Like the rest of America, I’ve been chained to my desk indoors all winter, waiting for warmer weather and the chance to get outside and pursue my hobbies in some semblance of normalcy. Being chair-bound for weeks has been bad for my health, both mental and physical. Jen says I’ve been cranky for a while. It’s taking longer and longer to leave work behind, even though it’s only steps from the living room. My neck has been bothering me for months, and my right shoulder and arm are aching each night as I store up stress—further irritated by clacking a mouse around a desk during endless Zoom calls.
Knowing the weather was going to be sunny and warm this week, I took a mental health Wednesday, loaded up the CR-V with recovery tools, and hit the road for Western Maryland. The Scout I pulled the doors from was still sitting up in the woods, and Dave, the owner, had reached out to see if I wanted anything else before it got hauled off to the crusher. I’d looked it over when I was out there the first time but had run out of warm daylight to really focus on stripping it and I knew there were a bunch of other things I wanted to grab.
I got out to Flintstone at 11 AM and met Dave in his driveway. I’d intended on bringing him coffee for the morning but missed my chance to pull off into a town big enough to feature a coffee shop—Flintstone has one general store and no traffic lights—so I was empty handed when I masked up and walked out to greet him. He was busy getting his garage straightened up and told me I had free rein on the Scout and to holler if I needed anything.
I backed the CR-V up the hill and organized my tools for the jobs at hand. Then I busied myself with hosing all of the problematic parts with PBlaster and waiting for that to do its magic. While that was working I started with the low-hanging fruit: light buckets, emblems, any moulding I could get off (not much), simple dash parts, and other small items. The whole hood was already off the truck so that got set aside and I had full access to the engine bay, where two of my main targets lay: the steering column and the power steering box. This Scout was a 4-cylinder so there was plenty of room to work: it’s essentially a V-8 with the driver’s side cylinder bank chopped off, so there’s a huge empty space over the steering column. After some basic wrangling I got one of the two bolts on the rag joint off, but the other refused to budge; taking a break, I went inside the cab and disassembled the dash so I could get the plastic surround off the column and remove the mounting bolts underneath.
Waiting for more penetrant to work, I went to the tailgate and picked that clean: I got the entire latch mechanism, both latch arms, the button, and the license plate mount (a hinged model, something desirable).
Moving back to the engine bay, I put a pair of vice-grips on the stubborn rag joint bolt and was able to separate it from the PS box, and with that I got the entire steering column out. The PS box was next; after some work on the cotter pin and castle nut I was able to separate the drag link and then get the entire unit off the frame.
While I was working one of Dave’s friends wandered up the hill and struck up a conversation: a nice man named Paul told me through a thick accent that he was a farrier and had worked on horses from Syracuse down to Virginia and everywhere in between. Fascinated, I listened to him tell stories of helping fix horses as I pulled the dashboard apart.
By 4:30 I was winding down. The heater box was rusted through along the bottom and I had no way of getting the rest of it off without taking a sawzall to the outer fender (which I didn’t have) so I left that. Packing up my gear, I drove back down the hill and made a deal with Dave for the parts I’d gotten. Then I asked if he was scrapping the old Scout 80 carcass I’d parked next to up the hill, and if I could pull the E-brake assembly off for Brian, whose pretty Scout 800 did not come with one. Some short work with the impact driver and some wrenches and it was in my hands. Walking back down the hill I spied a beat-up early 80 tailgate—the one with the embossed IH logo, not the Scout script—and made a deal for that too.
With everything packed away in the CR-V, I hit the road and made it home at dusk for dinner with the girls. As I sped back down I-70, stinking of PBblaster, power steering fluid, and fresh dirt, I realized I had no pain in my shoulder, arm, or neck, and that I was recharged by being outside in the sunshine, working on my own time, doing something I love.So here’s a list of the haul from Flintstone, so that I’ve got a record of what I dragged home.
In no particular order:
- The steering wheel—I got the entire thing all the way to the steering box, and I even found the horn button on the floor
- The plastic steering wheel column cover, in black
- The steering box—Got it, along with one chewed up castle nut.
- The lower tailgate latch assembly—I took some time and got the latch, the button, both rods and latch arms
- One of the latch arms from the liftgate
- 4 bolts where the windshield connects to the roof
- The washer bottle—this came off cleanly, along with the little hoses to the squirters (Mine got squashed last summer)
- Hubcaps—I found one front and one rear.
- The coolant overflow tank—although all of the mounting tabs crumbled when I pulled it off
- Light buckets—I got three good side markers and one taillight lens, along with one front turn signal. The rest were trashed.
- Both of the 1978 headlight surrounds—the grille was in pieces on the ground underfoot
- The complete dome light assembly
- The automatic transmission shift cover
- Another glovebox door
- All of the dash gauges, and the dash surround (although that is chewed all to hell; I have three spares in the basement)
- The ashtray—apart from two stubbed-out butts, this is in perfect shape
- The license plate assembly—it’s a hinged model
- two sets of sun visors, both somewhat swollen, and all associated hardware
- A rusted but recognizable tailgate from a 1961 Scout 80, with the IH logo embossed. What I’ll do with this I don’t know, but I got it for nothing.
- An emergency brake setup from the same ’61, which Brian can use in his 800.
The stuff I wasn’t able to get, based on my original list:
- Both front hubs—Dave wanted to keep these with the axles, so I left them.
- The heater motor unit—this was trashed underneath and I didn’t have the time to dig deeper.
- Inner fenders—completely trashed.
- Door strikers from both sides—of four bolts I was only able to get one to budge, after repeated abuse with the impact driver.
- The transmission tunnel cover—this Scout came with factory air, which meant the A/C ducting prevented me from getting the top two bolts off the cover.
- Rear armrests—both of these were moldy black. No thanks!
- Side moulding—someone had come along and stuck a sheet metal screw in the middle of each of these, presumably to hold them on, which had then rusted to the body. I was able to get one off cleanly, but the rest are still on the truck.
- The interior fiberglas panels—both of these were drilled for janky-looking shoulder belts, and there was a wood block drilled into both of them in the back. I passed. I’ve got a spare set in the garage attic.
- The cowl cover—the bolts holding this on were rusted solid. I have a spare from the Wheaton scout.
- Â Evap gear from the rear access port—not enough time to get into this
- The slider windows—here I also ran out of time.
- The windshield—this was actually in decent shape, but there wasn’t enough time. I’d go back out there for the glass before he scraps it, if someone else wanted to join me.
As for me, my soft desk hands are covered in annoying little cuts. I’ve got two particularly annoying gashes right above the nail on my left middle finger and the top of my right thumb (the kind that catch on the pocket of your jeans or get wet and open back up doing the dishes). I have an abrasion along my right wrist up to my elbow. I’ve got a 2″ gash on the top of my left knee from the old Scout 80; if I get lockjaw in the next couple of days I’ll know where that came from.
So now I’ve got to dig out the bins and organize everything into their right place (there’s one bin for exterior parts, one for interior parts, one for electrics, etc.) The steering wheel will be disassembled so that I can see if the turn signal canceling cam is intact; if so that’ll go into Peer Pressure with a new lockset. Knowing how all of that comes apart on a spare will keep me from completely trashing my working setup.
The power steering pump will get hosed with Simple Green and then powerwashed to the bare metal; this will be set aside for a core trade-in when I order whatever new pump I buy. I’ve also got several starters and one brake booster that might fetch $20/each for a core charge.
The 1980 light surrounds, transmission cover, and hubcaps will probably go up for sale, along with the other shifter cover and OEM center console I’ve got sitting on the shelf.
It’s funny—for a while, I’ve looked back on parting out the Wheaton Scout and wondering why I didn’t pull more off that rig; having just spent the good part of a day wrestling with this truck (both of them equally rusty) I think I may have gotten less from this one than I did from that one. And I was better prepared this time. Maybe it’s because I spent a lot of time on the steering gear.