K-8 Firetruck 1940's


The old and reliable.

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Post Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:14 pm

K-8 Firetruck 1940's

Happy Holidays guys,
I'm still searching for my truck. As mentioned before to haul some water. I have down graded from my original 2500 gallon capacity requirement weight-wise down to around 1000 gallons, which seems far more manageable.

I have looked at Loadstars, S Series, DT466...blah... blah...they are all mighty nice but, I keep harkening back to the K series trucks. The vision of mot using any computerized equipment (other than a meter or timing light) to repair the engine or transmission really floats my boat. I like the K-11 with airbrakes, as I have a CDL. But, they seem rare. I have seen a few fire trucks mostly K-8 series that may foot the bill both for hauling water as well as possibly dirt ...parades...and are just plain the best looking machines ever! I'm a handy guy and have been welding, wrenching, painting, fixing, and repairing most of my machines throughout my life. Have tools and machines and watch the neighbors flock to your barn!

I have been thinking that fire apparatus is far more taken care of and usually has less mileage than regular duty trucks of the same age. At an 18000 GVW for a K-8. I could remove the hose bunk and rusty baffle tank, and have a slide in bed for dirt, dump runs and a slide in poly tank. Is it a sacrilege to demount a fire body and put in a rack body? I have heard mixed opinions about this one.

The engine options for the K-8 seem limited to the triple diamond 6 cylinder- which have mechanical fuel pumps- where might I find a stock pump and master cylinder for this kind of truck? Vendors? Also It seems like the particular engine options have a cylinder sleeve which can be removed in frame? Really?!? That's a HUGE bonus! A few of you have mentioned that brakes can be an issue and I have seen one without this exception needing a master cylinder. Likely will need brake work- Dot 4 silicone fluid all around.

So, dispite the great advice you have all given me to buy an S Series and move on. I respectfully feel I have made a decision to ignore the good advice and plunge into finding a K-8 series. I am a realist, my vehicle expectations are relatively low compared to most hot- rodders. I loathe computerized modules and settings I cannot observe with an indicator or my own two peepers. I love the sound of the 1-2 gear wind up and the 3rd gear clunk shift. I have no expectations of exceeding 45 miles an hour and expect I will have great day if I get 10 miles per gallon, front windshield open and smelling slightly of oil. Rusty floor- no problem. My longest ride will be into town to fill up the gas tank, and water tank at my local water yard, and possibly to the dump with leaves and brush. I adore old patina and rusty paint and lose rattles and chips. Even better is imagining myself with my twin daughters years from now changing oil, spark plugs or doing brake work.

So what the heck do I do next? More research? Sell that kidney for a payment. I have a ton of things to sell and possibly trade for said truck. My last vintage truck (now gone :-( 'snif' ) a 1977 Dodge Power wagon Military Ambulance 886 just found me at work- that search was easy! I have looked into the American Historical Trucks Collectors sites. Online craziness, local shows, etc...
Is there any other further advice you guys can give this K series wannabe? I would love to find a link to a service /parts manual for a 1940s K8- I'm thinking it will answer most of my particular questions.

Thanks in advance, Greg :geek:
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Golden Jubilee
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Post Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:25 pm

Re: K-8 Firetruck 1940's

Greg,
You're right, the largest K series trucks are the hardest to find. Fire trucks often have the lowest miles, the least rust and the best maintenance. I don't think anyone would disapprove of removing the fire body, except maybe a fire truck fan.

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

Golden Jubilee
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Post Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:26 pm

Re: K-8 Firetruck 1940's

18K would be the low end for an -8. My -7 has a 21500 GVW. Yes, the RED and RD engines are dry lined with the exception of the RD 501.
Master cyl will be no problem, same with fuel pump, they are on E bay all the time and there are places that rebuild them with modern material to handle todays gas. There are few different styles of fuel pumps over the years, so if your are serious about going this route, wait until you know which one your engine has and buy a replacement to send out for up grading.
Rear wheel cyl are the problem, and they can be sleeved and should outlast your use.
Any RED or RD engine could bolt in place of the original, so it would be possible to fit a 450 or 501 if power is a problem.
My preference would be for air brakes as well, but they weren't common back then.

Golden Jubilee
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Post Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:27 pm

Re: K-8 Firetruck 1940's

COPY AND PASTE: I keep harkening back to the K series trucks
I had to Google the word harkening because I was not familiar with it. Harkening is archaic word mostly out of use, now. It refers to a person or person hunting with hounds. When the scent is lost, they harken (return) to the last place where the scent was last know to be.
Thanks for the entertaining moment. It is nice to learn something new, or very old, in this situation.
I would rather have tools I do not need than to need tools I do not have
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Golden Jubilee
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Post Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:41 pm

Re: K-8 Firetruck 1940's

I was familiar with the word harkening, but not where it came from. So thanks to Nikki for the education on its etymology.

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Post Thu Dec 20, 2018 4:45 pm

Re: K-8? (Now, maybe a D series) Firetruck 1940's

Thanks for all of the replies. I have pictures of the truck- after a days research I think I may have stumbled upon a D-60 or 70 series truck and not a K. Clues are the pointed front grille- extremely long snout and two rather peculiar bumps on the butterfly hood. The fire truck back bed looks a bit 1960's vintage. I am chomping at the bit for more information on the truck but none is forthcoming as of yet.

How does one tell what D series this is? Engine looks good? Greg
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Golden Jubilee
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Post Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:32 pm

Re: K-8 Firetruck 1940's

Hold everything! That has the big Continental 6 I don't remember the exact displacement, but is somewhere north of 600 CID, You'll be lucky to get in the low 3's for MPG.
I'd pass on it, too much engine and not enough else. Parts aren't as handy as for the RED& RD which was used into the 70's.

Rusty Driver
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Post Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:11 pm

Re: K-8 Firetruck 1940's

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Post Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:11 pm

Re: K-8 Firetruck 1940's

WOAH! 600 cid. Thats a monster! Looked a bit "more hood" than other trucks Ive seen. What do you guys suppose those butterfly hood bumps are for?

I've been reading a bit more about engine swap outs and the biggest issue many have is space. I'll bet a modern diesel would squeeze in there rather nicely- with good mileage and some space to spare. Some of the military versions are all mechanical sans computer gizmos and crap like that. I

like the looks of the truck very much but mileage will suffer. The L series mentioned is nice but...the K and D series are really beautiful.
We'll se how this plays out...Greg
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Golden Jubilee
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Post Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:38 pm

Re: K-8 Firetruck 1940's

The D series are in my opinion, some of the best-looking trucks IH ever made. That is a huge engine! Would make a great parade/museum piece, maybe not the best for regular use. Unless you can find someone with a parts stash and free gas.

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