My old buddy Pat, on my wedding day, back in 2003.
This blue Scout happens to be parked right around the corner from my office. It hasn’t moved in a couple of months, so I think it’s a long-term project for someone. It definitely needs sheet metal work; the rockers are shot and there isn’t a panel without some kind of cancer showing.
I bought a bottle of 303 Aerospace Protectant last week from Amazon for our vehicles, because all I’ve read says it’s supposed to be better for plastic and vinyl than Armor All. I also broke down and bought a bottle of Meguiar’s #17 Clear Plastic Cleaner to refinish the panels on my soft top, which are hazy and scratched. I tried out both products last night, and the Meguiar’s seemed to do a great job of cleaning the small patch I tried. Hopefully I can get a little time this weekend to pull it out, wash the top, and clean the windows properly.
From what I hear, I can use the Mequiar’s on headlight covers too– which is great, because the covers on the CR-V are getting hazy.
Another thing I got to this weekend while Finn was asleep was to pull out the A/C ductwork under my dashboard. It was inoperable when I got the truck, although there was power to the blower fan. There was no compressor on the engine and the supply/return hoses had been cut just outside the firewall. Figuring it would be a number of years and several Lotto tickets before I’m able to buy an aftermarket A/C system, and because I’d like to get under the dash itself to replace bulbs and fix electrical gremlins, I decided to yank it out.
The vent bar came out easily (in part because one of the bolts was already missing) and the PO had thoughtfully installed quick connects on all of the wiring. Once that was out, I tackled the condenser unit under the passenger’s side. This was trickier because my glove box latch is hopelessly broken, so I jimmied that open, removed the box liner, and pulled the door off. There are four bolts holding it onto the firewall, three in the wheel well and one in the engine bay. They all came off so easily I had to look around to see if anyone was pranking me.
Once that was disconnected and the hoses underneath came off, the whole assembly lifted right out. It’s definitely seen better days. The picture here doesn’t show five pounds of dog hair and mud caked into the rear of the condenser unit.
Now I can get underneath and sort out the wiring, replace all the bulbs, and (possibly) even pull the purple dash off and replace it with the black one I refinished four years ago. But I’ll have to be careful not to anger the Scout electrical gods.
A couple of years ago, when I was in between Scouts, I rode along with a neighbor of mine to a Land Rover meetup at a restaurant in Columbia. We hung out, talked trucks, and then walked inside for some lunch. It was a real easygoing way to meet new people.
Recently I got to thinking about all the guys with Scouts who I’ve met over the years who don’t know each other or haven’t found the Binder Planet, and thought I might try to get a group together for the same kind of gathering. I started emailing folks in the Baltimore area and soon the word was out.
We met at the Famous Dave’s in Columbia this morning, and by noon we had about 15 guys with 6 trucks in attendance. First to arrive were Erik M. and Stu S., followed by Stephen G. with a beautiful red 6(6?) 1200 pickup. Next was Brian T., coming in from the Eastern Shore with his Scout, and Jesse A. from Annapolis came in with his Scout right after noon. We also had a bunch of guys who have trucks in the shop– Jason H., who is doing an engine transplant and bodywork, my neighbors the Dunmires, who have a Scout II in the middle of bodywork, Brian H., whose Wagonmaster is currently with Mike Moore in Virginia, and Pate M. from the Eastern Shore, whose Scout II is also in the middle of serious surgery. Carl B. came in from the west side of town as we were finishing up lunch, the victim of some overheating issues.
We hung out in the parking lot for a couple of hours with our hoods up shooting the breeze, and every once in a while someone would slowly cruise past and stare at our trucks. We even got a nod of approval from a guy in a lifted diesel Ford.
Then, we went inside for some beer and barbecue. (I took no pictures inside, sorry).
When we walked back outside, gray skies had turned sunny, and we stood out in the lot for another hour or so talking trucks.
I had run into the Target before everyone arrived to see if they had a couple of Matchbox Scouts, meaning to give them out for stuff like “rustiest truck” and “farthest distance driven”. This guy got one just cause he was cool.
All in all, it was a great day, and I hope everyone had a good time.
I’ve got a pile of T-shirts drying in the basement waiting for a turn with the heat gun. We should have about fifteen guys and six trucks gathering to meet up, talk, and have some barbecue on Sunday morning. I’m very much looking forward to it.
It’s definitely a version 1.0 and there’s a lot to be desired in the execution, but I got the top off today by myself without having to call in any help.
Right now it hangs in the back of the available parking area of the garage , which means I can’t back the Scout in with the soft top up. I think the next iteration might involve a winch and a stronger bracing system for the top itself, and some way of scooting it backwards before it gets hoisted up. Maybe I can make some simple sawhorses and walk it backwards onto those before it goes upwards. I’m definitely going to add a third set of ratchet straps to the current setup to sleep soundly at night.
The soft top hardware is tacked in place, but I’m headed out to the store tomorrow to buy stainless hardware to mount the rails before I put the canvas on. I was tempted to put my snap top on (and I still might) but time got away from me today and I still had to clean up.
A couple of weeks ago, I started thinking about a Land Rover meetup I went to with my neighbor, who (at that time) owned a Defender 90. We met at a barbecue restaurant in Columbia, parked our trucks in a corner of the lot, and spent the next two hours shooting the shit. It was friendly, informal, and fun (I was Scoutless at the time), and I thought it might be fun to gather the IH guys I’ve met in the area for the same kind of day.
I sent out a big email to everyone I could think of, and within two weeks’ time I’ve got fifteen people committed with five trucks (many are immobile due to ongoing restoration efforts) and possibly more. The cool thing is that there are people I’ve met through the weblog and parts gathering who don’t know or haven’t met the other guys, so it’ll be good to get everyone together in one place. I also suggested doing an informal swap meet while we’re together, and hopefully there will be some horsetrading happening too.
I’ve been thinking about vehicle security this spring, as the top is about to come back off and I’ll be parking Peer Pressure all around town. Being an American vehicle of 70′s vintage, it would be childishly simple to hot-wire and steal, especially as a convertible. I’ve considered mechanical methods of theft protection like a fuel cutoff or battery cutoff switch, but given the delicate nature of 40-year-old electronics I’m a little hesitant to go digging around in the wire harnesses until I’m ready to rewire the entire truck.
There is another way, and it’s something that might take care of several issues at once. Grant sells a steering wheel security kit which basically works like a removable-face stereo: once you’re parked, you disengage the steering wheel and take it with you. This would be advantageous because it would also allow for me to get into the steering wheel and fix a broken turn signal canceling switch and swap the full-size steering wheel out for a smaller diameter sport wheel (which will be required once I put PT Cruiser seats in). This link on the Binder Planet shows the system in action, and while I think I’d go with a different wheel, I like the look of the whole thing.
From The Truth About Cars, a great article about the VW Harlequin (1996 Golf).
At its core, the Golf Harlequin was, quite simply, a multi-colored Volkswagen Golf manufactured only for the 1996 model year. But, like most things in the car world – and everything in the Volkswagen world – there’s a lot more to it than that.