Some Light Weekend Work

We spent most of the weekend cleaning the pantry and basement out to eradicate Plodia interpunctella, more commonly known as pantry moths, so I didn’t get a lot of driveway time, but what time I did have I used wisely. During breaks when the paint was drying I went out to the spares pile and pulled a connector off the original A/C compressor from the Travelall, which I then used to connect the inlet and outlet hose of the heater core together. With that off it was pretty simple to remove three bolts holding the heater box to the firewall and pull it out of the truck. It’s in very good shape, actually. Being bolted to the firewall against fiber insulation for sixty years definitely meant the back of the box was going to be rusted, but it’s in much better shape than I was hoping. There’s a hole at the bottom right side, directly under the cowl vent, where water was dripping down and through. But the heater core is solid, the motor, blower, and motor mount are solid, and the flapper still works as advertised. I put some penetrant on the screws holding the back panel on, and with a little help from some vice-grips was ale to get them out. I’ve got to blast the inside of the box, cut out some bad metal and weld some new sections in place. The motor needs to be tested, and I have to find a gasket to go around the top of the box that meets up with the cowl vent. But I can continue working on the truck while that’s sitting on the bench.

Then I wire- wheeled the rest of the insulation and glue off the passenger’s firewall and got it ready, first with some rust converter. When that was dry I slathered rust encapsulator over all the seams, joins, and rough spots I could see, including the inside of the cowl vent I wasn’t able to touch last summer. When that dried I covered the gaps with seam sealer. Then I got some more cardboard out and set up a template for each side of the firewall out to the A-pillar. Starting with the passenger side I cut out heat matting and set it aside. Then I flipped the template for the left side, cut it down to fit all of the controls under the dash, and cut out some matting for that side. Everything under the dash is going to cure overnight and if I can get away for a little time tomorrow evening I’ll fit the matting in.

In other news, I happened on a stash of C-series interior parts for sale on Marketplace and messaged the seller, who turned out to be Don, an old International guy in his 80’s. He’d sold his truck and was now selling off the remainder of his stuff. We talked on the phone for a bit, and he told me his last truck was a ’63, which is where most of the parts came from. We struck a very good deal on a set of exterior doorhandles, ’63 door strikers (different than later years, so that was a win), a dome light, interior door handles, two of the green lenses in the dash for turn signals (one of mine was bad) and a set of front turn signal lenses and frames. He told me he’s got more stuff stashed away, so I asked him to let me know when he digs it out.

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June Update

I put another 180 miles on the Scout yesterday going down to and coming back from my father-in-law’s house. The weather was perfect for an early summer drive: 80 degrees and sunny with a constant 5mph breeze. The truck ran flawlessly even when we were stuck in 45 minutes of stop-and-go traffic directly outside of Baltimore. The only thing I noticed was the temp gauge creeping up from its usual spot on the far left to sit under the left side of the indicator line. The only time I’ve seen it get any worse was in August traffic in Ohio on the way to Nats the year after I’d installed the aluminum radiator, and at that point it was in the center of the dial and slowly continuing to move right. I think a solid coolant flush is in order when I get back from our vacation; in fifteen years I’ve never flushed the block out.

The Travelall is coming along nicely. All of the original filament bulbs to light the dashboard have been replaced with LEDs, and I cleaned each of the sockets to ensure a solid connection. I ordered and received a package of Packard 56 connectors last week and swapped out the crumbling 6-way connector at the steering wheel for a new one. I’d already repaired a hack job splice directly above it but realized the connector was falling apart, so that had to go.

After I did that, I looked a little closer at the three sections of butyl tape on the passenger’s side of the transmission tunnel. After scraping it off, I found that they were covering three cuts in the metal made for reasons unknown. I scraped as much of the butyl off as I could and then removed the rest with brake cleaner. Because the answer to every problem is now welding, I pulled the Eastwood out and started tacking metal together. Working with the metal was pretty easy with the tools I’ve already got, and using my copper backer I was able to join sections that were wider than a standard butt-weld. I wound up setting some of the insulation on fire but the truck didn’t burn down, so that was good. After a series of welds and grinds, I got things closed up and covered it with some primer.

Then I wire-wheeled the remainder of the glue and insulation from the vertical sections of the firewall and hit them with rust converter for good measure. The duct for the defrost/heater in the center section was easy to remove, just two bolts, so I took that out and cleaned off the center section and prepped it. The goal here is to cover the entire vertical section of the firewall with heat/sound matting like I used in the Scout in place of the old fiberglas stuff. I used some thin cardboard to form templates, trimmed and edited them with painter’s tape, and cut out the patterns on the matting. With a little trimming and sectioning the first pattern went in smoothly, and I added two sections on either side. I’ve now got to take out the heater unit on the passenger side to access the firewall behind it, bench-test the blower, and make sure it’s not rusted to oblivion on the back side. Once I’ve got the firewall cleaned and covered I can put the unit back in and hook up the flapper to the cowl vent.

The driver’s side needs some sort of rubber gasket around the steering column; I have to ask the heads on the Binder Planet what went there back in 1963 and try to fab up something similar. I’m still waiting on The Scout Connection for firewall grommets, but I’m going to follow up with them on Monday.

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Please Release Me

Good news! The dashboard is officially out of the truck. I had to disconnect one final wiring harness at the steering column, push the bulkhead connectors through the firewall (not without ruining two of the small rubber grommets, which were hard as rock), chase down, label and disconnect several more random wires, including several going from the brake controller to the master cylinder. Once I had sorted those out, I clipped the two wires leading up to the nonexistent dome lights and pulled the cable going to the PTO through the firewall, and the whole thing came out.

Flush with success (and trying to plan for a rainy forecast on Monday) I hauled it and the dash from the green truck into the basement, set things up on the workbench, and started swapping the wires out. The fuse panel went in easily, and I pulled the main loom over to the gauge cluster to start moving wires over. Things got confusing very quickly until I worked out how the loom was oriented and began moving the gauge leads over; the spaghetti of lighting wires was difficult to sort out until suddenly it all became clear. The two main question marks left are the leads to the aftermarket oil gauge, which takes a smaller lightbulb, and a random gauge light clip hanging off the bottom of the loom that I can’t track down.

The headlight switch took the most time to deal with, because I was having a problem with the button latch on the bottom not releasing the knob. I monkeyed with it for a while, took a short break, and then unscrewed the bezel holding the whole unit to the dash. Pulling the knob all the way out at that point, I pushed the release button and the knob shaft popped out. I scrubbed the outside with electric cleaner and wire-brushed the contacts, then reinstalled the switch and hooked it back up. The ignition switch was a little more nervous-making, as I’d already swapped it out once very early after I’d gotten the truck and suddenly I couldn’t start it. I carefully followed the hookups on the back of the original ignition unit and screwed it back in place, but I have to verify I’ve got the wires in the right place.

The other thing I noticed was that the mechanical linkage from the heater control was slipping off the lever when it was open—it was actually disconnected when I got the truck. I pulled the wire off, bent it to add the right amount of torque to hold it down on the post, and reinstalled it.

With the old loom out, all of the scabbed-in wiring fell away and the whole unit looks a lot cleaner. The big question I’ve got now is how to add a radio in to the wiring; most likely it’ll be on its own fusible link but I have to figure out how it would be keyed to the ignition switch. I cleaned up the backside of the dashboard and got the whole thing ready to reinstall, but I’m waiting on a package of size 57 bayonet LEDs to replace all the filament bulbs before I put the thing back in the dash. Also in the cart is a new choke cable to replace the frozen one I pulled out.

So next up on the list is to clean up the firewall where I’d welded in new metal—wire wheel off the scabby seam sealer I used last year, treat it with rust encapsulator, put clean seam sealer over everything, and hit it with a coat of red paint. I’m waiting on the Scout Connection to see if they’ve got three new bulkhead grommets they can send me, and I have to find some plastic plugs for the holes left from the old A/C system. The last thing I’m going to do order and install some heat matting like I did in the Scout to cut down on temps coming in from the engine bay. When that’s all cleaned up, I can hang the dash back in place and hopefully never have to take it off again.

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Road Trip

I had to run an errand for Jen’s father on Saturday, which involved moving a bunch of concrete out of the trash bin he put it in and out to his local dump. Instead of blowing out the shocks on the OG-V I figured I’d drive the Scout down, as it was supposed to be a beautiful day. I loaded up some tools and the remainder of the concrete we had here after a completed landscaping project, put the top down, and hit the road. Stopping off to top off the gas tank, I put a quart of oil in and aimed the truck southward.

I didn’t drive her a lot last year due to the issues with the leaking exhaust manifold and my difficulties finding a good mechanic to work on old iron, but once I got that sorted out she ran great at the end of the year. The plan this year is to hit the Harvester Homecoming in August, a little further out from where they hold Nationals in Ohio, so I want to wring out any issues with the drivetrain beforehand. A 160-mile round trip is as good a test as any, and she passed with flying colors. I had absolutely no problems getting down there other than a sunburn—I left the entire top down and failed to apply sunscreen—and out of date information on the County website meant the trip to the dump was a bust.

After visiting with the FiL for the afternoon, I headed for home with a load of concrete in the truck and the bikini top up, enjoying the sun setting through clouds and the scent of honeysuckle, pine, and turned earth wafting through the cabin. She held steady at 65 the whole way home; the only issue I’m going to need to address this summer is having the front rotors turned to fix a bad wobble at braking. It’s good to have the old girl back.

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Phase 1 Complete

Jeff posted these up on my Binder Planet thread yesterday and shot me a text: the covers are done, and he’s going to get them packed up to ship and send me the invoice for the balance. I think they turned out great, and I’m excited to get them in hand. I think this will be the next job I tackle after we get back from our vacation.

Now I’ve got to borrow a set of hog ring pliers from my brother-in-law and order some rings from Amazon.

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Weekly Update, 5.21

Here’s the update from this past week, mainly focusing on dashboard removal, with a detour to the blasting cabinet on a rainy Saturday to pretty up a set of valve covers. I’m about 3/4 of the way done getting this thing out of the truck. I had to disconnect the mechanical linkages to the heat/defrost controls, which was easy with the radio missing, and then I had to trace the two knobs in the center of the dashboard down. The smaller knob was pretty simple, just a cable running to a mechanical choke on the carburetor. And now that I’m thinking more clearly, I’ll bet that when I run the truck up again next time and open the choke up, the truck will run a lot smoother than it has the last couple of times. I’m betting I left it closed up, making the mixture richer and idle rougher, thus fouling the plugs. You can tell I’m spoiled by the fancy electric choke on the Thermoquad in the Scout.

The second knob has been a mystery for as long as I’ve owned the truck. Even when pulling on it with the strength of a gorilla, it never moved. I traced the cable through the engine bay and down the passenger rail to a greasy lump hanging off the side of the transmission: the NX98 Power Take Off unit listed at the bottom of the lineset ticket (for which I can find no online documentation). After attempting to get the knob out of the dashboard I realized the only way to remove it is to cut the knob off the cable. I thought about it for a couple of hours and then used the death wheel to cut the cable in the engine bay. I cleaned the grease off the PTO to reveal shiny red paint, and moved the linkage back and forth—it works! I’m going to leave it on and mess with it later.

The dash is free and clear on the passenger side but there are still a couple of things holding on behind the gauge panel, so I have to keep plugging away at the last couple of linkages. I disconnected the plugs on the engine side of the firewall but next I’ve got to gingerly push the connectors through to the passenger side, which I think will free up the dashboard even more. I suspect there are a couple of connections on the steering column and I have to get an impact driver on the high-beam switch mounted on the floor. The new harness is sitting on the bench seat ready to go in, and from all that I can tell, the connectors match up perfectly.

 

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Seating

I heard from Jeff this weekend on the Travelall seats (actually, while I was trying to pull the dash off) when he texted me a picture of the top half of the rear seat in progress:

I’m doing mine in gray over black because my dash and door cards are gray, but I’m going for something that looks like this (in tan over gray):

I don’t think the vinyl Jeff got is as marbled as the stuff in the reference photo, but I’m excited about moving the seats forward.

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Weekly Roundup, 5.12

Here’s a video containing most of the updates from last weekend, when the green truck was towed away, to yesterday afternoon, when I swapped out the hardtop for the soft top on the Scout.

I put the nutmeg snap top on the truck for now; it’s in the best shape of the three and will definitely seal up better than the others. Everything went on smoothly and I think I had the whole thing wrapped up in about two hours. When that was done I made some adjustments to the rearview mirror on the driver’s windshield frame. because of where it’s positioned, when I open the door beyond a certain distance it moves the mirror outwards, messing up the alignment. I was thinking I was going to move it upwards on the frame, but there isn’t enough room to go much higher than it already is. So I adjusted the bar further outwards and bent the mirror mount inwards, and that pushed the arm further outside the door’s arc.

The next thing I did was replace the gasket on the door of the IH fridge, which was sweating out the sides last summer. I sourced a new gasket from a freezer parts company and paid more for shipping than I did for the gasket. It went on pretty easily, and it seems to seal tightly, so I’m counting that as an easy win.

Finally, I did a bunch of finish sanding on the driver’s fender to the red truck, getting the curve of the fender lip to feather out into the flat section much better than I had before. I sanded it first with 320 and then with 600 grit before shooting it with some IH implement red out of a rattle can. I have to clean up some of the edges on the front before I go to wet sanding everything, but it’s getting closer to being done.

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