This Scout came up for sale last week on Marketplace somewhere out west, and I thought it was interesting because it’s an example of IH’s Schoolbus Chrome Yellow, a color that was offered through the entire run of Scout II production but a color I’ve only ever seen in these pictures and on the donor hood and hinges of my Scout.

This one looks like it was a reasonably well-optioned 1978 model for some kind of local government or school system; it’s got hubcaps and chrome trim, and was spec’d as a V-8 manual with A/C and a split bench seat (it’s from Texas). There’s some kind of strange roof rack installed—maybe for a light bar?

That’s pretty bright. I guess there’s no missing that color!

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Date posted: February 24, 2022 | Filed under Paint, Scout | Comments Off on Schoolbus Yellow

I took Hazel for a ride back up to York this morning. The plan was to pick up an NOS fender and the black rear seat from the guy I’d visited last weekend; my friend Mike mentioned on Instagram that he was interested in the fender so I thought I’d head back up, grab that and the rear seat I spied last week. It was a balmy 50˚ so I was happy to only need a fleece for the whole day, and the sun peeked through clouds that began to darken the western sky as we got further north.

The guy who owns the lot wasn’t available so I had another guy take me where they had the fender stored. It looked OK under the lights—dirty on the inside, a few scratches on the outside—and all of the bolt holes were clean (except one which held a rusty nut/bolt combination; clearly he’d had it mounted on the truck at some point) so I threw it in the car.

We needed some PB Blaster to get the hinges on the seat to move—they were frozen, probably from sitting outside for weeks on end. But when I was able to get it to fold, I was sold. I headed back to the shop and paid the money, took some pictures of some old British cars he had on the lot, and hit the road.

On closer inspection when I got the fender home, I wish I’d been more careful. After really cleaning off the dirt on the inside, my heart sank. It’s NOS but at some point the owner had let it sit, probably inside-up, where water had pooled and started a layer of rust bubbling on the lower edges. It’s not all the way through, and could easily be cleaned up with a soda blast or some other abrasive, but it’s not a perfect fender. I’m going to send Mike a video I took with the detail and show him exactly what I’ve got here to see if he’s still interested. Mike specializes in show-winning restorations, and this might not be up to his standards.

The lesson here, which I’m still trying to learn at my age, is: slow down and be patient. Check over everything before you pay the money.  If Mike doesn’t want it, I won’t be terribly upset; both of my other spare driver’s fenders are probably at best a 6 out of 10—the brown one I got last year might be a 5, and I paid next to nothing for it. I’ve also got to look at my parts scores on the whole: most of what I’ve gotten up until today has been very cheap. This is the most expensive part I’ve bought for the truck since I’ve had it, and it’s as closer to new than any other Scout parts I own besides the two lights from last week. So maybe it all evens out somehow…?

After I got home and got some lunch, I headed out to the garage to clean the heater box up. Now that I’ve got a proper sandblasting cabinet, I figured it wouldn’t be messy, but I had to do a bunch of prep work to get it ready.

First, I drained all of the sand out of the bottom of the cabinet and stored it in a bucket. The cabinet came with a gravity feed hose—basically as long as the bottom of the cabinet is full of sand, it sucks the sand in and mixes it in the gun at the tip, making it a closed system. But the tip it came with was broken and the Eastwood tips are larger than my Harbor Freight tips, so I figured I’d use what I already have. Propping the cabinet up on a box, I replaced both of the lights inside and filled my compressor. Then I loaded up my little HF canister with glass bead and got to work.

It did a really good job once I got the flow dialed in, and I a good bit of the box clean before I had to sieve the blasting media for big chunks that started clogging the tip. I also had to take frequent stops because the inside of the box isn’t properly vented yet—I need to get a hose with some kind of pusher motor to mount on the back to vent the dust out—but I got a lot done before the valve on the HF “gun” blew out on the side. It’s basically just a 3/8″  ball valve, not meant for abrasive use. After cleaning it up, I looked over the Eastwood gun and figured I’d give it a shot with the broken tip to see how the flow worked. I dumped the sand back in, hooked it up to the compressor, and was shocked at how well it threw sand even with a broken tip. Clearly the simpler system is the way to go, so I’m going to source some new tips from Eastwood and use that to finish off the parts.

When I was done with that I cut some lumber down to make a rolling cart for the cabinet with a shelf on the bottom, and with the addition of some HF casters I had it assembled and the cabinet on top in about 45 minutes. A panel on the back will keep it from being wobbly.

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Date posted: February 12, 2022 | Filed under Purchasing, Scout | Comments Off on On Patience and Sandblasting

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.

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Date posted: February 5, 2022 | Filed under Purchasing, Scout | Comments Off on Winter Parts Grab

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

Brian sent me this picture with the caption “13 years ago today”.

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Date posted: January 18, 2022 | Filed under Chewbacca, history, Scout | Comments Off on 13 Years

I’ve been using Evaporust to clean up small parts for a couple of months now, but it gets pretty expensive in large quantities; a gallon is about $20 via Amazon. I just soaked a window scissor mechanism in a tub for two days and got it pretty clean, but a gallon was barely enough to cover the metal. Electrolysis is a great way to remove rust at scale, and all it requires is a tank of water, some salt, and a hunk of sacrificial steel. This video compares the two methods in detail, and finds that they both work about as well as each other. All things considered, I think I’d rather spend $20 on a rubbermaid tub and some salt.

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Date posted: January 12, 2022 | Filed under Future Plans, Scout | Comments Off on Evaporust vs. Electrolysis

We just heard through the grapevine that our old friend A., who has been in the local Scout scene longer than I can remember, passed away in December. I remember him as a wealth of information from back in the old IHC Digest days, before I’d even met him. When someone would complain about a particular part or the size of a fastener, he would email the list moments later with the exact name of the part or the correct size and pitch of the particular bolt. When I was having issues with the throttle cable on Peer Pressure during the first shakedown trips, he saw a picture I’d posted of the bracket, recognized it as the cable for an automatic, and sent me the correct bracket from his parts stash. He was always up for a Scout adventure, even if he habitually showed up late—that was understood.

He’d moved out to the country a couple of years ago and found a different job, and it sounded like he was happy there from what we heard. I was shocked to hear the news, and I’m sad to hear of his passing.

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Date posted: January 8, 2022 | Filed under friends, Scout | Comments Off on Milestone

DSCF9028

In 2021, I did a lot of things I wasn’t planning on, but needed to get done, like rebuilding the front bearings, replacing the front brakes, installing a cool bumper and then adding fog lights. Okay, maybe the bumper and fog lights didn’t need to happen, but it sure looks better. Reviewing the T0-Do list from 2021, there are some big things I thought I might be able to accomplish and some that were blue-sky goals; there will be some things that carry over to next year. And I’ve got some new goals for 2022, in order of importance and realistic accomplishment:

  • Replace the windshield. (2016) I pulled a good clear windshield from a Scout this summer, cleaned it up and made it ready to put in. I’ll need to order a new windshield gasket from Super Scouts, do some practice runs on the spare frames I’ve got, and then take a deep breath before I remove the old glass.
  • Fix the goddamn wipers. (2019) I still don’t know what the deal is with the wipers or why the motor works but the switch doesn’t, but I’ve now got a third switch to swap in and see if I can get things to work behind the dashboard. If it’s not that, there has to be a melted wire somewhere that I’ll have to chase down in the rat’s nest back there.
  • Fix the turn signal cam on the steering wheel. I’m 3/4 of the way into the teardown on my spare wheel, and it all seems to make sense so far. Sure would be nice to have functional cancelling turn signals.
  • Rotate the tires. This is pretty self-explanatory, and should be easy once I get a decent floor jack. One thing I’d like to do while I have the tires off is measure the backspacing on the spare tire to see if it’s anywhere near the aftermarket wheels I’m running on the truck. This way I’ll know if I can use the spare on the front wheels without rubbing.
  • Pull the spacer on the starter. I’ve come to find out the spacer in between my starter and the engine block is meant for automatic transmissions, so it needs to come out. I’m a pro at swapping starters at this point, so this should be a 30-minute fix, tops. Humorously, in going through my parts bins this week, I found a second spacer.
  • Fix the battery tray. (2021) Super Scout Specialists has new trays in stock, and I’d like to get rid of the ghetto bungee cord I’ve been using for 11 years.
  • Swap the gas tanks. I have the original steel tank Peer Pressure came with, and I’ve heard from several places that poly tanks will never seal at the sender properly. I’m inclined to believe this after eight years of suffering through gas fumes and leaks. The plan is to build a quick cradle/turntable out of wood, mount the tank on that, and dump some gravel inside. A half an hour of turning it like a cement mixer should remove any rust or scale inside, and then I can test it for leaks. When that’s done I’ll spray it with undercoating, test the sender, and put it in. I’m going to dig out the original evaporator linkage I stored away to aid in venting it properly. But the first thing I have to do is get the existing sender off the tank; it’s on there tight and not coming off.
  • Get the spare engine on a proper engine stand. The problem isn’t the stand, but how I can lift the engine up onto it. My garage is in no shape to support a chain hoist or any kind of overhead block and tackle, so I’ll have to borrow an engine hoist from somewhere for a 15-minute operation.
  • Buy a Scout Shed. My garage is pretty full, and I spend a lot of time reorganizing stuff just to move around in there. I’ve been considering a premade shed to store all of the parts I’ve got squirreled away, which would free up a lot of space in there. I’m earning some scratch on the side working on the schoolbus, and if I’m careful I could pay for this with a couple of weekends’ work.

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Date posted: January 2, 2022 | Filed under Scout, To-Do List | Comments Off on 2022 To-do List

I’ve been considering a switch to my Instagram account to split out the Scout into its own account for a while now. Looking at the Top 9 results from this year, I think my mind is made up.

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Date posted: January 1, 2022 | Filed under Inspiration, Scout | Comments Off on Top 9

Looking through my fuel/mileage notebook, and doing some revised math, I put a total of 3177 miles on the Scout this year. Now that I’ve fine-tuned the ratio calculation, I’ve updated the averages table from earlier this year to truly reflect the miles driven:

Total Yearly Miles Miles Minus Nats
2015 580 580
2016 276 276
2017 315 315
2018 1768 631
2019 1972 836
2020 1195 1195
2021 3177 2041

It certainly does feel like I’ve put more miles on her this year; from another Ohio trip to a visit out to the Scout Guru’s garage in Rehobeth to parts hunting in Western Maryland to multiple trips out to Chestertown, I’d say she’s gotten a hell of a workout.

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Date posted: December 22, 2021 | Filed under Inspiration, Scout | Comments Off on Mileage Wrap-up