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Old 03-31-2018, 06:08 AM   #1
jkwriter
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Hi. I'm writing a novel that takes place in 1998 and a key character (insofar as a car can be a character) is a 1977 IH Scout, kelly green with a soft top. My neighbor has this car and I am fully enamored with it, even when I see my neighbor stranded on the shoulder around town or being towed home. His driveway is my weather channel--if there is a tarp over the top of the car, I know it's going to rain. I thought it was the perfect car for my road trip book.

I have gotten lots of information from him about being a Scout owner, but I'd love a bit of help from some of the mechanically-minded DIYers in here. In one particular scene in my book, I want the car not to start and have the problem be something the owner can fix fairly easily (but impressively, to the standers by) by going to a local junkyard to salvage a part and then make the swap.

If anyone has any ideas of what this "car won't start" problem could be, I'd love to hear them!

Thank you so much!

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Old 03-31-2018, 06:35 AM   #2
Scoutboy74
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One thing that would fit the bill would be a failed ignition coil. Its an item that isn't necessarily Scout specific. It crosses over to vehicles of other makes from the 60's and 70's. Easy to remove, easy to install. A street-wise Scout owner would know some basic roadside diagnostic steps, at least enough to narrow his broad guess down to a couple likely culprits if he couldn't home in on the exact one. But, this is not an expensive or difficult item to source brand new from a parts store. Most folks who need to replace a coil will opt for purchasing a new one that probably comes a short term warranty. There is an element of chance with junkyard parts. Maybe there is no parts store within easy driving distance in your story? I obviously don't know the setting. The other thing is, most wrecking yards today don't have Scouts, or other IH vehicles sitting in them. Heavy, older vehicles that didn't see their parts "move" all that rapidly were sadly purged to a large degree during the "cash for clunkers" debacle when scrap prices were at an all time high. Also, the general atmosphere of wrecking yards to public visitation has changed over the years. Liability reasons and parts theft prevention, I suppose. In my early years of Scout ownership, say 2002-07, There were a half dozen wrecking yards in the Medford, OR vicinity that I would hit on a regular basis looking for assorted parts. And a good percentage of them did have a couple to several Scouts or other IH vehicles in them for me to pick over. Most of these places would allow me into their yards for a look-see at the glorious treasures. But times have changed. It seems like now when you visit a wrecking yard, they ask you what specific part you're after. If they have it, maybe they let you back in the yard with some tools to remove it, but more than likely one of their employees removes the part and brings it to you while you wait in the lobby. This might be too much inside baseball for the premise of your story. I don't know.
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Old 03-31-2018, 06:37 AM   #3
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Default Re: Question from an author

I am assuming there is no auto parts store nearby or they are closed, therefore you are going to walk to a nearby junkyard.

Here are three:

1. The ignition coil could be taken from many vehicles of other brands as long as it is 12VDC and the same style that IH used. Could be from a Ford pickup for example of the same era as the Scout II.
Requires a couple of wrenches and/or sockets.

2. If there is a Scout II in the yard, a used distributor cap & rotor from the junker Scout II could be used to replace a burned out or cracked distributor cap & rotor.
Requires no tools at all.

3. A good used fuel filter could be robbed to replaced the plugged fuel filter on your Scout II. This could come from a myriad of vehicles. A Fram G2 is the type used by the Scout II.
Requires only a screw driver to work the hose clamps.
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Old 03-31-2018, 06:39 AM   #4
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This is great, and inside baseball is exactly what I need. The setting for this scene is 1998 in rural Alabama, which could help with the believable availability of parts.
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Old 03-31-2018, 12:20 PM   #5
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For that time and place, I could see a guy strolling into some backwater wrecking yard and gaining access. Maybe he's got a small tool bag, or maybe the place lets him borrow a couple wrenches and screwdrivers. Then a short time later he pays for and leaves with an item that he pulled off some organ donor. Another scenario could involve the guy having some "experienced" spare parts in an onboard "possibles" hidey-hole. Conversation could go something like, "I'm not sure if this (ABC part) is the problem, but I've got a strong hunch. I've got a spare that I took off some old rust pile a while back. Throw it on and maybe I'll get lucky."
Its not unheard of for folks with vintage vehicles, and especially orphans like Scouts, to carry some spare parts with them if they're embarking on a road trip or heading into the back country.
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Favorite hobby...Driving Salma Hayek in my Scout

Coal Trickle - '99 Dodge Ram 2500 Q-Cab SWB 4x4 - 5.9L 24V CTD/NV4500
Hooty - '74 SII - 392/TF727/D20/3.73 D44's/Spartan FA/Krac-lok RA/RC 4" SUA/34x10.5 TSLs/33g Fuel/HFT 8k winch
Mongo - '71 1210 Std Cab 2WD - 345/TF727/RA17 D60 4.10 Trac-lok - "Mongo love candy! Duh, huh, huh!"
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Old 03-31-2018, 01:17 PM   #6
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Thanks 1975IH200

These are great suggestions. I really appreciate this!
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Old 03-31-2018, 01:20 PM   #7
jkwriter
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Thanks Scoutboy74! I especially love the tip about the spare parts. That's exactly something this car should have for the trip.
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Old 04-01-2018, 10:02 AM   #8
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I can recite what actually happened to me. One night I was out with my son in the Scout. All of a sudden it just died. We had lights, put no engine. I could not even crank the starter. It was the only time I did not have any tools with me. After finding I also had no accessories, no radio no heater blower; I figured it was something to do with the ignition switch. The plan was to hot wire it. I found some extra wire in the engine bay that was not used. I cut a length with a pocket knife and jumpered from the battery to the coil +; but we had no way to keep it attached. Then a "curious" neighbor drove up, we were miles into the country with fields between homes far and wide. He was sorry for our state of affairs but he had no tools and was not going to get any. He already just put in a 16 hour day and was too tired. He did let us look in his trunk for anything that might on the off chance be of help. We found a small box of Christmas ornament hangers. I used two of them to wire tie and hold the jumper ends to the battery and coil terminals. Then I jumpered the starter terminals with a lug wrench to engage it and the engine took off. We made it home without further incident. However the boy was shy about the old girl and would not ride in her for many years. I did replace the switch and all is still well. Oh, we were truly stranded; no cell phones at the time.

You could probably change a few details for "dramatic" effect in a more urban location.
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Old 04-01-2018, 10:05 AM   #9
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Greg R, this is a great story and perfect fodder for what I'm working on. Thanks!
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Old 04-01-2018, 12:33 PM   #10
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Default Re: Question from an author

Scouts never fail, so this must be fiction. ;-)
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Old 04-01-2018, 07:37 PM   #11
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I was in Japan a couple of years ago and saw these little pepper things on display in a shop, so asked the guys I was with what they were. "Charms to ward off Demons" they said. Told them I had the perfect place for that, and there they be.
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