I’ve let the Scout sit since Sunday with the battery connected, figuring four days would be enough time for a parasitic leak to drain the battery as it did last time. To recap: New battery, new starter, new negative battery cable. With fingers crossed, I went out and turned the key today at lunchtime: she turned over immediately. So I’ll do some short trips and keep an eye on the ammeter—but I think I’m calling this fixed.
So the good news: the bumper is on! I shot it with a can of etching primer and then a final coat of heavy implement black, and it looks great! The whole front of the truck looks much better now. The license plate looks great in place. Overall I’m stoked with how this worked out.
The problem is that sometime between Tuesday and today, she developed a starting issue. I got absolutely nothing from the starter at first, so I checked the battery with a multimeter, which was giving me a little more than 12 volts. After looking over all the wiring and finding no breaks, I pulled the Accord in and was able to jump the engine with some difficulty—lots of chattering from the starter and then some slow cranking. I let it run in the driveway for the 15 minutes it took to swap bumpers, shut it down, and was rewarded with chattering again. I was meeting Brian in Annapolis for dinner, and, disappointed I couldn’t take the Scout, I set it up on the trickle charger and left. When I got home, nothing had changed.
Tomorrow I’m going to have Jen help me test the leads on the starter, clean them off, and see if that does anything. If that’s no good, I’ll take the battery back to AutoZone and have them replace it for a new one under warranty. And if that doesn’t work… I’m not entirely sure what to do after that.
Here’s a time-lapse I set up using a GoPro, stitching together photos of the whole process.
In related news, the guy who owns one of the two Scouts I saw back in January has listed the darker Scout II for $3500 on Craigslist. Not that I need a rusty carcass. But those door inserts would be cool.
So I did find a welder within easy rental distance, and on Sunday morning, after we were walked and fed, I ran out with Finley and grabbed it, along with some stuff for her fort. When that project was done, I turned my attention to the bumper.
I knew I was going to be getting something not quite as good as Brian’s gas-shielded MIG welder, so I wanted to practice and get things dialed in before I messed up my good metal. This was a Miller 120 wire-fed MIG, so I made sure I had the right thickenesses dialed in and started messing with some scrap on the bench. After some welding and grinding and welding and grinding I had what I thought was the right setting for the machine, and moved out to the driveway where I had the bumper set up on some sawhorses.
The first bracket went on reasonably well on the front, and I filled the back with about four passes to make sure it didn’t go anywhere. I think I had to do three in front and four in back, pausing to grind and brush between each for clean metal. The second went on a little smoother in the front and I got enough of the back filled to feel comfortable. Let’s be clear, there was a lot of booger and spatter and I missed the joint several times completely. This was not perfect.
Then I used a stepper bit to drill two holes into the bumper itself (shudder) and then welded two captive nuts to the outside for a license plate directly in the center. Once that was done and cleaned up with the flap wheel, I mounted the whole thing on the truck and test-fit the lights.
So the next step is to fill the gaps with a little bondo, sand things down, and get ready for paint!
I made a little progress with the bumper project over the last week, up to the point where I need a welder. To recap: I originally bought 1/4″ box steel which wound up being way too thick, and bought another length of 1/8″ box steel which worked out perfectly. After a little coaxing I cut the edge off the bar and then cut two sections from that, leaving me with a pair of C-shaped sections ready for pilot holes.
I used a stepped drill bit in the drill press and then ground off about 1/8″ of each edge to get them flat, parallel, and shallow, then test fit everything on the bench.
As for welding, Brian took his rig back a month or two ago so I’m without anything here to use (and truth be told, the welds I was making before he came and got it were terrible). I called a local mobile welder who quoted $125 just to come out; while everybody’s got to make a living I’m having a hard time rationalizing that when I could spend another $150 and get a decent 110-amp starter MIG for myself. Or, I could spend $40 and grab a simple 110 MIG from the local rental center, and I wouldn’t have to deal with yet another large tool taking up space in my already cramped garage….perfect!
A brief update: I’ve got new bolts in hand for both the bumper and foglight brackets from Fastenal: 1/2″-13 x 5-1/2″ Grade 8 hex bolts for the bumper and 3/8″-16 x 3/4″ 18-8 stainless carriage bolts for the brackets. I also got a 1′ length of 2″x2″ .250 wall box steel delivered to be cut down into a pair of C-shaped brackets. Unfortunately, the metal cutting blade I bought could not make it through the steel, and truth be told, it’s way too thick anyway. So, I’m going to order some .125 wall and use that instead. I’ve found a local welder who can put them on for me, which should only take a half an hour. I’m also going to have him weld the lock hasp on the bottom of the ammo can and put that job to bed as well, because it’s springtime and the top is coming off soon.
Another thing I stumbled upon was a “fuel sender test kit” from one of the parts vendors, which is basically just two lengths of wire and some instructions, something I should be able to build and use myself in a half an hour. The key are the directions, which look like they could be even more helpful—the only issue is getting a wire to the top of the tank itself, but as I’d like to rework the hoses anyway, I might spend a day dropping the tank and working on it.
I had a little bit of time over the weekend to do some Scout stuff with the weather beginning to warm up, so I got right to it. The first thing on the docket was to bust out the sandblaster and remove the paint from a couple of parts I’d picked off the Flintstone scout: the license plate mount, the firewall bracket for the steering wheel, and the latch mechanism for the tailgate. Without remembering that I had better luck with glass bead, I used up a bunch of baking soda and got most of the old grungy paint off of the parts.
There’s a fair bit of pitting on the mount, so I wire-wheeled everything and shot it with a coat of rust encapsulator to keep it sealed tight. The entire socket needs to be replaced, so I’ll source an LED unit (or reuse one from the old swingarm setup) at some point in the future. The spring in the tailgate latch had slipped its cog so I reset that, cleaned the grime out with a wire brush, and shot it full of lithium grease.
A few things I’ve learned from using a $20 homemade sandblasting setup:
- It pays to have a pile of parts to do all at once. Setting it all up for one part is a colossal waste of time.
- A $200 blast cabinet, while pricy and bulky, looks more and more like a good investment. Healthier, too.
- Sandblasting with the right media in the right conditions is immensely satisfying.
Sunday’s project was fixing the driver’s side exhaust donut, which has been leaking for several years. I had the truck out yesterday for some errands, and what had been a low bub-bub-bub-bub last fall had progressed to the BRAP-BRAP-BRAP-BRAP of a straight-piped Harley over the winter.
This involved shooting the flange bolts with PBBlaster and letting them soak, which predictably had no result. No matter how I tried the outside bolt would not budge, which of course meant the inner bolt was never going to move. I used a small reciprocating saw to cut the outside bolt in half and then realized that the inside bolt was still snug—so I decided to leave that one alone. One copper bolt and two nuts later, the flange is snug around the manifold again. The difference is amazing: driving through Ellicott City to go pick up beer this afternoon, she purrs again; heading up the hill toward home no longer sounds like we’re beating a war drum on the march to Valhalla.
Saturday afternoon a new set of Hella fog lights appeared on the doorstep, which will require some slight modification to mount to the new bumper. I went with LED units because the wattage is lower and the draw on 45-year-old wiring and the alternator will be gentler. This kit came with black covers which I will have to swap out with OG white ones sometime in the future.
The current plan is to order a length of 2″x2″x1/4″ wall square tubing, chop that into 2″ sections, and then chop one of the walls off to make a strong, geometric C. Flipped on the side and welded to the top of the bumper, they will be mounts for the lights so that I don’t have to drill into the bumper itself. This is going to require the services of a local welder, as Brian came to pick his MIG a couple of weeks ago. (Or, I drive out to his house and we bumble our way through some booger welds ourselves). Either way I’m dying to get it moving along so that I can mount it. I’m still on the fence about whether I should powder-coat or just shoot it with rattlecan black here in the driveway. The paint on the rear bumper has held up really well in the nine years since I painted it; I do like inexpensive solutions…
And in the RockAuto cart this afternoon:
- A new temperature sensor—suddenly the gauge is reading zero, and I’d like to have a firm idea of how hot things get this summer. I put a laser thermometer on the water neck and it read 165˚, which means the thermostat is doing exactly what it should be.
- An air cleaner intake hose to replace the chewed up dryer hose POS I’ve had in this engine since I got it.
That was fast. This 45-lb. beauty showed up on my doorstep this afternoon, and being that it’s 60˚ outside, I had to go out, unbolt the stock bumper, and do a test fit. It looks fantastic, and the workmanship is excellent—better than I was expecting, actually. The clevis mounts aren’t flush-welded—they go all the way through to the back of the bumper through two holes and are welded on each side. The welds are clean and tidy. The bull bar doesn’t stick out too far, something I was afraid of.
It’s raw metal, so I have to pull it back off and bring it inside so it doesn’t flash rust. Then I can weld on some lamp mounts, drill and tap license plate holes, clean it good, and spray it with some black paint.
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.