Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Saturday, August 2, 2014

1963 International Travelall

My dad had a 1963 International Travelall that he custom ordered from the factory. Two tone, white over orange. 6 cylinder engine (for economy), automatic transmission (for mom), power window in the tailgate, biggest, thickest, cushiest seats you ever saw. It was a monster. I inherited it (bought it for a pittance, like $200, which is all a eight year old truck was worth in those days) and proceeded to drive it into the ground.

New Transmission Cooler, similar in form and function to what I had to deal with. Not similar in condition.

     I couldn't afford anti-freeze so I ended up crawling underneath the truck on frozen dirt in the middle of January in Ohio in order to remove the heat exchanger from the transmission.The water inside the heat exchanger froze and pushed the cap off of one end of the tube. Soldered it back on, crawled back under the truck, and bolted it back up.
     It was just high enough off the ground that the skinny, 20 year old me could slide under it. This was also the year that one of our neighbors came over to visit carrying a glass of whiskey and looking like he'd been in a serious knock-down drag-out. Seems he'd been working under his car as well, but it was up on a jack and it fell on him. To quote, "if it hadn't fallen on my head it probably would have killed me". No, I don't know what became of him, he had his alcoholic agenda and I had mine.
    These days cars route the hot transmission fluid to a small radiator co-located with the main radiator for the engine. In most cases the two radiators are combined into one assembly. The Travelall routed engine coolant back to the heat exchanger that was mounted on the transmission. It kept the transmission lines short but required that coolant lines be run back to the transmission.
    The back side windows were cracked because we had loaded it with 40 (50) pound crates of apples (that's a ton of apples) to haul to across the state to the wholesaler.  We got a flat tire on the way, and when we jacked up the overloaded truck (with a bumper jack!), it torqued the body enough to crack the glass.
    Eventually a rod bearing failed. It's a miracle it didn't throw the rod. I wasn't aware of it at first because of all the noise from the exhaust. One of the advantages of living in the boondocks is you don't need no stinking mufflers.

Custom! Seeing that emblem really threw me. The shock of recognition was palpable.

While I was rooting around looking for pictures, I came across a mechanic's story about his resurrection of an old Travelall. Some of the problems he encounters are pretty straight forward mechanical engineering type problems, but then he starts getting into EFI (electronic fuel injection), and it starts to sound a little science-fictiony. I mean it's all real, it's just so far removed from the kind of stuff I am used to working on.

Inspired by an email exchange with my far flung correspondents.


Jody B said...

Wow--looks so familiar. In 1971 it sure seemed older than eight years! Who could forget those first dates with Chuck Rutabaga from Utica in this very vehicle? Some unforgettable times..."I'll pick you up in my dad's International." Did not compute at first, but I got to know it!

(And eventually it was put to pasture in the orchard, right? Farmed out so to speak, grass growing through it like a post-apocolypse art installation, while meanwhile in the outside world a '57 Cadillac and then a snappy Suburu became the vehicle of the day.)

Charles Pergiel said...

I think I must have gone through a car every six months. The car I remember most with you was the Cadillac. You wanted to learn how to change a tire. You couldn't have picked a worse car to learn on.