The Scout is sitting inside a garage down outside of Annapolis as terrible thunderstorms rumble overhead, waiting on a used exhaust heat riser to ship from Ohio. An exhaust heat riser is a valve that stays closed on startup and heats the manifold quickly, which is supposed to lower emissions. My truck, being a 1979 model, came with all of the emissions garbage they could think of that year to try and appease the EPA for an engine designed in the late 1950’s; there are more hoses on that engine than a garden supply store. Anyway, over time, the valve seizes up and stays closed, which is what it sounds like mine has done. This part isn’t regularly made for Scouts anymore, so Super Scout Specialists is sending us a used unit and we’ll throw that in to see if the leak disappears. I’m going to have my mechanic save the old one so I can disassemble it and weld the holes for the shaft closed: I can then use it for a replacement when this valve dies.

Because I am a dipshit and I’ve had Travelall on the brain almost exclusively lately, I completely forgot about two other Scout projects that have been sitting quietly in a box in the basement since the end of winter. I’m in a bit of a holding pattern on the Travelall until I get some stuff organized, so I thought I’d look through the box and get things sorted out.

  • I bought new wing window rubber for the Scout very soon after they started producing it. Both wing windows on Peer Pressure feature crumbling, UV-blasted rubber. Both of the mounts on each window are broken at the pivot spring underneath, which basically means the window opens and flops around in the slipstream. And the passenger wing latch fell off, so it doesn’t stay closed. In my parts stash I have a grand total of seven spare wing windows: three loose units I’ve collected from parts trucks, and four that were installed in the four spare doors I’ve got. Among all of these spares, I have a total of two that aren’t busted to shit. So I pulled a good left and right unit out of the parts doors and gave them a once-over. Both are OK except that the left unit doesn’t have a latch—but I’ve got spares of those.The lower left brace on the right unit was loose: the spot welds were giving way, so I busted out the MIG and tacked it back into place with little trouble. I brought them down to the basement workbench to be refurbished during rainy weekends in front of a football game.

  • I’d completely forgotten that I also bought a new battery pan for the Scout to replace what’s left of the factory pan in there now. It’s a beefy chunk of bare metal and needs a scuff, a coat of etching primer, and several coats of strong black paint (and maybe a layer of undercoating) before I put in in the truck. It’s got three bolts welded underneath to mount to the inner fender—I’ll have to check my spare fender a little more closely to see if this will be just a simple task of cutting the old one out and bolting the new one in (the two holes on the right side of the shelf area below).But once the truck is back I can install that, and set up a proper battery hold down situation; the battery is currently held in place with a tired bungee cord. Because that’s how I roll.

Date posted: September 9, 2023 | Filed under Future Plans, To-Do List | Leave a Comment »

I’ve been all over the place chasing different projects around based on shifting priorities and cashflow opportunities, and I’m realizing I’m not making a lot of directed progress in any single direction. So here’s a modified list of tasks in order of importance:

Get the truck running. This seems pretty obvious, and I’ve been trying to keep this going. I had Erick over this week, and we’ve diagnosed the issue to the distributor. I have a new one ordered from IHPA on the way, and Erick is going to help me stab it and get things running.
$350 for a new distributor, plus Erick’s time

Paint the roof and other parts. I’ve got 3/4 of the roof sanded and filled with Bondo; I have to get the remainder filled, sanded down, and primed for paint as quickly as possible. I don’t want to leave Bondo or primer out for long, as they both collect moisture, so the second big push will be to get it covered with a fresh coat of IH Red. I’ll probably shoot it twice in the driveway and wet sand it between coats for a good solid finish.
$150 for the paint
$100 for an HLPV gun

Fix the brakes. After getting it started, I need to get it to stop. The master reservoir is bone dry and rusty, so we need to replace the whole thing. I’ve got replacement shoes, two cylinders, and a mounting kit ordered from Amazon for the rear axle, which I’m going to attack myself. When the truck is mobile, that will make repairs much easier.
$100 Fixing the rear brake system
$250 for master cylinder, hoses

Fix the cowl rust before replacing the windshield. I woke up in the middle of night thinking about this list, and for some reason this was the first thought in my mind. This could be a slippery slope: this is the literal definition of “scope creep”. But if I’m pulling the windshield out already, I’m worried about the cowl rusting any more than it already is, and I have a welder on hand looking for some work (Erick), I’m thinking I should tackle this now. There’s a guy on Binder Planet who has a C-series pickup with the same cowl rust my truck does. He used a spot weld bit to remove the whole cowl, cut the rust out of the otherwise unreachable areas where it’s worst, and welded new steel in. With some seam sealer applied and the whole thing painted, he welded the cowl back in place for good. if I did this I wouldn’t worry about leaving her parked outside anymore.
$500 for a welder
$100+ for the steel, plus Erick’s time

Rewire the fuse panel. I’ve found an inexpensive tone generator for sale at Harbor Freight, which will help me chase down what wires go where; it’s a matter of hooking up a lead at the cut wire and following it out with the wand to see where it goes. This should make hunting down unlabeled wires much easier, along with the circuit diagram. The good thing here is that I can do this myself, whenever I’ve got free time.
$20 for a tone generator

New tires on the back. There’s a smaller tire on the driver’s rear that just looks stupid, but both of them are still holding air. I just want four tires of the same size and date on the thing at the same time.
$400 for tires and mounting

Fix the doors and windows. I have inner weatherstripping for the four front doors on order (I got a deal on them with the windshield rubber) but the seals and felt for the windows are just as important. IH did a very good job sealing up the glass and I don’t want any water getting down into the guts of the doors and starting to rust. All of them will get sprayed with some kind of chassis sealer just to be sure but clean felts will help keep things solid and quiet on the road.
$400 for new tracks and felt

Date posted: April 11, 2023 | Filed under To-Do List, Travelall | Leave a Comment »

2022 didn’t go quite as we planned, but I got a remarkable number of things on the list accomplished. The replacement windshield is installed and makes a world of difference. the turn signal is fixed. The spare heater core is finished. And the heater valve is working! With that in mind, here’s the list of goals for 2023, in order of importance and realistic accomplishment:

    • Fix the goddamn wipers. (2019I still don’t know what the deal is with the wipers or why the motor works but the switch doesn’t, but I’ve now got a third switch to swap in and see if I can get things to work behind the dashboard. If it’s not that, there has to be a melted wire somewhere that I’ll have to chase down in the rat’s nest back there. I can’t spend another year dealing with this dumb situation. Fixed? They work again. I put the wiper arms back on the stubs and I’m leaving it alone.
    • Move the rearview mirror up the A pillar. I keep knocking into it when I open the door. it needs to move up and out of the way. This is just drilling and tapping new holes, and sealing up the old ones.
    • Rotate the tires. (2022) This is pretty self-explanatory, and should be easy once I get a decent floor jack.
    • Fix the battery tray. (2021) Super Scout Specialists has new trays in stock, and I’d like to get rid of the ghetto bungee cord I’ve been using for 11 years. Done 9.15! Happy to have the bungee cords gone.
  • Replace the wing window seals and spring hinge. My wing windows are leaky and loose. The gaskets are dry and brittle, and the spring hinges inside the door are both broken. I need to replace the rubber and re-weld the springs so that the windows will stabilize.
  • Swap the gas tanks. I have the original steel tank Peer Pressure came with, and I’ve heard from several places that poly tanks will never seal at the sender properly. I’m inclined to believe this after eight years of suffering through gas fumes and leaks. Having looked at the inside of the tank and cleaned up the outside, there’s a new sender mounted and ready to go. The next step is grounding the tank and checking the wiring before it goes onto the truck, and then actually swapping it out.
  • Get the spare engine on a proper engine stand. The problem isn’t the stand, but how I can lift the engine up onto it. My garage is in no shape to support a chain hoist or any kind of overhead block and tackle, so I’ll have to borrow an engine hoist from somewhere for a 15-minute operation.
  • Buy a Scout Shed. (2022) I spent a bunch of time this fall emptying out my garage attic and moving big bulky parts up there; a lot of my space issues have since been solved. So this might actually move to the completed list…
Date posted: January 23, 2023 | Filed under To-Do List | Leave a Comment »

I took the Scout out for a quick errand yesterday with Hazel to go pick up some dinner, and a small voice in the back of my head reminded me that I needed to get some gas. I’d already been to the other side of town to hit the dump earlier in the day, but our trip wasn’t that far and from what my mileage booklet said, I’d only gone thirty miles or so since my last visit to the pump.

I drove down the big hill from home into Ellicott City and just as I hit the bottom part of the road along the river, the truck died and I coasted to a stop on the shoulder. Hazel looked over at me from the passenger seat with reproach, then curled up on the seat and sighed. This is the second time this has happened at the foot of the hill—the first time it died pulling into the gas station a little further up the road—but it’s a warning I’m going to heed. I’m terrified of losing power going down that hill, and even though I know I could use the clutch to engine brake until a stop, when the steering goes out it’s like piloting an oil tanker. I’m terrified of digging in to the wiring behind the dashboard for fear the truck will never start again but the gauge situation and the wiper issue are now forcing my hand.

In the meantime I’m going to revise my mileage tracker to give me a better estimate of what my MPG actually is; my records show that I went down to empty in October of last year, which means I can use that and the records up until now to give me a better understanding of what my range is. Doing the math between now and then, I put 2887 miles on the truck, which converts to 3280 true miles (the ratio is 88 indicated to 100 true). I’ve put 296 gallons of gas into her between now and then, which works out to 11.08 miles per gallon. Not as good as Chewbacca did—Chewbacca was a 304 with a 2-barrel Holley 2100 carburetor and stock wheels, and she averaged anywhere from 12 to 14 depending on the type of driving and whether the top was down or not. Peer Pressure is a 345 with a 4-barrel Thermoquad on 32’s, and while I don’t spend my time racing from streetlight to streetlight, a 4-barrel is a lot thirstier. Also, all of the stupid emissions bullshit tacked on to my engine surely isn’t helping. To put things into perspective, my Jeep XJ with a 4-liter V6 got about 14mpg on average—keeping in mind the curb weight of the XJ was a full thousand pounds less than either Scout.

I’ve always figured no better than 10MPG as a rule of thumb, using my experience with Chewbacca’s low end and figuring 1-2MPG as a cushion was a good idea, but knowing exactly what my range is will help estimate even better. And there will be some digging around behind the dashboard come springtime: First, to hopefully diagnose and repair the gas gauge, and second to find the issue with the wipers and fix that.

Date posted: November 20, 2022 | Filed under To-Do List | Leave a Comment »


In 2021, I did a lot of things I wasn’t planning on, but needed to get done, like rebuilding the front bearings, replacing the front brakes, installing a cool bumper and then adding fog lights. Okay, maybe the bumper and fog lights didn’t need to happen, but it sure looks better. Reviewing the T0-Do list from 2021, there are some big things I thought I might be able to accomplish and some that were blue-sky goals; there will be some things that carry over to next year. And I’ve got some new goals for 2022, in order of importance and realistic accomplishment:

  • Refurbish the heater core. I’ve got a used box ready to go; it needs to be sandblasted and painted. Then I’ve got to check the original motor and either rewire it or buy a new motor. Done!
  • Replace the windshield. (2016) I pulled a good clear windshield from a Scout this summer, cleaned it up and made it ready to put in. I’ll need to order a new windshield gasket from Super Scouts, do some practice runs on the spare frames I’ve got, and then take a deep breath before I remove the old glass. Done!
  • Fix the goddamn wipers. (2019) I still don’t know what the deal is with the wipers or why the motor works but the switch doesn’t, but I’ve now got a third switch to swap in and see if I can get things to work behind the dashboard. If it’s not that, there has to be a melted wire somewhere that I’ll have to chase down in the rat’s nest back there.
  • Fix the turn signal cam on the steering wheel. I’m 3/4 of the way into the teardown on my spare wheel, and it all seems to make sense so far. Sure would be nice to have functional cancelling turn signals. Done!
  • Rotate the tires. This is pretty self-explanatory, and should be easy once I get a decent floor jack. One thing I’d like to do while I have the tires off is measure the backspacing on the spare tire to see if it’s anywhere near the aftermarket wheels I’m running on the truck. This way I’ll know if I can use the spare on the front wheels without rubbing.
  • Pull the spacer on the starter. I’ve come to find out the spacer in between my starter and the engine block is meant for automatic transmissions, so it needs to come out. I’m a pro at swapping starters at this point, so this should be a 30-minute fix, tops. Humorously, in going through my parts bins this week, I found a second spacer. Done 10/30! Took all of about ten minutes, but I already had her up on the stands for exhaust repairs.
  • Fix the battery tray. (2021) Super Scout Specialists has new trays in stock, and I’d like to get rid of the ghetto bungee cord I’ve been using for 11 years.
  • Swap the gas tanks. I have the original steel tank Peer Pressure came with, and I’ve heard from several places that poly tanks will never seal at the sender properly. I’m inclined to believe this after eight years of suffering through gas fumes and leaks. The plan is to build a quick cradle/turntable out of wood, mount the tank on that, and dump some gravel inside. A half an hour of turning it like a cement mixer should remove any rust or scale inside, and then I can test it for leaks. When that’s done I’ll spray it with undercoating, test the sender, and put it in. I’m going to dig out the original evaporator linkage I stored away to aid in venting it properly. But the first thing I have to do is get the existing sender off the tank; it’s on there tight and not coming off.
  • Get the spare engine on a proper engine stand. The problem isn’t the stand, but how I can lift the engine up onto it. My garage is in no shape to support a chain hoist or any kind of overhead block and tackle, so I’ll have to borrow an engine hoist from somewhere for a 15-minute operation.
  • Buy a Scout Shed. My garage is pretty full, and I spend a lot of time reorganizing stuff just to move around in there. I’ve been considering a premade shed to store all of the parts I’ve got squirreled away, which would free up a lot of space in there. I’m earning some scratch on the side working on the schoolbus, and if I’m careful I could pay for this with a couple of weekends’ work.
Date posted: January 2, 2022 | Filed under To-Do List | 3 Comments »

It’s time for the annual List Of Things I Really Hope I Can Get To for the year of 2021. Looking back on last year’s list, I was able to get a bunch of things done—and do some others that weren’t even on the radar. The engine got degreased—I wound up buying a pressure washer, which made things much easier. I swapped in a new starter, fixed the speaker cable, and sandblasted a bunch of spare sheet metal to get the rust neutralized. Beyond that, we started work on lockable storage, I fixed both front shocks, and replaced all of the bulbs in the dash with what turned out to be bluish LEDs. So what’s in the future for 2021? Let’s review:

  • Empty and flush the radiator/engine block. I did the radiator in a hurry and did not flush it before refilling. It definitely needs some love this spring.
  • Fix the driver’s side manifold-to-exhaust leak. (2018) Yeah, it’s been on the list for a while now. Done 3/23/21! I didn’t replace the whole thing, just swapped out a bolt and tightened it up.
  • Repair and upgrade the battery tray/holddown situation. This too is on the list; Super Scout Specialists has new trays in stock, and I’d like to get rid of the ghetto bungee cord I’ve been using for 11 years. The only question is how to attach it to the inner fender—is it welded or bolted? Either way, it needs that and a plastic housing to keep the crud away from the engine.
  • Fix the wiper motor and linkage. (2019) I struggled with this last spring, trying to get the motor to bolt cleanly to the underside of the windshield frame, but did not succeed. What I have to do is disconnect the linkage to the arms, which will free up the motor to go in correctly, and then rotate the motor slightly to re-align the wiper arms. This will not be easy or fun.
  • Replace the windshield. (2016) Again, mine sucks, and I’ll have to put it in myself if I want it done; I’m sure Safelite won’t touch my frame based on how much rust I’m guessing is around the cowl.
  • Finish the locking ammo can. At this point it’s just waiting for the front lock mount to go into place.
  • Rust repair and sandblasting. I’ve got a white driver’s fender from the Wheaton scout, which has a dent in the front edge and a sheen of surface rust on the back side. I’d like to sandblast it clean, weld up any holes, lay a skim of Bondo over the repairs, and get it primed. Some basic practice with the parts I’ve got will go a long way to the eventual goal of…
  • Painting the tub. Since I last spoke to my neighbor’s father, I haven’t heard a peep, so I’m pushing this off to the maybe column and moving onwards. I don’t have thousands of dollars to drop on this right now anyway, so the priority is low.
Date posted: January 31, 2021 | Filed under To-Do List | 1 Comment »

As with 2018, I did get a lot of my 2019 list taken care of. The radiator and caster shims were a big improvement, and having the rear U-joint fixed was expensive but necessary. Little things like the hood strut and the front speaker were great quality-of-life improvements that I was happy to have. But this is a 40-year-old truck, and issues need to be addressed:

  • Fix the speedo cable. While I’ve got the main assembly out of the dash, I’m going to clean the contacts for all the bulbs, replace them with LED bulbs I’ve got standing by, paint the needle with fluorescent paint, and polish the plastic.
  • Buy a new starter. The unit Bennett and I swapped in a number of years ago was a used part from his stash, and on one of every five starts I get the I’m-not-fully-engaged sound, which tells me the solenoid is going bad. I’d like to get a new sturdy unit in there so that I’m not worrying about it. Installed 5.24!
  • Pull the wiper motor back out and re-adjust it so that the arm geometry isn’t oriented below the windshield and the motor is fastened in with all four bolts.
  • Replace the windshield with a new one. Mine is absolutely terrible; I don’t know if a pro installer would even work with me given the condition of my windshield frame. I’m not the only one who needs this, and guys have talked about doing a windshield installation party, so I may push for this in 2020.
  • Re-route the speaker wire. This has been needed for 10 years.
  • Clean out the engine bay. I talked about doing this last year and ran out of time. This is basically wrapping the carb in plastic, shooting the engine bay  with degreaser, and then hosing the whole thing out. I’d have to do this somewhere other than our house now, though, because I don’t want to dissolve our new driveway.
  • Put the new battery inside a marine container, and replace the battery tray. My existing tray looks like it’s been floating in saltwater and I’d like to try and save the inner fender before it dissolves that too.
  • Fix the driver’s side manifold-to-exhaust leak. I have the bolts; I just haven’t gotten to this yet.
  • Sandblast some of my spare sheet metal and prep it with sealer. I have a compressor but not the sandblasting kit, and there are a lot of parts I’d like to clean up.
Date posted: December 27, 2019 | Filed under To-Do List | 3 Comments »

Wow, I actually knocked a lot of stuff off the 2018 to-do list. Tires, Hagerty insurance, and Hydroboost are all some big accomplishments compared to years past. I’m feeling pretty good about everything, and Peer Pressure is running strong. Still, there’s more that can be done:

  • Buy a new aluminum radiator and install it. Climbing the hills out of West Virginia I noticed the temp gauge climbing perceptibly, something I’ve never seen it do since I replaced the water pump 9 years ago. The overflow bottle isn’t hooked up because the nipple at the filler neck came unbrazed years ago, and the cooling system needs a flush anyway. Done!
  • Oil and gear oil change. It’s been 8 years since the first one, and even though mileage is low, she could use some new fluids.  Done! This time I’m going to put Rotella 15W-40 diesel in, for the additional zinc. I didn’t use Rotella, however.
  • Sandblast, paint and install my spare set of valve covers. I’ve got a truck valve cover set with a long filler neck, and now that the Hydroboost is installed I can actually use them. This will make the addition of oil easier (and cleaner).
  • Buy caster shims and install them. There’s more work to do to fix the new steering issues. Done!
  • Fix the heater linkage so that the heater actually shuts off. The valve in the engine compartment is stuck open, and needs some work to loosen up.
  • Fix the windshield wiper motor mount and linkage. The wiper arm on the passenger side is too low and strikes the edge of the windshield, and the whole thing is very slow.
  • Buy a 4×10 speaker and install it in the dash. So that I can hear the stereo at speed. Done!
  • Re-route the speaker wire. This has been needed for 9 years.
  • Rebuild the spare carburetor (finally).
  • Buy a hood gas strut and install it. It would just be so much easier to open and close the hood this way. Done!

Previous yearly to-do lists

Date posted: September 9, 2018 | Filed under To-Do List | 3 Comments »

So, with major travel and vacation in the rear-view mirror, the next things on the to-do list are:

  • Insure Peer Pressure through Hagerty for a fixed replacement price. This has been long overdue.
  • Fix the driver’s side manifold-to-exhaust leak. I need to source two copper bolts like I did for the passenger’s side, and find some patience when I try to pull the old ones off.
  • New road-going tires. This has been something long-delayed but when I get the first couple of teaching paychecks in hand, I’m going to spend it on five new tires and sell the four that are on the truck now.
  • Sandblast one of the spare windshields to get it ready for welding repairs, primer, and paint. I’d like to get one of them prepped and have new glass installed so that I can pull the one on the truck off and put a clean one in its place.

Previous yearly to-do lists

Date posted: July 9, 2018 | Filed under Future Plans, To-Do List | 2 Comments »

…Nothing, really, has happened. Peer Pressure is running well, if a little rich, but she started right up all winter long and after a little bit of lifter tick the engine warms up and smooths out really quickly. I actually drove her a lot more this winter than most because we didn’t have as much snow, which meant less salt on the roads.

So let’s update the To Do list for 2017, in order of high-to-low probability:

Adjust the Tuffy console forward 2″. It still gets in the way of folding and tumbling the rear seat. I tried moving it forward last year but what I’m probably going to have to do is drill three new holes in the bottom of the console to get it in the right spot.

Adjusting the doors again. The striker on the passenger door doesn’t latch unless you slam that fucker shut.

Replace the windshield. It’s as difficult to see out the front of the truck as it was before. Thing is, I have no idea what shape the frame on the truck is in; I could take the current glass out and find the metal is completely shot. However, I’ve got two other frames in the garage that could be rustproofed, fixed, and painted. So the first step would be to pick one and rehab it.

Install the goddamn Hydroboost. Again, carried over from last year. I’m going to bribe Bennett with some beer and pizza and have him help me with this over the summer.

A new radiator? I thought this might be easy and relatively cheap but it’s not.
Option 1: a Champion Radiator, plus shroud and electric fans: $466. Ouch.
Option 2: an RnD radiator for $375. I have to check and see if my existing shrouds will fit.

Buy new road tires. Again, this is expensive. The trick is to find a narrow set of 32s so that it doesn’t look like I put toy wheels on. Seems like most 32s come 11.5″ or wider. Cooper Discoverers are very road-looking, while BFG T/A KO2s are more aggressive. I can actually get these from Amazon in 10.5″, but I don’t have $750 for that laying around yet. [BP search link]

Previous yearly to-do lists

Date posted: March 27, 2017 | Filed under Future Plans, Purchasing, To-Do List | 2 Comments »