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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-21-2017, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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1948 International KB5

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.

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.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 12:47 PM
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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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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 01:22 PM
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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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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 01:41 PM
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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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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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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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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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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.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 08:21 PM
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Good stuff, Jim. Thanks for sharing!

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-21-2018, 05:19 AM
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Originally Posted by GTOJUNrIOR View Post
Good stuff, Jim. Thanks for sharing the hydromax device!
I love that 1957 Cadillac. That's not a huge mileage which is great. I'd love to see more pics of it, Jim.

Last edited by VirgilNe; 10-02-2019 at 02:10 AM.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-21-2018, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by VirgilNe View Post
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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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-15-2018, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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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 da*#$**#$**#$**#$*s.
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