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Well, have not been working on the '68 Lemans this summer due to 2 things. First, the crappy weather we had this summer here in NC. My project is out in the elements and this summer has been either in the upper 90's or raining for days on end - and of course it seemed to follow a pattern of every weekend! Arggh! Finally got so fed up that I built an A-frame roof structure over my car so I can now work out of the blazing sun and out from the rain. It took me 2 months to put it up because of the weather and I did not get it up until the end of summer - so hopefully next year goes better.

Second thing was that my younger brother in Connecticut purchased on Ebay this 1948 International KB5 box truck having 41,000 original miles on it. He owns 2 railroads, a commercial switching yard in an industrial park and a tourist dinner train. This truck was originally owned and operated by a railroad delivery company called Railway Express Agency - like Fed-Ex/UPS except for railroad freight. So he had to have it. Purchased in Virginia, he had it trucked to my house in May. He wanted me to take a look at it and do what ever work it needed so he could use the truck. When done, I will ship it back to him.

Did not know how well it ran, but it ran according to the seller. 233CI Green Diamond engine, L-Head 6-cyl, 90 HP @3,400 RPM. When I backed it off the lowboy trailer, it took me and the driver several attempts and two feet to keep it running. It ran like crap and had no power. Barely got it to my driveway 1/8 mile away up a slight hill. So the fun began. Rebuilt the Zenith 1 bbl carb, fresh & complete tune-up, converted the 6-volt positive ground system over to a 12-volt negative ground system. Added a Pertronix electronic conversion to the factory distributor. 12-volt battery & cables. Timed the engine. Fabricated & installed all new 5/16" steel gas line and filters. Changed oil and the old style "sock" oil filter. It has a new aluminum radiator and had a 16 lb cap - about 16 pounds too much pressure which would have blown out all the freeze plugs (which are actually flat-styled round discs held in tight enough to seal the block). Fixed the cap so it is a zero pressure system.

Drained the old gas and filled with alcohol free 89 unleaded. Primed the gas line & carb. Hit the ignition switch, and it fired right up! This engine runs so smooth that if you told me it was rebuilt I would believe it. Adjusted the idle speed/carb and the engine respond immediately to the gas pedal. If it had turned out to be a bad engine, I was going to install a small block Chevy and automatic. It runs so well that my brother is going to keep it as original as possible, so I get to undertake all the work.

Got a brand new original style cloth covered wire harness to install. I'll be rewiring the entire truck and installing all 12 volt lights and upgraded turn signal/4-way flasher unit. Need to upgrade/install wipers. Have to do the rear brakes & lines (fronts already done) and reline the e-brake drum. My brother flew in for Thanksgiving to help me pull the nose off. International designed it to be pulled off to access the engine. 8 bolts and two men can lift it up and off. Try that with a new car! I have some rust repair to do and some work on the nose and a little around the rear wheel well arches. It will eventually get painted and a graphics wrap put on the box advertising his dinner train and other offerings his tourist train has. Should be a cool truck when done. :thumbsup:

What do I get out of it? He'll be buying me a new set of street/strip prepped iron heads for the 360CI in my '73 Fury. :yesnod:
 

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Neat project,Jim. My father worked for the railroad. I remember as a kid in the 1950's, he would occasionally have to do something at work on his day off and would take me with him down to the depot. Saw a bunch of those old REA trucks around there.....can't remember the paint job (but that's not relevant info to your project as your brother has his own paint schemes). Thanks for a neat trip down memory lane.
 

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That thing is badass!
My dad also worked for the railroad, the Sufferin' Pacific. When I was 11 I ran my first locomotive, a switch engine.
I would swipe the torpedoes and blow them up with a sledge and anvil using a steel plate as a blast guard.
Way louder than an M-80 and would lift the sledge about 18".
 

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Interesting old International. Whats a dinner train? Can't remember running across an old box truck without a cab/with a box integrated into the cab area. Been in the back of so many old box trucks going through parts. 50-70 year old grain beds, flat beds, & home built long wheel base wreckers or jen pole trucks is what I continually run across when get the chance to be out pulling parts. Have been boneyarding the last three days. Weds, multiple dozens of old 2-3 ton trucks in the country yard we were in. Once it started snowing, was only paying attention to the paths was driving down. Yesterday, in a monster country yard, over 12,000 cars, trucks, buses, literally hundreds of old trucks back into the 30's. If wasnt deep in Pontiac projects, would like to custom build an extended cab 55 2nd Series or 56 Chevy ramp truck, modernized with a late model frame/suspension, aluminum ramp structure, Cummins 6 for motivation, would make a cool tow vehicle. Have a sneaking feeling many of the remaining project trucks, 1 tons up, from the 40's & 50's are soon to be history, all it takes is oil prices & resulting metal prices going through the roof & it's torch time.. So many country yard owners would rather keep school buses, lot more room to store in.
 

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A "dinner train" is a tourist train that serves a dinner/meal in a dining car as you travel down the tracks on a short sight seeing trip. The train includes a galley where the food is cooked by a chef and served by a wait staff. Alcohol drinks are also available.

He also runs an "ice cream train" in summer. It is a 1956 self-propelled Budd car. He has 2 of these. He converted the "ice cream train" to reflect a 1950's ice cream parlor complete with the reproduction juke box that plays 50's music. It is a short 45 minute ride down and back and serves an assortment of ice cream sundays. He said 45 minutes is about the attention span of most kids and after that, they start to get a little rowdy and less controlled. He was charging $12 for the ride which included the ice cream so a lot of parents with kids took the trip. His other Bud car has bench seating like any passenger car would. They both were originally used in Canada.

You can also take a rail trip on a Rail Explorer. An independent company uses his tracks for this neat little ride. It brings in more tourists to his train. TV News coverage on the Rail Explorers: Take a tour with Rail Explorers | WPRI 12 Eyewitness News

He also has a commercial switching yard. Here he is featured on TV News: Quonset railroad sets transport record | WJAR

The KB5 box truck is custom built. The box body was built by the York-Hoover Body Corp. out of York, Pennsylvania. Both York & Hoover were early carriage builders and merged in 1928. They manufactured many of the custom box bodies for assorted commercial vehicles - mail trucks, dairy trucks, ice trucks, and metro vans. The company would take a commercial vehicle like the International KB and use the running gear/chassis and front nose and fit the box from the firewall/cowl back. This is a standard box that you will also see added to Ford commercial trucks. The pickup International's are of the "K" series while the heavier commercial chassis were of the "KB" series. There are a number of 1948 KB5 Railway Express Agency trucks found for sale on the internet, but most are in poor condition. I suspect REA put in an order for X-amount of 1948 KB5 trucks for the year as it seems to be the year available on the internet offered trucks.

My brother also recently purchased a complete KB5 running gear/chassis that was used as a parade float motive power. It was an Ebay win - $365.00! Well worth all the extra & back up parts to keep his truck original and running. He also picked up another nose section as back up. Many Internationals still out there and right now reasonably priced, but will undoubtedly go up higher in prices over time as old cars become fewer and people begin to turn more to the less expensive (right now) trucks to fix up & hot rod.
 

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Here are a few more train pics. These are the engines used at his commercial yard. He has a "big" 2000 HP engine, a 1949 General Motors intermediate, and 1954 Navy switcher. I got to run the '49 train and have ridden in the "big" engine many times. I haven't gotten a ride or drive the Navy switcher. It is all original and not a lot of hours on it, so he does not run it much, only when one of the other engines goes down and needs repairs.

The pics are of his cars. The 1973 Plymouth is a Satellite Sebring Plus our dad bought new. He passed it along to my brother who did the Roadrunner clone to it. I rebuilt and prepped a street/strip 360CI with the added SixPack set-up, had the 904 3-spd automatic rebuilt to my specs, 2,500 stall converter, and installed a 3.55 posi rear end out of a 1977 Dodge Daytona Charger I picked up as a donor car. Also added all the Daytona sway bars. He takes it to local car shows and drives it when the need hits. It'll smoke the tires off from a dead stop. Always a fun car to ride in when I visit.

The other car is a 1 family owned 1957 Cadillac that had 32,000 original miles on it. He added the wire rims, white line tires, and factory reproduction Continental Kit. He takes this to shows and drives it as well. I like the Caddy as it has plenty of pep, rides like being on a cloud, and with all the windows down, at 70 mph you can talk to each other like sitting in the living room - no wind noise. Great car. :thumbsup:
 

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I love that 1957 Cadillac. That's not a huge mileage which is great. I'd love to see more pics of it, Jim.
OK, here you go. First pic was before the wire wheels & continental kit - hubcaps and white walls. Second pic shows that spacious interior with my daughter, her husband, and grand daughter seated for a ride. Third pic is another shot. 4th pic is at a local car show he attends. The car draws a lot of attention. 5th pic is the Barnum & Bailey circus passenger cars he purchased for his railroad. They closed the doors last year and they sold off all the circus items to include all the passenger cars. He bid on 4 of them and got them.
 

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The KB5 work continues this summer. Keeping me off my '68 Lemans build.

I took apart all 4 running lights found on the box body - 2 amber at top front and 2 red at top rear. These are the original glass "bee hive" lenses. De-rusted, new socket contacts & wires, new gaskets, and did some repairs to the lens retaining rings. All new screws. Used LED bulbs and they look & work great. You can see the rear ones in the first photo.

The rear box photo shows the original single brake light & running light in the upper left and the license plate location. Only 1 brake light was required back then. The original was too badly rusted to fix, so I purchased a plastic trailer light you see on small boat trailers. It has a clear side lens that allows light to shine on the license plate. In order to use the original red glass lens I modified a Bumble Bee can of chicken to house the lens and then fit over the plastic light housing. Made new gaskets to seal it up and used an LED 1157 bulb. Looks and works like factory. I tied the box running lights into the box's running lights so they all come on together.

In the same photo you can see the additional lights added to the bumper. The brackets came off a trailer (as in tractor-trailer) we were modifying. The trailer lights have rubber seals that go around the lights which snap in. I used them as well. Found that the 1951 Pontiac glass lens taillights from Speedway were a perfect fit, so ordered 4 of them. I also added a license plate bracket and LED lighting at the bumper which will hold the legal registered plate when the time comes.

Second pic is of the taillights. All 4 are wired together for running lights. The outside lights are wired up as the turn signals and the inside lights are wired up as the brake lights. The original brake light is tied into the lower brake lights so they work together.

The third pic is the interior lights I added on each side. These are LED panel lights that were take-off's from a box truck we updated at work. I wired the lights to a new switch in the original position behind the driver. I neatened the interior wiring by running it through 1/4" steel brake line tubing and then securing it to one of the box's frame members. I don't like the look of hanging wires and try to prevent any rubbing that would cause a short.

Fourth pic shows the steering box & arm. Along the way, the master cylinder, steering box, and steering arm have been replaced. The master cylinder was replaced with a larger truck unit from like a military 6 x 6 and bolted up correctly, but was not the right bore size for the KB5, so it took 2 legs to push on the pedal. I have the original one and am presently having it re-sleeved and rebuilt. The steering box needed to be "clocked," or rotated to the left a bit to raise the steering column up so you could get under the steering wheel - it was too low in its present position. I rotated the steering box by leaving the right lower bolt in place, inserted a size smaller grade 8 bolt in the middle hole, and elongated the left bolt hole about 1/2" so I could use the original bolt/nut. With the steering arm removed, I was able to center the worm gear inside the steering box - it was not done when the box was installed. The steering wheel would turn 2.5 turns left and 3.5 turns right. I centered this to be 3.0 turns each way and then installed the steering arm in place. Cleaned it all up and painted.

You will notice the green "tank" on the firewall. This is a remote brake fluid fill tank. The tank is attached to the master cylinder through a hydraulic hose which then has an O-ring type collar that goes between the opening of the master cyl where the cap screws on and a lip built into the special master cylinder cap. It gets sandwiched together when you tighten the cap. There is a groove around the cap's edge that has a hole in it that allows brake fluid to go down through the hose, through the O-ring collar, and then into the master cyl via the small hole in the cap. The brake fluid tank had a dip stick built into the top cap and the driver could unscrew the cap and read the fluid level much like a power steering cap. It has been de-rusted and cleaned and will be attached like factory when I get the rebuilt master cylinder back. The big "grey tank" is the oil filter/housing.

Last pic is the front turn signals. I rigged these up with amber 1157 bulbs using only the brighter element of the 1157. The old truck did not have front turn signals, so these running lights fit the bill. Can't miss them when they are flashing.

I wired up all the lights 1 wire at a time. Ran the rear light wires along the frame and up through the floor on the left drivers side. Put ends on, soldered, and shrink tubed each one. Up graded the turn signal controls for a 12 volt system using a unit from Speedway. I added a fuse box having spade type terminals and an electrical junction box. These old vehicles did not have fuse boxes. Many switches had a fuse/holder built into them and was part of the switch itself. I made the lights independent from each other so if the box lights blow out, you still have the rear running lights. If running lights go out, you still have box lights. Brake lights are also on a separate fused line.

Working on getting a 12 volt wiper system working - original used a vacuum motor and most parts are missing. Installing an original heater/fan as a non-original had been installed. Then I have to install a rebuilt/refurbished dash gauge cluster and firewall forward wiring harness - which I have. Then on to doing the brake system once I get the master cylinder.

Hope to have this truck completed by the Fall and then I can get back to work on my Lemans. Poor car is sitting under a cover and home to mud daubers. :thumbsup:
 

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What a neat truck - odd looking arrangement for the steering box and input shaft. And that Caddy... Goodness that's nice. You say the guy bought cars for "his railroad"? Must be nice...

🐻
 

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What a neat truck - odd looking arrangement for the steering box and input shaft. And that Caddy... Goodness that's nice. You say the guy bought cars for "his railroad"? Must be nice...

🐻
Yep, the guy is my brother. He wants to put a vinyl wrap on the outside of the box to advertise his dinner train & other venues he has with it. We even talked about putting a hot dog cart in the back and selling hot dogs out of it at his commercial railyard at Quonset Point, RI. There are about 10,000 employees within the business park area. He would sell the hot dogs during lunch hours and then people would see the advertisement wrap for his other tourist train.

The Caddy is currently getting the radiator recored. Car has 32,000 miles, but the radiator was plugged with junk and it ran hot. The radiator is specific to the '57 so he could not get an aluminum one. $800 for the recore.

The '73 Plymouth just got a factory 4-speed conversion - everything new and an original 833 Mopar 4-speed that was rebuilt. Pistol grip shifter of course. He deleted the console and just went with a boot. Say it seems faster over the automatic and is a blast to drive. When I take my vacation, I'll take it for a spin.
 

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Had to rebuild the horn. It is of the old "trumpet" style. The original 6-volt guts are seen on the left of the horn body - they were shot. In the upper right is an Autozone 12-volt plastic bodied replacement horn. I simply trimmed the plastic body of the horn and fitted it into the rounded back cover of the trumpet horn. Soldered the original 6-volt electrical end to the 12-volt horn so it connects like factory on the outside of the housing. The horn button on the steering wheel did not work, so had to tweak it as well so it would work. The truck now has a functioning horn.

Had to modify the steering column support. Shortened and welded it together as I had rotated the steering box slightly upward to give the steering column a little more angle up and thus move the steering wheel a little further away from the driver so you could actually get underneath it to sit down. I barely could squeeze under the steering wheel to get into the original seat - and I'm not a heavy set guy. Must have had a tiny framed guy who drove these things. Also installed the new seat. Its from Tractor Supply. Mounted it on a '98 Ford Ranger seat track so it slides. Then fabricated & mounted the track on a floor pedestal to get it the right height. It has hinges in front so the seat can be tilted forward. Why? The gas filler neck and tank is directly under the seat, so you have to tilt it to add gas.

Got the wipers almost done. The wiper pivots going at the bottom of the windshield are VW's. I then mated VW wiper arm bases with Speedway Automotive wiper arms so I could use their shorter 10" wiper blades. Fabricated a mount inside the cab to mount a Speedway Automotive electric wiper motor. It is all hooked up and the motor works. Mocked up one wiper arm rod from the motor to the wiper so as to get the correct length I needed. Then I purchased a carb linkage parts, heim joints and threaded rod, from Speedway and just have to cut and fit them. Then the wipers will be good to go. Not fast in their movement, but legal enough to pass inspection. Also don't expect the truck to see much rain if any.

Tore the entire nose apart. 70 year old bolts do not unbolt. Liquid heat was the answer. The grille is really rough and my brother actually has a back-up grille which he is shipping to me to see if it is better and usable. Got a lot of work ahead of me with regards to the body work. May bring the nose to my place of work and let our painter do the job. It would be faster than me doing it and my brother can afford to have it done. Then all I would have to do is reassemble it and install the nose section.
 

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The glove box insert was gone and the glove box door was beat up. I found that a $1.00 plastic tool box was the correct size I needed to make the insert! I fitted it and even added a USB/lighter plug on the side so you can plug in a car phone charger. I added a key lock to the glove box door and a pull knob as well.
 

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Had to rebuild the inside heater/blower assembly. The truck did not have its original heater with its door style vents, so my brother purchased a used heater that was the factory unit. The blower motor is 6-volts and has a forward & reverse rotation. Forward allows the fan to blow heat through the heater core to heat the cab interior. Reverse sends the heat up the vent tubes used for defrosting the windshield. But seeing this was a custom built body on the KB5 chassis, the way the windshield area is fabricated with the box body it has no provisions for windshield defrosting vents - and this is why a different heater non-factory was used & fitted to the truck.

I purchased a 12volt CCW rotating motor to spin the heater fan so it would blow through the heater core to heat the cab. Did not need it to reverse because it would not be needed for windshield heat. But, the original heater housing with its opening doors that regulate heat flow and the original International logo were the main reasons the original type heater was installed. Cleaned everything up by disassembling the heater & removing all the rust and painting. Kept the original heater box original for its patina. The original holes for the heater core lines and bolts were already in the firewall, so it dropped right in.

I also added a water filter. This is on the backside of the heater and mounted on the firewall. This can help to trap any sediment or scale rust that may be floating around in the engine or flake off in the future. These are common on big diesel trucks, so wanted to add one to the old truck. BTW, the cooling system in this truck uses a 0-pressure radiator cap so there is no pressure built up in the cooling system. If there was any pressure, it would probably blow out the flat disc style freeze plugs used in the engine block. The replacement aluminum radiator had a 16-pound cap! Good thing I caught it.
 

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Still moving forward on the KB5. Finally fab'd up a lower radiator hose. The hose is unique with several tight bends and there is not a lot of room where it goes - although you might think so with the nose off the truck. Of course you can't find one preformed, so I had to make one up.

I read that the original hose was a 2-piece deal that was joined together. With the bends of this hose, it made sense. So I began by using 2 pieces of welding wire and shaping them to the contour I needed. One from the lower radiator outlet and curving up towards the water pump outlet. Then I did the reverse, one from the water outlet that had a slight curve and met up with the lower shaped wire about mid way as that was where I wanted to make my connection joint. Then I trimmed the lower shaped wire so it too met the upper wire in the middle.

With those 2 formed wires as my initial pattern, I found an online NAPA molded radiator catalog in PDF. The outlet size on the radiator is 2 1/4". The outlet on the water pump is 1 3/4". I found a molded lower hose that looked to have a section of the hose that I could use. The big end was 2 1/4" with a smaller 2" end. Found a water pump hose which had a molded section that looked to be what I wanted, having 1.71" outlets on each end. The idea was not to use the hose as formed, but to use a section of each that appeared to match my formed wire shapes. So I ordered the hoses.

Next I had to find something to join the two pieces once I cut the hoses down to make up the upper & lower hose sections I needed. My union had to have a 2" OD to slide into the end of lower hose section and a 1.75" OD to slide into the end of the upper hose section. Simple enough, an exhaust reducer. Problem is that most are steel and of course will rust out over time being used for the cooling system. I needed one in stainless steel. Gotta love Ebay, because they had SS exhaust reducers, but not in my size. I emailed the seller who said he could get me one......from the warehouse in China. Works for me and it took about 3 weeks to arrive. Perfect.

All I had to do now was carefully cut up the molded hose sections to approximate the wire shapes I had made. Measure twice, cut once. I got them "roughed" out, but knew I had to do some final trimming. Trimming just small amounts on each hose end as needed and making sure I retained the correct bends I needed, I got the two hose to line up and meet in the middle - which was based off of the water pump hose as it was more of a straight length.

I then had to cut down the 4 3/4" SS reducer to 2" by taking a little off each end. The 2" OD end fit perfect into the lower hose 2" ID. The 1 3/4" OD end did not fit well into the 1.71" ID end of the upper hose. So I cut 8 slots evenly spaced into the end of the reducer with my die grinder/wheel and tapped them in a little to collapse the end smaller. Still very snug, so boiled up some water and stuck the hose in it for a couple minutes. Put a little dish soap on the SS reducer, then slipped the hose right over the end with little problem.

All that was left was to install the hose, adjust it a little by twisting, then add my hose clamps. I also replaced the flex hose used on the top radiator outlet with a molded hose that looks 100% better. Then I filled the radiator up. Success! No leaks. This was a real project to accomplish only because nothing was in stock and I had to wait on parts to arrive. So a 1 day job took about 1 month to get done! And so it goes with most of the work on this old truck - waiting on parts. :yesnod:

I have since been able to fire up the engine and check for leaks. No leaks from the heater or water filter I installed, nor any of the hoses.

I also want to point out that I had put 10 gallons of ethanol free gas in the tank along with Stabil 360 as I knew the gas would sit. Not sure how long it would stay good. The truck has sat for 1 year 3 months without being fired up. When I was ready to start it again, I put a little gas down the carb and a light shot of starting fluid. Turned the engine over and it fired right up! I have since let the engine run 2 hours one day and 3 hours another day - still on the same gas, trying to run out the 10 gallons so I can add some fresh. So, I think it safe to say that if you fill your car with ethanol free gas and add the Stabil 360 for winter storage, you should not have any problems firing it up because the gas has gone bad come Spring. I would however keep and eye on the carb to make sure none of the gaskets have shrunk on you and leak. :thumbsup:
 

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Still plugging away on this old truck. Finally have good weather to work with. Engine has been running great and fires up very easily.

Drained and refilled the transmission - it's a 4 speed truck transmission, non-synchronized so you have to double clutch it to shift. The stuff that came out was ugly looking. Had a red tint to it, but did not look like rust. It was a little thin so my guess is someone added automatic trans fluid to it thinking it was a modern transmission. Got the E-brake, which is a brake/drum affair on the back of the transmission, relined with new lining material (I did this myself) all reassembled and adjusted. It works.

Had the windshield wipers hooked up, but the Speedway electric wiper motor did not have enough HP to operate both wipers at the same time. So re-working them using a rear wiper motor I pulled from the back glass of a Ford Explorer. Hopefully it will do the trick.

The truck has a sunvisor which was in a box of parts. Had to have it, but did not want to have to go through the trouble of having one stitched up like original. So went with a tinted green polycarbonate plastic that I cut to shape and installed. Refurbed all the hardware and bolted up.

Next up are the brakes. Some previous owner attempted to service the front brakes. These are Budd hubs, 14" x 2" drums and shoes. Everything was wrong with them. I pulled the drums off. Bearings & races were all good. Unique oil seal in that it is felt rather than a typical "rubber" seal. It was like new. The brakes were crusty and the shoes were frozen inoperative. The wheel cylinders were the wrong ones (these wheel cylinders used 2 size cylinder bores with the larger bore in front). Shoe lining was marginal and drums were rusty. Pulled everything apart and cleaned up and painted. The set-up is very simple. The bottom and top of the shoes are operated by a cam which moves the shoes in & out so that you can get the correct gap between shoe lining and drum. Adjustments are made by the bolt heads at the back of the backing plate. You can see the 2 cam/bolts at the bottom of the shoes. The upper cams are behind the shoes to push them in/out utilizing the 1 spring's tension to keep them in place. No self adjusting with these, all manual. There is a slot in the front of the drum to insert a feeler gauge to measure the air gap between lining and drum. Simple. The only spring you see holds the top of the shoes into the wheel cylinder cups.

Put everything back together and adjusted the brake shoes using the feeler gauge. Filled up the original master cylinder I had sleeved and rebuilt. Bled the brakes and now I have operating front brakes. I am now on to the rear brakes which are slightly different. The axle has to be pulled to remove the large spindle nut & bearings and then slide the drum off to expose the brake assembly. I will have the wheel cylinders sent out and relined & rebuilt and am going to have the shoes relined and drums turned so all will be new. I have to add new steel brake lines and a new rubber line to from off the axle. All that will be left will be to reassemble, bleed the brakes, and drain/fill the rear-end with fresh gear oil.

Then on to some body work which I have just started to do.
 

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Doing so many things to this truck that I'm all over the place. The "Green Diamond" engine is a 233CI straight flathead 6-Cyl. It is rated a whopping 93 HP at 3,400 RPM, 181 ft. lbs. of torque at 1,000 RPM's, and has a compression ratio of 6.3:1.

So how are you supposed to know what the RPM's are of the engine when you don't have a tach? So I created a tach based on a photo of one that I got off the web. Although the engine has a redline of 3,400 RPM, I went with a redline of 3,000 RPM which I felt was far more comfortable on the old engine and a means to protect it. Photo #1 .

I started with a 3" diameter body VDO tachometer, 12-volts to match the 12-volt conversion I did, and pulled the tach apart. I then removed the plastic tach facing which I wanted to have changed to resemble the look of an original 1948 style tach. Photo #2

I searched the web and found a company in Florida, CAD Graphics Home - custom dials, gauge dials, pressure gauge dials, CAD Graphics Inc , that offered custom designed gauge face overlays. I sent the plastic VDO face plate along with my design I drew up and the fine points I wanted incorporated into the design to be used in producing a custom dial overlay (old style font, triangle type RPM indicators, & the International logo). Emails were exchanged until the final design was approved by me. Near complete, the face has a white background, but the older gauges had a light tan background. So this was corrected and the final design accepted. Photo #3 is with white background.

The overlay was then applied by CAD Graphics right on top of the VDO faceplate and matched the RPM sweep exactly. It was then mailed back to me. The price? $50.00 plus shipping! Great value.

I reassembled the tach for a test fit. I made a wiring harness for the backlit lights and swapped the 2 filament bulbs for 2 tower LED bulbs - less amps used. The bulbs were so bright that the VDO tach, which was designed to allow the back lighting to show through the RPM numbers and scale lines did just that, and bled right through the custom dial face. To correct this, I simply used black model paint and a brush and covered the RPM numbers by painting over them. I left the RPM scale lines which are on the outer perimeter of the VDO tach face to bleed through which matched the RPM scale lines on my custom dial face. So this now back lit the perimeter of antique face so you could see the RPM scale lines at night when the lights were turned on. An added bonus I did not even consider.

The RPM needle/pointer from the VDO tach had a bulky contemporary design and I wanted to use a RPM needle/pointer that looked correct for the era. I used the pointer from another tach I had and had to modify the VDO needle. I then used JB Weld to overlay the older style needle on top of it. I gave it a coating of Chevy engine orange.

With the bezel still off, and the RPM needle still loose, I tested it on the KB5 engine. I hooked up the power to activate the tach and then disconnected. This is said to position the tach electronics where it should be with the RPM needle set at "0" RPM on the scale. I then pressed the needle onto its shaft, but just enough to keep it engaged, and so I could pull it back off if the needle was incorrect in its position.

I fired up the engine and the tach came to life. I measured the RPM's against my 1980 Craftsman engine analyzer with its RPM scale - it was a match, the tach RPM was the same as my Craftsman tach.

I then pushed the RPM needle down on its shaft for the final time and reassembled the glass/bezel. Photo #4 .

I used a section of reproduction cloth covered 18 Ga. green wire from Rhode Island Wire to match the rest of the wiring under the hood. Located a place on the dash where I wanted the tach, and used a 3 1/8" hole saw to make my hole. Cut, soldered ends, and used heat shrink wrap on all wires and plugged them into the back of the tach. I went with a separate toggle light switch connected to my fuse block & a 3 AMP fuse. Inserted the tach in its place and secured it all together. Looks and operates like factory, and no guessing how many RPM's the old engine is turning. Photo #5 , 6 & 7.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
And you think you have brake problems! LOL Working on the rear brakes, 14 1/8" diameter drums. Not 14", but 14 1/8". You first have to pull the axles out to expose the lock nut that holds the drum/bearings on the spindle they ride on. Had to purchase a large 3 1/4" thin-wall socket specifically used to get the lock nut off. Borrowed a 3/4" impact wrench to break it loose as my 1/2" impact would not do it.

Pulled off the drum only to see that the front shoe was busted in 3 pieces. Hmmmm. The shoes are cast iron! This is not good. Check out that odd looking wheel cylinder. This set-up is called the "Hi-Tork" brakes, or "mountain brakes" by those who knew them. One big end and the small dog-leg that applies pressure to the rear shoe. Tried to remove the pistons from them and send out for rebuild, but had problems as they were badly corroded. Ebay sells a new cast reproduction ready to go - so simply purchased a pair to save time. The drums/bearings themselves are in good shape, so I will re-install them as is. Of course, felt wheel seals and I will have to make new ones myself. Got the material and a hole cutter, so it should work out.

Pulled everything apart which is pretty much straight forward. The shoes are held to the backing plate by a long 1/4" bolt and double nutted versus the pin/spring/hat that we see today on drum brakes. The backing plate shows the 3 attaching and pivoting cams that also hold the shoe in place and are used to adjust the shoe out as it wears down - just like the front brakes. The cams rotate and depending on its position, on the high or low side of the cam, the brake shoe can be adjusted closer or further away from the drum. The bottom of the rear shoe does not have an adjusting cam, but does have a screw-adjuster with star wheel to move it outward. The screw-adjuster pushes off the front shoe which is affixed to the adjusting cam.

Since I was working on the rear axle, I drained the nasty rear end fluid and pulled the cover to inspect the guts, looking for any pieces of metal or damage. No metal bits in the bottom of the case and everything looked as it should. The vent on the rear axle is a hollow bolt with a plastic dust cap used at the upper right - it was plugged solid. Removed the plastic cap and fashioned a "down tube" using steel brake line attached the bolt end. Rather than take the time to hunt down or make a cork gasket for the cover, I used Permatex #81182 Gear Oil RTV Silicone Gasket Maker - specifically designed for gear oil applications like transmissions & rear ends. I will see if it does as it states, or will be making a gasket.

All the steel brake lines were rotted away and the rubber line dry rotted. The rubber line was a straight hose incorporating a brass fitting/splitter at the end at the rear end cover to which the steel brake lines attached. To make it easier, I found that the rear brake hose from a Chevy Suburban was the same length and incorporated the needed end. I had to fashion a bracket to bolt it up to the cover and do a slight modification at the other end to work with the factory frame bracket used on the truck. I then formed my steel brake lines as best I could laying on my back. Made another bracket to secure one of the brake lines onto the rear end cover. I then ran a line from the rubber hose end all the way forward to the junction block near the master cylinder - but did not connect it. Will do that once I am ready to bleed the brakes.

The hold up is the rear cast iron brake shoes. I will not use them as they are in my opinion too old, too brittle, and too dangerous. Found that another shoe had broken at the pivot cam and was brazed together. Did look into having a new set cast, but seems this is a lost art or you need a huge minimum order. So the solution is to fabricate them in steel which is what I had planned from the beginning. Again, did a bunch of online searching and for such a small order, well, $$$$. Took the shoes to my local fab/machine shop that has done other auto related work for me. I explained what I was looking to do in creating the new shoes - 2 separate 1/4" flat steel plates, one cut to match all the attachment points while the other to be curved and welded to the main plate. The brake linings would then be riveted to the curved plates. They had their best fabricator look at them and he said no problem. Then it was off to the engineer who creates a CadCam program that uses their laser cutter to cut out the patterns needed and even the exact holes found on the shoes. He looked at them and didn't see a problem creating the needed program to cut the matching plates. Yay!, success. I supplied NOS brake linings and rivets I had and they will also rivet these on, so when I get them back, they will be ready to attach. The shop charges $80.00 and hour and they could not give me an estimate per say. I will get the CadCam designs to keep for future use, one set of ready to bolt on shoes, and an extra set less the linings to have as back-up should they ever be needed. I am figuring on somewhere under $800.00 (as was loosely mentioned) for everything which may sound high, but I have no doubt a set of NOS rear cast iron brake shoes if I could find them, might run me $400 or more anyway. So I get steel shoes which I won't have to worry about busting in 3 pieces or cracking, a second back-up set, and CadCam drawings which may allow me to make additional brake shoe sets and sell.

I posted my 3-page build on an International truck site if anyone wants to see additional photos and text. Figured this may help someone else in the future if they decide to bring back one of these old trucks. OldIHC ? View topic - 1948 KB5 Railway Express

My '68 Lemans has not been forgotten. I purchased an aftermarket tilt column which needs some modifications to fit and will post my experience on the forum once I get it done. I bought a Grant steering wheel to replace the badly cracked and unusable factory wheel. I bought a complete set of white door panels (front & rear) that I will be using. And of course, more miscellaneous small parts. The parts pile gets bigger. :yesnod:
 

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