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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Electric Steering Installation

This video walks through the addition of an electric steering box from a Prius into an antique truck; this process is much like the one Brian did on Slowflake a couple of years ago. As I’ve gotten deep into the weeds in power steering woes on the Red Bus, and realizing how difficult it might be to find a PS setup on a truck with an I-beam front suspension, this direction might be the way to go.

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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Saturday Wrenching

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Missed Connection

I posted the latest update video on the Binder Planet the other day, which contains a review of the wiring harness I got from the Scout Connection, and a couple of friends there confirmed my suspicions: the new harness is from a 1962 model (the last year of the A/B-series dashboard design) where the fuse panel was mounted down under the dash on the firewall. From what my friend Ray tells me there are other differences and most likely this one won’t be compatible with the dashboard on my truck, so I’ve got to get back in touch with them to figure out next steps. At this point I’ve got two spare harnesses—the one I bought from Marketplace, which is actually from a pickup, and the one from this ’67 Travelall in the driveway, which I have to pull out. I’m kind of tempted to pull the one out of the Red bus and send that along for reference; I’ll have to see what they say when I call.

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Weekly Update, 3.25

On Wednesday the weather was warm enough for me to go out after work and fool around a little bit under the hood of the green truck. I’d sprayed a bunch of the bolts with a fresh can of PBblaster so the washer bottle holder and jack mounts came out easily, as did six of the eight bolts holding the radiator in place. While I was under the hood I pulled seven of the eight plugs out to see what the cylinders might look like, and found they were all dry with a light fuzz of rust on a few. I put them all back and looked over the brake master cylinder, which is a much larger unit than the meager dual-pot in my truck. The reservoir front was full but the rear was empty, and the gasket looked clean—go figure. I originally thought the brake and clutch shared a cylinder but found a separate, smaller IH-stamped pot off to the right of the brake master with its own plumbing to the slave cylinder. Amazingly there was fluid inside and it all looked clean.

Thursday morning, before my alarm had even gone off, I lay awake in bed unable to fall back asleep, and one of the many unconnected bullet points rattling around my brain read: What’s the Baltimore County code for vehicles in your driveway?

Well, it turns out it’s not good news.

428.1. – Vehicle storage on residential lots.

  1. An inoperative motor vehicle may not be stored outside on a residential lot.
  2. An unlicensed motor vehicle may not be stored outside on a residential lot except under the following conditions:
    • Outside storage (i.e., not within a fully enclosed structure) for a period not exceeding 15 days, unless extended by the Zoning Commissioner, in any calendar year is permitted for no more than one such vehicle per dwelling unit per year.
    • The vehicle may not be stored in a front or side yard unless placed in a driveway or other off-street parking area, and the vehicle may not be stored in a rear yard unless placed at least eight feet from any property line.
    • The owner of the vehicle must reside on the lot upon which the vehicle is stored.
    • The vehicle may not be used or dismantled for parts.


I went out and slapped the modern Maryland tag on the green truck for the time being. I’ll keep pulling it apart from the inside out  and hasten to get it out of the driveway as soon as I can.

Friday evening after work I bundled up and went out to see if I could easily get the front bumper off, with the intention of swapping it for the crappy white one that came on the Red Bus. It’s held on with some ancient mismatched bolts of unknown origin and the frame setup on this truck makes it much harder to access the nuts under the cowl area. I hosed them down with PBblaster and moved on to the battery tray, where I got the side support and second horn out (the horn on the passenger’s side works! so that will get swapped into the Scout) and loosened the radiator enough to lift out once I’ve drained it.

I also transferred the list from my iPad to the window of the truck with a grease pencil so it’ll be staring me in the face each time I go out there and I’ll have no excuse for jumping ahead to something shiny. Let’s see how well that works.

Sunday I had a full day to work in on the green Travelall, and made some good progress with the teardown. The focus right now is getting the front panels ready to remove, so I chased after the problem bolts on the passenger fender (under the eyebrow and up on the firewall). With careful application of penetrant and heat, I was able to get the apron sheet metal off the inner fender, allowing for better access to the firewall. Turns out the fuel filler on this side goes to nowhere; there’s no tank under the passenger side.

The radiator came out easily. It turns out there was no coolant in the system at all, so all I had to do was cut the hoses off and the whole unit came out quickly. Later on I’ll rig up some pressurization system to test it for leaks, but for now it’s stashed safely in the garage. The engine still won’t budge, although I still haven’t put a bolt on the crank yet. I pulled seven of eight plugs to see how they looked, and they all came out dry and slightly carbonized. A borescope down a few of the driver’s side cylinders showed a lot of carbon on top of the pistons and some light rust on the cylinder walls. I’ll probably throw some Marvel Mystery Oil down the plug holes to see if I can get the engine to spin, but it’s not my top priority right now (and I’ve got a spare 345 in the garage anyway).

The fender came off after a whole lot of calisthenics and careful use of the cutoff wheel, and apart from the rust at the edge of the eyebrow it looks just as good as the driver’s side. I also loosened the bolts on the inner fender, which all came out easily. The front cowl looks like it’s ready to come out as well—there’s just one heavy bolt at the bottom that ties into the frame that needs to be removed.

I then hooked up the battery from the Red Bus, and saw no smoke or flame from the wiring. A flick of the tailgate window switch moved the window down about 2″ where it stopped in place, so I walked around and shot the tracks with lithium grease, then helped it down as much as possible. Moving back and forth from the switch to the window in that way, I got it to move all the way down into the tailgate. At this point, however, I can’t get the tailgate to release with the latch. I shot it with penetrant and hopefully that will loosen things up; otherwise it’s got a date with a big Phillips-head driver and/or a cutoff wheel.

Finally, I pulled the shiny chrome bumper off the green truck and swapped it for the clapped-out white bumper from the red truck, and that improved things 34%. It’s not in perfect shape; someone put hooks on the bottom side and used it to pull things, so it’s bent up a bit, but it’s not completely twisted like the white one is.

Next up will be getting the heater box out of the cab and the brake assembly from the engine compartment. The latter is still full of clear fluid so I’ve got to find a clean way of draining it without eating a hole in the driveway. I’m going to pull the brass junction block from the firewall and any other hardware I can for that system.

Then I’ll see about getting the tailgate off. Friends from the Binder Planet tell me I should be prepared for how heavy it is; I have no idea what to expect.

Meanwhile, I got a package from the good folks at the Scout Connection, which contained a used, tested wiring harness for the Red Bus. They sent me a harness for a 1963, which looks substantially different than what I’m seeing in my cab. From the layout of the wires and their lengths, it looks like the fuse panel on this one mounts somewhere up under the dash on the driver’s side firewall instead of behind the glovebox door like my truck. The bulkhead connector is correct, and they labeled every single wire, which is awesome for me to base my reconstruction on. Between this new harness, the one I got from Marketplace, and the one I’m going to pull off the green truck, I should have (hopefully) everything I need to swap in a working electrical system.

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