On FBM earlier this week an ad went up offering several International D-series trucks and one sad Scout, warning that they would only be there until the weekend and then they’d go to the crusher. I reached out to the guy asking for some details and better pics of the Scout, and he and Bennett and I traded some messages until Friday, when he told us he’d dropped them off at his local pick and pull lot because the County was after him. Bennett and I hatched a rescue mission after my original plans for the weekend fell through, and today we made the trip.

The northern part of Maryland is absolutely beautiful this weekend, and the ride was relatively short to boot. The weather forecast called for rain in the afternoon so I repacked my tools in the CR-V. We were on the road by 7:30 and made it to the field an hour later.

The rigs were all crowded around the bottom of the intake area next to the crusher. After talking with the yard folks we carried some tools inside, waited for them to move things with a huge forkloader, and started picking. There were 4 D series trucks for Bennett to choose from: a flatbed, a pickup, a cab with no bed, and a bed with no cab. The most desirable piece from any of the trucks, a D Series hood in immaculate shape, had been removed and lay under the chopped cab on the floor of the flatbed—ouch. Bennett set to work freeing the only good fender on any of the trucks while I set to work pulling the grille from the Scout.

The Scout looked better in the photos (they always do) but had been crunched in the tailgate, leaving little good sheetmetal to pick from. The doors were trashed, the fenders were shot, and the traveltop, which looked clean in the pics, was too crusty to save (I had been thinking about how I could get it off and get it home if it had been in good shape). Most of the interior bits I’ve already got, and these were all Bordello Red to boot. Maybe the original radio would have been smart to grab, or the dashpad. I’ve got two A/C units now so I don’t need another. And there wasn’t enough time to break the doors down, although the hinge on the driver’s side broke as I tried to open it.

At about 11AM rainclouds rolled in and we spent an hour in a miserable downpour, covering our tools with tarps and trying to stay out of the muddy water running down the hill in rivulets.  All of the bolts on the grille came off with little effort save two that were too rusted to secure with a pair of vice-grips. I borrowed a sawzall from the yard guys and chopped at the bolts until I could pound a smaller socket on them to grab. With those off, the whole piece came off cleanly with two of the three chrome trim rings and both headlight surrounds.

I got a clean passenger’s side fiberglas top insert (both of mine have been split on the bottom to get around the rollbar), two tailgate latch assemblies, a pile of steel marker lights, one good rear taillight bucket, two horns, a pile of emblems, and other miscellania. I forgot to grab the traveltop bolts over the windshield. It would have taken another couple of hours to grab other good things—the fan shroud (the rest of the engine looked like it had been soaking in salt water for a decade), the seat bases, gauges, switchgear, and steering wheel.

Bennett made out with a good driver’s fender, a pile of hubcaps, trim rings, side trim and other emblems, two hubs, IH-branded cab lights and side mirrors, and a pile of other stuff. If we weren’t cold, wet and hungry we could have stuck it out for another couple of hours, but we were all of those things and we are old. Up in the lot he was able to get a replacement taillight for his CR-V, and in the same car we found a Honda-branded rubber mat for the back of mine.

All told, the trip was cheap and fun, and it was great to hang out with Bennett and get dirty and not draw any blood wrenching on old rusty trucks. He’s got a line on some more near here that he’s trying to pin down, and if he can, another trip will be in the works.

Date posted: November 13, 2021 | Filed under Junkyards, Purchasing | 2 Comments »

How is it I’ve owned a Scout for 20+ years and never used Evaporust before? This is incredible. I’m going to buy a gallon of this shit.

This is the hood latch mechanism from the Flintstone Scout after just 24 hours of soaking. It looks almost brand new. The top photo shows the before and after—I only had a quart so the latch only went 1/2 of the way into the liquid. I soaked a bunch of bolts in with it, and while they didn’t clean up to new metal finish they look worlds better than they did.

Date posted: November 7, 2021 | Filed under Repairs | Leave a Comment »

The other night I went through the pile of parts I picked from the Flintstone Scout to store them properly in the garage (and get them out of the way). I’d pulled both of the horns off, but one fell apart in my hands so I left it in the field. At home I hooked the “good” one up on my bench tester and got no response, even after cleaning the contacts. So that one goes in the trash; my search for a more American-sounding horn continues.

I soaked a container full of fender bolts in some industrial chemicals Brian H. gave me; it’s some stuff he used at his daytime job to clean rooftop AC condensers and it removes paint and neutralizes rust in just a week or so. I pulled them out and rinsed them off really well; over the weekend I’ll put them in a can with some pea gravel and shake it around for a while to knock the rest of the flakes off.

The dash I pulled is in great shape, although the metal around the speedo mount was bent (this is typical when someone is trying to replace a bulb and can’t get behind the speedo unit). All of the controls are still there, and both switches are in great shape. I’m still diagnosing my wiper issue, and if a used wiper switch is going for $130, then that part alone was worth the whole recovery trip. I’ll add this to the untouched dash I already have and the cleaned-up black dash I painted years ago. The dash pad is pretty much toast but cores are worth some money now that they’re being reproduced, so I’ll store that away for later.

The liftgate I pulled is in worse shape than I originally thought. There’s a ton of rust around the lower inside edge where water got in and sat year over year; I didn’t see that when I was taking it off. I think it could be saved if I get desperate but for now it’s tucked away in the back of the garage.

Next, I brought the windshield glass in, cleaned a decade’s worth of grime off the surfaces, and scraped all of the black silicone off the edges. It’s in really nice shape and doesn’t have any of the pitting or chipping Peer Pressure’s current glass has, so this will be the prime replacement candidate when I get enough stones to attempt installing it myself. I’ve got a second set of glass from one of the other windshield frames, but it’s fogging around the edges and likely wouldn’t be worth using.

Opening the hood to install pigtails on the battery terminals for the trickle charger, I found it much harder to lift than usual. the gas strut I’d installed a couple of years ago looks like it’s lost the will to live, so I tracked the part number backwards and found a replacement from the manufacturer online for about $30. I’m considering asking the vendor if they’ve had any other reports of strut failure—it’s been over two years, so any hope of a warranty is long gone—but it might be worth letting them know.

Date posted: November 2, 2021 | Filed under Repairs | Leave a Comment »

I drove out to my friend Dave’s house in Flintstone Sunday morning to see if there was anything else I could pick off the Scout II and Scout 80 he’s got beached up on the hill behind his house. Picking parts is fun but also like walking into a loop in the time-space continuum: after the first two hours, you think you’re ahead of the game. By 4 o’clock, you’re racing the setting sun and scrambling to do a cost-benefit analysis to gauge what’s worth pulling before you have to leave, and you still have to figure out how to stuff it all in the vehicle you brought.

Both times I’ve been there before I scrambled for the whole day to pull as much as I could in the time that I had, and I always left thinking, “dammit, I meant to grab ____ and ____ and ____.” Looking over the photos before I left, I knew there wasn’t a ton of stuff left, but there were some things worth going back for. Scouts on the East Coast are getting rarer and rarer on the ground, so I’m trying to get what I can while it’s still available. Dave is a nice guy and knows his stuff isn’t going to roll across the stage at Mecum, so he’s fair on price and happy to lend a hand or grab a tool.

Originally I was going to drive the Scout, so I put the traveltop back on Friday night and prepped a set of recovery tools. When that was done I installed the liftgate gas struts from IH Parts America and marveled at how much nicer they feel than the old mechanical lift. I also put the pod on the roof of the CR-V to hedge my bets. The forecast was wishy-washy about rain and I didn’t want to drive out in the Scout if I was going to get caught in a downpour.

The morning looked lousy so I loaded up the CR-V and hit the road a little after 8. Dave hasn’t sold anything since the last time I was up there, so I was able to pick up right where I’d left off. I walked around both trucks and hit all of the target areas with PB blaster before I busted out the impact driver and a new set of bits. Over the course of the day I was able to grab:

  • The entire dash assembly with all wiring and mechanical switches
  • The windshield glass (the frame is beyond toast)
  • Both slider windows
  • The rear liftgate with glass—it’s not perfect, but it’s better than the spare I have, and has hinges
  • Both door strikers (I’d tried to get these last time, but the impact driver today was clutch)
  • The A/C box
  • The hood catch/release mechanism
  • The passenger fender—it’s crispy in areas but might be worth repairing in the future. This took too much time to remove.
  • An entire Scout 80 folding windshield with glass (score!)
  • Other bits and bobs I can’t remember

I had the hood off the 80 and ready to load up, but Dave asked to keep it over the engine to keep the rain off. I also asked him about the 80 doors but he was keeping those for parts for his running truck.

On the dammit, I meant to list:

  • I tried my best to pull the dashboard from the 80 but it’s fastened with some of the largest, stickiest Phillips-head screws I’ve ever dealt with. I want the IH speedometer BAD but couldn’t figure out how to get that without destroying it.
  • I also tried to get the steering wheel assembly out but was stymied by several bolts down at the steering box and one up under the fender.
  • The cowl was cut for a plow years ago, but I tried to get that too. There are several bolts inside the fenders that were rusted solid. If I ever go back I’ll ask Dave if I can Sawzall it off the front.
  • On the Scout II I got stuck pulling the emergency brake assembly off—the brakes are likely frozen and I couldn’t get any slack to release the cable.
  • The transmission tunnel cover—the automatic shift lever assembly gave me fits
  • I meant to grab the power steering pump but ran out of time there as well.

I was pretty amazed that I was able to fit it all in the CR-V; if I’d taken that hood and door it would have been a very tight fit. As it was the pod came in super-handy: I put both the liftgate and the 80 windshield up there, freeing up space for the other bulky stuff in back. Driving home, covered in grease, PB blaster and dirt, I was happy to have gone back out and grabbed some of the last best junk before the snow started blowing and it all rusted away even further.

Date posted: October 25, 2021 | Filed under Junkyards, Purchasing | Leave a Comment »

I ran across an auction for a Scout in Gold Poly the other day, and grabbed the photos while they were online. This is exactly what my tub looked like from the factory complete with a true ’75 grille:

Minus the west coast mirrors and black aftermarket wheels, of course. This rig even has the chrome trim strips, which mine was drilled for (Chewbacca did not have this exotic decoration). This one also has a factory step bumper, which Peer Pressure did not.

As much as I despise the purple, I think I like it better than Gold Poly. And I’m much happier with a ’72-73 grille than the odd ’75 grille design.

I also saw this gold ’75 at Nationals this year, parked several rigs down the line from me:

Gold poly 1975 Scout II

Gold with a white top and Rallye wheels—I like that look a lot more. And interestingly the grille surround is silver as well, something they did on the ’71-’72’s from the factory.

Date posted: October 20, 2021 | Filed under Inspiration | Leave a Comment »

Wing windows on Scouts tend to break in three different places: the metal bar spanning the bottom of the mount (under the rubber) rusts and splits in half, usually around the spring. The inside latch breaks off at the base after years of opening and closing. Or, the hinge on the outside breaks off at one of the welds. The passenger side hinge broke on Peer Pressure’s window a few years ago. I’ve been meaning to replace it for a while now—I’d actually bought a replacement at Nationals in 2019. Saturday I figured I’d break the door down and get the new one in place.

I’ve actually got several spares. The one from Nats was crudely re-welded at some point, and the rubber is cracked in several places. I have a spare wing set from another parts haul but the metal bar is shot. The windows on the red doors look good, but the latch is busted on the passenger side. The wing unit on the Flintstone Scout doors look great: the rubber is in excellent shape, the chrome is perfect, and the latches work. Figuring this was the best option, I broke the passenger door down  and got inside, and it was at this point I found that the metal track was rusted and probably stuck to the bottom track.

Sidebar: in order to remove windows from a Scout, you first have to unbolt and pull the wing windows out. Their frames integrate the top section of track that the main window follows upward as it closes; this track slides into a lower half that’s bolted into the door. Then you roll the window down, detach it from the scissor mechanism, and pull it out. Be careful with the scissor mechanism.

Because I was in a bit of a rush, I figured I’d use the Nats window and get it installed, and let the Flintstone door soak in PB blaster until I can get to it.

Getting the broken unit out was the hardest part. On paper, it’s easy. There are three bolts: one behind the silver button on the inside of the door, and two on the front side of the door above the top hinge. Lay some painter’s tape over the paint and use a 5-in-1 tool and a hammer to pop the button off. Two of the bolts are easy to remove but the top bolt above the hinge is tricky because there isn’t much room to get a socket inside the door and keep it attached to a ratchet; you have to pray it loosens by hand or pull the whole door off. Usually the bolts fall inside the door. I have a $2 Harbor Freight magnet for this situation.

Then it took a lot of coaxing, some PB blaster, lithium grease, and a good suggestion from Finn to get the window frame broken free and moving upwards—rain collects in the space between the tracks and welds them together with rust; this is the issue with the Flintstone doors. With proper leverage and a wood block, we worked it all the way out. I put that aside, greased the tracks, and used a rubber mallet to tap the replacement into place. Then I finger-tightened the bolts and tightened them with sockets.

So now there’s a latching wing window on the truck, but it looks shitty from the outside. At some point I’m going to start replacing broken parts with clean new ones; I just don’t know when that’s going to happen.

Date posted: October 10, 2021 | Filed under Repairs | Leave a Comment »

For as long as I’ve had Peer Pressure, I’ve had a nagging worry whenever I get behind the wheel that I’m going to run out of gas, because the gauge doesn’t work. I keep a small notebook with a careful record of mileage, updated at every gas stop, and using that with a vague rule of thumb—estimating 10 miles per gallon—has been working well for years. If I don’t lose track of how many miles I’ve gone, I’m usually in good shape. Sometimes I forget, though, and that’s what worries me.

On Friday of last week I was driving back through Chestertown to return to Brian’s house from the job site in Rock Hall, a distance of roughly 13 miles one way. I’d made the trip all week without doing the math, and I was preoccupied with all of the stuff I needed to do before heading back home that evening. I crossed over the two-lane bridge in the afternoon sunlight, sad to see my time on the Eastern Shore come to a close, and about 100 yards past the bridge I sputtered to a halt, the engine dead.

Getting her started again is pretty easy. I always have gas in the Rotopax, and a little squirt down the carb primes the engine right back up. As I filled the tank, I looked back at the bridge and thanked the Scout gods again for getting me over the span and onto the median without blocking traffic in the middle, and vowed to pay even closer attention to my fuel situation.

Another unexpected present showed up on my doorstep last week: an original Service Manual encased in a thick black binder. Unlike the one I bought a couple of years ago, this one contains all of the Scout chapters (the first one one is missing Bodies + Cab, Clutch, General Information, Transfer Case, and Wheels + Tires) and is in excellent shape—besides smelling strongly of  basement. Interestingly, this is printed on individual, thin sheets of paper, while the first one is on heavier paper in signatures.  I texted my benefactor and arranged to drop off a couple of six-packs of good beer on Sunday for his trouble. At this point I’ve got three Service Manuals: a reprint from Super Scouts, the incomplete version, and this one. Maybe I’ll sell the reprinted version…?

There’s a guy on Instagram who goes by the handle thescoutking and who posts some good info every week or so. One of the things he mentioned a while back is the exact part name for the plastic door clips that mount the metal card to the door. I found them on Amazon and forgot about them for a while until I got an alert that they were back in stock and the price had dropped, so I threw them in a cart with some other stuff.

In practice, they go in pretty well—you’ll have to use a hammer to tap them into place. They don’t stand off the door as far as the stock nuts do, and I’ve found that the stock cap-head screws don’t grab and hold quite as tightly in these as they do the stock nuts, but they’re a good replacement for 50-year-old plastic.

Finally, I saw that a couple of people at Nats had replaced their cigarette lighter sockets with integrated USB chargers, which also happen to read out the current voltage of the battery. I threw that in the Amazon cart as well to replace the adapter I’ve currently got. It’s about the same price as a new adapter, but the hole required to mount it is bigger: the diameter of the barrel is 1 1/8″ which will require drilling the existing hole out wider. Given that nothing in my Scout is stock anymore, I think this should be a pretty easy thing to add.

Date posted: October 5, 2021 | Filed under Part Numbers, Purchasing | Leave a Comment »

Sometimes being the Scout Guy in your neighborhood can bring unexpected benefits. About 10 years ago I bought a local Scout with some friends, towed it out of his driveway, and split up a bunch of parts he had stashed in his garage. (Part of me still kicks myself for not having bought the whole truck, but whatever). Yesterday afternoon he stopped by the house and dropped off a few more things he’d found stashed away; apparently he’s doing a deep clean and found a set of new steel endcaps, a cab mount, an armrest, and a jar of fasteners somewhere in his garage.

I asked several times if I could give him anything for the parts and he declined, so I offered him a ride the next time he was around.

In the meantime, the upcoming weather looks pretty clear, so I think I’m going to drive the Scout back over to the Eastern Shore for the week.

Date posted: September 26, 2021 | Filed under Friends | Leave a Comment »

Dangerous driving selfie

I’ve been putting a lot of miles on the Scout this summer, and she’s been running exceptionally well for me. My records show that I’ve put 1133 miles on since I went to Nationals, but as I’ve mentioned before my speedo calibration is wrong. If I do the math for my latest trip back from Chestertown, Google tells me my route from my last fillup was 87.5 miles. My odometer reads 77 miles. If I redo the ratio I worked out a couple of years ago I now come up with 100 miles true to 88 miles indicated (vs. 100 true to 78 indicated). This also checks out to +/- 1 mile when I apply it to my Nationals trip. When I do the (correct) math with the mileage recorded in my notebook, that works out to 2528 miles since the beginning of the year.

Doing some sleuthing, it looks like there’s a fuse blown or some other electrical gremlin between the switch on the dash and the wiper motor; the motor itself works fine when I put 12 volts to the contacts. From what I’ve read, the wiper switch itself has a breaker, and the switch doesn’t go through the fuse panel. I’ve put in a replacement switch from a different Scout to see if that fixed anything but I’ve still had no luck, so I’ll have to keep looking.

Date posted: September 18, 2021 | Filed under Repairs | Leave a Comment »

I got back from Nationals with shitty front brakes, a leaky gas tank, and a bunch of new parts to play with. First, I made a couple of calls and got brake work under control.

The gas vent line was probably the easiest win, so I sourced a brass barb fitting from Lowe’s and 4′ of 3/8″ gas line from NAPA with a new plastic filter. Swapping out the brass plug for the barb was easy, and the gas line went on quickly. I brought the line up into the driver’s rear fender, gaining access through the cover behind the spare tire, and lopped off about 1′ of the hose. Capping that with the filter, I zip-tied it to the other vent hose to keep it upright and buttoned everything up. Hopefully the tank will vent a bit smoother now, at least until I can sort out the larger issue with the sender.

At Nats, Brian and I brainstormed a way to add snap barrels to the back of the tailgate so that I can snap the back of the soft top closed, and after I sourced the small hardware (6/32″ stainless screws and nylock nuts) I drilled into the aftermarket aluminum diamond plate. There’s a divot in the top of the tailgate that the nuts tuck into neatly without touching the sheet metal; it wasn’t until Brian pointed that out that I realized the solution was that simple. D’oh! (Now I have to get the zippers fixed).

That left the windshield wiper issue as the next big problem, which I was not looking forward to diagnosing. I also needed to re-align the wiper arms on the windshield, and a little research revealed they are simple to remove and easy to reinstall. Taking the cowl cover off confirmed my suspicion that the linkage from the motor to the wiper arm had come loose—this has happened before.

A trip to the Ace Hardware provided a quintet of e-clips in the right size, and I pulled the motor out completely to reattach the arm. Years ago I’d pulled it out and was never able to get it back in completely, so this time I focused on figuring out the secret trick of tucking the end of the bracket around the mount under the cowl. It’s now snugged tight with two bolts in the correct position. Then I had to fight to re-attach the first arm to the second linkage, which is always a treat.

With that done, I started diagnosing the wipers themselves; there is no response in the motor when I turn the switch at all. I have a 12-volt bench tester, so while the motor was out I confirmed that it’s not smoked; it revolved freely. A voltage tester hooked to the ground wire shows there’s no power coming through from the switch on the dash, so now I’m trying to pull the switch out and source a replacement.

While I was out on errands I stopped at the Harbor Freight to pick up a cheap stepped drill bit that went wider than 1″ diameter. The new glove box lockset from Binder Boneyard is a plastic barrel that’s much wider than the stock metal unit, so I had to open up the factory hole and grind off the two threaded studs on the backside of the glove box door. (Fun fact: I realized I have four spare glovebox doors when I went looking for another part in my bins).

This took all of about 15 minutes. Then I had to adjust the crappy metal tab I’d made to replace the catch on the inside of the glove box; apparently my dash is from a particularly boozy Friday shift in Fort Wayne, and does not feature the same loop catch found in all of the other Scout II’s I’ve ever seen or parted out. Once that was done and I had it fastened in the right place, the door closes snug to the dashboard and now features a lock! I’d like it a little more if it was made out of metal but for the price it can’t be beat, and anything that’s truly valuable is going to get locked into the Tuffy console or the ammo box in back anyway.

The final thing I did was to drill a single hole in the grille for my new (used) INTERNATIONAL badge, add some good 3M double-sided auto tape, and mount it to the sheetmetal in the proper position. She looks like a whole new truck!

Date posted: August 23, 2021 | Filed under Repairs | Leave a Comment »