Fig. A: The Tonka Classics Dump Truck by Hasbro.
Fig. B: Pry off the axle end caps to release the wheels.
Fig. C: Use a screwdriver to bend back the tabs that
hold the metal cab deck to the plastic chassis.
Fig. D: Drill pilot holes for drilling out the metal rivets
that attach the dump bed to the chassis. Fig. E: Toy
truck, fully disassembled. Fig. F: Sand down the original
factory finish to rough it up for painting.
5. Rebuild it.
Putting a Tonka back together is even easier than
taking it apart. Reinstall the exhaust pipe and cab
windshield to the cab deck, then reattach the cab
deck to the plastic chassis and secure it by bending
the metal tabs inside the front wheel wells.
To reattach the dump body to the chassis, replace
the original rivets with similar-sized machine screws,
washers, and nuts. The screw heads go on the outside
of the chassis rails, and the nuts go on the inside.
6. Add the flair.
With your Tonka repainted and reassembled, it’s time
to add accents and details. Contact paper or automotive decal sheets are good replacements for the Tonka
stickers you peeled off. If you want a perfect match
with the paint you used on the body of your truck, you
can also spray a sheet of thin styrene plastic with your
leftover paint. After the paint dries, cut the styrene
to fit (using those old stickers as the template), then
glue the trimmed pieces to the sides of the cab.
If you’ve got a steady hand and some artistic skill,
you can pinstripe your truck or give it airbrushed
graphics. If you lack either, laser-cut vinyl decals are
an easy alternative, with hundreds of designs available, including popular cartoon characters, stripes,
and flames. Look for them at your local sign shop or
hot rod store, or on eBay. Happy motoring!
cap in a socket on the upward-facing wheel. Give the
top socket a firm tap with a hammer. The sockets
will spread the force around the end caps and lock
them into place with no pressure on the wheels.
! IMPORTANT: After you tighten the nuts,
apply Loc Tite adhesive to secure the nuts in
place. Without the Loc Tite, the nuts will wiggle
loose when the dump body is repeatedly raised
and lowered. If the nuts fall off entirely, they
may become a choking hazard.
The wheels come next. Press the wheels back into
the plastic tires. Thread each axle through one
wheel, then the holes in the chassis, and finally the
wheel on the other side. To reattach the end caps
without chipping your freshly painted wheels, use
two 2" sockets. Place one socket on your work surface and center one end cap inside it. Turn the truck
sideways and insert the axle, then put the other end
Todd Lappin is the founder of Telstar Logistics, a leading
provider of integrated services via land, air, sea, and space.