I’ve been noticing the stitching on my $50 soft top coming apart above the rear flap for a couple of weeks now, and it’s been accelerating. Where it started out at an inch long, it’s now about a foot and a half long and getting worse. Some of the threads have rotted and are giving way, but some of the canvas is ripping as well. I decided to pull the whole thing off and switch it out for the dark brown top from Chewbacca for the rest of the summer until I figure out a way to repair it.
This is the first time I’ve had this top on this truck. It’s a snap model like the tan top, so it’s a simple switch. But there are differences in the design—this one is clearly an early production version while the tan top is newer. The main differences are around the front windows; on the tan model they sewed a set of padded baffles over the top of the windows so that rain wouldn’t drip inside the cab. The flaps that fold under the window frames are smaller and have less velcro surface area. And there aren’t any straps built into the back corners to hold the top down to the body.
It’s not very pretty. The color combination isn’t to my taste, but the top itself is in excellent condition. I’ve got some spare nylon strap and quick-release buckles left over from my last repair job, so I’m going to make another set of straps for this one. Finn and I took it for a test run this afternoon and the velcro held up fot ten minutes at 65mph, which is more than I can say for the other two tops. But if need be, I’ve got enough mil-spec snaps to modify the flaps like I did with the other two.
It’s hard to believe I’ve gotten this much use out of these tops—all three of them are over 20 years old and showing their age. But with some careful repairs I think I can get a couple more years out of them.
This week I built an auxilliary fuel delivery system out of a boat tank, a cheap fuel pump, some spare wire, and $25 of hose. The tank is a 3 gallon West Marine unit I got on sale, with a quick disconnect and a handy gauge built in. The pump I found on Amazon, which pushes at 2.5—4psi. Everything I’ve read about the Carter AFB says it likes up to about 6psi, so I figure we’re in good shape. I soldered clips to some extra wire I had on hand and lengthened the reach of the pump, so we can disconnect it quickly from the battery if need be. The big question now is what size the fuel inlets on the carb actually are; I’ve got three Thermoquads sitting in the basement, but none of them have a screw-in fitting so I’m taking a wild guess, and the information on AFB carbs is spotty at best.
I built this to get the Chrysler moving under her own power, but the universe seems to have further plans for us. In the last month I’ve been approached by two separate people with Scouts who need help getting them running again: I drove Finn to karate practice a couple of weeks ago and one of her instructors told me she’s got a Scout under a tarp in her backyard. Naturally I offered my help to get it running. And last week a neighbor walked up the driveway and asked me for some help: his friend has a Scout that’s been sitting in a garage for years and he wants to get it running again.
Clearly I have been noticed as the Scout Guy, and more confoundingly, the Get This Scout Running Again Guy; I’m pleasantly surprised and somewhat intimidated by this development. Hopefully I can live up to it.
I’ve been keeping an eye on the classifieds for months now, looking for a particular kind of truck to appear. I’ve always liked the lines of the C model IH pickups of the 60’s; there’s something very unique and interesting about the shape of the cab, how it meets with the hood, and how the lights and grille were adapted over the years to fit the lines of the truck. Both the square and stepside beds look good, and I’d be happy with either one; the longer stepside beds feature a divot in the driver’s wheel well to fit a spare—a feature that originates with roadsters of the 1920’s with spare wheels mounted behind the front fenders.
The interiors are spartan and utilitarian, but there’s a real nice design language around the later dashboard design, and the non-linear, organic shape of the inside door cards is very 60’s. In short, I’d love to have one of these, and it’s been on my mind a lot in the last couple of months.
I wrote about the last one to catch my eye late last year, but I waited too long and the listing disappeared. On Saturday a little red 1100B appeared out in East Baltimore for a low price, and I sent Brian a text with the listing:
After some back and forth with the seller, I drove out to look at it Sunday evening.
Having really looked over some of the pictures before arranging the meet, I knew what to expect, but as always, seeing things in person is so much better. This truck actually has a lot going for it; the 6-cylinder IH engine sounded good even though the seller couldn’t keep it idling without staying on the gas. The rear bed is in decent shape except for some rust holes in the center and dinged-up rear caps. The tailgate is rusty in several places but does open and close. The back of the cab is in good shape. The doors are decent, close correctly, and the rockers and sills are in excellent shape. There’s a hole the driver’s side floor. And everything is there except for the headliner. The front of the cab is crispy, though—where the cab meets the fenders is rough and the fenders themselves are junk. The front valance is rough. It looks like someone parked it with the nose hanging outside a garage door, and all of the weathering happened in front of the windshield.
For the motivated buyer it might be a good project—but there were enough strikes against it that I decided to pass. If the cab had been solid, I could have found two replacement fenders. If it was a floor shift instead of a three-speed column I might have looked twice. If the bed and fenders were in better shape, it would have been worth buying to wait for a donor cab. But this wasn’t the truck for me. I’ll keep looking, and maybe the right one will show up.
Gas has hit an all-time high of $5 per gallon around here, so my trips in the Scout are generally limited to short errands around town. I wound up leaving it at home for my trip up to New York last weekend, partially because the forecast for both travel days called for rain, and partially because of gas prices. As it turned out, there was little rain both days, and the weather was cool and mostly sunny. But I got 33 MPG in my Honda, and I can’t beat that.
This weekend, I spent some quality time messing around in the garage, and some of that time was spent on Scout stuff.
The gas tank has been sitting for a month or so waiting for me to get around to putting the sending unit in place. I didn’t know how to get the unit screwed in place with the thick rubber washer they provided. There’s a locking ring that goes over the sender and under three flanges welded to the tank, and the washer is too thick to make it easy to install. What I finally did was get one of the wings on the washer under a flange, and then carefully get the other two started with a couple of screwdrivers and some luck. Then, with some gentle taps with a hammer to spin the washer, I got the whole thing mounted and working. I have to take it back off to test the whole unit (and troubleshoot the wiring issue) but at least now I know I can get it installed.
The next thing I fooled with was pulling the trim off of one of the Flintstone doors to see what it would look like on Peer Pressure. I’ve had the guts of the door open several times, so it took about five minutes to get into the door, and then it was a simple matter of pinching the clips to release the trim.
I have to say, it looks kind of cool but also like I’m dressing up a pig. I like how the trim breaks up the big slabby purple area, but if I was to put a full trim kit on, that would imply I like the purple color, which I really don’t, or that I intended it to be this color and have now given it my stamp of approval. In any case, I don’t have a full set of trim pieces for in front of the doors or around the rear wheels, so at this point it’s not even an issue. It’s interesting to think about, though.
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).
My (somewhat limited) social media feeds, email inboxes, and texts all blew up with people sending me the news that the Volkswagen group is thinking about making a new electric SUV called the Scout. It’s a long, convoluted story, but the Autopian breaks down how VW has come into possession of the Scout trademark through its purchase of Navistar after a colossal strategic mistake in building diesel engines.
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.
I saw this picture in a series from a parts truck listing online and grabbed it. The typeface is perfect; everything about this is perfect, except for the extra apostrophe.
Well, looky here. There was rumbling on the forums and through the interwebs that someone was working on producing new wing window rubber for the Scout II, as nobody was making replacements and everyone’s rubber was/is cracked, rotten, hard, or about to be all of the above. I’ve got, between spare parts and whole doors, about five spare wing windows per side, and all of them have either cracked rubber, a spring mechanism where the weld is broken, or a busted hinge. It was with great pleasure that I saw an outfit in North Carolina is going to be producing new rubber, for the eye-watering price of $375/set. Yeah, yeah, this isn’t an F-body Camaro or a ’66 Mustang, for which brand-new parts are everywhere, but I’ll have to really consider the purchase before I pull the trigger.
Tomorrow night, I’m headed out to the first proper welding class I’ve ever taken, and I’m pretty excited. My first “training” was in college in the sculpture lab after hours; a very brusque and attractive TA gave me a basic lesson in MIG welding for a six-pack of beer, and while she was detailed in her description, I had about 20 minutes of hands-on learning before she had to leave, and I was on my own to booger-weld anything I could find. I did a basic refresher in 2014 at the Baltimore Foundery, and while that was fun it didn’t improve my skills at all. This course is a professional 36 hours of training and in-class practice, and at the end of it I should know what I’m doing a lot better.
I saw this Scout for sale on Marketplace, and something about it caught my eye. Not only is it a good-looking rig—the tires and lift are just right—but I like the color and condition of the graphics on the side. I believe this is an IH color called Grenoble Green, and it’s a value that isn’t too light and isn’t too dark, with a bit of metalflake added. I’ve been all over the place with colors in years past, but I think this might be the new frontrunner. I’d even consider the striping on this, as well—I think it’s probably my favorite design IH offered.