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).

Date posted: May 16, 2022 | Filed under Future Plans, Repairs | Leave a Comment »

The weather on Saturday was 70 and sunny, so I decided to tackle the turn signal canceler not he steering column. I’ve previously covered how I pulled apart my spare column but this time I took more pictures, and I’ll repeat it here. The only difference between that column and this one is the shape; my  spare has a round horn button while the one on Peer Pressure has a larger triangular horn button.

First, park the truck with the wheels pointed straight. Now unscrew the horn cover: it’s a two-piece mount. There are six screws on the backside that need to come out. From there you should be able to pull it off and see the mount:

Pull the horn leads off (you did disconnect the battery, didn’t you?) and pull the three screws visible out. The mount should come off, leaving this:

Next, unscrew the locking nut off the center bolt (it’s already out in the picture above). Use your steering wheel puller to get the wheel itself off: screw the two long bolts into the holes at 1 and 7 o’clock above, put the center bolt on the head of the nut, and start cinching down.

With that off, you’re looking at the plate that holds all of the guts in place. You need a different tool now to push it down and expose a lockring on the center of the stem. I built my tool out of some steel bar and bench stock bolts:

Use a couple of small flathead screwdrivers to widen the locking enough to slide it up out of the groove, and then slide it off the stem . The plate should come off easily then. You’ll see the turn signal canceling cam:

There should be a post holding a spring sticking out of the cam. Grab the spring and pull the cam off. (The post on mine was cracked and broken; this could be why mine wasn’t working).

From here you’ve got to unscrew both the turn signal lever at 9 o’clock and the hazard button at about 4 o’clock. Next, there are three bolts that hold the entire lever assembly in place—you’ll have to use the selector to move the assembly to reach all three.

Now, scoot down below the column and find the wire harness on the right side. Carefully unclip the smaller section of the two from the larger with a flathead screwdriver and push it aside. The entire lever assembly should now be free to pull up through the column. Take note of how it snakes down through the collar and mount, because you have to feed the new one through the same way.

Visually, there isn’t anything wrong with my stock harness. The plastic isn’t completely exploded like the spare was; I have no idea why it wasn’t working correctly, but I suspect it had something to do with the cam being broken. I did notice there’s a spring missing at about 9 o’clock in the picture below, which I never found in the column. Regardless, I fed the new one down through the mounts and clipped it back into place on the column.

Then, I used some steel wool to clean the rust off the turn signal lever and put that back in place.

From there, it’s just reassembling what you just took apart, in the right order. Remember how you parked with the wheels straight? make sure you align the wheel up correctly (I aligned mine in a Y shape so that I can see the dashboard through the top of the spokes).

Hooking the battery back up, the truck roared back to life, and both of the turn signals now cancel as advertised! My days of puttering along in the middle lane with my blinker on are (hopefully) over with.

Date posted: April 30, 2022 | Filed under Repairs | Leave a Comment »

While babysitting a brisket on the smoker Saturday morning, I took an impact gun out to the garage and separated the hardware from the cushions on the black bench seat I’d bought a couple of weeks ago. The hinges were all pretty beat up so I figured I’d put them in the blast cabinet and clean them off, then wire wheeled everything to get it ready for paint. It took a little doing but I was able to punt the pin out on the latching mechanism to add some tension back to the spring. With that done I hung the parts in the garage and hit them with etching primer. They’ll sit and cure for a couple of days before paint, and in a week or two I can reassemble the bench and get it ready for installation.

I also wire wheeled the locking ring on the old steel gas tank, then used a hammer and screwdriver to spin it free. Pulling the old fuel sender revealed a rusted, corroded mess that looked like it had been dropped and “repaired” with a homemade filter at some point. Both electrical contacts looked completely shot, and the wire wasn’t even attached. Inside the tank looks remarkably clean—there’s a remanufacture label on the outside, and the inside is coated with some kind of sealant. I think it should be pretty easy to drop the plastic tank and replace it with the original, and hopefully I’ve got a usable rubber seal left on the plastic tank—that sender is only six or seven years old and should be just fine. I cleaned up the metal ring on the tank and hit it with some rust encapsulator. And the outside of this tank has a date with the wire wheel and some spray-on undercoating before I worry about swapping it out.

Date posted: February 27, 2022 | Filed under Repairs | Leave a Comment »

So after some long months of dead ends, I’ve finally got a good heater core sitting on the bench in the basement. After some judicious use of PBBlaster I pulled all of the screws out and disassembled the main elements. There isn’t much to it, honestly; two access covers hold the heater element in place, and the blower motor assembly is held in with four screws. I brought the box outside and sprayed some paint stripper on it, but I found that didn’t work very well. I switched over to an angle grinder with a stripping wheel and got as much of the paint off of the main sections as possible, but there are a lot of small crevices and angles I can’t reach, as well as the entire interior of the box. So I’m going to switch over to the sandblaster.

Which brings me to the blast cabinet. When I got it from Brian, I knew it would need help. The viewing glass was pitted and cloudy, the gloves were in tatters, and it had no stand. I measured the glass, had a new piece cut at the hardware store last weekend, and put it in on Sunday afternoon. Laying in bed last night I brainstormed a new wooden stand design with some storage below for all of the sandblasting gear—the tanks, media, and other stuff. It’ll be on wheels so that I can move it around the garage easily, and having all of that stuff within a smaller footprint will help with the storage crunch in the garage.

So I’ll get that built this weekend and maybe I can get some time before the Super Bowl to actually clean out the heater box and get it ready for paint.

But on Saturday I’m headed back up to York to pick up the NOS fender for my friend Mike, who saw my post on Instagram and mentioned he was interested in it. I’m going to use the opportunity to pick up the black bench seat I mentioned earlier and set that aside for installation in the spring.

Date posted: February 10, 2022 | Filed under Repairs | Leave a Comment »

I got a big box from IH Parts America this week with two key items: a new windshield gasket and a turn signal switch assembly. I’ll have to drag one of the spare windshield frames into the basement and practice putting it in with the lesser of the three spare windshields I’ve got. It’s definitely a warm weather project but I’m excited to finally upgrade from my rock-tumbled ghetto glass.

At first glance the turn signal part is exactly the same as the one in my spare steering column, so I got back to rebuilding the spare column.

When last we left my steering wheel teardown, I’d been able to get the steering wheel off, then pull the jam nut (M14/1.5) off the spindle and expose the plate that covers up the guts of the column.

In order to get this plate out, you have to use another tool to depress it and expose a lock ring around the column, which took me several minutes with a pair of screwdrivers to get off.

With that plate out of the way, the next step is to take the turn signal disc out (the blue cylinder at the top). Jimmy it out with a screwdriver (GENTLY) and it should pop out.

And this is what I was faced with (on the spare column). I was hoping this one would be intact because I would be able to swap it into the column on Peer Pressure, but sadly one of the horns on the bottom half of the assembly broke off along with a twisted metal contact that mounted to something somewhere. That muddy, rusty mess at the 5’oclock position is all that remains of the metal contacts that help the switching mechanism sit in place. The mechanism itself was twisted into pieces and had fallen down underneath the main assembly.

I had to order an entirely new assembly and drop it into place—I went with a Light Line vendor, but the part is available on RockAuto for less: GM 1997985, which is the turn signal cam assembly for Scouts from mid 1977 and above (This spare column came from the 1978 I parted out in Flintstone).

The new part popped right onto place; you feed the wires back down through the column the same way they came out. The only thing I had to do was use an X-Acto blade to trim some extra plastic away from the divot where the turn lever bolts into place.

Now, the tricky part. The blue ring goes back in place, and what I found was that I had to align the divot on the top half with the one unsplined section of the shaft. You’ll notice on the retaining ring that there’s one tooth missing, so it only goes on the shaft one way. When it’s lined up properly the spring cup on the blue ring goes on just as it came out in my picture.

Then I use my ghetto depressing tool to push the retaining ring down in order to put the snap ring in place. This is where I’m stopping right now, as I’d like to use the new part in Peer Pressure, which means I have to pull it back out of this spare column and button everything up. And I’m not going to tear the column in my working truck until the temperature gets back up over 60˚, so I’m stalled for the time being.

Meanwhile, Mike at ScoutCo posted a handy little video on Instagram about how to pull the old lock out of a traveltop latch:


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Which is great, because I didn’t know about the little retaining clip until I watched this. I’ve got my spare latch on the workbench soaking in PBblaster, and I’m waiting to go down and follow his directions. It would be cool to have a locking latch on my Scout for the first time ever…

Date posted: January 30, 2022 | Filed under Purchasing, Repairs | 1 Comment »

After waiting around for about two months, I got a UPS package on Friday with two new gas struts for my hood assembly from the manufacturer. When I first opened the box I was a bit bummed out because I thought I’d ordered the wrong parts. The connections on the ends were set up to accept ball joints instead of bolts, and I thought I might have to send them back and deal with another long wait. Then I looked a little closer and realized the connections unscrewed off the struts, so I pulled the good connectors off the bad strut and swapped them on to a new one. Problem solved.

Meanwhile, I went to visit Brian H. at his new house and caught up with he and Bennett on Saturday afternoon. He’s got an absolutely killer new space, the highlight of which is a pole barn wired for 220 and a bunch of toys left by the previous owner, including a digital welder, a metal brake, a tube bender, and a full-size blast cabinet. We spent most of the day catching up, talking cars and trucks, doing some re-arranging of his rolling stock—his Edsel is on roller carts and he needed a hand pulling the box off his Dad’s old Dodge pickup. On my way out he offered me a smaller Eastwood blasting cabinet he didn’t need, a piece of equipment I’ve been lusting after but unable to rationalize or find the space for. I offered him money but he didn’t want anything for its so I’ll have to figure out what I can bring him next time. It’s a great addition to the shop, so I spent Sunday afternoon moving stuff around the garage to find a temporary home for it. The glass is pretty frosty and the gloves are rotted through, so I’ll have to swap in some new parts in the spring.

Date posted: December 15, 2021 | Filed under Friends, Repairs | Leave a Comment »

How is it I’ve owned a Scout for 20+ years and never used Evaporust before? This is incredible. I’m going to buy a gallon of this shit.

This is the hood latch mechanism from the Flintstone Scout after just 24 hours of soaking. It looks almost brand new. The top photo shows the before and after—I only had a quart so the latch only went 1/2 of the way into the liquid. I soaked a bunch of bolts in with it, and while they didn’t clean up to new metal finish they look worlds better than they did.

Date posted: November 7, 2021 | Filed under Repairs | Leave a Comment »

The other night I went through the pile of parts I picked from the Flintstone Scout to store them properly in the garage (and get them out of the way). I’d pulled both of the horns off, but one fell apart in my hands so I left it in the field. At home I hooked the “good” one up on my bench tester and got no response, even after cleaning the contacts. So that one goes in the trash; my search for a more American-sounding horn continues.

I soaked a container full of fender bolts in some industrial chemicals Brian H. gave me; it’s some stuff he used at his daytime job to clean rooftop AC condensers and it removes paint and neutralizes rust in just a week or so. I pulled them out and rinsed them off really well; over the weekend I’ll put them in a can with some pea gravel and shake it around for a while to knock the rest of the flakes off.

The dash I pulled is in great shape, although the metal around the speedo mount was bent (this is typical when someone is trying to replace a bulb and can’t get behind the speedo unit). All of the controls are still there, and both switches are in great shape. I’m still diagnosing my wiper issue, and if a used wiper switch is going for $130, then that part alone was worth the whole recovery trip. I’ll add this to the untouched dash I already have and the cleaned-up black dash I painted years ago. The dash pad is pretty much toast but cores are worth some money now that they’re being reproduced, so I’ll store that away for later.

The liftgate I pulled is in worse shape than I originally thought. There’s a ton of rust around the lower inside edge where water got in and sat year over year; I didn’t see that when I was taking it off. I think it could be saved if I get desperate but for now it’s tucked away in the back of the garage.

Next, I brought the windshield glass in, cleaned a decade’s worth of grime off the surfaces, and scraped all of the black silicone off the edges. It’s in really nice shape and doesn’t have any of the pitting or chipping Peer Pressure’s current glass has, so this will be the prime replacement candidate when I get enough stones to attempt installing it myself. I’ve got a second set of glass from one of the other windshield frames, but it’s fogging around the edges and likely wouldn’t be worth using.

Opening the hood to install pigtails on the battery terminals for the trickle charger, I found it much harder to lift than usual. the gas strut I’d installed a couple of years ago looks like it’s lost the will to live, so I tracked the part number backwards and found a replacement from the manufacturer online for about $30. I’m considering asking the vendor if they’ve had any other reports of strut failure—it’s been over two years, so any hope of a warranty is long gone—but it might be worth letting them know.

Date posted: November 2, 2021 | Filed under Repairs | Leave a Comment »

Wing windows on Scouts tend to break in three different places: the metal bar spanning the bottom of the mount (under the rubber) rusts and splits in half, usually around the spring. The inside latch breaks off at the base after years of opening and closing. Or, the hinge on the outside breaks off at one of the welds. The passenger side hinge broke on Peer Pressure’s window a few years ago. I’ve been meaning to replace it for a while now—I’d actually bought a replacement at Nationals in 2019. Saturday I figured I’d break the door down and get the new one in place.

I’ve actually got several spares. The one from Nats was crudely re-welded at some point, and the rubber is cracked in several places. I have a spare wing set from another parts haul but the metal bar is shot. The windows on the red doors look good, but the latch is busted on the passenger side. The wing unit on the Flintstone Scout doors look great: the rubber is in excellent shape, the chrome is perfect, and the latches work. Figuring this was the best option, I broke the passenger door down  and got inside, and it was at this point I found that the metal track was rusted and probably stuck to the bottom track.

Sidebar: in order to remove windows from a Scout, you first have to unbolt and pull the wing windows out. Their frames integrate the top section of track that the main window follows upward as it closes; this track slides into a lower half that’s bolted into the door. Then you roll the window down, detach it from the scissor mechanism, and pull it out. Be careful with the scissor mechanism.

Because I was in a bit of a rush, I figured I’d use the Nats window and get it installed, and let the Flintstone door soak in PB blaster until I can get to it.

Getting the broken unit out was the hardest part. On paper, it’s easy. There are three bolts: one behind the silver button on the inside of the door, and two on the front side of the door above the top hinge. Lay some painter’s tape over the paint and use a 5-in-1 tool and a hammer to pop the button off. Two of the bolts are easy to remove but the top bolt above the hinge is tricky because there isn’t much room to get a socket inside the door and keep it attached to a ratchet; you have to pray it loosens by hand or pull the whole door off. Usually the bolts fall inside the door. I have a $2 Harbor Freight magnet for this situation.

Then it took a lot of coaxing, some PB blaster, lithium grease, and a good suggestion from Finn to get the window frame broken free and moving upwards—rain collects in the space between the tracks and welds them together with rust; this is the issue with the Flintstone doors. With proper leverage and a wood block, we worked it all the way out. I put that aside, greased the tracks, and used a rubber mallet to tap the replacement into place. Then I finger-tightened the bolts and tightened them with sockets.

So now there’s a latching wing window on the truck, but it looks shitty from the outside. At some point I’m going to start replacing broken parts with clean new ones; I just don’t know when that’s going to happen.

Date posted: October 10, 2021 | Filed under Repairs | Leave a Comment »

Dangerous driving selfie

I’ve been putting a lot of miles on the Scout this summer, and she’s been running exceptionally well for me. My records show that I’ve put 1133 miles on since I went to Nationals, but as I’ve mentioned before my speedo calibration is wrong. If I do the math for my latest trip back from Chestertown, Google tells me my route from my last fillup was 87.5 miles. My odometer reads 77 miles. If I redo the ratio I worked out a couple of years ago I now come up with 100 miles true to 88 miles indicated (vs. 100 true to 78 indicated). This also checks out to +/- 1 mile when I apply it to my Nationals trip. When I do the (correct) math with the mileage recorded in my notebook, that works out to 2528 miles since the beginning of the year.

Doing some sleuthing, it looks like there’s a fuse blown or some other electrical gremlin between the switch on the dash and the wiper motor; the motor itself works fine when I put 12 volts to the contacts. From what I’ve read, the wiper switch itself has a breaker, and the switch doesn’t go through the fuse panel. I’ve put in a replacement switch from a different Scout to see if that fixed anything but I’ve still had no luck, so I’ll have to keep looking.

Date posted: September 18, 2021 | Filed under Repairs | Leave a Comment »