So stock rear curved windows are impossible to get as it is. Where was this fellow planning on buying his? Priced at $2750 on Craigslist.
Bennett got the Hudson registered last week and sent us some video of a test-drive out on the road, and it motivated me to finish the process on the Travelall. Saturday morning I figured I’d run down to the Motor Vehicle Administration and get the title and plates sorted out. What I didn’t know was that they’ve gone to appointment-only, so I left without getting anything done. Knowing that Vermont closed the title loophole and hearing from friends that it’s now next to impossible to get a title for anything without one, I wanted to get the truck as legal as possible before any further clampdown occurs.
This morning I returned with an appointment time and all of my paperwork in hand, and was first in line at the title window. After looking over my Vermont registration, then taking it back behind the window and conferring with three other people, the lady helping me sent a copy of it upstairs to check the serial against a list of stolen and problem VINs. It came back approved within about five minutes, which surprised the hell out of her. From there it was smooth sailing; she gave me a set of 50-year antique plates and then registered my vintage plates to those, I paid the title fee, and walked out with the registration and a new set of plates. Most importantly, my Maryland title should show up in the mail next week. And with that, the value of the truck just skyrocketed.
Meanwhile, with the weather getting colder and the amount of daylight coming to an all-time low, it’s hard to be outside making things happen. By the time I get out to the driveway I’ve only got about six hours of good warm time to work; at 4PM the sun is low behind the house and the driveway is already cooling off.
Sunday’s plan was to lay out the wiring board I set up in the basement and start tracing out wires from the cut-down fuse panel I inherited. I cleaned off a contact on one of the headlight bulb connectors and tried to find connectivity between that and one of the eight black wires behind the dash, but couldn’t trace it. Neither wire in the connector worked, but it was cold and I wasn’t thinking clear enough. I should have traced the wires from that connector to the actual headlight to see where its endpoint was.
After that I pulled the dash gauge panel out and unscrewed the speedometer cable, which was remarkably easy to do. All of the Scouts I’ve ever tried this on have fought me like a dog with a bone, and usually drawn blood. With the panel out of the way I could see all of the wiring behind the dash better, and now I can make some kind of plan to test that stuff out.
While I was thinking about my next move on wiring, I pulled the passenger rear wheel off and hit all of the frame and exposed metal on that side with the needle scaler to remove any surface rust, then brushed on encapsulator to seal it. Pretty much everything under the rear half has been done with the exception of the inside of the main frame rails. For that, I want to get the girl up on a lift and spend an afternoon underneath cleaning everything out, because it’s very hard to reach when it’s on the ground.
I had to stop at about 2 to go out and run errands, so I warmed up the Scout and loaded Hazel in the back to copilot. We had a lot to accomplish, so it wasn’t until about 4 tht we got back home, and by then it was getting cold and I had a pie to bake. So I cleaned up my tools, measured the two bumpers for modified mounts, and put the cover back on the truck.
A post popped up on Instagram earlier this week featuring a blue Travelall in pretty rough shape, offered by Barnes IH up in Pennsylvania. He said it was probably a parts truck and showed a few pictures, and I was lucky enough to see it only a few hours after it went up. I talked to them the following morning about some of the stuff I was interested in—mainly the factory A/C unit, which looks incredible and would be the perfect centerpiece to an A/C upgrade in the future. I also asked about the heater box and the chrome side spears along the body. He told me he had someone down south interested in buying the whole thing and he’d get back to me.
It turned out later that guy bought the whole truck, but they have an entire C-series power steering setup (and inner fender!) available for a reasonable price, so I’m going to jump on that in the next couple of weeks. He said he’s also got a chrome spear set squirreled away that he’s got to check on; this isn’t necessary (my truck didn’t come with it) but A little more bling wouldn’t be a bad thing.
In the meantime, I’m on the hunt for an original C-series A/C unit. Look at how beautiful that thing is. I’m pretty sure I could modify a Vintage Air system to work with a unit like that; the trick is to find one in good shape.
I’m slowly mapping out the process for rewiring the Travelall, and every time I look at the wiring diagram I become exhausted and feel like I need to go lie down. A lot of this is basically just understanding the scope of the project and gathering the tools needed to get it done, a lot of which I already have. This video goes into some of the basics and begins with a welcome reminder that this isn’t really that hard, as long as one takes their time and remains organized. He links to a super-handy spreadsheet with some parts links, which are appreciated. He also recommends a labelmaker printing on heat-shrink tubing, but the one he specifies is pricy, so I’ll have to figure something else out there.
So far I’ve got large poster-sized printouts of the early 1960 diagram and the 1968 D-series diagram, and I have to identify the spare harness I’ve got on the bench. If it’s 1963-compatible, I’m in good shape. If it’s not I have to figure out how different it is and rebuild it. From there, the next steps are:
- Compare and identify the major plug connectors—are the pinouts the same?
- Trace the main wires back to the fuse panel and label everything
- Pull the connectors apart and clean all the connections
- Test each of the wires from beginning to end and replace anything that’s gone bad.
- Replace any bulb fittings or other special elements
I know Super Scouts has a barrel full of old wiring looms, so I’d bet they have connectors available to buy; I’m going to contact them to see if they’ll sell me the ones I need to complete this.
Update: I looked over the two printouts I’ve got here to identify the spare wiring harness in the basement, and as I suspected it’s a later model assembly, which means it’s not plug-and-play with the one in the truck. From what the D-series diagram shows, the fuse block is completely different and the connectors are all barrel-style while the earlier C-series connectors are square. So, Plan B: I’m going to get a length of wire, solder on a male spade, and set up a continuity test with a multimeter. If I can figure out which wires go where, I’ll use some fancy solder connectors to hook the spare fuse block I’ve got with the wires in the dash. Some of the wires are pretty easy to sleuth out but it’s going to take time to sort out the others.
I don’t have a ton of major updates this week; most of what happened was maintenance-based. The main task was to drop the hardtop onto the Scout to prepare for a 180-mile drive to Southern Maryland, and with a few small hiccups this process went smoothly. With the top out of the way I moved a bunch of stuff up into the garage attic—the cracked rear Travelall glass, extra sheet metal, etc.
The other thing I did was to roughly assemble the front bench seat and drop it into the Travelall to get it out of the way. I’ve got most of the hardware required and it went together pretty quickly. This is the first time I’ve seen both seats in the truck and it’s kind of inspiring, even though they both look ghetto.
One other interesting Travelall development—I was sitting on the bench seat and tested the brakes to see if they were holding pressure, and with a few pumps they built resistance. Later I was out back and walking towards the truck when I looked up and noticed the rear brake light was on. This is the first time any of the lighting on the truck has come to life anywhere; I thought it had all been cut out when the fuse panel was removed. I released the trailer brake (it’s been on since I put the truck on a battery tender) and the light went out, so clearly someone bodged that in and bypassed the fused wiring. How and why this bulb decided to come on is a mystery, but at least I know there’s some signal making its way out to the back.
I spied this red ’65 Travelall on eBay a few weeks ago and it came back up in my feed yesterday, having been sold for $5880 in Marfa, Texas. Old trucks are typically much cheaper in the southwestern states due to the climate being much friendlier, so the (low?) price isn’t that much of a surprise. The outside of the truck is in relatively decent shape, but clearly has some visible battle scars; the rear tailgate, for example, looks lousy, and the front clip has lost paint in exactly the same places mine has.
The most interesting thing about this truck is that it was built and delivered to a dealer in Tuxedo, Maryland, which is right outside of Capitol Heights to the east of D.C. From the build sheet it sounds like a nice upgrade from mine: the same 304/T-18 driveline (2WD) but power brakes with front discs, extra sun visor and both armrests, as well as front bucket seats. OH, THE LUXURY. Most interestingly, this says it was originally Vegas Blue Metallic, so it’s been resprayed at some point. I’d bet a look under the hood would reveal the original paint. There was only one shot of the interior, which was sporting some seriously bizarre aftermarket bucket seats.
There’s a lot here I like—Western mirrors look really good (I’m waiting to mount mine until the springtime, when I can pull the cover off). More and more I like the look of white wheels and roof on a red truck. I think I’m being convinced to change my paint scheme around a little bit. It’s interesting to see the same kind of aftermarket roof-mounted reverse light mine had; I guess this was a thing after a certain point.
I had to run out on errands Sunday morning, and the weather was in the upper 60’s, so I grabbed Finn and we rolled out in the Scout for a fall adventure. Our first stop was down in Pasadena at the Eastwood store, where I needed to pick up some chassis black and a tube of seam sealer. As we wandered the store, my old friend Steven G. walked in, as he was shopping for supplies for his Scout. We caught up for a bit, and talked about getting a fall meetup together, and then I exited the store in a hurry before I was tempted to buy anything else. We stopped at the Home Depot for some other supplies and a precut 2×4′ sheet of plywood and headed home.
In the driveway, I pulled the original bumper off the mounts and hung it in place to see exactly how well it’ll fit. I think it needs a little more standoff than the original had, but with another 2″ or so it will work perfectly. I think I can make the original mounts work for the short term, and when I can get my hands on some larger longer box steel I’ll fabricate a permanent mount.
I opened up the rear doors and started brushing on the chassis black over encapsulator, and got a good portion of it done before the sun went down. The chassis paint is a lot thinner than the encapsulator, and tends to make more of a mess. While I was out there, Brian T. stopped by on his way back over the bridge, and we caught up for the first time in a couple of months.
After closing up the truck and garage, I brought the sheet of plywood in to the basement, turned on the football game, and set it up as a mounting rack for my spare wiring loom. The goal here is to rebuild the wiring loom so that I can pull the old one out and replace it with this. I’d originally contacted Super Scouts to price out a brand new loom, but after several weeks of waiting I was told their wiring specialist is two months behind. So I’ll take advantage of the inside time and learn how to disassemble, test, and rebuild the one I’ve got. One thing I am going to reach out to them about are some replacements for the bulkhead connectors I’ve got, to see if I can get any with intact mounting tabs.
Driving out to Ellicott City yesterday, I spied the distinctive shape of a C series pickup parked in front of West End Service, our local IH dealer. On my way home I stopped to look it over and snap a few pictures. It’s clearly a heavy-duty model, sitting on a beefy front axle and sporting a dually rear, but everything else was a normal C-series cab. It had recently been painted and a very pretty design applied to each door, but there was a lot of overspray on the steering wheel and knobs in the cab.
I took a lot of pictures of the floor and seat base (the seat itself was missing) so that I’ve got reference for my seat install and eventual floor replacement.
Dan over at the Binder Boneyard posted a picture of a rig he worked on a couple of years ago that I remember lusting after; it started out as a 2WD Travelall that he converted to 4WD, lifted, and did a bunch of other upgrades to. What I’m looking at specifically is the roof rack, which is the setup I’m going for: an eight-point rack with a solid bed and a very minimal rail. Ideally I’d build the metal sections out of aluminum, but that’s a welding skill I don’t currently possess. I’ve got six of the eight drip rail mounts I need, and I intend to spend a cold winter sketching out a plan for the rack itself. I wonder how much a used TIG welder goes for on Marketplace….?
On Thursday afternoon I got a long narrow package delivered by UPS, which contained a set of headliner bows from my friend Ray up in Massachusetts. He sent a pair of square-end bows like the three I’ve already got in the truck, which were made to work with an aluminum channel around the perimeter of the roof that would hold a headliner in place. My truck didn’t come with a headliner or the channel, just three rusty bows (out of five) and the fiberglas insulation glued to the ceiling.
Below that are five point-end bows which went on earlier model Travelalls without the aluminum channel; from what Ray tells me the headliner tucked in under the sheet metal lip around the edge and these bows held it into place. Because these bows are in much better shape than the square-ends I’ve got, I’m going to clean them up and use them when I build and install a headliner.
Meanwhile, I got another big box in the mail via UPS, in which was packed a primer black ’57 Ford F-150 bumper. I brought it out to the truck and laid it on top of the C-series bumper, and apart from the fact that it’s a little narrower, I think this thing will work very well.
I’ve got to figure out how to build a set of sturdy standoffs from the frame horns on the front of the truck—the current standoffs are 4″ deep sections of box channel steel held in place with some long rusty bolts and a wheelbarrow full of washers. I’ll probably do something similar but gusset the boxes for strength.
Saturday morning I went to Bennett’s to help him swap out the rear brake line on his Speedster replica; he’d taken it to a car show earlier in the year and blown the line on the way home. It turns out the manufacturer ran the brake line inside the cabin along the transmission tunnel, ending in a fitting directly behind the driver’s seat. After some careful application of heat and penetrant we got the fitting off the distro block behind the front suspension and cut a new line with some extra length to spare. Bennett then showed me how to make a bubble flange on a brake line, which I’d never seen before, and we installed the new line and bled the brakes.
With that success, we took a test drive to Ellicott City for some barbecue and brought it home to eat in the warm sunshine.
A couple of weeks ago I saw an ad pop up on Marketplace where a guy had a storeroom full of old IHC R-series parts he was selling, and I alerted Bennett. He’d driven up there a couple of weeks ago and picked through the stuff, coming home with a box full of NOS parts for Phantom, his ’53 R-110 pickup. Before I left, we looked through the box of stuff he brought home, and he handed me an NOS doorhandle and window crank for a C-series pickup in perfect shape. I’ve got to figure out what they’re worth and give him some cash the next time I see him. He also had a trio of black NOS armrests in original IH packaging—the foam on the backside was bright yellow like the day they were made—and sent me home with one to see if it fit Peer Pressure. I already have a black set on the truck, but maybe I’ll buy two of these to put in the spares box along with the used ones that look like they were fished out of a river.
Addendum: I forgot to mention that I ran the engine up for about ten minutes on Saturday when the girls were out of the house (the exhaust is super rich and tends to flood the house, so I wait until they’re away) and got it up to temperature. It only took two pumps of the throttle to get her fired up, which was encouraging. Looking at various points of the engine with a laser thermometer, the manifold junction on the driver’s side got to about 450˚, while the passenger side got to 520˚. I then remembered that the coolant was low so I waited until the water neck hit about 160˚ and decided to shut it down, so I don’t know if the thermostat is working yet or not. I added about 3/4 of a gallon of coolant and let it cool down before putting the cover back on. It’s sounding a little clattery but the idle smoothed out after awhile; I think the rings need to come loose and seat properly after sitting for so long, and I need to have a professional tune the carb properly to get her running right.