Honda Accord so that I could pull the passenger’s rear door lock assembly (mine has never locked or unlocked remotely since the day we got the car) and after ten careful minutes we pulled it from a wrecked black model with leather seats and four blown airbags.
Wandering around the junkyard, we happened upon a Sprinter van that had given up its engine, and I pulled another horn from behind the front bumper. It was getting late, and Brian’s motor assembly was getting heavy, so we called it a day and paid for our prizes.
Looking over these three horns on the bench, they’re identical—Mercedes apparently hasn’t updated their design in decades—apart from the note. The 300SE came with a 335hz and a 400hz horn wired in pair, and the Sprinter came with a 335hz. I’m going to start with the single from the Sprinter and see how it sounds in relation to the wuss stock horn, and if I need Get The Fuck Out Of My Way Loud I’ll put the dual set on and see how that does.
As for now, it’s cold and rainy (actually, snowing today) so Peer Pressure sits quietly in the garage, waiting for warmer weather.
I had the Scout out a couple days before Christmas to run some errands, and she ran great after a warmup in the driveway. The new battery has a lot more power than the old one ever did. About halfway through my trip, while accelerating, I heard and felt a Ting! behind the steering column, from somewhere behind the dash. Alarmed, I did my usual scan for damage, and felt nothing different through the pedals or in the sound of the engine. She continued running straight and true, and the engine was strong and responsive. I continued on and filed that away in my brain for later diagnosis.
A little later it became clear what the issue was: my speedometer needle was bouncing all over the place. For most mechanical speedo cables the cause is the same thing: at some point the grease in the wire got gunked up with age or dirt, and the teeth have started slipping. I’ve got a couple of different options to fix it:
- I can buy a new speedo cable and install it: about $40 from a Light Line vendor.
- I can pull the existing cable and shoot graphite into each end, hopefully cleaning out and clearing up the binding problem, as long as the teeth are still intact.
While I’m in there doing this, I could update the gears in the instrument cluster to reflect the difference in tire size from stock to where they are now; this would show the proper speed and ensure the odometer is recording the right distance.
For Christmas, I asked for a 12 volt bench power supply so that I can pull the instrument cluster and put it on steady power to troubleshoot the lights, as well as the other gauges I’ve got in my spares bin. (After doing some more sleuthing I realized I can do the same with two 6-volt batteries wired in sequence, but oh well). So the first thing to do will be to wire up one of my spares and see if I can sort that out first. Once I know what I’m doing, I’ll pull the working unit and fix that, as well as address the speedo cable issue.
As with 2018, I did get a lot of my 2019 list taken care of. The radiator and caster shims were a big improvement, and having the rear U-joint fixed was expensive but necessary. Little things like the hood strut and the front speaker were great quality-of-life improvements that I was happy to have. But this is a 40-year-old truck, and issues need to be addressed:
- Fix the speedo cable. While I’ve got the main assembly out of the dash, I’m going to clean the contacts for all the bulbs, replace them with LED bulbs I’ve got standing by, paint the needle with fluorescent paint, and polish the plastic.
- Buy a new starter. The unit Bennett and I swapped in a number of years ago was a used part from his stash, and on one of every five starts I get the I’m-not-fully-engaged sound, which tells me the solenoid is going bad. I’d like to get a new sturdy unit in there so that I’m not worrying about it.
- Pull the wiper motor back out and re-adjust it so that the arm geometry isn’t oriented below the windshield and the motor is fastened in with all four bolts.
- Replace the windshield with a new one. Mine is absolutely terrible; I don’t know if a pro installer would even work with me given the condition of my windshield frame. I’m not the only one who needs this, and guys have talked about doing a windshield installation party, so I may push for this in 2020.
- Re-route the speaker wire. This has been needed for 10 years.
- Clean out the engine bay. I talked about doing this last year and ran out of time. This is basically wrapping the carb in plastic, shooting the engine bay with degreaser, and then hosing the whole thing out. I’d have to do this somewhere other than our house now, though, because I don’t want to dissolve our new driveway.
- Put the new battery inside a marine container, and replace the battery tray. My existing tray looks like it’s been floating in saltwater and I’d like to try and save the inner fender before it dissolves that too.
- Fix the driver’s side manifold-to-exhaust leak. I have the bolts; I just haven’t gotten to this yet.
- Sandblast some of my spare sheet metal and prep it with sealer. I have a compressor but not the sandblasting kit, and there are a lot of parts I’d like to clean up.
I took the Scout out on errands Sunday before the first snow of the year. The weather was in the 50’s so it was good to get outside in the sunshine. I used the last of my starting fluid to wake her up so I thought I’d stop off at the auto parts store to pick up some more. When I came back out and cranked her over, the battery decided it was too tired to go on. I guess after 11 years I can’t complain too much; it was a bargain battery anyway.
$150 later, I put a new one in place of the old, hooked the terminals up, and she roared to life with vigor. While I was out, I got three thumbs-ups, a honk and a wave, and two guys telling me they love the Scout.
Not much to mention here, other than the fact that I ran up the girl twice over the weekend, once to pick up the Christmas tree, and another to just get her up to temperature and get fluids running through the system. I did notice that even though I’ve had her on a battery conditioner for three years, there’s a decrease in the amount of cranking power I’m getting. After 11 years, I think it’s probably time to replace the cheapo Advance Auto house brand I threw in there when my budget was tight. I noticed this weekend that Costco carries Interstate batteries, and I’ve had good luck with that brand in the past. I’m going to nurse her through the holidays and upgrade in January.
Hey, would you look at that! Scrolling through the Instagram feed of a Scout acquaintance, I noticed he’d taken a picture of a magazine spread about the 2018 IH Nationals in FourWheeler magazine. He’s the fellow grilling lunch on the front bumper of his Scout.
But if you look carefully behind him, you might notice a particular purple-and-red-and-yellow Scout.
I’m going to order a back copy of the magazine just to say I’ve been in FourWheeler.
Remember the $9000 Scout deal I linked to in August (one “good tub” and one parts Scout)? Well, the tub is gone and the parts scout is still for sale: $1900. That’s still about $700 too high, if it’s as rough as he says.
I’d love to offer him half that amount and drag it home for parts.