Welcome to a brand new buildup!
Having built, wheeled, and sale of Snoopy, we’ve found myself a bit empty inside. We needed to build another wheeler and quick. After all, spring time is always around the corner and we all want more time on the trails!
This buildup is going to be one that will strike a few cords with some of our readers, Rusty, my new 1979 Scout II was a project that a past employee and I were supposed to do together. By the time I had a chance to get back to it, I realized that the body of this Scout was a little less-impressive than what I was led to believe. Or, in other words, it’s about as rusty as they come.
Normally, I would simply sell this Scout and start with something else, but Rusty was different. Besides all the visible and minor mechanical problems, Rusty has one of the strongest engines I’ve ever experienced. And that was Rusty’s saving grace…or is it, his doom?
Rusty was going to be a real sweet full-bodied Scout II built for a nice blend of Rock Crawling , Highway cruising, and Daily Driving. It has one of the most powerful engines we’ve experienced. It was “quick and powerful”, but like all Scouts, it had its problems. Our dreams of having a terrific full-bodied daily driver were in full bloom and we were making major steps towards turning it into the Scout II of our dreams. We replaced the entire steering system (box, pump, lines), installed one of those sweet DUI distributors in it, fixed most of the fluid leaks and had started acquiring parts for the build.
But that all changed when we went to recycled some oil.
You know what its like, your little 15 quart drain pan gets filled up and you take it to the nearest parts store for dumping. Well, everything was going according to plan until our shop assistant had to stop rather quickly. Then he made some turns and the oil…that was in the pan spilt all over. In reality only a quarter to half quart spilled out, but it went everywhere. By the time he got the the parts store, the oil was dripping out of the bed. Well, he shouldn’t say out of the bed, it was more like through the bed. Yes, there were fist-sized holes in the back of the bed. “Perfect!”
Then, thanks to Colorado Springs’ beautiful spring weather, we got a few snow storms. It was then we realized something else, Rusty’s floors and rockers were not just toast, they were wasted! Here we were, driving down the street, and whenever it hit a puddle, the front tires throw water through the holes in the rockers/floor into my face! Even with resting my foot over the hole, the entire side of the driver’s leg gets drenched in about 1-2 miles.
My original plan was to repair the floors, put a Scout Terra-top on it; interior cage; front back and side bumpers/sliders; Competition SOA w/ 2.5″ lift springs; 1/2 ton full width axles; gears and lockers and 36-37″ tires. But when the ‘oil incident’ happened, common sense was spoken by a very unlikely person, and that per son was Led.
“How long is it going to take to fix all that rust now?” Led said.
“I know!,” Led came back, ” why not just tube buggy it?!?”
“Shut up Led.”
“No really” he continued, ” why spend a ton of time and money if you’re not going to get any of it back. Just cut the back off and build it out with tube!”
“Shut UP, LED!”
“Common, you know you want to…”
“Why do you plant these things in my head!”
“It’ll be fun!”
“Ugh…your right.” And with that simple conversation, “Project Rusty” was born.
In all honesty, Led’s suggestion really threw into play what we had been thinking of doing all along. D and C Extreme does some of the best suspension work out there…but lets be honest, Spring-Over-Axle’s (SOA’s) get a little old. If fact, they get really old. I needed something like Project 3 or Snoopy to exercise my brain a bit. Having seen a couple of guys on the Binder Bulletin (www.BinderBulletin.org) say they were looking to build something fast for the wheeling season. My mind was already prepped for Led’s blatant taunting.
That day I started doodling on some scrap paper. Later, I refined my designs to this:
This side view shows how we’ll keep the front fenders and most of the front clip. The rest would have to go (including the inner-fenders and most accessories, except the AC pump). Cutting off the frame (at about the rear cab mount) will make room for a jungle-gym of tube and gussets.
The base of the cage structure will allow for plenty of strength to the cut up frame as well as provide a sturdy floor to build off of.
The top section of the cage will be a continuation of the bottom, bars forming triangles and structural reinforcement in case of a roll-over.
Don’t mind the slight unequal sides in the drawing, this was all drawn in pen, by hand and without a ruler.
We’ll go over the designs more in detail as you see it take shape here on Rusty’s buildup. But if you’re wondering what kind of axles/drive train mods I’ve got in mind, wonder no more.
The axles we acquired originally for Rusty’s full bodied version were still here and already built, so I’ll keep them. Then a Dana44 Chevy front with a Ford 9 inch rear end. Both are locked and have 4.27 gears. The engine was built as we want it, so that’ll be the same, but the TF727 3-speed auto and the Stock D20 t-case will be tossed to the side for rebuilt units (the new t-case will have the Terra Low 3.15 low range and a twin-stick conversion).
The suspension plans have changed from the full-bodied Rusty as well. Instead of a Competition SOA w/ 2.5″ lift springs. We’ll be going with nothing short of coils front and back. Actually, the rear will be a pair of 16″ travel Sway-A-Way Race Runner Coil-over Shocks acquired by none less than Scott at RockBuggySupply.com.