It Works

This is just a test of the system; I don’t have the dash officially installed (still waiting on rubber firewall grommets) but I got a package of replacement connectors for the last two firewall plugs and swapped out the old brittle ones. Because I couldn’t help myself, I hooked things up and tried it out. The turn signals trigger the dash lights, so there’s clearly something not connected correctly, but the truck starts off a new ignition barrel, and none of the fuses blew!

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Heater Box, Take 2

Here’s a progress report on the Travelall heater box. When I last left off, I had welded two patches into the bottom and the corner of the box and head ground down all the welds so that the metal looked pretty clean.

The next step was to put some filler on the metal and try to smooth things out. The first coat went on roughly and I sanded things down to figure out where the hotspots were. Using the hammer and dolly I knocked a couple of high points down and straightened a major valley in between the old metal and the new metal that had formed when everything got really hot during the welding. With that straightened out, it was easy to put a second coat of mud on things and get things smoothed out better. Over the course of Saturday afternoon I was able to get a final coat of mud on things and smooth it out to the point where hitting it with 1500 grit sandpaper has it looking really clean.

As you look at the photo above, you’re actually seeing the box upside-down; the welds on the side will be mostly hidden by the A-pillar wall and the curved section will be under the passenger’s feet. Barely any of this will be visible, but how it looks matters to me, so I’ll keep working on it.

The next order of business was to officially test the blower motor out. The wire leads are shielded so it’s hard to get test leads inside the plastic, so I found an orphan pigtail with an old Packard male lead at the end and used that to make a solid connection. When that was hooked up the blower motor came right to life, and each of the hot leads (one is for high-speed, the other for low) worked as advertised. So I cleaned up the blower cage, greased the spindle, and put that aside for re-assembly. Having already rebuilt a Scout II heater box, that experience has been super-useful with this one because I know exactly what I’m getting into and I have 9/10 of the parts needed to finish this one properly.

Looking ahead to August and Harvester Homecoming, I wanted to address something that’s been on my mind for a while: a proper cleanup of the cooling system on the Scout. I’d drained it when I put the radiator in but never actually flushed out the block, so I had the folks at Jiffy Lube down the street handle that for me—for the extra money I figured it would be a lot more environmentally friendly than just dumping it out in my driveway. From there I headed down to the Eastwood store in Pasadena to get a new bottle of Rust Converter and found they were having a car show out in the parking lot. There were a ton of immaculately restored Camaros and Corvettes and the odd bubble-top Chevrolet; a couple of beautiful lowered Beetles represented the import crowd. I heard several people call out the Scout as I pulled my junk up just outside the ribbon tape, and went in to get my supplies.

The truck ran super-cool the whole time I was on the road; the only time the temp gauge climbed was while I was waiting in some traffic on 695 and even then it wasn’t too bad. She definitely likes to keep moving to keep air flowing, which is no big surprise.

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Weekend Update, 7.15

Before I left on vacation, I took a little time to pull the heater box out of the Travelall to gauge its condition and access the firewall behind it. Overall it’s in good condition (much better than it deserved to be, given how bad the cowl rust was) but still needed some work. 

I’ve been installing heat matting on the vertical surfaces of the firewall, starting in the center, and worked my way to the outside edges after the heater box came off. I had to use a wire wheel to get the adhesive from the original insulation off, and then slathered everything with Encapsulator for good measure. 

We then went on vacation for two weeks. I took the family to Portugal, where we spent week driving to see some of the sights. The rental company gave me a shiny manual Peugeot for our travels. I got so used to the European shift pattern that I came back and immediately forgot where reverse was in the Honda and Scout. 

I also came back with COVID and missed out on working on the trucks while I was recovering, but got back to my projects the following weekend. The first order of business was to break into a big box from IHPA full of window rubber which had arrived while I was away. This contained the outer gasketry for each of the doors as well as rubber for the rear curved glass on the driver’s side which needs to be replaced. 

Both of the rear doors on the red truck have terrible aftermarket gaskets that have dried into brittle crust, so I focused on the driver’s side rear door to start. The old rubber came off with a plastic scraper and I used acetone to clean off the residue.

The recommended stuff is 3M 08008 Weatherstrip adhesive, which I applied around the top three surfaces, and then pressed the gasket in place with some clamps. I had to look under the driver’s door to see how the other gasket went in place, and when I figured that out I used encapsulator to clean up that section before installing the rubber.

At first I wasn’t planning on reinstalling the dashboard—I’m waiting on the two small rubber firewall grommets to come in before I can put it in permanently—so I used the original wiring harness to practice putting the large connector in place. This was not successful, so I need to reach out to some of the pros to ask how to do it correctly. (I did actually put the dash in place and start connecting some of the easy things because the heater box and plenum are out).

It’s very hot in Maryland right now and I didn’t want to spend a ton of time sweating in the truck, so I sweated in the garage working on the heater box. Rust had eaten away at one of the corners and bottom of the box, so I cut a section out from the bottom and another section from the side.

I used the edge of a large hinge to form the wider curves on a scrap section left over from the seat cabinet project, where I’d already formed a 90˚ lip on a metal brake. I cut the other section out of 18 gauge and used the hinge and my vise to form the bends and curves for the corner. 

I really need to either learn to slow down when I’m tacking together metal with the MIG or just break down and buy an inexpensive TIG for finish welding; I’m getting the metal too hot and not getting the best results possible. Plus, I really want to practice more TIG welding. That being said, it’s not too bad—nothing a light skim coat of mud won’t fix. 

The interior of the box needs to be bathed in Rust Converter and then sprayed out well, and I have to sort out why the blower motor isn’t working with 12V from my bench tester. The radiator unit itself is fine, apart from needing a new hose, and this can get put back in pretty easily. I’ve got plenty of foam tape left over from a Scout II heater box overhaul, actually, so that part is covered.  

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Back From Vacation

I’m back from a lovely 2-week trip to Portugal, but I came home with COVID so I’m quarantined in the spare bedroom until further notice. Waiting for me at home, however, was a big box from IHPA with all of the window rubber I’d ordered a few months ago. One piece was on backorder so they waited until they had everything before sending it along. I’ve also got a smaller package coming from a guy on Marketplace with a couple of things I need to put the dashboard back together, and they should be here tomorrow. But I won’t get to any of that until at least next weekend.

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Some Light Weekend Work

We spent most of the weekend cleaning the pantry and basement out to eradicate Plodia interpunctella, more commonly known as pantry moths, so I didn’t get a lot of driveway time, but what time I did have I used wisely. During breaks when the paint was drying I went out to the spares pile and pulled a connector off the original A/C compressor from the Travelall, which I then used to connect the inlet and outlet hose of the heater core together. With that off it was pretty simple to remove three bolts holding the heater box to the firewall and pull it out of the truck. It’s in very good shape, actually. Being bolted to the firewall against fiber insulation for sixty years definitely meant the back of the box was going to be rusted, but it’s in much better shape than I was hoping. There’s a hole at the bottom right side, directly under the cowl vent, where water was dripping down and through. But the heater core is solid, the motor, blower, and motor mount are solid, and the flapper still works as advertised. I put some penetrant on the screws holding the back panel on, and with a little help from some vice-grips was ale to get them out. I’ve got to blast the inside of the box, cut out some bad metal and weld some new sections in place. The motor needs to be tested, and I have to find a gasket to go around the top of the box that meets up with the cowl vent. But I can continue working on the truck while that’s sitting on the bench.

Then I wire- wheeled the rest of the insulation and glue off the passenger’s firewall and got it ready, first with some rust converter. When that was dry I slathered rust encapsulator over all the seams, joins, and rough spots I could see, including the inside of the cowl vent I wasn’t able to touch last summer. When that dried I covered the gaps with seam sealer. Then I got some more cardboard out and set up a template for each side of the firewall out to the A-pillar. Starting with the passenger side I cut out heat matting and set it aside. Then I flipped the template for the left side, cut it down to fit all of the controls under the dash, and cut out some matting for that side. Everything under the dash is going to cure overnight and if I can get away for a little time tomorrow evening I’ll fit the matting in.

In other news, I happened on a stash of C-series interior parts for sale on Marketplace and messaged the seller, who turned out to be Don, an old International guy in his 80’s. He’d sold his truck and was now selling off the remainder of his stuff. We talked on the phone for a bit, and he told me his last truck was a ’63, which is where most of the parts came from. We struck a very good deal on a set of exterior doorhandles, ’63 door strikers (different than later years, so that was a win), a dome light, interior door handles, two of the green lenses in the dash for turn signals (one of mine was bad) and a set of front turn signal lenses and frames. He told me he’s got more stuff stashed away, so I asked him to let me know when he digs it out.

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Phase 1 Complete

Jeff posted these up on my Binder Planet thread yesterday and shot me a text: the covers are done, and he’s going to get them packed up to ship and send me the invoice for the balance. I think they turned out great, and I’m excited to get them in hand. I think this will be the next job I tackle after we get back from our vacation.

Now I’ve got to borrow a set of hog ring pliers from my brother-in-law and order some rings from Amazon.

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I heard from Jeff this weekend on the Travelall seats (actually, while I was trying to pull the dash off) when he texted me a picture of the top half of the rear seat in progress:

I’m doing mine in gray over black because my dash and door cards are gray, but I’m going for something that looks like this (in tan over gray):

I don’t think the vinyl Jeff got is as marbled as the stuff in the reference photo, but I’m excited about moving the seats forward.

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Advanced Surgery

As of Friday night, the passenger side quarter panel is off the truck. I’m still trying to sort out how I might get the axle out from under the truck and still have someone haul it away, but it’s not looking promising. In the worst case I’d either have to forego keeping the axle or pull it and beg Bennett to help me haul it back up on his trailer and off to a scrapyard.

In the meantime, I’m eyeing the inside wheel well covers, wondering if I could drill out the welds and pull those in one piece…

In other, better news, I shot Jeff an email on Friday after I realized I have a perfectly good front and rear 1967 bench seat just waiting for new upholstery, and asked him if that made any difference in fitment. He called me back on Friday night, somewhat relieved, because his patterns are for 1968 benches and he feels better about shipping the covers to me as is. So when he’s got time he’ll finish up the covers and send them down, and if UPS can avoid losing them, I can buy the foam and get started building the seats.

It doesn’t sound like Bennett is going to be able to make it to Nats with us this year, but I think Brian is on board for a ride-along with me. He’s not interested in taking Slowflake so I offered shotgun in the Scout. I’ve got to start organizing parts for sale to see if I can make some money bringing them to Ohio; I figure the tailgate might bring some money if priced properly, and I wonder if anyone would be interested in the heating unit in its current shape. There’s more in the pile but I’ve got to go through it all to see.

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Missed Connection

I posted the latest update video on the Binder Planet the other day, which contains a review of the wiring harness I got from the Scout Connection, and a couple of friends there confirmed my suspicions: the new harness is from a 1962 model (the last year of the A/B-series dashboard design) where the fuse panel was mounted down under the dash on the firewall. From what my friend Ray tells me there are other differences and most likely this one won’t be compatible with the dashboard on my truck, so I’ve got to get back in touch with them to figure out next steps. At this point I’ve got two spare harnesses—the one I bought from Marketplace, which is actually from a pickup, and the one from this ’67 Travelall in the driveway, which I have to pull out. I’m kind of tempted to pull the one out of the Red bus and send that along for reference; I’ll have to see what they say when I call.

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