1980 International Scout 2 a.k.a. "The Nice One"

Discussion in 'Binder Builds' started by Joey Link, Oct 21, 2011.


  1. Joey Link

    Joey Link Farmall Cub

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    I just realized I haven't posted project threads for our two Scout 2's, so I'm going to start now. This is my first Scout 2 which I purchased March 3rd, 2010. I've owned quite a few older 4x4's over the years, Toyota trucks, 4runners, Bronco's, Suburbans, an FJ40, and a couple others. For one reason or another none of them seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. I wanted something simple enough that I could customize it myself with my desired drive train, suspension, and interior. I loved the FJ40 with the fully removable top, but it was too small to haul four people with adequate gear for camping, hiking, fishing, whatever. The 1978 Bronco was large enough, but (as superficial as it is) it looked goofy with the top off cruising around during warm weather. Despite owning all these older rigs, I had somehow never heard of the International Scout. The first time I saw a Scout 2 I knew it was exactly what I was looking for, and I knew I had to have one.

    I scoured the internet for six months looking for a decent Scout 2 that wasn't rusted out and which didn't need much work. I knew I could fix most mechanical issues, but I didn't have the time to work on it. Body work on the other hand would be very costly for me, since I have zero experience. My plan for the rig was to build it to be a clean daily driver outfitted for light logging roads, fishing, and camping, and I knew I wanted to paint it either Orange or Yellow. One day I was checking craigslist when up popped an orange 1980 Scout 2 in Newport, OR. This was exactly what I was looking for, as it looked to have a straight body and it was already orange. I thought I had won the lottery! After making the three hour drive to Newport, OR based on four tiny craigslist photos, I found what I thought to be a decent Scout. The story behind the rig was the original owner had it garaged in Sun River as a vacation rig, with occasional trips to Portland. It started life as a diesel, but a year after the guy bought it he got tired of not being able to pass on the interstate and had a 345 swapped in. To this day this is the only Scout I've seen with a Multnomah Athletic Club decal on the window. The guy was asking $4,500, I offered $4,000, and we settled on $4,300.

    I knew it was going to need some work, as when I turned the wheel the entire front suspension wiggled. The tie rod and drag link ends were completely shot and one of the four mismatched tires had a bad bulge in the sidewall. Luckily it had a spare in the back which Les Schwab swapped on after checking that it was road worthy, and I began my long slow trip home in my new Scout 2.

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    On the first nice day after I got it home to Portland I further inspected the vehicle for rust and I was happy to find very little. There was a bit under the paint on the driver side rear area in front of the rear wheel well and a bit on the tailgate, but that was about all I could find. I was concerned with the floor pans, but they looked good from underneath so I chose to take a gamble. Not knowing what the market or theft rate was like for these, I decided the first thing I should do was make it a bit more difficult to steal, so I ordered a Grant Steering Wheel Security System and a Grant 990 wheel to fit it.

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    My next order of business was to fix the steering, find a lift kit, and replace the old tires. I happened to find a guy on craigslist selling a set of Triangle lift springs with Trailmaster SSV shocks for $350. Though this was more than I wanted to pay, I was anxious to get the Scout on the road and I couldn't buy my tires until I had adequate clearance. I bought that setup, then ordered new polyurethane body mounts, a 1" body lift, CPT 5" extended shackles, BCB extended brake lines, 4* caster shims, and new u-bolts from IHOnly. Funny thing I found when installing the lift; the owner had small caster shims installed, only they were installed backward! After that came the tires and wheels. The first set I purchased were 33x12.5 BFG's mounted on alloy wheels, but when I mounted them up they stuck out far too much, meaning they'd kick up rocks and damage the paint. They also didn't leave much room between the tire and the front of the rear fender well.

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    I didn't want to cut and I didn't want to run fender flares, so again I hit craigslist. I found a guy selling a set of 16" Ultra Series 164 wheels because they wouldn't fit on his RAV4. For tires I chose to try to Firestone Destination M/T Radials, based on the rave reviews online. I decided to go with a 265/75R16, which is 32" tall and a little under 10.5" wide. These fit perfect and I've been extremely happy with both the tire choice and the size.

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    I was about to order new tie rod and drag link ends when I read about how easy it was to bend the stock components. Not only that, but the stock ends were expensive and had to be special ordered. My girlfriend worked for a metal distributor at the time so I had her order a length of 1-3/4" DOM steel. I purchased threaded weld-in inserts from Spidertrax and MOOG Problem Solver ends for a Chevy 3/4-ton, thinking if one broke for any reason it would be much easier to find in the middle of nowhere. After building the new components my front end was much tighter (though the thing still darted and wandered a bit). I found out later at my first Binder Bee that all three steering bolts were quite loose and the box was flexing on the frame. After it was tightened it was quite a bit better, but the road manners still weren't quite what I was looking for.

    No topless rig is complete without a halfway decent stereo system, so I pulled the old Kenwood cassette deck someone crammed in there and installed a refurbished Sony head unit I picked up cheap off their website. Though I'm not a fan of Sony car audio, it was a great deal and cheap enough that I could upgrade later on. I didn't read about the features before I ordered it but I came to find out later that it has both Bluetooth audio and voice capabilities, both of which work very well. Next step here is to replace and rewire the speakers.

    At this point I'd owned the vehicle for a year and a few months. As much as I loved it, winter was coming and parking was limited so I had to let it sit at my parents until this summer. In June I brought it back down to Portland to stay (and serve as my daily driver). At Binder Bee 2011 I saw John from Back Country Binders and remembered I'd been meaning to get a Borgensen steering kit with the anti-vibration joint as well as a straight steer brace to brace the frame and that loose steering box. He didn't have any of the Borgensen units with the vibration dampener, so I just bought the straight steer brace. After installation I thought for sure I was imagining things because I couldn't believe how well the rig handled and drove down the road. I had to be sure so I swapped seats with the girlfriend, who confirmed the difference was, in fact, night and day! At this point I'm not sure how much difference a Borgensen kit will make, since my rag joint is in good shape, but I may try it one day if I'm ever feeling rich just to find out.

    Also at the Binder Bee was a booth for Skinnypedal.net, which featured their new HID kits for vehicles with 7" round headlights. After seeing them on their rig and asking a few questions I thought for sure it was the way I wanted to go. I had already ordered H4 housings and had planned on wiring up the relays, but I'm not very good with wiring. To my surprise their kits are all plug-and-play! It took me until just this month to order the kit and finally gather all the parts needed to swap from the 1980 square headlights to the round headlights and SSII grill I'd been wanting to go with. The grill swap was fairly simple, and for the headlights all we had to do was ground two wires and run a power lead. The harness already had the required relay wired in and for the high/low function it plugs into the existing harness. The thing I like about it is all the existing wiring is left there. In case of emergency or a burned out bulb you could grab two stock sealed beams and just plug them in. An easy backup plan is a good thing!

    More updates to come.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
  2. Comanche Scott

    Comanche Scott High Wheeler

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    Now that is SWEET! :rockon:

    Your Scout looks awesome, and it's really cool to see it in such good shape, that you can work on the fun stuff. Nice mod's.
    If you haven't already done this, On the hose that runs to the spark arrestor in the valve cover, it would be a good idea to add a filter, or run it up inside a larger air filter base.
    This is the fresh air intake for your engine, as part of the PCV system.
    The larger the air filter assembly, the easier the truck will breath. Not only does it produce better power at the top end, but it can also help increase fuel mileage.
    The large base air filters usually have a nipple for this hose to attach.

    Will be a lot of fun this winter with some snow runs! :beer:
     
  3. Joey Link

    Joey Link Farmall Cub

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    Thanks man! I'm very fortunate to have found such a clean one. It was already the color I was going to paint it too!

    I'm currently trying to track down a factory air cleaner housing so I can swap it back to factory. Thanks for the info though, I didn't know that.
     
  4. bmacguyver

    bmacguyver High Wheeler

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    is that plastic radiator fan stock for 1980 or some type of aftermarket item?

    tia

    mac
     
  5. Joey Link

    Joey Link Farmall Cub

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    Been a while since I've posted an update here!

    The Scout is still in pretty much the same shape as it was in those last photos. I'm paying for an extra parking spot for it down here in the Pearl, but it's still so cold-blooded I usually don't have time to wait for it to warm up so I can drive it. My next goal is to find a stock air cleaner with the heat tube so hopefully it'll warm up faster. I also have a 195* thermostat for it, which I've heard will help. Last summer I installed a fresh set of plugs, checked the timing, and tuned the 2210 a bit, but I really don't think any of that made much of a difference (aside from my own piece of mind). Fun upgrades include a round headlight conversion, Skinnypedal.net HID conversion, and an SS2 grille :punk:

    Last Christmas my girlfriend bought me an iPad 2. I was grateful but she could tell I wasn't ecstatic about it. Her next sentence was "If you'd like you can return it and order a set of those Corbeau seats you were looking at". Guess who was at the Apple store December 26th? :D

    I chose the Corbeau Baja RS's, and plan to have the rear seat reupholstered to match so I can retain the fold and tumble feature which is extremely convenient when hauling larger items. Since Christmas I've been looking for cheap slider and mounting solution, but last week I gave up and ordered a set of the high-dollar Corbeau double-locking sliders that mount to the factory bases. They were $240 shipped, which was very expensive in my opinion, but that means I'm going to be able to bolt them in AND I'll be able to proceed with my plan of having two small 8" sub boxes built for inside the driver and passenger seat pedestals for a clean install. The sliders showed up yesterday, so I'm going up today to install them as well as the Tuffy center console :yes:

    I've had a set of Trailmaster lift springs I bought for the wheeling Scout, but I think I'm going to swap them with these Triangle springs in an attempt to reduce the harshness of the ride, since I drive the one mostly on pavement. Next step is to get some sort of floor lining, either Raptor lining it myself or having Line-X sprayed. I'd love to do the Line-X but I don't think I can afford it, and I have a Raptor kit sitting in my closet for our other Scout. After that I'd like to get a show bar and bikini top for the summer, which should exhaust the rest of my Scout upgrade fund for this year.

    I'm not sure, that's how I bought it.
     

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