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:
- Spray rust encapsulator inside the entirety of the frame
- Clean up the metal lip in a few places to make mounting the gasket easier
- Sand and paint the frame properly to cover the primer and encapsulator
- Hit the whole thing with clear coat to protect it
- Mount the metal lip and snaps for the soft top (this will be much easier on the bench than on the truck)
- Check, lubricate, and prep the wiper motor and linkage
- Install the gasket and glass in the finished frame
- Pull the old windshield off the truck
- Replace it with the new one
- 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?
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).
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.
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.
I went ahead and ordered a bumper! The way the ordering process went was a little strange; the contact from the Facebook page sent me an invoice via PayPal (keyed to the name of the fabricator) so I used my credit card to purchase it. This way I’ve got their built-in protection working for me. I got a notification from UPS that it was shipping yesterday(!!!) but then the contact messaged me on Facebook the same day asking if it was for a Scout II or an 80/800. Later that evening UPS updated me and told me it wouldn’t be delivered tomorrow, which left me with equal parts sadness and relief. And there’s no update on shipping yet.
I’m already thinking ahead to modifications and how I’m going to weld a set of brackets on under the pushbar to mount a pair of fog lamps, as well as a pair of captive nuts to accept a license plate.
I was in on a long empty zoom call this morning where I was just listening, and noticed that I was getting a lot of spam comments on oldlinestatebinders.com. I’d set up the site back in October but never really worked on it since then. I logged in and set up Akismet, which will shut the spam right down, and updated all of the themes and plugins. While I was listening, I swapped the theme and replaced the stock photos with some stuff from previous events.
Clearly, I need to get some more T-shirt designs finished and get them posted.
Brian stopped by last Sunday for a couple more hours of messing around with our ammo boxes, and while we didn’t finish them, we got a lot more done. The first thing we did was to slice four rubber stoppers in half, countersink the bottoms, and drill four holes in the base of the boxes to mount them as feet. When that was done we sorted out the rear mount situation to lock it into the base of the truck. What we’re doing is welding a C-channel to the back side of the box and another C-channel to a metal plate that mounts to the bed of the truck. The box side hooks in to the bed side, and when the front of the box is locked into place, that should keep the whole thing from being removed.
My neighbor’s dad is an old-school gearhead. When I met him for the first time he was behind the wheel of a maroon late-model Dodge Challenger. Soon he replaced that with a blue model. And a couple of years ago he showed up with a bright yellow ’68 Camaro with an angry, lumpy cam and racing slicks. I walked out and talked cars with him for a while, and we got on the subject of paint. He was looking to get rid of the yellow as soon as he could, and I mentioned I was looking to get rid of the purple on Peer Pressure just as quickly. We talked about leads and shared what we knew. Time passed, and I would hear the Camaro rumbling up the street now and again. This spring it showed up silverâ€”I thought he’d stripped it down to bare metalâ€”and then a pair of black stripes appeared up the hood. It looks a million times better; the silver accentuates the lines of the car and it looks much, much meaner.
A week and a half ago I was walking Hazel and we saw him at the 7-11 at the far end of our route. We got to talking and he asked if I was still interested in painting the truck; he’d retired a few months back and built himself a spray booth to reshoot the Camaro, and was now taking on painting jobs. I said HELL YES in no uncertain terms, and told him to slot me in for the springâ€”he’s got a car lined up to work on in the fall, and I don’t want the truck off the road for too long.
I’m not looking to spend months with a block sander and Bondo to get the metal on PP perfectly flat; I’d be happy with a decent 10-footer as long as the paint was all one color.Â I’ll have to hustle in the fall, though, because there are several things that would need to be addressed before it went in to the booth:
- One or more of the three windshield frames needs to be cleaned up, sanded, have new metal welded in to the windshield lip, get filled with chassis encapsulator, and made ready for paint.
- All of the random holes on PP’s body need to be sanded down and filled, preferably with welds, and then smoothed over for paint. This includes the old mirror mounts on each door, the trim mounts along the bottom of the body, and the snap holes along the back of the tailgate.
- The orange hood needs to be sanded down and cleaned up at the very leastâ€”it’s pitted along the front edge.
- The dent in the rear endcap from the swinging bumper needs to be knocked out and filled.
- Whatever I do, I want to paint the Traveltop white for a classic ’70’s look. It needs a whole lot of attention on its own: there are multiple places where the PO screwed into the metal and left them there, so all of those need to come out and be plug welded. The rack needs to come off, the windows need to come out, and the rain gutter needs to be sandblasted and re-sealed. I’d also like to add some sound deadener to the interior.
- Finally, any and all spare panels I’ve got should be cleaned up and shot with the same paint, if possible.
I have experience with sanding and Bondo, having done some extensive slap-hammer and sanding work on my old VW bus thirty years ago, and I’m sure a middle-aged Bill can do a much better job than a 17-year old Bill.
I bought some new tools last weekend, including a second angle grinder and a pneumatic DA sander, and I’ve got a bunch of consumables on order from Amazon including wet/dry sandpaper, etching primer, and a copper welding backer, as well as a can of chassis rust encapsulator.
So, in order of importance, I’ve got to:
- Do a walk-around and inventory all of the issues on the body
- Practice welding holes closed in washing machine steel
- Sand chips in paint around the tub and sheetmetal
- Knock down any drips in the purple paint
- Sand and weld the holes shut in the body
- Bondo and prep those areas for paint
- Remove all badging and chrome
- Pull glass from the second spare windshield
- Evaluate and choose the best candidate for repair
- Plug holes on the good spare
- Encapsulate rust inside the frame
- Weld in good metal around the inside lip
- Prep for paint
- Plug holes in white fender
- Use aircraft stripper on the blue fender, sand and repair
It’s going to be a busy fall, I think.
So the Harvester Homecoming is actually going to happen this year; I have no idea how they’re going to arrange things so that there’s social distancing, but I’d wager the boundaries will be pretty porous. I’m skipping this year for obvious reasons, but my eventual goal is to make it to the 2022 event, COVID willing.
Back in college, I used to frequent a place in downtown Baltimore that spoiled me for surplus stores for ever after; in what was then a lousy neighborhood there was a warehouse storefront with several old military chests chained to a steel post outside a heavily reinforced door. Inside, a showroom was filled with new camping and mil-spec gear, haphazardly placed and barely organized. Down a tall flight of stairs into the basement of the building, however, was a city block-sized space full of surplus gear, piled high on 10-foot shelves that stretched from one side of the building to the other. This was the kind of place where you could still root through 5’x5′ cardboard bins filled with surplus fatigues for elusive SL-sized Vietnam era jungle pants; there were shelves stacked with tank periscopes, racks of cold-weather coats, an entire section devoted to ALICE packs (the most uncomfortable backpack ever invented), tents made of stinking olive green oiled canvas, bins and bins of 80’s era combat bootsâ€”this was where I bought my first pairâ€”and in the far back there were honest to god oscilloscopes sitting next to unidentifiable electronic equipment that was probably used to call in missile strikes. We’d roll down there every couple of months to check things out, much like visiting the IKEA, and usually find something interesting to buy for cheap. Half of my college wardrobe was made up of surplus clothing or thrift-store finds.
About four years ago they picked up and moved north into the Hamilton neighborhood on the east side of town, and I figured they were my best (and only) local shot forÂ 30mm ammo cans in stock. The guy on the phone claimed they had them and quickly hung up before I could ask about pricing or condition, so I was somewhat skeptical about what I’d find. Their current Yelp reviews are less than optimal, but I figured I’d take the chance. I drove the Scout in on Saturday morning and found the place in downtown Hamilton, empty of people; it was maybe 1/20th its original size, now occupying an old beauty supply store. The scene inside was as disorganized as the old basement had been. After a few minutes I found the ammo can section and was annoyed to find they didn’t have any of the size I wanted, and the guy in the store was less than concerned with helping me find any. I spent a total of about 5 minutes in there and left, disgusted with the whole situation.
Back at home, I found them for sale online and for $10 in shipping I’ve got two on their way to the house, due here by Saturday.
I’d started planning for a spring workday here at the house a few weeks ago. I sent out an email with a calendar poll for weekends in April and had pretty much settled on a dayâ€”then the virus hit. So I sent a follow-up email to postpone until May, in the hopes that things will have blown over by then.
In the meantime it looks like I’ll have some time on the weekends to get things done, and I’ll need to get outside for sunshine every day. So I ordered a part for the truck: a new (remanufactured) starter motor to replace the used unit Bennett and I installed in 2011. Mine has been grinding intermittently for years now, and I’d like to get ahead of it before it craps out completely at an inconvenient time and place.
Next, I’d like to fix my turn signal cancel cam, which has been broken since the day I bought the truck, and while I’ve (theoretically) got the wheel off, I can replace the ignition key cylinder with a new unit and new key. I’ve got a wheel puller I bought at Carlisle years ago ready to go, so it’s just a matter of setting up the puller correctly and taking things apart.
Finally, I can take some time to reroute the speaker wire that’s been hanging down below my dashboard and stuck under the transmission tunnel cover and properly send it out through the firewall and down the frame rail. It’s a small thing to clean up an ugly truck, but every little bit helps.
One of the projects on the horizon for spring is to figure out how to shoehorn my new compressor into an already crowded garage. It’s pretty clear I’ve got to put it along the back wall, but there’s no power back there and that area is full of other stuff. I’ve had to stack stuff one top of stuff because there’s no place else to put it, which makes me unhappy. If I can get rid of the first compressor, that frees up a pile of space under the workbench, which I can then rebuild into shelving. That should free up floor space and the puzzle pieces will fit better.
The first order of business will be to extend power to the back corner. I’ve got two circuits in the garage currently, switched power up over the ceiling for reclaimed fluorescent lights and unswitched power going behind the workbench. It’s pretty obvious that I’ve got to extend the unswitched power further back so that I can run the old fridge and the compressor next to it under the window. This means I’ve got to move a pile of parts, including my spare hood, to other locations.
One of the things I haven’t really been taking advantage of is the space up in the attic, which is currently filled with piles of unbacked insulation from the front porch project. There’s a lot of space up front that I can use for stashing things I don’t need during the summer (when the hardtop goes up on the lift, it blocks the access door) but I have to get rid of that insulation first. Baltimore County has a program where they’ll accept donated materials, and all of this insulation is pretty clean as far as I remember, so when there’s a warm spell, I’m going to get a paper suit, haul it all down, and bag it for donation.
First up on the accessories list for the compressor will be a filter for the outgoing air. Next, a good impact driver and a set of sockets. I’ll probably hit Harbor Freight for that. In the spring I’ll pick up a sandblaster attachment so that I can start blasting parts clean. Finally, a decent HPLV gun will give me the ability to spray decent paint on those parts and get them ready for hanging.
I had a little time Saturday afternoon, in the 70Ëš weather, to look over the horn situation on Peer Pressure. The horns are located behind the driver’s headlight on the front side of the radiator support, so you have to pull the headlight to access it. What I didn’t realize is that there are actually two horns, wired in sequence.
You can see both of them in the shot above: The first one in line is mounted straight to the support, facing downward. The second is to the left, mounted on its side.Â Clearly, one of them isn’t working. I pulled the wire from the first horn to see which one was bad; the second horn fired just fine.
So, I cleaned up the wires on my Mercedes horns, grounded one lead to the body, and hooked the other one to the hot wire. Here’s the difference (Mercedes horns first, stock horn second):
The stock horn is welded to the mount, so I can either cut it off and reuse it for the Mercedes horns, or fabricate a new mount. The stock horn is toast so I don’t see much use in keeping it.
But I don’t know if I like the tooty sound of the Mercedes horns either.
On Sunday I was back out in the beautiful weather, and went through some of my small parts bins to organize what’s out there; I’ve been squirreling stuff in there for years and I’ve lost sight of my inventory.
Most of the stuff in these three bins are smaller partsâ€”going clockwise, I’ve got a lot of lights, light buckets, and mounts, as well as lenses. At 5 o’clock there’s one door scissorâ€”I don’t know what sideâ€”and three wiper motors. At 7 o’clock there are two plastic defroster vents. Above that I’ve got a set of door hinges that weigh about a thousand pounds. To their right are a set of drum brake pads (they are now with their mates on the shelf). There’s a fuel pump at 9 o’clock, several wiper and door lock linkages above that, and two kick panel vents above that. In the center there are several tubs and envelopes of hardware, a spare washer bottle, and two door lock assemblies.
In some of the smaller tubs I’ve got a spare set of outer doorhandles, six window cranks, six inside door handles (four left and two right) and two pairs of wing window locks (the part that sits on the top of the triangle). There’s also a tub with wing-vent plugsâ€”anyone with wing-vent windows knows what I’m talking about.
One of my next steps is to purchase a third parts organizer to split out the Scout-specific hardware I’ve got scattered among boxes and bagsâ€”the stuff that’s expensive to replace. Things like the allen bolts that secure the window crank to the door, the shallow locknuts that hold the door hardware in place, or the gigantic bolts that secure the door hinges to the chassis. Having all of that in one place would make life much easier.
I’m also going to have to add some new large bins for the oversized parts that are loose on the shelf.