This Scout came up for sale last week on Marketplace somewhere out west, and I thought it was interesting because it’s an example of IH’s Schoolbus Chrome Yellow, a color that was offered through the entire run of Scout II production but a color I’ve only ever seen in these pictures and on the donor hood and hinges of my Scout.

This one looks like it was a reasonably well-optioned 1978 model for some kind of local government or school system; it’s got hubcaps and chrome trim, and was spec’d as a V-8 manual with A/C and a split bench seat (it’s from Texas). There’s some kind of strange roof rack installed—maybe for a light bar?

That’s pretty bright. I guess there’s no missing that color!

Date posted: February 24, 2022 | Filed under Paint | Leave a Comment »

I took Hazel for a ride back up to York this morning. The plan was to pick up an NOS fender and the black rear seat from the guy I’d visited last weekend; my friend Mike mentioned on Instagram that he was interested in the fender so I thought I’d head back up, grab that and the rear seat I spied last week. It was a balmy 50˚ so I was happy to only need a fleece for the whole day, and the sun peeked through clouds that began to darken the western sky as we got further north.

The guy who owns the lot wasn’t available so I had another guy take me where they had the fender stored. It looked OK under the lights—dirty on the inside, a few scratches on the outside—and all of the bolt holes were clean (except one which held a rusty nut/bolt combination; clearly he’d had it mounted on the truck at some point) so I threw it in the car.

We needed some PB Blaster to get the hinges on the seat to move—they were frozen, probably from sitting outside for weeks on end. But when I was able to get it to fold, I was sold. I headed back to the shop and paid the money, took some pictures of some old British cars he had on the lot, and hit the road.

On closer inspection when I got the fender home, I wish I’d been more careful. After really cleaning off the dirt on the inside, my heart sank. It’s NOS but at some point the owner had let it sit, probably inside-up, where water had pooled and started a layer of rust bubbling on the lower edges. It’s not all the way through, and could easily be cleaned up with a soda blast or some other abrasive, but it’s not a perfect fender. I’m going to send Mike a video I took with the detail and show him exactly what I’ve got here to see if he’s still interested. Mike specializes in show-winning restorations, and this might not be up to his standards.

The lesson here, which I’m still trying to learn at my age, is: slow down and be patient. Check over everything before you pay the money.  If Mike doesn’t want it, I won’t be terribly upset; both of my other spare driver’s fenders are probably at best a 6 out of 10—the brown one I got last year might be a 5, and I paid next to nothing for it. I’ve also got to look at my parts scores on the whole: most of what I’ve gotten up until today has been very cheap. This is the most expensive part I’ve bought for the truck since I’ve had it, and it’s as closer to new than any other Scout parts I own besides the two lights from last week. So maybe it all evens out somehow…?

After I got home and got some lunch, I headed out to the garage to clean the heater box up. Now that I’ve got a proper sandblasting cabinet, I figured it wouldn’t be messy, but I had to do a bunch of prep work to get it ready.

First, I drained all of the sand out of the bottom of the cabinet and stored it in a bucket. The cabinet came with a gravity feed hose—basically as long as the bottom of the cabinet is full of sand, it sucks the sand in and mixes it in the gun at the tip, making it a closed system. But the tip it came with was broken and the Eastwood tips are larger than my Harbor Freight tips, so I figured I’d use what I already have. Propping the cabinet up on a box, I replaced both of the lights inside and filled my compressor. Then I loaded up my little HF canister with glass bead and got to work.

It did a really good job once I got the flow dialed in, and I a good bit of the box clean before I had to sieve the blasting media for big chunks that started clogging the tip. I also had to take frequent stops because the inside of the box isn’t properly vented yet—I need to get a hose with some kind of pusher motor to mount on the back to vent the dust out—but I got a lot done before the valve on the HF “gun” blew out on the side. It’s basically just a 3/8″  ball valve, not meant for abrasive use. After cleaning it up, I looked over the Eastwood gun and figured I’d give it a shot with the broken tip to see how the flow worked. I dumped the sand back in, hooked it up to the compressor, and was shocked at how well it threw sand even with a broken tip. Clearly the simpler system is the way to go, so I’m going to source some new tips from Eastwood and use that to finish off the parts.

When I was done with that I cut some lumber down to make a rolling cart for the cabinet with a shelf on the bottom, and with the addition of some HF casters I had it assembled and the cabinet on top in about 45 minutes. A panel on the back will keep it from being wobbly.

Date posted: February 12, 2022 | Filed under Progress, Purchasing | Leave a Comment »

I was just watching a video by Anything Scout where they’re doing a Will It Run video on an old D-Series pickup. They drove in with their Scout and I noticed the spare tire carrier they’re running, which is a unit called an Ultraswing made by RIGd. It’s designed to slot into a heavy-duty trailer hitch (which I have) and carry a spare tire and up to 250 lbs. of weight—far below what my spare weighs. There’s an additional kit for a lighted license plate and a folding table, which would make camping a lot easier. At $1500 for the base swingaway tire carrier it’s not cheap, but the alternative is still having to either buy a bumper with an integrated tire carrier—for a comparable price—or buy something like this, which might work with what I’ve already got.

I like what I see because when it’s secured to the truck there’s absolutely no play in the tire at all—it’s rock solid based on how the bar goes into the receiver. This is definitely on my list of upgrades.

Date posted: January 30, 2022 | Filed under Bumper | Leave a Comment »

The weather was a weird unseasonable 65˚ today so this afternoon, after we did family Christmas stuff, I wandered out into the garage to fart around in the balmy heat. Now that the fridge is gone there’s a big empty spot on the back wall so I moved some stuff around and aired up the tires on the engine cart. I’ve been thinking I need to get back out there and put more Marvel Mystery Oil down the spark plug holes, so I did that first and then jockeyed it around so I could reach the crank pulley. I put a socket on the end and tried moving it; it turned about an inch either way and then stopped. Obviously it needs some constant attention to get things moving, so I’ll continue going back out and adding oil to the cylinders until I can get it unbound. In the meantime I have to buy a proper engine stand and get it up off that silly cart.

Then I dug around for the spare windshield I squirreled away, figuring I could use that for practice in the spring when I take the old one out. I was surprised to realize I actually have two out there—one from one of the spare windshield frames and the other from I think the frame pictured at the bottom of this post. The older glass has some fogging along the bottom but no pitting, and the edges all cleaned up nice and smooth. The newer glass is clear but there’s a horizontal crack halfway down on one side about 3″ long. I figure I could use that one as the sacrifice to practice putting in, and if it lasts a year before it splits I’ll still be ahead of the game.

Date posted: December 25, 2021 | Filed under Progress | Leave a Comment »

I’m headed over the bridge tomorrow to visit a fellow who goes by the name scout_guru on Instagram. He’s got a shop at his house and for the last ten years he’s worked exclusively on Scouts, and I’ve wanted to stop by and visit since before the pandemic. We’ve talked on the phone several times and he couldn’t be a nicer guy; I’m looking forward to the trip and to shooting the breeze with him.

I was smoking meat in the backyard yesterday and as a result I couldn’t venture far. So naturally I did some small Scout stuff. The big project was to finish moving snaps on the snap rail, and to bust out the plastic polish to see if I could clean up the windows on the tan top. After about an hour of washing, polishing, washing and polishing, I got all three windows looking pretty good! It’s much easier to see out of all three of them now, and the top snaps in place much better.

I vacuumed out the dust, reorganized some tools, and threw Brian’s ammo can in the back to bring to him tomorrow when we meet up. The oil is full and looks clean, and we’ve got sunny weather forecast for the day, so I’m optimistic.

Date posted: July 25, 2021 | Filed under Progress | Leave a Comment »

Here’s the first real test of the heat matting I’ve done on a day measuring 92˚ (102˚ with humidity) and after a five-mile ride into and back out of town: the heat matting is averaging around 100˚ along the trans tunnel and up the firewall, while the bare metal is around 115˚at every point. I’d call that a success!

Date posted: July 13, 2021 | Filed under Progress | Leave a Comment »

Yesterday, July 4, was a beautiful day. The weather was in the mid 80’s, the humidity was low, and I was exhausted from a very small parade party we hosted, where I drank more than my usual amount of beer and saw more than my usual amount of people. I was prepared to sit on the couch and play The Division 2 all afternoon but realized a perfect opportunity was escaping me, so I went out and started cutting heat matting down on the Scout.

First I put a section on the inside of the passenger door, which has always sounded like a dumpster being dropped off a bridge when it closes. I’m a pro at breaking down Scout doors so this took little time, and after I’d wiped the interior down with acetone the heat matting went on very quickly.

Then I started working on the driver’s firewall in sections. It took some time and some trimming, but I got the main section of the vertical rise done all the way down to the high beam switch over to the rise under the gas pedal.

On Monday I got back at it, beginning with the passenger’s side. First I ripped out all the vestigial IH padding I could reach and first washed the firewall, then rubbed it down with acetone before spraying the rusty areas with Eastwood encapsulator. It looks like the welds going up the side are a little crusty, and I think there’s probably more where the windshield meets the firewall—but that’s for another day.

While I was in there I pulled the passenger vent out, cleaned it up, sprayed the backside with encapsulator, and left it to cure.

While that was drying I unscrewed the transfer case knob and pulled the trans tunnel cover off, giving it the same treatment: a scrub with some Simple Green, a rubdown with acetone, and drying in the sun.

Then I used the outline of the case to cut a section of mat and applied it to the underside of the cover, cutting out the holes with a sharp boxcutter. It’s always looked like shit—it’s not the standard International green they used on base-model trucks but some kind of baby-poop brown, so I sprayed it with black paint and let it cure.

Back in the truck I started cutting sections of mat out and matching them to the geometry, working from the outside inward. It all went pretty smoothly, and when I’d covered the front section I was faced with the side of the trans tunnel. Should I cover it? Looking inside the trans tunnel, I saw that the previous owner had carefully undercoated as much of the underside as possible, which meant I wouldn’t be able to get the matting to stick under there. I decided that comfort outweighed aesthetics for the time being and cut a section for the interior to keep passengers from burning their legs.

And, because I didn’t really want to burn my legs, I put a matching section on the driver’s side. Finally, I cut a section for the area over the top of the tunnel, and put the remainder of the matting away.

Replacing the trans cover was a great moment, because after I’d washed the shift boots and put new stainless screws in, the cabin of the truck looked completely different.

It’s good to have that done, and I’m hoping it’ll make a big difference when it comes time to drive to Ohio. I don’t know how I’m going to hide all of the foil, but I’m hopeful it will beat back the heat.

 

Date posted: July 5, 2021 | Filed under Progress | Leave a Comment »

After much hemming and hawing I busted out a drill and an angle grinder and set up the ammo can the way I’ve been planning since last year. Ultimately I went with my first plan, which was to bolt the tongue of the hasp to the bottom of the can and bolt the staple to the bed of the truck. This went pretty smoothly. I cut the hinge off the hasp, drilled holes in it and the can, and bolted them together after trimming the bolts to size. Then I cut a piece of steel down to boost the height of the staple and bolted that into the bed. All the bare metal got cleaned with acetone, etch primed, and painted with flat camouflage green, and tomorrow I’ll drop the can in place. All it needs then is a second lock for the bed of the truck.

I did also get a roll of heat matting in the mail last week, and I’m looking at how and when I can install some on the firewall. Poking around in front of the seats this evening, the factory insulation looked pretty good on the passenger side and terrible on the driver’s side—so I tore it out in front of the pedals.

I think the key to adding this stuff is going to be sanding the rusty spots down, hitting them with encapsulator, then cleaning the surfaces as much as possible with acetone or some other degreaser.

There are a lot of mechanical bits on the driver’s side that need to stay uncovered so I’ll have to work around those. I think the plan will be to prep the areas as mentioned above and then use some heavy paper or cardboard to template out the matting. It says all over the box “VERY STICKY” and it would be my luck to get it stuck to the brake pedal or something.

I’m first going to cut a section and do a test run on the passenger’s door first so I know what I’m dealing with. Closing that door sounds like dropping a frying pan onto a dumpster, so having the matting help with vibration will be great.

Date posted: June 15, 2021 | Filed under Progress | Leave a Comment »

There hasn’t been much going on with the Scout, other than trips around town. Frankly, we don’t get out much, so anytime I have to use a car I take the Scout. She starts right up and is always ready to go, and for that I’m thankful.

I’ve been slowly futzing with the ammo can toward the eventual goal of getting it permanently installed this summer. Where we left off was engineering a way to secure a hasp to the bottom of the can in the least obtrusive way possible. I’ve been thinking I’d drill and bolt it to the bottom to have the hasp stick out to meet the staple, which would be bolted to the bed of the truck. Where the can is positioned now, the staple would bolt down into the main crossmember at the rear of the bed, which would be perfect. But now I’m second-guessing myself and wondering if the staple should be on the can and the hasp be hinged and bolted to the floor of the truck so the staple isn’t sticking up when the can isn’t in place. I’ll have to go out and stare at it some more before pulling out the drill. In the meantime I bought some seam sealer to close up the gaps my shitty welding blew through, and found some flat olive spray paint that almost matches the color of the can for the welded sections.

My next project will be to install some heat matting on the inside firewall to knock some of the temperature back out of the cabin. She runs very hot in the summertime, and any thermal protection I can get will be welcome. So I have to pull any vestigal insulation out from under the dash, clean up the firewall as best I can, and then cut and roll the insulation into place. I’d love to put it all the way down the transmission tunnel but I’ll likely never add carpeting to the truck and I don’t want it to get chewed up. We’ll see how well this works. I’m also going to throw a patch on the inside of each door to reduce the sound they make in the cabin and when the doors close.

Finally I’m thinking about seating position. I put the bikini top on last night and remembered that it touches my head when I’m sitting at a light. This is because The PT Cruiser seats are an inch or two higher than the stock buckets.

Going back down a little to the stock height is a possibility. I’ve got two spare steel seat bases in the garage that could be cut and welded to sit lower on the floor; I just need to figure out how I’d bend the metal cleanly inside the box. I toyed with the idea of buying/building a small metal brake of some kind, but then I thought about how two short pieces of angle iron bolted to a bench would give me exactly the results I need at a fraction of the cost.

Date posted: June 9, 2021 | Filed under Progress | Leave a Comment »

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had most of the day to fart around when I should have been painting the house. So naturally I turned to the Scout and wiring the foglights. First I pulled the cowl cover off and drilled two holes to screw in the relays, then laid out the wires in their general pathways. The passenger side was relatively easy once the wires passed over the rat’s nest that are the bulkhead connectors. I routed the wire over the heater box, then under the washer tank and down the front of the fender to the lead for the light. The wire for the switch went up in through the two empty holes from the A/C hoses.  There was already a ground bolt connecting to the transmission case directly under that, so I took advantage of the situation.

The driver’s side was more difficult, because space is a little tighter on that side and I wanted to both piggyback on the existing positive battery cables and avoid the hot areas around the brake booster and power steering pump. So that wire and the positive lead go around the back of the firewall, duck behind the battery and down the front of the inner fender to the other light.

As much as I want to trim the wiring down to fit exactly right, I don’t want to tear the looms apart just yet, so I zip-tied the excess into bundles and tucked them out of the way on both sides. None of the wiring in the engine bay is pretty, but that’s a project I’ll gladly hand off to a pro shop to take on in a couple of years when the whole truck gets rewired.

Finally I broke out my Horror Freight dremel and started widening the choke hole to the left of the steering column to fit the switch. But my last $.05 steel grinding bit broke and then so did the chuck on the tool, so that whole thing will go in the trash until I can get back there for another one.

This evening I took the trash out and while the dog did her business in the backyard I tested them out in darkness. First I used the running lights, which are very nice for extra illumination pointed at the ground.

Then I tried the full setting.

Oh my god.

This is blindingly bright. Like, I’m going to need to take this to a flat area, aim it at the side of a building, and adjust the direction so I don’t cause accidents if I ever need to use these on the road. But, success!

Meanwhile, because I am a dork and a brainless tool of our capitalist system, I had to spend money on a six-pack of this coffee to try it out and to have a couple of the cans. Entirely too expensive, and I’m embarrassed to admit it. But I had had a couple of beers, and I thought it looked cool.

 

 

Date posted: May 24, 2021 | Filed under Progress | Leave a Comment »