All Quiet on the International Front

It’s been very cold in Maryland the last couple of weeks, and with the short amount of daylight we’re getting there isn’t a whole lot of time to get anything done on the trucks while it’s warm. The Travelall has been under a snug car cover for the last couple of weeks and the Scout is snoring in the shed, both hooked up to battery tenders. I don’t see much happening on the trucks themselves until after New Years, because we’ve got to source a second daily driver with the loss of the Honda at Thanksgiving.

I have been in touch with Jeff J. about seat covers, however, and we’re formulating a plan for him to sew me new ones based on the pictures I sent up. I’ve got a source for foam identified, and when we get past Christmas I can place an order for supplies to work on them inside. I also checked in with Brendan B. about the power steering gear he offered me, and we’ve got that set aside for after the holidays when I can get up there to pick it up.

The other thing I think I’ll work on is the spare drinker’s side fender, which I got with a large hole cut out where the fuel filler used to be. Other than that, it’s in great shape, so I’m going to pull the trigger on some new metal from Sendcutsend, clean up the area, and spend some time welding a new fuel filler assembly in place.

Weekly Roundup, 9.22

Currently, we have Tropical Storm Ophelia blowing through Maryland, bringing rain and high winds all the way up the Chesapeake Bay. I’ve been keenly aware of the weather ever since I took the canopy down over the truck, wondering how the cowl repairs will hold up in the rain. Before the surgery, an hour of rain would soak the floorboards, all the water dumping directly down through the rusty holes. From what I can tell now, after 12 straight hours the repairs have all held up really well. There’s no water penetration from above; all I can see are small rivulets forming from dried-out weatherstripping around the doors.

The question is, which door seals do I need? There are three offered by most Light Line dealers: an interior door edge seal, a door seal set, and a pillar door seal set. I have the pillar door seal set, which looks like it goes along the inside of the door and is glued in with sealant (which I don’t have). They’re getting familiar with me at IHPA, so I’ll have to call over there and get the details.

In back, the new window is sealed tight, but the rear window on the driver’s side is leaking from a 1″ split in the gasket up top. So I’ve added another rear window gasket to the purchase list. I think I’m going to have the installer from last week come back out and give our luck another shot replacing that side.

Someone on the Round-Body Travelalls FB group posted a very interesting picture of a Travelall with a brand-new bumper, and mentioned that the bumper for a 1957-60 Ford F-150 will fit a Travelall and look very similar to boot. My bumper looks like it was dragged behind the truck and then re-attached with bubble gum, so I think maybe this will be an option—I don’t foresee tripping over a C-series bumper in good shape anytime soon.

I called Super Scout Specialists to inquire about what a new dash wiring harness would cost, and the guy who assembles them is supposed to call me back. I’m going to ask him what it would cost to add circuits for A/C, power steering (I may go electric), trailer lights, charging ports, and a couple of spares, as well as swapping the fuse panel to spade fuses. That will be the next big project—pulling the dash apart and sorting out the electrical system (god help me).

On the Scout side, everything is running quietly as it should. I noticed that my temperature gauge is now dead, so I threw a temp sender in our biweekly Amazon cart for replacement. If that’s not the issue, I have something like six spare gauges in my parts stash that can easily be swapped in.

More Future Projects

The Scout is sitting inside a garage down outside of Annapolis as terrible thunderstorms rumble overhead, waiting on a used exhaust heat riser to ship from Ohio. An exhaust heat riser is a valve that stays closed on startup and heats the manifold quickly, which is supposed to lower emissions. My truck, being a 1979 model, came with all of the emissions garbage they could think of that year to try and appease the EPA for an engine designed in the late 1950’s; there are more hoses on that engine than a garden supply store. Anyway, over time, the valve seizes up and stays closed, which is what it sounds like mine has done. This part isn’t regularly made for Scouts anymore, so Super Scout Specialists is sending us a used unit and we’ll throw that in to see if the leak disappears. I’m going to have my mechanic save the old one so I can disassemble it and weld the holes for the shaft closed: I can then use it for a replacement when this valve dies.

Because I am a dipshit and I’ve had Travelall on the brain almost exclusively lately, I completely forgot about two other Scout projects that have been sitting quietly in a box in the basement since the end of winter. I’m in a bit of a holding pattern on the Travelall until I get some stuff organized, so I thought I’d look through the box and get things sorted out.

  • I bought new wing window rubber for the Scout very soon after they started producing it. Both wing windows on Peer Pressure feature crumbling, UV-blasted rubber. Both of the mounts on each window are broken at the pivot spring underneath, which basically means the window opens and flops around in the slipstream. And the passenger wing latch fell off, so it doesn’t stay closed. In my parts stash I have a grand total of seven spare wing windows: three loose units I’ve collected from parts trucks, and four that were installed in the four spare doors I’ve got. Among all of these spares, I have a total of two that aren’t busted to shit. So I pulled a good left and right unit out of the parts doors and gave them a once-over. Both are OK except that the left unit doesn’t have a latch—but I’ve got spares of those.The lower left brace on the right unit was loose: the spot welds were giving way, so I busted out the MIG and tacked it back into place with little trouble. I brought them down to the basement workbench to be refurbished during rainy weekends in front of a football game.

  • I’d completely forgotten that I also bought a new battery pan for the Scout to replace what’s left of the factory pan in there now. It’s a beefy chunk of bare metal and needs a scuff, a coat of etching primer, and several coats of strong black paint (and maybe a layer of undercoating) before I put in in the truck. It’s got three bolts welded underneath to mount to the inner fender—I’ll have to check my spare fender a little more closely to see if this will be just a simple task of cutting the old one out and bolting the new one in (the two holes on the right side of the shelf area below).But once the truck is back I can install that, and set up a proper battery hold down situation; the battery is currently held in place with a tired bungee cord. Because that’s how I roll.

Future Projects

September is here, and Finn is back in school, and the mornings aren’t quite as warm as they were a few weeks ago. I’m looking at the fall as a time to wrap up some of my current projects and the winter for tackling some new ones where I don’t need to be outside. To recap, here’s where we currently stand on the Travelall:

The cowl area is complete; now the windshield needs to go back in and I have to put the hood back on in order to close the truck up for the winter. I’d like to install new weatherstripping around the doors as well, but I’m going to work with what I’ve got.

I took some time to troubleshoot the starting issue—she was starting normally for a long while and decided to stop the week I worked on the cowl. On Sunday I ran through all of the basics—tested for spark, filled the carb bowl, and made sure the choke was working correctly—and finally got her to light off but not stay running. I knew the fuel lines were all clean; they’re brand new all the way back to the tank. So I replaced the fuel filter I’d placed between the pump and the carb, which was full of black sediment, and lit her off again. She caught and suddenly ran more smoothly; fuel was spurting happily into the filter where I hadn’t seen anything before. I’d hooked a couple of 4″ PVC pipes to the tailpipe pointed out behind the garage so I let her run for five or ten minutes to get warm and see how the engine responded. I topped off the radiator and waited until the top rad hose felt hot; I don’t have a working temp gauge in the truck so I don’t know if the thermostat opened. I’ll put a laser sensor on it next time I run it and see where the filler neck reads. I didn’t have time to test the clutch or brakes, though—and I already see one leak at the junction above the rear axle.

With winter approaching, I’ve got three projects in mind, two of which I should be able to tackle indoors and out of the elements:

  1. The top is still a patchwork of primed spots; I’d like to get one full coat of primer on the whole thing and, ideally, spray the whole top out with IH red. With the weather getting colder this may be tricky, but if I’ve still got the canopy over it I won’t have to worry about dew or leaves falling into new paint.
  2. I’ve got two full bench seats waiting for new material. This will start with burlap over the springs, several layers of strong foam, and new upholstery. I’ve got an IH friend who specializes in period-correct patterns and materials, and he’s teed up to produce some vinyl coverings for me. My brother-in-law has hog ring pliers and all the rings I need to complete this project, which is fantastic.
  3. Thinking ahead to lockable storage in the truck, I surveyed the rear bed to see if I could sink a steel lockbox into the floor in the center or on either side of the rear axle. Unfortunately, because the frame was an offshoot of a pickup truck design, it wasn’t engineered for space efficiency. The frame and axle take up a huge amount of space toward the front of the truck, and the beefy hitch mount running up the middle prevents me from dropping a deep well at the back. It’s not out of the question; there’s space above the hitch bar where I could drop a 30″w x 15″l x 5″d metal box in the middle of the floor, and I may well do this. It’s just not very deep—unless I build it with a hump in the middle. More planning will be required.There’s a guy on YouTube who has the same model Travelall who replaced the factory tube cage holding the rear bench with a lockbox, taking advantage of ~2376 cubic inches of space. I’ve already started sketching out some plans for a similar box made out of 1″ square tube and a bunch of the 16 gauge sheet I’ve got sitting in the garage. My plan is similar to his in that I’m planning on two top-mounted doors accessible from either side, using piano hinges and flush-mounted truckbox handles. The axle hump takes up a fair bit of the space inside, but having someplace to lock tools and parts is key. I’ll probably buy another 40MM ammo can and use that for additional storage in the rear section.

Posted on   |     |   Leave a Comment on Future Projects  |  Posted in Future Plans, Travelall

Weekly Roundup, 3.24

I removed three sections of the inner fender skirting a couple of weeks ago in order to look at the starter and wiring. In the video above, they would hide the frame rail at about 1:30—you can see the speed clips that hold them in there. I’d cleaned them up with the wire wheel and sandblaster last weekend, and took advantage of 60˚ weather today to shoot them with Rust Encapsulator and then two coats of flat black. They’ll get one shot of undercoating and then go back on the truck so that I don’t forget what they are or where they came from.

A big box sealed with IHPA stickers arrived on Monday. Inside were two wrapped bundles: Volume 1 and Volume 2 of the 1962-71 Pickup & Travelall Service Manual, unbound, prepunched for a 3-ring binder. Each bundle is about 2″ thick, so I have to hit the Staples to find a solid pair of binders to protect them. This will be my bible for the next couple of years as I resurrect the Travelall, and I’m sure it will pay for itself many times over.

Looking through my books, I realized I have thre different Scout service manuals—a new bound reprint, and two original IH printed copies, one of which is incomplete. This makes me think of building a list of stuff to bring up to Nationals to sell:

  • Original bound IH Scout II service manual
  • A somewhat ratty Scout 80 windshield—I might have to clean this up before I bring it out there
  • An early Scout 80 heater plenum, not refurbished
  • A spare Scout II windshield—it’s not pretty, but it’s worth good money
  • A spare rear Scout II seat
  • A (mostly) complete Scout II air conditioning setup—IH compressor, cabin unit, and refurbished stock plenum
  • An air cleaner for a V8 (the diameter of the air cleaner opening is too narrow for my Thermoquad)
  • A 1965-66 grille for a D-series pickup (this is the original I bought for the red bus that doesn’t fit).

In order to not make the folks running Nationals mad, I’m going to post them on the Binder Planet with a clear note that I’m bringing them with me to exchange but  that I’m not interested in shipping. I figure the Scout windshield, D grille and maybe the 80 windshield will sell.

Speaking of Nationals, I sent in my registration last week and blocked off my work calendar, so I’ll be headed out to Ohio the first full week of June. I’m planning on leaving Thursday so we get there on Friday with enough time to scope the new venue out (it’s in Springfield this year, not at the Troy airfield) so things will be a bit different. I think we’re staying at the same hotel we always do, however.

In the meantime, I put the Travelall on my Hagerty insurance plan to prepare for a trip to the MVA for a title and plate change. For that process, I need the Vermont paperwork, the bill of sale, and proof of insurance. I’m in no rush there, but it’s good to have it on the policy.

On Tuesday I swapped the aftermarket roof racks from the Scout over to the Travelall in preparation for three solid days of rain; I’m going to lay some boards down over top of the racks and then hang a tarp over the whole thing to keep the cowl and windshield section dry. This is going to be the strategy for keeping her out of the rain until I can remediate those problems, and I figure it’s going to go through some modifications until I get it sorted out. The other bonus is that I can drop some plywood down and sit or lay on the roof rack while I grind out the rust up there, instead of working on a ladder. We’ll see how that goes.

Another package arrived today: a true ’63-’64 grille for the Travelall. This one is indented on either side to avoid the headlight buckets, and the grille pattern should allow for getting one’s hands inside to release the secondary hood latch—the current vertical grille makes that pretty much impossible. It’s not perfect, but perhaps some careful straightening and polishing will get it looking better—and who am I kidding, nothing on the truck looks good right now. Also, I can bolt it in place instead of relying on zip ties.

Looking at the cab floors the other day I investigated a little further and saw that they were both cut out and replaced with flat steel at some point. From what I can see the steel was laid over top of the old floor but I can’t see how it was attached—whether it was welded, glued, or something else. That’s not bad news, actually, because I might be able to cleanly cut out the bad stuff and weld in some good stuff on the driver’s side. The passenger side is the question: it looks like that’s the original floor.

Shake Your Money Maker

One of the guys I met in Austin has a beautiful red Scout 800 that’s been featured in ads for Stetson and some other large brands; he told me he was using an online service to rent it out, which I thought was pretty cool. He told me the name of the site and I soon forgot it in the rush of meeting new people. Fast forward to last week when I was looking for photo reference for a new illustration, and stumbled across Sam’s Scout on a site called Vinty, where he’s been listing it. I don’t know if Peer Pressure is clean enough or stock enough to feature correctly in advertising, but I’m thinking it might be worth a shot. I think I’ll have to shoot a series of clean pictures of her in the spring and get her listed.

Meanwhile, the Threadless storefront has been slowly generating sales; the first deposit came into my long-dormant PayPal account over the weekend from November sales, and soon after that somebody bought two more shirts. At this rate I’ll have made my hourly rate back by the time I’m 73, but I’m not in a huge hurry right now.

Cloudy

I drove back from the Eastern Shore last week, heading west into the sunset, and was reminded once again how beautiful that side of Maryland is, and at the same time exactly how shitty the glass in my current windshield is. It’s covered in small chips and nicks, so when the low sun hits it, I can’t see anything in front of me. I’ve literally driven with my head out the side of the truck in situations like this, which works fine for short trips to the store but gets very dangerous when merging onto a highway at 60mph.

I’m thus eyeballing one of the windshield frames in my garage and moving ever closer to swapping it out with the frame on the truck. At this point I’m trying to decide whether it’s a better idea to pull the glass out of the existing frame and replace it with the new gasket and spare glass, or just mount the whole thing in the spare frame and swap windshields. The former is filled with uncertainty; who knows what shape the metal is under the gasket on that unit? My guess is that it’s pretty crunchy under there, but I don’t know for sure. The latter solution is also problematic; mounting a whole windshield can be tricky with things like panel gaps and hidden bolts. But at least the engineers at IH made it removable in the first place; I’m lucky it’s even a possibility.

I’m leaning towards the second option, because I know what shape the inside of the spare frame is in, and I’d like to replace old parts with newer better ones as much as I can. I can also mount and prep the windshield wiper motor and linkage much easier on the spare frame than I can on the truck. With that in mind, here’s what has to happen, in order:

  1. Spray rust encapsulator inside the entirety of the frame
  2. Clean up the metal lip in a few places to make mounting the gasket easier
  3. Sand and paint the frame properly to cover the primer and encapsulator
  4. Hit the whole thing with clear coat to protect it
  5. Mount the metal lip and snaps for the soft top (this will be much easier on the bench than on the truck)
  6. Check, lubricate, and prep the wiper motor and linkage
  7. Install the gasket and glass in the finished frame
  8. Pull the old windshield off the truck
  9. Replace it with the new one
  10. Mount the rearview mirror much higher.

I’ve got the encapsulator. I think I’m just going to spray the outside with aerosol Duplicolor, as buying a $100 quart of paint to shoot out of a $100 gun I don’t even own seems a bit expensive. And the shape of the frame lends itself to aerosol as well; I don’t have to worry about smooth coverage on a wide flat area.

The big thing is pulling the old frame off and putting the new one on—I think I’ll probably pause at step 6 and cut the old glass out of the frame just to see how that one looks before trying to pull it off. If it’s relatively intact and just needs some light cleanup, I might just keep it on and pop the new glass in.

I’m still doing a lot of traveling on the weekends to my father-in-law’s house, but I think I can squeeze some time in during the next few weekends to knock out the first five items on that list. Now, the big question: which color do I use to paint the spare windshield? Should I stick with red, or go with something completely different?

Posted on   |     |   1 Comment on Cloudy  |  Posted in Future Plans

Gasket

I had some time to tinker on Saturday, and I got tired of tripping over a big box in the basement containing my windshield gasket. Naturally, I saw this as a sign and brought it out to do a test-fitting. I’ve always been confused as to how this thing gets installed, as it’s a huge circle of rubber with the weight of a Burmese python and the cross-section of West Virginia. Which side is up? Which flap do you fit into the groove on the windshield?

I did some tinkering, looked at an old video I’d saved, and finally solved the puzzle: the flattest, squarest section is in the back (facing the passengers) while the part with 17 folds goes in front. Once the glass is in place, one of those folds tucks down into another fold and forms a self-sealing lock, holding the glass in place.

This was also a good time to make the call on which frame will be the replacement: It’ll be the darker gold frame, which has less rust around the inside lip and elsewhere. I’m going to try to repair some of the rust damage on the lip when I get a welder, and then I have to figure out how to paint it before it goes on. But that would be an excellent project for the summer (and long overdue).

Posted on   |     |   Leave a Comment on Gasket  |  Posted in Future Plans, Repairs

Evaporust vs. Electrolysis

I’ve been using Evaporust to clean up small parts for a couple of months now, but it gets pretty expensive in large quantities; a gallon is about $20 via Amazon. I just soaked a window scissor mechanism in a tub for two days and got it pretty clean, but a gallon was barely enough to cover the metal. Electrolysis is a great way to remove rust at scale, and all it requires is a tank of water, some salt, and a hunk of sacrificial steel. This video compares the two methods in detail, and finds that they both work about as well as each other. All things considered, I think I’d rather spend $20 on a rubbermaid tub and some salt.

Winter Plans

 

It’s getting to the slow period of the year for fooling around with the Scout, so I’ve been trying to line up a couple of inside projects to work on while Peer Pressure snoozes in the garage. There have been several parts trucks I’ve visited this year where I’ve looked for two main assemblies to grab: the steering column and the heater box. I got a good example of the former and struck out on the latter.

At this point I’ve got the spare steering column on the bench, broken down past the turn signal assembly. That part is sitting on my desk waiting for me to order a replacement. There are two types, one that works for columns from ’71-’77 and another from ’77-’80. The plan is to buy the proper replacement, re-assemble the whole column, then pull it back apart to make sure I know the process back and forth. Then I’ll gather my courage and pull the real wheel on PP down to replace the assembly properly.

Next, I’d like to find a heater box worth refurbishing. The idea here is to pull the whole thing apart, replace the core unit and motor, strip and spray the box, and reassemble it properly. Then in the springtime I can swap that into place. Maybe I can trade Brendan a decent folding Scout 80 windshield for one. Or, I’ve got two of these in the basement—there’s $150 right there.

Some other ideas for inside projects:

  • Pull the air cleaner off, strip it down to the bare metal, and repaint the whole thing. I think Mike Moore has the proper V8 stickers available to spruce it up…
  • Drill and tap my shiny new filler-neck valve covers for the proper vacuum and hose fittings, and replace the old crusty ones original to the truck
  • pull scissor mechanisms from some of the spare doors, strip them down, and refurbish the mechanisms.
Posted on   |     |   Leave a Comment on Winter Plans  |  Posted in Future Plans