So plans have changed a bit and we’re headed back down to Lexington Park for more work at my Father in law’s. In looking at the Chrysler in the garage I’ve been putting together a plan to resurrect it, carefully, without blowing up the motor. Here’s a rough outline of the approach:
- Turn the crank pulley and see if the engine turns. If not—and in any case—on to step 2:
- Pull the spark plugs and pour Marvel Mystery Oil down the cylinders. I was able to get my spare 345 in the garage freed up and moving again with this technique, and I hope to god the Chrysler block isn’t frozen solid.
- Pull the carburetor off the engine, cover the inlet, and bring it home for soaking and a rebuild. Well, I’ve actually got several options here—
- I can rebuild it as best as I can to get things moving.
- I can buy a replacement Edelbrock or other aftermarket carb to drop on top of the engine, and get it running reliably.
- I can buy a rebuilt Carter AFB (the stock carb) from an online vendor and swap it onto the engine.
…At this point a rebuild is the cheapest option and I don’t need to have it run perfectly, just enough to get onto a trailer or move under its own power.
- Jack it up and put it on stands so we can pull the wheels off and have new tires put on. All four tires are completely shot, so this is mandatory. Plus then we can sweep underneath and see what’s going on with the exhaust and frame. One thing to remember: The driver side has left-hand threads and the passenger side has right-hand threads.
- Install the alternator. We found the original alternator in the trunk, removed at some previous time, and I have no idea what’s wrong with it. A $40 replacement from Rock Auto is packed and ready to put in.
- Drain and replace the oil. God only knows what’s in it, and it’s a quart overfull anyway. So that’ll come out and be refreshed.
- Test the ignition system for spark. I have no idea what condition the coil or points are in, so I’ll bring a spare set of plug wires from the Scout down in case one or more are garbage.
I put the pod on the roof of the CR-V this morning so that we can throw the useless tires up there and bring them back up here; I’ll order four new tires and have them mounted and balanced locally, then bring them back down and put them back on. I’m going to try and get through as much of the list as I can—I’ll probably only get up to #4 before we run out of time.
I finally got around to updating the idiotking post count in an interactive visualization instead of a flat graphic. I’m going to see if I can find a way to overlay the category counts next.
I’ve been working on some sketching projects at work which required me to lower my desk chair, bust out the pencils, and get close to the drawings I was making. After a short while working without glasses, I put my progressive safety glasses on and used those to switch back and forth between the drawings and my computer monitor. Those glasses work OK, but I look like a total dork if I have to take a call wearing them.
Warby Parker made me new progressives and shipped them on February 22nd by USPS. When I check on it with their tracking service, it arrived at the Baltimore sorting station three days later and hasn’t moved since. No updates, no movement, no nothing. USPS offers an “extended tracking service” which I’m sure would provide me absolutely zero further detail; I’m going to call Warby Parker on Monday and see if there’s anything they can do—but I’m not holding my breath.
Meanwhile, a friend recommended me to her client for a quick linework illustration job that I knocked out in a couple of hours this afternoon. I like making extra money on the side.
I made a list of projects to tackle around the house this year in my notebook the other night before I went to bed, mainly as an excuse to collect them all and quell anxiety:
- New basement windows. I’ve been back and forth with my rep this week waiting for her to get the quote correct, but when that comes in I’ll sign off and get it paid for. I’m told it’ll be 4-6 weeks for delivery, just in time for some warmer weather.
- Find a fixed basement window with a dryer vent. I really don’t want to close off the window over the washing machine with glass block, but we may have no choice.
- Basement step rebuild. The concrete pad right outside our basement door has been tilted toward the house since we moved in, allowing for rainwater to spill over the edge of the stairwell and flood our basement doorwell. This pad needs to be broken up and removed, and the yard regraded away from the house. I’m going to mix a couple of bags of concrete and pour a higher threshold for the stairwell while I’m at it.
- Bust out the concrete walkway out back. Running over the walkway with an eight ton boom lift broke it up into lots of portable chunks, so it should be easy to lift and haul away.
- Clean up the treeline behind the greenhouse. This is a Sisyphean task that never seems to amount to much, but it’s got to get done. I think I need to nuke it all with Round-Up and then take the mattock to the earth. Or maybe rent a tiller…
- Repair and paint the garage. It’s never been painted since we’ve lived here, and the front “doors” make it look like we’re cooking meth inside. I’m going to pull the front off, reinforce the doorframes, and build new doors that look and work better. Then the whole thing will get sprayed to match the house.
- Pressure wash and paint both rear porches. This didn’t get done with the rest of the house last spring; both of them need a freshening up.
- Finish scraping the outside windows. There are a couple at ground level that need some attention, but everything on the second floor got painted properly with the boom lift.
- Polish the headlights on both Hondas. I did this for the CR-V three years ago and it made a huge difference, but the plastic has broken down again and fogged over. Time to buy another kit and have at it.
I saw an ad pop up on Marketplace a month and a half ago for a Scout that looked like someone had stepped on it. The body had been removed behind the B pillars and they put the traveltop over what was left, giving it the appearance of having been flattened. The ad didn’t say much but mentioned that it was available for parts at a used car dealer, so I filed that away in the back of my head. This past week I figured I’d give the guy a call and see what was there. From what he said nothing had been pulled yet, and the rig was in reasonably good shape, having just come from inside someone’s garage as a stalled project. So I packed up the CR-V and took Finn up to York for an early morning parts run.
The main reason I was up there was to get a spare heater box so I can rehab it on the bench this winter; I gotta have something to do with my hands. The second thing I wanted were the hubs; I’ve got one spare hub that doesn’t match the one on my truck and this one did. We backed the CR-V up as close as we could get and unloaded my tools. After hitting the various bolts with PB Blaster, I handed Finn an allen wrench to pull the bolts from the passenger’s side hub while I got the bolts off the heater box. With those gone and the hoses cut, it came out pretty quickly and it looks really good—there’s little to no rust on the metal at all. I drained the coolant and threw it in the back of the CR-V.
Then I helped Finn with the hub. The outer shell came off easily, and after pulling the snap ring on the inside the second section popped right off. The driver’s side was a different story, though. The hex bolts didn’t want to budge, even after a bath of PB Blaster, and I didn’t want to strip them. It was colder in the shade, and there was only a tiny bit of room in between the Scout and the van next to it. If I’d had more time, 2 extra feet and zero wind chill I would have tried drilling the bolts out, but I was too cold to bother with it.
I did grab the dash pad, which is black and looks very nice save some delamination at the top; I figure even in this shape I’d make my money back. The traveltop is roached. Both sills under the windows were lousy with rust. The doors were tucked under that, and from the looks of things someone had done some quick rust abatement on the bottom edges that didn’t look too bad. Sitting on the driver’s side floor were two boxes of parts that had been pulled while it was being stripped. The majority of it was stuff I already had two or more of (I can control my hoarding, I swear) so I left it there.
But two soggy NOS International boxes caught my eye: One held a brand new metal taillight housing, gasket and lens and the other held a front turn signal with the same parts. These are rare as hen’s teeth and the new repro’s are expensive. So I grabbed those too.
On our way out I spied the cowl sitting in the bed of a pickup truck nearby, and in front of that, a beautiful black fold-and-tumble rear seat. I hemmed and hawed over this last piece—it would look great as a replacement for the brown seat in Peer Pressure. I’ve already got a spare seat in the garage, but I’d love to standardize on all black for the passenger section. Ultimately I left it there, but I think I’ll call him back in a couple of weeks and see if he’s willing to deal. Overall I’m very happy with what I’ve got here, and I’m looking forward to cracking into this heater box as well as rehabbing the spare hub. And as cold as it was today (and it was colder in York), it was fun to get outside and spin a few wrenches.
This picture of a pie on fresh snowfall represents the only pictures I took the whole time I was in New York; I completely failed to pull my camera out for anything else other than taking a picture of the login details on Mom’s FIOS router. We had a great time; Finn and I drove up while Jen stayed home with the dog, and Renie cooked dinner for the family at her place. We had a delicious smoked turkey with stuffing, potatoes, peas, and cranberry sauce. Then we all rolled in to the living room and napped in front of the football games while Keighty wandered in and out of the room looking for leftovers on the floor.
The rest of the weekend was super quiet. We stuck around Mom’s house and hung out, mostly, until we decided the backlight on her TV was going out, and drove out to Costco to buy her a new one for Christmas. It took Renie and I only about an hour to get a new mount installed on the wall and the TV hung, and All Was Right With The World. There was a re-awakening of Dungeons & Dragons to keep Finn occupied, and I led she and Renie around The Keep on the Borderlands slaying goblins until their characters were almost dead.
It was blowing light snow for the last two days we were there, which was a nice way to usher in winter, even if it made the first hour of our drive south wet and messy. But we got on the road early and got home with no problems. The CR-V took us 700+ miles with no problems, and is now at the garage getting long-needed work done to the front struts. The front end was sounding more and more like a NYC taxi every day; this is an expensive repair but one that will hopefully keep the old girl on the road a while longer. Sometime early in the New Year she’ll go back in for new control arms and bushings, but that’s another paycheck away.
I’ve been getting to sleep at 9PM for the past couple of days in an effort to get over this cold. This morning was the first time I woke up with a clearer head and sinus system, although the tickle in my throat is still present. Another day of cold medicine and hot tea, and another good evening’s rest and I think I might be able to kick this thing. I don’t want to bring a cold up to Mom’s house for the holiday, and I would like to get some work done on the bus this weekend. Plus the family is volunteering for another food drive tomorrow morning, and I want to give 100% while I’m there.
It was 70˚ yesterday before the storm blew through so I took a quick break at lunchtime to hose the used CR-V floor mat down with Simple Green and blast it with the pressure washer. It’s definitely cleaner, but the smell of that car air freshener stuff is still present. I think
it’s going to sit outside for a couple of weeks to let the air and UV rays burn off the smell, I’ll wait for another warm day and try this trick, and then it should be ready for the car.
On FBM earlier this week an ad went up offering several International D-series trucks and one sad Scout, warning that they would only be there until the weekend and then they’d go to the crusher. I reached out to the guy asking for some details and better pics of the Scout, and he and Bennett and I traded some messages until Friday, when he told us he’d dropped them off at his local pick and pull lot because the County was after him. Bennett and I hatched a rescue mission after my original plans for the weekend fell through, and today we made the trip.
The northern part of Maryland is absolutely beautiful this weekend, and the ride was relatively short to boot. The weather forecast called for rain in the afternoon so I repacked my tools in the CR-V. We were on the road by 7:30 and made it to the field an hour later.
The rigs were all crowded around the bottom of the intake area next to the crusher. After talking with the yard folks we carried some tools inside, waited for them to move things with a huge forkloader, and started picking. There were 4 D series trucks for Bennett to choose from: a flatbed, a pickup, a cab with no bed, and a bed with no cab. The most desirable piece from any of the trucks, a D Series hood in immaculate shape, had been removed and lay under the chopped cab on the floor of the flatbed—ouch. Bennett set to work freeing the only good fender on any of the trucks while I set to work pulling the grille from the Scout.
The Scout looked better in the photos (they always do) but had been crunched in the tailgate, leaving little good sheetmetal to pick from. The doors were trashed, the fenders were shot, and the traveltop, which looked clean in the pics, was too crusty to save (I had been thinking about how I could get it off and get it home if it had been in good shape). Most of the interior bits I’ve already got, and these were all Bordello Red to boot. Maybe the original radio would have been smart to grab, or the dashpad. I’ve got two A/C units now so I don’t need another. And there wasn’t enough time to break the doors down, although the hinge on the driver’s side broke as I tried to open it.
At about 11AM rainclouds rolled in and we spent an hour in a miserable downpour, covering our tools with tarps and trying to stay out of the muddy water running down the hill in rivulets. All of the bolts on the grille came off with little effort save two that were too rusted to secure with a pair of vice-grips. I borrowed a sawzall from the yard guys and chopped at the bolts until I could pound a smaller socket on them to grab. With those off, the whole piece came off cleanly with two of the three chrome trim rings and both headlight surrounds.
I got a clean passenger’s side fiberglas top insert (both of mine have been split on the bottom to get around the rollbar), two tailgate latch assemblies, a pile of steel marker lights, one good rear taillight bucket, two horns, a pile of emblems, and other miscellania. I forgot to grab the traveltop bolts over the windshield. It would have taken another couple of hours to grab other good things—the fan shroud (the rest of the engine looked like it had been soaking in salt water for a decade), the seat bases, gauges, switchgear, and steering wheel.
Bennett made out with a good driver’s fender, a pile of hubcaps, trim rings, side trim and other emblems, two hubs, IH-branded cab lights and side mirrors, and a pile of other stuff. If we weren’t cold, wet and hungry we could have stuck it out for another couple of hours, but we were all of those things and we are old. Up in the lot he was able to get a replacement taillight for his CR-V, and in the same car we found a Honda-branded rubber mat for the back of mine.
All told, the trip was cheap and fun, and it was great to hang out with Bennett and get dirty and not draw any blood wrenching on old rusty trucks. He’s got a line on some more near here that he’s trying to pin down, and if he can, another trip will be in the works.
Having spent a month working on the bus with Brian, I found myself wishing I had a more purpose-built vehicle for the trip and for the work. Driving the Scout was awesome, of course, and it’s easy to throw heavy tools in the back and hit the road. But I’m always worried about rain getting tools and the truck wet, and until I get the electrical, wipers and fuel gauge sorted out, I’m going to be preoccupied with the weather report instead of enjoying the ride.
We bought our current cars to transport our family with the most available room and the best possible gas mileage, but a gray sedan does not make hauling tools or drywall easy—in this I have firsthand knowledge. The CR-V does great for a lot of things but it’s not fair to Jen for me to be stealing that all the time, given that she has no love for the Accord.
Looking ahead to the next vehicle in our future, I have been seriously considering a pickup of some kind—but not a Texas-size mall crawler. There are several medium-sized pickups on the market right now that look really good: the Tacoma has always been an attractive option, of not trendy, and Ford just re-introduced the Ranger. Both offer quad cabs and several trim packages that would fit our needs well. I’m not looking for a lifted overland-kitted expedition vehicle, but something with all-wheel drive would be nice. Ford offers a stripper version of the Ranger with rubber flooring and base-level accessories but I bet we’d never see one of those in the wild without special ordering it. I’d like something that offers reasonable gas mileage, seats four people, and maybe even has a manual transmission (the Ranger doesn’t have this yet, but the Tacoma does).
I do a daily search for Scout parts in my area on the off chance something good will show up, and that search usually includes whole vehicles. I stumbled across an ad for a 1966 International D1200 pickup that is just the right amount of beat-up without being disgusting. The common vintage car term for it these days is ‘patina’ but it just looks like a well-worn International to me. It’s a V8, it’s a manual, and it’s a longbed. I don’t see a second stick present, so it’s rear-wheel drive, like God intended. The top of the cab looks clean, the dash is in good shape, and look at that bench seat!
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks thinking about this truck and trying to put it out of my head. I don’t have anyplace to store it under cover. There’s a good chance the brakes on this rig are built with parts I wouldn’t be able to replace—and I’m not that interested in an axle swap. International D-series sheetmetal is rarer than hen’s teeth on the east coast. The tailgate looks pretty crusty. There’s a line of rust around the rear fenders all the way around the truck. There are no pictures of the rockers, door pillars, or cab corners—the most likely places for this truck to rot. There is no picture of the bed itself, which means it could be made of road signs and roofing tar.
But god, would I love to load this thing up with a toolbox and Jen and Hazel and take it to the landscapers’ and fill the bed with bushes or mulch or dirt and haul it all home. And I could see Jen driving it as well.
I drove out to my friend Dave’s house in Flintstone Sunday morning to see if there was anything else I could pick off the Scout II and Scout 80 he’s got beached up on the hill behind his house. Picking parts is fun but also like walking into a loop in the time-space continuum: after the first two hours, you think you’re ahead of the game. By 4 o’clock, you’re racing the setting sun and scrambling to do a cost-benefit analysis to gauge what’s worth pulling before you have to leave, and you still have to figure out how to stuff it all in the vehicle you brought.
Both times I’ve been there before I scrambled for the whole day to pull as much as I could in the time that I had, and I always left thinking, “dammit, I meant to grab ____ and ____ and ____.” Looking over the photos before I left, I knew there wasn’t a ton of stuff left, but there were some things worth going back for. Scouts on the East Coast are getting rarer and rarer on the ground, so I’m trying to get what I can while it’s still available. Dave is a nice guy and knows his stuff isn’t going to roll across the stage at Mecum, so he’s fair on price and happy to lend a hand or grab a tool.
Originally I was going to drive the Scout, so I put the traveltop back on Friday night and prepped a set of recovery tools. When that was done I installed the liftgate gas struts from IH Parts America and marveled at how much nicer they feel than the old mechanical lift. I also put the pod on the roof of the CR-V to hedge my bets. The forecast was wishy-washy about rain and I didn’t want to drive out in the Scout if I was going to get caught in a downpour.
The morning looked lousy so I loaded up the CR-V and hit the road a little after 8. Dave hasn’t sold anything since the last time I was up there, so I was able to pick up right where I’d left off. I walked around both trucks and hit all of the target areas with PB blaster before I busted out the impact driver and a new set of bits. Over the course of the day I was able to grab:
- The entire dash assembly with all wiring and mechanical switches
- The windshield glass (the frame is beyond toast)
- Both slider windows
- The rear liftgate with glass—it’s not perfect, but it’s better than the spare I have, and has hinges
- Both door strikers (I’d tried to get these last time, but the impact driver today was clutch)
- The A/C box
- The hood catch/release mechanism
- The passenger fender—it’s crispy in areas but might be worth repairing in the future. This took too much time to remove.
- An entire Scout 80 folding windshield with glass (score!)
- Other bits and bobs I can’t remember
I had the hood off the 80 and ready to load up, but Dave asked to keep it over the engine to keep the rain off. I also asked him about the 80 doors but he was keeping those for parts for his running truck.
On the dammit, I meant to list:
- I tried my best to pull the dashboard from the 80 but it’s fastened with some of the largest, stickiest Phillips-head screws I’ve ever dealt with. I want the IH speedometer BAD but couldn’t figure out how to get that without destroying it.
- I also tried to get the steering wheel assembly out but was stymied by several bolts down at the steering box and one up under the fender.
- The cowl was cut for a plow years ago, but I tried to get that too. There are several bolts inside the fenders that were rusted solid. If I ever go back I’ll ask Dave if I can Sawzall it off the front.
- On the Scout II I got stuck pulling the emergency brake assembly off—the brakes are likely frozen and I couldn’t get any slack to release the cable.
- The transmission tunnel cover—the automatic shift lever assembly gave me fits
- I meant to grab the power steering pump but ran out of time there as well.
I was pretty amazed that I was able to fit it all in the CR-V; if I’d taken that hood and door it would have been a very tight fit. As it was the pod came in super-handy: I put both the liftgate and the 80 windshield up there, freeing up space for the other bulky stuff in back. Driving home, covered in grease, PB blaster and dirt, I was happy to have gone back out and grabbed some of the last best junk before the snow started blowing and it all rusted away even further.