I drove back from the Eastern Shore last week, heading west into the sunset, and was reminded once again how beautiful that side of Maryland is, and at the same time exactly how shitty the glass in my current windshield is. It’s covered in small chips and nicks, so when the low sun hits it, I can’t see anything in front of me. I’ve literally driven with my head out the side of the truck in situations like this, which works fine for short trips to the store but gets very dangerous when merging onto a highway at 60mph.

I’m thus eyeballing one of the windshield frames in my garage and moving ever closer to swapping it out with the frame on the truck. At this point I’m trying to decide whether it’s a better idea to pull the glass out of the existing frame and replace it with the new gasket and spare glass, or just mount the whole thing in the spare frame and swap windshields. The former is filled with uncertainty; who knows what shape the metal is under the gasket on that unit? My guess is that it’s pretty crunchy under there, but I don’t know for sure. The latter solution is also problematic; mounting a whole windshield can be tricky with things like panel gaps and hidden bolts. But at least the engineers at IH made it removable in the first place; I’m lucky it’s even a possibility.

I’m leaning towards the second option, because I know what shape the inside of the spare frame is in, and I’d like to replace old parts with newer better ones as much as I can. I can also mount and prep the windshield wiper motor and linkage much easier on the spare frame than I can on the truck. With that in mind, here’s what has to happen, in order:

  1. Spray rust encapsulator inside the entirety of the frame
  2. Clean up the metal lip in a few places to make mounting the gasket easier
  3. Sand and paint the frame properly to cover the primer and encapsulator
  4. Hit the whole thing with clear coat to protect it
  5. Mount the metal lip and snaps for the soft top (this will be much easier on the bench than on the truck)
  6. Check, lubricate, and prep the wiper motor and linkage
  7. Install the gasket and glass in the finished frame
  8. Pull the old windshield off the truck
  9. Replace it with the new one
  10. Mount the rearview mirror much higher.

I’ve got the encapsulator. I think I’m just going to spray the outside with aerosol Duplicolor, as buying a $100 quart of paint to shoot out of a $100 gun I don’t even own seems a bit expensive. And the shape of the frame lends itself to aerosol as well; I don’t have to worry about smooth coverage on a wide flat area.

The big thing is pulling the old frame off and putting the new one on—I think I’ll probably pause at step 6 and cut the old glass out of the frame just to see how that one looks before trying to pull it off. If it’s relatively intact and just needs some light cleanup, I might just keep it on and pop the new glass in.

I’m still doing a lot of traveling on the weekends to my father-in-law’s house, but I think I can squeeze some time in during the next few weekends to knock out the first five items on that list. Now, the big question: which color do I use to paint the spare windshield? Should I stick with red, or go with something completely different?

Date posted: August 11, 2022 | Filed under Future Plans | 1 Comment »

I saw this lovely ’72 Scout on Marketplace yesterday and grabbed a couple of the pictures. This is a beautiful shade of green, and the grille/wheel combination works perfectly. I think the only way it could get better is if the top was white, leaning further into the ’70’s vibe.

BTW, The guy wants $42,000 for it.

Date posted: August 9, 2022 | Filed under Inspiration | Leave a Comment »

On our way down Congress Street in Austin last week, I was looking up at the beautiful neon signage when Finley said, “Look, there’s a Scout.” She was right: a red Scout II sat out on the street with the words Hotel San Jose on the side; apprently it’s pretty famous there but hasn’t moved much lately by the looks of the dried leaves on the front seats. I posted a picture on Instagram and one of the local Scout owners I follow liked it and asked if I was in town on Monday; she was going to be at a car meetup and would put the word out to the other Scout friends in town.

Sheepishly, I parked our rental Buick around back; lined up in front of the bar were a ’65 Chevy pickup, a ’70 Ford pickup, Lydia’s beautiful Scout II, an absolutely evil-looking early 70’s Nova, a ’56 or ’57 Belair sedan, and a mid 60’s Ranchero. After I grabbed a beer, I got to talking with Lydia and she told me about how she found her Scout; presently a couple of Scout 800’s rolled in, followed by a third she’d never seen before, and then a huge lifted Traveler. I met a bunch of new folks—atxscout800, seatruckn, and a couple of other folks not on the ‘Gram.

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We talked trucks and Austin and music and other stuff and generally had a great time. At one point I looked around and a blown El Camino had arrived, several customized vans, a first-gen Mustang, an absolutely spotless ’68 Pontiac Tempest, a beautiful ’60 Chevy Sport Coupe, and other beautiful cars. I hung around until about 10, when the crowd started thinning, and left with a sweet ATXScouts T-shirt, a couple of stickers, and a big wide grin on my face. Thanks, Austin!

Date posted: July 28, 2022 | Filed under Friends, Trip Logs | Leave a Comment »

I’ve been noticing the stitching on my $50 soft top coming apart above the rear flap for a couple of weeks now, and it’s been accelerating. Where it started out at an inch long, it’s now about  a foot and a half long and getting worse. Some of the threads have rotted and are giving way, but some of the canvas is ripping as well. I decided to pull the whole thing off and switch it out for the dark brown top from Chewbacca for the rest of the summer until I figure out a way to repair it.

This is the first time I’ve had this top on this truck. It’s a snap model like the tan top, so it’s a simple switch. But there are differences in the design—this one is clearly an early production version while the tan top is  newer. The main differences are around the front windows; on the tan model they sewed a set of padded baffles over the top of the windows so that rain wouldn’t drip inside the cab. The flaps that fold under the window frames are smaller and have less velcro surface area. And there aren’t any straps built into the back corners to hold the top down to the body.

It’s not very pretty. The color combination isn’t to my taste, but the top itself is in excellent condition. I’ve got some spare nylon strap and quick-release buckles left over from my last repair job, so I’m going to make another set of straps for this one. Finn and I took it for a test run this afternoon and the velcro held up fot ten minutes at 65mph, which is more than I can say for the other two tops. But if need be, I’ve got enough mil-spec snaps to modify the flaps like I did with the other two.

It’s hard to believe I’ve gotten this much use out of these tops—all three of them are over 20 years old and showing their age. But with some careful repairs I think I can get a couple more years out of them.

Date posted: July 8, 2022 | Filed under Repairs | Leave a Comment »

This week I built an auxilliary fuel delivery system out of a boat tank, a cheap fuel pump, some spare wire, and $25 of hose. The tank is a 3 gallon West Marine unit I got on sale, with a quick disconnect and a handy gauge built in. The pump I found on Amazon, which pushes at 2.5—4psi. Everything I’ve read about the Carter AFB says it likes up to about 6psi, so I figure we’re in good shape. I soldered clips to some extra wire I had on hand and lengthened the reach of the pump, so we can disconnect it quickly from the battery if need be. The big question now is what size the fuel inlets on the carb actually are; I’ve got three Thermoquads sitting in the basement, but none of them have a screw-in fitting so I’m taking a wild guess, and the information on AFB carbs is spotty at best.

I built this to get the Chrysler moving under her own power, but the universe seems to have further plans for us. In the last month I’ve been approached by two separate people with Scouts who need help getting them running again: I drove Finn to karate practice a couple of weeks ago and one of her instructors told me she’s got a Scout under a tarp in her backyard. Naturally I offered my help to get it running. And last week a neighbor walked up the driveway and asked me for some help: his friend has a Scout that’s been sitting in a garage for years and he wants to get it running again.

Clearly I have been noticed as the Scout Guy, and more confoundingly, the Get This Scout Running Again Guy; I’m pleasantly surprised and somewhat intimidated by this development. Hopefully I can live up to it.

 

Date posted: July 1, 2022 | Filed under Friends | Leave a Comment »

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I’ve been keeping an eye on the classifieds for months now, looking for a particular kind of truck to appear. I’ve always liked the lines of the C model IH pickups of the 60’s; there’s something very unique and interesting about the shape of the cab, how it meets with the hood, and how the lights and grille were adapted over the years to fit the lines of the truck. Both the square and stepside beds look good, and I’d be happy with either one; the longer stepside beds feature a divot in the driver’s wheel well to fit a spare—a feature that originates with roadsters of the 1920’s with spare wheels mounted behind the front fenders.

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The interiors are spartan and utilitarian, but there’s a real nice design language around the later dashboard design, and the non-linear, organic shape of the inside door cards is very 60’s. In short, I’d love to have one of these, and it’s been on my mind a lot in the last couple of months.

I wrote about the last one to catch my eye late last year, but I waited too long and the listing disappeared. On Saturday a little red 1100B appeared out in East Baltimore for a low price, and I sent Brian a text with the listing:

After some back and forth with the seller, I drove out to look at it Sunday evening.

Having really looked over some of the pictures before arranging the meet, I knew what to expect, but as always, seeing things in person is so much better. This truck actually has a lot going for it; the 6-cylinder IH engine sounded good even though the seller couldn’t keep it idling without staying on the gas. The rear bed is in decent shape except for some rust holes in the center and dinged-up rear caps. The tailgate is rusty in several places but does open and close. The back of the cab is in good shape. The doors are decent, close correctly, and the rockers and sills are in excellent shape. There’s a hole the driver’s side floor. And everything is there except for the headliner. The front of the cab is crispy, though—where the cab meets the fenders is rough and the fenders themselves are junk. The front valance is rough. It looks like someone parked it with the nose hanging outside a garage door, and all of the weathering happened in front of the windshield.

For the motivated buyer it might be a good project—but there were enough strikes against it that I decided to pass. If the cab had been solid, I could have found two replacement fenders. If it was a floor shift instead of a three-speed column I might have looked twice. If the bed and fenders were in better shape, it would have been worth buying to wait for a donor cab. But this wasn’t the truck for me. I’ll keep looking, and maybe the right one will show up.

Date posted: June 27, 2022 | Filed under Inspiration | Leave a Comment »

Gas has hit an all-time high of $5 per gallon around here, so my trips in the Scout are generally limited to short errands around town. I wound up leaving it at home for my trip up to New York last weekend, partially because the forecast for both travel days called for rain, and partially because of gas prices. As it turned out, there was little rain both days, and the weather was cool and mostly sunny. But I got 33 MPG in my Honda, and I can’t beat that.

This weekend, I spent some quality time messing around in the garage, and some of that time was spent on Scout stuff.

The gas tank has been sitting for a month or so waiting for me to get around to putting the sending unit in place. I didn’t know how to get the unit screwed in place with the thick rubber washer they provided. There’s a locking ring that goes over the sender and under three flanges welded to the tank, and the washer is too thick to make it easy to install. What I finally did was get one of the wings on the washer under a flange, and then carefully get the other two started with a couple of screwdrivers and some luck. Then, with some gentle taps with a hammer to spin the washer, I got the whole thing mounted and working. I have to take it back off to test the whole unit (and troubleshoot the wiring issue) but at least now I know I can get it installed.

The next thing I fooled with was pulling the trim off of one of the Flintstone doors to see what it would look like on Peer Pressure. I’ve had the guts of the door open several times, so it took about five minutes to get into the door, and then it was a simple matter of pinching the clips to release the trim.

I have to say, it looks kind of cool but also like I’m dressing up a pig. I like how the trim breaks up the big slabby purple area, but if I was to put a full trim kit on, that would imply I like the purple color, which I really don’t, or that I intended it to be this color and have now given it my stamp of approval. In any case, I don’t have a full set of trim pieces for in front of the doors or around the rear wheels, so at this point it’s not even an issue. It’s interesting to think about, though.

Date posted: June 13, 2022 | Filed under Progress | Leave a Comment »

As mentioned elsewhere, I inherited a beautiful new piece of IH gear: my friend Stephen passed his fridge on to me, the one I helped drag out of a basement and haul up to his house before the pandemic. He’s downsizing and his girlfriend doesn’t have a place to put it, so he gave Bennett and I first right of refusal. It’s a 1951 HA-84 model, and it’s complete with all racks, trays, and hardware.

Overall it was easy to move and get into the garage, and I spent a good bit of Memorial Day scrubbing the insides down with Simple Green and washing out the interior shelves and racks. After letting it sit upright for a couple of days to settle, I plugged it in last night for two hours (in 95˚ weather) and it chilled down to perfect beer-keeping temperature. So I’ll keep cleaning the outer shell and do some longer-term testing when I’m back from my New York trip to see how it does over a week. The plug may need to be replaced, and I’d like to look over the wiring inside.

Peer Pressure is running really well, and did great moving a boat and hauling the fridge from up in Towson. I’m taking it up to my mother’s to a family wedding this weekend, which will be the first time it’s been up to New York. The forecast is calling for cooler temperatures and a 30% chance of rain on Tuesday, the day I come back, so I’ve got the Rain-X handy for unscheduled showers.

One thing that’s been happening since I fixed the turn signal cam is that the horn has been going off randomly for no clear reason. We stayed in Solomons about two weeks ago and when I left the hotel to pack the car I heard the horn blaring from across the parking lot. A tap on the center of the wheel silenced it, but it happened several more times since then. I took the cover off and disconnected the horn lead for now, but at some point I’ll have to figure out what inside the plastic horn assembly is creating a contact (I can’t disassemble it without destroying it).

I’ve got the long-distance travel kit for the Scout assembled, and I have to throw my crusty old clubs in the back on the off chance we get 9 holes in at the College course. I haven’t played golf in 15 years but it would be fun to throw back some Bloodys and fuck around on the course.

Date posted: June 1, 2022 | Filed under Friends | Leave a Comment »

I had some time to tinker on Saturday, and I got tired of tripping over a big box in the basement containing my windshield gasket. Naturally, I saw this as a sign and brought it out to do a test-fitting. I’ve always been confused as to how this thing gets installed, as it’s a huge circle of rubber with the weight of a Burmese python and the cross-section of West Virginia. Which side is up? Which flap do you fit into the groove on the windshield?

I did some tinkering, looked at an old video I’d saved, and finally solved the puzzle: the flattest, squarest section is in the back (facing the passengers) while the part with 17 folds goes in front. Once the glass is in place, one of those folds tucks down into another fold and forms a self-sealing lock, holding the glass in place.

This was also a good time to make the call on which frame will be the replacement: It’ll be the darker gold frame, which has less rust around the inside lip and elsewhere. I’m going to try to repair some of the rust damage on the lip when I get a welder, and then I have to figure out how to paint it before it goes on. But that would be an excellent project for the summer (and long overdue).

Date posted: May 16, 2022 | Filed under Future Plans, Repairs | Leave a Comment »

My (somewhat limited) social media feeds, email inboxes, and texts all blew up with people sending me the news that the Volkswagen group is thinking about making a new electric SUV called the Scout. It’s a long, convoluted story, but the Autopian breaks down how VW has come into possession of the Scout trademark through its purchase of Navistar after a colossal strategic mistake in building diesel engines.

Date posted: May 12, 2022 | Filed under Uncategorized | 2 Comments »