When the leaves fall and the first real frost of the season hits, I start thinking about putting the hardtop on. There’s nothing more frustrating than installing (or removing) a hardtop when it’s 30° outside; banging knuckles on cold metal is a bummer.
I’ve got the process down to a science now, and yesterday it took me about an hour to remove the soft top, fold it up, drop the hardtop down onto the rails, align the gaskets (don’t forget the windshield gasket!), drive it out of the garage, and get the bolts in place. I finger-tighten the four windshield bolts first, and then start with the two siderail bolts directly behind the doors, working my way backwards. It’s always much easier to push/pull the top in the middle to align the holes than it is at the ends. What would have been finished in an hour took an extra 15 minutes because I had to open the tailgate up to re-align the hatch mechanism–something I’ve also got down to a science, as it happens at least twice a year.
She’s been running really well this year, and apart from some basic carb adjustments, I don’t have any complaints at all. I backed her into the garage, set up the trickle charger, and let her sleep until next week with her winter coat.
Saturday I drove over to Brian’s house to join a bunch of guys helping him transplant a refreshed 345 into his Wagonmaster. The morning was gray, and I tried every rationalization I could to drive Peer Pressure over with my Hydroboost parts to see if I could have some of the experts help me install it. As I was loading up, rain started to fall and the radar showed a huge front moving in, so I switched to the Honda and begrudgingly drove over.
Almost everybody else had the same strategy I did, because there were only two other Internationals there out of twelve guys.
I stood around and soaked in as much of the knowledge as I could, offering help, a flashlight, or spare hand wherever I could. I’m not experienced enough by years to attempt a transplant myself, but seeing these guys do it so quickly is an inspiration.
By noon the engine was mated to the transmission and in the truck, and as I left at 3:30 the carb, AC, distributor, starter, and alternator were all installed.
Via a Facebook post later in the day, they got it running at about 6:30 that evening. Not bad!
A nice fella on the Binder Planet had these stickers made up and offered them to the community. They were too groovy to pass up.
Until today, whenever I had a passenger ride with me, I (usually) had to get out and lift their door from the outside in order to get it to close. This was annoying. Recently, the latch on the inside disengaged from the linkage, meaning I’d have to get out to let my passenger out.
The girls took a trip up to Philly today, so I was on my own. I made a quick dinner and pulled the Scout out of the garage, pulled the panel off the door, and took a look. The plastic retainer clip broke in my hand as I took it off, so I raided my stash to find a spare. The two doors I’ve got and my spare linkage are from a later year, so the clip is a grommet/steel combination that fits into a larger hole. I drilled out the hole and fit the clip, and that was that. Then I figured I’d look at the door itself.
I put some bracing under the door and loosened the six hinge bolts on the door itself. Then I tightened the middle bolt on the bottom, pivoted the door upwards, and readjusted the bracing. Then I cinched the middle top bolt, loosened the bottom, and pushed it in 1/8″. After tightening everything down, I tested it, and I got lucky: it closed as well as the day it rolled out of the factory.
I took Sunday afternoon to pull the old solid windows out of the traveltop and look at the frames; with the exception of the bottom of the driver’s side lip, it all looked to be in great shape. I sprayed rust converter on everything I saw, let it dry, and then sprayed it with paint before putting the sliders back in.
I couldn’t figure out how to get the new rubber Mike sent me to work, so for now I reused the rubber they came with, and it went in easily.
Before I left for New York, I took a little time to pull the cowl cover off and stick my shop-vac hose down into the cavity between the inner and outer fender. This is a notorious rust spot on the Scout II, as all kinds of crap falls down through the cowl to land here, where it can’t get back out. When it gets wet, it takes a long time to dry out, and you get the idea.
The driver’s side is harder to clean out because the knee vent is in the way (back in Ye Olden Days, lots of cars had manually operated vents at knee or ankle height) so I’ll either have to get creative about getting in there or pull apart the emergency brake assembly to get the vent out to access it from the inside.
I’m now on the hunt for stainless window screen that I can zip-tie to the underside of the cowl vent, to keep new crud from getting in there.
And, judging from the pictures, it looks like someone was in there at some point with a can of undercoating or POR-15, which is a nice surprise.
The Rotopax is finally in! I realized I could access the inside of the rear fender through an opening between the inner and outer sheet metal aft of the wheel. I drilled four holes and had Jen push on the bolts while I aligned the backing plate and screwed the nuts on. It sits snug to the floor and up out of the way. No more 1 gallon can bumping around the bed of the truck. And it should be out of the way of the cinch straps for the soft top.
I would’ve put the hood on top but it was too heavy and kept falling inside. The white fender is actually in worse shape than I’d remembered.