Progress, Large and Small

I’ve had a week scheduled for a while now where I could both burn off hours of accumulated PTO and strip the green truck of all its good parts. The trick with scheduling stuff like this weeks in advance is that sometimes the weather screws you. Last year I lucked out with the cowl welding project on the red truck, so I was hoping I’d be lucky again this year.

Starting on Saturday, I was able to make some serious headway. After a dump run I stopped in at the Home Depot and got some wood to build two window storage boxes from the one I originally built for the Ohio glass: I want those two panes to be as well protected as possible. I’ve still got to get a couple of thriftstore blankets and some pipe insulation to protect the edges.

The first thing I did on the truck was to get into the engine bay and drain the master and clutch cylinders of any remaining fluid. It came out thick and brown, which was not surprising. After messing around for awhile I realized the clutch cylinder had to come out first, as the pot was in the way of the bolts holding the whole mount onto the firewall. I disconnected the clutch pedal and pulled the cylinder off. What’s cool is that it’s stamped with an IH logo, as are all of the bolts. Then I took the hood completely off to be able to get to the remaining bolts on the master cylinder, disconnect the linkage, and pull that out. I then pulled the plate off the firewall and mounted both cylinders back up to it so I know where everything should go. While I had the hood off I pulled the air cleaner and drained it of most of the oil. I rigged up a gravity drain overnight to get everything out of it. Then I disconnected the linkage on the carburetor and pulled that off; it too was held in with four IH-stamped bolts. I put that aside and covered the intake with two sheets of cardboard in case anyone wants to try to revive the engine. The carb got a vacuum and then I blew out the remaining crap with the compressor. It’s another 2-barrel Holley, exactly like the one I’ve got on the Red bus, so I set that aside for a rebuild.

From there I took the inner fender skirts off, exposing the power steering assembly, and pulled the frame bolts out from the box. Three of the four hydraulic hoses were impossible to get off cleanly, so I cut those and drained them into a pan. Then I took the pump assembly off the motor and set that aside. I had to sort out how to disconnect the steering column from the box, but I also had to figure out how to get the steering column out of the truck. The original plan was to get the PS assembly off the truck and store it inside; if someone wanted to haul the truck away for parts I’d leave it as part of the package but if all I could do is scrap it, I would keep it and try to resell it.

Then I moved inside the cab and started looking over the dash mounts. All but one of the screws holding the front edge came out, and both of the mounts on either side of the base came out. I couldn’t figure out what else was still holding this thing in place. I pulled the glovebox cardboard out and the defrost box came out smoothly. I spent a lot of time perched on top of the seat mounts and perforated floorboards trying not to slice my back open peering up under the dashboard.

At this point it was getting cold and I had plans for the evening, so I cleaned up, covered the truck, and called it a night.

On Sunday I started by building the crates for the windows, and with some help from air tools and the utility saw they went together pretty quickly. Then I climbed back into the truck and continued doing battle with the dashboard, using the scrap from the crates as floorboards. After getting a set of finicky bolts out at the perimeter of the windshield I went underneath and started freeing up as many of the structural bolts as I could find. After spending the majority of the afternoon under the dashboard, I finally got the whole assembly free and lifted it out of the truck. Then I pulled the pedal assembly/steering column support out for use as a backup later.

Monday was another beautiful day to be outside, and I went back to the steering column to try to understand how that unit was supposed to disconnect from the power steering pump. While puzzling on that puzzle I spent most of the day buzzing around the truck pulling other stuff off: the interior trim above the windows that hold up the headliner, both headliner sections above the dashboard and rear lift gate, which will serve as templates for a replacement; armrests and hardware attached to the rear passenger section; door strikers and hardware, etc.

I did finally figure out how to remove the heater assembly from the rear wheel well, which came out in one piece but clearly saw better days. It’s put together in such a way that it looks homemade. Water entering the wheel well from the cracked window rubber above had soaked the bottom of the unit and rusted it out pretty good, but I’ll bring it to Nats to see if anyone is interested in it as a template for reproduction.

Then, after lunch, I battled the rear bumper, which was held on by bolts so seized with rust I just skipped the heat/penetrant method and went right to the cutoff wheel. It took a couple of hours but I did finally get it off, and then I cut the mounting brackets off after that. Being out in the sun that afternoon took a ton of life out of me.

Tuesday I ran out to Harbor Freight for some spot weld cutters and got to work removing the panel above the tailgate to replace the chewed-up panel mine came with. After practicing on the cowl last summer I knew what I was doing and it came out very easily. When I jumped in the red truck to compare the two it was only then I realized the size is different between barn door and lift gate trucks. Oh, well. I also took the aluminum window channels around the lift gate area off and any remaining interior trim and headliner elements, which I can use for templates later.

In the morning I gave the Scout Connection a call and followed up on the wiring harness saga; apparently the truck they pulled the harness from had been VIN-swapped and they went with an earlier model. Dave said he found another with the correct harness and that they were working on it as we talked. They’ll send that one to me and I’ll send this one back to them. That was a relief.

Then I moved up front to try to work on the power steering gear to get the column off the truck, but still could not make it work. With some oven cleaner, I sprayed down the outside of the air cleaner and power steering reservoir, let that soak in, and hosed off all the grease. The air cleaner took a bit of work to scrub clean but it’s pretty amazing how the oven cleaner cut through all that crud.

Wednesday I pulled all the hardware off the doors in preparation for removing and storing them, as well as getting all the bolts loose. It should just be a quick hit with the impact gun to pull them all off. Then I soaked the hinges on the tailgate liberally in penetrant and then put the big breaker bar on them. Surprisingly they came out easily. At that point the big issue was how to get the tailgate off without dropping it on my feet. I put two ancient truck speaker boxes underneath and slowly slid it back until it dropped off, then disconnected the brittle wiring from the harness and then hefted it up into the back of the truck. It’s all in one piece and someone may be interested in saving it, so I’ll hang on to that.

I continued fucking with the power steering box for the rest of the afternoon, going so far as to get all the bolts off the Pitman arm (which did nothing) and removing the cover at the front of the steering box (which also did nothing) but still couldn’t get the column out of the truck. By 5PM I was running on fumes, so I cleaned up the driveway and tucked the trucks in for the night.

Thursday I texted Brendan up at to see if he wanted to make the drive to pick up the carcass, and after mapping it out, he declined. So I’m not going to worry about one of my next moves: I’m planning to cut a section of the rear fender out to replace a rusty part on my truck. I may get clever with the cutoff wheel and take the whole fender directly below the window and around to the light if I can make it into some kind of wall art. We’ll see. I’m going to check with another local IH guy to see if he’s interested, and if not, I’m going to call around for a scrapper to haul it away.

Friday I pulled the rear bench out of the back to strip down the seat portion, which was almost completely gone when I got it. However the frame is in much better shape than the one I got from Ray, so I cut away the remaining fabric, cut off the hog rings,  sanded the parts that would go up against fabric and then shot it with some rust converter. While that was drying I cleaned the back of the seat off with some 409 and then tucked it into the back of the Red Bus for storage. At this point I’ve got two complete bench seat pairs ready for Jeff—the ones I got from Ray last summer and these new two. He’s been worried the patterns he sewed might not fit the seats I’ve got, so I’m going to haul all four of them up to him and we’ll choose the best of each lot to work from.

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