Tank Car Project - Fall 2013

In September 2013, I purchased a tank car while at the Mid South Live Steamers Fall Meet in Columbia, Tennessee. The tank car appears to have been made by Mountain Car Company as their logo was on the tank car. It must have been a demo model as I most people paint the car to match their train. My understanding is that someone bought the tank car and never used it. It was stored in a basement where it sat for many years. Every bit of metal was corroded. The wheels still had machine marks on them which tends to confirm the story. If you recognize this tank car, please drop me a note and let me know the real story. Below is a picture of the car before I started restoring it.

The rust was so bad that all of the bolts had to be cut with a Dremel tool so that I could use a slot screwdriver as the button heads were filled with rust that an Allen wrench would not fit.

The parts were all cleaned up with phosphoric acid after being cleaned with a steel brush. Phosphoric acid is available from Home Depot under the brand name of Klean Strip's Phosphoric Prep and Etch. It generally took a few hours to completely remove all of the rust. Sometimes a piece needed to be brushed with a power wheel to remove a layer of rust before being placed back into the acid bath for the final cleaning.

Here are some of the pieces of the steel tubing after being cleaned. All of the rust is gone leaving pits in the surface where the rust ate into the steel.

Each piece was primed before being assembled with Rustoleum Red Primer. The frame was then painted with a top coat after the frame was assembled. I picked Ace Premium Enamel Gloss Black. The couplers and trucks were painted with Krylon Flat Black.

The tank is made up from a 12" PVC pipe with cast aluminum ends. A wooden framework was made that would allow me to rotate the tank car so that I could paint it at one time. I started at the bottom so that if a wet line was left it would not been seen. It was painted with Krylon Gloss White spray paint.

I wanted to paint a 4" wide stripe on the side of the tank car. I masked it off with 3M Blue Painters Tape and then masked the rest of the area with clear plastic. I used Krylon Gloss Global Blue spray paint. Both paints dry quickly.

Below is the final product.