I had to buy and deliver a trio of toilets to the father-in-law’s house on Saturday in preparation for a plumber to come in and swap them all out, and I knew we wouldn’t be able to fit three toilets, two adults and a dog in a Honda, so I loaded them in the Scout and drove it down. I haven’t had her out on the road much in the last month, but she did great going down and back.
On the way back home I was thinking about how happy I was to have a clear windshield, and for some reason I decided to try the wipers even though I haven’t put the arms and blades back on. To my shock, the knobs began spinning; some how, some way, the wiper system started working again. I haven’t done anything new. I haven’t futzed with any of the wiring or mechanical systems. Clearly there’s a short somewhere, but it appears to have fixed itself temporarily.
I woke up early Sunday morning to a text from Brian, containing a Marketplace link to this green pickup sitting at a used car lot in New Jersey. It was advertised as a non-running truck with 4WD and no title, but the price was reasonable, so I figured I’d check it out. Within an hour I’d heard back from the seller and had an address to visit, about three hours away from home. I gassed up the Honda, loaded up on coffee, and was on the road by 9:15. I wound up retracing some of my route to go see the blue pickup, as this one wasn’t far away from there.
As usual, the pictures online didn’t reveal how rough this truck was; I knew within a couple of minutes that I wouldn’t be making an offer on it. The rust around the edges of the front fenders, hood, and doors was pretty bad.
There were sections that were rusted all the way through—on the eyebrows over the headlights, along the bottom lip of the hood, and crucially along the windshield cowl—that I knew would take a lot more than just some replacement sheet metal.
The bed was completely filled with leaves that had decomposed to dirt. The tailgate was rusted through in a couple of places. I talked to the seller for a little bit and took a look under the hood; he said the motor was locked. I thanked him for his time and turned the car around for home.
On the way back I saw a service station with a line of XJ Cherokees parked outside, but it was a familiar grille at the very end that caught my eye. An extremely saggy Scout II sat filled with spare Jeep parts and other scrap metal.
The driver’s door was ajar; clearly the body was crumbling and out of alignment. I looked it over for a few minutes and continued on my way.
I found a cheap 1968 C series pickup on Marketplace, so I took a chance and drove three hours in beautiful fall sunshine to look at it this morning. Having talked to the owner, he didn’t know much about it other than the pictures provided. They showed a 2WD in original Bahama blue, with a floor-shifted manual behind a V8 of some unspecified size. It had a full-length bed, something I like. There was visible rust on the cowl seam and along the side of the bed; this seems to be common with this model. The glass looked to be intact, and the interior of the cab was in decent shape from what I could tell. The camper shell on the back may or may not have saved it from pooling water and rust. The big questions I had were:
- What engine is in it, and does it turn?
- How are the cowl vent assemblies (the achilles heel of this series)?
- Does it have power steering or power brakes?
- What shape are the front brakes in? (are they the dreaded Lockheed brakes whose parts are impossible to find?)
- Which carb does it have?
The drive up was uneventful, but got off to a bad start; I’d told Google to avoid tolls but it immediately pointed me at the Harbor Tunnel; I reconfigured and made it up there by 11AM.
In person, the truck was in worse shape than the photos (big surprise). The rust was worse than the pictures let on all the way around.
I figured what I’d do is check the cowl vents first and if they were toasty I’d write off the truck—in order to repair this, you have to pull the windshield, drill out the welds on the cowl, and then do a bunch of surgery to replace metal.
I put the borescope down the driver’s side and found the cavity full with a mouse nest; the passenger side was rusted through in several places. So that was bad. What was worse were all the places the PO had sprayed foam insulation, which is essentially a death sentence for metal. It was behind the front fender, inside the cowl seam, under the dashboard, inside the rear fenders, and a bunch of other places I couldn’t see.
The doors were almost perfect, and the bed floor was in excellent shape due to the cap, but someone had rear-ended the truck and damaged both rear endcaps.
The engine was probably a 304 or larger, due to this truck being spec’d as a Camper Special, but the fan didn’t turn—not a good sign after sitting for 25 years; the last inspection sticker read 1997. It also had factory power steering, which was somewhat rare for a pickup of this vintage.
With all of the faults, I decided to walk away. I’m itching to find a new project, but I really want to be smart about it and move on the right one. This was just too much to tackle too far away; if it was local I’d have offered $1K and brought it home to either tinker with or part out.
On our way down Congress Street in Austin last week, I was looking up at the beautiful neon signage when Finley said, “Look, there’s a Scout.” She was right: a red Scout II sat out on the street with the words Hotel San Jose on the side; apprently it’s pretty famous there but hasn’t moved much lately by the looks of the dried leaves on the front seats. I posted a picture on Instagram and one of the local Scout owners I follow liked it and asked if I was in town on Monday; she was going to be at a car meetup and would put the word out to the other Scout friends in town.
Sheepishly, I parked our rental Buick around back; lined up in front of the bar were a ’65 Chevy pickup, a ’70 Ford pickup, Lydia’s beautiful Scout II, an absolutely evil-looking early 70’s Nova, a ’56 or ’57 Belair sedan, and a mid 60’s Ranchero. After I grabbed a beer, I got to talking with Lydia and she told me about how she found her Scout; presently a couple of Scout 800’s rolled in, followed by a third she’d never seen before, and then a huge lifted Traveler. I met a bunch of new folks—atxscout800, seatruckn, and a couple of other folks not on the ‘Gram.
We talked trucks and Austin and music and other stuff and generally had a great time. At one point I looked around and a blown El Camino had arrived, several customized vans, a first-gen Mustang, an absolutely spotless ’68 Pontiac Tempest, a beautiful ’60 Chevy Sport Coupe, and other beautiful cars. I hung around until about 10, when the crowd started thinning, and left with a sweet ATXScouts T-shirt, a couple of stickers, and a big wide grin on my face. Thanks, Austin!
My records say I put 925 miles on the Scout, which means it’s actually around 1187 if I do the math, but Google figures it’s about 1050. I used roughly 77.6 gallons of gas this time, which puts my mileage somewhere around 13.5 mpg—which seems a little odd. I got about 12 on the last trip, and our route was almost exactly the same.
Some various reflections:
- My front brakes are scraping. I sourced a new local mechanic who can handle brake work quickly through another Scout guy in Ellicott City, and ordered rotors and pads today. I’m going to take the Scout camping in a week and a half, so I want them working right, and I don’t have time to futz with it myself.
- This was the most rain I’ve ever driven my Scout in. We were wet for 3/4 of the trip home, but everything worked as it should have. My wipers crapped out on the second half of the way back, so I’ll have to pull the cowl and replace the motor with a known good unit. While I’m in there I have to adjust the linkage to align correctly on the window.
- The gas tank is still a pain in my ass. I was dribbling gas after every fill up. This will require several fixes: I have to buy some gas-rated hose and rig up an overflow vent with a filter at the end to vent the extra air. Jim, one of the mechanics at Super Scouts, showed me how to do this on his pretty red Travelall. Then I’ll have to drop the tank and properly seal up the sender so that it doesn’t escape out the top. I said I was going to do this two years ago.
- In the fall when the soft top comes off I need to find a sail repair service in Annapolis and see if they can sew my zippers back on. The right one gave way on Saturday night when I was closing up the truck, so now both of them are shot.
- Brian helped me think of a way to install snap barrels on the aluminum sheet overlaying the tailgate so that I can snap down the soft top; this might actually work…
Part one of this story begins with the Scout in Annapolis, being looked over by my original Scout mechanic from 1997. To make a long story short, I needed new bearings and reached out to several mechanic friends, who were all backed up with work. My friend Mikey, who I know through a completely different set of friends, suggested Erick—another example of worlds colliding in amazing ways. I brought the truck down to him with the bearings and he had both the fronts replaced by about 6:30 Wednesday evening. I ran down there with Jen, picked the truck up, and hustled it back home in a light rainstorm. I’d already prepacked everything so it was fast to throw stuff in the truck, kiss the girls, and hit the road to meet Bennett at a park and ride out on Route 70.
From there we drove out to West Virginia to meet Brian at his family river house, and we cracked a beer on the porch before hitting the sack in a beautiful new air conditioned camp trailer they bought last year.
Thursday morning broke hot and only got hotter. The temperature was in the 90’s but the humidity pushed the index into the 100’s, so we checked fluids in the trucks, packed ice and water, had a quick bite to eat and headed west. We hit only one minor slowdown for construction, and stopped every hour or so to hydrate, gas up, and air out the backs of our shirts. Bennett kept the location of the barbecue joint we hit two years ago so we stopped in there for some lunch at about two, and it was worth the wait.
Back on the road, we navigated the evening rush hour around Columbus and then got cooled off in a downpour west of the city which then seemed to follow us. With the bikini top on the truck and a speed above 40mph, everything in the truck stayed bone dry through the worst of the thunderstorm. I’d prewashed the windshield with Rain-X before we left and that helped the visibility; I only had to use the wipers occasionally.
We rolled into the hotel by about 8PM and found the parking lot about 3/4 full of antique trucks. There were a bunch of folks to stop and chat with, and we finally broke off to drag some gear inside before it started raining again. We’d all agreed to avoid restaurants and as much indoor exposure as possible, so we ordered a pizza and had it delivered to the room while the rain passed. Then we headed back outside to meet up with friends and drink some beer.
Friday morning we got an early start, as a lot of the good parts would be fresh on the grass at entry, so we ate a quick breakfast, brushed our teeth, and hit the road for the airfield. After a brief stop at Tim Horton’s drivethrough we entered the grounds and made our way over to the rows, where Bennett and I set up next to each other and Brian got a sweet spot right across the lane from us. After checking in and picking up our swag we set up my EZ-UP (lifesaver) and wandered over to the parts area.
There were a lot of goodies to look over, and I tried to show some restraint for as long as possible. I got a ’72 emblem for the front of Peer Pressure’s grille (mine is missing) for $5, a day-night rearview mirror to replace my single-position mirror for $15, a $20 transmission mount (mine is toast) and a sweet shirt from GRC Fab for $15. There was a lot of other amazing stuff there that I would love to have bought.
We ran into a bunch of friends on the grounds and caught up with them, but by 1PM we were crispy and hungry. We retired to the tent to grill some hamburgers and chat with our neighbor Dave, who owns a last-day 1980 diesel Scout and who was happily eating some homemade ice cream from one of the vendors.
Sipping on a delicious chocolate milkshake from said vendor I heard the announcer offer a door prize to the first person who could produce an IH keychain. I hustled up to the podium and showed him my worn leather keyfob—the fob Chewbacca’s keys came on—and claimed a nice plastic ammo box to hold all of my new parts.
By about 4 we were thoroughly baked so we lowered the tent and headed back to the hotel. The tailgate party was just kicking off so we cracked some beers and I ran upstairs for a quick shower. Then we grilled some dinner on Peer Pressure and talked with friends.
We met a nice kid who parked an immaculate ’78 Rallye next to Brian’s truck and struck up a conversation; he’d spent the last two years working on it with his Dad and was obviously pretty proud of the results. Every nut and bolt was new. The paint gleamed. The engine was spotless. We complimented him on his work and told him to keep it out of the rain. Turns out he was from western Maryland and he’d trailered it in with his Dad that day.
Another man asked me a question about my grille, and I got to talking with he and his teenage daughter. She’d just bought a Scout and wanted to fix it up, and they’d driven four hours from Illinois to learn more about Scouts and how to do things. I talked with them for about a half an hour and answered as much as I could, then recommended a few more people to talk with. He said he was struck by how friendly everyone was at the show, and I assured him this was pretty normal.
Brian and I called it at about 11:30 and after downing some more water we crashed out.
Saturday we got up early to make sure we got our spot back, and after some lousy hotel food and a Clif bar we hit the road for the fairgrounds. Our spot was where we left it, as was the EZ-UP, and we set up camp for the day under cloudy skies and 65˚ temperatures. There were more vendors set up selling things so we hustled over to see what was newly available. I found a set of beautiful 2″ Stewart-Warner oil and amp gauges and got them for $15. Further down the line we stopped in to see Dan at the Binder Boneyard and I bought a locking glove box latch for $20, which should work better than the wiggly hunk of metal I’m currently running. Elsewhere I hemmed and hawed over an incomplete chrome trim set without the clips and walked away, feeling good about my self control.
I then spied a set of fiberglas inner panels and noticed the third section for above the liftgate door—this one had the cutout for a switch like mine. We figured Howie at Binder Boys would have one in stock. His booth is amazing; one half of his setup is two full tables of divided parts containers organized by fastener type, size, shape, and function—thousands of items. The other half is a trailer crammed with neatly organized large parts in racks and on shelves. He hustled into the trailer and within a minute handed me two to choose from, charging me $3 for the best one.
We headed back to the trucks to get some lunch, and then figured we should go over and check out IHPA’s booth up by the hangar. There we drooled over a lot of really nice stuff, including the brake kits we’d seen at Lee’s place. Brian struck up a deal and got a great price on one minus shipping. I got a decent deal on a set of liftgate struts for my truck and decided I’d hit my spending limit.
We visited with friends, got some more ice cream, and wandered through the rest of the show looking at the new arrivals. When they announced the raffle would start at 6 back at the hotel, we broke down camp and headed back there at about 4:30 to get our spots in the parking lot. I was fortunate enough to have a guy park a genuine SSII next to me, which we took time to drool over as the sun finally came out.
The raffle went off pretty quickly (I did not win anything, as usual) and the auction was lots of fun. There wasn’t a lot that I was interested in this year, so I kept my wallet in my pocket.
After the raffle, things broke up into smaller groups. I was feeling pretty worn down, so I called home and talked to Jen for a bit away from the crowds. We mingled a little and chatted with some folks, but were feeling pretty beat and headed upstairs at around 11.
Bennett and I had a long drive ahead of us (Brian was stopping off in West Virginia) so we bailed out of the hotel, ate some breakfast in the parking lot, and checked over fluids and fasteners. After topping off the important stuff we got on the road under cloudy skies. At the first service station a fellow with a crusty SSII on a trailer pulled up next to me, and I wished him luck with his restoration. Talking to him on Friday I learned he’d found one of only 50 Midas SSII’s in existence under a tarp out in the boonies, and he was going to rebuild the whole thing.
We drove into the morning gloom and soon it started drizzling. It was enough to cover the windshield but not enough to be dangerous, which was lucky for me because my wipers stopped working somewhere in Western Maryland. Again, with the bikini top up everything in back stayed bone dry. I think the worst part was that for the first hour I was cold; I was able to get to and put on my windbreaker but my legs were freezing until we stopped for a break and I could get under the hood to manually open my heater valve.
Beyond that, the ride home went off without a hitch. The roads were open, the rain let up right before Frederick, and for the final leg I drove with the top down and the sun on my back. I got into the house at 8PM and enjoyed some dinner with the girls in front of the TV.
Once again, our trusty old binders didn’t fail us. Once again, we had a great time getting out there, seeing friends, talking about trucks (and other stuff) and enjoying the summer in Ohio after it cooled off. We ate too much grilled meat off the tailgate, drank just enough beer, a lot more water, and avoided just enough rain to make it pleasant. Once again I had a great crew to enjoy the trip with, and I’m looking forward to next time.
On Monday I took a day off work and drove out to Lewes Delaware to visit a nice guy named Lee, who has been quietly working on Scouts exclusively for the past ten years. His bread and butter has been the wealthy beach clientele who can drop thousands on a rig each year for upgrades, but he’s helped average guys out like me as well. He was kind enough to take most of the day to talk with Brian and I, and I didn’t have enough space in my brain to hold all of the stuff we learned. His shop is stuffed full of IH parts and gear; he has two gleaming 392’s up on stands being rebuilt.
He was kind enough to put our rigs up on his lift, and we went over the mechanicals from the underside. Brian’s truck is, of course, in excellent shape (Lee had worked on it for the previous owner, and actually was trying to help him sell it at one point) and he showed us how to add rear disc brakes with the kit he and his son developed for one of the larger Light Line vendors. Then we put Peer Pressure up on the lift, and predictably he found some things that needed attention before driving to Ohio: both of the right side wheel bearings are in need of replacement, and the tie rod end is shot on the passenger side.
There was some little stuff that can get fixed later: when we put the front brakes on we put the hoses on backwards. At some point if I’m feeling sporty I can remove the shim on the starter motor; that’s only required for automatics. And I’m going to have to replace the transmission mounts pretty soon, as they are toast.
I also learned that the belt driven spaghetti-hosed lump next to my battery is an air pump, designed to thin out the particulates in the exhaust for 1970’s era emissions laws. Lee pointed out all of the smog hoses I can get rid of to plug vacuum leaks and help the engine run smoother. When that day comes, I bought eight specially-designed plugs to fill the holes left behind.
While we were there a bright yellow Scout came in on a flatbed from Colorado, freshly bought sight unseen from the internet. We walked out and looked it over with him, and even that was an education for us both. Dig that crazy chrome rollbar. It’s pretty incredible what Scouts are going for these days, and from what he says, some of the IH-specific parts are getting as thin on the ground as the trucks are. I mentioned what I had squirreled away in the garage and he told me I was sitting on a goldmine—and not to throw anything away.
We sat and shot the shit until about 5PM, and paid him what he asked; his time was worth much more but he refused to take anything beyond that.
I hit the road and was lucky enough to avoid all but about 3 minutes of a downpour in Glen Burnie, which actually cooled me off a little bit. The truck ran great both ways and I can’t be more pleased with the heat matting.Â According to the Googles I put 234 miles on the truck, although the odo says 194 for various reasons.
I took the Scout over to the Eastern Shore yesterday on an IT mission to help Karean out with her various bits of technology. She’s got a 12-year-old iMac, several iPads of varying vintage, and a handful of older phones that haven’t been backed up. My mission was to make contact with the iMac, get the photos backed up to a new drive, and then see if I could revive or repair the old gear.
It was a beautiful day, and broke sunny and cool. I took Hazel for a walk, packed up my tools, and hit the road. After topping off the gas and putting a quart of oil in the engine, I picked up some coffee and jumped on the Beltway. Peer Pressure ran like a swiss watch the whole way there—two finger steering except for some exceptionally bad patches of I-97 and the expansion joints on the Bay Bridge. I stopped in a bean field to shoot some pictures before I got to Karean’s house, and I’m glad I did.
We got a lot of stuff done, including some home repair (an electrical outlet, which had always been balky and loose, basically fell apart in my hands, so we ran to Lowes for some replacements and I re-installed it) and I hit the road at about 7:30. The air was warm and all the lights on PP worked perfectly except for the speedo gauges. I’m used to driving by sound and feel though, so it was fun to enjoy an evening drive over the bridge.
She ran flawlessly for another 150 miles. I’ve put a bunch of work into her this year, and every penny of it has been worth the trouble.
Now that Brian has a new Scout, we were excited to bring both of them to Nationals for the 30th Anniversary show.
He stopped by the house at quitting time and we shot the breeze in the living room while waiting for Bennett, who was finishing up work, and Ray, who had driven down from Pennsylvania and was waiting for Bennett at his house. They got in at about 5 and we hit the road soon after. Bennett and I took Peer Pressure while Ray and Brian took his Scout (as yet unnamed). Both trucks ran great to Brian’s family’s house on the West Virginia side of the Potomac River, where we were staying the night. We got in at about 8:30 and had a beer or two from the keg on the porch, and then bedded down in a camper out behind the cabin.
The next morning Brian and I were up early and ran into town for bagels, coffee creamer, and Clif Bars for the road. We fueled up on coffee, said our good-byes and hit the road by about 9:30. I followed Brian’s truck for a good portion of the trip out and back, as he’s running a 4-cylinder and doesn’t quite have the same power to climb the hills in West Virginia as I do, but his truck ran great and stayed steady at about 65-70MPH the whole way.
Somewhere in West Virginia we stopped off for gas and followed our noses to a barbecue stand sitting out in a field. It was made up of a pavilion covering two giant smokers next to a rattletrap trailer, with a couple of picnic benches nearby. I selected the pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and pickles. Holy SHIT that was a good barbecue sandwich. We all devoured our food, thanked the owners, and got back on the road. That location also got noted for future reference.
The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. Bennett and I switched off driving after he was somehow able to take two calls and get a bunch of work done on his laptop—the second one during a downpour. We chased and outran several storm fronts but got caught in two showers, the second of which was enough to make me worried for a few minutes. Peer Pressure’s wipers aren’t exactly sprightly, so I’d doused both our windshields with Rain-X before we left, and that really helped my visibility. What didn’t help was the rearview mirror deciding it was going to fall off during Bennett’s leg; we threw it in the glove compartment and left it there for the rest of the trip.
This is the first time I’ve had her out in a rainstorm in years, and it was alarming how much water came through the bottom corners of the windshield. I’ve got to get working on one of the spares in the garage to get it cleaned up, weld some patch material inside, encapsulate the interior, and get it ready for new glass so that I can swap it out. Not that I plan on driving in the rain any more, but still.
Coming in to Troy we headed straight to the hotel and found some spots in the parking lot, which was already full of Internationals of all stripes. We knew a bunch of the people out there and immediately found ourselves split off into multiple conversations with old friends and new. At some point we checked into the hotel and moved our bags upstairs, and Brian and I took his Scout up the street to the drive-through liquor store for some beer. His Scout is beautiful but has manual steering, so I was completely unprepared for the effort it took to make course corrections at a standstill. On the road it was a dream to drive, and felt more like a roadster than a truck. I do like my synchronized first gear, though: I ground his gears more than once and winced every time I did it.
Back in the parking lot we met up with a great guy named Todd from Hill Country Binders down in Texas, and shot the breeze with him. He’s got a project Scout he’s disassembled in his garage which is suffering from some scope creep. Because we ate lunch late in the day our clocks were off by a few hours so we wandered over to a local restaurant and got a booth all to ourselves. Todd explained where his truck was at present and we all offered our own bits of advice. Toward the end of our meal a man stopped by the table and told us he’d noticed our IH T-shirts and said he’d spied an old broken-down International pickup about 10 miles north of town in a storage lot, and would we be interested in it? We got his information and thanked him for the tip.
Then we wandered back to the parking lot and stayed up talking with people until about 11:30, at which point Brian and I called it a night. Bennett, ever the social butterfly, came in at around 2AM.
Morning one of the show broke early. Mercifully I didn’t feel any of the beers I’d had the night before, and the coffee at the hotel was reasonably good. We got on the road early because we’d learned the year before that all of the good parts for sale went early on Friday morning. So we hustled to Tim Horton’s for some coffee and donuts and got to the fairgrounds by about 8:30.
Brian and I registered our trucks and parked them and we walked over to the parts selection to browse. It’s amazing what people can dig out of a shed or haul in on a flatbed: piles and piles of sheetmetal, boxes of parts, tires, wheels, hardtops, whole front clips, and a row of different trucks, some in excellent shape and some real beaters. Dan Hayes pulled a bunch of parts off his truck from Oregon and sold them as fast as he could put them down. Several trucks were pulled out on flatbeds that morning.
I saw two things I was interested in and paid nothing for one of them and probably too much for the other. The first was a kick panel vent for the passenger side, which my truck didn’t have because of the A/C setup. The giant condensing unit sat directly in front of it, so IH covered it with a blockoff plate at the factory. Now that the A/C unit is gone, Bennett’s feet were roasting on the trip so I found one and got it for $5. The other thing I needed was a passenger wing window: the spot weld on the upper hinge has come loose so the window flops around in the frame. I found a decent one inside a covered trailer packed with parts (chrome, like mine) and paid $50 for it before realizing the hinge on that one was fixed with a booger weld of its own. I can probably file it down and clean it up, but I was a little bummed at that. (I have several spares in the garage but I don’t know what quality they are, and I know for a fact that the bottom weld inside the door on one of them is split).
We then sat in on Mike Moore’s body panel seminar in the big hangar, which was good but a little hard to hear. He had some excellent advice for getting doors and panels to align correctly, and some sobering views on how IH engineered our trucks to rust from the factory.
We met up with Todd and hung out with him off and on for most of the day, each of us splitting off and meeting back up at various points as we met people we knew or made new friends. At one point we got to talking with a guy in a floppy hat who introduced himself as David from Ohio by way of Colorado, and he offered us a beer. Well, we don’t mind if we do, we replied.
Wandering the grounds with David for a couple more hours, we stopped to grab a bite to eat, and he told us about his truck—which he drove in but had left in the parking lot with the hood up. We, of course, needed to see it in person, so we walked out there and looked it over. He comes from my school of thinking, in that he’d rather drive it than look at it in pieces, so there are sections of rust and multicolored panels and no driver’s seat and a big hole in the passenger’s B-pillar where he’s welded in new supports to make it driveable. As we looked over the engine Brian noticed that one of the plug wires wasn’t connected and David pulled it off to reveal a corroded tip.
After joking about how the parking lot at Nationals was the best place he could possibly have broken down, we wandered back in to the grounds to see if we could find a spare wire somewhere in a parts bin. We did in fact find a female plug wire for a Holley distributor but it turned out the insulator was too narrow. He wound up fabbing a wire and connector with some parts from another vendor and hooked things back up. (He made it home that evening). We bugged him to come back the following day and register his truck, and he said he’d think about it.
While farting around in the parking lot, I busted out my screwdriver and replaced the blockoff plate on the driver’s side with the new (old) knee vent, inhaling several pounds of dust from the insulation left on the firewall. A few tugs on the lever and fresh air was entering the cabin on the right side. Which is great, because the heater valve is stuck open.
We decided to head out at about 5PM to go get some burgers at K’s, a local diner in the middle of Troy that our friend Steven brought us to last year. We grabbed Jeff on our way out and the five of us found three parking spots on main street. K’s hasn’t changed a lick in a year, and we settled into a comfortable booth by the door where the air conditioning felt great.
Back at the hotel, we downed some water and then cracked into some local craft beers with friends, talking and telling stories and meeting new people until about midnight.
Saturday morning we were sure to get up early for breakfast so that we could stop out at the abandoned truck we’d been told about. What we found was about 10 years past its expiration date; an old 60’s model with a stepside bed, copious rust, and four tires sunken into the gravel. We walked around it and poked at the crusty bits and tried to get the doors closed after opening them (the passenger side was a bit reluctant) and said a little prayer for it. Then I handed Todd the keys and told him he was driving back to the hotel. He’d only driven one other Scout before, his friend’s, a fact I’d quietly noted the night before when he mentioned it, so I figured he needed some additional motivation to get his Scout put back together.
Once we got back to the hotel, Brian handed him the keys to the white Scout and he drove that to the fairgrounds. We all immediately went to the fuel injection seminar hosted by Bill Hamilton, who imparted 30 years of wisdom in an hour and a half. I left feeling exhausted by all that I’d forgotten to remember, but realized I wanted fuel injection a hell of a lot more now.
On my way out the door I stopped at the IH Parts America booth and picked up a gas-powered hood strut, something I’d been wanting for several years. I dropped it off in the truck and Brian and I began making our way down the first line of trucks. We kept getting sidetracked by conversations with people, remembering to look for something, needing food/water/bathroom, so I don’t know if we actually made it around to see all of the displays and vendors.
Somewhere along the way we ran into David, and he had in fact registered and parked his Scout in the grounds. We spent the rest of the day on line at the hot dog stand (actually, just 20 minutes, but it felt like the whole day) and then continued down the lines of trucks. There was a ton of stuff to see, and every truck had a different story.
At about 4 in the afternoon, we were pretty beat. We wandered back to Brian’s truck and set up our camp chairs under Ray’s awning and relaxed for about a half an hour. Then we decided we’d better mosey back over to the hotel to get a reasonable parking spot before the barbecue started. We said goodbye to David and got on the road. I peeled off to get more beer, and found a spot right next to Brian in the hotel parking lot.
The barbecue itself was something to behold: last year they didn’t do it for various reasons, but this year Mary and Carl fed something like 650 people in under 45 minutes. I dumped all of my available cash in the donation jar and loaded up a plate with food. meanwhile I struck up a conversation with Matt from California, who has several Scouts (surprise) and lots of good advice.
Then we all oriented our chairs toward the bed of a pickup where Ray was preparing to auction several tables worth of merchandise. This year, as with last year, I didn’t win anything, but the raffle and and auction were fun.
Sunday morning we woke as early as we could and fueled up in the lobby of the hotel. Other folks were gearing up to leave, and we said our goodbyes before loading the trucks. We decided to make a stop at Super Scout Specialists, which is now directly on our route home, as they were open for several hours that morning. The new shop is, I’m told, much larger than the old one, set in a smaller town outside of Springfield, with a huge showroom and warehouse on one side and a long machine shop on the other. The whole thing is impressive. I’ve wandered through Scout vendors before, and I’ve stumbled through parts barns before. This is a well-organized, spacious collection with tons of inventory.
We stopped for some photos in the parking lot and then got back on the road; we had a long day ahead of us. Bennett and I switched off driving again, which made the trip easier to manage, but the heat and humidity had come back in earnest, so we were much hotter than on Thursday. We straddled weather fronts through most of Pennsylvania—tornadoes to our north and thunderstorms to our south—and only hit one section of rain the whole way. Somewhere in West Virginia we hit traffic due to a lane merge, and I noticed the temp gauge creeping up past the edge of the white indicator line. It settled somewhere about 1/3 of the way along the line and stayed there even as we stopped and started and went no further. I think this is going to be my new normal in this truck, but I’ll have to try putting a real temperature sensor on it to see what the actual reading is.
We stopped off in West Virginia to transfer gear and pick up Ray, and said goodbye to Brian, who was going to stay over at the river. Then we headed back to Catonsville to drop off Ray, who still had a 2 hour drive to his house in Pennsylvania ahead. I drove Bennett back to his house and then came home, happy to shut the truck down at 8PM after a long day on the road.
By my recordkeeping, the gauge on the truck says we drove 955.6 miles, including back-and-forths to the event and hotel. Google says we drove 1051.2 miles, give or take a few—the discrepancy is due to the larger tire size vs. stock speedometer calibration. We put a total of 89 gallons of gas in the truck, which averages out to about 12MPG. Not great, but it could have been worse—and, we did a lot of climbing through West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Some things I need to address:
- The fuel tank still leaks from the top when it’s filled, which isn’t the safest situation in the world. I guess I’ll have to drop it and reseal the sending unit. I should also rig up a pressure relief system—I wonder if I still have any of the evaporation gear in the driver’s quarter.
- I have to reinstall the rear-view mirror.
- I have to replace the passenger’s wing window. It sucked to have to keep that closed the whole way home.
- I need to readjust the wipers: the wiper arms are oriented too low to the windshield so the bottom of their arc is somewhere below the gasket. I have to open up the cowl and properly fasten the wiper motor anyway.
- I should have the coolant system properly flushed now that we’re home.
- I’d love to clean the underside of the transmission tunnel and cover it in Dynamat… but I don’t know if I’ll ever get to that.
I topped off the fluids in the Scout on Saturday, put the spare tire back in, and put the bikini top on in preparation for our trip to Ohio on Wednesday evening. Our plan is to meet up at my place, where Brian will drive in from Delaware, Ray will come down from Pennsylvania, and Bennett will drive over from Columbia. We’ll split the two passengers among us and drive out to Brian’s cabin in WVA to overnight, then continue on in the morning from there. It should cut about 2 hours off of the overall commute.
While I was farting around in the engine bay I remembered that the mounting holes on my radiator overflow tank were broken and looked through my stash for a spare. Luckily I’d pulled one off the Scout I parted out in Wheaton 10 years ago, and it was in excellent shape. I spent 10 minutes with a screwdriver and a pair of pliers swapping them out.
Speaking of parts scouts, this ad showed up on Craigslist this morning. A guy is selling a ran-when-parked Scout and a second “clean body” for a total of $6,000. Before I get into a back-in-my-day rant, I’d like to wish this guy luck; if he can get $6,000 for these trucks, more power to him. But even with the inflated prices Scouts are beginning to command, that price for these trucks is astronomical. $6K should fetch a running vehicle and a donor body with a clean title. If this guy spent a day cleaning up the red truck and getting it running, he’d have a much better chance of selling both. As they sit, I’d give him maybe $1500 tops and offer to haul them away.
About a month ago, Brian blew one of the cylinders on the front brakes of his shiny new Scout and decided it was best to just upgrade the entire thing from drums to discs instead of fixing the old technology. We local guys traded emails around to organize a work day, and settled on April 6. I loaded up Peer Pressure with some basic tools, stopped over to Bennett’s house to pick him up with a load of specialty tools (brake tools are exotic and having the right ones is the difference between a great Saturday and a miserable weekend), and then we headed across the bridge to Brian’s house. There we crawled over his new Scout ooohing and aaahhing at the shiny metal and clean mechanical bits before jacking it up on stands and breaking the wheels down.
Having done mine last year I wasn’t completely unfamiliar with the process but getting his drums and backing plate off (he has a Dana 27 axle, the smaller cousin of the Dana 44) required removing the hubs. I’ve pulled several hubs off—the wrong way—so watching over Bennett’s shoulder on the passenger side was super handy. After he’d gotten halfway done I went over to the driver’s side and with Brian’s help we got that hub off ourselves. From there it took a little test fitting to put the caliper mounts in the right place, and suddenly the rotors were installed and in place. We kept joking that everything is much easier to work on when it’s not covered in 40-year-old grease and there isn’t rust falling in our eyes.
When we’d gotten the rotors and calipers on and the brake lines swapped out, we bled the system and Brian took it out for a test. It was still pretty spongy so we bled it again, and then a third time. It never did get as strong as a Scout II, which has a full size brake booster, and nowhere near the power of hydroboost, but it’s stopping straight and it feels good. It’s really a beautiful Scout. The guy he bought it from had excellent work done, and it’s about as close to a new Scout as I’ve ever seen. The engine (a 4-cylinder) purrs and there’s no oil on the engine at all.
By this time it was about 4, and even though I’d brought my radiator and a flush kit I knew it was too late to start on that. We sipped some beer and shot the breeze until about 5, and then packed up to head back home.
Bennett hasn’t been able to run Heavy D (his D-series pickup) because of a blown hub left over from some adventures at Pinelands, and mentioned that he was running up to Barnes IH for a replacement on Sunday. I remembered I had a spare I pulled from the Traveler we found in Mt. Airy back in 2013 and told him it was his for the taking. We also talked about the lovely ’66 Mustang sitting in his garage waiting for new brakes and I told him to name the date so that we could set up another work party.
Peer Pressure ran like a top the whole way out and the whole way back; about 160 miles. I did throw a quart of oil in her before I left and that made a huge difference in the sound and feel of the engine.