It’s time for the annual List Of Things I Really Hope I Can Get To for the year of 2021. Looking back on last year’s list, I was able to get a bunch of things done—and do some others that weren’t even on the radar. The engine got degreased—I wound up buying a pressure washer, which made things much easier. I swapped in a new starter, fixed the speaker cable, and sandblasted a bunch of spare sheet metal to get the rust neutralized. Beyond that, we started work on lockable storage, I fixed both front shocks, and replaced all of the bulbs in the dash with what turned out to be bluish LEDs. So what’s in the future for 2021? Let’s review:
- Empty and flush the radiator/engine block. I did the radiator in a hurry and did not flush it before refilling. It definitely needs some love this spring.
- Fix the driver’s side manifold-to-exhaust leak. (2018) Yeah, it’s been on the list for a while now.
- Repair and upgrade the battery tray/holddown situation. This too is on the list; 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. The only question is how to attach it to the inner fender—is it welded or bolted? Either way, it needs that and a plastic housing to keep the crud away from the engine.
- Fix the wiper motor and linkage. (2019) I struggled with this last spring, trying to get the motor to bolt cleanly to the underside of the windshield frame, but did not succeed. What I have to do is disconnect the linkage to the arms, which will free up the motor to go in correctly, and then rotate the motor slightly to re-align the wiper arms. This will not be easy or fun.
- Replace the windshield. (2016) Again, mine sucks, and I’ll have to put it in myself if I want it done; I’m sure Safelite won’t touch my frame based on how much rust I’m guessing is around the cowl.
- Finish the locking ammo can. At this point it’s just waiting for the front lock mount to go into place.
- Rust repair and sandblasting. I’ve got a white driver’s fender from the Wheaton scout, which has a dent in the front edge and a sheen of surface rust on the back side. I’d like to sandblast it clean, weld up any holes, lay a skim of Bondo over the repairs, and get it primed. Some basic practice with the parts I’ve got will go a long way to the eventual goal of…
- Painting the tub. Since I last spoke to my neighbor’s father, I haven’t heard a peep, so I’m pushing this off to the maybe column and moving onwards. I don’t have thousands of dollars to drop on this right now anyway, so the priority is low.
As with 2018, I did get a lot of my 2019 list taken care of. The radiator and caster shims were a big improvement, and having the rear U-joint fixed was expensive but necessary. Little things like the hood strut and the front speaker were great quality-of-life improvements that I was happy to have. But this is a 40-year-old truck, and issues need to be addressed:
- Buy a new starter. The unit Bennett and I swapped in a number of years ago was a used part from his stash, and on one of every five starts I get the I’m-not-fully-engaged sound, which tells me the solenoid is going bad. I’d like to get a new sturdy unit in there so that I’m not worrying about it.
- Pull the wiper motor back out and re-adjust it so that the arm geometry isn’t oriented below the windshield and the motor is fastened in with all four bolts.
- Replace the windshield with a new one. Mine is absolutely terrible; I don’t know if a pro installer would even work with me given the condition of my windshield frame. I’m not the only one who needs this, and guys have talked about doing a windshield installation party, so I may push for this in 2020.
- Re-route the speaker wire. This has been needed for 10 years.
- Clean out the engine bay. I talked about doing this last year and ran out of time. This is basically wrapping the carb in plastic, shooting the engine bay with degreaser, and then hosing the whole thing out. I’d have to do this somewhere other than our house now, though, because I don’t want to dissolve our new driveway.
- Put the new battery inside a marine container, and replace the battery tray. My existing tray looks like it’s been floating in saltwater and I’d like to try and save the inner fender before it dissolves that too.
- Fix the driver’s side manifold-to-exhaust leak. I have the bolts; I just haven’t gotten to this yet.
- Sandblast some of my spare sheet metal and prep it with sealer. I have a compressor but not the sandblasting kit, and there are a lot of parts I’d like to clean up.
Wow, I actually knocked a lot of stuff off the 2018 to-do list. Tires, Hagerty insurance, and Hydroboost are all some big accomplishments compared to years past. I’m feeling pretty good about everything, and Peer Pressure is running strong. Still, there’s more that can be done:
- Buy a new aluminum radiator and install it. Climbing the hills out of West Virginia I noticed the temp gauge climbing perceptibly, something I’ve never seen it do since I replaced the water pump 9 years ago. The overflow bottle isn’t hooked up because the nipple at the filler neck came unbrazed years ago, and the cooling system needs a flush anyway.
- Oil and gear oil change. It’s been 8 years since the first one, and even though mileage is low, she could use some new fluids. This time I’m going to put Rotella 15W-40 diesel in, for the additional zinc.
- Sandblast, paint and install my spare set of valve covers. I’ve got a truck valve cover set with a long filler neck, and now that the Hydroboost is installed I can actually use them. This will make the addition of oil easier (and cleaner).
Buy caster shimsand install them. There’s more work to do to fix the new steering issues.
- Fix the heater linkage so that the heater actually shuts off. The valve in the engine compartment is stuck open, and needs some work to loosen up.
- Fix the windshield wiper motor mount and linkage. The wiper arm on the passenger side is too low and strikes the edge of the windshield, and the whole thing is very slow.
- Buy a 4×10 speaker and install it in the dash. So that I can hear the stereo at speed.
- Re-route the speaker wire. This has been needed for 9 years.
- Rebuild the spare carburetor (finally).
- Buy a hood gas strut and install it. It would just be so much easier to open and close the hood this way.
So, with major travel and vacation in the rear-view mirror, the next things on the to-do list are:
- Insure Peer Pressure through Hagerty for a fixed replacement price. This has been long overdue.
- Fix the driver’s side manifold-to-exhaust leak. I need to source two copper bolts like I did for the passenger’s side, and find some patience when I try to pull the old ones off.
- New road-going tires. This has been something long-delayed but when I get the first couple of teaching paychecks in hand, I’m going to spend it on five new tires and sell the four that are on the truck now.
- Sandblast one of the spare windshields to get it ready for welding repairs, primer, and paint. I’d like to get one of them prepped and have new glass installed so that I can pull the one on the truck off and put a clean one in its place.
…Nothing, really, has happened. Peer Pressure is running well, if a little rich, but she started right up all winter long and after a little bit of lifter tick the engine warms up and smooths out really quickly. I actually drove her a lot more this winter than most because we didn’t have as much snow, which meant less salt on the roads.
So let’s update the To Do list for 2017, in order of high-to-low probability:
Adjust the Tuffy console forward 2″. It still gets in the way of folding and tumbling the rear seat. I tried moving it forward last year but what I’m probably going to have to do is drill three new holes in the bottom of the console to get it in the right spot.
Adjusting the doors again. The striker on the passenger door doesn’t latch unless you slam that fucker shut.
Replace the windshield. It’s as difficult to see out the front of the truck as it was before. Thing is, I have no idea what shape the frame on the truck is in; I’ve got two other frames in the garage that could be rustproofed, fixed, and painted.
Install the goddamn Hydroboost. Again, carried over from last year. I’m going to bribe Bennett with some beer and pizza and have him help me with this over the summer.
A new radiator? I thought this might be easy and relatively cheap but it’s not.
Option 1: a Champion Radiator, plus shroud and electric fans: $466. Ouch.
Option 2: an RnD radiator for $375. I have to check and see if my existing shrouds will fit.
Buy new road tires. Again, this is expensive. The trick is to find a narrow set of 32s so that it doesn’t look like I put toy wheels on. Seems like most 32s come 11.5″ or wider. Cooper Discoverers are very road-looking, while BFG T/A KO2s are more aggressive. I can actually get these from Amazon in 10.5“, but I don’t have $750 for that laying around yet. [BP search link]