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Scout Stats: International Harvester 4x4 Spotters Guide

Posted in Features on December 14, 2016
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Photographers: Wisconsin Historical Society

International Harvester (IH) has a long history of building agricultural and trucking equipment. The company was founded in 1902 and has just about as long a history building light trucks. Fast forward to the early ’60s when the company began producing an economical, utilitarian vehicle for the public. It was known as the Scout and was introduced as a ’61 model. This IH lineage would grow in popularity and survive model changes over a 20-year timespan.

The Scout was generally a wagon or SUV body style, but truck models were produced as well. Engine choices would range from four-cylinder to V-8 powerplants, with an occasional diesel thrown in. All this sat on tried and true straight axles supported by traditional leaf springs. Today, many of the half-million Scouts live on, whether still doing rural farm work or following dirt trails taking families on fourwheeling adventures.

Scout 80 vehicles started with the ’61 model. There were Travel-Top hardtop, Sport-Top soft top, and Cab-Top versions with a pickup-type bed area. There were also other less common configurations through the years. The Scout 80 changed from sliding side windows to rollup windows in 1963. (WHS 57909)

Scout 80 (1961 to 1965)

The original Scout was the Model 80 which sat on a 100-inch wheelbase. It was brought to market in 1961 in both 4x2 and 4x4 models, with the 4WD versions more popular. IH produced a tick over 100,000 units during the Model 80’s five-year lifespan.

In 1961, International Harvester advertised the new Scout stating, “Quick-change artist. In minutes you can make the Scout whatever kind of vehicle you want. Weather tight cab top, doors and windows are easy to take off, even the windshield folds down. It’s a station wagon, a convertible, a light-duty hauler, a having four vehicles for the price of one!” The Scout 80 was offered with several different removable top options and a fold-down windshield.

The Scout 80 had a very spartan and simplistic interior. The design thought at the time was more a focus on utility and reliability. Little did International Harvester know that the buying public would take such a sudden liking to the new Scout. (WHS 57842)

The short wheelbase SUV sat on a ladder-frame similar to the trucks of the day. The Scout 80 had a payload rating of 800 pounds and utilized a leaf-spring suspension with straight axles, as was common in the day. The front 4WD axle was a closed-knuckle Spicer 27 or 27A. The rear axle could be a Spicer 27 or a Spicer 44 (starting in 1962). Powr-Lok limited-slip units were also optional. Factory standard axle ratio was 4.27:1, but for some years, 3.73:1 and 4.88:1 ratios were added as optional. Manual steering was via a Ross steering box and linkage and drum brakes sat at all four corners.

In the mid-’60s, the International Scout 800 was running an I-4 engine, the standard was normally aspirated, and there was an optional turbocharged engine. In the long run, the turbocharged engine would prove to be problematic. It was removed from the official options list a few years later. (WHS 95775)

Only four-cylinder engines were offered in the Scout 80. The 152ci engines were overhead-valve slant-four powerplants derived from the 304 V-8 engine and designated the 4-152 Comanche. The normally aspirated engine had a gross rating of 93 hp, but in late 1964, a turbocharged version became an option and produced about 111 hp.

The three-speed manual transmission was the BorgWarner T-14 in the 4WD Scouts and the iron-case, gear-drive transfer case was a Spicer 18 (2.46:1 low range) with offset rear output. A PTO output at the transfer case was also available during the early years of the Scout.

The Scout 800 models were available in a variety of factory configurations, including hardtop, convertible, cab models, and roadsters. This is how the Scout looked in 1966. (WHS 4734)

Scout 800 (1966-1971)

For the ’66 model year, IH introduced the Scout 800, though its body design did not change all that much from the previous generation Scout. It was a quieter vehicle and kept the same 100-inch wheelbase as the Scout 80. International added suffix indicators to the Scout 800 as improvements were made. The 800A was assigned to the ’69-’70 models, and 800B was assigned to the ’71 models.

The Scout 800 started out with the 4-152 Comanche (both naturally aspirated and turbocharged versions) that was used in the Scout 80, but a powertrain upgrade was needed. An optional 196ci four-cylinder was quickly offered on the 800A (out-performing the turbocharged 152 which was phased out by 1968), along with a 232ci I-6 option. Then, a 266ci V-8 was introduced in early 1967, followed by a 304ci V-8 a few years later. A body lift was used from the factory to accommodate the larger engines.

The T-14 three-speed manual was standard in the 4WD models with the T-45 (a version of the T-18) close-ratio, four-speed transmission (4.02:1 First gear ratio) optional. When the 800A came along the BorgWarner Model 11 automatic transmission was offered for the V-6 and V-8 models.

A Dana 20 transfer case was used and had a 2.03:1 low-range ratio. It was an improvement over the previous Spicer 18 model with offset rear output and was quieter to boot. It did not offer the PTO ability of the previous transfer case, but the factory soon began to offer electric winch options.

A heavy-duty Dana 44 rear axle was offered starting in 1966 and they were often used with the V-8-optioned Scouts. These versions were a bit wider than the earlier Dana 44 axles. A Powr-Lok (and later a Trac-Lok) limited slip was available in some axles. As time progressed, a Dana 30 front axle was introduced to replace the Dana 27, and it was later widened to match up to the wider rear axle in use. Gearing was again 3.73:1, 4.27:1, or 4.88:1 ratios.

Scout II (1971-1980)

IH had been planning for some years to introduce a new Scout model that was originally designated as the X-Scout, and then later changed to 810. Various delays and funding issues pushed the release date out as the Scout 800 was revised to improve the vehicle in the interim. By the time the new Scout came to market it was known as the Scout II.

The base Scout II powerplant in 1971 was the 196ci I-4 engine, but International also offered the 232ci I-6, 304ci V-8, and a 345ci V-8. An AMC 258ci I-6 would replace the original I-6 in late 1971. Electronic ignition was introduced shortly after, and by 1975, all the V-8 engines were electronic. There was a Nissan I-6 diesel option starting in 1976, plus the SD-33T Nissan turbodiesel in 1980.

The International Scout Comanche was one of the special editions produced in late 1970 and early 1971. It was a Scout 800B, the model that was offered only one year. (WHS 8732)

The T-14 transmission was still the standard three-speed manual with the T-45 four-speed optional. Two three-speed BorgWarner automatics (T-39 and T-49) were offered with the bigger engines, with a Chrysler TorqueFlite auto replacing the T-39 about a year into production. Then, in 1974, IH offered the Warner T-15, a fully synchronized three-speed manual, as standard with all engines. In 1975, the T-19 replaced the T-18 four-speed. Both close and wide ratio versions were supplied, with the wide ratio unit using a 6.32:1 First gear. The Scout II continued to use the Dana 20 transfer case, except in 1980 when it got the Dana 300 transfer case with 2.62:1 low-range gearing.

The early Scout II models came with front drum brakes with disc brakes standard starting in 1974. Power steering became standard on all U.S. Scouts in 1980, which was the final model year of manufacture and a year in which 2WD models were not offered.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you about an excellent resource if you want to dig deeper into Scout history: the International Scout Encyclopedia by Jim Allen and John Glancy. It’s extremely well researched and full of build details. Historical images used here with permission of the Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS).

The Scout 800 dash was a new design with better gauges and a step up from the previous model. Interiors were also a bit more comfortable with options for better seats, door panels, and other amenities. (WHS 25687)
External body changes to the Scout 800 were made, but none too dramatic. The fold-down windshield was all but gone as very few Scout 800s came with the moving windshield. (WHS 25695)
The Scout II body sat about three inches lower than the 800 models but ground clearance was not really affected. A fully boxed frame was used and the Scout line finally got a Saginaw power steering option. (WHS 8682)
It was the bicentennial of the United States in 1976, and IH offered a Patriot and Spirit of ’76 special-edition models. In the mid-’70s there were a number of vinyl sticker options and cosmetic packages that were offered by both the factory and from dealers. (WHS 96506)
The Scout SSII was a special off-road version offered from 1977 to 1979. The “Super Scout” came equipped with polycarbonate door filler panels, a fuel tank skidplate, rollbar, larger tires, and unique body graphics, along with other options. Models were the Rancher Special, Brush Buster, Sport, and Baja Cruiser. (WHS 100790)
The Travel-Top was common on many Scouts. For 1973 and 1974 only, IH offered a Panel-Top version that retained the window openings but used metal sheet in place of glass for the side panels.
A front Dana 44 axle was offered as an option over the standard Dana 30 starting in 1972 on some models with the V-8 Scouts typically getting the front Dana 44 as standard. Gearing for the Scout II ranged from 3.07 to 4.27, depending on engine and transmission.
There was a Rallye Scout offered starting in 1976. It included special body striping, upgraded wheels and tires, upgraded shocks, and power steering. There were numerous mild exterior changes over the decade of Scout II production. Oddly enough, IH designers changed to rectangular headlights for 1980, the last year of the Scout. (WHS 25826)

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