’78 International Harvester Scout II – Part 2 Electrical Mayhem and some interior bits

In international harvester, scout, truck on January 10, 2015 at 5:02 am

After getting the truck home the priority was a new electrical harness and pretty much everything that would connect up to it.  I ordered a new harness, head lights, tail lights, and all new gauges with an after-market dash to put them into.  I also ordered carpet, some missing bezels and lenses for the side marker lights, spark plugs and wires and a replacement glove box.  I got everything through IH Parts America (formaly IH Only North).  They have been excellent to work with.  Here are a couple of shots of what I was starting with…

Scout 4Scout 6

I started by ripping out all of the old wiring harness and gauges and part of the dash.  I also removed the air conditioner.  It didn’t work and was of questionable utility in a topless truck.  I did not get a Painless Wiring Harness (I should have but went with a cheaper alternative).  The one I did get seemed simple enough even though the documentation was not as good as Painless provides.  It wasn’t terribly difficult work but there was a bit of a learning curve as I had never spent much time working on cars.  That was the idea of a project vehicle though so while there was frustration (and still is) at times, the enjoyment I get from working on the truck and learning more about cars makes it worth it.  Slowly but surely I got everything wired up and replaced the lights and gauges.  I had to do some cutting on the original dash structure to get the new gauges and dash panel/gauge cluster installed.  It still doesn’t fit quite right.  The cutout for the radio doesn’t match up that one in the original dash.  I still haven’t decided what I am going to do about that.  As I haven’t decided if it will get a radio installed that hasn’t been a problem yet.  It doesn’t look great though.  I still have a couple of gremlins to chase down in the wiring but for the most part the wiring harness installation was a success.

One of the biggest frustrations was the carpet.  This is the one purchase I wish I had not made.  The carpet is very good quality with the insulation attached to the underside.  It was pre-molded (more-or-less) and fit fairly well.  Getting the holes cut in and getting screws through it was much tougher than I had expected.  Because I don’t have a roof on the truck the carpet holds a lot of water inside against the floor so I have since removed the carpet and don’t plan on re-installing it unless I get a roof.  It might not happen even then.  Rhino Lining or Lizard Skin will probably be the final solution for the floor.

At one point I put the entire interior together to see how it all looked.  I did take a couple photos at the time but of course can’t find any of them.  It’s since been mostly stripped out again to continue with the work.

As you can see in the second photo, the Scout had an after-market ignition.  It worked fine but they had cut off the unused wires right at the body.  I had a bought a tachometer (i hate driving a stick shift without a tach) but one of the wires they had cut off was the tach lead.  This sort of ignition system uses multiple sparks to improve efficiency and power.  Unfortunately this means I can’t run a tach lead from the normal location because it will fire 3 or 4 times more than usual because of the multiple sparks.  In the interests of simplifying things and returning the truck to something closer to stock I decided to remove the after-market ignition and replace it with the original type of distributor.  Unfortunately I knew nothing about ignition timing and was lazy about how I did the swap so the truck didn’t run after my swap.

About this time my life started falling apart and the truck sat like this for most of the next year and half.  The only time it did anything with it was to tow it up from Santa Barbara to my Mom’s house when I moved.   About 2 weeks ago I started working on it again.  It is running again.  I’ll cover the recent work in the next blog.


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