I’ve always had a lot of projects planned for the Scout. I tend to research a particular improvement, gather the materials together to get the project started, and then wait patiently for the time to get it done. As a result I’ve got a ton of stuff laying around and no idea where to start (or what I’ve got, as some of the stuff has been laying around here for a while). So here’s an unordered, unfinished list to get everything out of my head and into one place: something else to consider is the money I’ve put into these projects without getting anything done. It’s time to make some progress before I buy anything else. So, without further preamble:
- Install new steering wheel. I’ve got the wheel and a puller. I’m stalled on this for time, and because the puller wasn’t working correctly; I need two longer grade 8 bolts to screw into the retainer plate to get the factory wheel off. I also want to replace the ignition lock barrel and the turn signal cam while I’m in there.
- New side indicator lights. I’ve got one completed. I need to pull the headlight bucket out to reach the disconnect behind the inner fender so that I can unplug the original and replace it with the new one.
- Mounting the Rotopax. I have to cut a metal plate for the backside of the fender, pull the rear taillight, and see if I can reach inside the fender to properly screw in the mount. Otherwise I’m a bit stumped as to how to get in there (maybe through the speaker hole?)
- Mounting new seats. I’ve got the seats. I need to repair or replace my bases, and drill into the seats to properly mount them to the bases. Then I can put them in. They need a good cleaning, too.
- Hydroboost. I have the reservoir, the standoff plate, and all the hoses and fittings. I need someone who’s done it before to help me put it in.
- Slider windows and weatherstripping. I have new seals and sliders sitting in the garage. I need some warm weather to loosen up the rubber and some Eastwood rust encapsulator to clean up the window openings.
- New side rail covers. I bought these last summer and haven’t had the balls to drill into them yet. They need to be primed and painted.
So unless some kind of miracle combination of time, money, or opportunity comes along and I inherit a car-sized paint booth, adopt an engine mechanic, or win the lottery, I’m going to try and get these jobs accomplished this year before I tackle anything else. That is, of course, if nothing breaks.
I bought a cheap Harbor Freight dremel last weekend and cut down the outside housing of the LED lights I got from Amazon; they are about 3/4″ deep shipped, and about 1/8″ too wide all the way around the outer perimeter. Once I’d cut and sanded down the edges, the light fit flush into the outer bezel. It’s not perfect, and not pretty, but it works. Pulling the originals out of the buckets, though, it appears the quick connect at the end of the wire is actually inside the inner fender, so in order to swap these out I’d need to (probably) pull the headlight out of its bucket to access the inner fender.
Given all the work this took, I may take Mike’s advice and just buy LED bulbs to replace the rest of the incandescents.
After many years of saying, “I need to go buy a pair of PT Cruiser seats for the Scout,” I got a pair today. The weather was as warm as it’s going to get this week (a balmy 50°) so I suited up in some warm clothes, packed a bunch of tools and headed into the brownfields of Crazy Ray’s. I found a total of eight PT Cruisers in the Chrysler section in various states of disassembly. Three had black leather seats but all of them were in bad shape. The other five had gray cloth. I found that there are two seat types in the PT Cruiser: the kind where the passenger seat folds forward and those that don’t. The folding kind are identified by the plastic tray insert on the back. I also found that 2001-2 models have integrated airbags in the side cushions, while the 2003-4 models don’t. Airbags made me nervous so I passed on a beautiful pair of gray seats for a second, slightly dirtier pair from a 2003. They came out with little fuss (13mm bolts in front, 15 in back) and I spent more time on the line waiting to pay than I did pulling them out.
In the garage I pulled the back mounting plate off to expose the whole rail and found that the width does indeed match up perfectly, but of course the front-to-back bolts don’t. I’m going to ask Mr. Scout what he did (drill two new holes or fab up a mounting plate) and which ones he used the original bolts in. My spare seat mounts are a bit janky, so I either have to repair them with some angle iron or buy new/used ones. The other alternative is pulling the mounts already in the truck and examining just how much welding damage they did when they put the GHLS seats in it.
The weather is plunging back down into the freezing cold next week, so this project will get put on hold until springtime.
Santa did indeed send me a donut for the Hi-Lift jack, which makes me very happy to have, and I got the first of the two lighting kits from Amazon this afternoon. Stay tuned for upgrade updates.
Finn and I spent some good time running errands with Finn in the Scout this weekend, and it reminded me that I need to order and install new rear seatbelts. They are original to the truck, as far as I know. Finn pulled the female clasp side off of the belt early in the fall, so I shifted her carseat behind the drivers’ side. I’d like to get something more modern and reliable, as well as male clips that reach a little further. The big pain in the ass will be crawling under the truck to put a pair of vice-grips on the tiedown bolt in the center of the bed; at the very least I’ve got to measure everything and figure out what I’ll need for a warm day’s project.
I’m also going to spend a little cash on these LED marker lights and modify them for use, based on this thread from the Binder Planet. Eventually all the lights will go to LEDs but for now I’ll start with this.
And, I asked Santa to bring me a Rotopax setup for the third year in a row, so here’s hoping this time’s the charm. I also put a Hi-Lift retainer donut on my list, as well as a velcro-based LED light for the rollbar.
Finally, I’ve got some time between Christmas and New Year’s to myself; I think I’m going to mosey down to Crazy Ray’s and see if I can find a decent pair of PT Cruiser seats.
I’ve got it down to a bit of a science. But I keep forgetting to check the windshield gasket before I tighten the bedrails down.
Summer is officially over, I guess.
I updated the bones of the Scout blog to the same framework I use for Idiotking this afternoon, mainly because this one isn’t mobile responsive and I’ve not touched it in two years. I’ll keep working with the look and tweak things slowly over the next few weeks. Mainly, I’ve got to go back and relink photos to show up larger (they’ll resize on the fly like they do at IK).
Mike in Colorado sent me a nice big box full of weatherstripping seals for my Traveltop, which I’m very, very excited about. As stated before, I’ve got to get some Eastwood encapsulator and treat the rails before I put new windows in, but before I tackle that, I’ve got to get lighting in the garage sorted out. I looked at some new fluorescent fixtures at the Lowe’s last night and realized I don’t have to buy anything new: all I’ve got to do is wire outlets into the ceiling and plug my existing lights in. I’ll have extra outlets if I need something overhead (it’ll be on a switched wire, but that’s OK) and I’m not out $100 in materials. I am, however, sending Mike a check for the rubber.
Having finally brought wired power to the garage, I thought it would be a good idea to add a battery conditioner to help the Scout make it through the winter. I generally get out and start her up every weekend during the snowy months to keep systems lubed and working (three of the saddest words in the English language are ran when parked) and there have been some days when I’ve needed to pull one of the Hondas up to jump the battery. I found an inexpensive battery conditioner on Amazon and got it a few weeks ago. It’s meant to keep the battery topped off, which is just what I need.
I heard from our friend Mike in Colorado after a long quiet spell, who has been driving his shiny Scout daily after rebuilding it from the ground up. He offered me a spare set of traveltop window seals he’s got sitting in his garage, which is fantastic timing. I’ve been eyeballing my traveltop in the garage, thinking it would be wise to get it back on the truck before things get really cold. It’s got solid side windows but I’ve got a set of sliders from the crappy top I had sitting in the backyard, and the seals they came with are OK but not new. One of my goals before it goes on is to knock down and shoot the rust inside along the bed rails with some Eastwood encapsulator and then cover them with etching primer. It’s in great shape overall but there are a bunch of inexplicable screw holes that need to be welded shut, something I’d like to test out a new welding rig on.
I had a little time to fool around with the Scout this weekend after taking her camping; I tackled a few smaller issues that I knew I could wrap up quickly (with a bored daughter rolling around in the back seat). First up was the passenger door handle, which has been loose since I got the truck. I pulled the inner panel off, took the handle off, and fitted a couple of lockwashers to the mounting screws, then tightened it up snug to the body. Next I took the shitty pot-metal rearview mirror mount off the passenger door (the mirror was gone when I got the truck).
Then I fitted a replacement glove box door to the dashboard. See the clip held in with two screws in the photo above? That’s an early-style clip, from what I can gather. Later clips were actually a hoop of metal the latch hooks onto. My dash is old so the metal lip the hoop mounts to is smaller. I’ve got to figure out some kind of temporary fix for this so I can actually use my glove box.
I also have to get up under the dashboard and POR-15 the seam at the firewall; I noticed some water leaking down inside when the truck was sitting at the campsite. I may actually use some Eastwood rust inhibitor this time to see how well it works, and I can get it at the Advance when I pick up some new door jamb switches.