I drove the Scout across town to welding class last week and one of the questions I got in the parking lot was, “how many miles on that thing?” I had to answer honestly: “I have no idea.” The engine has always been a mystery. It’s original to the frame but not the body, so the odometer isn’t a reliable indication of age or wear. IH engines were overbuilt to run all day and night, so 300K on a properly maintained 40-year-old SV engine isn’t surprising at all—as long as it’s not treated like a top-fuel dragster. All that being said, it sure would be nice to know more about this engine, and the condition it’s in.
I read the Autopian every day, an auto-centric website founded by two Jalopnik alumni who I follow pretty closely. One of the writers has written several stories about testing the oil from several of his high-mileage project cars to diagnose engine issues, using a service from Blackstone Oil Analysis. Blackstone takes a sample of your oil and does a metallurgical breakdown of the elements found inside to give insight into the wear on different elements, and possibly offer an idea as to the age and condition from inside. I’ve now got an envelope from Blackstone sitting on my desk waiting for an oil change—hopefully in May before a drive north to my cousin’s wedding. An added bonus: Blackstone is based in Ft. Wayne, Indiana—home of the IH plant my Scout was born in.