Reinventing the Wheel

Reinventing the Wheel

As long as the truck was up on blocks over the winter and early spring, I had decided to remove and restore the steering wheel – as you can see from the first photo, it needed it.

Steering Wheel Prior to Restoration - Lots of Fine Cracks Everywhere

Steering Wheel Prior to Restoration – Lots of Fine Cracks Everywhere

Removal was actually pretty straightforward – you cannot use a conventional steering wheel puller, but a bearing puller works very well. Perhaps I was lucky, but it popped off with relative ease.

To guide me through the restoration process, I had purchased the Steering Wheel Restoration Kit by Eastwood. The kit includes an excellent guide, PC-7 epoxy, adhesion promoter and pre-painting prep. The kit is reasonably priced at $50 (as of the posting of this article).

Eastwood Steering Wheel Restoration Kit (Retails for $50)

Eastwood Steering Wheel Restoration Kit (Retails for $50)

After cleaning the steering wheel as best as possible, I started the process outlined in the guide by grinding out all of the cracks using a Dremel tool. All cracks were widened, and if they weren’t already down to the metal core, they were extended to the core. This is to allow you to make sure the epoxy covers the full extent of each crack.

First Step of Restoration - Grind Cracks to Make them Wider and Make Better Access for Epoxy

First Step of Restoration – Grind Cracks to Make them Wider and Make Better Access for Epoxy

After the epoxy dried, everything was sanded down. I started with a 100 grit, then finished up with a 400 grit.

Some people have used JB Weld instead of PC-7 for the epoxy, but having used both, it is my opinion that the PC-7 sands down a little easier, which helps a LOT in terms of getting everything smooth and saving time.

Second Step of Restoration - Liberal Use of PC-7 Epoxy Paste

Second Step of Restoration – Liberal Use of PC-7 Epoxy Paste

After everything was sanded smooth, I used the adhesion promoter and pre-painting prep as per the directions. I then decided to use an epoxy-based primer. After the primer dried, I sanded everything down again with 400-grit sandpaper.

I finished up with three coats of gloss black epoxy, sanding with 600-grit between coats.

Steering Wheel After Final Painting and Reassembly

Steering Wheel After Final Painting and Reassembly

The steering wheel was then reassembled and reinstalled. I am VERY happy with how well it turned out! What was an eyesore in the interior, is now the jewel.

Finally, I want to make special note of the horn button center. I came across this item while looking for options as to what to do with my battered center. I came across this painted horn center at Nostalgic Reflections. The price might seem high to some of you, but considering the excellent quality, it felt like a value to me.

Horn Button Center by Nostalgic Reflections

Horn Button Center by Nostalgic Reflections

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Time for a Brake

Time for a Brake

Over the course of the winter storage of Cornelius, I noted that a wet spot had started to appear on the back side of the driver’s side backing plate. Once it got warm enough, I pulled the tire and the drum to have a look. Sure enough, the wheel cylinder had developed a leak and was dripping brake fluid into the bearings and thinning the grease as well. Time for some brake work.

Front Driver's Side Brakes Prior to Repair

Front Driver’s Side Brakes Prior to Repair

First item was to clean things up, which took a while – there was quite a lot of grease and gunk covering everything. I ordered and received a replacement brake cylinder and some replacement brake springs (see the “Parts” page for part numbers). Fortunately, the brake shoes seem to have been recently replaced and are in excellent condition. The wheel bearings were also in excellent condition and only needed a thorough cleaning and repacking.

Front Driver's Side Brakes Post Repair

Front Driver’s Side Brakes Post Repair

Both sides were checked and rebuilt. Although the passenger side wheel cylinder was not leaking, it was replaced along with most of the springs to keep the wear and pressure even on both sides.

The brakes were bled and the pedal is now as firm as ever without leaks 🙂

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Fine Tuning Your Carburetor

Fine Tuning Your Carburetor

Although I have tuned countless carburetors over the years by “ear”, I decided I wanted to make sure I had tuned my trucks new carburetor to be as efficient as possible. Especially since my hearing is NOTHING like it used to be!

Tuning Carburetor With Vacuum Gauge

Tuning Carburetor With Vacuum Gauge

The next step in carburetor tuning is via a halfway decent vacuum gauge. You connect the gauge to a vacuum source – in this case I connected to the line right off the intake manifold that runs to the vacuum advance unit on the distributor. I immediately saw a wobbly reading of approximately 16.5 inches of vacuum. After adjusting the mixture, it rose to a little over 18 (you want to see between 18-20 or so) and was pretty steady. Also, the periodic “puff” in the exhaust decreased, which was good.

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Taking a Powder

Taking a Powder

Even though the truck is stored for the winter, I am fortunate in that I have enough room to continue working on it. So over the past few weeks, I have cleaned up a United partial flow oil filter and an original AC oil bath air cleaner. I then had them powder coated semi-gloss black. Thanks to Jay at Apex Powder Coating in Middleton, WI, they turned out amazing. The air filter media was difficult to clean prior to powder coating, and although I did my best, it still caused quite a bit of smoke at the powder coaters!

Air Cleaner Assembly Prior to Powder Coating

Air Cleaner Assembly Prior to Powder Coating

The air filter is pretty much ready to go now as is. I only wish I could find an original clamp for it. It had a regular hose clamp on it with a thin strip of rubber on it between the clamp and the filter. I will be doing pretty much the same thing for the time being.

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The Evolution of Automotive Design in the 1930s

The Evolution of Automotive Design in the 1930s

The other day I received a very nice note from Terry Jacobs, the owner of an absolutely beautiful 1940 International Harvester D-2 short bed pickup. As we traded thoughts on trucks, he mentioned that he had authored an article that had been published as part of B. Mitchell Carlson’s “Triple Diamond Treatise “, a regular series in Vintage Truck Magazine. The article was originally published in the December 2015 issue, and with Terry’s permission, we have reproduced it in it’s entirety here.

Terry Jacobs' beautiful 1940 International Harvester D-2 half-ton short bed pickup.

Terry Jacobs’ beautiful 1940 International Harvester D-2 half-ton short bed pickup.

You will find the article to be an excellent read, as it provides some excellent insight as to how the design of the International Harvester D-Series came about. I have also added the photo of Terry’s D-2 to our D-Series gallery along with several new images. I try to select images that provide good historical information on our trucks and any accessories that might have been used.

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