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Pugsley the Scout Gets New Floors

Battling the Tin Worm

Trenton McGeeWriterTrenton McGeePhotographer

Like almost every 4x4 project, we initially had a whole bunch of excitement and enthusiasm for our tractor purchase (Part 1, July 2017, goo.gl/QbfNcN). There’s nothing better than bench-racing with buddies, throwing around crazy ideas, and essentially poking a new 4x4 purchase with a stick. We made all kinds of plans with ridiculous self-imposed deadlines to transform Pugsley into a stupid-cool trail machine in just a few months.

But as they often do, life, a real job, and a budget all conspired to drag days into weeks, and weeks into months. Much like gas station sushi, we realized we may have made a bad decision only after the queasiness and stomach rumbles of buyer’s remorse set in. It took a few months of swearing off Craigslist and its cheaper Scout projects that suddenly came out of the woodwork, but eventually the feeling passed and it was time to get back on track.

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The first mission: evicting the termites holding hands that were serving as the floorboards. While Pugsley’s frame and the majority of the body are entirely cancer-free, the front floorboards looked like they had endured 40 Indiana winters. The driver side had a botched repair, while the passenger side offered a great view of the ground. Both had to go. A little research revealed that IH Parts America offers excellent patch panels that would enable us to make short work of eradicating the tin worm. We ordered what we thought needed, but in hindsight we should have gotten a few more panels.

It turns out repairing floorboards, even relatively simple ones like those in a Scout 80, is a lot of work. There’s a tremendous amount of cutting, grinding, fitting, adjusting, and welding. We vastly underestimated the time it would take, and we had a pretty hard time making new welds stick to rusty old sheetmetal thanks in part to the very rusty welding skills of the author. At the 11th hour, 4WOR tech editor and best buddy Verne Simons saved our bacon with his vastly superior sheetmetal and welding skills. We got it done, but we also learned why the professionals charge what they do: because it’s worth it.

If your 4x4 project is in need of sheetmetal repair, our story should give you a pretty good idea how much work is involved, the tools you’re going to need, and the patience required. This project was pretty simple as far as rust repair is concerned, but it still took way more time and work than anticipated.