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.
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.
Word has come through the IH community that Kentrol, a long-time maker of fiberglas body tubs for the Scout, Jeep, and Early Bronco community, will be ceasing production of all of their fiberglas parts at the end of September. While I knew they wouldn’t make new tubs forever, I hoped they’d keep going until I could pony up $4K for one.
I’ve been eyeballing a new set of bed rail tops for Peer Pressure for months now, ever since I put the soft top on. The ones that it came with have been chewed up and bent since I got it, and it would be nice to have flat, straight metal on the top of the quarters–plus, the screw holes have been getting wider and looser every year. I have a gift certificate from Super Scout since last year’s Carlisle meet and glanced at it this morning, only to realize it expires today! So I called up and ordered a pair. While I had them on the phone I asked about my odd glove box latch, which didn’t come on any Scout they remember, but possibly came from a pickup. So I’ll have to see if I can make a spare latch work with the catch I’ve got, or just keep rolling with no glove box door.
I got tired of dealing with a swingarm that performed no function, so I broke down and pulled it off this afternoon. I had to disassemble part of the tailgate to get the license plate wire run back up to the OEM light, but once that got sorted out the rest went easy. Up until I tested the light, which doesn’t work. It was fine when I disconnected it a few years ago, so it could be the bulb is dead, or the socket isn’t grounded properly, but I ran out of time to test it. I may have to break down and buy a new one from Super Scout Specialists later in the summer.
So I put the spare up on a brick, remounted the J-hook and called it done. I have to get some larger stainless bolts for the license plate and run the wire back up into the tailgate.
Taking advantage of the warmer weather, I hoisted the traveltop off the Scout this Saturday. After some experimentation with my first soft top (a snap-top Kayline) I bolted the hardware for the black top back on and got it back on. Then I thought I might take advantage of some spare time to replace my steering wheel. I called up an old post to find the relevant information and got to work.
Pulling the plastic covers off went very easily, and I made it down to the locking bolt with no problems.
Then I found I had the wrong bolts to go in my column, so Finn and I ran out to the store to get the proper size and thread. Lowe’s didn’t have much in their 1/4″ fine thread selection; the best I could do was 2 1/2″ in stainless steel. When I got it home they went in the column easily, but the center punch screw immediately went off course as I started threading it. I put a wide extension on the end of the punch but that didn’t help, so then I threaded the locknut back on about a quarter turn, hoping it would hold the punch in place. That just made the whole assembly bend at an alarming angle, and the last thing I want to do is snap a bolt off in the column, so I backed it all out and put it back together.
It’s clear I need a more precise kit to get the proper amount of pressure on the column; I’ll have to see if I can rent one from somewhere–but first I’m going to buy a turn signal cam and a new lock barrel and do the whole column at one time.
Update: two things–firstly, I need to flip the crossbar of the puller so the flat side is out. Duh. Secondly, I may have a Jeep wheel here, in which case the dinged-up center section is replaceable on eBay if I search for Jeep OEM steering wheel CJ7 1980.