Weekly Roundup, 5.12

Here’s a video containing most of the updates from last weekend, when the green truck was towed away, to yesterday afternoon, when I swapped out the hardtop for the soft top on the Scout.

I put the nutmeg snap top on the truck for now; it’s in the best shape of the three and will definitely seal up better than the others. Everything went on smoothly and I think I had the whole thing wrapped up in about two hours. When that was done I made some adjustments to the rearview mirror on the driver’s windshield frame. because of where it’s positioned, when I open the door beyond a certain distance it moves the mirror outwards, messing up the alignment. I was thinking I was going to move it upwards on the frame, but there isn’t enough room to go much higher than it already is. So I adjusted the bar further outwards and bent the mirror mount inwards, and that pushed the arm further outside the door’s arc.

The next thing I did was replace the gasket on the door of the IH fridge, which was sweating out the sides last summer. I sourced a new gasket from a freezer parts company and paid more for shipping than I did for the gasket. It went on pretty easily, and it seems to seal tightly, so I’m counting that as an easy win.

Finally, I did a bunch of finish sanding on the driver’s fender to the red truck, getting the curve of the fender lip to feather out into the flat section much better than I had before. I sanded it first with 320 and then with 600 grit before shooting it with some IH implement red out of a rattle can. I have to clean up some of the edges on the front before I go to wet sanding everything, but it’s getting closer to being done.

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Saturday Wrenching

I put another solid day in on the green truck in an effort to get it parted out and moved along as soon as possible. The focus for this day was to get the rear tailgate down and prepped for removal, the seats pulled out, and the brake system drained and removed.

First things first, though: it was warm enough to get the pressure washer out and start hosing the whole thing down. Most of the dirt and lichen came off easily, and some more of the green paint gave way to the red underneath. I got a ladder out and cleaned as much of the dirt off the roof as possible—it’s making the fuzzy inside part of the car cover filthy.

With that done I put the battery back in the truck and lowered the window as much as I possibly could, and then tried the latch—which worked! The gate came down hesitantly. I think the hinges were full of rust and they didn’t want to budge. When that had come down I was able to use the impact hammer to loosen all but three of the bolts holding the inside cover on, and cut those off with the grinding wheel. With the panel open I could see how the door was assembled and mostly what I’d have to do to get it off—I think it’s going to be the hinges mounted underneath the rear deck, which means I have to get the bumper off to access them.

Next I wanted to get the heater box out of the cab, so I cut the bolts off the firewall and disconnected the hoses coming to the engine, which were dry as a bone. The box fell inwards into the cab, and I spent way too much time trying to get the rear cover off the box to disconnect the control linkage when I should have just started with an Allen wrench to pull the knobs off the dashboard. Eventually, I did this, and they all came out much easier than I figured they would. I labeled everything and hauled the box to the tailgate to look it over: it’s rough. I don’t know if I’ll be able to refurbish it, but I might give it a shot with Brian’s metal brake, maybe this winter.

After some lunch, I put a mask on and cut the cover off the front bench seat, vacuuming off years of dust and mouse poop, and made it so I could access the mounting bolts underneath. I don’t have an intact bench seat so I was surprised when the seat portion just popped up and off the frame. With that out of the way it was easy to pull the seat out and put it in the driveway.

After that was out, I got the IH-branded seatbelts off the floor. Two screwed right out but the other two (the ones mounted directly over the existing gas tank) required the grinding wheel. But they all came off in one piece, and now I’ve got slick IH seatbelts for the front bench.

Cleaning up after myself, I must have shoveled about five pounds of rust out of the cab. The cowl vent on the passenger side is so much worse than the one on the Red bus ever was. I don’t know if there would be enough there for me to repair, honestly.

I still had the power washer out in the driveway so I cleaned the bench seat frame and blew a bunch of mildew off the seat, then set them both out to dry.

Toward the end of the day I knew there was some rain coming, so I started the cycle of heat/penetrant on the pressure fittings going into the brake cylinder, eventually getting one to come off cleanly, one to give me a little bit of a fight before it let go, and twisting the third into a pretzel before it gave way. I loosened the bolts on the firewall and was about to find a way to drain both that and the clutch cylinder when it started to drizzle.

Sunday our Easter plans got changed at the last minute so I spent some time in the yard, clearing leaves out from under the porch and clearing out the greenhouse, which were both way overdue. I pulled the Scout out of the garage to access tools, and while I had it in the driveway I took some advice from Bennett and tightened up the bolt to the exhaust manifold on the passenger side, which had come very loose. And magically, my loud exhaust leak was gone!

I pulled the bench seat out into the sun of the driveway to dry off, and late in the day mounted it in the Red bus. For the first time since I bought this truck, I was sitting in the proper seat behind the wheel, and it felt really good! Things like that keep me motivated for sure.

I then spent some time in the garage moving things around to make room, taking some pictures of the Hollywood doors for Bennett, who said he’d be interested in them (which is great, as I need to make space for four Travelall doors shortly) and measuring the box I made for storing the spare rear glass. I’ve got to run to the Lowe’s for more plywood to build out proper crates, and then I’ll be ready to cut the glass out and store it carefully.

This evening I’m pretty wiped out—tired and sore. But I got a lot accomplished, and I’m getting closer to the finish line; the big question is where I’m going to store all this stuff.

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Weekly Roundup, 1.28

Knowing it was going to be warm towards the end of the week, I made a beeline out to the local Eastwood store on Wednesday. They had the body filler I was looking for, a specialty brand that came highly recommended online, and  Amazon couldn’t promise to deliver it before then. I was able to throw in a new can of Encapsulator to meet the minimum for a coupon, so it worked out perfectly. This new filler is lighter and sands much easier, making bodywork much more pleasant. I was able to get the high spots knocked down quickly and then spent time finding the problem areas, marking them out with a Sharpie and readying them for the next skim. I actually covered more areas now that I know how easy it is to work with, and I’m looking forward to getting this piece cleaned up.

I got a call from my friend Jeff on Sunday morning, to ask me a question about my seats, which he’s starting today! He figures it should be a week or so to get them done, which means I need to get cracking on ordering foam and materials. That news made my day.

Meanwhile the Travelall/Travelette/C-series designs I’ve been working on have been getting some decent traction for the last two weeks; I’ve sold about 20 shirts and a bunch of mugs and other stuff. And I finished off the first custom design for a guy in Texas today, which has me thinking about how to take commissions when I get the Scout version working. I’m going to get a little merch produced to photograph and then I’ll use that for the next promotion cycle.

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Welding and Sanding

Here’s a quick breakdown of the repairs to my spare fender. I started with an order to SendCutSend for a set of new laser-cut steel donuts for the outside and inside edges, as well as three 1/2″ strips to bend for a flange to connect both. I welded the outer flange in first because it had a slight curve, then built an inside section and tacked that in place. When I saw that it would collect rain the way I’d built it, I used a second donut and strip to mount flush to the outside edge and tacked it all in place. Next was welding a small patch in at the bottom, where water and mud pool and rust the metal out from the inside.

While that was cooling I sanded the top layer of blue paint off the fender to reveal some past damage and Bondo, which was not unexpected. I skimmed some Bondo over the two welds and sanded everything down, but the fuel mount area is going to need a lot more attention. I’m looking around for alternatives to off-the-shelf Bondo and have found that Evercoat products seem to get good reviews, so I think I’ll buy a gallon of that in the springtime to continue bodywork projects.

Weekly Roundup, 10.29

On Thursday afternoon I got a long narrow package delivered by UPS, which contained a set of headliner bows from my friend Ray up in Massachusetts. He sent a pair of square-end bows like the three I’ve already got in the truck, which were made to work with an aluminum channel around the perimeter of the roof that would hold a headliner in place. My truck didn’t come with a headliner or the channel, just three rusty bows (out of five) and the fiberglas insulation glued to the ceiling.

Below that are five point-end bows which went on earlier model Travelalls without the aluminum channel; from what Ray tells me the headliner tucked in under the sheet metal lip around the edge and these bows held it into place. Because these bows are in much better shape than the square-ends I’ve got, I’m going to clean them up and use them when I build and install a headliner.

Meanwhile, I got another big box in the mail via UPS, in which was packed a primer black ’57 Ford F-150 bumper. I brought it out to the truck and laid it on top of the C-series bumper, and apart from the fact that it’s a little narrower, I think this thing will work very well.

I’ve got to figure out how to build a set of sturdy standoffs from the frame horns on the front of the truck—the current standoffs are 4″ deep sections of box channel steel held in place with some long rusty bolts and a wheelbarrow full of washers. I’ll probably do something similar but gusset the boxes for strength.

Saturday morning I went to Bennett’s to help him swap out the rear brake line on his Speedster replica; he’d taken it to a car show earlier in the year and blown the line on the way home. It turns out the manufacturer ran the brake line inside the cabin along the transmission tunnel, ending in a fitting directly behind the driver’s seat. After some careful application of heat and penetrant we got the fitting off the distro block behind the front suspension and cut a new line with some extra length to spare. Bennett then showed me how to make a bubble flange on a brake line, which I’d never seen before, and we installed the new line and bled the brakes.

With that success, we took a test drive to Ellicott City for some barbecue and brought it home to eat in the warm sunshine.

A couple of weeks ago I saw an ad pop up on Marketplace where a guy had a storeroom full of old IHC R-series parts he was selling, and I alerted Bennett. He’d driven up there a couple of weeks ago and picked through the stuff, coming home with a box full of NOS parts for Phantom, his ’53 R-110 pickup. Before I left, we looked through the box of stuff he brought home, and he handed me an NOS doorhandle and window crank for a C-series pickup in perfect shape. I’ve got to figure out what they’re worth and give him some cash the next time I see him. He also had a trio of black NOS armrests in original IH packaging—the foam on the backside was bright yellow like the day they were made—and sent me home with one to see if it fit Peer Pressure. I already have a black set on the truck, but maybe I’ll buy two of these to put in the spares box along with the used ones that look like they were fished out of a river.

Addendum: I forgot to mention that I ran the engine up for about ten minutes on Saturday when the girls were out of the house (the exhaust is super rich and tends to flood the house, so I wait until they’re away) and got it up to temperature. It only took two pumps of the throttle to get her fired up, which was encouraging. Looking at various points of the engine with a laser thermometer, the manifold junction on the driver’s side got to about 450˚, while the passenger side got to 520˚. I then remembered that the coolant was low so I waited until the water neck hit about 160˚ and decided to shut it down, so I don’t know if the thermostat is working yet or not. I added about 3/4 of a gallon of coolant and let it cool down before putting the cover back on. It’s sounding a little clattery but the idle smoothed out after awhile; I think the rings need to come loose and seat properly after sitting for so long, and I need to have a professional tune the carb properly to get her running right.

Locked Box

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.

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Weekly Roundup, 9.15

After calling around last week and leaving messages at several local glass installers, I finally got two on the phone. The first guy balked when I told him what year the truck was but said they’d be able to handle it if I drove it to their shop. He then quoted me a price of $500 to have someone come out and do it in the driveway. The second shop was much easier to work with, and after I sent a couple of pictures to the office manager, she got back to me and said they’d be able to do both the windshield and the rear quarter glass for less than the first quote. So I made an appointment and ordered some rubber from IHPA. I have a brand new gasket waiting, and I can’t wait for Tuesday.

I cleaned up the truck in preparation for having the glass put in, and looked over the front seat again. For some reason I’ve been thinking the bar frame mounts directly onto the seat bases, completely forgetting there are two track mounts that go between. After slapping myself in the forehead, I fished the set of tracks I bought from Ray out of my parts bin and looked them over, and everything became much clearer. I did some rust repair and cleanup on both, and ground off a bent and warped bolt on the driver’s side track. After sorting out the hardware issue, I welded a new bolt on to the track and cleaned it up. I taped off the tracks and hit them with etch primer before they got two coats of IH red. I’ll let them sit and cure for a couple of days, then install new hardware and a spring on each side. I sprayed the bar frame with semigloss black and let that sit to cure as well. When it’s all ready, I have new hardware and a spring on each side to mount it to the frame, and then I have to source a cable to reach across under the seat to release both of the slide catches.

And on the subject of seat bases, I got a bunch of metal delivered on Thursday for the rear seat locker. I can’t wait to dig into that project.

We went out over lunchtime on Friday to pick up the Scout, and I can’t believe how quiet she is again. The mechanic replaced the valve, manifold and gasket, and now she sounds like I remember. One other thing he fixed was the front wheel bearing. When he put it on the lift he watched the tire droop and investigated; apparently when he pulled it apart the inner bearing was just destroyed. So he replaced the parts and repacked everything and it should be good to go. This is disturbing, as I just had this fixed before I went to Nats two years ago, so clearly the work wasn’t done properly. Lesson learned. In either case, I drove home with a huge smile on my face.

While waiting for the mechanic to call, I scuffed, primed and painted the new battery tray and got it ready for installation. Saturday evening I pulled the remains of the old one off and cleaned up the inner fender as well as I could before brushing on Rust Converter, followed by a coat of black Rust Encapsulator. When that was dry I dropped the tray in place and bolted it down. Now I’ve got to find a 9.5″ threaded rod in the proper width to use for the inside hold down point, and I can cut out and fabricate my own hold down bar to cap it off.


I dropped the Scout off at a new mechanic this afternoon. This is a fellow down past Annapolis, who came recommended by a fellow Scout owner I’d met through the Binder Planet, who owns a rig that’s currently torn down into pieces after a botched restoration attempt by a local shop. He’d sent me to this new fellow with nothing but good words, so I decided to roll the dice, as I can’t find anyone local who I like or who knows older vehicles. We found his shop up at the end of a new access road, and I started feeling good; it’s a tidy new construction 3-bay behind his house. He stepped out of the garage and we shook hands. He asked me to start it up and give it some gas so he could listen, and immediately nodded his head and said, “yeah, that’s an exhaust leak.” The inside of his shop was just as clean as the outside, and I felt even better. It’s going to take some effort to get the manifold off without snapping bolts, but that’s why he’s the pro and I’m paying him.

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Wing Window Installation

In February, before I found the Travelall, I ordered a set of new wing window rubber to replace the old brittle stuff on Peer Pressure. It’s been sitting in the box downstairs since then. I pulled it out and looked it over several times but I knew I didn’t have all the information I needed to tackle the job, and nobody had written up any instructions (there were none with the kit—thanks. Anything Scout just published a detailed installation video with all the tips I need to do the job. Looks like I’ll have to buy or borrow a rivet gun to do it properly.

Weekly Roundup, 8.13

I was away for most of the last week and a half, but I did get some time before we left to rough in the new brake line I was sent by the Scout Connection a few weeks ago. Saturday afternoon after we returned, I got tired of laying around the house and decided to go out and finish welding up the patch I’d started two weeks ago. Overall it went pretty well; I think I would have done it completely differently in hindsight, and I bet I’ll have to go back and cut it out at some point, but for now it’ll hold.

On Sunday I wanted to tackle the biggest hurdle the project has thrown at me so far: bleeding the brakes. I bled the master cylinder and hooked it up to the main lines, then had Finley come out and pump the brakes for me while I opened the line on the rear wheel. When nothing happened where I was, I looked underneath and realized the system was leaking at the distribution block: I hadn’t gotten it connected correctly. So I jacked the whole front end up and got underneath to really diagnose the situation, and after staring at it for a while I sorted out what was going on: I hadn’t tightened the soft line down enough to the block. So I disconnected it at the master cylinder and spun the whole hose to really tighten it down. With that done I hooked everything back up and had Finn pump the brakes on all four corners while I bled dirty brake fluid out of the lines. When I’d gotten that done, I put the wheels back on and lowered it to the ground. Then we did the clutch system and got that bled out. With that, the brakes should be 90% done. I’ll have to re-bleed them at some point in the near future to get the last bubbles out, but it’s enough to stop the truck once I get the clutch issue sorted out. It’s been a long  learning process, but I sure hope I don’t have to deal with brakes again for a while.

While I had two wheels off the ground, I took the opportunity to swap the fourth rim to the driver’s front and put one of the original three on the back rear. What I found kind of shocked me: the original rim sits the same distance away from the inner edge of the wheel tub as the new rim did. The only difference between the new rim and the others is that the holes for the wheel studs are thicker and the studs don’t extend through as far as the others, which means there isn’t as much of the lug nut on the stud. I think I’m going to invest in a set of ET (extra thread) lug nuts for the whole truck—I just need to find someone who has 5 left-turn nuts in the size I need.