1. What is a vehicle like this worth? (just checking to see if I got swindled
No rust, runs strong, and in good shape? It's definitely worth money. Maybe as much as $3,000 or $4,000. That's just an EWAG, though.
2. Whats the max size tires with no lift?
31" tires work for me. I have a stock height '80 Scout II, and the 31" Big-O tires I have haven't rubbed any...but I wouldn't go any bigger
3. What transmission/transfer case is this, and are there any problems?
Transmission is the venerable Chrysler Torqueflite 727. IMHO, one of the two best transmissions built (right alongside the Ford C-6). Keep fluids happy and you shouldn't have any problems. Transfer case should be a Dana 20.
4. What is the towing cap. of this vehicle?
I have a step bumper, and no receiver. Using the bumper, I've pulled cars and boats with no trouble (even with an underpowered diesel). Suspension didn't even sag. Only time I've ever seen my Scout's suspension sag was when I was hauling about $10,000 worth of parts to a Cummins V-12 marine diesel. Lots of stuff, and most of it required multiple people to lift. Within limits, I wouldn't worry about overloading a Scout. I've carried 3 727 autos in the back area without seeing any noticeable difference in ride (I used to work for Anything Scout) or sag or anything else. I don't have any numbers, but believe me, it's capable.
5. What areas are weak and need upgrading? This is my daily driver and Jeep tow vehicle, should not spend any time off road except in emergency rescue situtations (like my Jeep breaksdown!)
95% of my IH experience is with the diesel engines, so this is mostly hear-say.
You have a '79; that means you probably have the "gold-box" ignition. From what I've heard, these are notorious for being problematic. So much so that some people retrofit a points ignition system. Also, the starter is close to the exhaust manifold; sometimes the starter won't engage when the engine's hot. Other than that, they're pretty bloody reliable...so much so that I'm looking for an IH gasser (this coming from someone who, a year ago, swore he'd never own a gasoline engine again).
One more thing...there is such a thing as a vehicle having too few miles on it. I had a '65 Chevelle that only had 50,000 miles on it. I made the mistake of driving it too much and too hard, and 10,000 miles later I couldn't trust the engine to even go to school. Moral of the story: BE CAREFUL for a while. Bring up the usage gradually. If so, especially with an IH engine, you'll have many years of good service.
One last thing...you see ANY rust, fix it ASAP. If you do that and keep the engine happy, I'm sure you'll see many years of trouble-free service from your rig.
Keep on truckin'!!
1980 International-Harvester Scout II SD-33T in the ICU
looking for a running IH pickup for trade