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V12 Engine rebuild advice
Not too shy to talk
Joined:
2007/12/16 19:14
From CA
Posts: 15
It looks like my 1935 V12 may need an engine rebuild. Any recommendations on where I should be taking it?

To the extent it matters, it's important to me that the job be done correctly, as it's a car that's been in my family since 1942 and I hope to be driving it for a another few decades myself. So I want to find someone who is a real expert at these engines. At the same time, the car is a driver, not a show car, and I don't really have any interest in making the car a show car.

Also, while I'm at it, I gather you all advise me not to take the car to the generalist restoration shop that has worked on the car in the past? I've taken it in the past to a shop that got it into decent running shape, and that has worked on some Packards, but as far as I know has never rebuilt a V12. Put another way, I gather this is a job that you give to an expert, not a generalist? (Hope that makes sense.)

Thanks in advance!
-1935Packard

Posted on: 2010/4/11 22:23
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Re: V12 Engine rebuild advice
Home away from home
Joined:
2007/9/16 11:27
From Breckenridge, Colorado
Posts: 218
Don't know if the geography will work for you, but I highly recommend Mark Clayton -- Clayton Restorations-- in Castle Rock, Colorado. Mark has my 2 V12's and 2 8's for rebuilds. He is so committed to Packard V12's that he machines new heads. Here's his contact information: Clayton Restoration Ltd‎
1751 West Wolfensberger Road, Castle Rock, CO 80109-9634
(303) 688-4035‎

Posted on: 2010/4/12 5:53
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Don Skotty
1938 Super 8 1604 1116 Club Sedan
1939 Twelve 1707 1233 5 pass Tourer
1939 Twelve 1708 1234 7 pass Tourer
1942 Super 8 180 Formal Sedan
1947 Custom Super Clipper 2126 2150 (recreating Derham Sheik of Kuwait Convertible Sedan)
1947 Custom Super Clipper 2126 2151
1946 Custom Super Clipper Sedan
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Re: V12 Engine rebuild advice
Forum Ambassador
Joined:
2007/3/14 16:01
From New Jersey
Posts: 16073
The Packard Twelve is not a simple engine and to really have comfort that the job is done correctly, there are not that many shops that I would consider. Though I have no personal experience with Clayton, from what I've both heard and read I believe he would be a very good choice.

Here in the East I could strongly recommend Stephen Babinsky's Automotive Restorations, 1050 Rte 22 West, Lebanon, New Jersey, 908-236-6400 - Steve is meticulous, knows his Packards thoroughly, and has an enviable, long success record.

Posted on: 2010/4/12 6:28
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Re: V12 Engine rebuild advice
Not too shy to talk
Joined:
2007/12/16 19:14
From CA
Posts: 15
Thanks, guys. I've heard of both Clayton and Babinsky, and particularly good things about Babinsky (he seems to be one of those names that are specifically noted when he has done a lot of work on a car).

Any ideas on how to choose among the folks who are really good at this stuff? When I call, what kinds of questions should I ask them to make an informed choice? For example, do I ask about shop rates, or typical costs, or is this one of these things in which it's too hard to predict costs without knowing the condition of the engine already?

Oh, and I'm on the east coast, about 4 hours from Babisnky's shop, which I suppose is an advantage, although I don't know if costs of transporting the car elsewhere are so significant in the grand scheme of things (especially as compared to the costs of the work).

Thanks again...

Posted on: 2010/4/12 12:07
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Re: V12 Engine rebuild advice
Forum Ambassador
Joined:
2007/3/14 16:01
From New Jersey
Posts: 16073
To many of us 8 hours on the road is a long day, but Steve (Babinsky) is in his shop most every Saturday for guests & customers so you might think about calling and visiting the shop. While no one can provide a cost, I think anyone who has done many of these engines can give you "typical", and they should be able to tell you in detail about the "what ifs", like sleeving if the bores are already out to far, crank turning, cam polishing, and the like. Also ask about what machine work they do in house and what they farm out. You might also ask about their opinions of various sources for parts, especially pistons and insert bearings. Do you want hardened exhaust valve seats installed (highly recommended). Do they recommend planing the manifolds. How do they clean the water jackets, etc. etc.

Also, cosmetics can loom large in a Twelve, manifold porcelaining and what options there are, all that nickel plating to do, do you want the engine accessories done like generator, starter, distributor, carburetor, etc.

Just some thoughts - send me a PM if you want to discuss in more detail.

Posted on: 2010/4/12 13:45
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Re: V12 Engine rebuild advice
Home away from home
Joined:
2007/10/28 7:49
Posts: 2381
I do the V-12. We use an experienced motor builder who will work the entire short block which carries their guarantee. I do the stem grinding myself because that is really not in their skill set. The oil pump is a major safety factor to address. It's up to the owner whether they want the premium parts from Dale Adams, or something less OEM. Dale's bearings, springs, and valve silencers are a masterpiece.

A Max Merritt/ PI oil filter and coil set are also obligatory for a good motor.

You should reference the Packard V-12 articles at Dale's Website - Dale Adams Enterprises - to get an idea of what you want to buy.

Besides the cosmetics that are second only to the Duesy, the entire vacuum system should be looked at as well as leaks will make a motor sound like it has burned valves.

The Packard V-12 seems to respond very well to following the book and should initially start up in a half turn when set up right. It's a great publicity stunt to start the motor for the first time in front of visitors.

Any of these colleagues will do a great job on your motor, however, cylinder heads should be carefully checked because - according to Turnquist - the service limit is .007 inches and too much milling will cause big problems.

Cheers

Posted on: 2010/4/12 19:32
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Re: V12 Engine rebuild advice
Not too shy to talk
Joined:
2007/12/16 19:14
From CA
Posts: 15
Thanks again, this is super helpful.

Posted on: 2010/4/12 22:21
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Re: V12 Engine rebuild advice
Home away from home
Joined:
2012/4/10 19:35
From San Diego, CA USA
Posts: 1538
Hi, Tim,

I saw dale's 12 project.WOW,, any i emailed him, me on a pow income can't his, out this world work.

He said i could use bronze for shells,,,i aluminum bronze,,then all i need to do is tin them..

i can make my own jigs, and then have a machine shop machine them to size.

my problem, is i could not get anyone in the 90s to babbit my dads shells...so i ended up with poured rods.

trid to get 12 running for my mom...my dad was going to pour his own shells,,,has them tinned..

except a year before he died, we had a garage fire, his 56 patrician got it, it was org. mint. the twelve parts got it too.. the 12 was at my grandparents place.

with the poured rods,,if i take babbitt out ,,i hear they grind the rod, to give a surface for babbitt

people in the local pack. club say just use them, i don't feel good with them.. i don't want to pull the crank in a few miles and do it again.

rik

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Posted on: 2012/4/17 17:12
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Riki
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Re: V12 Engine rebuild advice
Home away from home
Joined:
2007/10/28 7:49
Posts: 2381
Hi riki:

Thanks for the note. Yes Dale does make the shells and then puts a bearing surface onto them. And if you can do the same, well, that is very impressive. .010-.055 is supposed to be optimal. Rebabbiting old shells never worked. As for the shell itself, don't forget to engineer proper crush into the fit.

I might call EGGE Machine first and inquire. I know there are tons of V-12's running around with babbited rods because until Dale that was the only choice. If you drive a medium diesel truck the power curve is a lot like the V-12. So they started putting the diesel babbit into the rods.

However, I do know that some of those babbit jobs have racked up impressive mileages. 60,000 on one and counting. Given how expensive the V-12 twelve is I would be inclined to stick with what you have. Especially if the work was done by a reputable outfit.

You could also call one of the V-12 authorities out there like Dennis Sobieski and ask for his opinion.

I'm sure there is somebody out there who could reweld your rods to accept a modern insert bearing, but if you are not planning on doing quarter miles at the drag strip maybe it isn't worth it.

I would try Dennis. There is a also a shop in the Harrisburg PA area that has been using babbited rods for years. What you are looking for first is some good data otherwise you can't make a decision you can live with.

How's that?

Posted on: 2012/4/17 18:47
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Re: V12 Engine rebuild advice
Home away from home
Joined:
2007/12/11 17:31
From Detroit, MI
Posts: 983
I don't know exactly where you are located on planet earth, but you owe it to yourself to at least call Brian Joseph at Classic and Exotic Services in Troy, MI.

(248) 362-0113

http://www.classicandexotic.com/

They did my 1941 Super 8 motor and whenever I am in his shop he always is working on at least 2 Duesenberg motors and at least one Packard Twelve.

--Roger--

Posted on: 2012/4/17 19:58
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