Rubber, paint and primer – Update # 24

Moving one step closer to getting the ’38 Texaco tanker painted, the cab and Heil tank have been blasted and epoxy primed. Diamond T rubber parts have been manufactured, and Steve is currently painting suspension and brake components.

The Heil Tank

Upon completion of the fabrication work and repairs at Creative Metal Works, the steel tank needed to be primed as quickly as possible.


Steve delivered the tank to Automotive Blasting in Pukekohe for this process to be carried out.


It was vital to start afresh with bare metal so the tank was sandblasted to remove the initial application of primer off the tank. Jason and the team took a great deal of care not to damage any of the repaired surfaces.


PPG Epotec two pack epoxy primer was then applied to the tank to seal up the bare metal and protect the structure from rust or corrosion forming.


With the necessary protective coating applied, Steve reloaded the tank onto the trailer and delivered it back to the workshop.

Transporting an immobile structure of this size and weight on a standard trailer is a logistical challenge, so the rotisserie has proven to be invaluable each time Steve has had to move the tank.

The Diamond T Cab


Next on the list to be primed was the repaired cab. Steve loaded it up and delivered it to Automotive Blasting.


The stripped out cab was carefully sandblasted back to bare metal again to remove the previous coating of primer.


PPG Epotec two pack epoxy primer was once again used to seal and protect the repaired cab.


The Smaller Panels

Over the following weeks, Steve had other repaired panels sandblasted and primed, using the same PPG Epotec two pack epoxy primer.


Driver and passenger doors.


Seat base.


Spats / fender skirts.


Running board.


The cab primed and pieced back together at the workshop.

Our thanks to Starry (Chris) Malcolm who sourced some Diamond T cab parts in the States for us. The original seat base in the tanker needed extensive repairs so we are very grateful to have found a replacement in such excellent condition.

Thanks also to Jason at Automotive Blasting for capturing the images of the tank and cab being sandblasted and primed.

The Springs

When Archer Auto Springs inspected and repaired the front and rear springs, their recommendation to Steve was that the leaves should not be blasted individually.

Their reasoning behind this suggestion was that sandblasting each leaf may possibly have a shot peening effect which could alter the tension of the springs.

So Steve took Archer’s advice and had Automotive Blasting strip each set of springs as complete units.


The springs were all primed using the same PPG product, in readiness for being painted.

The Brake and Suspension Parts

All of the brake and suspension parts on the Texaco tanker were badly rusted so these have needed to be blasted also.

Steve has been working his way through them all, getting parts reconditioned or repaired as necessary. He has then painted each component and set it aside until such time as he can start to reassemble the truck.


Steve has had all of the hardware that can be reused in the Diamond T truck CAD plated.


The brake booster was stripped and completely overhauled by Just Brakes in Penrose. This rebuild included the fitting of a new vacuum diaphragm kit.


Just Brakes resleeved and rekitted the master cylinder.


Bricon Engineering stripped, cleaned and rebuilt the steering drag link and tie rod ends.


The original suspension rubber bump stops will be used on the spring u-bolt retainers.


Steve stripped the brakes, cleaned all the components and then had the relevant parts blasted.


The wheel cylinders were resleeved and rekitted by Just Brakes in Penrose, and the brake shoes were checked and rebonded.


Steve has overhauled the backing plates and drums which are now ready for reassembly.

The Diamond T Rubber Components

The Diamond T Rubber Company manufactures new rubber parts in Amarillo, Texas. The company is a division of  Warren’s Vintage Trucks, specialising in replacement rubber components for 1934-1949 Diamond T trucks.


As expected, when Steve stripped the chassis, he found the rubber mounts had all perished. So we placed an order with Tom Warren, and then shipped the Diamond T engine mounts up to him to be refurbished.

Tom stripped the old cores by burning off the original rubber and sandblasting the parts.


He then built up the mounts again using injection moulding of polyurethane elastomers.


Another example of the perished rubber – one of the front cab mounts.


Replacement front cab mounts.


Rear cab mounts.


Various spring shackle bushes.


Door bumpers.


Steve also ordered a replacement cab floor mat from Tom. The fitted rubber mat covers the entire width of the cab floor, with two embossed Diamond T logos (one each side).

The Diamond T Rubber Company

The next stage of the body restoration on the Diamond T truck and Heil tank is the filling, blocking and sanding. We are definitely getting closer to the day when these updates will be filled with the colour red!


David Finlon’s 1940 Model 805 – the “other” Diamond T Texaco tanker


Creations and rebuilds – Update # 25


  1. Tony

    Hi, loving the project so far. Sorry if I missed this but what was done to the inside of the tank? Will she ever pump any liquid again?
    Keep up the great work.

    • Sue Keys

      Hi Tony. The inside of each separate tank compartment was blasted and cleaned out, and then the surfaces were treated to preserve the four tanks. All the pump equipment is still with the truck but we don’t plan on running anything through it. Thanks.

  2. Justin

    It’s really starting to take shape now, and it’s looking very impressive! Thanks for another great update Sue.

  3. John E Doyle

    I have been watching this rebuild from day one. The work that has been done on this so far is just unreal.The workmanship is some of the best that I have seen. Lot’s of man hours so far.Bottom line is when it’s done it’s going to be one of kind for sure.

  4. David Gourdie

    Something that you might be interested in Welderup’s 1935 Ford Fuel tanker
    that has some interesting lines.As for the Diamond T,keep that progress up.

  5. P.T

    Just Awesome,really enjoy the updates …..P.T

  6. richard adlington

    Thanks for the great update Sue, getting exciting .
    Filling ,blocking and sanding now that wont be fun !!

    • Sue Keys

      The word ‘fun’ isn’t one that I have heard Steve use 🙂 Thanks Richard.

  7. Aubrey Ellen

    Been watching this from the start ,look forward and can’t wait for the next report a credit to all who are working on this project you all rock Thank you .

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