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1973 Travelall 1010 - Slammed Family Cruiser Build.


Jul 15, 2020
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Figure you fakwers might appreciate my stupidity. Never done an ounce of body work.... So here goes. (porting over from another forum, so may be a little chopped up)

Well all good build threads start before you even own it right? I have finally settled the internal debate between something stupid and fast or old and slow. Old and slow wins out.

FB Marketplace is new to me, I have not really used it before. But my browsing got the better of me and I found the next project. A 1973 IH Travelall, IH's answer to the suburban. They are kinda rare, and kinda funky, perfect! 17' long and 6.5' wide, a low revving, low power 392, and bench seats.

This one is a project that the PO has lost time for, his family has gotten the drag racing bug, and hes letting it go. It's got some goodies, on air ride, all sanded to bare metal on the exterior, all original otherwise, but man is it going to be a huge project. Its coming to my garage Thursday. Only one issue, my garage is full.....

Without further ado. Teaser pics.



Needs Shocks still.



Now for the rust, it was a socal car, but there is a little tiny bit. (Hint there was more hiding....)

Rear wheel arch


and above the back door.


There are literal piles of parts that come with it..... All tagged, hopefully I can figure it out! Everything should be there except a windshield.

Dash, door cards, trim


Glass, new wipers and seals.


Cabinet o goodies.


Now that there is a deadline I had better make some room in the garage.....My city allows 200sq ft shed wo/ a permit, as long as its not on a foundation or attached to a building. 16x12 works perfect for sheet good and is 192 sq ft. A quick call to my lumber supplier and a assemble yourself a shed kit arrived. I told them I wanted self assembling.... That didn't happen.


End of evening #1 and I had the floor together.


Stuck waterproofing membrane to the bottom of the floor sheeting. Figured it couldn't hurt.


And done.


Frame and sheet one back wall. Get it stood about halfway up when you realize a 16' wall is stupidly heavy for one person fully sheeted!



Go on long weekend and remodel childs room for a week and get ZERO done on shed. Crap its coming up quick now. Frame front wall, only put one sheet on this time! Floppier, but much better to lift. One 6' frnech door left over from a work project, and a window.


Got about 4 hours in on Saturday.... All walls sheeted, 1/3 of the roof joists up. Did 3/4 CDX for a future climbing wall on one side. T111 on the rest. 8' walls in the back 10' in the front. Stupid me shouldn't have ordered 10' t111, do a joint, that stuff turns out to be $$$$$$


Shed has 7/9ths of a roof since apparently I cant count plywood.... And I ran out of underlayment. Window did go in though!


Garage bay still isn't looking great.....


I got sent a teaser.....

Roof (temporary... Underlayment) is on, door is in and adjusted. Garage emptying to commence tonight. I did a quick measure..... I have a lot less width that I thought. Damn boat is in the way..... I did go to the hammer store and get some wheel dollies tho!


The eagle has landed! And of course it's pouring rain....

Tucked into the garage!


Found another rust spot, under the windshield.


It gets LOW, about 1/2" under the engine cross member. Needs a tie rod drop kit, it will bend the drivers side tie rod if its dumped. Frame contacts it....


Exterior trim looks to be stainless. Lots if parts piled inside to dig thru. PO said it last ran in 1982, other than he started it once for a second when he got it.
Got 10 mins in the garage. It's huge I love it.

It got tagged pretty good at the A pillar at some point. Door is pretty caved, and fender has lots o bondo.


Poked around for a few minutes yesterday. I need a shop manual. Wiring diagram, vacuum line diagram, uh everything else diagram? Its alllllll taken apart.

Thoughts on fixing the door and bumper vs trying to find a new one?

A few interior shots. Lots of parts to dig though..... And so much room for activities!



Tried to get a good shot of the rear. Its pretty nice looking, beefy trailing arms, bag mounts and a new panhard. A couple welds look a little cold, but not terrible. Im going to need to nut and bolt the whole thing.... Lots of finger tight, and not quite enough threads on a few bolts. Pretty damn clean underneath.



Had a few more minutes yesterday.

Scrap from shed made jack stand cribbing.


Why must you use such weird ass gas tanks?!


Popped the sending unit to look inside.


Pretty crusty..... Think it will clean up?



Popped the front end apart. No brake hard lines.... And fitting a shock is going to be interesting. Rotor on the drivers side is pretty grooved. Debating replacement.

Front end is down to inner fenders and rad support.



Found a bit of rot at the battery tray. Cut and will patch it up.


A little more on the pass side of the windshiled frame also.


Mocked up shocks, should be able to sneak one in here easily. Water bottle for scale :D A 10" eye to eye shock is just right.


Front at full bump


The bad fender....

Inner skins are cleaned up and painted, minus hood bracket location and the spot I need to patch under the battery tray. Really didn't want to pull the hood, but I think I have too.....



Shock locations will work. Hopefully the shocks are up to it, they are pretty small..... They are leaned back a little, but IIRC that decrease the effectiveness a bit. They are Afco "Street Rod" shocks.

Fuel tank ordered, I am going with the 18G Ford tank, got a random filler neck that I hope will work also. Dropped TRE's Orderd. Fed Ex and UPS are going to hate me soon.
Well that's pretty cool, the original line card! Looks like it's a 3.54 rear end.


Made shock mounts, its really tight to fit everything in there. The shock just touches the bag at full bump. But I don't think that will be an issue, as it really wont be driving much at that height.

Lower mounts




Uppers in the same fashion, I made them extra long. I can drill another hole to bring the top mount down if needed. The shock is at full travel at full droop, and not fully collapsed at full bump, so the top may need to drop a bit to get it more centered at ride height, but I don't quite know where ride height is just yet.


Full bump


Full droop. (max shock length)


Mid range ish. Hopefully that's enough clearnace on everything.

Well this arrived. All 1148 pages.


However I was REALLY hoping the wiring diagrams would be better.... There is really no color indications on anything. The wiring appears to be in good shape, but a painless harness is looking really good right now.... I really wish I had taken the engine stuff apart. Maybe I can get it worked out though. I think I should just have power to coil, starter signal and oil and temp wires.... They are just all green or black it seems. Connections are all seen here pretty much. The body harness is straight forward.



Fuel tank came in! Looks like I need a vent fitting of some sort. And Ford Quick connect fittings for the fuel lines. Assuming I cant just slip past hte "quick connect" crimped ring and hose clamp it.

Cool ride, it looks good on bare metal, consider spraying clear and leaving it. I think the trick is to not cut corners under hood or on interior and it'll look clean
Nice! I was hunting for a travelall to build up before I bought my Excursion but everything on this side of the country was huge money or rotted out.
Cool ride, it looks good on bare metal, consider spraying clear and leaving it. I think the trick is to not cut corners under hood or on interior and it'll look clean

Totally agree it looked cool, but wife didn't like it much. So it's getting color. Grey body, white roof. And I'm way past this point.... Just need to keep updating thread.
Well look at that! I found a couple numbers (95 and 95A go figure).... Unwrapped the whole engine loom.


Hitch is off. Its a beast.


Tools of destruction and a removed crossmemeber.


Tank mocked up, I built myself a Pinto!


A couple weld nuts of the passenger side.


A couple of pieces of tubing and bolts on the drivers side. I offset the tank to the pass side, all the connections (expect filler) are there. As is the OE wiring harness, I figured a little more room wouldn't hurt.


Need to get tank strap pads and the vent parts, but that felt like pretty good progress for the day. Poked at the wiring a bit more. Ammeter on the dash is going away. Thats a scary wiring nightmare!

Well that's not going to work! Damn. I need dropped TRE's. Was hoping these would work, but way too long....


Looks like Speedway has just what I need. threaded LH one end RH the other. Factory the outer on the drivers side is RH thread, inner is LH, so I should get a new inner that's LH also if I don't want to run it goofy and flip things around. They are 7.25" which looks just right!



Shocks are in


Added some real bolts to the inner fenders.


Started to break the calipers down for cleaning. Need top rebuild and get them mounted so I can make brake lines.


Calipers are cleaned up


Battery box got re-welded and a coat of POR. Someone had cut the corner and beat one side flat to fit a larger battery.


I stared at brake lines for awhile.....

Calipers got all freshened up.


Wheel bearings got repacked, and installed. Calipers mounted. Flex lines are going to be tough, any reason not to safety wire them to the upper control arm?


Cut the cowl rust out, hosed the area down with rust converter.


In GRM fashion, cut a patch for the inner fender out of my old dishwasher skin.


My god do I remember how much chasing welds on rusty stuff SUCKS! Not pretty..... but solid.


A pillar fixed up


Made my first ever hard line, not too bad, but hard to get the ends lined up to thread in nicely. That flare too works great, IF you dont have a bend too close to the end.....


And got the whole rear axle plumbed! Everything is just finger tight, but it fits decent and has new everything!


Hopefully this is the answer to dropped TRE!


Brake lines are done! Long hard lines on the firewall are a huge pain with the engine in! Made tabs to hold the frame side of the flex lines, I think I got the routing pretty good.




New drag link installed. Just barely clears!! Sweet.

Got the kiddo out to the garage to help pump brakes. Got fresh fluid in the master (after putting it in and sucking it back out since it instantly looks nasty...) and pumped the line going to the rear end. Flushed the old crap out, got one side bled, and promptly ran out of fluid.... I thought I had another can on the shelf.... Nope. I did find a few leaks, tightened those up, hopefully thats it. I have one suspect flare... I couldn't see what I was doing and may have over flared it.

And in another IH is hard to find parts for segment..... Exhaust flanges aren't quite right.... Am I crazy to try to ream the holes to try to get it to match the OE flanges? There wont be much material left next to the pipe when done. The flanges are good and thick though? They are doughnut gasketed.



Assembled the battery box.


Dropped a battery in and looked at starter solenoid locations. This should work, using existing holes, otherwise I could probably sneak it in behind the battery.


And RockAuto's parts system didnt get this one right... One of these is not like the other! Luckily I could still just read the part number on the old one.


Got the intermediate pipe in, tried the ClampTite. Its neat, looks cool, but its kinda a pain to use, and definitely needs a bit of space around it. May not work for the lowers etc.


And finally, made a little aluminim tab to hold the broken fan shround.


Got a half hour in the garage last night. Borrowed a stud gun. Made porcupine. Pulled as best I could. Not enough. Pulled door inner skin..... Cant access that area! Ugh. Will continue to try from the outside, its ~3/16" low at the worst spot.


Need to get this in epoxy. Its getting a little surface rust in spots! Eeekk.

Started cleaning the gutters. Whatever IH used for seam sealer is TOUGH.



And ground the studs off. Its not pretty. I have never used one before.... Too much heat, too much pull, ugh. Lots of mountains. They "should" all be just low enough to fill over (except a couple) but man did I make a mess.


So many trim holes..... 128 welded up so far. Have the front fenders to do still....



Threw a quick skim of duraglass over the welds, a few had little pits. Still have to grind and bondo the drivers side.


Paint progress has been made. Coworker traded me his big compressor for a new small one.



I need a couple more boards and a roof. And wiring amd piping.... But those are little details :D


Welded up all the fender holes. The good fender.


The bad fender....


Also drilled out the holes on the exhaust flanges. Not pretty, but it should work.



Finished wiring up the compressor, did a big disconnect switch inside the garage and sized the wire for a 40amp circuit in the future if needed. Ran air lines.... And I think I needed bigger ones. I ran all 3/8 since I had it, but the DA'd dont seem happy.... I can stall them with my hand. Ugh.

Frustrated I moved on.

I bought a plasma cutter! $300 Chinese special. And WHY DIDN'T I DO THIS EARLIER?! I need to cut two things, the body seam so I could slip the fuel filler under it, and a hole for the filler to get into the old fuel tank well. No way I was getting a grinder to those spots. Stick plasma torch up, cut, done. I have some learning to do so it doesn't look like a three year old did it with a crayon, but it worked a treat.

Fulled tube stuffed in, I clearanced the tank to fit....


Pretty sure I can make this work! I need another set of hand to help pull the filler tube, I can push it anymore by myself. Looks like I will need another metal bend inside as it kinks a bit trying to turn back up to the filler neck.


Poked around with wires for a bit too..... This doesn't exist in my wiring diagram.... But its in the one for the 74-75 model, I think.... Anti dieseling solenoid and Vacuum solenoid. Garbage and garbage. Found what "should" be coil + and starter signal, thats all I really need. Plus oil pressure and temp. Those wires are pretty old and stiff. Will need to be re-reun I think.


Got the final pieces of glass out. Seals did not survive... Thoughts on new rubber vs glue in?


Window channels were chunky, but actually very solid, no holes or anything.


And got the pass side DA'ed to 80 grit, except where the handles are, and a few little spots around the windows. Gutters are cleaned up and a coat of POR15 went on them.


The goal is epoxy Monday..... eeek.

Why am I trying to save this?!


Coated the window channels in POR. I did find a couple holes after vac and scrubbing a bit. Nothing major and I think I will just leave them...


Ground the welds off the fenders, duraglassed the pinholes, and got them all sanded to 80 grit. Front valence as well.

Spent the rest of my time in the garage with the big 8" DA. Stripping around the windows on the drivers side.... Where I don't fit between the boat and truck. Im sore today.

Everything is DA'ed to 80!! Whew, my back and shoulders hurt. OK I lied, I have to pull the door handles and do those spots and the door edges on the driver side since I can't open those doors at the moment.And hand sanding all the door frames at the gaps...

Its on wheels again! Threw it on the dollies, uhhh they are useless, I cant move it :D


On the dollies, at full air up, its LOW :) Getting exhuast under the frame rail is going to be a challenge.


I made a mistake..... I took the wire wheel to the windshield frame the clean the old gunk out. Well it melted and flung all over my freshly sanded front end.... And its stuck on. Grrr. MEK and steel wool takes most of it off, but I am going to have to resand the hood and cowl and roof at the front :(


Im getting some flash rust also, gutters and scattered around in some other areas. I'll throw some Ospho on them Friday hopefully.

Nice score on the travelall. You are gonna love the 392 with all them duty cycles. Add electric windows if you can and power seats too. I would use modern gauges to keep track of the engine vitals also. Good luck with the build and nice work so far. I like seeing old iron brought back to life. Looking forward to following your progress.
Nice score on the travelall. You are gonna love the 392 with all them duty cycles. Add electric windows if you can and power seats too. I would use modern gauges to keep track of the engine vitals also. Good luck with the build and nice work so far. I like seeing old iron brought back to life. Looking forward to following your progress.

PO had the engine apart to reseal everything. I got the pics.... Its CLEAN inside. I did pull the valve covers (he had them on the wrong sides....), and it looks good. Modern gauges may happen eventually. We will see. Its running GM TBI now, so I may be able to get some data from the ECM. Its ALDL IIRC and I think there are some readers for that. I have not looked into it much yet.
Weather is trying not to cooperate Monday!! Grrr, its been 85 and sunny for the last couple weeks.... Overnight rain is going to make humidity tough, and its not warming up till late afternoon now.


But I got about 15 mins in the garage after packing up for the weekend.

Got fittings and a whip made up for my new desiccant dryer. Have a 1/2" air line I will run out to the gun. (its all 3/8 to the filters tho)


And got a gallon of this stuff! Probably way more than I need, but 3 quarts was almost the same price.


And cut an access hole in the cowl, since I thought it was stupid not to have one. Its covered by a filler panel there.


Wish me luck tomorrow!


Off to lunch, ready for final wipe when I get home!

All Gray!! Mixed up too much paint... Roof was a bitch, Couldn't reach the whole thing, and the middle is a stretch.



So I think I went a bit dry, its a little rough, and where I was down low trying to get the rockers it seems smooth and shinier. You can see the reflection a bit here.


Its lumpy...


Little run action


Desiccant seemed to work, went from blue top pink?


Since I was painting I hit the door handles with some gloss black, and clear. Clear ran on me, but its not terrible.



Next up get it running! Picked up this goodie over the weeekend.


On the running and driving front. The Hamilton Injection is nice! Custom harness on a GM TBI unit.


Started on the EFI and wiring last night.

Step one, find a spot to drill a 2" hole in the firewall. The factory AC EATs a lot of space behind the dash. My lord its huge. All the heater ducts have become paper scraps and slinkys also....


Probably didn't need the "long" harness LOL


Octopus spread out, ignition control and coil mounted


Crimped up some new battery leads, engine ground and starter cable. All 4ga thin stranded copper.



All in place, just need to hook up the factory stuff now. I need coil + and the starter circuit to the solenoid.


Then I mounted one of the collectors..... Exhaust is going to be a challenge.... Literally on the engine crossmember.


Is this a valve cover vent? Threads are correct, and its curved the right kinda direction.

Some sleuthing says my valve covers are definitely on backwards.... Grrr. You can get them off with the accessories on!


Good news is its clean, and looks like the PO adjusted the valves (or popped the rockers off and greased them?)


Flipped around. Much more logical.


Have had nearly not time in the garage. Got 10 mins yesterday.

New 10ga feed from the alt to the Starter Solenoid. Feels small.... Now that I look at my go to chart after I did it.... I realize its 61amps at full song, swap it or leave it?



And my new puke tank showed up. Amazingly nice for how cheap it was. Factory one is just huge and hideous. $23 literally in stainless. https://amzn.to/32IcpgR


Well yesterday was frustrating. Shrunk wrapped the boat so I could tuck it outside and get some more room in the garage. Pulled all the crap that had been stacked all over and around the boat out of the garage, pulled my other trailer out of the spot behind the garage (which requires pulling in and backing out perpendicular to a busy 2 lane road), got the boat out of the garage, which requires being done by hand, as my truck can turn it tight enough, there is about 3" clearance between the fender and the IH, when its touching the other wall..... Scratched the IH.... Hooked the boat up to the truck, got it backed behind the garage.... Kinda. Its too damn long. I can close the gate.... UGH. Reverse all those steps to put it right back in the garage where its in the way.... /ENDRANT

That killed 3.5 hours. Its been COLD and that has killed garage motivation, so I cleaned off the top of the pellet stove, fired it up and went inside to make dinner and consume malt beverages.



The stove takes awhile to get warm, but works quite well.


So I set around to getting something done. Fuel lines. They are ran front he tank and hooked to the TBI!



Clip on tank side fittings


Trans cooler lines done


PO had one bolt in the fan, glad I caught that.... But then realized perhaps the belts dont fit over it? We will find out, its bolted back on.


Put 6quarts dino squeezings in the engine, and cranked it over a few times wo/ fuel or spark just to get some oil moving again. Put 3 quarts in the trans, anddd what do you know the pan is leaking. Looks like the gasket got funny in one spot when the PO installed it.

And now that I have power, this light on the dash is always on.... Key on or off. Anyone know what it is?

No idea what it is but it has power all the time. :lmao:

Yeah yeah yeah lol I don't even remember now.... Iirc brake something?

Edit:oh it's the flasher relay! Wo/ bulbs it doesn't flash. I remembered 🖕🖕
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