I had some time to tinker on Saturday, and I got tired of tripping over a big box in the basement containing my windshield gasket. Naturally, I saw this as a sign and brought it out to do a test-fitting. I’ve always been confused as to how this thing gets installed, as it’s a huge circle of rubber with the weight of a Burmese python and the cross-section of West Virginia. Which side is up? Which flap do you fit into the groove on the windshield?

I did some tinkering, looked at an old video I’d saved, and finally solved the puzzle: the flattest, squarest section is in the back (facing the passengers) while the part with 17 folds goes in front. Once the glass is in place, one of those folds tucks down into another fold and forms a self-sealing lock, holding the glass in place.

This was also a good time to make the call on which frame will be the replacement: It’ll be the darker gold frame, which has less rust around the inside lip and elsewhere. I’m going to try to repair some of the rust damage on the lip when I get a welder, and then I have to figure out how to paint it before it goes on. But that would be an excellent project for the summer (and long overdue).

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Date posted: May 16, 2022 | Filed under Future Plans, Repairs, Scout | Comments Off on Gasket

The weather on Saturday was 70 and sunny, so I decided to tackle the turn signal canceler not he steering column. I’ve previously covered how I pulled apart my spare column but this time I took more pictures, and I’ll repeat it here. The only difference between that column and this one is the shape; my  spare has a round horn button while the one on Peer Pressure has a larger triangular horn button.

First, park the truck with the wheels pointed straight. Now unscrew the horn cover: it’s a two-piece mount. There are six screws on the backside that need to come out. From there you should be able to pull it off and see the mount:

Pull the horn leads off (you did disconnect the battery, didn’t you?) and pull the three screws visible out. The mount should come off, leaving this:

Next, unscrew the locking nut off the center bolt (it’s already out in the picture above). Use your steering wheel puller to get the wheel itself off: screw the two long bolts into the holes at 1 and 7 o’clock above, put the center bolt on the head of the nut, and start cinching down.

With that off, you’re looking at the plate that holds all of the guts in place. You need a different tool now to push it down and expose a lockring on the center of the stem. I built my tool out of some steel bar and bench stock bolts:

Use a couple of small flathead screwdrivers to widen the locking enough to slide it up out of the groove, and then slide it off the stem . The plate should come off easily then. You’ll see the turn signal canceling cam:

There should be a post holding a spring sticking out of the cam. Grab the spring and pull the cam off. (The post on mine was cracked and broken; this could be why mine wasn’t working).

From here you’ve got to unscrew both the turn signal lever at 9 o’clock and the hazard button at about 4 o’clock. Next, there are three bolts that hold the entire lever assembly in place—you’ll have to use the selector to move the assembly to reach all three.

Now, scoot down below the column and find the wire harness on the right side. Carefully unclip the smaller section of the two from the larger with a flathead screwdriver and push it aside. The entire lever assembly should now be free to pull up through the column. Take note of how it snakes down through the collar and mount, because you have to feed the new one through the same way.

Visually, there isn’t anything wrong with my stock harness. The plastic isn’t completely exploded like the spare was; I have no idea why it wasn’t working correctly, but I suspect it had something to do with the cam being broken. I did notice there’s a spring missing at about 9 o’clock in the picture below, which I never found in the column. Regardless, I fed the new one down through the mounts and clipped it back into place on the column.

Then, I used some steel wool to clean the rust off the turn signal lever and put that back in place.

From there, it’s just reassembling what you just took apart, in the right order. Remember how you parked with the wheels straight? make sure you align the wheel up correctly (I aligned mine in a Y shape so that I can see the dashboard through the top of the spokes).

Hooking the battery back up, the truck roared back to life, and both of the turn signals now cancel as advertised! My days of puttering along in the middle lane with my blinker on are (hopefully) over with.

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Date posted: April 30, 2022 | Filed under Repairs, Scout, Steering, steering column | Comments Off on Canceled

While babysitting a brisket on the smoker Saturday morning, I took an impact gun out to the garage and separated the hardware from the cushions on the black bench seat I’d bought a couple of weeks ago. The hinges were all pretty beat up so I figured I’d put them in the blast cabinet and clean them off, then wire wheeled everything to get it ready for paint. It took a little doing but I was able to punt the pin out on the latching mechanism to add some tension back to the spring. With that done I hung the parts in the garage and hit them with etching primer. They’ll sit and cure for a couple of days before paint, and in a week or two I can reassemble the bench and get it ready for installation.

I also wire wheeled the locking ring on the old steel gas tank, then used a hammer and screwdriver to spin it free. Pulling the old fuel sender revealed a rusted, corroded mess that looked like it had been dropped and “repaired” with a homemade filter at some point. Both electrical contacts looked completely shot, and the wire wasn’t even attached. Inside the tank looks remarkably clean—there’s a remanufacture label on the outside, and the inside is coated with some kind of sealant. I think it should be pretty easy to drop the plastic tank and replace it with the original, and hopefully I’ve got a usable rubber seal left on the plastic tank—that sender is only six or seven years old and should be just fine. I cleaned up the metal ring on the tank and hit it with some rust encapsulator. And the outside of this tank has a date with the wire wheel and some spray-on undercoating before I worry about swapping it out.

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Date posted: February 27, 2022 | Filed under Repairs, Scout | Comments Off on Sunday Puttering

I got a big box from IH Parts America this week with two key items: a new windshield gasket and a turn signal switch assembly. I’ll have to drag one of the spare windshield frames into the basement and practice putting it in with the lesser of the three spare windshields I’ve got. It’s definitely a warm weather project but I’m excited to finally upgrade from my rock-tumbled ghetto glass.

At first glance the turn signal part is exactly the same as the one in my spare steering column, so I got back to rebuilding the spare column.

When last we left my steering wheel teardown, I’d been able to get the steering wheel off, then pull the jam nut (M14/1.5) off the spindle and expose the plate that covers up the guts of the column.

In order to get this plate out, you have to use another tool to depress it and expose a lock ring around the column, which took me several minutes with a pair of screwdrivers to get off.

With that plate out of the way, the next step is to take the turn signal disc out (the blue cylinder at the top). Jimmy it out with a screwdriver (GENTLY) and it should pop out.

And this is what I was faced with (on the spare column). I was hoping this one would be intact because I would be able to swap it into the column on Peer Pressure, but sadly one of the horns on the bottom half of the assembly broke off along with a twisted metal contact that mounted to something somewhere. That muddy, rusty mess at the 5’oclock position is all that remains of the metal contacts that help the switching mechanism sit in place. The mechanism itself was twisted into pieces and had fallen down underneath the main assembly.

I had to order an entirely new assembly and drop it into place—I went with a Light Line vendor, but the part is available on RockAuto for less: GM 1997985, which is the turn signal cam assembly for Scouts from mid 1977 and above (This spare column came from the 1978 I parted out in Flintstone).

The new part popped right onto place; you feed the wires back down through the column the same way they came out. The only thing I had to do was use an X-Acto blade to trim some extra plastic away from the divot where the turn lever bolts into place.

Now, the tricky part. The blue ring goes back in place, and what I found was that I had to align the divot on the top half with the one unsplined section of the shaft. You’ll notice on the retaining ring that there’s one tooth missing, so it only goes on the shaft one way. When it’s lined up properly the spring cup on the blue ring goes on just as it came out in my picture.

Then I use my ghetto depressing tool to push the retaining ring down in order to put the snap ring in place. This is where I’m stopping right now, as I’d like to use the new part in Peer Pressure, which means I have to pull it back out of this spare column and button everything up. And I’m not going to tear the column in my working truck until the temperature gets back up over 60˚, so I’m stalled for the time being.

Meanwhile, Mike at ScoutCo posted a handy little video on Instagram about how to pull the old lock out of a traveltop latch:

 

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Which is great, because I didn’t know about the little retaining clip until I watched this. I’ve got my spare latch on the workbench soaking in PBblaster, and I’m waiting to go down and follow his directions. It would be cool to have a locking latch on my Scout for the first time ever…

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Date posted: January 30, 2022 | Filed under Purchasing, Repairs, Scout | Comments Off on New Parts

Wing windows on Scouts tend to break in three different places: the metal bar spanning the bottom of the mount (under the rubber) rusts and splits in half, usually around the spring. The inside latch breaks off at the base after years of opening and closing. Or, the hinge on the outside breaks off at one of the welds. The passenger side hinge broke on Peer Pressure’s window a few years ago. I’ve been meaning to replace it for a while now—I’d actually bought a replacement at Nationals in 2019. Saturday I figured I’d break the door down and get the new one in place.

I’ve actually got several spares. The one from Nats was crudely re-welded at some point, and the rubber is cracked in several places. I have a spare wing set from another parts haul but the metal bar is shot. The windows on the red doors look good, but the latch is busted on the passenger side. The wing unit on the Flintstone Scout doors look great: the rubber is in excellent shape, the chrome is perfect, and the latches work. Figuring this was the best option, I broke the passenger door down  and got inside, and it was at this point I found that the metal track was rusted and probably stuck to the bottom track.

Sidebar: in order to remove windows from a Scout, you first have to unbolt and pull the wing windows out. Their frames integrate the top section of track that the main window follows upward as it closes; this track slides into a lower half that’s bolted into the door. Then you roll the window down, detach it from the scissor mechanism, and pull it out. Be careful with the scissor mechanism.

Because I was in a bit of a rush, I figured I’d use the Nats window and get it installed, and let the Flintstone door soak in PB blaster until I can get to it.

Getting the broken unit out was the hardest part. On paper, it’s easy. There are three bolts: one behind the silver button on the inside of the door, and two on the front side of the door above the top hinge. Lay some painter’s tape over the paint and use a 5-in-1 tool and a hammer to pop the button off. Two of the bolts are easy to remove but the top bolt above the hinge is tricky because there isn’t much room to get a socket inside the door and keep it attached to a ratchet; you have to pray it loosens by hand or pull the whole door off. Usually the bolts fall inside the door. I have a $2 Harbor Freight magnet for this situation.

Then it took a lot of coaxing, some PB blaster, lithium grease, and a good suggestion from Finn to get the window frame broken free and moving upwards—rain collects in the space between the tracks and welds them together with rust; this is the issue with the Flintstone doors. With proper leverage and a wood block, we worked it all the way out. I put that aside, greased the tracks, and used a rubber mallet to tap the replacement into place. Then I finger-tightened the bolts and tightened them with sockets.

So now there’s a latching wing window on the truck, but it looks shitty from the outside. At some point I’m going to start replacing broken parts with clean new ones; I just don’t know when that’s going to happen.

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Date posted: October 10, 2021 | Filed under Repairs, Scout | Comments Off on Winged

Dangerous driving selfie

I’ve been putting a lot of miles on the Scout this summer, and she’s been running exceptionally well for me. My records show that I’ve put 1133 miles on since I went to Nationals, but as I’ve mentioned before my speedo calibration is wrong. If I do the math for my latest trip back from Chestertown, Google tells me my route from my last fillup was 87.5 miles. My odometer reads 77 miles. If I redo the ratio I worked out a couple of years ago I now come up with 100 miles true to 88 miles indicated (vs. 100 true to 78 indicated). When I apply that to the mileage recorded in my notebook, that works out to 2528 miles since the beginning of the year.

Doing some sleuthing, it looks like there’s a fuse blown or some other electrical gremlin between the switch on the dash and the wiper motor; the motor itself works fine when I put 12 volts to the contacts. From what I’ve read, the wiper switch itself has a breaker, and the switch doesn’t go through the fuse panel. I’ve put in a replacement switch from a different Scout to see if that fixed anything but I’ve still had no luck, so I’ll have to keep looking.

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Date posted: September 19, 2021 | Filed under Repairs, Scout | Comments Off on Revised Math

I got back from Nationals with shitty front brakes, a leaky gas tank, and a bunch of new parts to play with. First, I made a couple of calls and got brake work under control.

The gas vent line was probably the easiest win, so I sourced a brass barb fitting from Lowe’s and 4′ of 3/8″ gas line from NAPA with a new plastic filter. Swapping out the brass plug for the barb was easy, and the gas line went on quickly. I brought the line up into the driver’s rear fender, gaining access through the cover behind the spare tire, and lopped off about 1′ of the hose. Capping that with the filter, I zip-tied it to the other vent hose to keep it upright and buttoned everything up. Hopefully the tank will vent a bit smoother now, at least until I can sort out the larger issue with the sender.

At Nats, Brian and I brainstormed a way to add snap barrels to the back of the tailgate so that I can snap the back of the soft top closed, and after I sourced the small hardware (6/32″ stainless screws and nylock nuts) I drilled into the aftermarket aluminum diamond plate. There’s a divot in the top of the tailgate that the nuts tuck into neatly without touching the sheet metal; it wasn’t until Brian pointed that out that I realized the solution was that simple. D’oh! (Now I have to get the zippers fixed).

That left the windshield wiper issue as the next big problem, which I was not looking forward to diagnosing. I also needed to re-align the wiper arms on the windshield, and a little research revealed they are simple to remove and easy to reinstall. Taking the cowl cover off confirmed my suspicion that the linkage from the motor to the wiper arm had come loose—this has happened before.

A trip to the Ace Hardware provided a quintet of e-clips in the right size, and I pulled the motor out completely to reattach the arm. Years ago I’d pulled it out and was never able to get it back in completely, so this time I focused on figuring out the secret trick of tucking the end of the bracket around the mount under the cowl. It’s now snugged tight with two bolts in the correct position. Then I had to fight to re-attach the first arm to the second linkage, which is always a treat.

With that done, I started diagnosing the wipers themselves; there is no response in the motor when I turn the switch at all. I have a 12-volt bench tester, so while the motor was out I confirmed that it’s not smoked; it revolved freely. A voltage tester hooked to the ground wire shows there’s no power coming through from the switch on the dash, so now I’m trying to pull the switch out and source a replacement.

While I was out on errands I stopped at the Harbor Freight to pick up a cheap stepped drill bit that went wider than 1″ diameter. The new glove box lockset from Binder Boneyard is a plastic barrel that’s much wider than the stock metal unit, so I had to open up the factory hole and grind off the two threaded studs on the backside of the glove box door. (Fun fact: I realized I have four spare glovebox doors when I went looking for another part in my bins).

This took all of about 15 minutes. Then I had to adjust the crappy metal tab I’d made to replace the catch on the inside of the glove box; apparently my dash is from a particularly boozy Friday shift in Fort Wayne, and does not feature the same loop catch found in all of the other Scout II’s I’ve ever seen or parted out. Once that was done and I had it fastened in the right place, the door closes snug to the dashboard and now features a lock! I’d like it a little more if it was made out of metal but for the price it can’t be beat, and anything that’s truly valuable is going to get locked into the Tuffy console or the ammo box in back anyway.

The final thing I did was to drill a single hole in the grille for my new (used) INTERNATIONAL badge, add some good 3M double-sided auto tape, and mount it to the sheetmetal in the proper position. She looks like a whole new truck!

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Date posted: August 23, 2021 | Filed under Repairs, Scout | Comments Off on Little Things

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…

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Date posted: August 17, 2021 | Filed under Repairs, Scout, Trip Logs | Comments Off on Nationals Recap, Part 2

Today I got a bunch of maintenance done on the Scout in preparation for the trip to Ohio. The two big things I wanted to knock out were draining and replacing the oil in the transmission and the transfer case, which had last been changed about ten years ago. The Scout has been leaking more these days. I don’t know exactly where it’s coming from, but I’ve been a little worried it’s from one of those two places, and the only way to find out was to see if they were empty or not.

I started with the transmission first, and when the drain plug came out it looked like it was pretty full and the oil was dark but not black. There were no shavings in the pan, and the end of the plug was clean—a great sign. I used a $10 pump to add 4 quarts of 50W racing oil back in. Unfortunately, the information I’d found last night was wrong: It only takes 3.5 quarts, so I spilled a pint of it on the driveway when it came back out. Great.

Next up was the transfer case, and this time I was ready for spillage. The oil in there looked about the same, and it wasn’t low. Pulling the transmission tunnel cover made it easier to pump oil back into the case from the top, even though the hose kept on wanting to pop off the pump spout after everything got slippery. I poured the old oil in a container to be recycled and stored the remainder.

When that was done I showed Finn how to loosen the bolts on top of each front shock and we added rubber bushings above the shock mount. Apparently mine had disintegrated, and Lee pointed that out last week, pulling two used bushings from his shelf and handing them to me. Then I pulled out the death wheel and chopped a length of the comically long U-bolts holding my front shocks on. Lee had recommended that simple fix—I was prepared to buy a new set of heavy-duty bolts to replace them, but had never considered just cutting them. My plan is to find some fine-thread nuts that will fit and use those to clean up the threads of the bolts in case I need to remove or adjust things.

I also got a mechanical fuel pump from Rock Auto to carry as a spare, so that got added to the expedition list and will go in the lockbox out back with the spare coil, rotor and distributor cap, wires, belts, and fluids.

I got on the phones this week and called around to find someone to help with the bearings; my search led to Erick, an old friend from my early Scout days who worked on Chewbacca. He’s in Annapolis and has the time to help get them installed next week. I’ve got a pair on order from IHPA due to arrive on Tuesday, so hopefully he can get them installed next week.

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Date posted: August 1, 2021 | Filed under Repairs, Scout | Comments Off on Road Prep, Part 1

I walked out to the garage on Saturday fully expecting to fire up the Scout and go for some supplies, and…the starter barely cranked over. All the air drained out of me like a leaky pool float. Annoyed, I put the trickle charger on the battery with the cables to the truck disconnected, and took care of some housework. An hour later, it still wouldn’t crank, so I put them back on and waited two hours—with the same result. I thought I’d try swapping the old starter out for the new one in the off chance that was the issue, so I put the tow strap on the CR-V and pulled the Scout out of the garage so that I could take the tire off and have level ground to work on. I’m getting pretty fast at swapping starters out, and I’ve now added a 9mm wrench for the ignition lead to my toolkit.

That, of course, did not change anything, so I put the smaller Honda battery in the Scout and found that it fired right up.

At this point, I’ve got two possible culprits:

  1. There’s a parasitic drain on the battery from something that has suddenly appeared; perhaps a critter got into the wiring in the last couple of weeks.
  2. I mistakenly reversed the polarity of the trickle charger and messed the battery up.

Because time was of the essence, I figured I’d solve for #2 and bought another new battery, which was not a cheap solution—but I didn’t have time to chase down wiring issues with other projects waiting. Once I put the new battery in, she fired right up. I let her sit overnight and she started easily on Sunday morning, so I put about 20 miles on her running errands.

On my way, I spied a new Scout sitting at the shop up the street, so I drove up to the back lot and peeked around. He’s moved the stuff that was there and pulled in some new trucks: the thing that caught my eye at once was a beautiful, beat up Metro that I think I’ve seen online in classifieds.

There was a red Scout that looked good from one side and kind of terrible from another—minus axles, engine, and front clip, and covered in interesting speed parts stickers. The inner fenders were in really nice shape but the more I looked the sketchier it got.

Near that was a 1980 in rust-colored primer, which looked like it was in very good shape from the outside. Peeking inside showed it was a manual with bucket seats, but I didn’t see any diesel badges.

Conscious that I was trespassing, I was careful to stay away from them as much as possible, shoot some quick pictures, and then leave quietly. I figure driving a Scout up to see other Scouts means I’m not just some rando, but I don’t want to piss anyone off, and it’s not hard to find the guy in the purple Scout around here. The rest of the trip went without a hitch, and I was able to slide 4 sheets of 4’x8′ beadboard in the back, using several bits of scrap wood to make sure nothing got scratched or dented.

The plan now is to let her sit in the garage until Thursday with the new battery connected, and if she starts without a problem I’ll call this fixed. If she doesn’t, then I’ve got to pull her back out and chase down a parasitic drain, the concept of which does not fill me with joy.

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Date posted: May 3, 2021 | Filed under Inspiration, Repairs, Scout | Comments Off on Back On the Road