I removed three sections of the inner fender skirting a couple of weeks ago in order to look at the starter and wiring. In the video above, they would hide the frame rail at about 1:30—you can see the speed clips that hold them in there. I’d cleaned them up with the wire wheel and sandblaster last weekend, and took advantage of 60˚ weather today to shoot them with Rust Encapsulator and then two coats of flat black. They’ll get one shot of undercoating and then go back on the truck so that I don’t forget what they are or where they came from.
A big box sealed with IHPA stickers arrived on Monday. Inside were two wrapped bundles: Volume 1 and Volume 2 of the 1962-71 Pickup & Travelall Service Manual, unbound, prepunched for a 3-ring binder. Each bundle is about 2″ thick, so I have to hit the Staples to find a solid pair of binders to protect them. This will be my bible for the next couple of years as I resurrect the Travelall, and I’m sure it will pay for itself many times over.
Looking through my books, I realized I have thre different Scout service manuals—a new bound reprint, and two original IH printed copies, one of which is incomplete. This makes me think of building a list of stuff to bring up to Nationals to sell:
- Original bound IH Scout II service manual
- A somewhat ratty Scout 80 windshield—I might have to clean this up before I bring it out there
- An early Scout 80 heater plenum, not refurbished
- A spare Scout II windshield—it’s not pretty, but it’s worth good money
- A spare rear Scout II seat
- A (mostly) complete Scout II air conditioning setup—IH compressor, cabin unit, and refurbished stock plenum
- An air cleaner for a V8 (the diameter of the air cleaner opening is too narrow for my Thermoquad)
- A 1965-66 grille for a D-series pickup (this is the original I bought for the red bus that doesn’t fit).
In order to not make the folks running Nationals mad, I’m going to post them on the Binder Planet with a clear note that I’m bringing them with me to exchange but that I’m not interested in shipping. I figure the Scout windshield, D grille and maybe the 80 windshield will sell.
Speaking of Nationals, I sent in my registration last week and blocked off my work calendar, so I’ll be headed out to Ohio the first full week of June. I’m planning on leaving Thursday so we get there on Friday with enough time to scope the new venue out (it’s in Springfield this year, not at the Troy airfield) so things will be a bit different. I think we’re staying at the same hotel we always do, however.
In the meantime, I put the Travelall on my Hagerty insurance plan to prepare for a trip to the MVA for a title and plate change. For that process, I need the Vermont paperwork, the bill of sale, and proof of insurance. I’m in no rush there, but it’s good to have it on the policy.
On Tuesday I swapped the aftermarket roof racks from the Scout over to the Travelall in preparation for three solid days of rain; I’m going to lay some boards down over top of the racks and then hang a tarp over the whole thing to keep the cowl and windshield section dry. This is going to be the strategy for keeping her out of the rain until I can remediate those problems, and I figure it’s going to go through some modifications until I get it sorted out. The other bonus is that I can drop some plywood down and sit or lay on the roof rack while I grind out the rust up there, instead of working on a ladder. We’ll see how that goes.
Another package arrived today: a true ’63-’64 grille for the Travelall. This one is indented on either side to avoid the headlight buckets, and the grille pattern should allow for getting one’s hands inside to release the secondary hood latch—the current vertical grille makes that pretty much impossible. It’s not perfect, but perhaps some careful straightening and polishing will get it looking better—and who am I kidding, nothing on the truck looks good right now. Also, I can bolt it in place instead of relying on zip ties.
Looking at the cab floors the other day I investigated a little further and saw that they were both cut out and replaced with flat steel at some point. From what I can see the steel was laid over top of the old floor but I can’t see how it was attached—whether it was welded, glued, or something else. That’s not bad news, actually, because I might be able to cleanly cut out the bad stuff and weld in some good stuff on the driver’s side. The passenger side is the question: it looks like that’s the original floor.
Today was about 10˚ colder than yesterday so a lot of the stuff I did was in the garage, out of the wind. Mostly what I focused on was dialing in the sandblasting cabinet, after using it to clean off three sections of the passenger side wheel surround.
What I wound up doing was going to the hardware store and finding a thread-to-barb PVC junction with a big enough lip that I could drill a hole in the center of the cabinet, drop it down and through, and let gravity and the lip hold it in place. I cut the thread off so it’s as low to the bottom as possible and connected a hose to the bottom, then drilled another hole to the front of the cabinet to let the hose back in to connect with the gun. There’s a little hesitation as it flows but the effect is much better; I don’t have to continually stop to move the inlet hose around. I got a bunch of stuff cleaned off and ready for paint, but Eastwood is out of Rust Encapsulator until April. All of this stuff will get a coat of that, two coats of flat black, and one shot of undercoating before it goes back in place.
While I was working in the truck, I pulled the crumbling cardboard glovebox out and took a look behind it at the cowl. That side is much worse than I first thought it was. It’s going to need some serious love at some point—probably pulling the whole dash out and welding in some new metal. For now, I’ll try to patch the cowl from the inside until that day comes.
But in much better news, I realized the fuseblock I bought a week ago is actually correct for this truck—I didn’t understand how it mounted until I really looked at it. Which means I can bench test the whole assembly, clean the contacts up, and use it as a guide (and maybe a wholesale replacement). That’s excellent news; I was really thinking I’d wasted a bunch of money there.
My 9-5 job has ramped up in difficulty and responsibilty over the last couple of months. I’m holding down two jobs while we wait for a new director to be found, and it’s been messing with my sleep and my mental health. I spend most of my days on calls or writing emails to keep things moving from here to there, which is good for the organization but hard on my batteries. So the Travelall has been kind of a lifeline for me this year, even though it’s stranded in the driveway.
Saturday morning I got bundled up in cold-weather gear, gassed up the Scout and drove out to the Howard County Fairgrounds to check out a tool auction, which was both larger and colder than I thought it would be. There was a lot of amazing stuff there, from tables covered in tools to used farm equipment to saplings to lawnmowers. I met my friend Brian H. there and we walked the rows to see if anything caught our eye. This original KC Highliter light bar was tempting—it’s period correct for the Scout—but the rest of the lot didn’t interest me.
Auctions like this are tricky because you can’t just buy one thing—if you want a circular saw you have to also buy the rest of the stuff in the lot: five toolboxes, a space heater, three welding helmets, a gas stove, a box of Christmas decorations, and a bag of mismatched PVC pipe fittings. It’s not worth it unless you’ve got a place to store things or a lot of spare time. So we looked and left.
Back at home, I got to work on the Travelall, first pulling what was left of the old battery tray out and installing the refurbished one I bought from Marketplace. It went in with almost no problems—again, I can’t get over how easy some of these bolts have been to remove. When that was done I stripped the remainder of the window tinting off the windows and cleaned them up with Goof-Off. Vacuuming the inside of the rear doors I put the card back on the driver’s side and pulled the black window trim from each rear door out for an inside evening project.
Moving back to the engine I dumped some gas down the carb and fired it off again, messing with the plugs and the wires. Still no go. But I did notice the gas and amp gauges both working, which means not everything behind the dash is dead. Moving to the passenger fender, I chiseled the locking gas cap off and loosened the bottom of the inlet hose to disconnect it from the gas tank.
The worst bolt on the truck has been the hood support pin on that side, which didn’t want to budge. When I finally pried that off I was able to pull the whole fender off the truck and get a look underneath. Again, everything under there is so clean.
I test-fit the blue fender to see how it looked, knowing that using it as a replacement is pretty much off the table without the fuel inlet mount. If I get really clever I can have sendcutsend cut me two new pieces and weld them together with a rectangular strip to make my own flange, but that would come much later, when I’ve got some welding practice under my belt.
Once I’d test-fit the fender, I put the red one back on and fastened it with about half of the bolts. It’s going to come off a couple more times so that I can properly clean out the inner fenders, redo the shocks, scrape and paint the frame, and rebuild the lighting. On tomorrow’s to-do list is to wire wheel all of the inner fender skirts I removed to gain access to the engine, continue chasing the spark issue down, see if I can sort out more of the under-dash wiring, and maybe look into draining the fuel tank without spilling rancid gas all over the driveway. The gauge reads half-full, which means there would be 9+ gallons in there; I’ll have to see where I can dispose of it.
March has swept in over Maryland and put the deep freeze on everything. I’m still stuck with my ghetto garage, and there’s no room inside to work on the Travelall—nor is it running, meaning I couldn’t get it inside anyway. There is nothing colder than working on a car in a swirling, damp March wind when the sun hasn’t been out in two weeks.
So, looking around for something indoors to fool with, I picked up the mangled, rusty steel license plate/light mount I pried off the rear door. I was going to disassemble it and give it a bath in evaporust, but I realized I had to drill rivets out to get the cover off the light and the two brackets were so mangled and bent the whole thing wasn’t worth saving. I have an LED bracket from the Scout from when I’d wired it on to the swingarm sitting in my parts bin and thought I might see if I could re-use that. I wanted to use the original holes in the door to avoid drilling any more than I needed to, and I don’t have anyplace on the bumper to mount it.
I watched a video a month ago where an engineer built a rapid-fire Nerf gun and mentioned using an online laser-cutting service called SendCutSend, and thought that might come in handy someday. This was a perfect chance to give it a try. After dinner I traced sections on each bracket and started cutting out some cardboard. I eventually came up with a C-shaped bracket design, where the backside mounted to the door and the front to the license plate unit.
I pre-marked four mounting holes and a larger hole for the wiring to exit, and cut the whole thing out. Transferring it to a digital version was pretty quick in Illustrator, and after a few printouts I had the shape I wanted.
Uploading it to SendCutSend I was able to choose my metal type and thickness (galvanized .059″ for this part), specify the two bends I wanted, and specify black powder coating for a finish. All for about $22. The second part I measured and designed was a donut-shaped piece of 18ga. mild steel for the fender, measured 1/8″ smaller than the diameter of the hole, so that I can butt-weld it place.
I emailed to see if there was any way they could dimple the edge of the inside hole the same way the factory fender came, but they can’t. So I ordered a simple blank, and I’ll see if it fits (for $6.90, it’s worth ordering to try out).
I got a semi-blurry PDF of the original lineset ticket from the Wisconsin Historical Society today, and as usual, it clears up a lot of questions—but brings up a few more. From what the paper says, this truck was ordered by the Colorado Springs Equipment Company and built in Springfield, OH on February 14, 1963. The sheet specifies a 304 V8 with a T-15 transmission, but Howard Pletcher’s codes indicate that transmission build code means a T 98A 4 speed, which actually makes more sense—from what I can tell by the shift pattern it has four speeds. More investigation is needed, and any theory will be proven when I can actually row through the gears. The engine was set up for “Increased cooling”, which I take to mean it has a larger radiator. It was spec’d for a 52 amp alternator and a 19 gallon right-side fuel tank. It came with Ross TL-52 Manual Steering, which checks out. It had a 12 inch clutch and an IH R-1060 Power Lok rear axle with 4.10 gearing, and was painted 2150 Red. It was also equipped with a “tubular tire carrier”, something I’m not familiar with.
Interestingly, there’s a note at the bottom of the LST that it was to ship with a PTO unit to be mounted later at the delivery destination. I’ve seen no indication of PTO bracketry or controls anywhere, but I’ll have to look again—I don’t know how they would have attached it, if the truck was 2WD from the factory: typically the output shaft for a PTO was driven from the transfer case. I’ll have to take a closer look under the truck again.
So that’s a few more questions answered: a 304 has a little more grunt than a 266—180HP vs. 155 at 4400 RPM, and 304’s are much more common on the ground (and thus easier to get parts for). Chewbacca had a 304 and I loved that engine. Having 4.10 gears means I can probably chirp the tires on takeoff (ha ha) but I’ll be burning more gas per mile on the highway. So maybe a switch to 3.54 gears like Peer Pressure has is a future goal. Aa T-15 transmission is a stout 3-speed synchronized box, which is nice. A T-98 is synchronized from second to fourth gear, just like the T-19 in my Scout. Either way, I’m glad I won’t be crashing through gears like the T-18 in Brian’s Scout.
I also got a big cardboard box in the mail containing a lesson in the shape of a fender and a wire loom. The sheet metal looks really good, except for a dimple at the front and the fact that the cutout for the fuel inlet is twice the normal size; someone used a very precise tool to enlarge the factory hole. Elsewhere it’s in better shape than the fender on the truck, and it can definitely be repaired to replace the one I have, but… at first I thought cutting a donut-shaped section of steel would be be several skill levels above where I currently am, but then I remembered that there are multiple cut-to-order steel suppliers online; all I need is a very good measurement of both the inner and outer hole and I can have a donut laser-cut to size. And that got me excited to buy a welder all over again.
The wire loom looks good, but the fuse panel is clearly larger than the area I have to work with in my dash. I guess they made modifications to the panels in later years. Either way I can’t use this as a bolt-in replacement like I was hoping. The more I think about this, the more I’m resolved to buying a new wiring kit and rewiring the entire truck anyway. I’d like to have some modern amenities in this thing and the ability to add extra accessories, as well as feel comfortable knowing the 60-year-old wiring won’t burn the truck down. I think it should be pretty simple enough to tackle myself, and knowing it’s all bodged up anyway means I’m not “fixing” something that already works.
The lesson I’m learning is that I have to slow down and focus on one thing at a time. I’m getting too obsessed with fixing everything right now instead of picking one job and working on it until it’s done. Peer Pressure spoiled me in that she was running immediately and needed little in the way of repairs; most of her issues were cosmetic. I have to prioritize the important stuff first instead of throwing money at nice-to-have items.
That having been said, I got paid yesterday and ordered the Service Manual from Binder Books so I can start doing some homework while the weather is so cold.
I got a nice little package in the mail this afternoon:
So part 1 of the title quest is complete; now I have to trade the Vermont registration for a Maryland title, and be issued new Maryland plates. But not just any Maryland plates. I’m going to do the same thing I did with the Scout: buy a set of 1964 plates on eBay and have the title point to those.
I took advantage of some moderately warm weather and a mostly sunny day to get outside and attack some rust on the Travelall on Saturday. The first thing I did was get inside and start pulling the stupid running lights off the top of the roof over the barn doors; this required several different sockets, a pair of vice-grips, two screwdrivers and a cutoff wheel. When those were removed I started grinding out the rust with the wire wheel and then a flap disc.
Working my way around the side I made it to the rear door on the driver’s side and then cleaned up the metal where the old Travelall badge once lived; this is going to need a skim of bondo as well but at least it’s not completely flaking off.
Then I got the license plate holder off the rear door and cleaned that metal up; it’s going to need some love with a body hammer to flatten back out.
I pulled the door hardware off the two rear doors and removed the door cards for cleanup next. The insides of the doors are in excellent shape and just need a good vacuum. By this time it was getting cold outside so I switched to the sandblast cabinet and got it prepped for shooting the battery box hardware. The day before I bought the Travelall I’d spent some time refurbishing the box: I emptied the whole thing out, used seam sealer to plug the leaks in the bottom of the cabinet, then cut some wood to fit the replacement gloves that were 2″ too small to fit the original round seals. Last year I had issues with the box filling up with dust, making it difficult to see what I was working on, so I bought a vacuum separator from Amazon to help to pull the dust out of the air and into a can before it goes into the vacuum filter, where it would immediately clog everything up. It was on me to find the right hose and reducer to go from the box down to the separator, and then another to go from the separator to a shop-vac.
Sunday broke a lot colder than Saturday did, and I hit Harbor Freight for the hose elements to try and cobble something together. When I hit the vacuum section I saw their vortex separator which came complete with a hose and the right attachments for less than the Amazon version—so I bought it. With that and some other supplies, I came home and finished blast cabinet V2: a fully ventilated, airtight cabinet with working lights. I used new glass bead media to clean off some parts, and was generally pleased with the results. The only two drawbacks now are that I can’t run the compressor and the vacuum at the same time on the same circuit; my available power to the garage are two 110V circuits and it can be finicky. The other issue is that I need a true gravity feed for the media hopper—it’s currently a hose that sits in the pile of media but it frequently runs itself dry. I have to drill and install a true hopper at the bottom of the cabinet and link that up to the hose.
While the compressor was refilling I went out to the truck and farted around with it a little before the snow started falling. I got thirteen of sixteen bolts out of the passenger fender with little effort, which should have been a task that took me three weeks and five cutoff wheels. I hit everything I could see with PBblaster and a half an hour later I had a handful of rusty but intact bolts. The hardest part was accessing the bolts around the headlight bucket, but that was an ergonomic problem, not an oxidization issue. It’s really crazy how good a lot of this truck is compared to other trucks I’ve seen (and certain parts of this truck itself).
So next up is to order about three more cans of Rust Encapsulator, a handful of flap discs, a wire wheel, and a pot of Bondo, and hope for some warmer weather so that I can keep working on the roof. The goal is to get the roof cleaned up, sealed off, leveled out with Bondo, and ready for paint.
The other thing that has to happen pretty quickly is the purchase of a welder, so that I can weld up the holes in the roof over the barn doors before the water really gets a chance to settle in there.
I’ve been keeping my eye out for replacement sheet metal for the Red bus since the day I bought it, knowing C-series panels will be much, much rarer on the ground than Scout parts are.
I answered an ad in Marketplace from a guy who’s been selling parts from a C series truck for a while, based out of Ohio. He re-posted the ad and included some pictures of two fenders, one of which looked pretty good for what it was. I messaged him about more photos and he sent me a couple, along with a decent price. I asked him if he had the fuse block by any chance, and he said he did—and would try to give me as much of the wiring harness as he could with it. So we’re working on shipping, and hopefully I should have some spare passenger side sheet metal and a fuse block I can use to rebuild the wiring behind the dashboard.
Now that I’ve got a project to practice on, I’m looking ahead to all of the welding it’s going to require and thinking about how to set up the workshop. I’m going to buy an inexpensive 110V MIG setup with gas, as I can’t run 220 in my garage; this should be plenty for what I need—mostly thinner sheetmetal. There are more expensive units that will do MIG/TIG, but I don’t see the need for welding 1/4″ steel at this point, I don’t need to switch to TIG, and I know several people who I can hire out for that in any case.
I was leaning toward Hobart products because they’re designed and built in the USA and they make excellent gear, but there are a couple of drawbacks to the unit I had decided on: it uses a heavy transformer vs. an inverter, it’s not as extensible, it can’t do dual-voltage, and the duty cycle is short. There’s a comparable Eastwood unit that has all these features plus a tack-weld setting and a longer duty cycle for a little less money and a 3-year warranty, which I think is the way to go. And it’s 25 lbs. lighter.
There are a lot of good resources out on the web for basic welding and bodywork training; it’s been long enough since my welding course that I need a refresher, and I want to get some hours of practice in before I go anywhere near my trucks. Something I’ve got to find is a local supplier for sheet metal; the steel supply yard that used to be near here is long gone.
I think I understand why none of the lights or controls in the Travelall work.
That hole there? The one in front of all the cut green wires? That’s where the fuseblock is supposed to be. Some baboon decided to just cut the wires instead of disconnecting them—the back of the fuseblock is organized with brass male posts to clip the wires onto. So I’ve got to source a new fuseblock panel from somewhere.
Cleaning up on Saturday evening, I left the boat tank in the back of the Red Bus with the fuel pump hooked up and forgot about it. Yesterday I went out to check on some rust converter I’d sprayed on the passenger floor and was hit with a strong smell of gasoline inside the cabin; it turned out that the heat on Sunday had expanded the tank and it dribbled out of the hose onto the rear bed. So I have to air the truck out for the next couple of weeks until the fumes dissipate, which is super annoying; the problem is that it soaked into the wooden floor in the back.
I got a small, heavy box in the mail yesterday with a handwritten return address on the top: the battery box I’d bought off Marketplace arrived safe and sound. It’s in fantastic shape: It’s covered in red primer but there’s only a little rust or corrosion on the inner platform; the rest is smooth and solid. I couldn’t be happier, because the one in the Red Bus is almost gone.
There’s also a spray of corrosion on the inside of the hood from where the original unsealed battery leaked and sprayed upwards onto the metal. So I’ll hit the remains of the old platform with more PBblaster and let it soak; the new metal will get a quick cleaning in the sandblasting cabinet and some new paint, and then go into the truck.
Meanwhile, talking with friends on the weekend, we had an inspiration. I texted my old friend Erick and asked if he was interested in doing some housecall IH work. He got back to me and said he was; I explained what I had and what I wanted to do, and left the ball in his court. We’ll see when it gets a little warmer if he can come out and do some engine and brake work to get her mobile.