1976 Scout Traveler, Ultimate Expedition Build

:sombrero:Well, maybe not your "ultimate expedition rig", or mine, but it IS my customers idea of a perfect backcountry explorer and base for his hunting forays into the remote areas of AZ, and other spots throughout the SW. Plus, "Ulitimate Expedition Build" sounds alot more PC than the "Ultimate Huntin' Rig" or "Ultimate Farm Implement". I have built a few other "overland" vehicles, this one should be interesting because it is basically a blank slate. I am midway thru the fabwork on this build, and with the number of overlanding builds on this forum I thought you guys might be interested in some aspects of the build.

Feel free to chime in with any advice or critique, sarcasm is always appreciated.


Base: 1976 International Traveler 2wd, converting to 4wd
Drivetrain: 2005 GM 6.0 HO, Hughes 4l60E, Dana 300.
Axles: rear: Currie 35 spline 9" w ARB, front: New J-10 dana 44 w/ ARB, chromoly axles and CTMs
Tires & suspension: 35" MTR's, long travel leaf spring under.
Bumpers, roof rack, winch, rocker guards, and skidplating.

Goals: Long range, extended remote hunting trips are the main focus; although the Scout also needs to comfortably, and reliably, carry a family of 4 people through the rough AZ trails and fireroads. It needs to be capable of Rubicon and Moab, but not a purpose built rockcrawler. It will be used as a base camp for long, remote hunting trips, and needs to support 1-2 person self sustained for at least 10 days. Fuel capacity will be increased to get at least 500-600 miles range. Due to the more remote areas this vehicle will visit, parts have been chosen based on their long term reliability and durability they give the truck. The truck will be built with a low COG for ease of entry, and blasting down fireroads, with plenty of protection.

Here is the truck as it sits in my shop today:

Motor has been mounted mocked up into position; the mounts are tacked in place, ready for finish welding.
You can also see the cast stainless exhaust manifolds, makes it much easier to swap these motors into other vehicles..

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I sourced a Ron Davis Radiator (truly the best radiators), then built custom mounts and a shroud for it out of .090 aluminum; should be plenty to keep this motor cool. It is also getting the biggest ac unit and condensor that Vintage Air makes, so the factory mech fan and shroud is pretty much a requirement.

Anyways, this is the crossmember that supports the front of a belly pan, and connects the 2 motor mounts. You can also see how tight the front driveshaft is going to be to the tranny pan; some pan mods are going to be required to run a decent diameter front driveshaft.

Scout frames have some really strong rails, but are really lacking in crossmembers, especially for something so long. The transmission crossmember mount needs to be removeable, so to keep it strong, it wraps around the frame, bolts into threaded sleeves on the bottom, and tubes pierced thru the frame at the top. The trans mount is a seperate piece, allowing for 3 point mounting of the drivetrain, and allows the crossmember to be a rigid member of the frame.

And here is the weld in crossmember behind the dana 300. It will support the back of the belly pan, and leaves plenty of room to pull the tcase without dropping anything else. You can also see one really nice thing about scouts: a really big tranny tunnel. Completely flat belly, no need to clock the tcase, and plenty of room for everything. The Dana 300 has been completely rebuilt.

How are you running the vss? Really interested in this build as this what i would like to do to my 72 scout 2
The VSS is in the adapter between t case and trans. As far as the rest of the wiring, hell if I know!:eek: The motor was supplied with a stand alone harness set up for that tranny, and I've got a really good wiring guy. I hate wiring! I like to know enough for basic diagnosis...I'd rather pay for a really good wiring guy so I don't have to test out my knowledge so often.



2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
Very nice alum work on the shroud....I like this build and since I am also in Phx and also run old iron (70 burb) it would be way cool to stop by your shop sometime.

Looking forward to the trip reports from the owner once the build is done.


Expedition Leader
I am trying to kind of get everything up to where I am at today, so sorry if stuff kind of jumps around.

Scouts have itty bitty fenderwells, and I wanted to fit a 35 inch tall tire with minimal lift. But still keep travel. And fit one of the taller engine packages around. Sounds reasonable, huh:)

So basically, motor positioning is critical, especially in relation to the front axle. In this case however, the front axle location was determined almost completely by how it would stuff into the wheel well at ride height, and which side I could cut more out of. I started be mocking up the motor where it would fit, and slid it over to the driver's side as far as I could. This would give more clearance for the exhaust to clear tcase, and more importantly, would give more clearance between oil pan and diff, and driveshaft to tranny pan. Luckily, the scout engine bay and tunnel are huge, so only an exhaust manifold change was required after the axle was mocked up into place at full compression.

I set about sourcing a front end as this scout had none. A dana 44 built up would handle his needs, and allow me to reuse his knuckles out from the 2wd axle. I wanted something wider for more stabilty, and something to offset the front diff more to the passenger side, also to help with the driveshaft clearance to the trans pan. I stumbled upon a brand new, unused J-10 housing in the junkyard behind 4wheelers Supply. It had been sitting in a crate for the past 30 years, still had a spicer tag on it and inner axle seals covered in cosmoline! Huge score, and turned out to be perfect for this build.

For the front suspension, I set about sourcing a more modern, off the shelf spring for the front. I wanted to soften the spring rate, gain travel and road manners, and not lose approach; all while keeping the simplicity of leafs. I like to use off the shelf springs for easy replacement if the need should arise, rather than one off custom springs. It looked like Rancho wagoneer springs would be pretty close to what I wanted, length wise and spring rate. They may need a little bit of final tuning, but should be pretty close; they are also wider and longer than the stock springs. I would have to build custom spring hangers, but I was already planning on shackle reversal...

Front spring hanger, 1/4 and 1/8 plate, still maintains a good approach angle. The waggie spring will also allow me to run much bigger bolts and bushings.

This pic you can see the springs pulled apart to allow the suspension to cycle. You can also (barely) see the wide bushing on the top side of the hanger. This accounts for the spring offset from the frame, but also decreases the sway from shackle, bettering handling.

Here you can see how close the front diff gets at full compression. I will also add a 3rd bump stop on the pinion pad to keep the pinion from rotating up under hard hits. (If the pinion rotates up, it could cause the dshaft to interfere with the trans pan.)