1948 KB5 Railway Express


The place to put your K or KB "Build Off" story.

Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

Posts: 4833

Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:28 pm

Location: Lyman, IA

Post Sun Aug 22, 2021 8:08 am

Re: 1948 KB5 Railway Express

Well, All I can say is the CTS-8 doesn't seam to follow that nomenclature. Never EVER seen a larger truck with anything other than air brakes or hydrovac. The factory manual doesn't list anything starting with H. All are R, although none of the trucks have the power chamber, only the hydrovac.
So the two books don't agree.

Rusty Driver
Rusty Driver

Posts: 123

Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:22 pm

Post Tue Aug 24, 2021 7:33 pm

Re: 1948 KB5 Railway Express

I think the 2 books do not agree is due to the year of publications? The info I have supplied is the Military Training Manual on Bendix Brakes, written 1944.

There were not "air brakes" in the 1944 military manual as we typically think of, having an air compressor on the engine to supply air pressure for air chambers.

The 1944 version of "air brakes" is "vacuum brakes." A vacuum pump is installed on the engine to create a vacuum source and there are air tanks that are used as vacuum tanks instead of pressure air tanks. The brakes used a single chamber to activate the brakes, but again, vacuum pulled the rod not air pressure.

The other book/manual is in my opinion more of a generic shop manual - the 1940 1/2-1949 CTS-8 is much like a Chilton's Manual is to cars. They are generic and have a lot of good/basic info, but in no way cover any specific make/model 100%. The Chilton series also have errors.

The best manual would be a factory Chassis/Service Manual specific to the year, make, model of the car/truck in question. These have much better, more complete, and thorough information, but are often written prior to the actual manufacture and release of the vehicle, so they to can have errors, or if changes are made during assembly or the year, then Service Bulletins are written up and sent out.

Some trucks are custom built/assembled and parts may have been added or swapped out to meet a customer requirement. A dealership could have altered the truck/chassis to meet a customer requirement. This was certainly done with automobiles, so why not trucks?

We do this a lot with trailers where I work - the customer can buy a new and specific line of trailer and then our shop, as a factory dealership, can add or change the trailer to the customers requirement. No doubt people in the future 50 years from now would be scratching their heads trying to sort out why a factory 53' trailer is 36' trailer. The factory never made or offered one. Their sales books and factory manuals say these don't exist. Did the factory make an error on the Data Tag? All the work appears to be factory. Nothing that would indicate any tampering.

But that is what we do and you would not know that it didn't come from the factory that way. So who would be correct? The guy who says I have all the factory literature that says it is a 53' trailer and none were ever made so the Data Tag is wrong, or the guy who says it is a factory 36' trailer but was made from a 53' body that was special ordered and not listed in any factory literature, so the Data Tag is correct. This kind of thing comes up and happens with regards to old cars and trying to authenticate some of the options or changes that did not come off the assembly line nor were available as a factor order option - yet the item/option ins question may be authentic to the car the day it left the dealership and that makes the car unique, rare, and desireable, BUT, the car has got to have those original documents to back up the claim in proving the options as authentic/original to the car.

So you and I can go round and round as to what the books say, but that does not mean they are gospel or 100% accurate. I honestly can't confirm nor deny any of what you say, what I read, or what other sources say. We can only go by what documents are available and what actual experiences tell us. I have no experience on/with Internationals and have no leg to stand on when it comes to personal experiences or trucks on hand. I won't even dispute facts out of a book as I know as a military researcher for the past 20 years that printed materials can be inaccurate and the best sources are actual documents and even these can be open to interpretation when the originator is no longer around to question the meaning of certain documents.

But, I have no doubt that my KB5 did not have a power vacuum unit or hydrovac. I did look at the frame near where I think the hydrovac would have mounted (based on the other chassis photo) and there was no indication of a mounting of any brackets or hangers needed for the hydrovac or any indents or scars where nuts/bolts would have impressioned into the frame. The truck was most likely used within the city of Roanoke, VA, to either pick-up or deliver rail freight or mail to the rail terminal. If it had been used for greater distances, then I can't imagine a truck that size without the power vacuum, hydrovac, or mountain brakes knowing and driving up and down the mountains along I-81 and the Shenandoah Mountains.

Pics are of the Military ID Tags used for the brake parts. Here is what it says,

"Identification Tags (fig. 7). Manufacturers' identification tags showing model and number should be supplemented by an identification tag attached to the unit by the using arm or organization forwarding the unit for repair. NOTE: Do not destroy the tag which
identifies the vehicle from which the unit has been removed, as it will serve to correctly mark the rebuilt unit for installation on a similar vehicle.
b. The following table is supplied to assist in identification of models and determining the repair kit to be used in repair of the unit.
Attachments
01 Military ID Tags.JPG
02  Military ID Tag.JPG

Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

Posts: 4833

Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:28 pm

Location: Lyman, IA

Post Tue Aug 24, 2021 8:46 pm

Re: 1948 KB5 Railway Express

There were 3 forms of brakes, Air, vacuum and Hyd all pre-date the K series. Truck tractors had two competing systems, air and vacuum. Vacuum was older than air brakes and goes back further than the early 30's. Air brakes could out preform vacuum, and eventually took over in the truck tractor market.
By vacuum, I don't mean vacuum assist, but full vacuum brakes that use ambient pressure on one side and less than that on the other. This was used on trailers only, the trucks had hyd brakes with vacuum assist.
I am old enough to remember the vacuum trailer connectors in catalogs (they are different from air brake) and vacuum controllers on the column.
I believe you that your truck didn't have a hydrovac,
I disagree that air brakes were not available early in the K line, they were available before the K's were ever built.
From the beginning, Air brakes were more expensive and complex than hyd and as is today, they are the domain of the heaviest trucks and those used as semi tractors.
The big difference is that there weren't many heavy trucks in the 30's and semi trailers weren't common, like today. Air brakes weren't as universal as today, but Vacuum trailer brakes were generally limited to smaller lighter trailers of the 20's. You can tell a vacuum trailer by the size of the brake chambers, they are much larger than are used on air braked trailers.
Military like interchangeability and kept juice brakes on things long after the rest of of the world had gone to air brakes, although they did have air on the largest trucks.
I'm not sure the date of the 1st air braked truck, but believe it was either the late 20's or early 30's. Common, no but avaiable.
It can be hard to be sure, as Semi's using air brakes,and vacuum brakes both used two lines to the trailer.
Vacuum pumps were still in common use in the late 60's. I have worked on diesel buses with the Bendix vacuum pump. I have also work on a '37 Yellow coach bus with air brakes. !937 was well before the K series.
When it is published doesn't have much if anything to do with it.

Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee

Posts: 4833

Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:28 pm

Location: Lyman, IA

Post Wed Aug 25, 2021 8:44 am

Re: 1948 KB5 Railway Express

According to the web, air brakes (first developed for trains) were first used on trucks in 1918, much earlier than I thought, but more than 2 decades before the K series.
BTW the CTS -8 IS the factory service manual. They didn't (and still don't) put out yearly manuals for trucks, they put out manuals for the model and update as necessary.

Rusty Driver
Rusty Driver

Posts: 123

Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:22 pm

Post Sun Sep 05, 2021 11:53 am

Re: 1948 KB5 Railway Express

OK, on the manual. Looks more like something cobbled together rather than something put out by the manufacturer.

Got the truck fired up and running again. Its been sitting over 1 1/2 years without being fired up. Drained a couple of gallons of gas out to empty the tank, drained the fuel line, then added fresh non-ethanol gas with stabilizer additives. Put a cap full of gas down the carb, pulled the choke closed slightly, and fired it right up. Ran great. Pushed in the clutch, into 1st gear, and let it out to roll forward a few feet. Hit the brakes and the truck actually stopped - unlike the day it arrived. Rolled it back a couple feet, hit the brakes, and the truck stopped. So now I have brakes and can move it around closer to my shop area to begin work on the body. The mechanical stuff seems to be done except for the wipers which I have almost got updated/working.

Pic #1 is the nose removed. I had the hood in place, and just removed it. Three bolts per side takes it free at the hinges and off it comes. Of course I had to have problems. One bolt was cross threaded by the same clown who has been working on it previous to me. Luckily I was able to back it out without it breaking off. The bolts have shoulders so when tightened down, it allows the hinges to pivot on the shoulder. I will have to get another bolt and tap the cross threaded hole. Curious enough, 2 of the hood bolts are drilled through the heads and wire tired together to prevent then from backing out - an aircraft procedure.

Pic #2 - I removed all the hood emblems, hood ornament, and hood lock/spring. The rounded head flat bladed screws were badly deteriorated enough that a screw driver simply slipped off the screw. They were also rusted in place. Out came my torches and I heated each screw head until it was a cherry red. Did not take long as the screws are small and I did not want to overheat the metal around it and warp it. I then was able to grip each screw head with a pair of vice-grips and turn the screw. Once free, I was able to use a screw driver on a couple of them and vice-grips on the others. The heat also helps to break the screws free. So no issues with broken screws and I will install new ones. My plan in painting the nose section is to strip the paint off. The quickest way is to use a paint stripper as opposed to sanding. I did not want to sand blast initially as it would be a lot of work to go this route. I used Jasco brand Premium Paint & Epoxy Remover in the 1 Qt size. I used another brand that did not work as well as this stuff. I slopped it on the hood with a brush and it went to work. You can see the paint bubbling up on the hood. I let it sit overnight as I did this at the end of the day.

Pic #3 - The stripped hood. I went out in the morning and used a putty knife to scrape the lifted up paint. Most of it zipped right off. Appears the hood was originally black - but my truck was originally red. So either a replacement hood or the original colors of the truck were red & black. Where the paint did not come off due to several layers, I just applied another coat of stripper on it. Took about 20 minutes to lift the paint and I scrapped it off. The stripper is water soluble, so I washed all the stripper off and immediately followed up with a drying towel. The hood came out pretty clean, but has obvious rust spots and areas, but not heavy rust or rust outs.

The next step is to take the hood and 2 fenders to a local sand blaster whom I already contacted. They do auto restoration, so they know how to work a sand blaster so as not to warp the steel. I have a small sand blaster, but I am trying to save some time by having these guys do it. I told them all I wanted was a quick going over to clean the rust areas and lightly clean the rest of the sheet metal. I can use a sander on most of it as the rust on the sheet metal is more like stains than rough pitting. I will be putting some undercoating on the undersides of the fenders/hood, so I don't need this area blasted. Once I get the parts back, I may bring them to my workplace and have our shop painter do some autobody work on the fenders and then paint them. My boss can get it in as a job for the shop and make some money and I won't have to mess with the parts or put th time into them - trying to get this truck done and out of my yard before winter. I can do other work on the truck body that needs to be done.

The grille is in poor shape in the center section where the stainless trim attaches. It is rotted and too thin in areas to be used again. So my plan is to have my local fab shop make me a replacement center section and then I will cut out the bad center section and weld in a new section and graft it to the grille shell side panels as these are solid. Then I should have a solid grill shell and can install my trim. I will make this a separate post when the time comes. In the meanwhile, I'll keep up with the work on the hood/fenders/and rest of the truck body repairs..
Attachments
01 Nose.JPG
02  Nose.JPG
03  Nose.JPG

Rusty Driver
Rusty Driver

Posts: 123

Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:22 pm

Post Sun Sep 12, 2021 1:46 pm

Re: 1948 KB5 Railway Express

Brought my hood and both fenders to get sand blasted. The place I selected does car restorations and felt safe that they knew how to blast metal without getting them too hot and warping anything. Pricing was good in my opinion, but the important thing for me was time - I did not want to do these pieces with my small portable sand blaster.

I only had the surfaces blasted and not the undersides as I plan on using my small sand blaster to knock off any dirt, loose paint, and rust spots. Then I will prime/undercoat - nothing fancy.

My parts were ready in a day since the shop was slow. I picked them up and go them home waiting for the weekend to prep the bare surfaces. I am a supporter for the product POR-15 to use as a base coat to seal the metal. Mixed reviews have people who hate it. It is not good to use on clean/new metal as it works best with rough/rusty surfaces once cleaned up. It flows real well with a brush and gets into cracks, crevices, and pitting. Don't get it on your body/clothes as it'll take time for the stuff to wear off from your skin, and you might as well toss out your clothes as you will never get it out.

Continuing the previous post:

Pic #4 is the bare hood - all sand blasted and ready for POR-15.

Pic #5 is the hood with its application of POR-15. I prefer to purchase the 1 Pint cans of POR-15 rather than the 1 Qt size. Rather than pour what I think I need from the 1 Qt can and then seal the can (which means you may or may not be able to re-open the lid again as the stuff acts like epoxy and seals the lid), I have learned that the 1 Pt can is the way to go even if a little more cost. If I need more than 1 can, I can open another. You cannot pour unused POR-15 back into the 1 Qt can or it will ruin it. So anything left because you poured out too much has to be discarded. So I buy the 6-pack of 1 Pt cans.

I wiped down the surface of the hood, and fenders, with lacquer thinner on a rag just to remove any sand blast dust. I then opened a can of POR-15 and brushed it on. I use rubber gloves and grabbed my paint respirator that I use to minimize the fumes I inhale from the stuff - which is not much since I am outside in the open, so just used the respirator because I have it. Use a cheap brush as you will be throwing it away. I brushed on 1 coat of POR-15, but the instructions say 2 coats. I have never used 2 coats. I only use 1 coat as I like to use it more as a base coat and then will be scuffing it up and putting a top coat over it to seal/protect it. I also feel 2 coats might be needed if the metal is still rusty or badly pitted. With a cleaner surface, either sanded, wire wheeled, or sand blasted, the metal is much cleaner and 1 coat works followed by a good drying time period, scuffing the surface with a greeny pad or fine sand paper, and then top coating with primer or paint. I have only used it on chassis parts and have had no issues. Never used it on a surface that will be an exterior body panel and then painted. My plan here is just to paint with the POR-15 to protect from further flash rusting/rust. I will most likely sand the POR-15 with a DA sander and then use a 2K Epoxy Primer over it. So first time trying it this way.

Pic # 6-7 is the drivers fender sand blasted and POR-15 protected.

Pic # 8-12 is the passenger side fender. I took a couple close-ups of the pitted metal. There were many spots like this where water could find a place to attack. Where the underside of the hood lip meets the top lip of the fender that it closes on to was badly pitted, but not rotted through. Sand blasting really gets into the pits and cleans them up well. The back sides of each fender have a lot of pitting and some rust through on the very lower edges of the fenders that I am going to have to patch/repair. Around the headlight buckets had heavy pitting and some pitting at the fronts of the fenders and around emblems and trim pieces. So sand blasting was the way to go rather than hand sanding and using some form of rust remover/neutralizer. You can see the finished results - the pitted areas are now sealed and protected. I can use a body fill to smooth some of this out when the time comes to do that work.

The grill section will be next, but I need to have my fab shop make some panels so I can salvage it and us it.
Attachments
04  Sand Blasted.JPG
05  POR-15 protected.JPG
06  Drivers Fender  sand blasted.JPG
07  POR-15 protected.JPG
08  Passenger Fender sand blasted.JPG
09  Pitting on Pass. Fender -rear area.JPG
10  Pitting along fender-hood lip.JPG
11  Pitting sealed with POR-15.JPG
12  Passenger Fender - POR-15.JPG

Rusty Driver
Rusty Driver

Posts: 123

Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:22 pm

Post Mon Oct 11, 2021 9:56 pm

Re: 1948 KB5 Railway Express

Slowly moving forward on body work. I began sanding the driver's side panel. My goal is not to get it perfect or restored. I am getting it sanded, removing the oxidized primer, and getting down to a good layer of paint so that I can apply another fresh top coat. The box will get a designed "wrap" which is basically a large decal and needs a good surface for it to stick. So what is underneath will not b seen so I am simply getting the surface ready for a wrap.

Pic # 1 is some of the sanding. I am using a flat/square hand held electric sander and 80 grit paper to sand the surface. There are several layers of paint, gray primer, original REA green, and some green repaint. The area over the rear tire has rot and bondo has been used to fill in the rot. I am most likely going to cut this all out and replace it with a metal patch - cutting out as little as possible.

Pic #2 & #3 is a close-up of the red painted trim lines I found under a layer of paint. The REA vehicle colors were a dark green and red. The side body molding that runs front to back was only trimmed in red paint on the upper section. The rear molding going up the box is also trimmed in red and it appears it extends slightly onto the body panel.

Pic #4 is the side panel re-painted with spray can flat black. Did what I needed it to do, but used several cans of good paint which I can see will be costly going this route. So I am going to spray paint the rest of the box panels as it will be far more economical. I am going to use Rustoleum flat black thinned for spray painting.

Pick #5 is the underside of the hood. I thought all I would need to do is do a light sandblasting on the underside just to clean up what paint was already there, knock off any loose rust and dirt, and undercoat with the truck bed undercoating. As soon at I hit what looked like a good protective layer of paint, it blew off in sheets. Apparently whatever paint was used did not even stick to the metal. Oddly, the metal was very clean as if it had been chemically dipped. My guess is the metal surface had not been correctly roughed up/sanded and the chemicals used to strip the underside of the hood had not been thoroughly cleaned/rinsed. What a mess. So I spent more time than I wanted sandblasting the hood with my Harbor Freight 20 lb sandblaster - which works very slowly at best.

Pic #6 is the underside of the hood sand blasted and ready for paint.

Pic#7 is the painted underside of the hood. Again, not trying to restore the truck. I used POR-15 on those areas that had rusting to seal them after sandblasting fairly clean. POR-15 works best on rusty surfaces, so the light rust left after sandblasting is almost ideal. Then I painted it black with spray can black and followed this with the truck bedliner paint to seal everything. The truck bedliner paint has a little texture and it cures extremely hard. That should preserve the hood for another 70 years.
Attachments
01 - Paint.JPG
02  Paint.JPG
03  Paint.JPG
04  Paint.JPG
05  Paint.JPG
06  Paint.JPG
07  Paint.JPG
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