Weekly Update, 5.21

Here’s the update from this past week, mainly focusing on dashboard removal, with a detour to the blasting cabinet on a rainy Saturday to pretty up a set of valve covers. I’m about 3/4 of the way done getting this thing out of the truck. I had to disconnect the mechanical linkages to the heat/defrost controls, which was easy with the radio missing, and then I had to trace the two knobs in the center of the dashboard down. The smaller knob was pretty simple, just a cable running to a mechanical choke on the carburetor. And now that I’m thinking more clearly, I’ll bet that when I run the truck up again next time and open the choke up, the truck will run a lot smoother than it has the last couple of times. I’m betting I left it closed up, making the mixture richer and idle rougher, thus fouling the plugs. You can tell I’m spoiled by the fancy electric choke on the Thermoquad in the Scout.

The second knob has been a mystery for as long as I’ve owned the truck. Even when pulling on it with the strength of a gorilla, it never moved. I traced the cable through the engine bay and down the passenger rail to a greasy lump hanging off the side of the transmission: the NX98 Power Take Off unit listed at the bottom of the lineset ticket (for which I can find no online documentation). After attempting to get the knob out of the dashboard I realized the only way to remove it is to cut the knob off the cable. I thought about it for a couple of hours and then used the death wheel to cut the cable in the engine bay. I cleaned the grease off the PTO to reveal shiny red paint, and moved the linkage back and forth—it works! I’m going to leave it on and mess with it later.

The dash is free and clear on the passenger side but there are still a couple of things holding on behind the gauge panel, so I have to keep plugging away at the last couple of linkages. I disconnected the plugs on the engine side of the firewall but next I’ve got to gingerly push the connectors through to the passenger side, which I think will free up the dashboard even more. I suspect there are a couple of connections on the steering column and I have to get an impact driver on the high-beam switch mounted on the floor. The new harness is sitting on the bench seat ready to go in, and from all that I can tell, the connectors match up perfectly.

 

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Seating

I heard from Jeff this weekend on the Travelall seats (actually, while I was trying to pull the dash off) when he texted me a picture of the top half of the rear seat in progress:

I’m doing mine in gray over black because my dash and door cards are gray, but I’m going for something that looks like this (in tan over gray):

I don’t think the vinyl Jeff got is as marbled as the stuff in the reference photo, but I’m excited about moving the seats forward.

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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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She’s Out Of My Life

Well, the end of a fun and educational chapter has now come to a close. The green truck was towed off into the rainclouds yesterday, after I picked some final parts off Friday night. I’d been trying to get the passenger wheel well off since last weekend, and of course it proved to be more difficult than I figured it would. The spot welds came out easily but the lower edge was part of a sandwich between the inner fender skirt and the lower lip of the rear floor, so I wound up trimming about 2″ from the bottom of the well and carving a big hole into the front of the C-pillar to release the whole thing. I have no idea if I’ll ever need it for anything, but it’s a very complex compound curve that I’d never be able to replicate in a million years, so I’m keeping it.

Then I put two good tires on the back of the truck, put the one good tire back on the front, and threw the other two junk tires in the front floorboards with the spare bench setback that was taking up space in the garage. I threw a bunch of other junk inside, vacuumed out the interior, and tied everything down with some old rope.

That evening, a guy reached out on the Binder Planet to ask if I was keeping the square seat bases on the floor, and I told him they were going with the truck the following morning. After thinking it over, I figured I might be able to beat the rain if I got an early start the next morning (the pickup was scheduled between 1-3PM) so I took the dog with me to Harbor Freight and picked up another spot weld cutter, ate some breakfast, and got to work. It was drizzling but the roof of the truck made for a nice cover, so I set up camp inside and started on the passenger side. I got both mounts out in about an hour, then tied everything back down.

When the truck arrived, it was a newer Chevy pickup with a trick wheel lift boom. The driver backed up to the truck and had the front wheels off the ground before he even got out of the cab—the whole thing was done with a remote control and a monitor on the dashboard. That must be how repossessions are done these days. There was a little bit of confusion about the lack of a VIN, but I consulted my records and wrote it down on a Post-It for them. He gave me a $100 bill, I signed the paper, and they were on their way. I really felt a pang of guilt about cutting up and selling the green truck, but I only have so much room and spare time—and it was more of a project, in the long run, than the red truck. So it’s out of the driveway, leaving behind an oil slick and a pile of rust that I have to go sweep up when the rain stops.

So I did order a bunch of gaskets from IHPA with my counter credit last week: a rear quarter window gasket, and the pillar and outer door gaskets. With these in hand, I should be able to both reinstall the rear window, which will get rid of a 1″ gap at the bottom where water has been trickling in and down the inner fender, and around all four doors. The door gaskets on the red truck are all in rough shape and I really want to seal the outer edges to keep as much water out as possible. I’ll have to peel all the old stuff off, clean the gunk off down to the paint, and reinstall. For two of the doors I have to actually adjust the hinges before I can do anything else—the driver’s door in particular needs some serious attention. One of the gaskets is on backorder, so they’re going to wait until it’s in stock before they ship the whole thing out.

The other gasket I ordered was for a different IH product completely: I found a cheap source for the e-shaped gasket on the beer fridge, which has been leaking for a while now. I measured the amount and ordered two extra feet in case of stupidity, and that should be enough to get things started. That one has already shipped, so I should be able to make a project of that this week.

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Advanced Surgery

As of Friday night, the passenger side quarter panel is off the truck. I’m still trying to sort out how I might get the axle out from under the truck and still have someone haul it away, but it’s not looking promising. In the worst case I’d either have to forego keeping the axle or pull it and beg Bennett to help me haul it back up on his trailer and off to a scrapyard.

In the meantime, I’m eyeing the inside wheel well covers, wondering if I could drill out the welds and pull those in one piece…

In other, better news, I shot Jeff an email on Friday after I realized I have a perfectly good front and rear 1967 bench seat just waiting for new upholstery, and asked him if that made any difference in fitment. He called me back on Friday night, somewhat relieved, because his patterns are for 1968 benches and he feels better about shipping the covers to me as is. So when he’s got time he’ll finish up the covers and send them down, and if UPS can avoid losing them, I can buy the foam and get started building the seats.

It doesn’t sound like Bennett is going to be able to make it to Nats with us this year, but I think Brian is on board for a ride-along with me. He’s not interested in taking Slowflake so I offered shotgun in the Scout. I’ve got to start organizing parts for sale to see if I can make some money bringing them to Ohio; I figure the tailgate might bring some money if priced properly, and I wonder if anyone would be interested in the heating unit in its current shape. There’s more in the pile but I’ve got to go through it all to see.

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Providence

Currently, the garage is ABSOLUTELY full; there’s barely any room to walk in there right now. Part of this coming weekend is going to be consumed by pulling all of the parts out, re-organizing them, and finding different homes for some of the bulkier things. The hood from the Green truck is going to have to go out behind the garage, and my plan was to do a local search to see who had wooden pallets they wanted to sell within a 5-mile radius of the house.

Cut to this morning, on the way to drop Finn off at school, I noticed a pallet leaning up against the telephone pole two doors down from our house, where our neighbor will often leave things for free pickup. I got back home, parked the car, and hustled over there to grab it before it disappeared. Sometimes, providence smiles on us.

Two of the Scout doors are also going to go outside until Bennett can make some room for them, or I sell them elsewhere. I’ve got just enough room under one of the shelves to tuck all four Travelall doors away, and then I’ve got to find a better solution for some of the bins. I’ve currently got two Scout II rear benches, so one of those will go on Marketplace, to Nationals, or to the dump. Other than the axles, I’m about 95% done with getting the passenger side quarter panel off in one piece.

I got the lineset ticket for the Green truck on Monday evening, which was nice; I’d ordered it weeks ago but the Wisconsin Historical Society is pretty swamped, I guess. Looking through the list of options offered no real surprises: the engine and transmission are still the same, the fancy interior package is there, as is the upgraded heater. One thing did catch my eye, though, and that had me going back to the Red truck’s LST to compare: the Green truck has 3.54 gears while the Red truck has 4.10’s. What this means, roughly, is that the Green truck is set up better for highway cruising than the Red: a shorter gear will offer lower MPG and top speed. For example, I have a 3:54 rear in Peer Pressure, which allows that great hulking beast to do 70 MPH on the freeway with no real trouble, other than the fact that it’s as aerodynamic as a brick and the suspension is made for hauling gravel. If my plan for the Red truck is to make it a comfortable highway cruiser, I want tall gears to take advantage of the engine.

So, I started thinking about pulling the axle out of the Green truck before it leaves. It’s the same basic RA15 unit in both trucks, but the axle shafts are different (the Green truck ends with a 5×5.5 bolt pattern while the Red truck is  5×4.5) so a  straight-up swap is out of the question at this point. I’d love to just yank it and then call the scrapper, but they generally want a vehicle to have two axles to easily drag onto a flatbed or hook up to a tow-behind. I’ve called around to a couple of scrappers in the area but they’re kind of dodgy on taking something without wheels. I’m going to keep calling and hopefully find someone up for the challenge.

I’ve had a standing store credit with IHPA after I returned some stuff last year, and now that the window is safely tucked away I figured I’d order some new rubber for it as well as the doors. When it gets a little reliably warmer outside I’m going to call the glass installer back and ask for the guy who put my replacements in last summer. Having new gaskets in both of the rear glass will go a long way to keeping things water-tight back there. The door rubber is another whole project, but once that’s in I won’t have to worry about leaks in the rest of the cabin.

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Teardown Day

Saturday was forecast for sunny 70˚ weather, so I swapped my travel day to see the FiL and hauled my tools out to the driveway. The goal here was to strip the truck down to get it ready for removal on Monday, so I broke the entire front clip down and stacked the parts neatly in the garage (the driver’s fender is actually on the Red truck right now). Then I hit all of the bolts on the doors, starting with the driver’s front. The top hinge didn’t want to separate from the backing plate, which was too large to remove through the access port, so I busted out the angle grinder and cut the hole larger. I’d sprayed the bolts on the rear doors with penetrant weeks ago, and Friday night I went to Harbor Freight for a hammer with a short handle so that I could pound the pin out of the retaining arms on each side. Those doors came off easily, but I had to cut into the A pillar on the passenger side front door for the same reason as the driver’s.

With those items off and safely stored, I pulled the Scout alongside and hefted the liftgate from the back of the green truck to the Scout; that thing is heavy. But with the back of the truck clear, I swept it out and had Jen come out to help me carefully remove the rear windows. This process was easy because I’d done it once in Ohio: she sat inside the truck pushing outward while I cut the seals around the outside. When they were gone, a few gentle taps behind the rear passenger door released the window, and it fell inwards into her lap. I then brought it to the crate I’d built a few weeks ago and laid it on some moving blankets. The other side came out just as easy, and with that, the crown jewels were safely stored away.

I considered cutting out the sections I’d need for the rear fender arches and calling it done, but something in the back of my head told me to drill out some spot welds to see if I could pull the whole rear quarter panel off. So I did.

Two hours later, I’m about 95% of the way there; I’ve got a few hidden welds to hunt down and I think the whole thing should come off in one piece. Then I’m going to do the same with the passenger side. Where these two sections will go is unknown (probably up in the garage attic) but when that’s done I think my time with this truck will be too.

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Progress, Large and Small

I’ve had a week scheduled for a while now where I could both burn off hours of accumulated PTO and strip the green truck of all its good parts. The trick with scheduling stuff like this weeks in advance is that sometimes the weather screws you. Last year I lucked out with the cowl welding project on the red truck, so I was hoping I’d be lucky again this year.

Starting on Saturday, I was able to make some serious headway. After a dump run I stopped in at the Home Depot and got some wood to build two window storage boxes from the one I originally built for the Ohio glass: I want those two panes to be as well protected as possible. I’ve still got to get a couple of thriftstore blankets and some pipe insulation to protect the edges.

The first thing I did on the truck was to get into the engine bay and drain the master and clutch cylinders of any remaining fluid. It came out thick and brown, which was not surprising. After messing around for awhile I realized the clutch cylinder had to come out first, as the pot was in the way of the bolts holding the whole mount onto the firewall. I disconnected the clutch pedal and pulled the cylinder off. What’s cool is that it’s stamped with an IH logo, as are all of the bolts. Then I took the hood completely off to be able to get to the remaining bolts on the master cylinder, disconnect the linkage, and pull that out. I then pulled the plate off the firewall and mounted both cylinders back up to it so I know where everything should go. While I had the hood off I pulled the air cleaner and drained it of most of the oil. I rigged up a gravity drain overnight to get everything out of it. Then I disconnected the linkage on the carburetor and pulled that off; it too was held in with four IH-stamped bolts. I put that aside and covered the intake with two sheets of cardboard in case anyone wants to try to revive the engine. The carb got a vacuum and then I blew out the remaining crap with the compressor. It’s another 2-barrel Holley, exactly like the one I’ve got on the Red bus, so I set that aside for a rebuild.

From there I took the inner fender skirts off, exposing the power steering assembly, and pulled the frame bolts out from the box. Three of the four hydraulic hoses were impossible to get off cleanly, so I cut those and drained them into a pan. Then I took the pump assembly off the motor and set that aside. I had to sort out how to disconnect the steering column from the box, but I also had to figure out how to get the steering column out of the truck. The original plan was to get the PS assembly off the truck and store it inside; if someone wanted to haul the truck away for parts I’d leave it as part of the package but if all I could do is scrap it, I would keep it and try to resell it.

Then I moved inside the cab and started looking over the dash mounts. All but one of the screws holding the front edge came out, and both of the mounts on either side of the base came out. I couldn’t figure out what else was still holding this thing in place. I pulled the glovebox cardboard out and the defrost box came out smoothly. I spent a lot of time perched on top of the seat mounts and perforated floorboards trying not to slice my back open peering up under the dashboard.

At this point it was getting cold and I had plans for the evening, so I cleaned up, covered the truck, and called it a night.

On Sunday I started by building the crates for the windows, and with some help from air tools and the utility saw they went together pretty quickly. Then I climbed back into the truck and continued doing battle with the dashboard, using the scrap from the crates as floorboards. After getting a set of finicky bolts out at the perimeter of the windshield I went underneath and started freeing up as many of the structural bolts as I could find. After spending the majority of the afternoon under the dashboard, I finally got the whole assembly free and lifted it out of the truck. Then I pulled the pedal assembly/steering column support out for use as a backup later.

Monday was another beautiful day to be outside, and I went back to the steering column to try to understand how that unit was supposed to disconnect from the power steering pump. While puzzling on that puzzle I spent most of the day buzzing around the truck pulling other stuff off: the interior trim above the windows that hold up the headliner, both headliner sections above the dashboard and rear lift gate, which will serve as templates for a replacement; armrests and hardware attached to the rear passenger section; door strikers and hardware, etc.

I did finally figure out how to remove the heater assembly from the rear wheel well, which came out in one piece but clearly saw better days. It’s put together in such a way that it looks homemade. Water entering the wheel well from the cracked window rubber above had soaked the bottom of the unit and rusted it out pretty good, but I’ll bring it to Nats to see if anyone is interested in it as a template for reproduction.

Then, after lunch, I battled the rear bumper, which was held on by bolts so seized with rust I just skipped the heat/penetrant method and went right to the cutoff wheel. It took a couple of hours but I did finally get it off, and then I cut the mounting brackets off after that. Being out in the sun that afternoon took a ton of life out of me.

Tuesday I ran out to Harbor Freight for some spot weld cutters and got to work removing the panel above the tailgate to replace the chewed-up panel mine came with. After practicing on the cowl last summer I knew what I was doing and it came out very easily. When I jumped in the red truck to compare the two it was only then I realized the size is different between barn door and lift gate trucks. Oh, well. I also took the aluminum window channels around the lift gate area off and any remaining interior trim and headliner elements, which I can use for templates later.

In the morning I gave the Scout Connection a call and followed up on the wiring harness saga; apparently the truck they pulled the harness from had been VIN-swapped and they went with an earlier model. Dave said he found another with the correct harness and that they were working on it as we talked. They’ll send that one to me and I’ll send this one back to them. That was a relief.

Then I moved up front to try to work on the power steering gear to get the column off the truck, but still could not make it work. With some oven cleaner, I sprayed down the outside of the air cleaner and power steering reservoir, let that soak in, and hosed off all the grease. The air cleaner took a bit of work to scrub clean but it’s pretty amazing how the oven cleaner cut through all that crud.

Wednesday I pulled all the hardware off the doors in preparation for removing and storing them, as well as getting all the bolts loose. It should just be a quick hit with the impact gun to pull them all off. Then I soaked the hinges on the tailgate liberally in penetrant and then put the big breaker bar on them. Surprisingly they came out easily. At that point the big issue was how to get the tailgate off without dropping it on my feet. I put two ancient truck speaker boxes underneath and slowly slid it back until it dropped off, then disconnected the brittle wiring from the harness and then hefted it up into the back of the truck. It’s all in one piece and someone may be interested in saving it, so I’ll hang on to that.

I continued fucking with the power steering box for the rest of the afternoon, going so far as to get all the bolts off the Pitman arm (which did nothing) and removing the cover at the front of the steering box (which also did nothing) but still couldn’t get the column out of the truck. By 5PM I was running on fumes, so I cleaned up the driveway and tucked the trucks in for the night.

Thursday I texted Brendan up at IHScout.com to see if he wanted to make the drive to pick up the carcass, and after mapping it out, he declined. So I’m not going to worry about one of my next moves: I’m planning to cut a section of the rear fender out to replace a rusty part on my truck. I may get clever with the cutoff wheel and take the whole fender directly below the window and around to the light if I can make it into some kind of wall art. We’ll see. I’m going to check with another local IH guy to see if he’s interested, and if not, I’m going to call around for a scrapper to haul it away.

Friday I pulled the rear bench out of the back to strip down the seat portion, which was almost completely gone when I got it. However the frame is in much better shape than the one I got from Ray, so I cut away the remaining fabric, cut off the hog rings,  sanded the parts that would go up against fabric and then shot it with some rust converter. While that was drying I cleaned the back of the seat off with some 409 and then tucked it into the back of the Red Bus for storage. At this point I’ve got two complete bench seat pairs ready for Jeff—the ones I got from Ray last summer and these new two. He’s been worried the patterns he sewed might not fit the seats I’ve got, so I’m going to haul all four of them up to him and we’ll choose the best of each lot to work from.

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