The conduit and tank wiring – Update # 37

Steve has placed new conduit and wiring throughout the Heil tank and has continued to restore and fit a number of components. Rowan and Nick have finished preparing the cab and some of the panels in readiness for painting. And the time has come to fire up the engine……

The Starter Motor

Howard Scott did auto electrical work for Steve for over 30 years. Even though Howard retired some time ago, he kindly stripped and serviced the starter motor to help with the restoration.

Once apart, Steve hand stripped and wire buffed all the parts.

After painting everything, Steve returned the parts to Howard for reassembly.

 The restored unit. A metal tag has been temporarily attached on the right to use when jump-starting the engine.

Our thanks to Howard for his help with the starter motor. He is very busy preparing for a move so we appreciate him taking time out for the project.

The Conduit and Wiring

As a safety measure, the Heil tanker was originally fitted out with metal conduit to protect the wiring going to each tank light. Steve had removed all the conduit when he stripped out the tank so he has been systematically replacing all the lengths of alloy conduit to house the new wiring. He has found this phase of the project challenging at times!

The original 3/8″ conduit. The two light fittings still attached are the bulb holders that sit each side of the number / license plate in the centre of the rear bumper.

Some of the original tanker wiring that was removed from the rear junction box.

The majority of conduit is 3/8″ alloy which runs throughout the rear of the tank. The lights involved are the four side markers, the three markers on top of the tank, the brake / tail lights, the turn signal lights and the two bulbs in the rear bumper.

From a rear junction box, the wires are combined and fed through a 3/4″ length of conduit to another junction box at the front of the tank. Steve was able to retain the original 3/4″ conduit so he set about bending and installing the replacement 3/8″ alloy lengths.

Conduit going to the turn signal lights below the trunk lid.

The process has required Steve to make a number of bends in the conduit to follow the interior tank walls.

This section of conduit passes across the pipe holes in the right rear compartment which houses the tank truck equipment.

The rear junction box is shown with lengths of conduit passing through the rear of the trunk wall. Steve has used orange cord for the draw wires.

A different view of the rear junction box.

These images show the front junction box. Also pictured is the original, wider 3/4″ conduit exiting from the right of the box.

Steve hand formed two mounting / cover plates to connect the conduit to the brake / tail lights.

The cover plate has been bolted to the ’37 tail light and connected to the conduit. It seems such a shame that the bullet shape of these deco lights is hidden inside the tanker.

Steve finished this part of the restoration by testing all the lights with a jump wire connected to a battery. The roof markers lit up is a sight to behold!

The Rear Bumper

Steve decided at the beginning of the project that both the bumper and the support brackets would have to be remade due to the severe damage on both. Details and photos of the rear bumper and brackets were first published in Update # 13.

The support brackets were heavy steel panels bolted to the chassis as an integral part of the rear bumper system.

Manukau Sheetmetals Ltd fabricated the new bumper back in late 2018.

Steve got Manukau Sheetmetals to fold up a section identical to the original support brackets and to also guillotine some heavy plate pieces. Steve created templates and then cut the heavy plate and folded section to replicate the bracket shape. He tack welded the three pieces together that make up each support bracket and then marked and drilled the holes. Steve bolted both brackets to the chassis and set up the rear bumper to test fit everything. Once he was happy with the positioning, he tack welded the brackets to the bumper. To fully support the structure, Steve tack welded in some temporary cross braces to avoid any movement when it was fully welded.

The beauty of the rear bumper is not only in the deco shape but also the three beautiful chrome strips that adorn it. Steve masked and marked the relevant areas across the rear bumper where the chrome strips attach and then drilled the three rows of holes.

Starry Malcolm helped us in 2018 to source and purchase the correct size trim for the rear bumper. Steve recently took the 1″ x 1/2″ half round steel bar lengths to Manukau Sheetmetals where they were curved on a roll former to give them shape.

Steve cut each length for the rear bumper trims and finished shaping them. He then drilled and tapped each strip where necessary for the mounting of the studs. He delivered the rear bumper to Rowan for painting and dropped off the 1/2 round steel bars at the chrome platers for them to work their magic.

Rowan and Nick have gone through the same process as before to prepare the rear bumper and support brackets for painting.

The most recent image we have shows the entire rear bumper system coated with PPG Epotec primer.

The Cab and Panels

The level of detail and accuracy required when preparing to paint a vehicle was described in Update # 29. Rowan and Nick followed this process again as they prepared the cab and associated panels for painting.


Rowan and Nick have continued to block sand and prime the cab doors.

Below the passenger door is an external locker. Rowan has filled, block sanded and coated the locker door with PPG Epotec primer.

Simon Tippins recently carried out some final repairs to the running boards. Rowan worked on the repair areas and prepared the entire surface of the running boards before applying PPG Epotec primer.

Rowan and Nick continued to pay attention to detail when filling and sanding the interior areas of the cab.

The cab, radiator support and cowl at the 2 pack epoxy primer stage.

The stage of this process that gets us excited – the colour primer!

We are once again impressed with the stunning PPG Delfleet CT coloured primer supplied through Car Colors of North Shore Ltd. Barry Wadham continues to help us and Rowan in any way he can so our thanks once again for his great service and advice.

I haven’t gone into any detail of the processes involved in getting the cab and panels to this point but there is an enormous amount of time, skill and effort behind these photos. Our thanks once again to Rowan and Nick for the world-class job they are doing on the truck.

The Engine Start Up

Steve has spent a lot of time rebuilding the engine in the Diamond T. With the starter motor now installed, Steve wanted to fire up the engine to see how it ran. He temporarily attached the oil gauge to check the pressure and used a jump-start to turn the engine over. We captured this special moment in a very short video clip……turn up the volume!

For those reading this update from overseas, New Zealand was placed into the highest possible level of lockdown last week. This means that we are all confined to our homes for the foreseeable future and non-essential businesses are not permitted to open. Steve is spending uninterrupted time on the truck at the moment so he is in a happy place! That is, however, until such time that he needs materials for the truck…….


The dash panel, water pump & gearbox – Update # 36


The pipes and tank truck equipment – Update # 38


  1. ian harris

    great result and a really good lockdown pick us up with the progress..well done chaps

  2. Justin

    Always look forward to seeing these updates, the silver lining of covid lockdowns…. lots of progress, and it goes! Looking amazing.

  3. Ken Smith

    Enjoyed your latest update, as always. Keep them coming!

  4. Steve Medley

    Another great update with some major milestones. I think it’s great that so many people
    are contributing their talents. Can’t wait to see it all back together.

  5. Graham Rollo

    that sounded sweet.

  6. Tony Devereux

    Great work. Most impressive. Love those rear indicator lights.

  7. Darryl Ramage

    Outstanding work by all involved very exciting moment firing it up .Thanks so much for letting us share this amazing journey.Might have to go back to the start to binge watch during lockdown

  8. Christopher Green

    The progress and excellent workmanship is really a joy to see! I can’t wait for the finished version, but will be a little sad to see the end!

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