I had a chunk of time on Sunday to get outside in the blustery sunshine and keep working on things. The first project was to weld a set of plates to the back of the seat box to use for mount points on the vertical section of the step. I ran out to a local independent welding shop on Friday and got a tank exchanged for much less than Airgas charged me last time; I was happy enough with their service that I opened up an account to save the extra $15. And, they’re open on Saturdays.
Back in the garage, I had a bunch of 18 ga. scrap left over from bending the doors and I used a section of that to add some stiffness. I cut two rectangles out and welded them in place, then sanded the high points down and prepped the whole thing for etching primer. First I covered all of the welds that were impossible to reach with the wire wheel with rust encapsulator and then let it sit outside with primer to cure. The next step will be to prime it, put some guide coat on the flat surfaces sand it lightly to find the high and low spots, then fill those and get things cleaned up for paint.
In the truck, I decided to do a little archaeology and see what was under the weird rubberized coating on the driver’s floor. I used the wire wheel to grind out the edges and revealed a series of 1/2″ spot welds around the perimeter, which should be pretty easy to grind out and replace. The metal is, predictably, lousy the closer to the pedals it gets; moisture stuck under the rubber mat did a number on the “repair.
Elsewhere, I pulled the driver’s rear wheel off, got on the creeper and continued knocking rust off all of the rear frame elements I could see with the needle scaler, and then covering it all with encapsulator. I think I’ve got about 80% of the rear finished; I need to do the same with the passenger’s side and do all of the vertical surfaces over there. Finding true marine-grade plywood in stock locally has been a challenge, but Brian tells me there’s a brand at Home Depot that’s essentially the same thing: 7-ply Douglas fir made with waterproof glue. I’ve got to find it in stock locally and pick up a sheet this coming week.
A reader named Mike wrote me last week and offered a parts list he compiled while building a ’67 1100 with a 304; essentially the same truck I’ve got, but with an auto transmission, power steering and brakes. He was kind enough to share it with me this morning, and I’ll definitely put it to good use. Thanks Mike!
Here’s a video with the seat box progress from the day it started (in pictures, unfortunately) to the present day.
I spent most of Saturday sitting on the couch while my COVID vaccine made me feel sore and loopy, but it rained all day so I wasn’t that upset. Sunday was partly cloudy but not actively raining, so after getting the dog out for a walk and doing some small errands, I got back out to the garage to keep working. At this point the box project is just finishing up small details; I got a set of locks from Amazon and had plans for how the doors should close.
The plan was to weld in a set of doubler plates underneath to add support, then carefully cut holes in the doors and widen them on two sides to accept the lock barrels, which are notched on either side to prevent them from spinning when the key is inserted. After doing a test run on scrap metal, I got this done pretty easily and used one of Dad’s old files to widen the holes. After burning them in, and test-fitting everything, I carefully cut notches in each of the square tube to accept the latch arms. The passenger side was just short of the arm so I had to add a small plate on the face of the square tube to catch it.
I did some experimenting with thin strips of metal to see what I liked for doorstops, but everything I had seemed way too big or wide to work. Conscious of avoiding anything with sharp edges, I settled on a length of 1/4 rod from a different project. I cut 6″ sections and welded them at the lock ends, then ground down the high spots so that everything is smooth.
Next, I wanted to reinforce the hinges, so I drilled three holes through the plate inside the box and welded the resulting hole shut. This way each hinge is borrowing from the plate but I’m not adding ugly beginner welds to the outside edges.
Finally I put a plate in between the two hinge bars from the bottom to make a shallow tray for tools or other gear. I’ll cut a rectangle of floormat to go in there after things get painted.
I’m almost ready for paint. The last thing to be done is to weld in a set of gussets/mounting points on the backside that will go through the vertical wall on the rear step. Out of curiosity I called a powdercoating shop nearby and was quoted $100 from a disinterested shop foreman, so I think I’ll stick with my budget rattlecan approach. So now I’ll practice my sanding and filling skills to clean up the outside.
Outside in the truck, I pulled the wood floor back up and kept grinding at the rust. The needle scaler did all the work, and I made it all the way forward up the frame to the rear step. I was able to get encapsulator on everything before I had to close up for dinner, and I left the floor out of the truck to air it out. I have to pull each rear wheel in order to reach the outside of the frame rails completely, but I’ve gotten to most everything I can with the floor up.
After calling Super Scout Specialists twice in two weeks to inquire on having a new dash wiring harness built, they told me the guy who builds their harnesses is two months behind and hasn’t been in the shop in two weeks. I thought about it over the weekend and figured I’d better place an order now to get the thing sometime this year, as I haven’t found anyone else building them for a competitive price (scoutparts.com wants to charge an extra $3-400 over what SSS is asking; no thanks.) I’ve actually got a harness from a ’68 pickup on the bench downstairs, so I theoretically could swap it in for what I have; I don’t know whether or not they updated circuits between ’63 and ’68, though. Wiring this thing is going to take a lot of time and learning.
Meanwhile, my friend Ray from the BP has a set of five headliner bows up in Massachusetts he’s going to sell me, which should provide a solution to a future problem: what to do with the insulation glued to the ceiling, and how to cover that up. There’s an aluminum J-channel in later Travelalls that acted as a trim ring but from what he tells me it’s very hard to remove and would be impossible to ship. I think I might experiment with some thin Luan covered with fabric and use these bows to hold things up.
The beginning of the week was quiet, but I put almost two full days in over the weekend.
With the glass and other stuff out of the back of the Travelall, it’s much easier to start some of the preventative maintenance I’ve wanted to do to the rear frame and crossmembers. Saturday afternoon I lifted the rear bench seat out and pulled up the plywood floor. Then I put on some ear protection, fired up the compressor and the needle scaler, and got to work. Starting from the back I took as much scale off the unpainted metal as I could find, making my way to an area over the rear axle. Then I brushed on Rust Converter to everything I’d cleared and let it sit. I started around 4 and finished when the sun was setting, so there’s still a lot more to do—and I haven’t even touched the underside yet—but it’s already looking much better under there.
Reorganizing the garage a bit, I stumbled across an extra box of weatherstripping and realized it was doing me no good here. So I put it up on Marketplace and got a pretty immediate response from a guy in Washington, who was also interested in my old brake booster until I did the research and learned it would be something like $80 to ship it out to him in Washington. So the windshield gasket is on its way to him, and the brake booster remains in the Heavy Metal corner of the garage next to the old starters, spare Dana 20, and other stuff.
A brake has been instrumental to the plans I drew up for the doors on the seat base, because I wanted to bend a quarter-inch of metal along the edges on the three sides to add structural stability and make it look better. My Harbor Freight brake is woefully unprepared to bend 18 ga. metal at the measurement I need. On Sunday I met up with Bennett over at our friend Brian’s shop to get a couple of projects done. Bennett was there to clean up the carburetor on his Hudson project as well as tinker with Heavy D, which has been sitting there for several months waiting for a windshield replacement. I was there to use the heavy-duty finger brake Brian inherited with the pole barn shop on his property.
I started messing with the brake and putting a couple of scrap pieces through it to learn how it worked and where the sweet spot was. There was only one finger clamp on it, so the first long section of metal I bent didn’t stay still and bent unevenly. I took a break, had a donut, and Bennett suggested looking around the shop for the other fingers. I found them along the back wall and installed three of the fattest I could find, then put another long test sheet through. When those results looked much better, I marked out some new metal and started bending. We had to do some creative adjustment to the brake, because the bending plate was so close to the lever plate it wouldn’t release the metal when I’d bent the second side. This involved unscrewing the plate from the bottom to release my metal, but it worked. After I got two doors bent and test-fitted, I helped Bennett mess around with Heavy D, got it started for the first time in forever, and installed a choke cable before we both headed for home.
Back at the house, I investigated how I could bend the short edge with the tools on hand. I’ve got a cheap wide vise I bought from Harbor Freight back in the day, and after some testing I realized I could bend the width I needed with that and a pair of vise-grips blocked into place, keeping the entire width of the metal on basically the same plane. After making the initial bend, I had to hammer the center sections flatter with a combination of deadblow hammer, wood blocks, and metal scraps. When I had it flat and straight, I welded the corners up, cleaned them up with the flap disc, and trimmed the length of each to allow for the width of the hinge knuckles.
When those were in place, I tacked the hinges in place and test fit the doors; all my cuts looked good. So I flipped the hinges, cut some tack holes in the doors, and welded those into place. If I had to do it over again, I’d have put the weld on the underside, but I think it looks pretty good either way.
So the doors are in place, and next I need to cut and install a pair of stops opposite the hinge side for the doors to sit on. I’m going to wait until the locks come in next week so that I can design around those. I was originally going to cap off that gap in the middle, but now I’m considering adding a plate underneath to make it a shallow tool well to utilize some dead space.
The other thing I spent a bunch of time looking for last week was a hinge of the proper size for mounting the seat to the box. The hinges on the seat base are beefy; the pin is 3/8″ in diameter and the knuckles are thick. I found a lot of hinges with the right pin size but nothing with a leaf the proper length—the interlocking sections of the hinge I’ve got are 1.5″ wide, and most industrial hinges I’ve found with that pin size are only 1″. While I was at Brian’s, I was looking at his scrap pile and found a beefy hinge with a 3/8″ pin and a 2″x2″ leaf—exactly what I had been looking for. I texted Brian about it and he told me to take it with me.
Monday I had off for Columbus Day, so I got back outside and kept rolling. First I cut two hinges down to the right size, trimmed the knuckle widths, and test fit them on the box. When I liked what I saw, I tacked them in and fit them to the seat. With that confirmation I burned them both into place and cleaned up the welds. The plates will get two bolts through the square tube for extra structural support, but I like where things are sitting (literally) now.
Then I got out the needle scaler and wire wheel and continued working on the chassis while I had the rear floor out. Before finishing up for the day, I brushed on some Rust Encapsulator. I’ll finish coat it with chassis black when it’s all ready, but there’s a lot more to go.
Meanwhile, I’ve tried removing old upholstery adhesive on the vertical surfaces with every chemical I can think of and a rubber eraser wheel with no success. Frustrated, I tried a small patch with the wire wheel and found that with a very light touch I could get most of the old crust off without going through the paint to metal—there are a few places where the paint is very light—but it mostly came off with little damage. I was always going to respray the inside anyway, so I’m not worried about patchy areas. It’s nice to have that stuff cleaned up, for sure. I’m going to see if Hobo Freight sells a plastic bristle wheel for an angle grinder and see if that’s more gentle on the paint.
This weekly update is regrettably several days past my usual Friday schedule, but given the amount of stuff I’ve been posting this year, I figure that’s OK.
With winter fast approaching and a week and a half worth of wet weather behind us, I knew I was going to have to do something about dry storage for the Travelall. Erecting a new garage is out of the question, and putting the awning up isn’t going to fly, so I went with the cheapest option: an inexpensive Suburban-sized car cover from Amazon. At first I was afraid it wasn’t going to be big enough to cover my truck’s ample backside, but once I adjusted the front, the rear fit snugly over the taillights with little to spare. It’s tight enough that I don’t even think I’d need to tie it down, although having two built-in straps is a nice feature.
On Sunday I had the afternoon to keep working on the seat cage, so I finished cleaning up the joins and smoothing everything out. Then I put it in the truck, taped a rectangle of cardboard to the top, and scribed out the trans tunnel. With some adjustments and a second template, I laid it on some 18 ga. steel and cut out the front section. After I trimmed it to where I liked things, I tacked it in place and did one last check before tacking the perimeter in place every inch.
When I’d ground down the welds, I cut out two rectangles for the ends and tacked those in. I did another test fit, ground some things down, and tacked each side into place.
Then I adjusted the welder settings, sealed up the top and sides, and ground everything down to smooth with the flap disc. At this point I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to arrange the two doors; currently I like the idea of countersinking them inside the cages that they’re flush with the top. I’ve got a hinge here from Grainger ready to go, but the locksets they sent me are way too small (curse you, Internet!). So I’ll spend some more time considering that solution.
The other thing that came in the mail were two 3D printed plastic visor clips, something the truck didn’t come with and that I haven’t seen anywhere else. I took a chance based on a comment from the Round-Body Travelalls group on Facebook, and I was not disappointed when they showed up. With two stainless screws from my bench stock, the clip went right into the existing holes on the driver’s side and the visor snapped into place. They need to be sanded and cleaned up, but I’m happy.
Here’s where the box stands as of last night. I put weight on the cage to set it in place, then tacked some scrap metal to the open end of each bottom bar. With both bars at the proper angle, I measured and cut two legs to meet up with the ends and tacked them to the top bar. After checking that fit, I brought the whole assembly inside and welded it all up, as well as added two sections along the bottom side of the short edge. I closed up the holes on the bottom ends and smoothed the welds out on all of the outer edges with a flap disc.
After Day 2 of Hurricane Ophelia or whatever they’re now calling this blustery rainstorm that was supposed to have leveled the East Coast, I have a report on the repairs to the Travelall. In short, everything I did to the cowl looks pretty good. I saw one drop of water from the driver’s side vent opening that I haven’t been able to figure out yet, but the rest of the seams all look like they held well. Both of the floors are damp but I suspect that’s due to leaky door seals more than water coming through the cowl. There’s water along the sills in back as well which bears this theory out a little more. Along with the weatherstripping, Today I ordered a car cover so she can overwinter without getting wet, as well as postpone a hasty respray of the roof until the weather warms up and allows paint to dry and cure properly.
Sunday afternoon it was too rainy to be working outside but too warm to not be working. So I jumped the gun on my seat locker project and got started. In the garage, I tuned the radio to the Ravens game, then cut metal down and assembled the top of the cage first, knowing that the curves on the bottom would be difficult to assemble without it.
The rectangle went together smoothly, and I used the tailgate of the Scout as a level worktable to get everything squared up. I measured the height of the step again, cut four legs and tacked them into place. I’m not getting fancy with 45˚ butt-joint welds here because everything will get covered in sheet metal when this is complete.
Then I put spacers under the legs and looked at how the bottom of the cage would come together. The floor slopes down gently from the center, and the transmission tunnel sits in the center of that area. It’s a lot shorter than I envisioned, so my original design is being modified as I go. I don’t actually have enough vertical height for a length of tube spanning the front floor, so I have to cut legs that will tie into the upper bar.
I cut two short lengths of tube for the front side of the cage and tacked them into place just short of where the tunnel starts. With those in place I can gauge the angles I’ll need to cut the legs up to the top tube. I’m going to leave the bottom of the cage off in back, and weld in some tabs that can mount directly to the step wall.
By 7PM I was losing light, and couldn’t work in the truck anymore, so I cut two short lengths and tacked them in across the top of the cage where they’ll be the supports for a set of piano hinges.
The next step will be dragging the welding gear out to the driveway, putting weight on the cage, and tacking scrap metal to the open end of each bottom bar. From there I can get a proper idea of the angle for the legs, cut them down, and weld them in. Then two tubes go at the bottom of the thin sides to complete the boxes. I’ll cap off the open ends of the tubes and grind everything down smooth, and then start bending sheet metal.
Here’s a narrated video I put together of the work I did on the truck from the time I pulled the windshield out to Sunday evening. This was fun; I learned some new tricks in Final Cut Pro and practiced camera placement.
Thursday’s progress looked kind of misleading because I was working on lots of fiddly stuff, and I did a terrible job of taking many pictures. I started the day camped out in the garage because of threatening rain clouds, so I started by working on a patch for the cowl itself out of some 20 ga. steel. When I had the pattern the way I liked it, I laid it on top of the cowl and cut around it, then trimmed it with the grinder and cut some notches in the lip.
Carefully bending it at the same curve, I tacked it into place and then used my patience to finish welding it in. While that cooled, I busted out the sanding gear and cleaned up the other sides of the cowl to even things out.
When I had that in place I banged out some of the obvious bends with a hammer and skimmed it with some body filler. As that dried, I flattened the original air baffle from the driver’s side and traced two patterns out on some fresh steel. I bent them both according to the pictures I’d taken on disassembly, prepped the vertical face of the inner cowl, and welded them both into place. Then I put both flappers in and hooked the vent cable back up to the driver’s side—I still have to drop the heating unit out to refurbish that, and there’s no easy way to reconnect the cable up unless it’s out of the way.
There was lots of sanding, priming, sanding, and priming, and I used some ACE Rust-Stop International Implement Red to coat the entire inner section of the cowl.
On Friday I got lots more little fiddly bits done and ready for welding the cowl back in on Sunday. I skimmed some body filler on the welding seams on each side to smooth them out so that when water runs down to the drains it won’t get stuck in the texture from the seam sealer.
The cowl is prepped for welding and will probably need some touch-ups to the body filler after heat warps some of it, but that’s OK. I did a test-fit to ensure it isn’t warped and that the welds still line up.
I also worked on some Scout stuff too; I still have to adjust the timing and do some minor maintenance.
On Sunday I welded the cowl back in place. I test fit and trimmed and test fit and trimmed and then clamped the crap out of it and started tacking it into place slowly.
By about 5PM I had the whole thing in, the welds ground down, and a coat of etch primer on all the bare metal.
The perimeter of the windshield frame has two coats of IH Implement Red in preparation for a clean new gasket and brand new windshield. The bottom of the cowl has some Bondo that I skimmed over the welds, and that will get smoothed out before I paint the rest. Now I just have to screw up my courage up to attempt the window installation.
I’ve been so busy on this project, I’ve made some basic updates to the thread on Binder Planet but I’ve been too tired to add them here, so here’s a dump from the last three days. The weather has been fantastic since Sunday—clear skies and mid 80’s with no humidity to speak of, so it’s been a rare treat to working outside all day. I burned through all of my backed up podcasts by Monday morning, so I switched to an audiobook loaded on my iPad and I’ve been enjoying listening to that while I work.
On Monday, I began the day by cutting out and replacing a section of structural 18 gauge steel on the A pillar after flooding the cavity with rust encapsulator. I used a cheap brush from Harbor Freight to get in there and hit every surface I could touch.
When I had that cleaned up, I put the main vent section in. This part went pretty smoothly; I’d etch primed and seam sealed the underside on Sunday eventing, so I got it where I wanted it and burned it into place. Then I put the section in behind it. Things had shifted somewhat between when I’d cut it and when everything got hot, so it didn’t line up as cleanly as I would have liked. But I can close those small sections up pretty easily. There’s a small section at the far right and a larger one on the far left, and left them for Tuesday morning.
After cleaning up the edges and knocking down the beads, I started working on the lower mounting lip. This took a lot of test fitting and tack welding and banging and cutting, because the cowl mounts to this and then the top corner of the fender bolts to it, and there are a lot of complex curves in the original sheet metal that have to fit just right. I made the decision to go for close enough and figured I can shim things out if I need to. Again, this is my first major sheet metal project, so I’m learning as I go. The wing got welded into place, and I knocked the edge down to a smooth curved corner. This got cleaned up with a flap wheel and skimmed with a light coat of seam sealer so that the water will just drop over the edge. The circle-X is where the drain hole will go.
As of Monday evening I was about 24 hours into it in total, including pulling the cowl and windshield, and my hope was that I could keep the momentum going.
On Tuesday morning I finished off the passenger side, cleaned, it, etch primed it, and smeared everything with a liberal coat of seam sealer.
Then I went over to the driver’s side, cut an even larger hole out of the cowl, and started fabricating the vent on that side.
Because I had a template already made for the barrel, that part went quickly and I had just enough steel in my sheet to cut both sections of metal out.
When I had the vent built, the flapper in place, and everything lined up, I started welding it into place. I had learned a lot about how to cut and fit the barrel in this one—I was much more precise with the measurement and the hole I cut, so it fit much better, and I didn’t have to count on filling large gaps with wire.
There’s a section tacked in place behind the vent, and that ugly hole in the upper right is sealed up tight.
On Wednesday I got a late start because I hadn’t sealed my gas cylinder tight enough and lost the remainder overnight. Lesson learned. Once I’d gotten a refill I closed up the edges as tightly as possible, ground everything down with a new disc, and cleaned it up for etch primer. I also bent and installed the front of the drip rail that the cowl gets welded to and the fender bolts onto.
The seam sealer I have this time isn’t as good as the gray stuff I had last time; this doesn’t lay down smoothly at all. It looks like I’m trying to apply it with a broom. Anyway, while that was drying I took a wire wheel to the cowl itself and cleaned out both sides.
I cut out the rust in the passenger side hole in the cowl, and with the last small section of 20 ga. sheet metal I had, I made a patch for it.
With some patience and a lot of grinding I fit the patch in place and hammered out the funky spots, as well as sealed up other holes. Thank god I have a bench grinder and Dad’s old vise set up in the garage; I’ve used them extensively for this project.
The edge took some time to work on but with wire and time I rebuilt the lip and shaped it with a flap disc. Then the whole underside got a bath in Rust Converter and then a coat of black primer, except for the edges to be welded. I also wire wheeled the entire edge of the windshield and hit it with etch primer to cure.
Tomorrow I’ll get new metal delivered (it got delayed today) and I can finish the patch on the driver’s side. It’s supposed to rain on and off until Saturday so I’m going to tackle what I can when the weather is good and retreat into the garage to work when the rain starts falling. I’ve got the hood leaning up against the Scout and the cowl in there ready for the final patch.