I got a call out of the blue from the seller of Barn Find 2 on Wednesday night as I was about to walk in the door of my boss’ departure party; he said he’d found the VIN on the door of the truck and wanted to know if I was still interested. Given the fact that I’d looked at it quickly on a cloudy, cold day in December where I lost all sensation in my extremities five minutes after I got out of the car, I figured I’d take another look. Brian was available to join me so we set something up for this morning and drove out there in his shiny new hybrid F150 (the verdict: SWEET).
This time I had two sets of eyeballs on the truck, and what looked passable during the Big Chill looked worse the more we dug into it. The floorpans were welded in place on top, but underneath there was a gap of about 1/8″ between the bottom of the pans and the remainder of the floor. The body was not mounted to the frame; there were no pucks or bolts touching the tub. The welds themselves were garbage. There was more rust all over the body than I remember, and as I got underneath to really look at the frame and undercarriage I realized the rockers weren’t as solid as they’d first looked and that the rear fenders on both sides were worse than I recalled. Brian and I talked it over privately and I decided to walk away again. It’s a $2000 truck at best, and with the extra parts maybe $2500 but nowhere near what he’s asking—and a hell of a lot more work than I’m willing to take on.
So I took the four of us out for brunch, and we had a great time catching up.
I had time to myself today, so I went out to try and solve the mystery of the dead lightbulb behind my heater controls. Now that I actually have heat it would be nice to see what the controls say; at one time I knew exactly how they worked by muscle memory, but that was in the days of Chewbacca and I got the heat in this Scout working only recently. To get to the one bulb on top of the control box I found it easiest to pull the fascia plate off the dashboard and with it the radio; this is the best way of getting back there without cutting a hole in the firewall and going in from the back. The bulb installed was weird, in that it has two wires going in and was zip-tied in place at some point. All three of the spare dashboards I own have one wire and no zip-tie. Additionally strange is that this bulb is different than all of the other bulbs in the dash: it’s a 5GE 57 bayonet (or some equivalent) so I have to source a new one from somewhere—all of the spares I own didn’t work.
On the subject of fascia plates, I’ve been thinking about dressing up the one I’ve got or replacing it, now that the rest of the cabin looks better. I own five in total, the one in the truck and these:
The chewed up green one is from the Flintstone Scout. I don’t remember where I got the woodgrain one from. The bottom two are from other rigs that I can’t remember (the good green one is left over from Chewbacca days). I’m hesitant to touch the two good ones so I’m going to see if I can use the better of the two bad ones and make a clean hole for a DIN9 receiver. That’ll be tomorrow’s project, along with sourcing the correct lightbulb.
Walking the dog through the ‘Ville today I noticed a familiar green Scout parked at my neighbor’s house. The house belongs to a nice man named Steve, who passed away a couple of years ago, but I’m still in touch with his son. I sent him an email this afternoon asking after him and to see if he needs help getting her roadworthy—the last time we traded messages he was having problems with the carb and I don’t know if he got them sorted out. I sent along info for the guy who did the brakes on PP last year, and hopefully I’ll hear back from him sometime soon.
On our way down Congress Street in Austin last week, I was looking up at the beautiful neon signage when Finley said, “Look, there’s a Scout.” She was right: a red Scout II sat out on the street with the words Hotel San Jose on the side; apprently it’s pretty famous there but hasn’t moved much lately by the looks of the dried leaves on the front seats. I posted a picture on Instagram and one of the local Scout owners I follow liked it and asked if I was in town on Monday; she was going to be at a car meetup and would put the word out to the other Scout friends in town.
Sheepishly, I parked our rental Buick around back; lined up in front of the bar were a ’65 Chevy pickup, a ’70 Ford pickup, Lydia’s beautiful Scout II, an absolutely evil-looking early 70’s Nova, a ’56 or ’57 Belair sedan, and a mid 60’s Ranchero. After I grabbed a beer, I got to talking with Lydia and she told me about how she found her Scout; presently a couple of Scout 800’s rolled in, followed by a third she’d never seen before, and then a huge lifted Traveler. I met a bunch of new folks—atxscout800, seatruckn, and a couple of other folks not on the ‘Gram.
We talked trucks and Austin and music and other stuff and generally had a great time. At one point I looked around and a blown El Camino had arrived, several customized vans, a first-gen Mustang, an absolutely spotless ’68 Pontiac Tempest, a beautiful ’60 Chevy Sport Coupe, and other beautiful cars. I hung around until about 10, when the crowd started thinning, and left with a sweet ATXScouts T-shirt, a couple of stickers, and a big wide grin on my face. Thanks, Austin!
This week I built an auxilliary fuel delivery system out of a boat tank, a cheap fuel pump, some spare wire, and $25 of hose. The tank is a 3 gallon West Marine unit I got on sale, with a quick disconnect and a handy gauge built in. The pump I found on Amazon, which pushes at 2.5—4psi. Everything I’ve read about the Carter AFB says it likes up to about 6psi, so I figure we’re in good shape. I soldered clips to some extra wire I had on hand and lengthened the reach of the pump, so we can disconnect it quickly from the battery if need be. The big question now is what size the fuel inlets on the carb actually are; I’ve got three Thermoquads sitting in the basement, but none of them have a screw-in fitting so I’m taking a wild guess, and the information on AFB carbs is spotty at best.
I built this to get the Chrysler moving under her own power, but the universe seems to have further plans for us. In the last month I’ve been approached by two separate people with Scouts who need help getting them running again: I drove Finn to karate practice a couple of weeks ago and one of her instructors told me she’s got a Scout under a tarp in her backyard. Naturally I offered my help to get it running. And last week a neighbor walked up the driveway and asked me for some help: his friend has a Scout that’s been sitting in a garage for years and he wants to get it running again.
Clearly I have been noticed as the Scout Guy, and more confoundingly, the Get This Scout Running Again Guy; I’m pleasantly surprised and somewhat intimidated by this development. Hopefully I can live up to it.
As mentioned elsewhere, I inherited a beautiful new piece of IH gear: my friend Stephen passed his fridge on to me, the one I helped drag out of a basement and haul up to his house before the pandemic. He’s downsizing and his girlfriend doesn’t have a place to put it, so he gave Bennett and I first right of refusal. It’s a 1951 HA-84 model, and it’s complete with all racks, trays, and hardware.
Overall it was easy to move and get into the garage, and I spent a good bit of Memorial Day scrubbing the insides down with Simple Green and washing out the interior shelves and racks. After letting it sit upright for a couple of days to settle, I plugged it in last night for two hours (in 95˚ weather) and it chilled down to perfect beer-keeping temperature. So I’ll keep cleaning the outer shell and do some longer-term testing when I’m back from my New York trip to see how it does over a week. The plug may need to be replaced, and I’d like to look over the wiring inside.
Peer Pressure is running really well, and did great moving a boat and hauling the fridge from up in Towson. I’m taking it up to my mother’s to a family wedding this weekend, which will be the first time it’s been up to New York. The forecast is calling for cooler temperatures and a 30% chance of rain on Tuesday, the day I come back, so I’ve got the Rain-X handy for unscheduled showers.
One thing that’s been happening since I fixed the turn signal cam is that the horn has been going off randomly for no clear reason. We stayed in Solomons about two weeks ago and when I left the hotel to pack the car I heard the horn blaring from across the parking lot. A tap on the center of the wheel silenced it, but it happened several more times since then. I took the cover off and disconnected the horn lead for now, but at some point I’ll have to figure out what inside the plastic horn assembly is creating a contact (I can’t disassemble it without destroying it).
I’ve got the long-distance travel kit for the Scout assembled, and I have to throw my crusty old clubs in the back on the off chance we get 9 holes in at the College course. I haven’t played golf in 15 years but it would be fun to throw back some Bloodys and fuck around on the course.
We just heard through the grapevine that our old friend A., who has been in the local Scout scene longer than I can remember, passed away in December. I remember him as a wealth of information from back in the old IHC Digest days, before I’d even met him. When someone would complain about a particular part or the size of a fastener, he would email the list moments later with the exact name of the part or the correct size and pitch of the particular bolt. When I was having issues with the throttle cable on Peer Pressure during the first shakedown trips, he saw a picture I’d posted of the bracket, recognized it as the cable for an automatic, and sent me the correct bracket from his parts stash. He was always up for a Scout adventure, even if he habitually showed up late—that was understood.
He’d moved out to the country a couple of years ago and found a different job, and it sounded like he was happy there from what we heard. I was shocked to hear the news, and I’m sad to hear of his passing.
After waiting around for about two months, I got a UPS package on Friday with two new gas struts for my hood assembly from the manufacturer. When I first opened the box I was a bit bummed out because I thought I’d ordered the wrong parts. The connections on the ends were set up to accept ball joints instead of bolts, and I thought I might have to send them back and deal with another long wait. Then I looked a little closer and realized the connections unscrewed off the struts, so I pulled the good connectors off the bad strut and swapped them on to a new one. Problem solved.
Meanwhile, I went to visit Brian H. at his new house and caught up with he and Bennett on Saturday afternoon. He’s got an absolutely killer new space, the highlight of which is a pole barn wired for 220 and a bunch of toys left by the previous owner, including a digital welder, a metal brake, a tube bender, and a full-size blast cabinet. We spent most of the day catching up, talking cars and trucks, doing some re-arranging of his rolling stock—his Edsel is on roller carts and he needed a hand pulling the box off his Dad’s old Dodge pickup. On my way out he offered me a smaller Eastwood blasting cabinet he didn’t need, a piece of equipment I’ve been lusting after but unable to rationalize or find the space for. I offered him money but he didn’t want anything for its so I’ll have to figure out what I can bring him next time. It’s a great addition to the shop, so I spent Sunday afternoon moving stuff around the garage to find a temporary home for it. The glass is pretty frosty and the gloves are rotted through, so I’ll have to swap in some new parts in the spring.
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.
Part one of this story begins with the Scout in Annapolis, being looked over by my original Scout mechanic from 1997. To make a long story short, I needed new bearings and reached out to several mechanic friends, who were all backed up with work. My friend Mikey, who I know through a completely different set of friends, suggested Erick—another example of worlds colliding in amazing ways. I brought the truck down to him with the bearings and he had both the fronts replaced by about 6:30 Wednesday evening. I ran down there with Jen, picked the truck up, and hustled it back home in a light rainstorm. I’d already prepacked everything so it was fast to throw stuff in the truck, kiss the girls, and hit the road to meet Bennett at a park and ride out on Route 70.
From there we drove out to West Virginia to meet Brian at his family river house, and we cracked a beer on the porch before hitting the sack in a beautiful new air conditioned camp trailer they bought last year.
Thursday morning broke hot and only got hotter. The temperature was in the 90’s but the humidity pushed the index into the 100’s, so we checked fluids in the trucks, packed ice and water, had a quick bite to eat and headed west. We hit only one minor slowdown for construction, and stopped every hour or so to hydrate, gas up, and air out the backs of our shirts. Bennett kept the location of the barbecue joint we hit two years ago so we stopped in there for some lunch at about two, and it was worth the wait.
Back on the road, we navigated the evening rush hour around Columbus and then got cooled off in a downpour west of the city which then seemed to follow us. With the bikini top on the truck and a speed above 40mph, everything in the truck stayed bone dry through the worst of the thunderstorm. I’d prewashed the windshield with Rain-X before we left and that helped the visibility; I only had to use the wipers occasionally.
We rolled into the hotel by about 8PM and found the parking lot about 3/4 full of antique trucks. There were a bunch of folks to stop and chat with, and we finally broke off to drag some gear inside before it started raining again. We’d all agreed to avoid restaurants and as much indoor exposure as possible, so we ordered a pizza and had it delivered to the room while the rain passed. Then we headed back outside to meet up with friends and drink some beer.
Friday morning we got an early start, as a lot of the good parts would be fresh on the grass at entry, so we ate a quick breakfast, brushed our teeth, and hit the road for the airfield. After a brief stop at Tim Horton’s drivethrough we entered the grounds and made our way over to the rows, where Bennett and I set up next to each other and Brian got a sweet spot right across the lane from us. After checking in and picking up our swag we set up my EZ-UP (lifesaver) and wandered over to the parts area.
There were a lot of goodies to look over, and I tried to show some restraint for as long as possible. I got a ’72 emblem for the front of Peer Pressure’s grille (mine is missing) for $5, a day-night rearview mirror to replace my single-position mirror for $15, a $20 transmission mount (mine is toast) and a sweet shirt from GRC Fab for $15. There was a lot of other amazing stuff there that I would love to have bought.
We ran into a bunch of friends on the grounds and caught up with them, but by 1PM we were crispy and hungry. We retired to the tent to grill some hamburgers and chat with our neighbor Dave, who owns a last-day 1980 diesel Scout and who was happily eating some homemade ice cream from one of the vendors.
Sipping on a delicious chocolate milkshake from said vendor I heard the announcer offer a door prize to the first person who could produce an IH keychain. I hustled up to the podium and showed him my worn leather keyfob—the fob Chewbacca’s keys came on—and claimed a nice plastic ammo box to hold all of my new parts.
By about 4 we were thoroughly baked so we lowered the tent and headed back to the hotel. The tailgate party was just kicking off so we cracked some beers and I ran upstairs for a quick shower. Then we grilled some dinner on Peer Pressure and talked with friends.
We met a nice kid who parked an immaculate ’78 Rallye next to Brian’s truck and struck up a conversation; he’d spent the last two years working on it with his Dad and was obviously pretty proud of the results. Every nut and bolt was new. The paint gleamed. The engine was spotless. We complimented him on his work and told him to keep it out of the rain. Turns out he was from western Maryland and he’d trailered it in with his Dad that day.
Another man asked me a question about my grille, and I got to talking with he and his teenage daughter. She’d just bought a Scout and wanted to fix it up, and they’d driven four hours from Illinois to learn more about Scouts and how to do things. I talked with them for about a half an hour and answered as much as I could, then recommended a few more people to talk with. He said he was struck by how friendly everyone was at the show, and I assured him this was pretty normal.
Brian and I called it at about 11:30 and after downing some more water we crashed out.
Saturday we got up early to make sure we got our spot back, and after some lousy hotel food and a Clif bar we hit the road for the fairgrounds. Our spot was where we left it, as was the EZ-UP, and we set up camp for the day under cloudy skies and 65˚ temperatures. There were more vendors set up selling things so we hustled over to see what was newly available. I found a set of beautiful 2″ Stewart-Warner oil and amp gauges and got them for $15. Further down the line we stopped in to see Dan at the Binder Boneyard and I bought a locking glove box latch for $20, which should work better than the wiggly hunk of metal I’m currently running. Elsewhere I hemmed and hawed over an incomplete chrome trim set without the clips and walked away, feeling good about my self control.
I then spied a set of fiberglas inner panels and noticed the third section for above the liftgate door—this one had the cutout for a switch like mine. We figured Howie at Binder Boys would have one in stock. His booth is amazing; one half of his setup is two full tables of divided parts containers organized by fastener type, size, shape, and function—thousands of items. The other half is a trailer crammed with neatly organized large parts in racks and on shelves. He hustled into the trailer and within a minute handed me two to choose from, charging me $3 for the best one.
We headed back to the trucks to get some lunch, and then figured we should go over and check out IHPA’s booth up by the hangar. There we drooled over a lot of really nice stuff, including the brake kits we’d seen at Lee’s place. Brian struck up a deal and got a great price on one minus shipping. I got a decent deal on a set of liftgate struts for my truck and decided I’d hit my spending limit.
We visited with friends, got some more ice cream, and wandered through the rest of the show looking at the new arrivals. When they announced the raffle would start at 6 back at the hotel, we broke down camp and headed back there at about 4:30 to get our spots in the parking lot. I was fortunate enough to have a guy park a genuine SSII next to me, which we took time to drool over as the sun finally came out.
The raffle went off pretty quickly (I did not win anything, as usual) and the auction was lots of fun. There wasn’t a lot that I was interested in this year, so I kept my wallet in my pocket.
After the raffle, things broke up into smaller groups. I was feeling pretty worn down, so I called home and talked to Jen for a bit away from the crowds. We mingled a little and chatted with some folks, but were feeling pretty beat and headed upstairs at around 11.
Bennett and I had a long drive ahead of us (Brian was stopping off in West Virginia) so we bailed out of the hotel, ate some breakfast in the parking lot, and checked over fluids and fasteners. After topping off the important stuff we got on the road under cloudy skies. At the first service station a fellow with a crusty SSII on a trailer pulled up next to me, and I wished him luck with his restoration. Talking to him on Friday I learned he’d found one of only 50 Midas SSII’s in existence under a tarp out in the boonies, and he was going to rebuild the whole thing.
We drove into the morning gloom and soon it started drizzling. It was enough to cover the windshield but not enough to be dangerous, which was lucky for me because my wipers stopped working somewhere in Western Maryland. Again, with the bikini top up everything in back stayed bone dry. I think the worst part was that for the first hour I was cold; I was able to get to and put on my windbreaker but my legs were freezing until we stopped for a break and I could get under the hood to manually open my heater valve.
Beyond that, the ride home went off without a hitch. The roads were open, the rain let up right before Frederick, and for the final leg I drove with the top down and the sun on my back. I got into the house at 8PM and enjoyed some dinner with the girls in front of the TV.
Once again, our trusty old binders didn’t fail us. Once again, we had a great time getting out there, seeing friends, talking about trucks (and other stuff) and enjoying the summer in Ohio after it cooled off. We ate too much grilled meat off the tailgate, drank just enough beer, a lot more water, and avoided just enough rain to make it pleasant. Once again I had a great crew to enjoy the trip with, and I’m looking forward to next time.
On Monday I took a day off work and drove out to Lewes Delaware to visit a nice guy named Lee, who has been quietly working on Scouts exclusively for the past ten years. His bread and butter has been the wealthy beach clientele who can drop thousands on a rig each year for upgrades, but he’s helped average guys out like me as well. He was kind enough to take most of the day to talk with Brian and I, and I didn’t have enough space in my brain to hold all of the stuff we learned. His shop is stuffed full of IH parts and gear; he has two gleaming 392’s up on stands being rebuilt.
He was kind enough to put our rigs up on his lift, and we went over the mechanicals from the underside. Brian’s truck is, of course, in excellent shape (Lee had worked on it for the previous owner, and actually was trying to help him sell it at one point) and he showed us how to add rear disc brakes with the kit he and his son developed for one of the larger Light Line vendors. Then we put Peer Pressure up on the lift, and predictably he found some things that needed attention before driving to Ohio: both of the right side wheel bearings are in need of replacement, and the tie rod end is shot on the passenger side.
There was some little stuff that can get fixed later: when we put the front brakes on we put the hoses on backwards. At some point if I’m feeling sporty I can remove the shim on the starter motor; that’s only required for automatics. And I’m going to have to replace the transmission mounts pretty soon, as they are toast.
I also learned that the belt driven spaghetti-hosed lump next to my battery is an air pump, designed to thin out the particulates in the exhaust for 1970’s era emissions laws. Lee pointed out all of the smog hoses I can get rid of to plug vacuum leaks and help the engine run smoother. When that day comes, I bought eight specially-designed plugs to fill the holes left behind.
While we were there a bright yellow Scout came in on a flatbed from Colorado, freshly bought sight unseen from the internet. We walked out and looked it over with him, and even that was an education for us both. Dig that crazy chrome rollbar. It’s pretty incredible what Scouts are going for these days, and from what he says, some of the IH-specific parts are getting as thin on the ground as the trucks are. I mentioned what I had squirreled away in the garage and he told me I was sitting on a goldmine—and not to throw anything away.
We sat and shot the shit until about 5PM, and paid him what he asked; his time was worth much more but he refused to take anything beyond that.
I hit the road and was lucky enough to avoid all but about 3 minutes of a downpour in Glen Burnie, which actually cooled me off a little bit. The truck ran great both ways and I can’t be more pleased with the heat matting.Â According to the Googles I put 234 miles on the truck, although the odo says 194 for various reasons.