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).

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Date posted: March 16, 2023 | Filed under Purchasing, Scout, Travelall | Comments Off on Fold, Assemble

I got a nice little package in the mail this afternoon:

So part 1 of the title quest is complete; now I have to trade the Vermont registration for a Maryland title, and be issued new Maryland plates. But not just any Maryland plates. I’m going to do the same thing I did with the Scout: buy a set of 1964 plates on eBay and have the title point to those.

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Date posted: March 13, 2023 | Filed under Scout, Travelall | Comments Off on Legal!

I took advantage of some moderately warm weather and a mostly sunny day to get outside and attack some rust on the Travelall on Saturday. The first thing I did was get inside and start pulling the stupid running lights off the top of the roof over the barn doors; this required several different sockets, a pair of vice-grips, two screwdrivers and a cutoff wheel. When those were removed I started grinding out the rust with the wire wheel and then a flap disc.

Working my way around the side I made it to the rear door on the driver’s side and then cleaned up the metal where the old Travelall badge once lived; this is going to need a skim of bondo as well but at least it’s not completely flaking off.

Then I got the license plate holder off the rear door and cleaned that metal up; it’s going to need some love with a body hammer to flatten back out.

I pulled the door hardware off the two rear doors and removed the door cards for cleanup next. The insides of the doors are in excellent shape and just need a good vacuum. By this time it was getting cold outside so I switched to the sandblast cabinet and got it prepped for shooting the battery box hardware. The day before I bought the Travelall I’d spent some time refurbishing the box: I emptied the whole thing out, used seam sealer to plug the leaks in the bottom of the cabinet, then cut some wood to fit the replacement gloves that were 2″ too small to fit the original round seals. Last year I had issues with the box filling up with dust, making it difficult to see what I was working on, so I bought a vacuum separator from Amazon to help to pull the dust out of the air and into a can before it goes into the vacuum filter, where it would immediately clog everything up. It was on me to find the right hose and reducer to go from the box down to the separator, and then another to go from the separator to a shop-vac.

Sunday broke a lot colder than Saturday did, and I hit Harbor Freight for the hose elements to try and cobble something together. When I hit the vacuum section I saw their vortex separator which came complete with a hose and the right attachments for less than the Amazon version—so I bought it. With that and some other supplies, I came home and finished blast cabinet V2: a fully ventilated, airtight cabinet with working lights. I used new glass bead media to clean off some parts, and was generally pleased with the results. The only two drawbacks now are that I can’t run the compressor and the vacuum at the same time on the same circuit; my available power to the garage are two 110V circuits and it can be finicky. The other issue is that I need a true gravity feed for the media hopper—it’s currently a hose that sits in the pile of media but it frequently runs itself dry. I have to drill and install a true hopper at the bottom of the cabinet and link that up to the hose.

While the compressor was refilling I went out to the truck and farted around with it a little before the snow started falling. I got thirteen of sixteen bolts out of the passenger fender with little effort, which should have been a task that took me three weeks and five cutoff wheels. I hit everything I could see with PBblaster and a half an hour later I had a handful of rusty but intact bolts. The hardest part was accessing the bolts around the headlight bucket, but that was an ergonomic problem, not an oxidization issue. It’s really crazy how good a lot of this truck is compared to other trucks I’ve seen (and certain parts of this truck itself).

So next up is to order about three more cans of Rust Encapsulator, a handful of flap discs, a wire wheel, and a pot of Bondo, and hope for some warmer weather so that I can keep working on the roof. The goal is to get the roof cleaned up, sealed off, leveled out with Bondo, and ready for paint.

The other thing that has to happen pretty quickly is the purchase of a welder, so that I can weld up the holes in the roof over the barn doors before the water really gets a chance to settle in there.

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Date posted: March 12, 2023 | Filed under Repairs, Scout, Travelall | Comments Off on Archaeology

I’ve been keeping my eye out for replacement sheet metal for the Red bus since the day I bought it, knowing C-series panels will be much, much rarer on the ground than Scout parts are.

I answered an ad in Marketplace from a guy who’s been selling parts from a C series truck for a while, based out of Ohio. He re-posted the ad and included some pictures of two fenders, one of which looked pretty good for what it was. I messaged him about more photos and he sent me a couple, along with a decent price. I asked him if he had the fuse block by any chance, and he said he did—and would try to give me as much of the wiring harness as he could with it. So we’re working on shipping, and hopefully I should have some spare passenger side sheet metal and a fuse block I can use to rebuild the wiring behind the dashboard.

Now that I’ve got a project to practice on, I’m looking ahead to all of the welding it’s going to require and thinking about how to set up the workshop. I’m going to buy an inexpensive 110V MIG setup with gas, as I can’t run 220 in my garage; this should be plenty for what I need—mostly thinner sheetmetal. There are more expensive units that will do MIG/TIG, but I don’t see the need for welding 1/4″ steel at this point, I don’t need to switch to TIG, and I know several people who I can hire out for that in any case.

I was leaning toward Hobart products because they’re designed and built in the USA and they make excellent gear, but there are a couple of drawbacks to the unit I had decided on: it uses a heavy transformer vs. an inverter, it’s not as extensible, it can’t do dual-voltage, and the duty cycle is short. There’s a comparable Eastwood unit that has all these features plus a tack-weld setting and a longer duty cycle for a little less money and a 3-year warranty, which I think is the way to go. And it’s 25 lbs. lighter.

There are a lot of good resources out on the web for basic welding and bodywork training; it’s been long enough since my welding course that I need a refresher, and I want to get some hours of practice in before I go anywhere near my trucks. Something I’ve got to find is a local supplier for sheet metal; the steel supply yard that used to be near here is long gone.

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Date posted: March 10, 2023 | Filed under Purchasing, Scout, Travelall | Comments Off on Sheet Metal

I think I understand why none of the lights or controls in the Travelall work.

That hole there? The one in front of all the cut green wires? That’s where the fuseblock is supposed to be. Some baboon decided to just cut the wires instead of disconnecting them—the back of the fuseblock is organized with brass male posts to clip the wires onto. So I’ve got to source a new fuseblock panel from somewhere.

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Date posted: March 8, 2023 | Filed under Purchasing, Scout, Travelall | Comments Off on That Adds Up

Cleaning up on Saturday evening, I left the boat tank in the back of the Red Bus with the fuel pump hooked up and forgot about it. Yesterday I went out to check on some rust converter I’d sprayed on the passenger floor and was hit with a strong smell of gasoline inside the cabin; it turned out that the heat on Sunday had expanded the tank and it dribbled out of the hose onto the rear bed. So I have to air the truck out for the next couple of weeks until the fumes dissipate, which is super annoying; the problem is that it soaked into the wooden floor in the back.

I got a small, heavy box in the mail yesterday with a handwritten return address on the top: the battery box I’d bought off Marketplace arrived safe and sound. It’s in fantastic shape: It’s covered in red primer but there’s only a little rust or corrosion on the inner platform; the rest is smooth and solid. I couldn’t be happier, because the one in the Red Bus is almost gone.

There’s also a spray of corrosion on the inside of the hood from where the original unsealed battery leaked and sprayed upwards onto the metal. So I’ll hit the remains of the old platform with more PBblaster and let it soak; the new metal will get a quick cleaning in the sandblasting cabinet and some new paint, and then go into the truck.

Meanwhile, talking with friends on the weekend, we had an inspiration. I texted my old friend Erick and asked if he was interested in doing some housecall IH work. He got back to me and said he was; I explained what I had and what I wanted to do, and left the ball in his court. We’ll see when it gets a little warmer if he can come out and do some engine and brake work to get her mobile.

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Date posted: March 7, 2023 | Filed under friends, Purchasing, Scout, Travelall | Comments Off on Fumes

Here’s a shot Bennett took before we really started tearing into the red bus.

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Date posted: March 6, 2023 | Filed under friends, Scout, Travelall | Comments Off on Action Photo

I got started early on Saturday to prepare. First I humped all my tools outside and got the garage and the truck opened up. Then I organized all of the parts and tools and pulled the battery off the trickle charger. Then I pulled Autolite 303 plugs out of the Travelall and replaced them with a used set of 10,000 mile Autolite 85’s from my Scout. Feeling optimistic, I then swapped out the old ignition barrel with a new one I’d bought from RockAuto.

Brian showed up around eight, and we ran out to get coffee and donuts. Stephen and Bennett showed up a little after that, and we tried starting the truck—but nothing happened. Bennett began diagnosing what I’d done to bodge up the ignition system while Brian, Stephen and I began tearing out some of the useless mechanicals on the engine: the A/C system came out completely, the aftermarket cruise control was removed, and part of the trailer brake system. By noon we had the ignition problems sorted out and paused for some pizza and beer. Then we began diagnosing the starting problems.

The starter worked fine. We actually removed the passenger wheel and a bunch of the metal shielding along the inner fender to expose the starter and the engine stamping boss, and jumped the starter several times to chase down the electrical gremlins. When Bennett had the key sorted out we worked our way through the system with a tester to find the coil was OK but we weren’t getting spark to the plugs. I went around and swapped all the plug wires out with no change.

After a lot of tinkering, cleaning, and testing with the distributor we finally broke down and ran to the store for a new cap and rotor. We got the engine to catch several times but it didn’t run—we were frustrated at this point because we’d come so close. But the sun had gone down behind the house, the wind was picking up, the battery was running down, and it was getting cold, so we called it at about 5:30 and packed things up. I left the trickle charger on the battery to recover and packed things up.

We do have a few new discoveries: The engine is more than likely a 266, but we have no way of knowing for sure: there’s no stamping on the boss like there are in more modern SV engines. This one has a strange IH valve cover I’ve never seen—all the V8’s I’ve come across have four bolts. This one has two on the top and four on the bottom. And having pulled the valve cover off on the driver’s side, I have to say I’ve never seen a cleaner, newer looking valvetrain in my life. That’s VERY encouraging. More and more I think this was a municipal vehicle of some kind that was driven very sparingly, and then someone came along and built it into a summer camping vehicle. So the 40K miles on the odometer may be true mileage.

Either way, it was great to hang out with friends, spin wrenches and drink beer, and spend the day outside messing with old iron.

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Date posted: March 4, 2023 | Filed under friends, Repairs, Scout, Travelall | Comments Off on Travelall Workday 1

I got a bunch of goodies delivered for the Saturday workday: I picked up a fresh battery at the auto parts store, and Rock Auto dropped off a set of spark plug wires and a new ignition lock last night. Amazon delivered points, a condenser, and a carb rebuild kit. The spark plugs should be here sometime next week, which is kind of a bummer.

I also grabbed a new tub for all of the stuff I’ll be collecting as I work on the truck, and a pair of small plastic plugs to hopefully close off the two holes in the roof. The first thing I’ll probably tackle Saturday morning is replacing the ignition lock—provided the one they sent is the right size—and then pre-oiling the cylinders. Hopefully with Bennett’s help we can diagnose and get the rig running; I’ve got pretty much everything we’ll need.

I also got a bunch of helpful advice on the forums about some questions I had. The first big news is that the doors actually do lock—the whole mechanism is cleverly built into the handles. What you do is: get in, close the door, and push the handle down. That locks the door. Then you pull it up to unlock and unlatch the door. It’s a little inconvenient to have to lean in and lock the back doors, but it’s also kind of cool to not have visible locks. I also found instructions to get the doorhandles off: you basically pull the escutcheon back and push a pin out of the post, freeing up the handle for removal. Now I can pull all four door cards off and see what the door interiors and glass scissors look like.

Somebody also mentioned that my rear door latch was probably flipped, which would be the reason why it won’t latch, so I pulled it out of the door and looked it over. It’s not engineered the same way the tailgate latch on the Scout is (which lends itself to being spun internally, like overwinding a watch); it looks pretty much impossible to spin further than it’s supposed to go. So I replaced it and moved the latching post on the door outward as much as I could—and that did the trick. So now the rear barn doors close properly. I’ve got to pull one of the door handles off and figure out what lock barrels I need to replace all three locks on the same key.

Meanwhile the IH fridge in the garage is stocked with beer; I’ve got the engine resurrection toolkit collected on the workbench downstairs, and I have to put the new battery on the conditioner overnight. The boys should be arriving sometime around 9AM tomorrow, for which I’ll have warm coffee and donuts. I can’t wait to play with trucks!

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Date posted: March 3, 2023 | Filed under friends, Scout, Travelall | Comments Off on Workday Prep

I’m trying very hard not to continually obsess about working on the red truck. The weather has been unusually warm this week and it’s all I can do not to ditch work and go attack something with the angle grinder. I’ve got a long list of tasks to accomplish before I can really get into things, but the important stuff is being handled: I sent a package of documents to the Vermont DMV so that I can get a registration back from them; with that (and the Vermont plates) I can then go to the Maryland DMV and transfer the registration to a legal Maryland title.

I had some time between the end of the workday and sunset today to get into the Travelall and start cleaning things out. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I was able to get rid of and how good things actually look underneath. The first order of business was to put some new shoes on the front; she’s been sitting on jackstands since Tuesday and it really makes the whole place look redneck. I picked up the tires and had them back on the hubs in about ten minutes; a set of General Grabber LT’s in the correct size really make things look much better.

In an effort to make it look better sitting in the driveway, I reached out to a guy on Marketplace with a 1965-66 grille in really good shape and arranged to buy it and have it shipped from Buffalo. With some clean chrome it’ll look much less derelict. It’s not the correct grille but it’ll do for now until I can source the right one (which is concave and which I actually prefer).

I’d started last weekend tearing out all the upholstery and it was pretty easy to continue. First I bagged up as much of the loose crap as possible and made a pile of the bigger stuff on the driveway. Continuing up to the front of the cabin I got the rest down off the edges of the cab roof and pulled the headliner down in sections. The carpet over the wheel wells came off pretty cleanly—I’m lucky it was cold this evening because the glue basically just gave up. The rear carpet came off the floor in one sheet. I unscrewed and removed both of the trap doors behind the front seats.

Up in the cab I used a utility knife to cut the rubber floormat out completely to get my first good look at the cab floor. Both sides have been patched at some point; the passenger side is worse. It’s rusted through in one place that I can see, right in the center. I used a shop-vac to get all the loose paint and rust out. The driver’s side has some kind of patch material over the metal that I can’t identify, so more research will need to be done there. The transmission tunnel looks to be in great shape.

Travelalls have wooden floors over the rear section—it’s a sheet of (probably) 3/4 plywood covered in rubber sheeting of some kind. This rubber is disintegrating in strips of 1″x3″ or so and will need to be scraped out, probably with the aid of some heat.

As I mentioned earlier, the wheel well is in fantastic shape for an East Coast truck: there’s some rust there and I can see daylight through one of the seams, but it’s not completely missing.

When that was all done I washed the rest of the grime off the windows and got all the debris ready for a trip to the dump. It’s good to see what we’re dealing with and now I can start listing and subdividing the tasks.

I’ve been organizing a work day at the house and reached out to a bunch of local IH friends. There are several who can’t make it but want to get together this year, so I’m going to take on the role of coordinator again and see if I can get some regular meetups happening. The core group of Bennett, Brian, and Brian will be here for the day, and an old acquaintance Will will stop by with his kids for a quick visit. Will was the guy who had a gorgeous 1968 Travelall he offered me back n 2014 when I wasn’t ready to take it on, but look back upon and wish I’d bought.

I also joined a Facebook group for 1957-1968 Travelalls (called Round Body Travelalls) and I’m waiting to be approved; hopefully there are some good leads on parts and tips for working on them to be found. I posted a new build thread on the Binder Planet but haven’t gotten much response yet; I think I’ve got to show some progress.

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Date posted: February 24, 2023 | Filed under Scout, Travelall | Comments Off on Cleanout