1948 KB5 Railway Express


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

Yard Art
Yard Art

Posts: 85

Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:22 pm

Post Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:51 pm

1948 KB5 Railway Express

HISTORY: Railway Express Agency and the Hoover-York bodied 1948 KB5
On June 1917 a Subcommittee on Express Transportation, part of a Special Committee on National Defense, was formed for the purpose of coordinating the work of the express companies with the efforts of the railroads in meeting the nationwide transportation problems confronting the Untied States and its involvement in the war. The subcommittee was made up of four members, each a vice president of the then Adams, American, Southern, and Wells Fargo Express Companies.
The Adams Express Co. was established in 1839. The American Express Co. was established in 1850. The Southern Express Co. was established in 1861. The Wells Fargo Express Co. was established in 1852. The express companies carried mail, packages, and offered banking service such as transporting money, payrolls, and gold. Most began through the services of the stagecoach and horse, but this later branched out into railroad services and later airline services.
The four member committee created a private corporation by consolidating the the four principal express companies mentioned above. This new corporation was called The American Railway Express Company (ARE) headed by Chairman D. S. Elliot who was the vice president of the American Express Co. After the President assumed Federal control of the railroads on December 17, 1917, the subcommittee ceased to function as a part of the Special Committee on National Defense.
On May 28, 1918, an agreement between the Director General of Railroads and the representatives of the four companies entered into a contract with the government to conduct the express business on all railroad lines that were under Fedeal control and that the Amercian Railways Express Co. would be the sole agent of the Government in conducting such business. The contract did not come into force until July 1, 1918. This gave the new company time to consolidate all the equipment for common use and set up a uniform accounting system. George C. Taylor was named the president of the company.
On July 10, 1918, the Express and Mail Section, Division of Traffic of the United States Railroad Administration was created. The function of this section was to represent the United States Railroad Administration in matters relating to the contract between the Director General of Railroads and ARE and to represent the United States Railroad Administration in matters involving questions over payment between individual railroads carrying the mail and the Post Office Department.
Questions involving rates, labor, and other issues began to arise within the business of the American Railways Express Company. To address and eliminate any problems, the President issued a proclamation on November 16, 1918, taking over the American Railways Express Co. and its business operations and placing them under Federal control. The company and its operations were now assigned directly to William McAdoo, Director General of the Railroads.
The American Railways Express Company was released from Federal control and returned to private control in March 1920. It was decided to keep the company intact as a whole rather then break it apart making it a private corporation. The company colors of dark green and red were adopted in 1921.
The growth of the post office, railroads, and airlines in the 1920's offered express services which were making it difficult for a private corporation to show profitability. In December of 1928, the Interstate Commerce Commission which governed the railroads suggested that they begin to operate their own express services.
In early 1929, 69 railroads came together to organize a new company known as the Railway Express Agency (REA). On March 1, 1929, REA purchased ARE. The new company was formed as the sole agency for rail express services and was based on the sales of stocks issued to any railroad that wanted a stake in the new company. The investment railroad had to purchase a minimum of 1,000 shares in REA to obtain a contract for the express services, with the first contract being issued in February 1929. The railroads provided all shipping and terminal space and had to subsidized the business. Any financial losses had to be absorbed by the railroads. In all, 86 Class I railroads bought a controlling interest in REA over its existence.
With the financial investments of the railroads, REA expanded services across the nation. New trucks were purchased and more employees were hired. Almost any town or city with a train depot had an REA office. Over the years as railroad freight declined and competition from the US Post Office, UPS, and Fed-Ex increased, REA began to show financial distress and large losses. By 1975 the company filed for bankruptcy with the end of the line coming in 1979.

The Railway Express Agency used the York-Hoover Body Company in York, Pennsylvania, to convert truck chassis for use with a commercial box body. The company was a well known commercial body builder for both cars and trucks. Some of the truck chassis used by REA were Ford, Chevrolet, Studebaker, and International. The box was of a basic design and custom fitted to a truck cab and chassis. The box was grafted to just behind the truck manufacturer's firewall and cowling section using the trucks dashboard, steering column, and wheel. Obvious differences in the box bodies over the years can be seen in the side door windows and windshield arrangement.
The truck seen here is a 1948 International KB5 cab/chassis, originally painted red at the factory, and then fitted with the York-Hoover commercial box body and painted in the REA colors. This Railway Express Agency truck was based out of Roanoke, VA. The truck when purchased showed 41,000 miles on the odometer and was in solid, but worn and neglected condition. Frame VIN B5-118429
Attachments
Left Frame - VIN - B5-118429.JPG
KB5 York-Hoover Body Tag - adj.JPG

Yard Art
Yard Art

Posts: 85

Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:22 pm

Post Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:00 pm

Re: 1948 KB5 Railway Express

A few photos of what I began with. The truck was purchased in April 2017. The seat is original, but cheaply recovered and not very practical unless you are about 5' and 100 pounds. The document box on the side of the box was really too big and made for a big hassle trying to squeeze into the seat. Both seat and box were removed with the seat upgraded.
The door at the rear of the box is manufactured in 4-sections. You can open just a single center door section, both center door sections, or pull the unlocking lever on the outer door panels to completely open the rear of the box for backing up to a shipping dock and loading large objects or pallet loads.
Entering the rear of the truck is how you have to enter if you close the driver's and passenger's side doors. These are sliding doors fitted to a track set-up. They cannot be opened from the outside once the door is completely shut - they lock in the closed position. A protective measure that ensures no outside person could simply hop up into the truck when the driver was not attending the truck. The side doors can be slid back and left open using a simple latch that locks it into place and keeps it from sliding closed.
The floor is diamond plate steel and is not fitted as tightly as you might think, having gaps around the outer edges - most likely for the purpose of allowing any liquid spills to drain and to hose down & clean the floor area.
Attachments
01  1948 KB5.jpg
02  1948 KB5.jpg
02  1948 KB5.jpg
04  KB5.jpg
05  Door Latch.JPG

Yard Art
Yard Art

Posts: 85

Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:22 pm

Post Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:03 pm

Re: 1948 KB5 Railway Express

More Photos of the 1948 KB5.
Attachments
06  KB5 (2).jpg
07  KB5.jpg
08  KB5.jpg
09  KB5.jpg
10  KB5.jpg
1948 KB5 Side Panel Dimensions.JPG

Yard Art
Yard Art

Posts: 85

Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:22 pm

Post Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:08 pm

Re: 1948 KB5 Railway Express

This write-up covers the engine bay and tune-up items needed to get the engine running. The aim was to try and keep the original drivetrain IF it ran well enough - which was an unknown at the time of purchase other than the seller said it ran. If the engine turned out to be bad, it was going to be pulled and updated with a Chevy 350CI and automatic trans conversion to make the truck driveable. The goal of the truck is to use it as an advertisement piece to promote a tourist railroad adventure.
The Green Diamond 233CI engine ran very poorly when I got it and had no power. I wanted to give the old engine a fighting chance before making a decision to do an upgrade to Chevy power. So a complete tune-up was needed. I also decided to upgrade the entire 6-volt positive ground electrical system to a 12-volt negative ground. A new Champion brand replacement aluminum radiator was installed when I got the truck and upper & lower radiator hoses had been rigged to work (more on this later). LUCKILY, I caught the 16PSI radiator cap that came with the radiator and modified it so it is a non-pressure cap. A new exhaust system had also been installed along with new tires and tubes.
First up was to rebuild the original Zenith 28A series carburetor #76560 R92 107384. No amount of adjusting made any difference, so it was removed, disassembled, cleaned, and rebuilt. Overall condition was good. The accelerator pump piston was frozen into its bore. A little patience, several applications of penetrating oil, and time got it freed up and out. I used rebuild Kit #K4042 - from Mike's Carburetor Parts online. Easy enough to rebuild, but, the kit did not include what I call a soft gasket, packing type seal for the main jet adjustment screw used on this particular carb. It seals the threads on the adjuster screw so no gas seeps down the threads and out the screw end. Not all of the Zenith carbs used them and is easily identified by the "T" end of the adjusting screw. When I disassembled it, there was a packing type gasket that went around the main jet adjustment screw and got inserted into the bowl housing to seal the adjustment screw in addition to sealing the nut which screws into the bowl to secure the adjusting screw into the carb bowl. Mike's Carb was unaware of this gasket and had never seen one. I found one among my stash of miscellaneous carb parts that worked.

Original distributor is the DelcoRemy #1110095 having points. Replaced distributor cap (NAPA #RR95), rotor (NAPA #RR83), upgraded to a Pertronix brand electronic ignition to replace the points (12-volt neg. ground Kit #1168LS), coil to match (12-volt Flame Thrower #40511), spark plugs (AC Delco #303) & make your own spark plug wire kit. The distributor was stuck from sitting and timing adjustments could not be made at the time. Note: the ignition wires going to the coil have to be swapped/reversed when going from a positive ground to a negative ground as do the wires going to the AMP gauge.

An oil and filter change were done. I used Rotella 15W-40 oil and added a bottle of Rislone brand Engine Oil Suppliment with Zinc to ensure some zinc was in the oil since most oils have greatly reduced the needed zinc for older engines. Joe Gibb and Brad Penn oils are formulated for older engine and suspect the 20W-50 would work as well. The 233CI engine has the cannister type oil filter on it. Pulled off the top and it was empty of filter. I cleaned out the sludge inside the base and installed a new "sock" style filter - which reminds me of a cartridge of twine. "Sock" type filter for the oil cannister is Wix #551011. I reused the old cannister lid gasket just to get by, but need to replace it. No leaks, but it is old. There was no spring that goes on top of the sock and under the cover to keep the sock in place. I have not yet addressed this but have gotten a spring since writing this that should work.

The original gas lines were rotted away at places and a long rubber hose had been connected under the truck from the engine's fuel pump to the gas tank. I formed & installed all new 5/16" steel gas lines much like factory but I did this in sections to make it easier as the nose clip was still on (easier if the front clip is off). I ran the line under the radiator frame support rather than the factory position on top and near the bottom of the radiator to keep any heat off the fuel line. I put a slight flare on each section end using my brake line tool to prevent the rubber line from slipping off, and joined the connecting ends with ethanol friendly rubber hose and hose clamps. The gas line was secured to the frame in several places. I had to form a gas line from the fuel pump to the carb. I bent it so it stays away from the exhaust manifold and heat, and insulated it further by slipping a length of rubber gas line over the steel line. I got matching barb fittings for the fuel pump/carb to connect the 5/16" steel lines with hose. The factory fuel pump has a clear glass on the bottom using a filter inside. I opted for an external clear body filter that can be had at any parts store. I installed one clear body screen mesh filter, WIX #33972 5/16" outlets, near the fuel tank mounted on the outside of the frame for easy replacement and so you can check it. The WIX screen mesh can be back flushed and re-used again. I added a second paper filter, Fram G2 5/16" outlets, on the gas line I routed under the radiator support. Note: all rubber hose must be ethanol gas rated and not the "old" original rubber hose which will deteriorate with ethanol gas.

I did not want to convert the charging system to an alternator as I wanted to retain the original look and not have to deal with adapting the alternator, pulleys, and brackets. Original 6-volt generator is the DelcoRemy #1102673 8C25. I took it to a local rebuilder and had the generator rebuilt and converted over to 12-volts. I then swapped out the 6-volt 30AMP positive ground regulator #1118303D, with a 30AMP 12-volt negative ground unit, AC Delco D618. The gauges in the dash cluster are 6-volt and were disconnected so that the engine could be run up on 12 volts when I was ready to test run it. The AMP gauge was retained as it is part of the charging system, but the wires on the back of the gauge had to be swapped/reversed because the polarity of the system was changed from a positive ground to a negative ground. I installed a 12-volt 35-Case sized battery from Walmart in the factory floor mount location along with new cables.

The spark plug wires had been wrongly positioned by a previous owner and explained some of the real poor running of the engine. A member here suggested to remove the No.1 spark plug and look inside to watch the closed position of the valve when the timing mark on the crank balancer pulley lined up with the timing pointer. I did as suggested and then placed the No.1 spark plug wire in the distributor cap that corresponded with the position of the rotor so as to fire No.1 spark plug. Reinstalled the No.1 spark plug & wire and then followed the firing order for the remaining wires.

I had previously drained all the gas from the gas tank using the bottom plug on the tank to drain it. Then filled the tank with 10 gallons of fresh ethanol free gas and added Stabil 360 to the gas to preserve it longer. I primed the carb with a little gas and gave a shot of starting fluid. Turned the key and it fired off and quit. The gas lines of course were empty and needed to fill. Did this one more time and this time the engine continued to run. The engine ran smoother than I had anticipated. A little adjustment on the idle mixture and idle speed and it was running as smooth as a sewing machine. I let it run a good 1/2 hour before shutting it down. The engine now fires right up.
Attachments
01  Zenith Carb.JPG
02  Zenith.JPG
03  Zenith.JPG
04  Engine.jpg
05  Engine.jpg

Yard Art
Yard Art

Posts: 85

Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:22 pm

Post Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:12 pm

Re: 1948 KB5 Railway Express

I am sure there are many ways to do this, but this is what I did. I wanted to keep the look of the factory oil bath air cleaner without using the oil. An aftermarket open element paper air filter type air cleaner had been installed on the truck when I got it and the oil bath was tucked in a box of parts. So my goal was to get the factory look of the oil bath air cleaner but use a more common paper air filter. I was able to combine parts from the aftermarket paper set-up and do some modifications to the oil bath filter to get it all to work.

I first tried to fit the paper filter down into the base of the oil bath housing just to see if it fit. Sure enough it did, so that was the spark for my project. The paper air filter is a NAPA Gold #2110 filter which measures OD- 6 1/4"; ID - 5"; Height - 3"

Pic #01 is an adapter I made to lengthen the oil bath stud and use the brass fitting that was used to hold down the top lid of the paper element air cleaner - not factory, but I liked it. The inside threads of the brass fitting was the same as a number 10-32 screw so I bought a small box of screws at 1" long. I used a 1/4" x 2" roll pin that I opened up both ends slightly with a chisel so the 10-32 screw would fit inside tightly as well as the oil bath base stud.

I cut the head off the 10-32 screw and jammed it into one end of the roll pin - abou 1/4". I inserted the paper filter into the base, its lid on top, and then loosely fit the roll pin on top of the oil bath base stud. (NOTE: Prior to installing the lid on the paper filter, I had to enlarge the hole in the lid so it would slide over the roll pin when you pull it off) Next I set the oil bath filter/top down over the roll pin/screw and on top of the paper filter/lid. My 10-32 screw stuck up through the top of the oil bath filter and I screwed the brass fitting down onto it until the screw was flush with the top of the brass fitting - just like it would be if I were tightening down the oil bath filter element to make it secure. The brass fitting screwed down stuck up above the top of the oil bath filter leaving a gap underneath, so I tapped it down with a hammer to seat it down over the stud of the oil bath base and to seat it on the top of my oil bath filter. This seated the roll pin over the oil bath base stud to get the correct length I needed for my new hold down stud to stick out of the top so I could screw the brass fitting down to secure it. (I could have used a threaded rod and removed the stud from the oil bath base and welded it in place, enlarged the hole in the oil bath top to match the threaded rod, and inserted it through the oil bath filter/top, and then cut as needed. Was easier for me to work with what I had.) I then removed the brass screw and lifted the oil bath filter/top, air filter lid, & air filter from the base. My new hold down stud was now at the correct length.

Pic #02 is another view of the modified stud and the oil bath base after I removed the oil bath filter, paper air cleaner lid, and paper filter. I then pulled out my torches and welded the 10-32 screw and base stud to the roll pin -old school using a coat hanger for my filler rod. Got it all welded together and it ain't going to move.

Pic #03 is the underside of the oil bath base which sits over the Zenith carb. The paper air cleaner had a steel compression ring/clamp that gets tightened down to clamp the air cleaner to the carb. Th oil bath base did not have anything to hold it in place on the carb. So I broke the spot weld holding the compression ring/clamp to the paper air filter base and used it on the oil bath base, BUT I had to cut slots into the oil bath base so as they would collapse when the compression ring/clamp was tightened down.

Pic #04 shows the slots I cut into the oil bath base using my die grinder and cutting wheel. You can see the compression ring/clamp installed as well. I had to cut the slots 1" deep as measured from the inside radius of the neck that fits over the carb. Had to go this length in order for the clamp to squeeze in on the oil bath base and secure it to the carb.

Pic #05 is the NAPA Gold # 2110 paper filter set inside the oil bath base. Fit pretty good. Then I install the metal air cleaner lid slipping it over the roll pin. There is a slight gap between between the oil bath stud and the slightly enlarged hole in the metal lid. My thoughts are to either use a small piece of foam/sponge and slide it down over the stud on top of the lid or possibly an O-ring. Yet to do this.

Pic #06 is the oil bath top element set on top of the paper air filter and tightened down using the modified stud and the brass fitting to secure it. If your new stud does not quite stick up enough to screw on whatever hold down nut or wingnut you use, you can place the oil bath filter on a flat surface and give it a little even downforce and collapse the bottom just a little - I had to do this myself.

Pic #07 is the top showing the brass fitting (looks like a thumb wheel of sorts, but I thought it looked good being brass).

Pic #08 is the air cleaner assembly on the engine. To me, it looks original, but uses the paper air filter which I prefer over the old oil bath style.
Attachments
01 KB5.JPG
02 KB5.JPG
03 KB5.JPG
04 KB5.JPG
05 KB5.JPG
06 KB5.JPG
07 KB5.JPG
08 KB5.JPG

Yard Art
Yard Art

Posts: 85

Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:22 pm

Post Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:16 pm

Re: 1948 KB5 Railway Express

1948 International KB5 Truck Horn Rebuild - 12Volt Neg Ground Conversion
This write-up may sound a bit confusing, but once you disassemble the original horn and begin the reinstallation of the 12V horn, it should be easy to follow along with parts in hand.
Removed the horn from engine & disassemble by removing the small lock washers & nuts from the longer studs at the horn base - save these. If they spin, not to worry as they can be accessed for removal once the back of the horn, the "cup," is removed.
Remove the single nut at the rear of the horn "cup". Gently pry the horn "cup" from the main "trumpet" section if it does not pull off. Remove the nuts and lock washers from the small carriage bolts and any of the above nuts/bolts you could not remove with the "cup" attached. This will free up the horn workings which can be pulled out.
Photo #1 shows the original horn disassembled and the 12V replacement in the upper right corner.
Sanded/prep/painted the horn body.
I used a 12Volt negative ground horn purchased at my local Auto Zone. I used the Sure Bilt brand "Highway Blaster High Tone Horn," part number is DL136H-12V. You can get just the basic horn mechanism less the plastic body that could be used and fitted, but my choice looked to be a little better built and it was rated as the "loudest." This horn does not have a marked positive or negative wiring connection. The 12V power source can be applied to either electrical tab and the negative ground to the other tab. It does not ground out through the metal body or stud on the back.
The 12Volt horn was fitted into the horn "cup." It will not fit as is and needs to be cut down. I used a high speed die grinder and cut-off wheel to do the job. Trim the plastic body to fit inside the "cup" until the stud on the back of the horn would go through the center hole at the back of the horn "cup." Also trimmed it so it sat about even with the horn "cup" so no interference issues when bolting it back to the "trumpet" section.
Photo #2 is the 12V horn at bottom center after the plastic horn housing was trimmed down to fit into the original horn "cup" at the right. You can also see the wires I made to connect the 12V horn contacts to the original 6V electrical contact tabs as explained below.
Next up were the connecting wires. The 2 tabs on the 12Volt horn used to connect the wires will most likely hit the "cup" body and have to be trimmed. I cut these down about 3/16" or just above the plastic channels they are held by. I then drilled a 1/16" hole in each tab which will be used to pass my short length of wires through and solder.
To keep the horn connections original with the factory wiring harness I purchased, I cut the original 6V horn's electrical connection/bracket free. The bracket has the 2 holes that mounts it in place on the "trumpet" section and is used to bolt it to the engine mount bracket The tab has the 2 screw fitting along with the wires going to the horn's electrical workings. I cut each wire leaving about 1/4" of stick-out wire to be used as leads to attach my short length jumper wires to and solder together.
I then cut 2 small lengths of jumper wire needed to make the connection between the 12Volt horn and the 6V electrical tab you just cut free. I inserted some of the wire through the 1/16" holes I drilled in th tabs on the 12Volt horn, twist tied them, and then soldered to the tabs. I used liquid electrical tape to encase and protect the bare wires. Then attach the other ends to the 1/4" stick-out "leads" you left on the 6V electrical tab, solder, and coat with liquid tape.
You can now test the horn with a 12Volt battery and jumper wires to make sure it works. Fit the 12Volt horn back into the "cup" to make sure your soldered wires are not hitting the "cup" body and shorting things out. The original 6V electrical bracket/tab will be fitted just as factory to the cutout notch on the horn's "cup" for a factory look
Reinstall the small carriage type bolts, lock washers, nuts, and the modified electrical bracket/tab with its longer bolts that hold it in. Place the "cup" with the horn onto the main body to make sure it fits and closes tightly. The factory "cup" was held onto the "trumpet" body by the original horn mechanism - secured by the smaller carriage bolts and the single stud that went through the back of the "cup" for attachment. Removing the original horn mechanism did away with the stud and a means to secure the "cup" in place. My "cup" was a press fit and fit snug, but it has to be secured in some way. JB Weld may have done it, but I chose to drill a 1/16" hole into the base edge of the "cup" opposite each other. I then fashioned a simple U-clip that almost looks like a staple. I used some welding wire shaped to fit into the 1/16" hole and over the horn rim to hold it snug - one on each side. Then I used some black liquid tape to cover the bare u-clip and hold it in place. Could have used JB Weld or some other epoxy, but figured the clip just needed something to keep it from moving up and off. Seemed to work.
You can do a final coat of paint if you did not already paint the horn. Mount it back on the engine and connect the factory wires. It is now an operating road horn - not as loud as I had hoped, but you can hear it and it'll pass inspection.
Attachments
01  Horn Guts.JPG
02  Car Horn fitted inside the cup.JPG
03  Horn Wiring.JPG
04  Horn Installed and works -adj.jpg

Yard Art
Yard Art

Posts: 85

Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:22 pm

Post Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:19 pm

Re: 1948 KB5 Railway Express

The 4 box body marker lights had to be refurbished - 2 amber in front and 2 red in back. I removed and pulled them apart for cleaning. I used my battery charger electrolysis bath set-up to de-rust and clean the metal parts. Made it real easy and non-destructive as these parts are delicate.
I installed new spring contacts and used aluminum foil cut to fit and epoxied (JB Weld) to the bases as a reflector. Paint would have worked, but I did not want future rust to form again and felt the JB Weld would act as a sealant.
The original lenses are glass and I had to source a replacement on Ebay for a red lens that was incorrect and busted. The metal retaining rings on the rear lights were badly rusted with many spots rotted through. After cleaning, I applied JB Weld to fill in and build up these areas, sanding down the excess on the outside to follow the ring's contour. Painted them black.
Made new cork/rubber gaskets and used LED light bulbs which come in Amber and Red. Reassembled the lights and installed.
I wired up all 4 box marker lights together on a single circuit creating my own wire harness to do this. I soldered on my lengths of wire to each light at the rear with both coming together at the rear left top corner. Each end was then fitted with a soldered eyelet end.
I then ran my power supply wire the full length of the box body with the wire encased in a 1/4" brake line. An eyelet end was soldered on each end. Using a small machine screw/nut, I bolted together the 2 rear marker lights and one end of the long power wire. I then secured the wiring & 1/4" brake line to the body.
I soldered on my lengths of wire to each light at the front with both coming together at the front left top corner. Each wire end was then fitted with a soldered eyelet like the rear lights. I ran another wire down through the left corner pillar at the drivers compartment to the junction block (which would become the single power source wire for all the box marker lights). An eyelet end was soldered on where the wire came out at top. A machine screw/nut was used to tie together the eyelet end on the long wire that ran to the back to power the rear marker lights, the 2 eyelet ends for the front marker lights, and the eyelet end on the wire going to the junction block - 4 wires in all were joined together using the machine screw/nut.
A new 1940's era under the dash switch with its own 10-AMP glass fuse was purchased on Ebay and installed. Even though the dash switch has its own 10-AMP fuse, I still powered the switch off of the 12V fuse block. The other side of the switch runs to the junction block which then connects to the main wire going out to the wire harness for the box marker lights. Turning on the switch now turns on all 4 box marker lights and operates independent of any other lights. The LED lights draw little AMP's.
Attachments
01 Front Box Marker Light Assembly.JPG
02 Front Marker - Left Lit Up.JPG
03 Rear box Marker Assembly.JPG
04  Rear Box Marker Assembly & Lit Up.JPG
05  Rear Box Marker Lights.JPG

Yard Art
Yard Art

Posts: 85

Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:22 pm

Post Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:22 pm

Re: 1948 KB5 Railway Express

KB5 Taillight Fabrication
The 1948 KB5 box truck was originally fitted with a single dual element brake/marker tail light at the top left rear above the door - which was legal back in 1948. It is a glass round red domed lens fitted to a metal housing base that has about a 2" cutout on the right side that allows the marker light to illuminate the license plate which mounts right next to it. Along the way the wires were cut and the light no longer works.
In its place were installed two Model A tail lights below the diamond plate step bumper which look out of place.
I wanted a tail light that would be more fitting of the truck and somewhat match the original brake/marker tail light. Doing a web search I found the perfect tail light assembly at Speedway Motors. It is a 1950 Pontiac tail light which is round, has a chrome outer ring, with a domed lens that is glass - not cheap plastic. Speedway Motors part number is 911-37050 at a cost of $24.99 each. I originally bought 2 to see how they looked, but needed 4 of them. The 4 lights will give me a left turn signal, right turn signal, and 2 brake lights. All 4 lights will be hooked up as marker/running lights as well.
I work for a major tractor-trailer trailer manufacturer where we sell new & used trailers, parts, and have a big service shop to work on them. Looking at the size of the tail lights I got to thinking. They looked almost like the same size as the round tail lights found on the back of our trailers. These lights pop into a round rubber gasket that is set into the cut out hole at the rear of the trailer. We also have trailers with a plate that gets welded to the trailer and tail light assembly fitted as above - which we were cutting off to do some custom installation work.
I brought home one of the plates that had been cut off and the round rubber gaskets to see if I could work with it in fitting the 1950 Pontiac tail lights. Bingo! They are a perfect fit when inserted into the rubber gaskets just like the trailer tail lights. What I had to do is remove the rubber seal/gasket supplied with the 1950 lights in order to press them into the gaskets. To secure them, I used a flat stainless steel bumper washer that fit over the mounting stud on the back of the Pontiac light and tightened it down enough to keep the light from popping out.
My crude drawing gives you the dimensions of the plate which is 3/16" steel, the hole diameters for the tail light gaskets, and the spacing of these holes. The rubber gaskets can be had at any trailer repair shop or parts supplier and should be the same from trailer manufacturer to another as all the tail lights are the same size and generally pop in (although the higher priced LED lights are now being secured with pop-rivets to prevent theft). Mine are from Great Dane Trailers and have all the necessary "lips" to fit into the cut outs and fit the Pontiac light down into them.
I drilled and bolted the plates to the underside of the truck, but will add a couple of small welds on each to secure them better. I soldered on pigtail connectors so each light can be unplugged individually if one gets damaged and needs replacing or if you need to trace a short or something. These are then connected to a wiring harness I fabricated for the rear lights and the corresponding wiring I ran inside the frame rail up to the fuse block.
Attachments
01  KB5 Taillights.JPG
02  KB5 Taillights.JPG
03  KB5 Taillights.JPG
04  KB5  Taillights.JPG
05  Rear Running lights.jpg

Yard Art
Yard Art

Posts: 85

Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:22 pm

Post Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:26 pm

Re: 1948 KB5 Railway Express

KB5 Original Brake Light

The original single combination brake and marker/license plate light housing was rotted beyond repair. The only thing salvageable was the red glass lens.
I purchased a round plastic trailer tail light that used the dual filament 1157 bulb for braking and marker lights, along with a clear lens that was used in lighting up a license plate via the marker light function - just like the original KB light.
The red plastic lens is simply screwed onto the housing rather than having a retaining ring like the original KB brake light. The red glass lens fit on top of the housing, but I needed to come up with a retaining ring.
Pic #1 The original brake light housing, retaining ring, and lens is on the left side. I found that the large Bumblebee brand white chicken breast can was an almost perfect match in diameter for the plastic base (shown on the right side) and could be fitted with the glass lens.
Pic #2 So the Bumblebee can was measured and cut down in height, and then a circular hole cut in its center to retain the glass lens.
Pic #3 shows the new retainer ring on the left and the original on the right.
Pic #4 & 5. The painted retainer ring, plastic housing base, and KB5 red glass lens. The retainer ring is slightly larger than the base leaving a gap around its circumference, so I cut down and used some cork gasket material to act as a seal and to take up the space. 2 sheet metal screws attach the retainer ring from the side into the plastic base.
Pic #6. Installed in its original position.
Attachments
01  Rear box brake light.JPG
02  Rear box brake light.JPG
03  Rear box brake light.JPG
04  Rear box brake light.JPG
05  Rear box brake light.JPG
06  Rear box break light.JPG

Yard Art
Yard Art

Posts: 85

Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:22 pm

Post Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:31 pm

Re: 1948 KB5 Railway Express

Rear of the box shows all the lights.
The back of the truck. License plate is relocated to the top of the box like factory and will be lit up by the running light in the brake light housing. The original brake light will act as a 3rd brake light as well.
A license plate bracket is mounted in the middle of the bumper under the step for a registered license plate once the truck is on the road. I used Design Engineering DEI 030311 acorn style LED license plate fasteners ordered from Summit Racing. They attach the license plate to the bracket and provide an LED for lighting. Compact and simple.
I had to have, and installed, the International logo mud flaps. They came from Old International Trucks out of Canada. They had to be trimmed to fit and I bolted them on using one of the floor crossmembers.
Attachments
01  Rear running lights.jpg
02  Mud Flaps.JPG
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