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Old 10-21-2011, 09:51 PM   #1
Joey Link
Join Date: Mar 2010
Member Number: 1750
Posts: 38
Default 1976 International Scout 2 a.k.a. "The Wheeler"

After jen and I met the local Scout group at Binder Bee 2010 we let them know that if they ever had open seats when they went wheeling we'd love to come along. We got a call in early June 2011 from daniel and jen who were headed up to brown's camp for the day. We had an awesome time and decided we needed to equip our nice Scout for light trail work. After Binder Bee 2011 the group had planned another brown's camp run and we wanted to go watch, so we met them up there. We had no intention on wheeling our own, but rather driving the access roads to the obstacles and watching them. Upon our arrival we were convinced that the trail they had chosen was very easy and no harm would come to our Scout (which wasn't equipped with a roll bar or any sort of armor protection). Reluctantly, I agreed. I can't recall the last time I had been so stressed and worried as I did that day on the trail. I had found my dream Scout in great condition, and here I was inches from really messing it up. However, jenny and I had one of the best times we've ever had, and driving was way better than riding along. We made the decision then and there that we had to build our own to use as a dedicated trail rig. Since the orange Scout is mine, this one would be hers.

Living in downtown portland, we don't have much room and parking is expensive. Our first task was ease my Dad into the idea that there would be another rig parked up at his place. After a few drinks we somehow got something other than no for an answer. Next we spent weeks browsing craigslist daily for just the right rig. We didn't have much money so we couldn't afford to buy something already built, and I really wanted the experience of building something up myself (even if it was much more expensive). We knew we wanted a 1976+ Scout 2 for the d44 with disc brakes, and we knew we wanted the 345/727/d20 combo since we didn't want to have to worry about working a clutch on the trail. Late last month we saw an ad for a Scout that fit that description for $1500. I was initially hesitant to go look at it as it looked like it had quite a bit of damage to the passenger rear, but jenny was excited and convinced me we had nothing better to do. We called up a buddy and the three of us went to go check it out.

When we first got there we were all quite underwhelmed by the look of it, especially jenny who doesn't quite have the "eye for potential" yet. The more we looked the more we noticed all the flaws were really pretty superficial things that were either easy to fix or thing that would be replaced anyway. The thing that really shocked me was the test drive, where it ran, drove, shifted, and handled far better than I expected. There were only two real driveability issues; there was a sound like a flat tire coming from the front left hub when it was unlocked, and a grinding/squealing sound like a failing wheel bearing coming from the right rear. We thanked the guy and went to grab dinner while we contemplated our decision. I was definitely interested, but taking into consideration all the small problems jenny wasn't so sure. We decided to offer the guy $800; he countered with $900 and it was ours. We finalized the deal and I slowly made my way back to portland on arterial roads in case my rear wheel fell off.

The next morning was Monday and my day off, so I decided to drive it up to my Dad's place and begin making my to-do list. I was planning on dropping jenny off at work on my way, and we were running late. We went down to start it and it fired right up, but being cold blooded it died when we tried to leave after only letting it warm up for a few minutes. When we turned the key to restart all it would do was crank. Since jenny was short on time I had her drive our car to work while I figured out what was up with the Scout. Shortly after she pulled away I realized the shift lever wasn't quite all the way forward (it's difficult to shift for some reason). I jammed it into park, turned the key, and bingo, it started. Again not trusting it on the freeway, I wanted to get as close to the interstate bridge as possible before hopping on to cross the river into washington. All was well until I hit my brakes coming down the hill in front of the rose quarter and the pedal went right to the floor. Pumping made no difference and I had to make a decision before I smashed into the 4runner in front of me. I tried the parking brake, which was frozen solid. Though I didn't have time to check my mirror I quickly cut the wheel to the left into the other lane in the same direction, which was luckily empty. My front missed the other vehicle by a couple inches, but I was still rolling downhill on a collision course with a max train. I cut the wheel again to the left and jumped the median to make a u-turn, knowing I had to get pointed uphill. This worked, and I was able to modulate the throttle and use gravity to control my speed. I pulled over on the first side street, collected myself, and called aaa for a tow.

The first thing I investigated when I got up to the shop was the sound from the right rear. If it was a wheel bearing it was on it's last leg and I knew it was serious. After I got the rusty drum off I discovered the adjuster mechanism had come apart and a piece of it was sandwiched between the face of the drum and the side of the shoe, causing the sound. A much easier fix than a wheel bearing! Unfortunately nowhere stocked the repair kit, so I had to order one. Next up was the front warn hub. I couldn't understand why it would make noise unlocked but not locked. I disassembled it and found nothing, aside from some corrosion. I cleaned it up really well and put it all back together for more testing once I get the brakes fixed. Knowing how the factory vinyl flooring traps moisture leading to rust, I hit the interior next. I was extremely happy to find no serious rust issues after removal. Grinding off the rust that is there and treating the bare metal should be all we have to do before we spray it with u-pol raptor, which I recently ordered. For some reason the speedometer didn't work, so I disassembled the dash and found the cable wasn't hooked up! Reassembled, but another thing I'm waiting on brakes to test. I cut the panel in front of the left rear wheel well to get all the junk out of there and out fell a pile about 6" high! We'll patch this up once we cut the fenders. At this point it was time to wrap up and go home.

All and all we're very happy to be a two Scout family now, and we think we made a solid purchase for it's intended use. We haven't made it up there to do anything else as we've been working a lot, but weekend after next we'll have a few days when we hope to tackle the master cylinder and rear drum so it can get back on the road. Aside from ordering those parts and the u-pol raptor bedliner I also picked up a set of 4" lift springs. While bs'ing with the guy I discovered he has a front Scout d44 with the factory lsd which has already been cut, turned, and setup for spring over. He's thinking he wants $300 for it, and I'm thinking this thing might get sprung over much sooner than I thought! We plan on keeping the center of gravity as low as possible, so we'll be taking a lot of material out of the fenders and doing the spring over with stock springs. We should be able to fit a 35"-37" tire just fine. As soon as we have the funds we'll be sending it down to daniel in mcminville to have him build our cage, bumpers, and sliders all at once. At some point it'll receive a cheap paint job as well.

More updates coming soon!

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