The Shop Tools Page



Curtis 5 HP, 3-Cylinder, 80-Gallon Air Compressor

Well, about 15 months or so ago I bought a used Curtis 80-gallon horizontal air compressor. It had a 5HP, 3-phase motor and a 3-cylinder, Model E-50, 2-stage pump air compressor pump. It ran but made a knocking sound and I suspected a high pressure cylinder bearing was bad but definitely worth a 90 minute drive and $75 price negotiated down from $200.


Once I got it home it received a thorough washing with Bleache-White® cleaner and soap and water  so I could inspect it closer and to make the tear-down process easier.


Over the course of the next year I completely restored the compressor to better-than-new condition and performance. The high pressure piston wrist pin bushing on the connecting rod was, in fact, worn bad when I bought it so I ordered a new wrist pin, piston & rod. I couldn't buy just the wrist pin roller bearing for the rod so I had to order the complete rod assembly. I ordered an overhaul kit with brand new seals, gaskets. rings, bearings...everything to completely overhaul the entire system.

I also ordered a real 5HP Baldor motor (Model L1430T, Frame 184, 1.125" arbor shaft, 21 FLA, 1740 rpm) so when operating the pump is churning at approximately 923 rpm and cranking out 17.4 SCFM @ 175 psi. I added a new 5HP magnetic starter with new 8/3 SOOJ cable for the electrical system. The magnetic starter has an auxiliary 230V relay that I wired into the electrical system to minimize current across the pressure switch contacts. The pressure switch still acts as a switch but does not carry the full load of the motor through the contacts. The auxiliary relay also provides me with provisions for the LED indicator. This illuminates whenever the compressor is ON (even though it may not be running because ultimate pressure has been reached and the system is in a standby mode.

I fabricated an hour meter for the compressor and also a rather complex looking (yet simple in theory of operation) air cooler/moisture separation system that yields me virtually dry air. You will see many non-standard features that I designed and incorporated into my compressor, so please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions..






Engine Hoist & Engine Stand

One major tool tandem that I was going to need for the restoration was an engine hoist and engine stand. I wanted an engine hoist that had sufficient height and boom length to work on my medium duty trucks and also something strong enough to handle heavy lifting operations. I found some for sale but they were either too expensive or the quality was less than acceptable given my application, so I built a matching set. I used 3" x 3/16" square stock for the main parts and 2.5" x 3/16" square stock for the inner adjustable pieces, such as the leg extensions and extendable boom. All pins and reinforcing plates are stainless steel. The casters are industrial type (ball bearing swivel, neoprene wheels with a solid steel center hub) that I got for free. The whole unit was welded using a Miller TIG welder.



Tow Bar

Well, I had some left over steel from my engine hoist and engine stand so I decided to fabricate this handy tow bar for my 1964 & 1966 C60s. I made it such that it will easily bolt directly onto the bumper flanges that are riveted to the frame. I don't plan on towing my trucks over the road. The tow bar was fabricated so I can move my trucks around the yard and in and out of the garage when I'm working on them.



Oxyacetylene Torches

I recently purchased a nice set of torches for working on my trucks. The regulators and torches are from Victor Super-Range II and the whole setup was purchased from my regional AirGas distributor. I really like the cart as it has a nice storage tray for all the tips, striker and goggles and has large pneumatic tires so it's easy to roll around on uneven surfaces.


Storage Sheds

Here are some pictures of the sheds that I custom built last year. I cleared and leveled the area, build the sheds and then placed weed block and stone around for landscaping. OK, so my sheds are not exactly what you would call a "tool", but I use them indirectly during the restoration process. The first one closest to the tree is setup with wire metro rack shelves and I use those to store all the small parts that come off my 1964 Chevy C60 during the disassembly process. There is also adequate floor space for the large items such as the fenders, inner fender wells, bumper, etc. The second one, closest to my 1966 Chevy C60 parts truck, houses infrequently used and larger tools as well as my Honda Foreman Rubicon 4x4 ATV.


San-Blast Pressurized Sand Blaster

I'm supposed to be restoring my dump truck and not my tools; however, some times you have to get the tools in good operating condition before you can use them. Thus was the case with a San-Blast pressurized sand blasting system my brother in Massachusetts shipped me back in the Fall of 2005. It'll take a 50 pound bag of media but it was in pretty tough shape after years of use. Be that as it may, given the cost of a new system versus a little overhaul of a free get the idea.

Upon receipt the pressure gauge was broken, the hoses were cracked from dry rot and the tank was rusted and covered with overspray from years of sitting in a paint booth. I pulled the plumbing system apart and what wasn't corroded was pretty worn out. Once it was stripped down I took my pneumatic sander and cleaned up the tank to bare metal and then gave it a hand sanding with 240 grit Wet-or-Dry sandpaper. Once the tank was primed and painted I went to my local Home Depot and picked up all new parts for the plumbing system. The re-assembly actually took a bit longer because I didn't want to paint the new valves (I know, I know...) but once the paint on the sub-assemblies dried I put it all together and it looks good as new.


Transmission Adapter

In order to restore the New Process 540C 5-speed transmission I fabricated an adapter that bolts onto the side-mounted PTO opening of the transmission case. Using the PTO housing as a template I fabricated a plate that would bolt onto the case in place of the PTO assembly. Next I turned down a piece of 1½" cold rolled steel solid round stock to 1.460" so that it would fit into the engine stand above. After achieving the correct diameter one end was cut at approximately 15º and a hole was drilled in the opposite end to facilitate a handle. The end with the handle was drilled and tapped to accept a ½" x 13 bolt to secure the handle. The shaft was then welded to the adapter plate to finish off the fabrication. The whole thing was fabricated with scrap stock that I had saved during the removal of the flatbed and lift gate from my 1966 Chevy C60 parts truck.


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