Look closely, there are two fixes in this picture. The first is the taillight, which took all of five minutes to remedy. I opened the access panel on the back of the tailgate, fed the ground wire inside, and grounded it to the handle mechanism. Problem solved! I wish it was as bright as the LEDs I used on the swing arm, but for now it’s road-legal.
Next is the soft top. See how it’s even across the top? That’s because there’s finally a second strap on the driver’s side. I used some standard polyester thread to sew the nylon I bought from Sailrite last year, and used a piece of scrap metal on the grill to melt the ends closed. Then I sewed it into the canvas of the top and looped it once around the rear hoop. It’ll probably need thicker sail-quality thread at some point (and a big fat needle) but for now it’s functional.
I took a welding class downtown on Sunday–simple stuff, a wire-fed system–but it was easy to pick up and after about ten minutes I was laying down butt and fillet welds in 1/8” box steel. I’m sure it’s more difficult with thinner metal but the concept and execution are the same.
There’s not much to report on the Scout front, but I did do a little sleuthing the other day and found that the license plate light does in fact work–the ground I’d attached it to is lousy. I unscrewed the ground wire and as soon as I touched it to the release knob on the tailgate, it lit up. So I have to run the ground wire back inside the tailgate and hook it up to something more substantial. Other than that, she’s running strong.
I got some time to plug the tire this weekend, after hitting YouTube to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything. It went very smoothly, and the tire is holding strong. I hit the tread with some white paint so I know where the plug went in if it does start leaking again. While I had a little time, I moved the fire extinguisher out of the console, where it does no good locked up, to the base of the driver’s seat.
On Sunday I took her for a spin to the parts store, and misjudged the amount of gas I had in the tank (again). I was coming up on the gas station on the way into Ellicott City and felt the engine quit; I hoped I’d have enough rolling energy to get up the hill and next to the pump, but had to brake while a woman in an SUV blocked my path. So there I was, stalled on an incline, with no brakes and no steering. I cranked the emergency brake down, put it in gear, and went to borrow a gas can.
So: what comes first for the spring? Drop the gas tank and fix the sender for good, or hydroboost?
I got out into the garage for the first time in two weeks to run up the engine, and found a nasty surprise: the front passenger’s tire was flat.
A quick inspection revealed a screw lodged in one of the treads. I broke out the compressor and put air back in it, and it held for a day; Finn and I picked up a new tire repair kit at Lowe’s but I didn’t have time enough to put it in before I had to park her back in the garage.
But, before I did that, I took her down the street to the coffee shop and picked Finn up from daycare.
I did some minor fooling around with the Scout today while the weather was warm. One of the easiest things to accomplish was swapping out the windshield wipers. I used ANCO 5913′s, which come with a bolt and nut ready for mounting (Thanks, Mike Moore!). All I had to do was pull the old blades and grind the rivet off with a multifunction saw, and bolt the new blades on. Make sure your kits have the nut included; one of mine didn’t. I had to use a 1/2″ 14/40 bolt and a locknut from my bench stock to hook up the second blade.
Then I pulled the dash bezel off to try and get the radio working again (turned out it was the ground wire, which we had disconnected when we were diagnosing the fuel sender issue back in the fall). Wile I was in there I pulled both purple-painted light bars out and replaced them with clean spares.Then I tried getting the speedo out to replace some bulbs, but couldn’t get it to come through the dash cutout, so I gave it up and put everything back.
We had a workday north of Baltimore the last week in October, and I was lucky enough to have about five sets of hands helping diagnose my fuel sender issue. What we were able to sort out is as follows:
- My wiring loom up to the bulkhead is not original, but contains original green wiring.
- The ground spade on the sender wasn’t connected (it must have come off at some point after we installed it) but it is now.
- The sender is working properly. We tested it for resistance and it works when we slosh fuel around in the tank.
- The PO put in a grounding wire directly to the frame, which I cleaned up with some sandpaper.
- The wire going up to the bulkhead connector works.
- The bulkhead connector is a mess, and has been screwed with quite a bit.
- Everything behind the dash is a mystery.
The service manual says we’re looking for wire 36-16, which checks out behind the dash but the wire going from the sender through the loom looks like 11. Additionally, the 11 loop (the one which appears to ground on a stud welded to the backside of the dashboard) was loose, so I reconnected that.
While I was there, I bought a Thermoquad from Jason H. for tinkering (it’s the one on the left; the one on the right will get rebuilt as my spare).
One of the things I pulled off the junkyard Traveler last weekend, almost absent-mindedly, was the door rubber from both sides. I wasn’t even thinking about it when I first saw the truck, but as I worked around and inside the cab, I realized it was in very good shape. I’ve been looking for something to cut down on the door rattle on both sides, and having the air leaks plugged when the traveltop is on would be fantastic. I’ve got a set of rubber that came with the top I bought in the spring, but that’s all in one piece and I don’t want to cut it. This set looked great except for a few spots where it had deformed, so I didn’t feel bad about chopping it into smaller sections. I put a vertical strip down the A pillar from the top of the windshield to the dogleg and cut another vertical piece for the B pillar. The lip along the floor is still intact in some areas but there isn’t enough to justify covering it, so I left it. The driver’s door closes perfectly, but the passenger door, which has always been problematic, refuses to shut at all now due to the way it’s hung– inboard and toward the rear of the truck. The rubber is too thick between the edge of the door and the bottom of the A pillar. At some point I’m going to have to adjust it to fit better if I want door seals.
I ordered a set of thin stainless locknuts from Fastenal before our vacation and they arrived today. The replacement hardware I installed on the soft top bows works great, but the locknuts were just a little too fat to let the threads on the bolt reach the nylon, so they kept rattling themselves off. (Brian H. found this out the hard way on our way back from Mt. Airy this weekend). The new set works perfectly, allowing the bolts and bows to move freely but fasten tightly.
Sunday morning I got up early, helped get Finn fed, and then hustled outside to get to work. Brian T. drove all the way out from Chestertown with his compressor and we sanded, scuffed, cleaned and taped off the whole truck. As I was finishing up some final scuffing, Brian looked up from the liner kit and said, “I think we have a problem.” Al’s Liner is a 3-part system, the first of which is an adhesion primer that came in a plastic bottle. My cursory check of the kit last week failed to reveal it had frozen solid after two years in storage. Being a specialty kit, nobody open on Sunday has it in stock, and all the other commercial liners are 2-part systems. Grudgingly, we wrapped everything up under plastic. I’ll call first thing tomorrow and see if they can overnight me a new bottle, in which case I’m going to try and shoot it on one night this week. I hooked up a trio of lights under the tent that should provide enough coverage to see the whole thing.
After everyone took off, I took Finn swimming in the neighbors’ pool and drank a beer to cool off.
Many thanks to everyone for their help this weekend- both Brians went above and beyond and I never would have made it this far without their help.
A few months ago, I took off a Friday from work so that I could put in a three-day weekend installing bedliner on the Scout. With the help of some excellent friends and a lot of hard work, I got it very close to completion.
Friday morning I pulled the truck out and attacked it with sanding discs. Much of the paint on the bed came off quickly and easily. Both front seats came out as easy as the day they were installed, which was shocking. I’d replaced all the rollbar hardware with Grade 8 bolts, so I knew that would come out without a problem. I’m going to have to use a ratchet strap to pull the feet together just a hair before it goes back in; the mounting plates scuffed the paint on the walls when I pulled it out.
As I got closer to the front, the PO’s paint job got thicker so the going got slower.
This is what I found when I ground the bolts off the metal strip holding the weatherstripping down. There was carpeting underneath, which leads me to believe these had never been taken off before. I ground the bolts down to the floor and cleaned out each hole with the vacuum.
After Brian H. came by, he dug in and helped me make short work of the front floor and the remainder of the tub:
Once the paint was off, we used Marine Clean and Metal Ready to prep the bed, and then rolled it into the sun to dry out. Then it was time to paint:
Here’s where we ended up at 7PM this evening. If Brian hadn’t come over, I definitely wouldn’t have gotten this far.
So the snaps I bought from West Marine last fall have proven to be pretty worthless. Only one out of a total of twelve will stay connected for more than ten minutes; the brass rings inside the cap section just don’t hold well enough.
I did some research online and plugged some new search terms into the Googles; I came upon a commercial manufacturer who makes Milspec snaps and then a distributor who sells them by piece. They showed up yesterday and they are as strong as advertised. A test with the install pliers I got with the West Marine kit was successful, but I think I’m going to use the punch I got in a repair kit from Kayline years ago.
I got 20 11/64″ snap button barrels, 20 sockets (hard action), and 20 3/8″ #8-32 machine screws. “Hard Action” sounds sexxxy but only means it takes a lot of force to get the snap to connect and release. So now the screws will face inside and the door flaps will fold underneath and snap to the inside of the door frames.
Update: The punch worked perfectly. I’m short two nylock nuts for the passenger side but everything is installed and the snaps hold the way they should. Problem solved!