I don’t have a ton of major updates this week; most of what happened was maintenance-based. The main task was to drop the hardtop onto the Scout to prepare for a 180-mile drive to Southern Maryland, and with a few small hiccups this process went smoothly. With the top out of the way I moved a bunch of stuff up into the garage attic—the cracked rear Travelall glass, extra sheet metal, etc.
The other thing I did was to roughly assemble the front bench seat and drop it into the Travelall to get it out of the way. I’ve got most of the hardware required and it went together pretty quickly. This is the first time I’ve seen both seats in the truck and it’s kind of inspiring, even though they both look ghetto.
One other interesting Travelall development—I was sitting on the bench seat and tested the brakes to see if they were holding pressure, and with a few pumps they built resistance. Later I was out back and walking towards the truck when I looked up and noticed the rear brake light was on. This is the first time any of the lighting on the truck has come to life anywhere; I thought it had all been cut out when the fuse panel was removed. I released the trailer brake (it’s been on since I put the truck on a battery tender) and the light went out, so clearly someone bodged that in and bypassed the fused wiring. How and why this bulb decided to come on is a mystery, but at least I know there’s some signal making its way out to the back.
With the weather getting colder, my chances to take the Scout out on long trips get slimmer. Looking at the forecast Saturday morning, I knew it would be iffy, but I haven’t had her out on any adventures pretty much all year due to the exhaust leak. Now that she’s fixed, I figured I’d take her on a shakedown run to my father-in-law’s house to see how she ran. The short answer is that she did great. We covered 200 miles with absolutely no problems at all; the engine is strong and smooth and sounds great, just like I remember. It was overcast in the morning so I decided to take the top down and pack the bikini top just in case, but I wound up leaving it down for the whole day.
Choosing the Scout for a trip like this basically comes down to convenience versus fun. The Hondas are dry and climate controlled, and obviously the gas mileage is better. The Scout requires advance planning and a keen eye on the weather. I reviewed the forecast carefully this morning and saw that there would be sun down south, so I made sure to pack wet weather gear, a pair of shorts, and a fleece. What I didn’t remember was a warm hat of some kind, so when I left my FIL’s house I stopped at the local Marshall’s and picked up a cheap one. I wound up putting it on about 20 miles up the road, and stored it in the lockbox between the seats, where it will now be the truck hat.
I will say that in a lot of ways, the Scout is a superior vehicle for long-distance travel than the Accord. The seats are nicer (thanks, Chrysler!), the wheel is much more comfortable, and the seating position is better. I can see around me better for obvious reasons. Steering is two-finger thanks to power steering; the only thing that gets funky is hitting expansion joints at freeway speeds and sudden braking; the left side is grabbing before the right, which requires some careful adjustment.
These days, I get more and more looks from people. I had a guy roll up next to me in a pickup at a light and ask how old it was. A black dude in a slammed BMW wagon pulled up alongside and gave me a thumbs up; I pointed back at him and returned the sentiment. A couple of dudes in a big white work truck honked and waved as I overtook them.
Some small issues: I noticed that the temp gauge isn’t working anymore, so I’m going to swap out the temp sender and see if that makes a difference. I had to use the wipers coming back up 695 into Catonsville (home by the hair of my chin) and saw that the secondary arm on the driver’s wiper isn’t connected anymore, so I need to get a new retainer clip for that. The headlights definitely need to be adjusted, but they’re still very dim. An LED upgrade might be in order next year.
Overall, I’m thrilled to have her back on the road, and I can’t wait to have some more adventures.
When I first posted on the Binder Planet about the red bus, I got a lot of good feedback and an offer from a nice man up in Massachussetts to come get a Traveall rear bench seat that was taking up space in his barn. Filing that away in the back of my head, I kept an eye out for seating that was closer to home, but it’s rare on the ground pretty much anywhere east of the Mississippi and north of Georgia. When I got back from Nats I reached back out to him, and a plan was hatched. He followed up with more pictures of stuff he’d dug out of his barn, including a front bench and a bunch of smaller parts. We settled on a date and a price, and I made plans to swing up there for a pickup.
I rented a 7-passenger SUV figuring I wouldn’t know how big all this stuff was, and I’d never fit it in the CR-V—plus, I wanted modern amenities and CarPlay to get me through New York City. This was probably the best decision I made on the whole trip. Hertz gave me a shiny silver Ford Explorer with three rows of seats, and it took me a couple panicked minutes before I figured out how to fold everything flat. Once we got it back to the house, I threw some tools, tarps and bags in the back and Finn and I hit the road. We were smart enough to get up and past New York City by 1PM, which put us in a strange dead area of Conneticut north of Stamford trying to find something to eat. We found a Chipolte and powered up, then got back on the road eastward.
I-95 through Conneticut is a disaster. It’s two lanes with a very picturesque view of the Sound to the south, but everyone is driving at 15 miles an hour for no visible reason for pretty much the length of the state. Once we’d gotten past New Haven it opened up a bit, but that was pretty frustrating. I’d found a cheap-ass motel in Stonington, CT over the border from Rhode Island, but when I was looking I didn’t realize its proximity to Mystic, which we had to drive through to get to our destination. We checked in to the room to find it about one step above an hourly hot-sheet truck stop, grimly left our stuff on the desk inside the door, and went back into Mystic to walk around the town.
Mystic is beautiful and quaint and filled with touristy shops selling either expensive local jewelry, expensive preppy boating clothes, expensive beachwear, or expensive gift items. Peppering the storefronts there were very busy bars and restaurants, and the streets were filled with people. We parked a few blocks off main street and walked our way back in, looking through all the stores that caught Finn’s eye. On our way back outside we heard the bell for the drawbridge ring so we walked up and watched them raise it with huge concrete counterweights to let river traffic pass. It was a beautiful place to walk off some of the road. Finn was tired at that point so we jumped back in the car and headed back to the hotel room to hang out before going to sleep. You can tell you’re in a quality establishment when the A/C is running at 65˚ but the room is still damp and smells like mildew.
Saturday morning we drove back into Mystic to get a bite of breakfast and hit the road for Rhode Island. Ray, the seller, was meeting us at a shopping center and we pulled in right behind him. We shook hands hello and loaded up the Explorer with all of the parts (surprisingly, it all fit neatly inside) and then shot the breeze for about 45 minutes. Ray is super cool and we traded IH stories for a while, then said our goodbyes so I could hit the road.
Here’s the back of the Explorer stuffed with rusty parts.
On the way back West I swung up into Mahopac and we stopped to get some lunch with my High School friend Jeff at a cafe in town. It was great to see him and catch up; that alone would have made the trip worthwhile. By 3PM the cafe was closing and I knew we had to hit the road, so we said goodbye and pointed the Ford south. With one stop in Delaware and a half an hour of heavy rain in New Jersey we made it back to the house by 8PM with a little over 900 miles added to the odometer.
I stashed it all in the garage after we got home and vacuumed out the back of the Explorer to avoid any cleaning fees. Overall the Ford was a perfect road trip vehicle; we got 29.5 MPG the whole way, and I never once had a problem with the technology or the car itself. (Five stars! Would recommend).
This is the contents of a box of parts, spread out. From top left: Two panels for the doors that go behind the main door cards. The blue rails go on the seat bases—these are the seat tracks. The two rusty gear/spring assemblies are extra hood hinges. The black geared arm at the bottom is a window scissor mechanism.
From the other box of spares, starting in the upper left: a spare rearview mirror, two short and one long door mechanisms. In the center are the ashtray for the back of the bench seat, two door lock assemblies, and the smaller red piece is a door catch. The two red L-shaped pieces bottom left are lower hinges for the barn doors, and two door lock assemblies.
This is an extra set of door cards for front and rear Travelall doors. The fronts are drilled for a set of armrests, something my truck doesn’t have. At this point I’ve now got three fronts and two rears. One full set will get bead blasted and painted the correct IH interior color.
This odd item is the platform the rear seat sits on and hinges forward from. It’s in rough shape, so I may not be able to use it. You can see how the piping is bent on the ends—I may not be able to pull that back out. That black rubberized coating is giving me PTSD flashbacks.
This is the worst part. What I’ll probably do is take measurements from this and build a newer, stronger box from square tubing, then enclose that with a hinged lid for tool storage, using this video as my inspiration.
Ray zip-tied the two seat catches to the base here—these bolt on to the wheel wells and hold the rear setback in place. I don’t have these and my truck was never drilled for them.
These are two spare rear barn door windows with used gasketry. I’m sure I could have new ones cut, but it’s great to have originals on hand instead. (The line on the left side is a reflection of our telephone wire).
Here’s where it gets interesting. These are two front bench seatbacks. The top one is complete with vinyl upholstery, but it’s disintegrating. The bottom is just the frame and springs, all in one piece. The square in the center is the mount for an ashtray, accessible to the passengers in the back seat. They’re both rusty but complete, and all the hardware is present.
This is the front bench seat bottom. Clearly the driver’s side has seen some wear. It’s torn and the foam is both swollen and disintegrating. I’ll have to replace all of that, which isn’t a huge deal.
Here’s the front and the back seat bases. Both of them are bent (Ray was apologetic) but I can use the back one for a template and I think I can straighten out the front. Again, I don’t have any of this stuff, so I’m just happy for the spares.
Here’s the rear seat, with a closeup of the material color. When I talk with Jeff J. about replacement material, I’ll have to see if he can match this pattern, because I kind of dig it. This bench is all in one piece, although it’s pretty worn; once I understand how to rebuild the front seat I’ll move on to this one. For now, I could install this in the truck as-is and it would probably work fine. The hinges and pins are present and the scissor works just fine.
While I was in Mystic I got a call from Jim at Super Scouts, who told me a bench seat he’d heard of and gone to recover was actually that of a D series; I thanked him for the info and told him about the brake distribution block. I’m still searching for a replacement, and the guys at IHPA are supposed to get back to me sometime this week. With that, I’m stalled on the mechanical stuff, so I’ll probably reorganize the garage to fit these bench seats and start cleaning up the skeleton frame for paint.
Knowing I wasn’t going to be able to drive Peer Pressure to Ohio this year without diagnosing the engine noise, I got the oil and coolant changed in the CR-V, strapped the pod on the roof, and moved a bunch of my tools and kit from the Scout, along with a couple of parts to possibly trade or sell. I spent a lot of time leading up to our trip moping about not driving an IH to an IH event, but eventually I got past myself and remembered to be excited to get away and see friends. Thursday morning Bennett met me at 9AM, we loaded up our gear, and hit the road for Springfield. The show was in a new location this year: they moved it from the Waco airfield to the Navistar assembly plant, which was the facility where my Travelall was built in 1963. This meant our hotel was new and also a half an hour from the show. We made good time through the smoke from the Canadian forest fires and rolled in to the hotel by late afternoon, meeting a bunch of folks we knew out in the parking lot after checkin and dinner. It was a bit quiet, as a lot of people hadn’t shown up yet, but we enjoyed the cool night air and had some beers to relax.
In the morning we got breakfast and hit the road early to hit the parts stands. Stuff for C-Series trucks is a lot thinner on the ground than Scout parts, so I knew I had to be quick and smart about what I was looking for. I came prepared with a list and basic price ranges I’d gathered by averaging numbers from the Internet, so I knew what the high end would be on most things.
I immediately found a somewhat foggy C-series wing window and got that for $10, then moved to the stand next door and found a right and a left side with much better glass (and no rubber) for $10 apiece. Those went immediately into the car. At the same vendor we found a Scout II console lid in the same color as a console I’d brought, which was sitting in the car. I brought it back over and made a fair swap deal with the guy for a beautiful 14″ International emblem for the right side barn door in perfect shape.
On the far side there was a guy with three trailers full of parts; he had a C-series bench seat from a pickup that looked reasonably intact minus the pipe base it sat on. I made a mental note to go over and wheel a deal with him on Saturday afternoon. At another vendor I found a bin full of front marker buckets that were solid, had been blasted and painted, and had intact pigtails. Those were each $10, well worth the price. I found a set of NOS lenses on another table for $300; apparently those are a little more expensive. I put them back and kept walking.
When Dan Hayes pulled in we checked out his table, and I found a beautiful Travelall script badge mounted on foam and grabbed it. He also had two ’64-’65 grilles in much better shape than the one I’ve currently got, and the price was extremely reasonable. I filed that away for Saturday, trying to maximise the money I’d brought.
We met up with our friend Jeff on the grounds and walked over to his truck where he had two beautiful IH-branded west coast mirrors waiting for me; I gratefully gave him what he was asking for them. There were several other C-series trucks and a Travelall with the exact same mirrors mounted at the show, so I took multiple pictures of them for reference. They went directly into the car and got wrapped in a blanket.
I had to spend a bit of time inside at the tech talks to cool off—this show area was set up on pavement, not the forgiving grass of the airfield, so we were getting cooked even though it was relatively cool with a breeze. I was wearing Merrel hiking boots with a thick heel and I could still feel the heat on the soles of my feet. They’d scheduled some excellent speakers and I learned a lot while I relaxed in the shade.
Later in the day a few more sellers came in and set up shop, and I found a guy who had a bunch of C-series stuff on a desk for excellent prices. I got a set of beat-up C-series visors for $10, a spare rear taillight lens for $5, and a set of C1100 badges for $20. We got to talking and he walked out to show me an immaculate D-series pickup truck which he’d just finished restoring. I voted him for best pickup and best paint, which he should easily win.
Out in the field we ran into the Delaware-based guy who bought my windshield frame; he just opened up his shop two years ago and is working mostly in Scouts now. The show truck he brought was very pretty, and it was nice talking to him, but it’s clear I’m way out of his demographic: he built an LS swap with a lift and fancy tires. He’s going for the high-end restomod audience, which is where the big money is. We wished him luck and went on our way.
By about 4:30 we were pretty crispy so we packed up our stuff and grabbed Steven to go get some food at a brewpub near our hotel. After refueling and enjoying some cool air and a cold beer, we headed back to the hotel and met up with friends in the parking lot amongst the Scouts there. I struck up a conversation with Steve, the owner of the SSII registry, and learned some new things. I talked with guys from Michigan, Wisconsin, Texas, Arizona, and some old heads I recognized from the IHC Digest back in the day. By about 11PM we all were winding down, and we headed upstairs to cool off and get some sleep.
Saturday morning we got to the grounds by about 9:30 and headed back out into the parts field for some more picking. A few more vendors appeared but Howie never showed—he’s always got badges and small parts that are impossible to find, and I figured he would be my best bet for the Travelall-specific stuff I wanted. I was happy to have scored the stuff I did find on Friday in his absence.
Returning through the stands, I came upon a pair of taillight lenses for $10, two chrome washer surrounds for $20, and a single front turn lens for $1. We took in a couple of the tech talks in the early afternoon: there was a great talk on IH electronics and how to upgrade the systems wisely, what tools to buy/use, and how to diagnose some common problems. After that the guys from Anything Scout talked about their recent journey to Baja to race in the NORRA 1000 with a Scout they pulled from a storage yard 9 months ago, which was fascinating.
I stopped by the IHPA booth to see if they had my bench or the air cleaner they’d promised to bring for me, but they were very apologetic and told me the week had gotten past them, and promised to make it right the following week.
We did our judging (we were both registered participants without a truck) and caught up with friends and basically had a great time walking the grounds. There were a lot more fancy Scouts there this year—all the old guard see the change in the air—but there were still plenty of beaters to be found among the trailer queens. Much of the discussion each day centered around how rare trucks are getting, how expensive they are, and how many are being bought up by the restorers and flippers. I met a couple of attendees who were walking around asking if anyone knew of a truck for sale; two guys from Wisconsin told me they were willing to drive to Pennsylvania to get a truck. That certainly shocked me, as I figured there was more rolling stock where they were from than what’s left out here.
I was sad not to have Peer Pressure because there were two very purple Scouts there this year: an 800 in a bright shade that would stop a train and a Scout II that was hand-painted with a roller during a manic episode. That one spent a lot of time in the parking lot on Saturday night surrounded by people trying to get it to run right again; it made the drive from Pennsylvania somehow but crapped out between the hotel and the show.
In the afternoon I walked back over to Dan’s stand and put the money down for the grille, figuring I’d never see one that good again. Bennett made some more deals (He was a lot more restrained than I was) and I found a C-series headlight bucket for $5. We did another circuit of the grounds, dropped the last of our raffle tickets off, and headed out for some Mexican food near the hotel.
Back in the parking lot they were setting up for the raffle, so we found a great spot up by the front and pretended our Honda was a Scout. As usual, I didn’t win any of the raffle items (it’s the only way I’d own a Redcat RC Scout) and was quickly bid out of the other things I was interested in, but it was fun to watch the show. We helped clean things up and hung out for a few more hours talking with friends until everyone called it a night at about 11:30.
Sunday morning we grabbed some breakfast with Carl and Mary, said our goodbyes, and hit the road for Super Scout Specialists, which was on our way home. They opened the shop at 9, and we pulled in a little after 10. Walking around in there is always amazing; the front of the shop is a museum of IH trucks and the back is just stuffed with new and used parts. Bennett and I found ourselves in the back racks looking at used stuff and noticed the door to the parts yard was open. We walked outside in a light drizzle and surveyed the lot of carcasses; Bennett pointed out two Travelalls in back and I made a beeline for them.
They had both been picked over hard and showed signs of being out in the elements for years, but one of the two had, by some miracle, an intact sheet of rear passenger glass. I asked inside if they could give me a price, and they were surprised when we told them there was still glass in it. When he gave me a number my jaw about hit the floor and I told him I’d take it on the spot.
We grabbed a few utility knives and commenced to carefully cutting it out of the truck, covering our hands with some kind of black sealant, and in about ten minutes it fell backwards into Bennett’s waiting hands (he volunteered to climb into the filthy cab) and he handed it gently back out to us. I carried it carefully out to the CR-V, gave Rob the cash, and tried to contain my excitement. Finding exactly what I needed was always a longshot, but somehow I won the ticket.
At this point it was really raining and a lot of the people from the show were stopping in to browse. After talking with the guys for a while, we hit the road at about noon and hustled our way east in the middle of an advancing rainstorm. As the rain kicking up off the road reduced our visibility, I was super glad not to be in the Scout; the wipers wouldn’t have kept up with the water and we would have been soaking wet. And having a working defogger was key. By the time we got into Pennsylvania the water had tapered off and when we turned south for Maryland we headed out of its path completely.
Somewhere above Frederick, we spotted a flatbed with two Scouts pulled off to the side of the road and immediately pulled over to stop. The Scout hanging off the stinger had lost a wheel and was dragging the drum on the ground. I didn’t remember the trucks from the show, but figured maybe someone had made a deal somewhere. We talked to the driver, who was hauling them back from northern PA for a guy we know locally; it just happened that we passed him on the way home. Small world.
With stops, we made it back to my driveway by 7:30, swapped Bennett’s gear into his car, and shook hands on another great Nationals trip. Traveling with him is always fun, and he knows everyone, so it’s always great to be introduced to new people.
Again, in retrospect, I’m glad we didn’t bring the Scout this year, as both the weather and our cargo would have made the drive back a challenge. I would have had to fabricate a box or crate to store the glass in to protect it from the harsh ride the Scout provides, and we were already behind schedule as it was. We had a dry, comfortable cruiser with A/C and good mileage, and that made up for a lot. I like to think everything happens for a reason, and once again my IH friends and my luck came through.
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.