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 + Step-By-Step Guide to Deck Restoration

.: Guide to Truck and Wheel Restoration :.
by Cusleach

I have a collection of approximately 40 boards. The most common problem I find is the condition of the trucks -  usually in the form of corrosion of the baseplate and hanger, rubber breakdown, paint loss - (fading, grind marks,rusted axles, oxidisation causing blisters and pitted surfaces.)
It is relatively easy to restore a set of truks so long as one has patience and the right tools and a descent work area (workshop)

Definite Tools

2x bench grinders. 1 bench grinder should have 1 coarse wheel and 1 fine wheel. The other a wire brush wheel . These are a must .
Loads of fine grade steel wool soap padsthe kind that is used in the kitchen only.
brown vinegar (at least 4 litres)
small tin of paint stripper
brush for applying stripper
usual tools, ie. spanners,socket set, screwdrivers
drill with various size drill bits
white coloured scotchbrite or similar brand scouring pad preferably with the sponge on one side
bottle of Jiff ( thats what its called here in Australia) white cream cleanser or similar
small quantity of grease light coloured if possible
Autosol brand polishing paste
hobby knife with a new blade...don't be cheap!

OK here we go.... 

Example 1 - CHICAGO brand trucks(chrome plated steel)
Condition: Chrome in-tact but rust on surface. nuts washers and cones seem to have rusted together.
Remedy: Throw entire truk wheels and all into a container full of brown vinegar, completely covering everything. Leave sitting for up to but no more than 6 hours
checking every couple of hours. Within the first hour you should notice froth and possibly a weird slimy substance.( I don't know what it is but don't eat it)
this means that the brown vinegar is doin' its thing. Brown vinegar is acidic and just loves metal, it dosnt eat away at the rust but rather eats away at the fresh metal that sits just under the rust allowing the rust to unbind itself from the fresh metal thus exposing the fresh metal surface. After about 3 to 4 hours you should be able to rinse of the loose rust with a rag and running water . sometimes it is quicker but if not leave soaking a bit longer when you are satisfied that you have all the rust off then it will be possible for you to undo all the conenuts and the locking nuts so you can disassemble the truk completely. If there is resistance then spray the thread with WD-40 try to crack the seal on all nuts and bolts first as the rust may have made a water tight seal meaning that the brown vinegar didn't penetrate all the thread. dont undo the nuts before the brown vinegar treatment because there is a risk of damaging the thread or if you use to much force you can shear the axle clean off and then you can go sit in your room and think about what you have just done. Its frustrating to take a while to do something. Its even more frustrating to take a while and then ruin it.!!!!

Now that you have disassembled the whole truk lay it all out on a light coloured cloth so bits dont roll around and go walkabout, also it allows you to group all the bits - cone nuts here ,washers there ect. have a professional attitude to what you are doing and you will get a professional result. a clean workspace promotes clean work. The chrome baseplate and hanger should polish up fine using the soapy steel wool in clean water. The soapier the better. if the steel wool looses its soapiness then discard . The soapiness is what stops the steel wool from scratching if there are small bubbles where chrome has lifted and is blistered or flaking then carefully remove with the sharp knife and polish with the autosol polish. to do a thorough job of the axles it is possible to remove them but this takes serious commitment, however if you are all pumped up and want do it then drill a hole (slightly larger than the axle thickness) into a piece of wood and sit the wood on top of a slightly open vice (approx 1/2 inch )sit hanger in the hole .The hanger will be protected by the wood. Then get one of the cone nuts and wind it back on to the axle leaving it not quite the whole way, so that when you bash the shit out of the axle you dont damage the end of the thread. Hit the axle with a rubber mallet if possible or a piece of wood covering the tip of the axle your about to hit. The axle in the CHICAGO truks come out fairly easily when the axle is out most of the way remove the cone nut and  use a set of pliers to wriggle the axle out the whole way. that's assuming that it wont come out with slight bare hand force.  ( that would be a good name for a movie ! ) the axle can be cleaned up on the wire wheel bench grinder. CAUTION- the wire wheel spits out bits of wire so always wear goggles .  

All the nuts and bolts should clean up on the wire brush  and can be polished with the Autosol polish. The hardest part to replace will be the dome shaped kingpin, the most common problem being grind marks this can be replaced though if you want it kept original then stick the bolt in a drill and sit a piece of dense foam or rubber on the bench and lay down some wet and dry sand paper on the rubber and while running the drill push the head of the bolt into the sandpaper work your way through various grade papers until you are using 1200 grit or 1000 . you will have a bolt that has a mirror finish , to tone down and make it suit the truk and look more suitable , run the head of the bolt on the wire wheel and it will have a more satin finish. This can be done to the rubber washers also, the washer must be glued to the head of an old bolt then stuck in the drill, body filler works best for holding the washer. When all is done wash everything in hot water and detergent. Before assembly any parts that were sanded or were bought back to bare metal will need to be highly polished            
and given a light smearing of grease . Note* original Chicago king pins were stamped with the letters CC.  The original chrome finish on Chicago truks has a slight brown finish, modern chrome plating is brighter so if you feel the need to have something plated make sure you do it in pairs, dont chrome plate one truk and not the other. this example is based on individual experiences results may vary depending on the abillity of the restorer and condition of the parts being restored.                     

Example 2 - GULLWING PRO AND SUPER PRO III (painted metal alloy composition)
Condition: 1 pair of pro's (long hanger). Paint faded badly, oxidisation near rubber grommets that has lifted the paint, kingpin worn down, all nuts are "n.f.g", rubber washer is warn on front, grind marks on back of hanger, grind marks on side of hanger...grind marks on front of hanger...and yes you guessed it...grind marks on top of the hanger.
Remedy: Dis-assemble the truks ,then the absolute next thing to do is keep a sample of the paint, the best place to find a good sample is where the sun and elements get to it the least, and that will be the underneath side of the baseplate. do whatever you can but make sure you get a sample. a small thin smear of paint stripper on a nice section will bubble the paint enough so it will lift of the metal yet stay in tact. Leave in cold water to let it harden up, however usually there is a descent chunk where the oxidising metal has lifted the paint.   Using the paint stripper in a well ventilated area and with a 2 inch paintbrush...strip the paint. Don't leave on any plastic or laminated surface. The stripper is powerful stuff and will melt my mothers bathtub, and my watch band. so be careful, apply liberally( coat the hell out of it) when you have finished stripping the paint off ,wash with soapy water so you can handle without getting irritated hands. Usually the baseplates remain unscathed save for a few scrapes along the front these can be sanded out but caution must be taken and sanding done with a softly softly approach as you don't want to flatten the curve at the front, commonsense will get you through. If there is a chunk taken out then it is possible to get a professional panel beater to fill it in with solder or hit it with a mig welder, however im not sure of the composition of the alloy in the truks so I don't know what results you will get. Whatever the case make sure there is enough buildup so you can sand back.  If you are going to have the truks in a display cabinet or on show only then the spot needing the repair can be done with a metal filler/putty.The hanger is relatively easy , tighten a piece of timber into a vice and drill a hole  horizontally into it make the hole about 1 or 2 drill bits smaller than the thickness of the axle. Then with a rubber mallet tap the hanger into the hole so it is a snug fit and wont move around, I find that MDF board is best for this. using various grades of wet and dry sand paper cut into 1 inch strips sand the top of the hanger like you would shine a shoe if u were a shoe is amazing how efficient this technique is. Work your way through until you are satisfied that all the scratches are out, be careful not to lose the roundness of the hanger especially with the old pro's as the ring pattern at the ends can be warn down very quickly if you find that the groves have lost their depth then find a small hobby file that has the same width as the grove or smaller. do not widen the grove be very careful and take your time. When all sanding is done give the baseplate and hanger a good going over with a scourer so that the paint will have something to "bite" to. Do not get them to a mirror finish as you will have problems with wet paint runs and dry paint flaking and not adhering to the metal. Next is to polish up the axles , a simple wire buffing should do the trick, followed by a polish. Be careful not to buff the edge of hanger where it meets the axle , this badly roughs the surface as the alloy is only soft. When you have finished tape over the axles and using a lint free cloth wipe over the hanger and baseplate with acetone or methylated spirits not kero or turpentine as they are petroleum products and are slightly oily
heat up the baseplates and hangers with a hair drier for about 2 mins then they are ready to paint with a grey primer/etcher paint. Take care to avoid runs. When they are dry (about 1 day) you can paint them with high gloss enamel not engine enamel as it dosnt give the high gloss. note* don't paint clear coats over any enamel paint as you will get cracking because the two paints move differently when curing. Some paints take months to properly cure.good luck with your colour matching.

The major problem with restoring old gullwing trucks is the size of the kingpin. I have very successfully fixed this problem. Buy 4 new kingpins trying to match the thread end as Gullwing kingpins have a slightly tapered tip.Hold the bolt end not the thread end in a vice and cut the head off as square and neat as possible. Then align the other kingpin next to the original and see where you need to cut so you have two cut kingpins that when welded together they make the same size as the original Gullwing kingpin. hold the two halves in a vice making sure that they are in alignment then weld them up. Grind the weld nice and neat so they fit in that annoying slotted hole (that makes kingpin removal so much fun.) replace all the nuts with new ones, the rubber washer can be turned around so that the scratches cant be seen otherwise sand and polish like as in example 1 techniques or replace with nos if you are lucky enough.

Assemble the Gullwing bits and pieces ,mount onto your nos Mike Mc Gill jet plane pig deck ( fully optioned and gripped ) and grind away.

Example 3 - WHEELS
Condition:Wheels are loose bearing type and look dark and dirty but OK not chipped or foreign bodies embedded in urethane. Ball bearings met their maker long ago. wheels are /were a clear amber colour
Remedy:  Wash wheels in warm soapy water. Then when free of all loose material cover with cream cleanser ( jiff ) Using a white scouring pad get in there and start a scrubin'  don't do the face especially if there is painted lettering or little pictures ect. if the wheels seem hard to clean then use a pumice stone, fine sand paper or mount them and use on a smooth glass free and grit free concrete not bitumen surface until wheels feel smoother. Take wheels off and clean again. When you have finished and are going to display your wheels then rub into the wheels some petroleum jelly to restore the gloss that's a bit gay but it gives them that bit better look. Pigmented wheels shoud not need the jelly crap. Wheels that are clear often contain foreign bodies like glass and rocks carefully pluck out with a hobby knife or sharpened nail or tweezers. Individual  results may vary depending on the ability of the restorer and condition of the parts being restored.

(note* coloured scouring pads leave a colour behind that seems to stain, so always use a white one.)
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