KB11, R-190, Loadstar 1600


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Rookie
Rookie

Posts: 7

Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:00 pm

Post Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:10 pm

KB11, R-190, Loadstar 1600

Hello All,

Just been looking around the forum trying to gather some info about my upcoming build Ill be starting this fall and thought I better login and introduce myself.

I currently have three trucks Im messing around with. I have a RDF-190, I believe its a mid 50s? I forget at the moment, its not my favorite and Im currently in the middle of selling it to a friend. It already had a DT466 International Diesel swapped into it, but a shed fell in on it before I got it and did some cab damage. Its just to big of a project for what Im after.

The next truck I have in a early 60s? Loadstar 1600. It has a hydraulic dump bed, but also hydraulic brakes (not my favorite). The previous owner accidentally put hydraulic fluid in the engine instead of motor oil and drove it 200 miles. My plans for this truck is to put the cab on a 2wd dually pickup frame and turn the dump bed into a utility trailer for my ranch. But this is a few years away.

The last truck is my favorite and the one Ill be starting this fall. Its a 1948 KB-11. It has air brakes which Im excited about and in really good condition. It has a 5 speed trans, and a 2 speed rear end. Almost no rust anywhere. It started its life as a over the road truck until the late 60s. Then a logging company in Washington state bought it and ran it for another 20+ years. It then was purchased from the guy I got it from in the 90s and brought to Ontario, OR. At some point the engine seized. He started on it but due to health he sold his farm to a friend of mine and I picked up the KB11 and R-190 for $500. A broken down tractor, a second red diamond engine, and loads of parts and pieces came with the deal as well.

My main plans for the KB are to swap the engine with a DT360, the trans with a medium duty 6 speed with overdrive, and get rid of the 2 speed rear end. Im leaving the exterior in its current condition, except for getting rid of the 5th wheel and replacing it with a gooseneck hitch, but doing a really nice interior with air conditioning and heat. I may also have to regear the rear end because I want to be able to do 75 on the freeway. Also add a 4 link or similar with airbags on all four corners.

Im mainly looking for help on how to get power steering, and regearing the rear end, as well of finding interior kits or pieces.

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Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

Posts: 3822

Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:28 pm

Location: Lyman, IA

Post Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:34 pm

Re: KB11, R-190, Loadstar 1600

Coupla comments.
Before ditching the original rear axle, 1'st find out what the ratio is. Look on the head of the pinion for the tooth count for the ring and pinion.
The reason has to do with the K frame and spring placement relative to modern big trucks, along with overall axle width.
The RD series has an RPM range not that different then many medium diesels. You may be able to get decent road speed with tire and transmission selection alone.
2 speed axles are nice, and if yours is vacuum operated (likely) it can be changed to air or electric (Air is my preference)
The RD/RED (which a K series would an RED) are lined (except for the RD 501 which came later) so can be inframed even if seized)
A DT360 is a good choice if that is what you want.

With 10 lug disk wheels you have many choices in tire diameter. It likely came with 10.00x20 or 11.00x 20 rubber, depending on what your plans are you could go with 24.5 tubeless or even 24" tube type and really raise the top speed without changing rear ratio.
Most important to "do the math" before making any changes to prevent disappointment.
Start with what the RPM range the engine you plan to install, followed by the ratios of transmission that can be easily mated to the engine, then look at the rear ratio and tire to spring clearance (this can be a problem with some tire/axle/spring combos.
The K cab is not that big and can be a challenge to fit A/C but I suppose anything can be done. Driving my K with the windshield cranked out and the windows down is good enough for me.
Large K's aren't a dime a dozen so it is nice to see one in such good shape.

Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

Posts: 3822

Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:28 pm

Location: Lyman, IA

Post Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:41 pm

Re: KB11, R-190, Loadstar 1600

Powersteering will be a challenge. One option is an "assist unit" which is just a bigger version of what early Ford Mustangs used. Another will be to fit a modern PS box, but that will be difficult because how and where the original set-up is.
A 3rd option is an "air-o-matic" add on unit, which is similar to the 1st option.

Straight line steering out of California would be someone I would call.

Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

Posts: 3822

Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:28 pm

Location: Lyman, IA

Post Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:12 pm

Re: KB11, R-190, Loadstar 1600

Oh, and one more thing, I'd forget the "4 bag/4 link suspension. It will ride lousy. You can go to a junkyard and buy the whole thing. A Kenworth 8 bag is exactly that, and when used on a single rear drive or wide spread, is just a 4 link/4 bag suspension.
Face it, the truck already has four air chambers (called tires) and they don't do a good job dampining.
The KW 4/8 bag suspension has a lousy reputation lightly loaded, and is no better than most spring ride loaded.
If you are hell bent on an air suspension I would recommend any of the Hendrickson air ride clones. The 1st generation IHC, Volvo, Mack and Pete are all of this design and do well. Hendrickson designed and sold them to each of those mfg with the mfg's name on the brackets. These are a Z spring/air bag design and uses the best of both air and steel to ride well. It would take very little modifications to fit to an old frame (only the panhard rod would need to be custom)
Having said that, it is a truck and will always ride like one, It is designed to carry a load, and never to be used as a "car" and will never ride like one.

Rookie
Rookie

Posts: 7

Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:00 pm

Post Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:09 pm

Re: KB11, R-190, Loadstar 1600

Hey thanks for such a quick reply! Even those 3 comments have moved the project forward another few inches!

It makes sense now that when I brought the KB home it has 24.5 low pro rims and tires stacked on the back. They are aluminum which Im not super crazy about but paint can change things.

It would be extremely nice not to have to change the rear axle or regear. Thats something Ive never done before and finding the right gears would be a nightmare Im sure.

I am pretty set on going diesel, just cause I like the noise I guess. I would think the DT360 measures really closely to what the RD engine size is already.

I am also set on trying to get a slightly smoother ride, hence the airbags. Just didnt know the best approach. I figured anything has to be better than the 18 leaf springs that stacked back there. My plan is to turn this into a trailer toter, that will be hooked to my stock trailer 95% of the time so I would like something that isnt a kidney beater.

Lastly for air I was thinking of using a Vintage Air unit, if I can fit it around the glove box. They are fairly compact and my wife demands it!!

Thanks so much! Im definitely really excited about this project!

Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

Posts: 3822

Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:28 pm

Location: Lyman, IA

Post Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:52 pm

Re: KB11, R-190, Loadstar 1600

The problem with aftermarket systems is they don't pull in air from outside, they cool ok but it can get stuffy inside. One reason I didn't elect to add A/C in my K. It would be nice to hook up the intake to the cowl vent or something like that. You also need a drain for the condensate. At least eastern Oregon is dry.
Another option if you want to build your own, is to grab a bunk unit out of an old sleeper from a junk yard. They have heat and A/C coils with a blower.
Most of the other stuff you'll need to build anyway. There are some good compact universal condensers, and there is no end of the choice for compressors. Best if the DT360 has a compressor or at least the mount already on it.

Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

Posts: 3822

Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:28 pm

Location: Lyman, IA

Post Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:00 pm

Re: KB11, R-190, Loadstar 1600

If it were me, the 1st order of business would be to ID the rear ratio. Then you can look into how fast it needs to turn for 60 MPH and do the calculations from there.
I am someone who has done more than one ratio change and know that the most important thing is to have it all drawn out on paper first. You need to plot speeds and engine RPM in every gear and corralate that to where the engine runs best. You need to look at hill starting under load (should be made easier if you keep the 2 spd rear) and not just top or cruising speed.
I have a semi tractor with 15 spd Eaton and 2 spd rears. That is a lot of ratios to plot, but when I got it done, it all worked exactly as the paperwork said it would.

Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

Posts: 381

Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:50 pm

Location: Durham, NC

Post Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:42 pm

Re: KB11, R-190, Loadstar 1600

I look forward to watching this project. I love KBs!
Matt H.
My toys:
1953 IH R180 Dump truck
1954 Buick Roadmaster
1978 Cadillac Superior Hearse

Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

Posts: 381

Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:50 pm

Location: Durham, NC

Post Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:44 pm

Re: KB11, R-190, Loadstar 1600

And I'd definitely take cornbinders advice on working it out on paper 1st. Its tedious but way better than getting done and still having something that doesn't perform as expected.
Matt H.
My toys:
1953 IH R180 Dump truck
1954 Buick Roadmaster
1978 Cadillac Superior Hearse
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Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

Posts: 1688

Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:40 am

Location: Wichita, Kansas

Post Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:29 am

Re: KB11, R-190, Loadstar 1600

Looks like a great project!
I agree that the DTA360 would be a good engine for this truck. If you're running V-belts, with the original setup, the air compressor or a/c compressor mounts on the driver's side above the injection pump. With both, I think the a/c compressor was mounted above and inboard the air compressor.

Dean
Lifelong Kansan
Grew up with red paint
Moved off the farm 28 years ago.
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