On Monday I went out to continue sanding and skimming areas of the truck to get them ready for paint. The passenger side tailcap is coming along well, but will need a lot of attention to be clean enough to go to paint—but I’m enjoying the sculptural aspect of working with filler to get things smooth.

Recapping the starting issue, we’ve replaced almost everything in the ignition system besides the core distributor, but the points I originally bought didn’t have an integrated condenser so we tried to hotwire it on the workday. Testing for spark, we never got anything at the plugs. I replaced the points in the original distributor with a new set with an integrated condenser, and found an early picture I’d taken of the unit as it came to know how to wire things back up (see that black wire in the lower center of the picture above?). After I wired the second new set of points in as per the original and tested my testing light on the Scout, I hooked it up to the Travelall and then I had spark! Unfortunately I couldn’t get her to light off. So I pulled the carburetor off to tear it down and clean it out; I figured the accelerator pump seals were dry and the float was probably stuck.

I also started tracing wires under the dash and pulled the radio plate off to expose everything underneath; while I was there I pulled the old head unit and two dry-rotted speakers they’d bolted under the dash out and threw them in the trash to make more room. The way this dash is designed it could be much simpler to pull wires (or maybe even replace the loom ) than it is in the Scout, but I’m still trying to make a plan for how I’m going to get this thing wired up correctly.

Wednesday evening I was out sanding the truck and a guy on a big Harley parked at the end of the driveway; he’s a fellow car guy and stopped by to check out the truck. This marks the fourth person who has stopped in since I parked the truck in the driveway; clearly people have noticed.

As of Thursday morning the carb was partially disassembled and sort of half-soaking in carb cleaner, but I couldn’t get the float bowl or metering block off the side of the horn. I found a wider container to put the assembly in so that the affected sections were submerged, and was finally able to get all the sections apart on Friday morning. The paper gaskets had glued themselves to the metal so I had to carefully scrape everything apart to get it cleaned up—but the inside of the carb was very clean.

And on Friday I got two boxes of goodies: the new distributor showed up as well as some fuel hose, hose clamps, and a proper oil filter. So if we can’t make the old distributor work, the new one should be ready to pop in (minus a set of male-to-female plug wires).

Farting around with an old Scout II hubcap Friday night, I put it on the odd 15″ rim, where it fit well. Suddenly, a light bulb went off in my head and I realized that a 16″ tire won’t fit on a 15″ rim (duh Bill) so I’d have to source a rim for the fourth tire I just bought. It so happens a guy near here is selling an entire front axle assembly with wheels included, so I messaged him to see if he’d be willing to sell me the wheels (providing they’re the correct size).

Date posted: April 21, 2023 | Filed under Travelall | Leave a Comment »

I got a pile of boxes in the mail while I was away last weekend, which was a lot of fun to return to. The smallest was from SendCutSend, and it contained a wrapped set of metal items I’d ordered: a circular plug for the spare passenger fender, and a beautiful custom license plate bracket from my vector file. I brought it out and did a test-fitting, and it is flawless. I’m so impressed with this. I’ve taken it off until I get the areas around the holes filled and sanded, and then I can mount them up to the truck when the door gets painted.

The circular plug fits perfectly but it’s a much thinner metal than the original sheet metal; I clearly need a thickness gauge to know what I’m working with and then I can order the proper material to weld with.

The next item was a huge box containing a thick gasket for the windshield, which I walked out and began installing; it needs to heat up and expand before I can get the whole thing all the way around the perimeter of the glass. The other item in that box was what was described as “Pillar Seals” for the doors, which aren’t what I thought they’d be and don’t seem to fit anywhere I can figure out right now. I was hoping to get the pinch seals that go around the metal lip on the insides of the doors, but they apparently have a lot of different names for all of these products. So that was disappointing.

On Tuesday evening I took advantage of mild weather and returned to the roof of the truck to continue sanding and skimming; Wednesday evening I had a new can of Bondo and finished skimming the whole roof. Thursday evening I hit several areas that needed a final skim and some last touchups but the whole thing is just about ready for the next step. I also filled in the area where the old Travelall script was on the driver’s side and a bunch of areas on the driver’s rear door. Friday was more of the same, and then covering the front up before two days of rain begin. I also ordered a quart of auto primer and a quart of single-stage IH Red from TCPGlobal; I’ll need an HPLV gun from Harbor Freight to shoot everything in the driveway once the roof is ready to go.

Sunday I had about six hours to futz with the truck, so I continued working on the roof and driver’s rear fender. In sanding that side down I figured I’d better take the taillight off and see how it looked inside, and once I’d cleaned that one up I figured I’d do the other.

While the housings and lenses were drying in the sun, I poked an eyeball into the passenger’s side fender to survey the damage: someone had backed into something and crumpled the edge forward of the chrome trim ring, as well as put a dent down towards the bottom of the fender.

I gave the dents a few taps with my small hammer to see if I could punch the crease back out, and within a half an hour or so, and with the help of some lengths of wood, I had the metal mostly back in place.

I cut a larger block of wood in a wedge and used that to push the lower dent out by hammering it in between the inner and outer fender walls. Then the whole thing got a skim coat of filler and I put it all to bed for the night.

Still on hold is a new distributor from IHPA; they’re having supply chain issues and it’s apparently backordered. But I bought a new points/condenser combo like the original Delco distributor had; we should be able to swap that in and see if we can get things firing the next time Erick comes out.

Date posted: April 17, 2023 | Filed under Travelall | Leave a Comment »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday started out rainy so I was inside painting until after noon, and then the clouds parted and the sun came out. Jen had told me it was freakishly warm outside so I figured I would make the most of it and work on the truck.

A lot of what I did was exploratory. I’m still sorting out what’s what on this rig, so I’m spending a lot of time cleaning and disassembling. I did bolt something back up to start, though: both inner fender skirts have cured for two weeks and were ready to put back on the passenger side, so they went in with rust-free bolts shot with Rust Stop. I peeled the tarp back from the hood and got it ready for a bath: I had a can of Engine Brite ready to go and sprayed the whole block down to let it do its work, then dragged the pressure washer out for a rinse.

It’s a damn sight better than it was. The intake manifold cleaned up really well, the valve covers are now missing 80% of their paint, the hoses are all clean, and the rest of the bay is, at least, not covered in mud dauber nests and leaves.

While that was drying I started the long process of pulling the driver’s fender off, which took longer than it needed to but was still mercifully easy due to the bolts all being in good shape. The IH engineers over-fastened the area around the headlights: If I’m counting correctly, there are 20 bolts that hold the fender on, six of those are around the headlight area, two of which are in a place only midgets or Plastic Man can comfortably reach. I shudder to think how hard it would be to unfreeze (or attempt to cut) bolts in areas this small. As it was the top bolt holding the fender to the firewall was stuck, and I had to make a short breaker bar out of one half of my bottle jack handle to torque it off.

This fender is crispier than the passenger side and has taken several shots at the crease, which means it’ll be a challenge to straighten. I’m going to keep my eye out for clean fenders at Nats to save some time.

From there I moved to the front of the fascia and pulled both of the turn signal buckets out, which illuminated another weak spot in the C-series design: the buckets share a channel with the grille where leaves and dirt get kicked up into a valley between two sections of metal, and water and gravity wash it downwards behind the light buckets where it has nowhere else to go.

I scooped, vacuumed, and then powerwashed about a cup of solid dirt from behind each bucket. The left side is much worse than the right. I let them both dry and then hit everything with more Rust Stop to give myself some more time to source a new fascia section.

Digging through the garage I went to the Big Iron section and found something I only half-rememberd I had: a spare Saginaw steering box sitting next to a crate full of spare starters and a Dana 20 transfer case. Steering boxes are apparently getting harder and harder to find, according our friend Lee in Delaware; I got this from the Flintstone Scout two years ago. This is excellent news, as I can send this one out for a rebuild without taking the truck off the road for weeks or months while it’s gone.

By about 5:30 the rainclouds were rolling back in so I set the fender back on the truck and put a screw in to hold it in place, and re-fastened the tarp over the front cowl. The bolts from the fender are sitting in a phosphoric acid bath on the workbench, and the front section of the inner fender skirt is waiting for a date with the sandblaster.

I spent all day Sunday working on work stuff so I could swap for Monday to take advantage of 70˚ weather and attack the roof of the bus—with an eye toward grinding out the rust, feathering the edges with a light coat of Bondo, and sanding it down to a smooth finish.

Between house stuff, two work meetings, and getting things assembled I didn’t get outside until about 1PM, but from then until 6:30 I took a flap wheel to every crater on the roof of the truck as well as the entire length of the drip rail (and a good portion of the area directly underneath, hit it all with Rust Encapsulator, and began covering the pockmarked metal with a thin coat of Bondo. It took a lot longer to do the roof than I’d figured on—every time I thought I was done I saw another bad spot—but with the exception of two small areas everything is ground and prepped. I also ground rust out of  the driver’s rear door and skimmed it for sanding.

Sunday broke sunny and warm, and after some quick work in the house and a walk with Jen and the dog, I hit the garage for a full day. The first thing I did was start sanding the edges of the drip rails down, and I found that no matter how careful I’d been with the bondo applicator there were a ton of high edges to deal with. I got the random orbital sander out and used that to knock the high points down, then went to a Harbor Freight sanding block with 220 grit paper to smooth things out. There are a bunch of areas inside the drip rail that need to be hit again, but between that and the sanding block I got the entire perimeter of the drip rail sanded and covered in high-build primer. It took a lot of work.

I’m trying to go as light as I can everywhere possible. I had to open the driver’s door to roll the windows up and the edge of the fender, which is only held in with two bolts, caught on the door. It wound up prying off this giant chunk of painted Bondo; this is Not How To Repair Bodywork.

My old friend Erick stopped by at 2:30 to look over the engine, and between the two of us we isolated the distributor as the likely culprit for a non-running truck; there was spark all the way up to those wires but nothing at the plugs. We hung out and shot the breeze for a while and he took off; he’ll be back later to help me install the new distributor when I get it in hand.

After he left I kept sanding and priming and then mixed a bunch more bondo to keep filling the divots in the roof. By 6:30 I was pretty beat and I had 3/4 of the roof skimmed, so I packed up the gear and called it a day. My back is sore, my legs are tired, and I feel exhausted but it was a great day of progress.

This article popped up in my feed and I thought it was very interesting: a laser-based fuel sender that does away with mechanical linkages and resistance-based wiring. It uses LIDAR to measure how much fuel is left in the tank and requires an electronic gauge on the dash to work properly. I don’t know how this might work in the Scout—the tank is angled on both sides, and the low point of the tank isn’t centered under the gauge—but it would definitely work on the Travelall, where the tank is flat. Interestingly, the gauge in the Travelall actually works, and currently reads half a tank.

Date posted: April 4, 2023 | Filed under Progress, Travelall | Leave a Comment »

I was considering taking the Scout on a jaunt down to my father-in-law’s house this past Sunday to continue working on his bathroom, but a nagging feeling stopped me. The steering pump started making some noise last weekend when I had her out on errands, and I kept an eye on things after I parked her. Looking over the pump it’s clear there’s a slow leak happening somewhere. The leaf spring and steering linkage below the pump are damp with fluid; there wasn’t much missing in the reservoir but I topped it off just in case. I’m going to do the 5/50 mile method around here for a little while and keep an eye on things, but I sense a replacement on the horizon. I contacted Redhead Steering Gears to get a quote on a new pump, and it came back at about $475. I don’t remember if I’ve got a spare in the garage, but that’s a job I’m going to consider before making the trip to Nats.

I got a large flat package in the mail Monday, which contained two new front door cards and a second fuse block, all in excellent condition. These cards are a different color and texture than the originals, but the original driver’s card was bent and cut for a speaker, so it was pretty much useless. These both look really good, even though the passenger side has one dent in it. I couldn’t help myself this afternoon so I went out and replaced it. SO MUCH BETTER.

The other thing I did was to order a new windshield from IHPA through their system. I talked with a super awesome rep on the phone who found me glass up in Pennsylvania and arranged to have it driven down to Elkridge free of charge for me to pick up. Figuring I’d give the Scout a trial 15-mile run, I folded the rear seat down and drive down to pick it up. There was no noise from the pump and she didn’t leak anything visible in the parking lot or on the driveway, so I’m cautiously optimistic. The glass warehouse was in a nondescript warehouse park, and when I walked into the loading bay I was greeted with an ENORMOUS internal space holding thousands of glass pieces of all sizes and shapes, on racks 5-6 levels high all the way up to the ceiling. All of them were modern and tinted, with that peculiar black dotted pattern around the edges, and I followed the foreman back through the racks until we happened upon the only clear, unlined, and dramatically curved piece of glass in the whole shop. He actually said, “Wow, I haven’t seen glass like this before.”

I backed the Scout up to the loading bay, next to white vans specially outfitted with racks to hold scores of glass, and McGuyvered a solution up with a large box, lots of soft tarps, and some bungee cords. We made it home slowly and safely, and I tucked it carefully into the back of the Travelall until the rubber gets here.

Having reviewed several videos and the Service Manual directions, I’m nervous about installing it myself but definitely looking forward to having some non-leaky glass on the truck.

Another quick thing I did was pull the spark plugs I’d hastily installed the morning of our workday and replace them with a shiny set of new Autolite 85’s. I still don’t know what the story is with our spark but I’m positive it won’t be with the cables or the plugs. I talked with my friend Erick and we’ve got a tentative plan to have him come up and look at the truck to help me get it running; he’s a bit hard to pin down but I’m hoping we can link up and make some progress.

On Marketplace this week a listing popped up for a complete set of glass for a round-body Travelall—doors, wing windows, windshield, rear corners, and tailgate—for the eye-watering price of $3000 up in New Jersey. I asked if he would be interested in just selling the rear corners but he declined; they’re more valuable as a complete set. So I’ll have to keep looking, and hope that I can find someone with a set for a reasonable price or someone starts producing them again.

Date posted: March 31, 2023 | Filed under Progress, Travelall | Leave a Comment »

I removed three sections of the inner fender skirting a couple of weeks ago in order to look at the starter and wiring. In the video above, they would hide the frame rail at about 1:30—you can see the speed clips that hold them in there. I’d cleaned them up with the wire wheel and sandblaster last weekend, and took advantage of 60˚ weather today to shoot them with Rust Encapsulator and then two coats of flat black. They’ll get one shot of undercoating and then go back on the truck so that I don’t forget what they are or where they came from.

A big box sealed with IHPA stickers arrived on Monday. Inside were two wrapped bundles: Volume 1 and Volume 2 of the 1962-71 Pickup & Travelall Service Manual, unbound, prepunched for a 3-ring binder. Each bundle is about 2″ thick, so I have to hit the Staples to find a solid pair of binders to protect them. This will be my bible for the next couple of years as I resurrect the Travelall, and I’m sure it will pay for itself many times over.

Looking through my books, I realized I have thre different Scout service manuals—a new bound reprint, and two original IH printed copies, one of which is incomplete. This makes me think of building a list of stuff to bring up to Nationals to sell:

  • Original bound IH Scout II service manual
  • A somewhat ratty Scout 80 windshield—I might have to clean this up before I bring it out there
  • An early Scout 80 heater plenum, not refurbished
  • A spare Scout II windshield—it’s not pretty, but it’s worth good money
  • A spare rear Scout II seat
  • A (mostly) complete Scout II air conditioning setup—IH compressor, cabin unit, and refurbished stock plenum
  • An air cleaner for a V8 (the diameter of the air cleaner opening is too narrow for my Thermoquad)
  • A 1965-66 grille for a D-series pickup (this is the original I bought for the red bus that doesn’t fit).

In order to not make the folks running Nationals mad, I’m going to post them on the Binder Planet with a clear note that I’m bringing them with me to exchange but  that I’m not interested in shipping. I figure the Scout windshield, D grille and maybe the 80 windshield will sell.

Speaking of Nationals, I sent in my registration last week and blocked off my work calendar, so I’ll be headed out to Ohio the first full week of June. I’m planning on leaving Thursday so we get there on Friday with enough time to scope the new venue out (it’s in Springfield this year, not at the Troy airfield) so things will be a bit different. I think we’re staying at the same hotel we always do, however.

In the meantime, I put the Travelall on my Hagerty insurance plan to prepare for a trip to the MVA for a title and plate change. For that process, I need the Vermont paperwork, the bill of sale, and proof of insurance. I’m in no rush there, but it’s good to have it on the policy.

On Tuesday I swapped the aftermarket roof racks from the Scout over to the Travelall in preparation for three solid days of rain; I’m going to lay some boards down over top of the racks and then hang a tarp over the whole thing to keep the cowl and windshield section dry. This is going to be the strategy for keeping her out of the rain until I can remediate those problems, and I figure it’s going to go through some modifications until I get it sorted out. The other bonus is that I can drop some plywood down and sit or lay on the roof rack while I grind out the rust up there, instead of working on a ladder. We’ll see how that goes.

Another package arrived today: a true ’63-’64 grille for the Travelall. This one is indented on either side to avoid the headlight buckets, and the grille pattern should allow for getting one’s hands inside to release the secondary hood latch—the current vertical grille makes that pretty much impossible. It’s not perfect, but perhaps some careful straightening and polishing will get it looking better—and who am I kidding, nothing on the truck looks good right now. Also, I can bolt it in place instead of relying on zip ties.

Looking at the cab floors the other day I investigated a little further and saw that they were both cut out and replaced with flat steel at some point. From what I can see the steel was laid over top of the old floor but I can’t see how it was attached—whether it was welded, glued, or something else. That’s not bad news, actually, because I might be able to cleanly cut out the bad stuff and weld in some good stuff on the driver’s side. The passenger side is the question: it looks like that’s the original floor.

Date posted: March 23, 2023 | Filed under Future Plans, Travelall | Leave a Comment »

Today was about 10˚ colder than yesterday so a lot of the stuff I did was in the garage, out of the wind. Mostly what I focused on was dialing in the sandblasting cabinet, after using it to clean off three sections of the passenger side wheel surround.

What I wound up doing was going to the hardware store and finding a thread-to-barb PVC junction with a big enough lip that I could drill a hole in the center of the cabinet, drop it down and through, and let gravity and the lip hold it in place. I cut the thread off so it’s as low to the bottom as possible and connected a hose to the bottom, then drilled another hole to the front of the cabinet to let the hose back in to connect with the gun. There’s a little hesitation as it flows but the effect is much better; I don’t have to continually stop to move the inlet hose around. I got a bunch of stuff cleaned off and ready for paint, but Eastwood is out of Rust Encapsulator until April. All of this stuff will get a coat of that, two coats of flat black, and one shot of undercoating before it goes back in place.

While I was working in the truck, I pulled the crumbling cardboard glovebox out and took a look behind it at the cowl. That side is much worse than I first thought it was. It’s going to need some serious love at some point—probably pulling the whole dash out and welding in some new metal. For now, I’ll try to patch the cowl from the inside until that day comes.

But in much better news, I realized the fuseblock I bought a week ago is actually correct for this truck—I didn’t understand how it mounted until I really looked at it. Which means I can bench test the whole assembly, clean the contacts up, and use it as a guide (and maybe a wholesale replacement). That’s excellent news; I was really thinking I’d wasted a bunch of money there.

Date posted: March 19, 2023 | Filed under Progress, Travelall | Leave a Comment »

My 9-5 job has ramped up in difficulty and responsibilty over the last couple of months. I’m holding down two jobs while we wait for a new director to be found, and it’s been messing with my sleep and my mental health. I spend most of my days on calls or writing emails to keep things moving from here to there, which is good for the organization but hard on my batteries. So the Travelall has been kind of a lifeline for me this year, even though it’s stranded in the driveway.

Saturday morning I got bundled up in cold-weather gear, gassed up the Scout and drove out to the Howard County Fairgrounds to check out a tool auction, which was both larger and colder than I thought it would be. There was a lot of amazing stuff there, from tables covered in tools to used farm equipment to saplings to lawnmowers. I met my friend Brian H. there and we walked the rows to see if anything caught our eye. This original KC Highliter light bar was tempting—it’s period correct for the Scout—but the rest of the lot didn’t interest me.

Auctions like this are tricky because you can’t just buy one thing—if you want a circular saw you have to also buy the rest of the stuff in the lot: five toolboxes, a space heater, three welding helmets, a gas stove, a box of Christmas decorations, and a bag of mismatched PVC pipe fittings. It’s not worth it unless you’ve got a place to store things or a lot of spare time. So we looked and left.

Back at home, I got to work on the Travelall, first pulling what was left of the old battery tray out and installing the refurbished one I bought from Marketplace. It went in with almost no problems—again, I can’t get over how easy some of these bolts have been to remove. When that was done I stripped the remainder of the window tinting off the windows and cleaned them up with Goof-Off. Vacuuming the inside of the rear doors I put the card back on the driver’s side and pulled the black window trim from each rear door out for an inside evening project.

Moving back to the engine I dumped some gas down the carb and fired it off again, messing with the plugs and the wires. Still no go. But I did notice the gas and amp gauges both working, which means not everything behind the dash is dead. Moving to the passenger fender, I chiseled the locking gas cap off and loosened the bottom of the inlet hose to disconnect it from the gas tank.

The worst bolt on the truck has been the hood support pin on that side, which didn’t want to budge. When I finally pried that off I was able to pull the whole fender off the truck and get a look underneath. Again, everything under there is so clean.

I test-fit the blue fender to see how it looked, knowing that using it as a replacement is pretty much off the table without the fuel inlet mount. If I get really clever I can have sendcutsend cut me two new pieces and weld them together with a rectangular strip to make my own flange, but that would come much later, when I’ve got some welding practice under my belt.

Once I’d test-fit the fender, I put the red one back on and fastened it with about half of the bolts. It’s going to come off a couple more times so that I can properly clean out the inner fenders, redo the shocks, scrape and paint the frame, and rebuild the lighting. On tomorrow’s to-do list is to wire wheel all of the inner fender skirts I removed to gain access to the engine, continue chasing the spark issue down, see if I can sort out more of the under-dash wiring, and maybe look into draining the fuel tank without spilling rancid gas all over the driveway. The gauge reads half-full, which means there would be 9+ gallons in there; I’ll have to see where I can dispose of it.

Date posted: March 18, 2023 | Filed under Progress, Travelall | Leave a Comment »

March has swept in over Maryland and put the deep freeze on everything. I’m still stuck with my ghetto garage, and there’s no room inside to work on the Travelall—nor is it running, meaning I couldn’t get it inside anyway. There is nothing colder than working on a car in a swirling, damp March wind when the sun hasn’t been out in two weeks.

So, looking around for something indoors to fool with, I picked up the mangled, rusty steel license plate/light mount I pried off the rear door. I was going to disassemble it and give it a bath in evaporust, but I realized I had to drill rivets out to get the cover off the light and the two brackets were so mangled and bent the whole thing wasn’t worth saving. I have an LED bracket from the Scout from when I’d wired it on to the swingarm sitting in my parts bin and thought I might see if I could re-use that. I wanted to use the original holes in the door to avoid drilling any more than I needed to, and I don’t have anyplace on the bumper to mount it.

I watched a video a month ago where an engineer built a rapid-fire Nerf gun and mentioned using an online laser-cutting service called SendCutSend, and thought that might come in handy someday. This was a perfect chance to give it a try. After dinner I traced sections on each bracket and started cutting out some cardboard. I eventually came up with a C-shaped bracket design, where the backside mounted to the door and the front to the license plate unit.

I pre-marked four mounting holes and a larger hole for the wiring to exit, and cut the whole thing out. Transferring it to a digital version was pretty quick in Illustrator, and after a few printouts I had the shape I wanted.

Uploading it to SendCutSend I was able to choose my metal type and thickness (galvanized .059″ for this part), specify the two bends I wanted, and specify black powder coating for a finish. All for about $22. The second part I measured and designed was a donut-shaped piece of 18ga. mild steel for the fender, measured 1/8″ smaller than the diameter of the hole, so that I can butt-weld it place.

I emailed to see if there was any way they could dimple the edge of the inside hole the same way the factory fender came, but they can’t. So I ordered a simple blank, and I’ll see if it fits (for $6.90, it’s worth ordering to try out).

Date posted: March 16, 2023 | Filed under Purchasing, Travelall | Leave a Comment »

I got a semi-blurry PDF of the original lineset ticket from the Wisconsin Historical Society today, and as usual, it clears up a lot of questions—but brings up a few more. From what the paper says, this truck was ordered by the Colorado Springs Equipment Company and built in Springfield, OH on February 14, 1963. The sheet specifies a 304 V8 with a T-15 transmission, but Howard Pletcher’s codes indicate that transmission build code means a T 98A 4 speed, which actually makes more sense—from what I can tell by the shift pattern it has four speeds. More investigation is needed, and any theory will be proven when I can actually row through the gears. The engine was set up for “Increased cooling”, which I take to mean it has a larger radiator. It was spec’d for a 52 amp alternator and a 19 gallon right-side fuel tank. It came with Ross TL-52 Manual Steering, which checks out. It had a 12 inch clutch and an IH R-1060 Power Lok rear axle with 4.10 gearing, and was painted 2150 Red. It was also equipped with a “tubular tire carrier”, something I’m not familiar with.

Interestingly, there’s a note at the bottom of the LST that it was to ship with a PTO unit to be mounted later at the delivery destination. I’ve seen no indication of PTO bracketry or controls anywhere, but I’ll have to look again—I don’t know how they would have attached it, if the truck was 2WD from the factory: typically the output shaft for a PTO was driven from the transfer case. I’ll have to take a closer look under the truck again.

So that’s a few more questions answered: a 304 has a little more grunt than a 266—180HP vs. 155 at 4400 RPM, and 304’s are much more common on the ground (and thus easier to get parts for). Chewbacca had a 304 and I loved that engine. Having 4.10 gears means I can probably chirp the tires on takeoff (ha ha) but I’ll be burning more gas per mile on the highway. So maybe a switch to 3.54 gears like Peer Pressure has is a future goal. Aa T-15 transmission is a stout 3-speed synchronized box, which is nice. A T-98 is synchronized from second to fourth gear, just like the T-19 in my Scout. Either way, I’m glad I won’t be crashing through gears like the T-18 in Brian’s Scout.

I also got a big cardboard box in the mail containing a lesson in the shape of a fender and a wire loom. The sheet metal looks really good, except for a dimple at the front and the fact that the cutout for the fuel inlet is twice the normal size; someone used a very precise tool to enlarge the factory hole. Elsewhere it’s in better shape than the fender on the truck, and it can definitely be repaired to replace the one I have, but… at first I thought cutting a donut-shaped section of steel would be be several skill levels above where I currently am, but then I remembered that there are multiple cut-to-order steel suppliers online; all I need is a very good measurement of both the inner and outer hole and I can have a donut laser-cut to size. And that got me excited to buy a welder all over again.

The wire loom looks good, but the fuse panel is clearly larger than the area I have to work with in my dash. I guess they made modifications to the panels in later years. Either way I can’t use this as a bolt-in replacement like I was hoping. The more I think about this, the more I’m resolved to buying a new wiring kit and rewiring the entire truck anyway. I’d like to have some modern amenities in this thing and the ability to add extra accessories, as well as feel comfortable knowing the 60-year-old wiring won’t burn the truck down. I think it should be pretty simple enough to tackle myself, and knowing it’s all bodged up anyway means I’m not “fixing” something that already works.

The lesson I’m learning is that I have to slow down and focus on one thing at a time. I’m getting too obsessed with fixing everything right now instead of picking one job and working on it until it’s done. Peer Pressure spoiled me in that she was running immediately and needed little in the way of repairs; most of her issues were cosmetic. I have to prioritize the important stuff first instead of throwing money at nice-to-have items.

That having been said, I got paid yesterday and ordered the Service Manual from Binder Books so I can start doing some homework while the weather is so cold.

Date posted: March 15, 2023 | Filed under Travelall | 1 Comment »